So Why Do You Overeat?

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One very important thing that I have learned in the last 6 years of coaching clients:  Overeating is rarely about just eating too much food!  Food is more than just food…..

Unless you are one of the rare people that realizes that food is fuel and so you eat only healthy food that your body needs, in the correct portions thus maintaining a perfect balance between calories in and energy used, chances are you are like the rest of us, you eat for other reasons…the longer you let those reason dictate what you eat the more unhealthy you are going to be. Sorry, just a fact! The truth will set you free!

One of the most important realizations that you can come to, that will have a huge effect on your long-term health, is what drives you to eat.

Stressed? – Many people overeat when they are stressed.  It gives them emotional comfort. Eating comfort food brings many people back to their childhood and a simpler time.

Bored? – I’m guilty of this one. Got nothing better to do so your forage in the kitchen looking for something to eat, filling in the time hoping that food  will end your boredom?  Doesn’t work well does it? Nope

Feeling lonely or unloved?  Most of us associate food with our childhood, a loving caring parent, baking us cookies, a warm family atmosphere while you share a meal around the kitchen table.  How’s that quart of Ben and Jerry’s filling in for your feeling alone?  Probably not doing to much for you but making you overweight and feeling more unloveable.

Life out of control?  Many eat because they feel powerless in other areas of their life. They overeat because they can and no one is going to tell them not to.  Eating is one of those things that we use as control.  I’ll eat what I want, when I want  and as much as I want, just watch me.

Feeling bad about yourself?  Ah what the heck, my job is going down the tubes, the kids are driving me nuts and the spouse is checked out.  I think I’ll eat a pint of ice cream and wow that tastes good. Many I hate myself for not having any control over my eating..and the cycle continues.

These are just a few of the more common reasons we overeat.

You can go a any diet you want but in the end you will not make permanent, life altering changes to your weight or your health until you identify and address why your overeat!

You DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY!

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OMG I’m Stressed! Stress and Your Digestion!

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Your body reacts to everyday stress in the same way it reacts to the stress of being chased by a bear.

What is even more important is if you are plagued by constant stress your body will start to show the wear and tear of being on alert too much of the time.

Here are some signs that your digestion is being affected by stress:

·         Bloating:  When you are under stress you are more likely to swallow air, which can cause bloating.
·         Flare-ups with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Studies suggest that stress will make flare-ups more frequent.
·         Diarrhea:  Stress can trigger diarrhea.
·         Ulcers:  Stress may not cause ulcers but they sure do aggravate them and can even increase the chance you will develop one.
·         Constipation:  If you suffer from this condition you know that if you add a little stress to the mix your balanced system goes way out of whack.
·         Acid reflux and indigestion:  These conditions are aggravated by stress and can lead to more damage in the esophagus.

So, in anticipation of future stress here’s what you can do to protect your digestion:

·         Walk it off: This is an aerobic exercise that not only lets you burn off the stress but  produces brain chemicals that perk up your mood.
·         Let it out: Okay so at the Thanksgiving dinner table you may not want to break down into an sobbing heap but if you feel emotional, the best thing to do is privately let it out.  Holding in emotions makes them more intense and creates a situation that affects your body.
·        Laugh it off: Hunt for the humor.  I like this one the best.  I am really good at looking at even the most stressful situation and finding something funny in it.  If you struggle with this, watch a comedy, read a funny book or watch your favorite comedian. 
·         Revamp your to-do list: Having too much to do really creates a lot of stress.  Rate the importance of each task and start shuffling the less important to another time.
·         Write in a journal or diary:  This ties into expressing your emotions.  Write it down and get it out.  Make sure that you don’t keep re-reading if it makes you anxious.
·         Listen to relaxing music: For some of us music can make all the difference in our mood and outlook!  Find music that lifts and inspires you and play it loud.
·         Breathe: I know when I am under stress, I hold my breath.  Not good!  Breathe in through your nose for a count of four; hold it for four, breath out through your mouth for a count of four.  Do this four times each day or when you feel stress.  It really works for me.
·         Catch those ZZZ’s:  We are better able to handle stress when we are well rested.
·         Put down the bottle: Alcohol can really bring out the emotions and not always in a good way.  Alcohol also dehydrates us and makes us tired and irritable.  Definitely not a de-stressor.
·         Eat foods that support you! Avoid sugar and process foods that will cause mood swings, cravings and a lack of energy.  Vegetables (mainly leafy greens) and small quantities of fruit with lean, clean protein will keep you operating at your peak, maintaining mental clarity and boosting your immune system. 
 
 So go out and enjoy life with friends and family.  Pay attention to how you are feeling and follow these 10 suggestions for beating stress and you should feel better soon!

You Deserve to be Healthy and Stress-Free!

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Bear Image courtesy of Hal Brindley / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Laughter’s The Best Medicine! No Really It Is!

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I love to have fun! 
I love to laugh and I try not to take too many things, seriously!
“Melinda, life isn’t all about fun and games” my dad used to say.He was a child in the depression and so was a very serious guy.
Everyone has a different idea of what is enjoyable.
For me, I enjoy things like:
Creating a business that is fun and helps busy women look, feel and function better,
Spending time with friends and colleagues doing things that challenge my brain and make me laugh, taking long walks with my husband and dog, Maya, cooking, gardening reading and roaming around NYC in search of awesome healthy food.
The list goes on from there.
Laughter, fun and finding your passion is an incredibly important part of creating good health.
By living a life we enjoy we reduce stress, lower our risk for heart disease and cancer, attract happier people into our lives, sleep better, feel less pain and age much more slowly.
Who doesn’t want that?
Being bored, miserable and unhappy drains your energy, changes your outlook on things and affects your long-term health.
It is also a great way to end up alone!
Who of us is not attracted to the smiling, laughing, happy person in the room?
They are usually surrounded by people that want to get in on the action.
They are attractive and glow with good health.
So how does happiness affect your health?
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
So stop feeling sorry for yourself, decide what you want and go after it, dump those people that don’t love and support you and get smiling.
I am working on having as may laugh lines as possible.
Life should be filled fun and games, so go out and play! How will you have fun today?
You Deserve to be Healthy!
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Photo of woman above:Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Goes Down Must Come Up! Heartburn and Acid Reflux!

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Heartburn and Acid Reflux is caused by stomach acid backing up into your esophagus. 

The esophageal sphincter is supposed to keep the stomach contents in place but if the sphincter relaxes, acid can push up into the esophagus. 

The most common sensation is a burning sensation above the stomach, excessive salivation, belching, regurgitation and a sour taste in the mouth. 

Nearly one third of Americans experience frequent heartburn known as GERD.  Another 3 to 7 percent suffer from Barrett’s esophagus illness caused by acid reflux that results in scarring, constriction of the esophagus and swallowing disorders. 

Some medications can cause heartburn such as birth control pills, diazepam, nicotine, nitroglycerine, progesterone and provera. 

Heartburn is common amongst pregnant women that are experiencing all their organs being more confined to a tight area. 

Stress plays a huge part in this. 

Other triggers are wearing tight fitting clothes, lying down after a meal, bending over when full and eating a excessively large meal. 

Acid Reflux is when the stomach acid is regurgitated into the esophagus.  This can cause heartburn but you do not necessarily feel pain with acid reflux.  If you experience heartburn in the middle of the night make sure you eat at least 4 hours before going to bed. 

These problems are rarely seen in those eating a high fiber diet. 

Heartburn sufferers take antacids for temporary relief.  Initially, use of antacids causes the body to produce more HCI which helps digest the food.  Eventually the cells that make the acid get exhausted and they begin making much less HCI.  Anti acids also decrease your stomach’s ability to digest protein by reducing the effectiveness of protease enzymes

Here are some healthy suggestions for reducing acid reflux. 

1.  Eat healthy food – bet that was a surprise. 

2.  Increase fruit, vegetables, grains and high-fiber foods. 

3.  Drink plenty of water, for some this alone can remedy the situation.

4.  Various spices and herbs have been known to help.  Slippery elm is soothing to the mucus membranes.  Slippery Elm can be found in tea or lozenge form.  Ginger tea is also a great thing to drink to calm your digestive tract. What to avoid:

1.  Foods that are more acidic like tomatoes and citrus are more likely to cause heartburn. 

2.  Dairy products have been shown to trigger symptoms.  I have more clients that believe that a cold glass of milk will soothe their stomach.  Not true – and the higher the fat content the more the issues. 

3. Alcoholic beverages, coffee and to some extent tea provoke heartburn as well as high fat, fried, spicy foods; onions and chocolate (say it isn’t true!). 

Trigger food are personal so you need to figure out what bothers you.  

The most long-lasting, natural remedy without side-effects is to adjust your food intake as well as any lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your heartburn or acid-reflux.

Work with your doctor, digestion coach or nutritionist to isolate the factors that affect your health.  From there good health is a breeze!

You Deserve to be Healthy!

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This Stress Is Killing Me!

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Yep our digestive and overall health is not only deeply affected by what we eat, but also by the stress we experience and how we choose to live our life.

Humans have long ago developed the ability to respond to a stressful situation instantly, by preparing the body for “fight or flight.” Under sudden stress, you will get a burst adrenaline that gives you exceptional strength and endurance, as your body pumps out stress hormones.
 
Then…..
Your heart speeds up
Blood flow to your brain and muscles increases up to 400 percent
Your digestion stops (so it doesn’t use up energy that’s needed elsewhere)
Your muscle tension increases
You breathe faster, to bring more oxygen to your muscles
 
This is really beneficial if you are being chased by an angry mob or have to lift a car off of your cat, fluffy.
 
But much of the time in modern life, the “fight or flight” response won’t help. Yet those stress hormones still flood your system, preparing you for physical action. And if you are under stress frequently, it can harm your physical health.
 
Recent evidence indicates that the physical changes associated with stress may contribute to the leading causes of death – heart disease and cancer.
 
The effects of stress on your overall health include the following:

  • Stress can:
  • cause chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches, and back pain.
  • affect the blood cells that help you fight off infection, so you are more likely to get colds and other diseases.
  • increase blood pressure and can increase the risk for stroke.
  • increase the danger of heart attacks, particularly if you are often angry and paranoid .
  • make an asthma attack worse.
  • trigger behaviors that contribute to death and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating.
  • lead to diminished sexual desire and an inability to achieve orgasm.
  • Stress makes it harder to take other steps to improve health, such as giving up smoking or making changes in diet.
Stress can cause many different problems within our digestive systems and for the most part these will manifest themselves as heartburn, ulcers, intestinal problems, gastric problems and acid reflux.
 
 So what are can you do to reduce the effects of stress on your health.  You probably can’t quit your job and move to a Caribbean island and hang on the beach all day.  I really like that idea.  So here are some practical ideas to help you cope with modern life.
 
Exercise regularly.  The many benefits of cardiovascular exercise are well documented and I’m sure you’re as familiar with them as am I, but honestly I am not a gym person.  For me, there is nothing more effective at dissipating tension than about a 30 brisk walk with a friend. This way I can exercise my body and catch up on the latest skinny at the same time.
 
Get plenty of sleep.  If I’m tired, then it compounds the stress I accumulate throughout the day.  I strive to get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Of course, it doesn’t always work out for me but I have a plan to get into bed each night by 11:00 and most times stick to it.  I also reduce my water consumption after about 6pm so I don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom 20 times in the night.
 
Give up or lessen caffeine intake.  I know this is radical, but please do not stop reading.  Caffeine is, of course, a stimulant.  I am not able to consume anything with caffeine in it.  But if you drink tea or coffee and have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep – experiment with cutting back on the amount and/or the hour of the day that you consume your last caffeinated beverage.  For many a cut off of mid afternoon does the trick.
 
Don’t Hold A Grudge.  How many nights have you tried to go to sleep and you lay there and stew about something that was said that day that really offended you? I know it can be hard to forgive some things.  However, when we hold on to our grudges, we do more damage to ourselves than to the other person.  Chances are that the person you are mad at is sleeping like a baby.  The sweetest revenge is a good night sleep and forgiving heart.  It makes you unstoppable.
 
Eliminate debt.  Money is a source of stress for many of us.  Of course, it is the poor way we manage our money that really creates the stress.  While not easy, I find that living within your means really eliminates the nighttime bill paying blues.  I think that would make a great country song title.
 
Get outdoors.  I enjoy the beauty of nature.  It gets my mind off of the things that stress me out.  I also find the sun, wind, and sounds of nature soothing.  It puts me in the moment.  Nature does not worry about the future or past it goes about its way and does its thing.
 
Spend time alone.   I need time alone to think and clear my head.  When I’m alone for an hour or two, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  I spend a lot of my time planning the events of the next day or week and once I have a plan in place my mind calms and I am able to sleep.
 
Meditate.  Meditation means a lot of different things to different people.  I am merely suggesting that you spend time focusing your thoughts on positive things.  You can pray, use positive affirmations, or just think about positive things you have read.  By intentionally directing my thoughts, I can lower my stress.  If you have a “wild” mind like mine it can be hard to empty my head of thoughts so I use a lot of affirmations.  These positive statements really can change your outlook.
 
Avoid Worrying.  Worry is definitely a source of stress. This is a huge one for me, I am a chronic worrier.  As I age I have come to realize how much time I have spent up at night worrying about things that either never happened or were not as bad as I spent hours anticipating that they would be.  I want that time back.  Since that isn’t’t going to happen, I have made a serious promise to myself not to worry until I absolutely need to, and so far, it has worked out pretty well.  One of my favorite sayings is “Worry is the interest owed on a debt not yet incurred”  I wouldn’t pay interest on a credit card without a balance so why worry about something that hasn’t happened yet.
 
Take a break.  When was the last time you took a day off to relax?  The whole concept of vacation and recreation were conceived of for a reason.  We have to give our minds and bodies a break occasionally.  When we do, we are able to let go of the stress and return with a fresh outlook on life.  I try to take short breaks like three-day weekends from time-to-time.  I also try to take off at least two full weeks during the year.  This gives me time to relieve stress and avoid burnout.
 
Lighten-up.  This is always easier said than done.  Anyone that has known me for any period of time knows that I am ultra intense.  Everything is really serious, has to be done now and perfectly.  I have had to really work at being light hearted, (not sure I have mastered that)and it has taken me years, I am slow, to realize that very few things are really psychotically crucial.  And, here is the clincher for me, I have learned that by taking some extra time the end result is actually better and I have enjoyed the process more.  Learning to laugh at your mistakes and your humanness is an awesome way to reduce stress.  I am learning to say “Who cares”, more.  Yes there are things that matter and should be attended to in a timely manner but not everything.  That kind of pressure is too much.  So pick a task and really enjoy it.  Learn to relax and enjoy the ride.
 
Eat Foods that Support Good Health – By eating the food that is really good for our body we are ready to take on the world.  Drinking lots of water hydrates the body.  Our mind and body works faster and more efficient when we are fully hydrated.  Eat leafy greens and whole grains.  These are the power food that protect our immune system and helps our organs function as they were meant to.  Eat small portions of protein.  Protein gives us the staying power and strength we need as well as supplies us with B12 that helps to regulate our outlook and mood.  Fruits and vegetables supply necessary vitamins, nutrients and fiber that keep it all moving.  A healthy digestive tract that has a transit time of less than 14 hours helps us to feel clean and think clearly. 
 
If your body is in a healthy state it can handle whatever comes your way.

By trying some or all of these ideas you will reduce the stress in your life.  Once you do that you will feel happier, healthier and look better than you have in a long time.

 
You Deserve to be Healthy!

Have You Seen My Mind? Exercise and Your Brain!

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Your body was meant to move.

Shake your groove thing.

Rock and Roll.

Okay so exercise will help you loose weight, have a healthier heart, stave off cancer, look better in your clothes and keep you looking younger for longer but did you know it can dramatically improve your mind?

Let’s face it, being middle age has its challenges but the ones that are the most distressing are brain fog, slips in memory, depression….

Don’t take it sitting down.  Let’s kick some middle-age mind’s butt!  Let’s stretch first….

“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Did you know that aerobic exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants?  It promotes nerve cell growth that may have been damaged by depression. That beats the heck out of medication any day.

Movement transforms your brain.

It not only reduces stress but can reverse it’s affects on the body and brain. Researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Wow, I feel calmer already!

Exercise enhances learning.  The act of moving and sweating creates new brain connections.  Like your exercise with a does of strategy, like tennis, dancing or riding a bike through traffic? 8-(  Expect to see even more improvement in your ability to learn if you regularly participate in sports that take thought. Complex activities not only have the advantage over more simplistic exercise but you add the intellectual component of strategic thinking -wow that is a twofer!

I wonder if reading while on my elliptical qualifies? 

Who can forget about the improvement in mood and motivation we get from exercise. This is the reason most of us exercise in the morning.  It pumps us up, makes us feel like we can do anything and makes us happy.  This is one of my favorite benefits of exercise. I’m psyched when I finish my 30 minute work-out and that feeling last throughout the day. Whoohooo!

Exercise protects us from mind-robbing diseases such and Alzheimer’s.  This is huge.  Most of us have been affected by or know someone who is by this life-robbing disease.  Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.  A simple walk each day not only can help stave off this disease but slow it’s progression once it has started.

Getting a little yancy aren’t you?   

Yes exercise is great for your body – your whole body.  Let’s do a little age reversal by starting a exercise practice. Nothing complex just a good walk, a dance or zumba video will do just fine.  Find something you like, can stick with and BAM you will be looking and feeling better in no time.

I think I will go jump on that machine and pump up my brain power.

What will you be doing today to BOOST YOUR BRAIN?

photo from freedigitalphotos.net

Want to talk about your health goals? Contact me at MindyKannon@yahoo.com or go to my website at www.mindykannon.com.