Many of us believe we know what PREVENTION is.  I thought I did.  If you look it up, there are many different interpretations.

An interesting post came to me via a friend on FACEBOOK.  His brother is an exercise physiologist.  However he is a teacher at a community college as well.  I actually credit him with suggesting I sit for the ACSM personal trainer certification.  I haven’t really turned back since.

In part, he speaks from a perspective not unlike mine.

Physicians, nurses, as well as other health care professionals take on the task of caring for those in need.  Never mind that need or undoing came from their own negligence of their health.  We as health care professionals still care for them; even under extenuating circumstances.  My role is far different from the nursing career I once had in dialysis. I like to think of myself as working from the PREVENTATIVE side now, as opposed to the CHRONIC or ACUTE side.

Either way, his face book post struck a chord.  He spoke of a respiratory therapist giving breathing treatments to a current smoker.  Now, the therapist knew this patient had no intentions of quitting.  Yet here he was providing a breathing treatment.  We as health care professionals see the END USER effects, of highly preventable CAUSES.  Diabetes & hypertension; both in most cases highly preventable CAUSES of kidney failure, which puts one’s feet on the road to dialysis.

What about other diseases of man’s own making?  That being said, I will be the 1st to admonish those seeking to blame the poor & underserved communities for their plight.  Why?  I grew up in a poor underserved community.  My mother was a single parent which could not afford to keep both me & my sister.  I was raised by my godparents until the age of 11, when they moved to Michigan.  It is a kind of a  “riches to rags” sort of story.  But that’s not the focus of this post.

What is the focus is how much of disease is of man’s own making?  What can we as health care “preventionists’ do to help him out of this spiral?  Everything and nothing.  As a nurse in my former life, I could provide dialysis treatments to help remove some of the toxins that a normal kidney would.  Dialysis is not a cure, and it is not without side effects.  As a healthcare preventionist now, I can guide those through lifestyle modification to a different outcome.

Why do I say everything & nothing?  I can teach, modify, train, recommend, even dictate.  All to naught for those unwilling to avail themselves of my services.  Yet there seems to be money for a new purse, dress, shoes, or all you can eat buffets.  But the type of service I or someone similar provide?  This is what I hear.  “I can do that myself, I don’t need to pay her.  I’ve lost weight before I can do it again.  I don’t need to pay anyone for that.”  Perhaps.  In the words of a TV psych which I really don’t like ” HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT FOR YOU?”

For many, it simply is not.  So again I ask, what can we as health interventionists do?  What can you do especially now?  A lot.

How about starting with skipping the drive thru?  Maybe pick up some fruits and vegetables?  From what I’ve seen, they are rotting on the store shelves, while frozen fried chicken, pizzas, and similar food stuffs are depleted.

Online cooking shows and “how to” guides on preparation abound.  Perhaps start with a simple soup or pasta dish with vegetables if cooking isn’t your forte.   Yes the unfamiliar is intimidating.  But the alternative in the long run isn’t intimidating, it’s scary.

PREVENTION can have many meanings.  Now it has even more.  PPE(personal protective equipment), hand sanitizer, bactericidal cleaning agents all qualify now as PREVENTION.

What about a mindset?  Can that qualify?  More on that later.

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

It’s 10am.  You’re at your desk or on break, and trying to get through the already hectic day.  What do you reach for?

As a nurse, I’ve often found my breaks were few and far between, in some of the positions I’ve held.  That played havoc with my appetite, as well as my food choices.  However, when I did work as an educator, working from a desk during some of the week, I became well acquainted with the 10am munchies.  Perhaps for you it hits a little later or earlier, but either way it rarely means a fruit, veggie, or  otherwise “healthy” snack.

Am I really hungry?  Or just stressed out or bored? Who stops to think about that?  I didn’t until now.  Well, actually a couple of years ago I did.  I put up a post with the same title, “Are you eating because of what’s eating you?” However, I’ve learned a few things since then.  I will be giving a lecture on this topic March 22nd @ 6:30 pm at Midlothian Library in Midlothian IL.  I hope those in the area will join me on that date.

For the rest, I will be posting from this lecture incrementally–as it is quite detailed.  If this is something of interest to you, I hope to see you there.  If this forum is the only way you have of accessing the information though, stay tuned.  It will start posting later in the month.

 

All for now, keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

facing the scale  I once had a client tell me this.  “Avocados don’t count.  They’re a healthy fat.  Kind of a freebie.”  My response?  “Freebie? Last time I checked, there was no such thing as a freebie.”  Free to me, always implies strings. Usually more like steel cords.  Freebie huh?”  Can you recall the last time something you desired was truly free?  Not trying to get philosophical, but think for a moment.  Free lessons.  Free trip.  Free to be me.  None of the above are really free. You may disagree with the “free to be me” part.  Yet when was the last time you were free to be yourself, all of the time?  At work?  At social gatherings?  With in-laws?  In-laws more like outlaws? I digress.  You get the idea.

HEALTHY FATS; YES THEY COUNT

Calories.  Calories add up, and the “healthy fats” are usually loaded with them.  Not condemning, just stating the facts.  My favorite?  Nuts–especially cashews.  They pack 140 calories per quarter cup.  You could eat 3-4 whole ones and consume that!  Not let’s talk that green slime, AKA avocados.  And that other tofu like spreadable stuff–humus.  Have you checked the calorie count on either?  If you’re struggling to lose weight, and these are part of your healthier living regime, take a moment; and a deep breath.  Good for you doesn’t mean go all out.  But don’t take my word for it.  Take a client’s.

As a school teacher Jan 5th meant back to school, but more importantly back on schedule. I had been able to keep the weight gain to a minimum. Then the cold came and school was closed for two days, so I spent a lot of time in the health club knocking off the two pounds I gained since Dec. 15th. A lot of cardio usually does the trick. Once back in school, I eat much better, salad or soup for lunch and some kind of chicken for dinner. I stay away from pasta, but have splurged here or there. Just have to keep portion control. Two foods I have stayed away from is humus and avocado’s, I really do believe they were a problem with weight management for me.  Read the label on humus; ever try to eat just a tablespoon of humus?

This is an excerpt from his food journal, which he wanted to share.  Food journals for anyone losing weight, I feel, are a must.  If you write down, (yes write down) what you eat, and go the extra mile as to why, you will gain some unique insight.  Intertwine with intermittent fasting (if you are able), and you’ll probably change more than bad habits.  You’ll change your mind.  The way you relate to food shouldn’t be swept under the carpet like dirt your vacuum can’t pick up.  What it means to you, how hungry are you when you eat, feelings which incite you to feast or fast, are things most personal trainers won’t delve into with you.  Yet if you’re looking at permanent sustainable weight loss–lift, squat, lunge, repeat won’t get you there.

Exercise isn’t a stand alone.  It’s a tool–one of many which should be in your toolbox.

What else should be there?  What about who else?  Another lesson for another day.  Or at least, another post.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.  Questions?  Comments?

Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

milk & bread  What is food?  For some, it represents comfort.  For others, it’s something to be savored and enjoyed.  And for many, it’s both protagonist & antagonist; the never-ending story of good vs. evil.

What is it to you?  Perhaps all of the above.

This is where being both nurse and personal trainer is more than a little helpful.

Food to me represents sustenance; systemic nourishment for the central, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, integumentary, reproductive, sympathetic & parasympathetic systems.

When you look at it from this standpoint, you take the pleasure vs. pain principle out of it.

Furthermore, food is ENERGY.  If you recall from 1st, maybe 5th grade, you know energy cannot be created or destroyed.  It can only be transferred.  Therefore, when you put that ENERGY into your body, how is it used?  Well, the above mentioned systems depend on it. Bone & muscle make or break on your choices.  Thinking & reasoning, how you respond in “fight or flight” mode, skin turnover, heart function, just to name a few derive energy from your intake.  Now, let’s add-on.

EXERCISE

As you know by now, exercise comes in a variety of packaging.  From cardio to strength, hot yoga to Pilates, boxing to ballet, there are myriads of ways to get moving.  One thing most of us take for granted (myself included), it the fuel needed to get us moving. 

The body is meant to be moved, true enough.  But if and only if, our PRIMARY systemic functions are satisfied.  I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “if you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  Your body says, “if you don’t eat, I don’t work.”  Of course there’s more to it than that.  Quality nutrients are needed, if you want to perform at an optimum level.  And that doesn’t just mean when you want to go all out at the gym. Which brings me to my next topic (s).

What is quality nutrition?  We all have our own, individualized take on this one.  And far be it from me to give definitive answers.  All I can do is give you my take.  My experience may be different from what the experts of the day may be touting.  In fact, it really is.

Working out isn’t working for me.  I haven’t dropped more than a few pounds.  There may be different reasons for this.  Will cover why this may be occurring.  Will also relate one of my client’s surprising finds why working out wasn’t working for him.

I can do this on my own.  DVDs, diet plans, and exercise online is plentiful.  You are so right.  Free advice, You-Tube videos, and diet plans abound.  How’s that working for you?

As you can see, this may take a while.  It’s definitely beyond the scope of one little post.  So stay tuned boys and girls.  And to quote the late, great Betty Davis, “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

 

 

 

 

gymnast  Have to preface this with a disclaimer.

As a former dialysis nurse, I am somewhat reserved and dubious about protein intake; especially HIGH PROTEIN INTAKE.  True enough, most reading this are not in renal (kidney) failure.  Protein must be moderated for those suffering from renal insufficiency.  However, it makes me consider the overly paraded cascade of high protein consumption.

CREATININE

Creatinine is a test used to diagnose renal (kidney) function.  It can be increased in those who ingest large amounts of meat.  Yes, it is only elevated slightly and can be transient–but my question is this.  What happens if it is continually elevated, because that’s the majority of the person’s diet?  Can the kidneys keep up with this demand?

BUN

Blood, Urea, Nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of urea and nitrogen in your blood.  So what’s that supposed to mean?  Well, urea is the end product of PROTEIN metabolism.  During a meal, protein breaks down into amino acids.  In your liver, these amino acids are catabolized and free ammonia is formed.  These molecules combine and form urea, which is deposited into blood, and given over to the kidneys to excrete (rid themselves of).  Again, if this is 60-70% (or more) of a person’s diet, now what?

(Source:  Mosby’s Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests–3rd edition)

QUESTIONING; NOT DEBATING

I did preface this with my bias.  Of course protein diets will help with weight loss.  So will smoking.  For years women swore by smoking to curb their appetite.  Many still do.  And while I’m really not trying to compare the two, there is an article which does.

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/food-high-protein-diet-increases-mortality-risk-030414

No, I’m not a vegan, nor do I plan to become one.  My palate expresses no desire for bean paste or tofu.  I love my chicken, ribs, and steak.  BUT, this does not represent my primary or elevated intake.  Fish?  Forget it for me.  I hate fish.  However, with the advent and subsequent takeoff of high protein diets being touted, it raises questions.  Sure there are other sources of protein; never said there weren’t.  But HIGH protein with mitigated or very low carb ratio, can and does have consequences.  Many of them numerous, and beyond the scope of what’s discussed in this blog.  Need a little more convincing?  Ok.

http://www.health24.com/Diet-and-nutrition/Weight-loss/The-dangers-of-high-protein-slimming-diets-20120721

What I’ve always taught, both patients and students is this: Be mindful not just of outcome, but of rationale (the “why” and reason behind an action)  Rationale for me, must represent all of the following–cause, relationship, and effect.  Yes, these diets will cause you to lose weight.  Yes, that is your desired outcome.  But what of the other components; relationship and effect?

You be the judge.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  More info?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

cheese please  It seems like all things dairy have taken a bad rap lately.  I’ve talked about this before.  One minute celebs are lining up to wear the milk mustache.  The next, dairy is responsible for everything from bloating to acne.  Certainly if you are lactose intolerant, dairy is problematic.  But for those of us who never really bought into the “swearing off dairy” craze, here’s a bit of good news.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/17/heart-healthy-cheese.aspx

CHEESE WILL MAKE ME FAT

Well, not so much.  Anytime you consume more calories than you expend(burn off), there is a possibility of storage.  Think of those units you purchase to place items you can’t fit into your home/apartment.  You may start off with “I’ve just got a few things.  Will never fill this entire space.”  Soon, you find yourself visiting more often, and eventually filling it to capacity.

Same idea with calories.  Whether its cheese, roast beef, or sweet potatoes (all favorites of mine), unused translates to “stored.”  True enough, not all calories are created equal.  However debunking some of these dairy, gluten-free, sugar-free myths is required.

People are indeed, confused enough when it comes to calories, exercise, & food choices.  The health and wellness industry, still in relative infancy, is still “working out the kinks.”  Well, here’s one kink this personal trainer, takes immense pleasure in straightening.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need more help? Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

meat & chopsticks  The holidays will soon be upon us.  Thanksgiving is once again usurped by the Xmas season.  This usually leaves us with expanding debt as well as waistlines.  However I offer a solution; at least for the latter.

LET’S BACK IT UP A BIT

Being thankful doesn’t necessarily equate with a religious belief.  Whether it does or doesn’t for you, Thanksgiving may be the perfect time to back things up a bit.  How?  Start with being grateful for the meal before you.  Next, give thanks for every bite of food you are able to chew, digest, and assimilate as nourishment for your body.  No, this is not “the count how many times you chew your food” diet.  This is something more.  This is being actively engaged in eating a meal.  You can call it mindfulness, gratitude, or thankfulness.  That matters little.  It will blossom into an understanding, and eventually eradicate mindless eating.

I use this method regularly.  It slows me down, and enables me to focus on what’s in my mouth, as opposed to the next bite I want to put there.  Satiating your appetite and not feeling deprived is difficult.  With this method, you’ll enjoy your food more, while consuming less.  Yes, it takes practice.  But you may find as I have, the rewards go beyond a declining number on a scale.

Before you toss this idea on the scrapyard of “won’t work for me,” try it.  You will forget more often than you remember, at first.  That’s ok.  As I said, it takes practice.  Eventually, you will find yourself eating less, but tasting more.  You won’t be in such a hurry to swallow, to get to the next morsel.  Second helpings may become a thing of the past.  “All You Can Eat” buffets will be a waste of money.  Why?  Thanksgiving is now more than a day marked by the calendar.  It is not about turkey, dressing, or sweet potato pie as much (though I do love sweet potato pie).  It won’t be about football or planning your Black Friday overindulgence.  Thanksgiving for you at least, will have become a way of life.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

dancer in white  This post originated in August of this year.  It was titled “My favorite reset cleanse.”  Intermittent fasting or “cleansing” has become the latest technique in battling the bulge.  In my opinion, nice and easy does it.  So this is my version of a “cleanse.”

Cleansing can be a vital component in revitalizing your life, your lifestyle, and yourself.

In my last post “Detox 360–body work,” I discussed intermittent fasting.  It is a segway into my favorite “reset.”

SLOW AND STEADY

I’m sure you realize by now, I am not a proponent of a cleanse that doesn’t encompass lifestyle change.  It is why my series is entitled Detox 360, starting with “Clean up your act….”

Yet I do believe there are benefits to hitting the “reset” button.  Your body (for the most part) is quite proficient at digesting, synthesizing, and eliminating food and fluids.  This doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a break.  Hard hitting cleanses coupled with fasting, which induce runny stools and flatulence, isn’t my idea of giving it a break.  It can upset the ph balance in your body, and wreak havoc with blood sugar levels.  Therefore taking your body from meals, to heavy fluids, to finally H20, I believe is a better alternative.

CHOOSE YOUR WAY

This cleanse can last a day or a week.  There are those who make it last longer, by decreasing what’s on their plate, a little at a time.  Know you can shorten or lengthen at your discretion.  If you are diabetic, take medication requiring food, or trying this for the 1st time, consult your medical professional.

Begin with eating a meal you normally consume. Your subsequent meal should be lighter in nature.  Your next should consist of an opaque juice, such as V8 or a blend.  Lastly, you end with only H20.

If you are doing this over the course of a week, remember your meals should progressively become lighter. You then transition to opaque fluids to ever clearer ones, until you reach your H20 phase.  It is essential to keep yourself well-hydrated, once you begin with fluids only.  What does that mean?  Your urine reflects your hydration status; therefore it should be clear, slightly to moderately yellow.  Anything dark is telltale for inadequate hydration.

How long do your fluid only days last?  For me, it is not longer than 1-2 days.  My H20 day is just that–one day.  Again, this is not meant for everyone; especially if you are diabetic or taking medication requiring food.

BRING IT BACK

Your H20 phase doesn’t spell the end of your cleanse.  It is only the “reset.”  It is a reset for your body; but also for commitment and perspective.

Just as the cleansing process was a subtle yet steady progression, so is the reversal.

Starting with clear lighter fluids, you gradually progress to opaque or heavier ones, then to soup (can be thicker or creamed), then to salad/veggies, then a meal.  Again, this can be stretched out for as long or as short as you like.  My last “add back” however are heavier carbs like potatoes, breads, and pastas–then my animal proteins.  You may choose to go with meat first, then your carbs.  This is your body, your cleanse.

I realize for “detox purists,” this is not their idea of a cleanse.  Far from being one of those, is why the post is entitled “my favorite cleanse.”

THE BENEFITS

This is a the pause button for my mind, as well as my body.  It forces me to make a commitment, stick to it, and remember that I made this choice.  After concluding this regimen, I not only feel a sense of accomplishment, but find I am consciously engaging in meals.  I chew my food more slowly (without really trying), savor each bite, and unconscious snacking all but disappears.

For me, this cleanse gives my digestive system the break it needs.  It doesn’t send me sprinting for the bathroom, play “hill & valley” with my blood sugar, or leave me incapacitated to complete a workday.  Yes, there is an adjustment period.  In comparison to some detoxes however, the side effects are marginal.

Have a favorite detox or cleanse you would like to share?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

cakes Forgoing your favorite sugary treat to avoid the extra calories?  Many do.  Some indulge in a cheat day to not feel totally deprived.  For me, the jury is still out on that one.  I opt for “cheat moments.”  Will explain more in a separate post.

For now, I want to highlight the debate on artificial sweeteners.  Earlier this year, I wrote “Sugar in the Morning, Sugar in the Evening.” This post originated on 5/19/2013.  It contains my personal views regarding sugar and sugar substitutes, as well as my experience with one of them.

Here’s what I’ve found recently.

This article is meaty; but worth the read.  It raises a red flag concerning sugar substitutes, and their effects on our bodies once they enter.  You may not be getting the results you desire from these artificial sweeteners.  If your workout isn’t working, this may be part of the reason.
In the quest to become fit and trim, our two main weapons are exercise coupled with calorie restriction.  Articles such as this, can certainly make one question the form calorie restriction takes.
As stated in “Sugar in the Morning…,” I know what sugar is.  It’s been around for quite some time–predating anything attempting to take its place.  Your body knows how to process sugar.  Most of us are well aware of how too much of it affects our well-being.  Can you honestly say the same of its substitute?
All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.
Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.  Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

happy apples  This appeared on my blog originally May 11th this year.  However, it is a helpful uncomplicated way to figure calorie expenditure. 

This aired on the Dr. Oz show on May 10th; at least here in the Chicagoland area.

http://www.doctoroz.com

Click on Chris Powell.

Few of us are interested in what works for someone else.  We want to know what works for us.  This method takes the guess-work out of what is already challenging enough.  Based upon your body weight, this equation will tell you exactly how many calories you should be eating.  How few or how many more (if you are looking to gain weight) you choose to consume, is up to you.

Body weight x 12 = amount of calories you need to maintain your weight

Most of us consume 20% more than we need–that for me was not surprising.  What was however, was the amount of fat & calories supposedly “healthy” foods contain.  If the show is still up on the site, you wil be too.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com