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Resolve to Take a Broad Approach to Weight Management this New Year

Resolve to Take a Broad Approach to Weight Management this New Year

Now that we are in the holiday season, many of us resign ourselves to the weight gain that typically follows. Indeed, it is very hard to pass up holiday sweets that seem to be everywhere as well as extra servings of a traditional family dish. That’s why so many weight loss books are published at this time promising a “New Year, New You.”

So it’s no surprise that the No. 1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.  But this year consider a broader approach to resolving the problem for more lasting success.  Here are 10 points that my health-coaching clients have incorporated into their weight-management programs that you may want to consider:

1. Sleep better.
2. Work out more, whether it is outside, at the gym or home.
3. Begin a daily mindfulness or meditation practice.
4. Drink more water and get rid of diet sodas.
5. Eat more vegetables and less meat.
6. Organize your home, workspace or both.
7. Make new friends and/or spend more time with those you already have.
8. Improve work/life balance to allow more time to take better care of yourself.
9. Quit tolerating an uncomfortable situation at home or work out of fear.  Define the problem and fix it.
10. Find an app or person to hold you accountable to whatever goal you are trying to achieve so you will create a lasting  new habit.

There is a lot of help available, so take advantage of it now so 2017 can be your best year yet!

Summer Is The Best Time For Reading

Summer has arrived in South Carolina, and between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. it’s hard to rustle up enough energy to take on the smothering heat. So don’t, unless you have to. There’s plenty exercise to be done at home.

No matter how old you are now, it’s never too late to learn. Think about it. You know you need to increase your heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day, so start you day with an early walk at 8 a.m.

You also know that you should eat well-rounded meals, so have a good breakfast after your morning walk. And you know you need at least seven hours of solid sleep, so eat supper no later than dark, and hit the sack by 10 p.m.

But do you know the best time to exercise your brain?

Most folks say the best time to read is when you go to bed, but I disagree. A good book might help you get to sleep, but that’s really not the point. Reading is supposed to stimulate your brain, not wind it down, right? So why sleep on it? An hour or so in the morning makes more sense to me. So, when your brain is energized with knowledge, you’re ready to do whatever you have on your agenda.

And remember, reading is a skill, a lot like riding a bike. Both of which take practice. Reading also strengthens your vocabulary, your comprehension and your imagination. So make reading a part of your daily routine.


Relax, take a trip, enjoy!

Baby Boomers vacation
Just the thought of another South Carolina summer wears me out. It may be debatable about what is causing more and more heat year after year, but there is no doubt in my mind that climate change is real.

My husband and I are rejuvenated every summer when we take a short up I-26 to the mountains. Not only do we have fun together, traveling also is healthy — physically and spiritually. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits:

Studies show that people — especially men — are less likely to have a heart attack if they take at least one vacation per year. One nine-year study of 12,000 men found that those who took a well-planned trip were 30 percent less likely to have major heart problems.

Leaving town on a pleasant vacation is also a great way to kick the blues, and women appear to benefit most for this, studies show. There are several ways to fight depression, and travel is one of the most effective. I like to think of the mountains as one of only a few “thin places” on earth. A slow hike up a mountain obviously exercises my heart, and it is at the top where I feel closest to God.

Vacation travel reduces stress on you as well as your mate, not only during the trip, but well after you get back home. Studies of regular travelers show most are less bothered by stress hormones. (But not at airports, I might add.) Other studies show that workers who take pleasant trips have lower rates of absenteeism and burn out, plus higher productivity levels.

Travel is a learning experience, too, which is not only enjoyable but an excellent way to exercise your brain. New cultures, cuisines, sights and sounds combine to keep my memory sharp. How about you?


“Bug Season”


It’s always the “bug season” down at the gym, so beware!

There’s a cliché out there about staying out of hospitals because germs gather there. It’s misleading, of course, because hospitals typically take extra care to clean everything thoroughly.  But it’s also true. Most hospital executives steer clear of questions about staph infections, for instance.

Same goes for gymnasiums. There was an interesting item in Parade magazine recently by Leslie Goldman tagged “Gym Germs” that should be noted by everyone who enjoys a good workout in public facilities.

“Muscles aren’t the only things you can get at the gym,” the writer notes. “The close quarters, plus the prevalence of sweat, leaves you vulnerable to germs and infections. In fact, a University of California, Irvine, study found that staphylococcus bacteria easily survives on gym equipment and locker room benches even after being sanitized.”

These bacteria are commonly found on human skin, and can cause problems when they enter the bloodstream through cuts and blisters especially in the nose area.

Also prevalent on gym equipment including free weights and machines are traces of rhinovirus, which is responsible for common colds. This germ typically enters the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.  So practice swabbing down all gym equipment with a disinfectant before and after use.  Hand sanitizer is OK if used abundantly.

And the showers area is another place to visit with care.   Foot fungus and plantar warts just thrive in warm, moist environments.  So don’t forget to wear your flip-flops.  Gym bags and towels are also havens for nasty germs.  So bring some clean plastic bags for used towels and an anti-germ spray for your backpack.  Mold spores multiply rapidly, so don’t delay doing your cleaning once you get back home.


Home Health Checklist

home health

We all worry that the people we love are not getting the care they need, and even if they are, we always think it could be better.  It comes from your mother, and even if you are not a mother, we all have that protective instinct in us.  That’s why leaving the care of your elderly loved one to professional caregivers can be stressful, especially if the agency uses multiple caregivers, or you need respite care (temporary caregiving).  There are a multitude of things that could go wrong and that is why having a Home Health Care Check List For Professional Caregivers is so important.  It can outline what to do in an emergency, what special quirks a senior has, and of course the necessary procedures that the senior requires.  Below you will find some suggestions, but in no way is this list exhaustive.  Every senior is different, with different needs, so the checklist should vary accordingly.

  • Keep a list of medications and allergies on the wall dictating what time medications are taken, how many, how they are administered, and where the medications are located. Here is a helpful article on managing your medication.
  • Everyone has a routine and we all get upset when it is compromised, so try your best to explain their sleeping patterns, TV shows, eating time, weird quirks and semantics and habits.
  • It is also suggested you have a list of snacks available as well as meals that the senior likes. Many professional businesses can cook to appease your elderly loved one, so don’t forget to mention this.
  • Emergency Contacts should also be plainly visible in worst-case scenario. This should also include the doctor or primary care physician of elderly loved one.  Your preferred hospital should also be listed.
  • Plan of Action– It is also not a bad idea to have a detailed list of what to do if something should go wrong. Even if they have your contact information, what happens if they are unable to get a hold of you, or someone else?  There should be a plan for what to do in case of emergency.  Advanced directives and the necessary documentation should be able to be found, as well as medical orders for life sustaining situations which should be given to any paramedics or doctors should the need arise.
  • Previous Medical History/Bodily Injuries– The professional caregiver should already have this information, but it never hurts to provide it, especially if things change. Also, we all have aches and pains some days and it is best to not agitate those.
  • Logbook- It is never a bad idea to keep a logbook so that the caregivers can communicate with each other before each visit. That way if anything does change or seem strange, not only is it documented but it is also easier for a caregiver to provide adequate service.

If you are looking for Home Care or Respite Care in the Charleston area there are a number of great resources to help make your search easier including the Charleston Senior Directory.

Article written by Senior Directory


Resolve to Stay Motivated


OK, you’ve made your resolutions for the New Year and you have been following through for almost four weeks. Some of you are sticking to the program. Most of you, for one reason or another, are not. What’s next?

First and foremost:  Start a conversation with someone else.  Tell them about your goals and how you intend to achieve them.  By vocalizing these things, you are not only getting a better picture of what’s required, but you’re also publicly committing yourself to see it through.   You want to lose 10 pounds by exercising more and consuming less sugars and fats?  Then formulate a reasonable weight-loss plan, make sure it’s a good one, run it by your doctor, tell your partner or your best friend or your wellness coach — AND STICK TO IT!

Remember, some healthy competition — even if it’s with yourself — is a very good thing.  But you need someone else who cares to talk to.  We’re not talking about a drill sergeant here — someone to harass you into shape. We are talking about someone who understands your goals and the proper methods that will help you hold yourself accountable.

The following tips are some things you need to include in your plan, and to share with your “accountant”:

  • Exercise first thing in the morning. You’ll have too many excuses not to the longer you wait each day.
  • Be optimistic.  Focus on the good things you receive by sticking to your program. And make sure your expectations are not set too high too soon.  For example, it’s not about losing weight too quickly.  It is about exercising wisely while boosting your mood and achieving lasting results.
  • Stay active. Starting early every day with a proper warm ups, stretching, strength training and aerobic exercises is great.  But strive to stay active throughout your day. Get outside as often as possible. Take a walk, use the stairs, stretch often, focus on your breathing, help others with little things.  All of this adds up.
  • Invest for the future. Picture yourself years from now as healthy, happy and feeling stronger every day.  What you do in the present moment will help you the “present moments” to follow.  Nothing stays the same.  So get busy now and stick to it.  You’ll feel better about yourself in the process.
  • Enjoy yourself.  Eating right, exercising, staying active throughout the day all require that you like what you’re doing.  Don’t look at it as “work,” consider it “fun.”

Making Resolutions a Solution


Now that all of the holiday décor has been packed away, the holiday remnants have been thrown away and we have said goodbye to 2015. It’s time to welcome the year 2016 with open arms and all of the changes it will bring.

The New Year serves as a stimulus for changing old behaviors. Individuals reflect on the past year’s behaviors and make resolutions to turn their bad habits into better ones. How many resolutions have you made in the past and not exactly stuck to them? Chances are you have made plenty of resolutions, but you have not followed through with them.

How many of those resolutions involved losing weight or getting fit? When the new year rolls around many people make it a resolution to shed those few extra pounds, take fewer trips to the dessert table and blow the dust off the old stationary bike. Although they seem simple, they become hard to stick to and not worth the time.

So, why are resolutions hard to stick to?

The most common obstacles individuals run into during the new year is that they create long-term goals that are carried out throughout the course of the year. Many try to change all of their unhealthy habits at one time rather than focusing on one habit individually. Another obstacle arises when resolutions are not being achieved or no one seems to be showing support for the effort being made.

New year’s resolutions have been given a bad connotation over the years because people do not stick to them. January 17 is commonly known as the day resolutions are ditched, but it is time to fix that. Here are a few tips for sticking to this year’s resolutions.

  • Start with something small. If you want to eat healthy, try replacing dessert with a healthier alternative. If you want to exercise, schedule three days out of your schedule to do some type of physical activity.
  • Change one behavior at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change unhealthy behaviors all at once. Focus on one unhealthy habit individually until you feel it is time to move onto another.
  • Remind yourself of your goals every day. It can be hard to stick to change behaviors, but it can also be difficult to remember what you are trying change. Write them down in a noticeable place or store them in your phone.
  • Keep track of your progress. Write down your goals and check them off when you have reached them.

As you reflect on last year’s behaviors and start planning your resolutions, be sure to keep those few tips in mind. It can be hard to change those old habits because they have become a part of our daily lives and the presence of temptation seems to always be lingering around. Rather than making your resolutions a statistic, make them a success story for you and for your peers. A new year means a new start and the possibilities are endless. This year make your resolution a solution.


Think Positive About Aging


Are you worried about the aches and pains of getting old?  If you do, then don’t.  It could make you lose your mind.

Individuals who hold negative beliefs about aging are more likely to have brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new Yale University study.  Figuring out a way to think positively about growing old could be a good way to lower the rate of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the findings.  Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that causes dementia in more than 5 million Americans.  The findings were published online Dec. 7 in the journal of Psychology and Aging.

“We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes,” said Becca Levy, associate professor of public health and of psychology. “Although the findings are concerning, it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable.”

Based on MRIs, the researchers found that long-time participants who held more negative beliefs about aging showed a greater decline in the volume of the hippocampus, a part of the brain crucial to memory. Reduced hippocampus volume is an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

Then researchers used brain autopsies to examine two other indicators of Alzheimer’s disease: Amyloid plaques, which are protein clusters that build up between brain cells; and neurofibrillary tangles, which are twisted strands of protein that build up within brain cells. Participants holding more negative beliefs about aging had a significantly greater number of plaques and tangles. The age stereotypes were measured an average of 28 years before the plaques and tangles.

So, for those who worry about getting up in years, it’s time for an attitude adjustment.  And for those who need help with positive thinking, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about taking care of the problem.

That’s where a trained wellness coach might come in.  Wellness coaches work with doctors and patients on an integrative approach to becoming healthy physically, mentally and spiritually — and staying that way.