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I went to Borders last week and it was a sad sight. One of the most popular bookstores in the country is going bankrupt. The workers are scarce, no coffee shop, no where to sit and check out the latest New York Bestsellers and yet it was a busy place of business. Why am I blogging about Borders? No, they haven’t paid me to endorse their liquidation. This is a wonderful opportunity to gather a wealth of knowledge in the form of discount books. Whether it is self help, nutrition, fitness, textbooks, or other forms of learning…take advantage! Soon it will all be online (and full price), which is convenient (hence the bankrupcy of Borders), yet pricey! I am a technological geek per my husband, but I still love reading a book rather than a web page any day. I think opthamologists would agree it’s better for our eyes as well. Take a day this week to indulge in new knowledge.

Be well!

With my “staycation” from last week over, it’s time to crack down on the diet and exercise. I really don’t care for the word “diet” because it implies I am totally overhauling my way of life. Not so! I feel a better approach is to slowly modify diet habits and try to eat as healthy as possible MOST of the time and occasionally….meaning once a week…indulge in a favorite food or treat. Let’s face it, a diet without our favorite foods is more of a sentence. I hope to offer some healthy tips weekly on this blog that maybe we don’t think about all the time or just plain didn’t realize. So our “diet” is really plain and simply what we eat. Many of us just need to make better choices in order to lose weight, stay healthy, and keep our numbers (medically speaking) in check!

I’m going to reveal the greatest weight loss secret of all time right now. It’s all about Calories in and Calories out. Isn’t that profound!!!! And yet, it’s so difficult to modify our lifestyles to have that balance.

We all need to consume a certain amount of Calories every day to maintain our bodies. Everyone has a different metabolic rate, activity level, and diet habits. In order to lose a safe amount of weight which is approximately a pound per week, we need to either consume about 500 Calories less per day or burn 500 Calories per day by exercising. A pound is 3500 Calories so 500 Calories x 7 days = 3500. Easy math, not so easy to accomplish, right?

Keep a food diary and be honest with yourself. If you eat a handful of chips, write it down. After about a week take a look at it and see what you could do differently. See what you could cut out that equals 500 Calories or do a combination of exercise and cutting back on a couple things a day.

If you have an iPhone there is a great app that you can scan the foods you eat to keep track of your intake and it will break down the nutrients for you. You can also access it online. You can search for foods by name as well. It’s a very easy to use and well done app and website. You can access it in the Apple app store or online at:

http://www.dailyburn.com

Start tracking your diet and become a label reader and you’ll be amazed at what you eat and what you could cut back on and be on the move toward a healthier you!!

Be well!

TGIF


TGIF!
We all know what that means! But what it means to me today is…I’m off work for a week!! Woot woot! Yes as it became 5 o’clock somewhere….here…I’m officially on my “staycation.” We’re not doing much this week except spending a little extra time with the kids and then sending them back to school. Then mom and dad get to play! A morning at the driving range, coconut chicken salad lunch at Jam’s, a well deserved pedicure, and maybe a day at the pool without hearing…”mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, watch this…” These are a few of my favorite things!

Also, we need to work on the diet and exercise a bit and get on somewhat of a routine. The weather is getting better so try a bike ride, hit the tennis ball around, or a morning jog (or brisk walk) around a lake. My husband just reminded me in a month or so I’ll be pulling out my sweaters and long pants again (God love him) so it’s time to enjoy every last minute of warm weather.

Diet! It doesn’t have to be a four letter word. We need to stop super-sizing and ordering add-ons to our meals and start thinking about food as fuel. Eating every 3 hours will help boost metabolism, but it’s important to make healthy food choices most of the time. I say that because if we totally eliminate the things we enjoy we’ll never stick to healthy eating. Here’s my diet tips for the weekend and week ahead:

Eat every 3 hours (remember to space out calories so you aren’t eating too much at each sitting)
Increase protein so your protein intake in grams nearly equals your weight (wt. 150 lbs = nearly 150 gms protein)
Increase fiber (eat whole grains and lots of green veggies)
No fried food
Water x 8 (glasses)
Decrease soda intake (even diet soda, get down to 1 can/day or none gradually)

Try sticking with these tips over the next week and we’ll slowly add more to it. Do some type of exercise activity for 30 minutes each day. You’ll eventually want to work up to core strengthening and cardio. Have a great weekend!

Be well!

Part 2….What can we do about menopausal symptoms?

Menopause is a natural condition and doesn’t necessarily require treatment. I can always tell which of my patients are transitioning easily and which ones are not. When your healthcare provider asks you if you need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage your symptoms and you need to think about it, you probably don’t necessarily need anything. It’s the ones that come in almost sobbing because they are so hot and tired and can’t think straight that would really benefit. A lot of it is patient preference and I try to listen to what my patients want and steer them toward a treatment plan that will be safe and effective.

Discuss your options of treatment with your provider. You don’t necessarily have to take a pill every day. HRT comes in many forms including:
pills
creams
gels
rings
patches
sprays
troches you dissolve under your tongue

These treatments will help you through the rough times when you’re on your hormonal roller coaster. How long you stay on them depends on how you are doing and what your provider recommends. Be sure to take all medicines as directed and let your provider know if anything needs to be changed or if you would like to stop them. Some medicines work together so it’s important to keep up communication and not stop medicines on your own.

Hopefully this answers questions you may have. Let me know if you have any others and I’ll be happy to write back!

Be well!

    Part 1

What is menopause and what are the symptoms?

A bit of a break in our late summer heat wave today has surely ignited applause in my menopausal patient population. Omaha temperatures been hovering in the upper 90’s for weeks on end and if I had a nickel for every lady in their 50’s who has been miserable the past few weeks…

Menopause is that lovely time in a woman’s life when her ovaries, who have served her well a great portion of her life, stop working and estrogen leaves the house. This usually happens between ages 45-55 and symptoms and duration vary woman to woman. Many times periods will start to space further apart and a woman may notice hot flashes in the months she doesn’t have a period and no hot flashes in the months she does have a period.

A good predictor of when menopause, defined as one full year without a period, occurs is asking your mother when it happened for her. You will probably have a similar experience. For most women, the time period from the start of symptoms to full menopause is about five years. After that year of no bleeding, if you do have any vaginal bleeding it is important to call your healthcare provider. Without estrogen, the tissues in the uterus and vagina become thin. The lining in the uterus becomes so thin that there is nothing to shed each month as a period. The tissues of the vagina also become thin and sometimes are tender and dry. Even if a lady is taking oral hormone replacement, those vaginal tissues may be so thin that vaginal hormones are needed.

Women tend to be most concerned about cessation of periods and hot flashes. The latter usually occur day and night, not just as night sweats. The onset is sudden and can make you feel hot, sweaty, and miserable day and night. Other symptoms of menopause are:

Heart pounding or racing
Hot flashes
Night sweats
Skin flushing
Sleeping problems (insomnia)
Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
Forgetfulness (in some women)
Headaches
Irregular menstrual periods
Mood swings including irritability, depression, and anxiety
Urine leakage
Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
Vaginal infections
Joint aches and pains
Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

Doesn’t that all sound like a blast? What do we do about all these symptoms? Tune in tomorrow for “I’m still hot…it just comes in flashes, part 2!”

Be well!

Fat Tuesday!

The title of this blog, Fat Tuesday, doesn’t allow us to indulge every Tuesday, but I thought this was a fun way to introduce the topic of weight loss and obesity. Over 30% of the population is obese and I think this is a worthy weekly topic of discussion. I welcome any inquiries and commentary and this will be an ongoing blog every Tuesday of course.

I think we can all agree moderation is key, but what that means for each of us is something very different. You can’t go cold turkey, start eating like a super model tomorrow, and expect to continue that behavior. I would say a more reasonable approach is to start changing one step at a time….baby steps if you will. For instance, my husband and I have cut out anything fried. We have said no to fried chicken, french fries, fried mozzarella sticks, and even fried pickles over the past few weeks. This week I’ve added in 2-3 protein shakes/day for between meal snacks instead of my less healthy choices. It’s all about starting slow and replacing the bad foods with better foods you can live with on a day to day basis.

So the tip of the week is….baby steps! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be strong with each diet change you implement and…

Be well!

If you remember the Staples commercial with the Andy Williams’ song you know what I’m talking about. Parents joyfully pushing a shopping cart picking out school supplies while their children are moping sadly behind them. Parents generally LOVE August, but many kids dread the thought of classrooms, school lunch, and the dreaded homework!

So what does that have to do with health and wellness? A lot really. This is when we should be thinking about wrapping up the kids’ wellness exams, sports physicals and making sure they are up to date on all vaccinations. In addition if you child has asthma or a food allergy, be sure those plans are in place at their school. As far as vaccines go, your pediatrician or family practice provider will have a record of what your child still needs.

Vaccination against preventable disease is a very important part of health over a lifetime. During the early years, parents make difficult decisions regarding their child’s health when they decide to vaccinate or not. Much research is devoted to ensuring the vaccines we use are the safest possible and we must understand the benefits greatly outweigh any risk. We depend on “herd immunity” meaning a whole group of individuals have immunity against a disease and therefore cannot contract it and cannot spread it to anyone who cannot be immunized based on age or other health condition. For instance if everyone in the household including dad, mom, little brother, and grandma are immunized against the flu, then it is very unlikely that the new baby 1 month old (who is unable to be vaccinated due to age) will contract the flu virus.

My message for today is to get those school physicals done, have your kids vaccinated, and enjoy a healthy new school year!

Be well!