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Say “YES” to a Healthy and Happy You!

be-healthy-be-happy-be-you-tiful-hot-pink-white-kids-t-shirt_design

Okay, Easter is over. How many Peeps, chocolate foil wrapped eggs, jelly beans, chocolate covered marshmallows and who knows what else have we mindlessly consumed over the last few weeks? What is it about all the holidays that make us lose control and eat stuff we know is not good for us? Think about it. It’s the same candy, only wrapped and shaped different to fit the holiday. And yet, we all fall for it like that pink wrapped chocolate egg is going to taste any different than the red and green wrapped chocolate kiss at Christmas. Our year is paced with holidays and the powers that be know how to market their products to make the consumer think they just have to have them even though we just bought the same thing only packaged different a month or so ago. And, combine that with all the traditional foods that we usually consume with each holiday and it’s not looking real pretty.

So when do we jump off the crazy merry go round that keeps going round and round year after year making us repeat unhealthy habits that are so bad for us. Unless we make a conscious decision to not fall prey to the marketing of these products and choose healthier more nutritious foods we are going to keep spinning around and around on that thing.

So now that we have a break in the deluge of holiday oriented goodies confronting us every time we go to the store I believe it is the perfect time to take control and seriously make a conscious effort to eat and live more healthy.

You might be wondering how and where do I start? One thing to keep in mind is that healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of the foods you love. You really need to realize it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook and stabilizing your mood.

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but did you know your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing?

Studies have linked eating a typical western diet which is filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food and sugary snacks with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. All the more reason to eat more fruits and veggies, cook more meals at home and reduce your fat and sugar intake.

While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. Switching to a healthy diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to make a difference in the way you think and feel.

One thing I would like to mention here is that if you do any research on nutrition, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using a couple simple tips you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

TIP 1 - SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Take a number of small, manageable steps like adding a salad to your diet once a day rather than trying to make one big drastic change in your diet. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.


*
Prepare more meals at home allowing you to take charge of what you are eating.
*Make the right changes. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives.
*Simplify. Eat more fresh ingredients.
*Read the labels. Be aware of hidden sugar and salt even in packaged ‘healthy’ foods.
*Focus on how better you feel eating healthier foods.
*Drink plenty of water helping to flush your system of waste products and toxins.

TIP 2 - EATING IN MODERATION
Eat only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied but not stuffed at the end of a meal. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, for most of us, moderation means eating less than we do now.

*Reduce portion size of unhealthy food and don’t eat them as often.
*Think smaller portions. Learn what a healthy portion is.
*Take your time. Give your brain enough time to tell your body when you have had enough.
*Eat with others when possible. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer to limit mindless eating.
*Eat breakfast and then smaller meals throughout the day.
*Avoid eating at night.

TIP 3 - FILL UP ON COLORFUL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Try to eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of both and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or vegetable or a small apple or banana for example. Remember the more colorful the food is the higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains.

TIP 4 - EAT MORE HEALTHY CARBS AND WHOLE GRAINS
Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. They digest slowly and help you feel full longer along with keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbs are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that has been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Whole grains are rich in phytochemical and antioxidants which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.

TIP 5 - REDUCE SUGAR AND SALT
I think it’s safe to say that we Americans eat way too much sugar and salt contributing to so many health and weight problems. Do some detective work and look for hidden sugar and salt in most packaged food at the grocery store. Remember that sugar can have many different names such as honey, molasses, fructose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, malt syrup to name a few.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you along the way of a more healthy lifestyle and I do mean lifestyle because that is what it is all about, your LIFE and the STYLE in which you choose to live it.

If you are ready to make a life change and would like some support along the way I would love to assist you and share with you some strategies to achieve your goal of a more healthy you. Please call me at (516) 517-1560 or contact me through the website.

Eating for the future

Sitting at a conference last week the speaker threw out this question, “What would you like to be doing at 75 years of age?” As expected, people shouted out answers such as “traveling,” “playing with the grandkids,” “having fun.” Then she asked another question that kind of caught me off guard and I have to believe others too. “What are you doing now to make that possible?”

The interesting thing is, she was not talking about saving money or buying a motor home to travel the countryside. She was talking about what are you doing to your body NOW to make sure that what you dream of doing at 75 will be possible. I have to admit I had never thought about it that way.

Yes. I’ve thought of it in short terms like, if I eat this donut, cake, pizza et cetera, et cetera and not work it off, it will show up on the scale at the doctors next week. Or, I’m going on vacation and I have to put on a bathing suit so I’d better do something or it’s not going to be pretty. But have I really thought about how not eating right and exercising regularly now is going to show up when I’m 75? Well, to be honest, the answer is “no.”

Isn’t it ironic that we “plan” for the future financially but we don’t have the same passion when it comes to what we are putting into our “body bank” that we are going to draw on when we reach retirement age.

We really need to become more aware of what is in the foods we eat and what kinds of food we eat.

Lets’ face it. We are surrounded and bombarded by food everywhere we look. And may I add,
most of it looks, smells and tastes delicious and is hard to resist. Believe me, corporations have spent millions of dollars making sure of that. Which brings me to something I would like to bring to your attention;

HYPER-PALATABLE FOODS

Have you ever heard the term “hyper-palatable foods before?” I would venture to say that the answer is probably “no.” But most people eat them all the time. Now you might be asking, “What in the world is “hyper-palatable foods?”

Well, pretty much everything at a restaurant and most processed food but in a nutshell, hyper-palatable food is a highly processed foodstuff that has been engineered to pleasure the consumer and drive him or her to eat more than they initially wanted to, and seek that specific food in the future. (Uh Oh! I think I just described Oreo’s!) Do you get my meaning?

Our food environment has changed so dramatically over the years with the introduction of
these so-called “hyper-palatable” foods that it makes it hard to find it rewarding to just eat a traditional healthy meal. Our minds have been tricked by the artificial flavors and enhancers that are in so many of the foods we eat today is it any wonder that most Americans overeat and are overweight. Our brains were not designed to handle this kind of environment. We eat more because it taste so good not because we are satisfied calorically.

TRADITIONAL FOODS

  • Foods in their original form, as they were created — not modernized, not processed, not packaged.
  • Foods that have a long history of supporting good health.
  • Foods that are whole and nutrient-dense.
  • Foods that are simple and basic: meat and poultry, eggs, whole grains, fish, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit nuts, and seeds, dairy, fats.

BEING REALISTIC

Gone are the days of our great grandmothers spending all day in the house planning the meals and baking their own bread. However, with a little planning and the knowledge that is at our fingertips, we can certainly make wiser choices with how and what we eat. I’m not saying that you should never go out to a restaurant or “grab” that hamburger on the way home after a long day. But, if we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that we probably “go out to eat” way too often and buy and consume too many processed foods. For some, it’s become a way of life but should WE be letting OTHER people decide what to put into our bodies? “NO ”

There’s no time like the present to start “Thinking” before you put something in your mouth and ask yourself this question. “Is the convenience of this fast food going to turn into inconvenience later in life?”, “Is there a healthier choice I could be making right now?” Start out slowly and read more labels. Make some new healthier changes and then continue on until you’ve made a significant difference in your eating habits and your health. Your grandkids will thank you!

If you struggle with your weight management goals and maybe even realize that food has become addicting to you and would like some help, please call me at (616) 516-1570 and let’s get you on the road to a healthier and possibly thinner you!

Happy 2015 New Year – Or Is It?

Ahhh, the New Year. We're on the cusp of experiencing a new year and all the expectations, goals, dreams and aspirations that a new 'something' brings. We start reminding ourselves about how important 'new beginnings' are and the importance of 'buckeling down' and 'taking things serious' at this time of year. It's a time of.....reflection....and re-purposing what we want to accomplish.

Pfft. Sounds great, doesn't it? But I think that all last about a day, tops. Okay, maybe two or three days but the reality is, as humans, we like what we know. Even if it's not good for us. Even if it's not healthy. Usually several days into a new way of thinking, reality tells us IT'S HARD TO CREATE NEW HABITS. Ugh. We always want to revert back to old ways of thinking because it's just easier (insert the whining right here).

Having worked for many years with clients who want to lose weight, or dealing myself with creeping extra weight (can anyone give me an amen to the pre/menopausal years?!?!!), or knowing friends or family who struggle with weight issues, I know, I understand, what a mind game that losing weight is. It's about retraining your brain to incorporate a new way of thinking that sometimes your thinking doesn't want to follow. It's about engaging the psychology of how to change your thinking. It's about learning skills and techniques that help you with problem-solving, and cravings, and the madness you feel in your head when you feel deprived of something you want, or crave, or have just eaten for so many years.

It's not about the measuring cups, the food plan, or the scale. It's about training your brain to respond and react differently to your health. To your body. To your plans for a better you.

Outside of my private practice, I work with a doctor and his staff (who work with bariartric patients). I provide behavioral groups frequently for the doctors patients who need a little extra weight loss support, motivation and education beyond the medical procedure that the doctor offers. I'm so thankful that the doctor and his staff 'get it' – they get that beyond the lapband procedure, that there has to be a way of changing your thinking in order to have long-term success with your weight. It's not about being a size 6, it's about being a healthier YOU. I'm so thankful for the individuals I've worked with through the years that 'get it' – that they have to put the hard work into changing the mindset in order to achieve long-term success with their health.

It's not about how many times you've failed. It's about how many times you started over. And stayed with it longer this time. And learned different things about yourself this time. That you didn't mindlessly start down the 'weight loss path' but that you recognize it's a process, a journey that you're on....and it will take time. Sorry to tell you that. It just will. It takes times to adjust to a new way of thinking. And forgiving yourself when you make a mistake, and – drum roll please – learning to re-adjust right away so you don't “blow it all day long” by continuing to eat-the-day-away because you didn't follow some weight loss rule!!

Maybe for you it's not necessarily what the numbers say on the scale but how your body physically feels. You find yourself saying more and more nowadays that you just want to FEEL BETTER, and you know deep down your weight has everything to do with the creaking joints and aching muscles. Maybe it's the high cholesterol, or blood pressure, or even sleep apnea. What can you start telling yourself, what can you start doing this very minute, that when you start thinking about it and working on it, might make a difference for YOU.

Make a plan to change your thinking about weight loss treatment, weight loss goals, weight loss strategies, weight loss foods, weight loss diets, weight loss EVERYTHING and focus on what good health means to you. Plan on what little things you can change. Plan how you would like your outcome to be different this time. If you need extra help or support with your New Years weight loss plans, let's talk. Call me at 616-457-5001 or look on website frequently for new weight loss classes starting.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

IS GRAY HERE TO STAY

Fall has come and gone. The beautiful colors of autumn have been raked up and disposed of. Days have gotten shorter and darkness falls before dinner. We know that the brutal cold winds of winter are soon going to be whistling through the bare brown branches and we will have to hunker down for the long haul. While some people see this time as a festive time with the holidays starting, others can only look ahead to the long bleak days ahead as a colorless non ending existence.

Ugh! The gray days of winter. How are we going to get through them? That can be a typical thought of many people around this time of year. But for some, that thought can be felt more like depression. How can you tell if you have more than a mere case of the “winter blues” or “cabin fever?”

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)

During the fall and winter months, some people suffer from symptoms of depression that can appear gradually or come on all at once. These symptoms often fade away as spring arrives and stays away throughout the summer months. For some people, this is an indication that they may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SYMPTOMS

Depression symptoms can be mild to moderate, but they can become severe. There is no specific diagnostic test for the illness but it is understood that symptoms can include but are not limited to:

*fatigue
*lack of interest in normal activities
*social withdrawal
*craving foods high in carbohydrates
*weight gain
*irritability
*trouble concentrating

HOW COMMON IS (SAD)

An interesting fact is that women tend to suffer more than men. It typically starts showing up in early adulthood although it can occur in children and adolescents also. It is more commonly
seen in people who live in cloudy regions. Altogether, approximately one half million people in
the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild
form of winter blues.

WHAT CAUSES SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?

The specific cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown but some suggest that
your biological clock (circadian rhythm) gets out of whack. The reduced level of sunlight we experience in the fall and winter may cause the winter onset of SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

A drop in Serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood could be a culprit that may trigger depression due to reduced sunlight. Also, Melatonin levels can be disrupted due to the season
which can play havoc with your sleep patterns and mood.

WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I HAVE SAD?

Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD can be a part of other mental disorders. I can evaluate your pattern of behavior and identify whether you have SAD or another type of mood disorder. If you do find that you do indeed have Seasonal Affective Disorder here are some common sense home remedies that might help.

5 HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT SAD

1. GET SOME LIGHT
Try to increase your exposure to light. Get as much natural light as you can
between 6:00 am. and 8:00 a.m. Go out for a walk, or at least sit by a window.
If you can’t get out in the morning light, at least get out on your lunch break.
Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you some good.

If you can’t get outdoors, try a natural full-spectrum light. One of the most
effective treatments for SAD is daily exposure to a specially designed light
box. Make sure it provides enough intensity of light to positively affect SAD
symptoms.

2. EAT RIGHT
It is thought that if your levels of Serotonin decrease it can make you crave
carbohydrates. Some have suggested that eating tryptophan rich foods may
increase the body’s production of Serotonin and help you feel better. Although
there is no solid research that supports this, you might want to try eating more
of these foods to see if your symptoms improve. What could it hurt? Some foods
rich in tryptophan include turkey, seafood, milk and egg whites, asparagus and
spinach. Fruits such as apricots, apples and bananas are also a good source.
Research also shows that taking Vitamin D can make a noticeable difference.

3. LIMIT ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE
Alcohol is a depressant which can bring your mood down even lower and while
Caffeine may give you a little boost for the short term it can also cause anxiety,
muscle tension and stomach issues.

4. EXERCISE
Try walking, jogging, biking, swimming, anything aerobic, but get moving. Even
better, try to exercise outdoors or at least by a sunny window.

5. GO ON VACATION
Try to take a trip during the winter months to someplace warm and sunny.
For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to
start reversing their symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild, hopefully some of these natural home remedies listed above can bring you some relief. However, if the feelings of depression are or become overwhelming, do not hesitate to give me a call. There is help out there for you! You are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, yet, the good news is it is highly treatable.

Binge Eating Disorder

 

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder that is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Symptoms

  • Frequent episodes of consuming very large amount of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting.
  • A feeling of being out of control during the binge eating episodes.
  • Feelings of strong shame or guilt regarding the binge eating.
  • Indications that the binge eating is out of control, such as eating when not hungry, eating to the point of discomfort, or eating alone because of shame about the behavior.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity.  Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Musculoskeletal problems

About Binge Eating Disorder

  • The prevalence of BED is estimated to be approximately 1-5% of the general population.
  • Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men--estimates indicate that about 60% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are female, 40% are male
  • People who struggle with binge eating disorder can be of normal or heavier than average weight.
  • BED is often associated with symptoms of depression.
  • People struggling with binge eating disorder often express distress, shame, and guilt over their eating behaviors.
  • People with binge eating disorder report a lower quality of life than non-binge eating disorder.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/who-we-are

Depressed?

This Is Scientific Proof That Happiness Is A Choice

The Huffington Post  |  By

 

Depression – Teens & Adults

Depression is an equal opportunity illness for youth, teens, and adults. When depression takes hold, it can be very discouraging for some.

And there can be all kinds of reasons for depression.  When I think of Michigan and all the beauty it holds in the Spring and Summer, I'm also reminded of the emotional struggles that people can experience in our Fall and, typically, Winter months.

Which makes me think of one kind of depression......Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder can also affect individuals as the Seasons change and days feels longer and darker. Serious mood changes can shift your sleeping patterns, energy levels, and eating depressionpatterns.  More on this later....

A colleague turned me on to this article, and what researchers have found according to two new studies and the value of cognitive behavioral therapy. I think you might find interesting.

Psychotherapy a Powerful Tool to Fight Depression, Studies Show

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy worked as well or better than antidepressants, other care at preventing depression or relapse

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a powerful tool for preventing depression, equaling or exceeding the effectiveness of antidepressants and other types of care, according to two new studies.

Follow-up cognitive therapy can be as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing a relapse for patients at high risk for another bout of depression, researchers reported in the first study, which was published online Sept. 4 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Adults coming out of acute depression are less likely to suffer a relapse if they receive an additional eight months of either cognitive therapy or the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) after finishing an initial round of cognitive therapy, the report concluded.

"Everybody did better than they would have if they hadn't had treatment," said study author Robin Jarrett, the Elizabeth H. Penn Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "If you treat a patient with cognitive therapy and they do well, then the patient would have a choice: You could treat them with either fluoxetine or therapy."

In the second study, also published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital found that cognitive behavioral therapy did better than usual forms of care in preventing depression in at-risk teens.

Teens who received cognitive-behavioral therapy were significantly less likely to suffer a depressive episode than those who were referred to therapists for usual care, which typically involves either standard therapy or medication, said Dr. William Beardslee, director of Baer Prevention Initiatives at the hospital and the Gardner/Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"People at risk for depression often have a very gloomy sense of the future and will misinterpret communications: I'm being rejected or those people don't like me or what I do makes no difference," Beardslee said. "What one tries to do is show that actions do make a difference, and do that in a gentle, supportive way."

The first study involved 241 adults who had responded well to cognitive therapy but were at high risk of relapse for depression. They received treatment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Researchers broke the group roughly into thirds. The first two thirds received eight months of continuing treatment, either through additional cognitive therapy or by taking Prozac. The final third received a placebo pill.

The people who received continuing treatment had relapse rates that were half that of the placebo group -- about 18 percent for either cognitive therapy or fluoxetine, compared with 33 percent for placebo pills.

The protective effect, however, wore off after treatment ended. Two and a half years later, all three groups had similar relapse rates, although rates in the placebo group still tended to be slightly higher.

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said there is a higher likelihood of depression reoccurring with each episode of depression.

"For example, with individuals who have had three or more episodes, there is a 95 percent chance of reoccurrence," Varma said.

"I hate to break the bad news when my patients ask about this, but I tell them that there are some people who fall in this category who are going to need treatment indefinitely given their prior history of multiple depressive episodes and perhaps previous incomplete remission histories," she said.

The second study involved 316 teenagers who were at risk for depression because either their parents suffered from depression or they themselves showed symptoms or had prior instances.

The teens received cognitive-behavioral group therapy in eight weekly 90-minute group sessions followed by six monthly continuation sessions at sites in Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.

"We try to get kids to think of a range of options," Beardslee said. "State what the problem is -- let's say they can't get over a relationship and they feel persistently sad -- then try to get them to the goal by brainstorming all the possible solutions and trying some."

During a 33-month follow-up period, the kids who received the therapy had significantly fewer depressive episodes than those who were referred for usual psychiatric care.

"We wanted to see if this intervention could be delivered systematically and reliably in four different sites in the U.S., and the answer is yes," Beardslee said. "It's a step on the way to eventually disseminating the intervention widely."

There was one drawback. Kids who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy at the same time their parents were suffering depression received no benefit.

"This speaks to the fact that the parental depression must also be simultaneously addressed, and I imagine both individually but also in the family context through family therapy," Varma said. "This study says that [cognitive behavioral therapy] prevention is highly effective, but we need to look at the big picture. And this makes sense. Depression for young people does not exist in a bubble, and if we can support the family we can help the adolescent."

 

 

2013 Change

Here we are again....deciding what new things we want to accomplish, and a lot of times the things we want to accomplish have to do with our diet.

One of the ideas I want to encourage you to do is to change how you look at the word "DIET" - start to think of it as not something you go on and off, but as a lifestyle change. And commit to figuring out how to change your current 'diet' to a healthier eating lifestyle, so there's no more thinking of ".....I blew it, I'll start over tomorrow...." STOP THAT THINKING.  It doesn't work - never has, never will.

Change is hard. And it's easy to get discourage when you try and don't get the results you were hoping for. But the reality is that just making the effort is, in fact, progress.

Change is not an event with an exact start and stop point: it's a process.

Each step you  make, even if it's a relatively small step such as making the resolution to change, is still a step in the right direction, bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.

It's also important to recognize that even if you take a few steps back, it's not the end of the world. If viewed and used correctly, the missteps can serve as learning opportunities, helping you become better prepared for the next log of the trip!

So here's to CHANGE and hoping you will have a new year full of new thinking for a healthier YOU.

 

 

The Dirty Word – Exercise

15 is the number of minutes of moderate exercise that is needed daily to extend your life by three years, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Eating Well magazine, Feb 2012

 

Eating Choices and Healthy Decisions This Week

Have you caught yourself making healthier choices or decisions this week?

You seem to point out all the things you do wrong to yourself all the time.  How about flipping the script in your head and make a decision to start counting all the things you did right - or good - for yourself this week and keep building on that success.