Monthly Archives: September 2016

Stress and You

Common responses to stress are listed below. Think about how stress affects you.

Aches and Pains*

  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Neck ache
  • Stomach ache
  • Tight muscles
  • Clenched jaw

Energy Level and Sleep*

  • Feeling tired without a good reason
  • Trouble sleeping

Feelings

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Helplessness
  • Out of control
  • Tense

Other Emotional Signs

  • Easily irritated
  • Impatient
  • Forgetful

*Some physical signs of stress may be caused by a medical condition or by medicines you take. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your physical symptoms, ask your doctor if stress might be the cause.

How Do You Respond?

When you are under stress, do any of these behaviors apply to you?

  • I eat to calm down.
  • I speak and eat very fast.
  • I drink alcohol or smoke to calm down.
  • I rush around but do not get much done.
  • I work too much.
  • I delay doing the things I need to do.
  • I sleep too little, too much or both.
  • I slow down.
  • I try to do too many things at once.

Engaging in even one of these behaviors may mean that you are not dealing with stress as well as you could. Learn some ways you can fight stress with healthy habits.

Tricks to Avoid Extra Calories

Don’t wait until the new year to work off those extra calories. Avoid overeating with these simple and easy-to-follow guidelines.

1. Don’t Skip Meals

Saving space in your belly for a huge Christmas dinner is a bad way to prevent overindulging. In fact, it can have the very opposite effect. According to Canada’s Food Guide, skipping meals, which makes us extremely hungry throughout the day, only encourages us to pack in more calories when we finally sit down for a meal. Your body has become so desperate for food that you eat quicker and unknowingly take in more than you would have had you spaced out your meals throughout the day.

2. Drink Water

Drinking two glasses of water is an age-old technique to fill you up that works. Drinking two glasses of water prior to your meal means your stomach will start off more full, so you won’t feel the need to overeat.

3. Limit Meat

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat no more than 75g (2-1/2 oz.) of lean meat per serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards. Then fill up on fresh legumes instead. Raw veggies are healthier and contain way less calories that meat products.

4. Put Leftovers Away Immediately

Leaving food lying around makes it far too easy to nibble on tasty leftovers after a big meal. If everyone has eaten, take your leftovers and put them away immediately. If you want to leave something on the table for your guests to snack on, try fresh fruit or nuts.

5. Eat a Healthy Dessert

The holidays almost always mean finishing off with dessert. To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for a fresh fruit salad instead of Grandma’s homemade apple pie. Health Canada also recommends freezing yogurt in a popsicle tray over ice cream. You can also add cinnamon to your yogurt or fruit bowl for added sweetness, and less extra calories.

Change bad habits to healthy lifestyle

hat is easier said than done, of course, but some simple tips can help you tackle even the most indulgent and hardest-to-kick habits. Rani Whitfield, M.D., a Baton Rouge, La., family practitioner and American Heart Association volunteer, is on a mission to help people change their unhealthy habits.

Regardless of your age, you can benefit from Whitfield’s simple habit-changing tips.

First, he says, know that it takes 60 to 90 days to create a new habit. You have to keep after it. If you forget sometimes, or if at first you don’t figure how to make it work with your schedule, keep after it.
It helps to remember that an unhealthy habit is attractive because it gives instant gratification—that immediate “feel good.” But you pay later. On the other hand, a healthy habit means you put off gratification but get a much bigger payoff down the road.

Think of your task as replacement rather than deprivation. Says Whitfield, “Kojak sucked on lollipops because he was stopping smoking,” said of the famous 1970s TV detective. Of course, too much candy is bad for you, too – but a few lollipops is much better than smoking when it comes to your heart health. Whitfield says it’s important to “find your real motivation.” It’s OK and in fact helpful to use another motivation in addition to getting healthier. “A lot of people will do it for their children,” he says. They want to set a good example, or they simply want to live to see their kids graduate. And then there’s good old vanity. “If you want six-pack abs, maybe your motivation is to ask out a certain lady,” says Whitfield.

Here are his top tips:

  1. Break a big goal into smaller short-term goals. “Don’t go cold turkey,” he says. “Suppose you’re drinking five beers a day, and you want to get down to six a month. Reduce to three a day. You’ll see the benefits and feel more motivated to move toward your longer-term goal.”
  2. Tell someone you trust – not someone who will sabotage you. Be accountable to someone all the time.
    It’s toughest forming a healthy habit if you don’t have support. For example, one spouse might be trying to stop smoking while the other one isn’t. “You have to find some inner strength, some self-motivation and push through it. Or get couples counseling, a safe setting where you can ask your spouse: ‘Can you be supportive and go outside to smoke?’ ”
  3. Allow a “cheat” once in a while. “If you’ve avoided sweets all week and you’ve been exercising, and you go to Grandma’s, you can afford that ONE small piece of apple pie. Or let yourself have one ‘crazy meal’ a week.”
  4. Break the TV habit in favor of exercise. “Tell yourself, ‘If I just have to watch Martin Lawrence, I’ll Tivo it and watch on the weekend, or do my exercise and then have the show as my reward to myself.’
    “Or, if you have room, you can exercise in front of the TV,” he said. For some, TV seems to be their only friend. “If it’s all about escapism, the underlying anxiety or depression needs to be treated, or if you can’t finish tasks, do your work or the housework,” He says.

He knows it’s tough out there.
“More people are drinking or using marijuana more often to deal with anxiety and depression over family problems or lack of a job, and maybe the inability to relax or to sleep,” Whitfield says. ”They are not understanding that they are making their own problems worse. Alcohol is a depressant; illegal drugs will land you in jail.”

The Hip-Hop Doc’s best habits for heart health:

  1. Consistent exercise, 30 minutes a day, seven days a week. Read the AHA’s recommendations for adults.
  2. Quitting Smoking.
  3. If you currently need medication for a cardiovascular condition, take meds faithfully.  “If you forget, put them with your toothbrush.”

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While the uses for white vinegar are plentiful, apple cider vinegar has arguably even more applications. Its wide-ranging benefits (rivaling the number of uses of tea tree oil and other nifty natural helpers) include everything from curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, and some people have turned to apple cider vinegar to help with health concerns including diabetes, cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, and weight issues. Read on for more reasons to keep apple cider vinegar handy in your pantry.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Helps Tummy Troubles

For an upset stomach, sip some apple cider vinegar mixed with water. If a bacterial infection is at the root of your diarrhea, apple cider vinegar could help contain the problem, thanks to its antibiotic properties. What’s more, some folk remedy experts contend that apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Cures Hiccups

Take a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar; its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks. One teen took the hiccup remedy further and created a lollipop that includes apple cider vinegar, which she says “cancels out the message to hiccup” by overstimulating the nerves in the throat responsible for the spasms.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Soothes a Sore Throat

As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Could Lower Cholesterol

More research is needed to definitively link apple cider vinegar and its capability to lower cholesterol in humans, but one 2006 study found that the acetic acid in the vinegar lowered bad cholesterol in rats. Also, a Japanese study found that half an ounce of apple cider vinegar a day lowered cholesterol in people who participated in the panel.