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The Case for Self-Care

09/10/2019 jleff 0

As I’ve interviewed women across the country and in many different fields for our podcast, The Fullness of Midlife, a couple of themes recur. One of them is self-care, which I’ve discussed with a yoga instructor, a health sciences researcher and a card…

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Only a Third of Pregnant Women Getting Vaccinations They Need

09/10/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Oct. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — About two-thirds of pregnant women in the United States don’t get vaccinated against both flu and whooping cough, putting them and their newborns at risk, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

READ More About the Flu Shot During Pregnancy

“Influenza and pertussis (or whooping cough) are serious infections that can be deadly for babies, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated directly,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a news briefing on Tuesday.

But when women receive these vaccines during pregnancy, they pass along antibodies to the fetus that then provide protection during the time newborns are too young to be vaccinated.

The vaccines also benefit expectant mothers, Schuchat stressed.

“Women who are pregnant are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized if they develop influenza, compared with similar-aged women during influenza season,” she said.

But as the new CDC report found, only a minority of pregnant American women are getting the shots they need.

The agency surveyed nearly 2,100 women aged 18 to 49 who were pregnant between August 2018 and April 2019. Of those, 54% said they got a flu shot before or during pregnancy, and 55% were vaccinated for whooping cough while pregnant.

That could mean more pregnant women becoming very ill, the report also found.

Looking at data on all 15- to 44-year-old women who were hospitalized due to flu since 2010, between 24% and 34% were pregnant, the CDC study found, even though only 9% of U.S. women in this age group are pregnant at any given time each year.

“Women have enough issues to address when they’re pregnant without going through a difficult hospitalization if they come down with influenza,” Schuchat said.

In total, only about 35% of women received both vaccinations during pregnancy, the CDC said.

Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York City, said, “The numbers are much lower than they should be and it is disappointing given the benefits for moms and babies associated with these vaccines.” She said the numbers may be low because they came from an online survey that depended on patient recall.

But, Riley added, it’s important for pregnant women to get protection from the flu. “If they get the flu, [they] are at greater risk for having severe complications like ICU admission, maternal death, prematurity, preterm labor,” she explained.

The survey found that women whose health care providers offered or referred them for shots had the highest vaccination rates. Black women had lower rates than women in other racial/ethnic groups, and were less likely to report being offered or referred for vaccination, the findings showed.

The CDC recommends all pregnant women get a flu shot at any stage of pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) early in the third trimester as part of routine prenatal care.

A flu shot reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized due to flu by an average of 40%, a recent study found.

The flu is also dangerous for babies, especially those younger than 6 months. They are too young to get their own flu shot and have the highest incidence of flu-related hospitalization and greatest risk of flu-related death among children.

Flu vaccination in pregnant women reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for infants under 6 months of age by an average of 72%, according to the CDC.

And whooping cough can be deadly, especially before babies start getting the vaccine at 2 months of age. Two-thirds of babies under 2-months-old who get the disease require hospital care. Seven of 10 whooping cough deaths (69%) occur in that age group.

Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy prevents more than 78% of whooping cough in babies under 2-months-old.

Schuchat suggested that many women may have the mistaken belief they are already protected.

“Many women thought because they previously received it (Tdap) that it was not needed again during the current pregnancy,” she said during the news briefing. “But we’ve actually been recommending women get Tdap shots during each pregnancy since 2012.”

And for any woman wary of getting vaccinated, Schuchat said that “it’s been proven repeatedly that these vaccinations are safe for pregnant women and their developing babies.”

Dr. Amanda Cohn, chief medical officer at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, called on obstetricians and midwives to discuss the importance of maternal vaccination with their pregnant patients.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield underscored the point.

“All expectant mothers should be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care,” he said in a CDC news release. “CDC strongly recommends that health care providers speak with moms-to-be about the benefits of safe Tdap and flu vaccination for their health and the well-being of their babies.”

The new research was published Oct. 8 in the CDC’s Vital Signs report.

SOURCES: news briefing, Oct. 8, 2019, with Anne Schuchat, M.D., principal deputy director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Laura Riley, M.D., obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 8, 2019

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Intend More, React Less

08/10/2019 jleff 0

By Mina SamuelsThe other day in a spin class, the instructor asked, “Do you want to be right or be happy?” I thought about all the times I’ve made myself unhappy, because I wanted someone else to know that I was right. On the flip side of that experien…

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5 Things Every Women Must Know About Lowering Her Breast Cancer Risk

07/10/2019 jleff 0

It’s hard to ignore all the pink going on in October.

Even without breast cancer awareness month, as women, we’re all aware of breast cancer. Either we’ve had it ourselves, have had a scare, have a friend or relative with it or have had reason to worry (like having a genetic mutation, dense breasts or a strong family history).

One of the other risk factors for breast cancer—one we can’t control—is getting older. The risk increases with age, and the majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50. According to breastcancer.org, if you are currently 50 years old, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 2.31% (or 1 in 43). Keep in mind, though, that your risk may be higher or lower depending on factors like family history, race/ethnicity, reproductive history and other influences.

But you are not powerless! There are things you can do to lower your breast cancer risk:

1. Curb your alcohol intake

Why it’s important: Compared to women who don’t drink, if you drink two or more alcoholic drinks daily, you’re 50 percent more likely to develop breast cancer over the course of a lifetime. That’s because alcohol can increase the levels of estrogen (and other hormones) that are associated with certain types of breast cancer. It might also have an effect on your body’s ability to absorb some nutrients, like folate (a B vitamin). Low levels may play a role in developing breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Recommendations: The ACS suggests having no more than one drink per day. And if you don’t drink, don’t start: Women who don’t drink alcohol at all have the lowest risk. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40 percent alcohol) liquor.

2. Manage your weight

Why it’s important: Having more body fat (especially after menopause) can raise your estrogen levels, which raises the risk of certain types of breast cancer. Being overweight can also raise insulin levels, which have been linked to breast cancer.

One large study found that women who gained 20 pounds or more after menopause had an 18 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared with those who gained little or no weight after menopause, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Recommendations: Losing weight after menopause may help lower the risk of breast cancer according to research. While this may be more challenging after menopause, you can do it by increasing your activity, eating nutrient-rich foods, getting enough high-quality sleep, eating mindfully and controlling your portions. Read more about fighting menopausal weight gain with exercise and diet.

3. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. But research also demonstrates a possible link between exposure to heavy second-hand smoke and the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Recommendations: If you smoke, quit! It can be challenging, but there are plenty of resources to help, like the American Lung Association, medicines available in pills, patches or gum, acupuncture and meditation and peer/family support.

4. Get Active

 Regular exercise has been shown to lower breast cancer risk by 10 percent to 20 percent. Its power is in how it can regulate hormones like estrogen and insulin (which can fuel breast cancer’s growth), as well as keep you at a healthy weight. Exercise also keeps your immune system healthier.

Many studies have linked exercise with a lowered risk of recurrence (when the breast cancer you were treated for returns).

Recommendations: The ACS and other experts recommend about four to five hours of moderate intensity exercise each week, which includes brisk walking. But even a small amount is better than none. Take note: You must keep it up. Researchers found that these risk-reducing benefits stop working if you stop exercising.

5. Be Mindful of Hormone Therapy

Yes, it can help with hot flashes, night sweats and other bothersome symptoms, but some forms taken during menopause (like those that include both estrogen and progesterone) can raise the risk for breast cancer if you take them for more than five years, which is why many experts recommend taking the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time. Read about the latest study on hormone therapy and breast cancer.

And finally …

Get tested, please! My breast cancer was found during my first routine, screening mammogram. I was just 34 with no family history, no bad health habits, no reason whatsoever to suspect that anything could be amiss.

I urge every woman I know to follow the recommendations for screening. It can save your life.

This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.

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What Are the Risks of Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioids?

07/10/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

MONDAY, Oct. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — With so much attention focused on the dangers of opioid painkillers, it’s easy to forget that even “safe” over-the-counter products carry some dangers.

READ About Women and Opioids: The Unseen Epidemic

If you don’t think twice about reaching for a pill to relieve aches and pains, especially medicines called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, you need to know about the wide-ranging cautions surrounding their use, especially if you take them on a regular basis and over a long period of time.

NSAIDs can cause:

  • New or worsening high blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Liver issues
  • Kidney damage
  • Anemia
  • Life-threatening skin and allergic reactions

NSAIDs can also increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke, even within just the first few weeks of using one, and the risk can rise over time. Your risk for heart issues is greater if you have high blood pressure or heart disease or recently had a heart attack or bypass surgery. Aspirin is the one NSAID this warning doesn’t apply to. However, NSAIDs, including aspirin, can damage the stomach lining and cause gastrointestinal (GI) tract bleeding and ulcers.

Your risk for GI issues is higher if you:

  • Take NSAIDs long-term
  • Are over age 60
  • Are a heavy drinker
  • Have a history of GI bleeding or ulcers
  • Are also taking blood-thinners, steroids or certain other medications

If you’re considering acetaminophen, commonly known by the brand name Tylenol, as an alternative to NSAIDs, know that acetaminophen can also cause severe liver damage, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Like NSAIDs, it’s also in hundreds of other products, so as with all drugs, read medication ingredient labels to avoid taking too much of the same active ingredient and potentially overdosing.

In general, always take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible, and only after talking to your doctor if you already have high blood pressure or any other chronic condition.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Menopausal Nights Sweats Linked to Impaired Thinking

03/10/2019 jleff 0

Menopausal women who get night sweats sleep longer. And the longer they sleep, the more trouble they have thinking straight, a new study concludes. In this study, researchers looked at sleep time and night sweats among women with a history of bre…

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Why Many People Gain Weight in the Fall (And How to Avoid It)

03/10/2019 jleff 0

The lazy, hazy and crazy days of summer are a fading memory. You’ve put away the bathing suits, sun dresses and open-toed shoes. You’ve taken out and put on the puffy coats, leggings, sweaters and boots.

And sometimes you also put on…pounds. Short days, long nights and colder weather make it easy for us to hibernate. We stay indoors after work and snack in front of the TV, instead of going for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.

It may not seem like an issue to gain a pound or two beneath that pair of elastic waist pants and cuddly sweatshirt. But, it’s tough to shed that extra weight after New Year’s.

We spoke with Caren Boscaino and Lori Sawyer. They’re founders of Clean Cut Fitness & Nutrition, a program that will help you balance work, life, nutrition and fitness. They’re also authors of Shrink Your Body, Grow Your Mind. They gave us tips and tricks to ensure that your diet doesn’t veer off track this fall and to help you adopt healthy behaviors. “We help people shift their minds and not just wish through moments,” says Boscaino. “With tips and knowledge and support, people can make real change. It’s never easy to make change alone. Find support in the office, home, etc. and it makes you more accountable.”

  1. The excuse: Fall treats fill the stores.
    Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and apple cider donuts have made their return to coffee shops and stores. It’s hard to escape and ignore the smells and sounds of this sugar-filled fare. It becomes more tempting because we feel it’s a short-lived season and we need to get it all in. But overindulgence comes at a weighty price.

    How to avoid it
    Don’t put yourself in an environment that encourages poor eating. “Placing yourself in a situation that doesn’t support your goals can lead to temptation,” says Boscaino. “It’s OK to indulge but make sure you don’t go overboard and get right back to clean habits the next meal or the next day.” Boscaino says to pick your favorite food or beverage and have one of them once a week or every other week. But, give up something else to even it out, she says. “You can satisfy a craving if you become mindful about it,” she says. “Plan it, enjoy it and move on.”

  2. The excuse: You just want to sleep in.
    In the summer, you feel like you have to get out of bed when the sun is shining and the air is warm. You go for a run or hit the pool to do some laps. When it’s freezing out, sometimes you just want to stay in bed instead of taking the kids to the playground.

    How to avoid it
    Your exercise regimen shouldn’t fall off the wagon with the temperatures. “If movement is part of your daily life, you don’t look for the excuse,” says Boscaino. Invest in gear that’s comfortable to wear outside regardless of the elements. Some cute new workout clothing can also help you stay motivated. (And don’t skip breakfast. Otherwise you’ll overeat at lunch.)

  3. Culprit: Fall treats are abound at the office.
    Your boss wants to get rid of her Halloween candy stash so she puts a chocolate-filled bowl on her desk. Your direct report made pumpkin pie that she begs you to try. Colleagues are flooding the break room counters with baked goods that just won’t go away.

    How to avoid it
    “There are the moments you can’t avoid,” says Sawyer. Stock your desk with nonperishable healthy snacks like mixed nuts; organic popcorn; healthy bars; or whole-grain, high-fiber crackers. That way you’ll avoid making impulse food choices. “Keep these items on hand when you feel the urge pulling you to the common dumping ground of treats,” she says. If you must, allow yourself to have a treat now and then. Settle on one you can’t really live without it and stick with it. That way you can plan where you want to spend your calories. “Whatever you do, make it worth it,” she says. She says at Clean Cut, they tell client to pause and ask themselves, “Is it worth it? Would I rather skip a glass of wine tonight or eat this leftover cake?” “Ask yourself these questions before just grabbing,” she says. You’ll feel stronger once you avoid something a few times.

  4. The excuse: Fruits and veggies are harder to come by.
    More produce (watermelon, cherries, corn) is in season, inexpensive and accessible when it’s warm. Come fall, you reach for heavier, warming comfort foods like mac and cheese because the farmer’s market is closed and the supermarket has less fresh options. (Plus, eating can help raise body temperature which may be why we seek out hearty bowls of pasta, chili and stews.)

    How to avoid it
    Opt for frozen fruits and veggies. Frozen produce is oftentimes more nutritious because it’s frozen at peak freshness. Just avoid canned ones which can be high in salt and preservatives. And remember that fruit is still fresh in the fruit and winter; it’s just different, says Sawyer. She recommends eating apple slices spread with all-natural almond or peanut butter. “The good fat helps the sugar in the apple process a little slower, making it more satisfying,” Beware that too much fruit any season isn’t good in your diet, she says. “Look to increase your veggies this season with ones like rich seasonal squash that is filling, comforting and full of nutrients.”

  5. The excuse: It’s too cold to take Spot for a walk.
    You may be driven to reduce your dog’s regular walks come fall. Instead of heading around the block, you just let him out in the yard or quickly walk around the cul-de-sac.

    How to avoid it
    The cold weather deters many people from continuing their active routines. But when your pup isn’t getting his exercise, neither are you. Look at Fido’s sad face and remember the importance of giving both of you some time outdoors. You can also text a fellow pet owner to help you stay accountable. “If you know someone is waking up with you, it’s harder to hit snooze and talk yourself out of it,” says Boscaino.

  6. The excuse: It’s suddenly dark out.
    You had planned to go for a run at the park. But now it’s pitch dark out. So your plans have been axed.

    How to avoid it
    You can’t avoid weather issues like snow, rain, cold and darkness. But, you should have a backup plan. Try an app or DVD to get in a workout at home. Or hit up the local gym and run on the treadmill. Twenty to 30 minutes is better than nothing. You can always make it up in the next few days by adding extra time to your other workouts, says Boscaino. “Remember that exercise doesn’t give you the freedom to eat whatever you want,” she says. “It gives you the freedom to save up for the cheat you plan.”

  7. The excuse: You have too many dinner dates.
    In the summer, you’d make fish on the grill and then go for a bike ride with your partner. Now that it’s too cold to grill, you have less active date night. You grab dinner out and catch a movie. You try new spots and tend to overeat. Or, you order in and watch some Netflix.

    How to avoid it
    Try something indoors that’s active or date night like bowling or ice skating. At restaurants, split your entrees with your partner or take half home. Learn toward healthier options like salads, fish, vegetables and whole grains, says Sawyer. “Foods rich in starch and sugar seem to make you feel better in the moment, but in the end leave you with the urge for more,” she says. Snack wisely while you’re streaming a movie at home. “Just because it’s movie night, doesn’t mean you have to have popcorn,” says Sawyer. “Why not make roasted chickpeas?”

  8. The excuse: You want to try every recipe you see online.
    Recipes for muffins, breads, cake and more start to fill your Facebook feed. Now that you’re home more, you’re inspired to get baking. But this new hobby can prove detrimental to your waistline.

    How to avoid it
    Choose a recipe and have friends and family over to try it. That way, you won’t be left with leftovers you feel inclined to sample. Avoid taking tastes as you cook. And stick to small, sensible portions. Split a muffin with a friend, for example. Sawyer also say you can try paleo flour or coconut flour when baking. “Baking is more about filling time than the finished product,” she says.

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Why Many People Gain Weight in the Fall (And How to Avoid It)

03/10/2019 jleff 0

The lazy, hazy and crazy days of summer are a fading memory. You’ve put away the bathing suits, sun dresses and open-toed shoes. You’ve taken out and put on the puffy coats, leggings, sweaters and boots.

And sometimes you also put on…pounds. Short days, long nights and colder weather make it easy for us to hibernate. We stay indoors after work and snack in front of the TV, instead of going for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.

It may not seem like an issue to gain a pound or two beneath that pair of elastic waist pants and cuddly sweatshirt. But, it’s tough to shed that extra weight after New Year’s.

We spoke with Caren Boscaino and Lori Sawyer. They’re founders of Clean Cut Fitness & Nutrition, a program that will help you balance work, life, nutrition and fitness. They’re also authors of Shrink Your Body, Grow Your Mind. They gave us tips and tricks to ensure that your diet doesn’t veer off track this fall and to help you adopt healthy behaviors. “We help people shift their minds and not just wish through moments,” says Boscaino. “With tips and knowledge and support, people can make real change. It’s never easy to make change alone. Find support in the office, home, etc. and it makes you more accountable.”

  1. The excuse: Fall treats fill the stores.
    Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and apple cider donuts have made their return to coffee shops and stores. It’s hard to escape and ignore the smells and sounds of this sugar-filled fare. It becomes more tempting because we feel it’s a short-lived season and we need to get it all in. But overindulgence comes at a weighty price.

    How to avoid it
    Don’t put yourself in an environment that encourages poor eating. “Placing yourself in a situation that doesn’t support your goals can lead to temptation,” says Boscaino. “It’s OK to indulge but make sure you don’t go overboard and get right back to clean habits the next meal or the next day.” Boscaino says to pick your favorite food or beverage and have one of them once a week or every other week. But, give up something else to even it out, she says. “You can satisfy a craving if you become mindful about it,” she says. “Plan it, enjoy it and move on.”

  2. The excuse: You just want to sleep in.
    In the summer, you feel like you have to get out of bed when the sun is shining and the air is warm. You go for a run or hit the pool to do some laps. When it’s freezing out, sometimes you just want to stay in bed instead of taking the kids to the playground.

    How to avoid it
    Your exercise regimen shouldn’t fall off the wagon with the temperatures. “If movement is part of your daily life, you don’t look for the excuse,” says Boscaino. Invest in gear that’s comfortable to wear outside regardless of the elements. Some cute new workout clothing can also help you stay motivated. (And don’t skip breakfast. Otherwise you’ll overeat at lunch.)

  3. Culprit: Fall treats are abound at the office.
    Your boss wants to get rid of her Halloween candy stash so she puts a chocolate-filled bowl on her desk. Your direct report made pumpkin pie that she begs you to try. Colleagues are flooding the break room counters with baked goods that just won’t go away.

    How to avoid it
    “There are the moments you can’t avoid,” says Sawyer. Stock your desk with nonperishable healthy snacks like mixed nuts; organic popcorn; healthy bars; or whole-grain, high-fiber crackers. That way you’ll avoid making impulse food choices. “Keep these items on hand when you feel the urge pulling you to the common dumping ground of treats,” she says. If you must, allow yourself to have a treat now and then. Settle on one you can’t really live without it and stick with it. That way you can plan where you want to spend your calories. “Whatever you do, make it worth it,” she says. She says at Clean Cut, they tell client to pause and ask themselves, “Is it worth it? Would I rather skip a glass of wine tonight or eat this leftover cake?” “Ask yourself these questions before just grabbing,” she says. You’ll feel stronger once you avoid something a few times.

  4. The excuse: Fruits and veggies are harder to come by.
    More produce (watermelon, cherries, corn) is in season, inexpensive and accessible when it’s warm. Come fall, you reach for heavier, warming comfort foods like mac and cheese because the farmer’s market is closed and the supermarket has less fresh options. (Plus, eating can help raise body temperature which may be why we seek out hearty bowls of pasta, chili and stews.)

    How to avoid it
    Opt for frozen fruits and veggies. Frozen produce is oftentimes more nutritious because it’s frozen at peak freshness. Just avoid canned ones which can be high in salt and preservatives. And remember that fruit is still fresh in the fruit and winter; it’s just different, says Sawyer. She recommends eating apple slices spread with all-natural almond or peanut butter. “The good fat helps the sugar in the apple process a little slower, making it more satisfying,” Beware that too much fruit any season isn’t good in your diet, she says. “Look to increase your veggies this season with ones like rich seasonal squash that is filling, comforting and full of nutrients.”

  5. The excuse: It’s too cold to take Spot for a walk.
    You may be driven to reduce your dog’s regular walks come fall. Instead of heading around the block, you just let him out in the yard or quickly walk around the cul-de-sac.

    How to avoid it
    The cold weather deters many people from continuing their active routines. But when your pup isn’t getting his exercise, neither are you. Look at Fido’s sad face and remember the importance of giving both of you some time outdoors. You can also text a fellow pet owner to help you stay accountable. “If you know someone is waking up with you, it’s harder to hit snooze and talk yourself out of it,” says Boscaino.

  6. The excuse: It’s suddenly dark out.
    You had planned to go for a run at the park. But now it’s pitch dark out. So your plans have been axed.

    How to avoid it
    You can’t avoid weather issues like snow, rain, cold and darkness. But, you should have a backup plan. Try an app or DVD to get in a workout at home. Or hit up the local gym and run on the treadmill. Twenty to 30 minutes is better than nothing. You can always make it up in the next few days by adding extra time to your other workouts, says Boscaino. “Remember that exercise doesn’t give you the freedom to eat whatever you want,” she says. “It gives you the freedom to save up for the cheat you plan.”

  7. The excuse: You have too many dinner dates.
    In the summer, you’d make fish on the grill and then go for a bike ride with your partner. Now that it’s too cold to grill, you have less active date night. You grab dinner out and catch a movie. You try new spots and tend to overeat. Or, you order in and watch some Netflix.

    How to avoid it
    Try something indoors that’s active or date night like bowling or ice skating. At restaurants, split your entrees with your partner or take half home. Learn toward healthier options like salads, fish, vegetables and whole grains, says Sawyer. “Foods rich in starch and sugar seem to make you feel better in the moment, but in the end leave you with the urge for more,” she says. Snack wisely while you’re streaming a movie at home. “Just because it’s movie night, doesn’t mean you have to have popcorn,” says Sawyer. “Why not make roasted chickpeas?”

  8. The excuse: You want to try every recipe you see online.
    Recipes for muffins, breads, cake and more start to fill your Facebook feed. Now that you’re home more, you’re inspired to get baking. But this new hobby can prove detrimental to your waistline.

    How to avoid it
    Choose a recipe and have friends and family over to try it. That way, you won’t be left with leftovers you feel inclined to sample. Avoid taking tastes as you cook. And stick to small, sensible portions. Split a muffin with a friend, for example. Sawyer also say you can try paleo flour or coconut flour when baking. “Baking is more about filling time than the finished product,” she says.

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How to Increase Plant-Based Foods in Your Diet

02/10/2019 jleff 0

Plant-based eating is currently all the rage. In fact, a 2017 Nielson home study found that 39 percent of Americans were actively trying to eat more plant-based foods. And a 2018 study by Nielsen commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association …

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How to Wait Out a Blue Mood

01/10/2019 jleff 0

TUESDAY, Oct. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Feel bad about feeling bad? Don’t.

Studies done at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that acknowledging a blue mood — and not berating yourself for it — can help you work through it more ea…

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Taking Small Self-Care Steps to Heal My Mind, Body and Soul

30/09/2019 jleff 0

It’s been about 10 days since I wrote about my burnout and need to create a new relaxation game plan for my life after 60. Many of you responded affirmatively as I shared my need to de-stress and slow down and said you did too. “Let me know how you intend to do this,” said a reader, who indicated she was moving at record-speed all the time.

I realized from the comments, emails and text messages that came my way, that I had hit a hot button with other women my age and younger ones, too. So, while I said I wasn’t going to blog as frequently, I wanted to share some of the small self-care steps I’ve been taking to heal my mind, body and soul.

Self-care step 1: Healing my mind

When I lost my spouse in 2007 and emptied my nest in 2008, my therapist, Dr. F, was there to walk me through these significant changes in my life. She also helped me when I lost my mom, retired from my full-time job and sold my house. I don’t think my transition from loneliness to loveliness would have happened without her strong listening skills or thought-provoking questions.

When she moved to Florida several years ago, she left me in great condition to fly solo. Now with my recent anxieties about my health and the loss of my sister-in-law, I realized it was time I sought out someone new. I checked out the Psychology Today website. It provides a wonderful list of registered therapists in each state and their specialties. I found Dr. R who is great. She is challenging me to think differently.

I’m taking her advice and doing the best I can to limit my vocabulary about yesterday. “I used to be able to do this, or, I used to be able to do that sets me back into my past which is not where I want to be. With this new awareness, when my mind wanders, I’m doing a better job of catching myself when I do use these words and bringing myself back to the present. My goal is to be grateful for all that I can do right now.

Dr. R is exactly the therapist I need to heal my mind at this moment.

Self-care step 2: Healing my body

To heal my body, the first thing I did was find a new general practitioner. It’s so important when you’re not feeling well to have a health care professional working on your case whom you can trust and who can provide the right guidance. Thanks to recommendations from my BFF L, I’m on track.

“You’ve been through so much in the last six months,” said my new internist, Dr. M, as she listened to me talk about my health issues with bladder cancer, new cholesterol treatments, and the loss of a family member. “Take the next two months to do things that relax you. Find what calms your anxieties and do those things. Don’t do them just to blog about them or teach them to others. Do them for yourself. Let your body heal.”

It took me 15+ years to switch general practitioners, but I’m so glad I finally built up the courage to make a change.

Dr. M is exactly the doctor I need in my life right now.

I’m equally happy to tell you that my September bladder scope was clear of tumors. The BCG immunotherapy continues to work, and I will have more treatments in October.

I loved this sign that my son D created to hang in his apartment.

Self-care step 3: Healing my soul

My soul searching at sixty-something has begun just in time for the autumnal equinox, when the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Ooh, ooh, ooh, more night hours—that’s not so good for a postmenopausal woman like me who has insomnia and anxiety.

Shannon Roche, CEO of Yoga Alliance, says it’s a good time to “mark this moment of change by pausing to look inwards together to rediscover the clarity and wisdom that exist within us all.” Yes, Shannon, that’s what I’m doing—taking a pause so I can slow down and find my inner wisdom. It’s one of the most challenging assignments I’ve ever had. I hear it. Slow down. It makes perfect sense. Slow down. But I cannot always do it.

Practice, Judy! Think of it like your yoga and meditation. It’s a practice. Take the perfection out and add in patience. Let go of your ego. Let it go, you don’t need it anymore.

So that’s what I’m doing. To heal my soul, I’m letting go. I’m practicing being instead of doing. Ooh, ooh, ooh, it’s SO HARD! Don’t worry, Judy, you got this. It may take more time than you thought, but you got this!

Taking things one day at a time is what I need to heal my soul today and all my tomorrows.

Reading about self-care and slowing down

I’ve also been reading articles and books about self-care, slowing down and letting go. There’s an abundance of content on these matters. One of my recent favorites is NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper essay about finding stillness and dealing with her grief after the death of her cousin’s daughter this summer.

Maria says that before her August break, people asked her if she was “worried about losing her momentum on social media or other assignments.” She knew she might lose some momentum, but she was certain that what she would gain in return would be more meaningful.

Maria went to Utah to visit her son and found herself on a mountaintop “sobbing uncontrollably.” She says, “I sobbed for my cousin, I sobbed for all those who are suffering, I sobbed for my own grief, sadness and fears. I thought I was done grieving the death of my mother, my father, my uncle, my marriage and my old identity—all of which unfolded in rapid succession over the last 10 years—but turns out, I wasn’t. I thought I was done grieving my youth, my children moving out, past mistakes, unrequited loves, etc., but turns out, I wasn’t. I wasn’t done with grief, and it wasn’t done with me.”

Gosh, Maria, that’s how I’ve been feeling these past few months. This next transition into my authentic self is unfolding, and it’s really shaking my foundation. 

Maria says that when she stopped crying, she was in stillness. Her extraordinary revelation was that within this stillness she was OK. About her quiet mind, she says: “It allowed me to realize that I was proud of myself for so many things. It allowed me to even realize that I love myself. Sitting there alone I felt all that I am, instead of all that I am not. I felt it for perhaps the first time ever.”

The LOVE sculpture on the Highline in New York City sent me a sign.

Wow-o-wow, I hope through my own slowing down and soul searching I can reach a similar extraordinary revelation.

Maria, who is 63, goes on to say, “The stillness and simplicity I had been yearning for wasn’t outside. It was within me all along. It’s just that I’d never slowed down long enough to gain access to it.… My new narrative is exactly the opposite. Today, it brings me joy to be who I am. I feel good knowing that I am here to be of service. I am here to share my story—the dark and light of it. I am here to use my voice whenever I can to help others.”

Yes, Maria, yes. That’s what I hope to do, too. And while I’m not writing about my exciting travels to Italy or Lapland, I feel like my blog posts about my self-care and slowing-down journey are more meaningful to me at this time. It’s what I need to write right now. 

As they say at the end of Jane the Virgin, a fun tele-novella my sister N suggested I watch as part of my small self-care steps, this sharing is “to be continued.”

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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How to Rebalance Your Carb Intake

30/09/2019 jleff 0

MONDAY, Sept. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There’s no doubt that eating a lot of sugar isn’t good for your health. What’s more, sugar can trigger a chemical reaction that has you craving more and more. Just think about the last time you ate a cookie –…

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Fast Facts on VCF

27/09/2019 jleff 0

What Are Vertebral Compression Fractures?Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are the most common fracture in people with osteoporosis, affecting about 750,000 people annually, says the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. VCFs affect about…

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Can You Still Be Healthy If You’re Overweight?

19/09/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

THURSDAY, Sept. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If you’re overweight but have dodged chronic health issues like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, you might not think that losing weight is a priority. But an analysis of five years of records on 3.5 million people — underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese — has found reason for concern.

READ: Why Weight Gain Often Comes With Age

The researchers discovered that even if people didn’t have any metabolic diseases at the start of the record-keeping, those who were obese were more likely than those of normal weight to develop health issues as time went on. Those health issues include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease (a circulation disorder that affects blood vessels beyond the brain and heart).

But no one is completely immune to health problems. Researchers also found that being at a normal weight doesn’t necessarily eliminate all risk for metabolic abnormalities, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Indeed, 10% of those at a normal weight had at least one metabolic issue. Also, no matter what your weight, the more of those health markers you have, the greater your chances of a heart event, like an attack.

This research underscores the importance of getting regular health screenings and knowing your numbers: cholesterol (total, HDL and LDL) and triglycerides; blood pressure (systolic and diastolic); and blood sugar. Then you can work with your health care provider on lifestyle changes to improve your health and risk factors, whether or not weight loss needs to be part of the plan.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Why You Should Care About Cholesterol

17/09/2019 jleff 0

If you’re under 45 and haven’t known someone affected by heart disease, chances are pretty high that understanding cholesterol is probably not top of mind. And yet, knowing more about cholesterol, what your cholesterol numbers are and what they mean co…

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Are You Just a Worrywart or Is It Something More?

17/09/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Sept. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Everyone goes through moments of worry, but for some people, anxiety takes over their lives. How can you tell if you’re an average worrywart or if you might have an anxiety disorder? Your degree of distress is often a good indicator.

READ: Is It Stress Or Anxiety?

Normal anxiety typically comes from a specific source of stress, like an upcoming job interview or a fight with your spouse. When the issue is resolved, the anxiety usually eases. With an anxiety disorder, you could be anxious all of the time and worry about everything from money to sexual performance to the well-being of loved ones, often for no good reason.

Putting a Name to Your Feelings

  • Excessive worrying is a sign of what’s called “generalized anxiety disorder.”
  • Sudden episodes of anxiety, distress or discomfort that may be accompanied by troubling physical symptoms, like a rapid heart rate, can be signs of a “panic disorder.”
  • Anxiety over something specific — like the fear of flying, heights, small spaces or spiders — are all very common “phobias.”

One sign of a problem is the intensity of your distress — if your anxiety is out of proportion with the problem when a real problem exists.

The amount of time you spend worrying is also a clue. A study of people’s worry diaries found that those with an anxiety disorder worried for more than five hours a day — five times more than the average person. You might have physical symptoms, such as dizziness, sweating, a racing heart and the feeling that you can’t breathe. Some people find it hard to concentrate or sleep, or wrestle with stomach aches or headaches.

Normal worrying doesn’t interfere with living your life. But an anxiety disorder can keep you from handling family and work responsibilities. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor. Treatments from meditation to talk therapy can help.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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