Health and Wellness Blog

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Your Holiday Survival Guide to Realistic Expectations

By:  Lindsay Jones, MS, RD–Registered Dietitian

 

It’s getting chilly here in Colorado and has even snowed, which only means one thing … the holidays are upon us, or will be before we know it!   The holidays can be synonymous with stress, weight gain, indulging, and lack of exercise which can lead to kicking off the New Year with unwanted pounds to lose.  But it is possible to not get stuck in this pattern this holiday season!   Believe it or not, the holidays can be the perfect time to implement some healthy habits or put your already healthy habits to the test.

 

Here are a few of my favorite holiday tips to keep you and your family on track this holiday season:

 

1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevents weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating.

3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a protein smoothie so you will be less tempted to overindulge when you get there.

4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorites. Aim for half of your plate to be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate carbohydrates and a quarter of your plate protein.

5. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday foods and be mindful of when you feel full. Feeling full is a delayed response so the slower we eat, the less likely we are to feel uncomfortable after a meal.

6. Be careful with beverages. Whether it’s a hot chocolate or a hot toddy, most holiday beverages are full of calories and sugar and can induce overeating.

7. Practice portion control. Some of our favorite foods are served only at the holidays but that doesn’t mean we need to eat enough for the whole year. Take a small portion and enjoy each bite.

8. Take the focus off food. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes in your neighborhood.

9. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. This is the only way you can know there will be a healthy option when you get there!

10. Practice healthy holiday cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating.  Incorporate healthy baking and cooking alternatives to cut back on fat, sugar and calories.

 

Thanks,

Dr. Abby

Dr. Abby Bleistein Medical Weight Loss Denver Healthful Life MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Out and Eating Healthy

How to Stick to a Healthy Eating Plan and Enjoy Yourself

The restaurant choice does matter. Many restaurants are cooking with local, sustainable, fresh ingredients now, and choosing those types of establishments will make it easier to eat out.  These restaurants can be more expensive, however, and often, you don’t choose where you are eating because it is for work or for a social gathering, and the choice is made for you.

At any restaurant, pre-planning can help you make good choices for your health.  You can find nutrition information on menu items for most restaurant chains at www.dietfacts.com or www.myfitnesspal.com.  This way,  you can check the calorie count, sugar/carbohydrate content, and fat content of menu items prior to going out.  Salt or sodium content is often listed as well.  The healthiest items are not always intuitive, so if you have the opportunity, check and decide what you might want to eat prior to going out.

Most restaurants will offer bread or chips for the table prior to a meal.  I recommend avoiding this, as you will have plenty of food to come.  However, if you have trouble staying away from it when it is placed in front of you, ask them not to bring it at all.  I will ask for vegetables to dip in guacamole at Mexican restaurants and skip the chips.

When selecting menu items, I look at the protein and the vegetable of each item.  Choosing fish that is grilled, baked, or poached is a good choice. Avoid breaded or fried fish.  You might eat red meat only when going out, and choosing that is fine. Consider portion sizes, though, because most portions at restaurants are larger than 3-4 ounces which is what you want for a meal.  Three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.  When your plate arrives, cut off the portion that looks like 3-4 ounces, or if you plan to have more for this particular meal, cut off that amount.  Get your to-go box at the beginning and save the rest prior to starting your meal. You can always have more, but this way, you can decide if you had enough prior to finishing the larger portion.

If the plate comes with a starch or a grain, it will likely be higher in carbohydrate than you want to have.  Restaurant food tends to be more calorically dense than you would eat at home as well. For this reason I recommend asking to substitute the starch/grain for either more of the vegetable that comes with the meal or ask for a second vegetable side.  I will peruse the rest of the menu to see what vegetables are already being made and ask to substitute that. Most restaurants will charge two to three dollars extra to make this kind of change. If they won’t do it, I just ask them to leave the carbohydrate ladened side off the plate.  If you order a salad prior to the meal, you will have 2-3 of your daily vegetable servings at your restaurant meal!

When choosing a salad, avoid dressings that have added sugar.  Usually these dressing will have sweet in the name, for example: “sweet soy” dressing, or they will be called “citrus” or “honey” dressing of some sort.  Added sugar in salads also comes in the form of sugared nuts.  You can ask them to use unsweetened nuts, or simply leave these off. You may enjoy lemon and oil for your dressing at home, and you can ask for fresh lemon and oil to dress your salad with–that is always a fresh and tasty choice. You could also ask for vinegar and olive oil, which most restaurants can often accommodate. I recommend staying away from fat-free dressings as they often have added sugar for flavor, not to mention the chemicals added for texture.

If you want something sweet after dinner, ask for fresh fruit. Often the restaurant will have lovely fresh berries, and you could have them put on some cream for an extra treat.

By asking for some simple changes and by planning ahead, you can go out to eat with family and friends and eat in a very healthful and satisfying way.

Thanks,

Dr. Abby

Dr. Abby Bleistein Medical Weight Loss Denver Healthful Life MD

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Vegetable Soup Any Time

No Recipe Required

By Anna Stockwell


Winter is coming. But so are homemade bowls of hot soup.


When I’m sick. When I’m cold. When I’m feeling festive. When I’m feeling the opposite of festive. When I don’t know what to eat for dinner, and when I know exactly what I want to serve for a dinner party. These are just some of the times I make creamy, silky puréed vegetable soups.

Learning how to make vegetable soup is soothing in itself: the repetitive motion of blending, the forgiving and adaptable form leaving room for daydreaming. And you don’t need broth or stock to do it, nor do you need cream or any other dairy to make it rich. All you need are vegetables and a blender. (I like to use an immersion blender for easier cleanup, but if you happen to have a Vitamix, soup-making is absolutely the time to bust it out.)

Follow these simple steps, and you’re on your way to a fall and winter full of the best soups ever:

1. PREPARE THE VEGETABLES

Pick the veggies you want to turn into soup and start chopping. You’ll want at least one allium: an onion or a shallot or a leek. The rest is up to you: carrot, butternut squash, zucchini, cauliflower, sunchoke, peas, celery root, cauliflower, corn, sweet potato, etc. Pair a couple together or stick with just one type, and peel and chop them into somewhat uniform chunks. (Don’t worry about how they look: no one is going to see the chopped veggies except you. Isn’t that a nice break?) For a thicker soup, add a potato to your mix, but don’t add too many—they can make a pureed soup gluey. For a sweeter soup, add an apple or a pear. Today I used a mix of yellow onions, carrots, sweet potato, and apples for an autumnal bowl perfect for the month of October.

2. SWEAT THE VEGETABLES

Melt some fat (about a tablespoon) in your favorite soup pot: butter, olive oil, coconut oil—whatever you like. (Me? I like butter.) Toss your chopped onion or other allium in the fat as soon as it’s melted. Let the onion (or shallots, or leeks) sweat for a few minutes to soften, then add the rest of your chopped veggies. Give everything a stir, and add a bit more oil or butter if you need it. Sprinkle with some salt, stir one more time, and let everything sweat for a few more minutes to get the flavor juices flowing.

3. ADD AROMATICS

While the vegetables are sweating, add some aromatics to season the soup. Finely chopped ginger and garlic are always great options; so is curry powder and garam masala. A sprig of thyme and/or a few bay leaves are almost never out of place, or you can use a rosemary sprig, cinnamon stick, or a dried chile to spice things up.

4. ADD LIQUID

All you need is water. I know, I know—you think you need stock, or cream, or beer. But the pure flavor of the vegetables is going to shine through so much better if you just use water. If you want to get a little fancy, you can deglaze the pot with a bit of wine or fortified wine such as sherry, madeira, port, or vermouth before you add the water. This can lend a nice depth of flavor, but it’s not essential to soup success.

When you add the water, add enough to cover all the vegetables completely, then put the lid on your pot and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and let everything simmer until it’s all tender (you want to be able to very easily mash the chunks of vegetables against the side of the pot). Depending on the size of your vegetables, this should take about half an hour. Is the water evaporating too quickly? Just add more.

5. PURÉE THE SOUP

First, remove any aromatics like thyme sprigs or bay leaves . Then stick in your immersion blender and start buzzing, or transfer the contents to the jar of a blender and give it a whirl. To thin the soup out, simply add more water. To make it creamier, add some milk, cream or coconut milk. A dollop of yogurt or sour cream are also good additions as you blend the soup together. Have a taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. A squeeze of fresh citrus juice or a splash of vinegar may be needed to balance the flavors. And salt will almost definitely be necessary.

6. GARNISH AND SERVE

Fact: prettier bowls of soup taste better. So find something to swirl into your soup. Yogurt or sour cream, a swirl of herbed oil, chimichurri, or chutney—it all looks good. Especially when you add an extra garnish of fresh herbs, toasted nuts, seeds, coconut chips, or croutons.

7. FREEZE THE LEFTOVERS

Extra soup is a good thing. Pack it up in individual portions in resealable jars or containers, making sure to leave a bit of extra space in the container, and freeze them for those days later this season when you’re too tired, or too cold, or too festive, or…well, you know what I mean. Now that you know how to make vegetable soup, you can make it any old time you want.

PHOTO BY CHELSEA KYLE, FOOD STYLING BY ANNA STOCKWELL

Thanks,

Dr. Abby

Dr. Abby Bleistein Medical Weight Loss Denver Healthful Life MD

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Boundaries to Make Sustainable Lifestyle Changes

What You Can Do

 

Going to a relative’s house for dinner can trigger feelings of guilt for making specific meal requests.  The hosts may feel you don’t appreciate their efforts. Family members might feel shamed or judged for their food choices.

Going “out with girls or the guys,” or going out to business dinners, you may feel that you stand out because of your choices.  Your choices might cause people to reflect on their own choices and feel bad about themselves or judged by you. People may encourage you to “join in” with what they are doing:  “Just have one bite…” or “Have the steak, it’s a business account…”

This focus on your own consumption can be uncomfortable and unwelcome.  Pressure from friends, family, or colleagues may be hard to take when you are already struggling with the challenges that come with making positive life changes.  You stand out.  Without intending to call attention to your own choices or those of others, the situation brings everyone’s feelings to the fore.

The comments can feel personal and hurtful. Setting Boundaries Quote

You can take charge of your safety by protecting your feelings in the moment, projecting calm and confidence, setting clear boundaries, and using other tactics such as ‘changing the subject.’

By remembering that people have their own personal concerns around their health and their choices and protecting your own feelings, you can avoid being confrontational, work towards de-escalating the trigger and take the focus away from you.

 

Here are some ideas to set boundaries in a positive way:

  • Make it about you:  Everyone has their own issues around what they eat and don’t eat.  Instead of saying “I’m not eating it because it’s not good for me,” you could say “I’ve noticed I don’t feel well when I eat…”   People are usually less triggered when issues are around illness, for example, if you are allergic to something, most people won’t continue to push if you let them know.  You could just say, “I have a sensitivity to [gluten, dairy, certain meats, etc.].”
  • Give it a time frame:  People are often triggered by what seems like an extraordinary permanent change.  Don’t make it permanent, you can say “Right now, I’ve been eliminating sugar and I have been feeling really good.”
  • Thank people for their efforts:  “This looks so good!  I am disappointed to be missing out.  I will have to try it another time, when…”   When they do take the time to make a meal that accommodates your dietary needs, make sure to thank them.
  • Find ways to celebrate and connect without food Meet friends for a walk or hike rather than a meal.  Go to a “make your own” art studio with groups of friends to spend time together.  Avoiding a situation that will lead to problems can prevent the unwanted attention.
  • Let your partner know that you can be close without sharing the same foods and without drinking alcohol:  Reassure your partner that you can have fun together and enjoy each other’s company in new ways that allow for your healthy choices.  Have open conversations with your partner about why the changes are important to you.  You may even enlist their help: “I wish I could eat these tasty snacks, and I’m glad you enjoy them.  It’s hard for me when they are in the house.  Can you choose to have those snacks when you are away from home?”
  • Change the subject:  Take charge of the direction of conversation by following up your boundaries with other topics, such as questions about your friend’s activities or family.  “I’ve been trying to reduce my sugar.  How is your mom?  Did she have fun on her trip?”

Being aware and understanding of people’s triggers, using an emotional shield and not taking comments personally, using skills to de-escalate triggers, and communicating your needs and goals without judgment can help empower your interactions with others while you make a positive lifestyle change for yourself.

What have you done to set boundaries for yourself?  How has this helped you?  Please leave a comment below, this may help others.

Thanks,

Dr. Abby

Dr. Abby Bleistein Medical Weight Loss Denver Healthful Life MD

 

 

 

 

 

How to Harvest Chard and Freeze It

Harvesting my Hydroponic Tower Garden

 

In preparation for our snow storm today, I knew it was time to harvest what I could from my Tower Garden.  My Tower is a hydroponic garden that I keep on my deck that allows me to grow 20 plants in a small corner of my deck, protecting the plants from the deer and elk that frequent my yard. I love my Tower!  I have enjoyed eating fresh salad greens, tomatoes, and chard from the tower all summer long.  I also grew pie pumpkins, a melon, snap peas, and assorted herbs.  Alas, it is time to say goodbye.

 

 

My one chard plant went a little crazy this year. I could hardly keep up with it. And, because I also had a farm share box of fresh produce every week, I had chard coming from all directions.  As I started cutting the chard from the tower yesterday, I realized I could not possibly eat it all before it went bad.  So, I decided to freeze it.  Chard freezes very well if your intention is to cook it. Ideally, you could blanch it before freezing it—cook it in boiling water for just a few minutes and then shock it in cold water after for a beautiful green color—but who has time for that?

 

 

I chose instead to freeze it fresh and vacuum seal it.  I did a chiffonade cut—I stacked the leaves and then rolled them and cut them into fine ribbons—which is my favorite preparation for use.  I then used my vacuum sealer to vacuum seal portions for later use.  I ended up with 8 bags of chard for my freezer.

I love to use chard cut this way to add to soups or sauté as a side dish.  I steam it in the microwave and then put it over quinoa and sunny-side-up eggs for a protein-packed breakfast.  I also like to sauté it with onions and shiitake mushrooms.  I will clear “nests” in the pan to drop fresh eggs into cook, which also makes a delightful nested egg breakfast.

 

 

How do you store your garden fresh produce left at the end of the season?

 

 

I’d love to hear your ideas to cook chard as well!  Leave a comment with your ideas and share with others as well!

Thanks,

Dr. Abby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Bias: What you need to know

Weight Bias: What you need to know

What you need to know and how to overcome it

Weight bias is a very significant and very real experience for most of my patients.  From the judgment or dismissiveness of physicians, to the side-long looks when taking their seat on an airplane, to offensive jokes by the water cooler at work, to open cruelty by colleagues and family, my patients have seen it all.  

One patient described an episode at work that was particularly upsetting.  She worked as an emergency dispatch operator.  One very busy day, she was managing multiple calls regarding an emergency, from the victims to the first responders and back.  She had to put the fire fighters on hold to clarify information from one of the victims.  The firefighters, not realizing that they were not on mute complained into the system, “Well, if she would put that doughnut down, maybe we wouldn’t have to wait!”  My patient was angry and hurt, but honestly, the first thing she felt was embarrassment and shame.

I see so much suffering from the acceptance of weight bias in our society and culture, I see my hackles rise with ideas of social justice, and my heart breaks for the good people who experience these, often daily, insults. Recent research indicates that the harm done goes beyond emotional suffering to causing lasting physical damage as well.

With better understanding of the issues involved and some tools for personal safety, we can take action to prepare our patients to advocate for themselves – and to protect themselves from internalizing the destructive messages caused by weight bias.We can also prepare parents, educators, and others to speak up instead of ignoring these messages.

Weight bias is the inclination to form unreasonable and negative judgments based on a person’s weight.1  Stigma is the social sign that is carried by a person who is a victim of prejudice and weight bias.1 The consequences of this bias can be seen in a variety life arenas.

Economically, people who carry extra weight, have difficulty when seeking employment. Studies have shown that that carrying extra weight leads to decreased hiring rates compared to normal weight in identical candidates. The difference is more pronounced for women.2  Perceived character traits of people who carry extra weight include lower ambition, lower productivity, poor personal hygiene, poor supervisory potential, and poor self-discipline.1  In comparable positions, obese people earn less than their normal weight peers, a difference that is also more pronounced in women.1  People who carry extra weight are also less likely to be promoted over time.

In the media, people who carry extra weight are less often in leading, and particularly in romantic roles.  They are most often portrayed with less desirable or even negative, stereotypical character traits. They are also frequently the objects of jokes.  These images reflect societal views but also work to reinforce those views and legitimize them.  Imagine the impact on children, and their general development, seeing these stereotypes consistently throughout their viewing.

Children are also impacted in education. Teachers attribute negative characteristics to children who carry extra weight, believing them to be less intelligent and less capable than their normal weight peers. Teachers have lower expectations for kids who carry extra weight.  Adolescents who carry extra weight when applying to college, are less likely to be accepted for admission, all else being equal.

In addition, kids who carry extra weight are bullied at rates 2 1/2 times that of their normal weight peers.  One study examining quality of life scores (QOL) for kids found that kids who carry extra weight report lower QOL scores than their normal weight peers, and in fact, have score comparable to the scores of kids undergoing treatment for cancer.  I have had patients who had to leave schools because of the bullying they experienced, and who completed their schooling through online or home schooling because they did not feel safe in the normal school environment. Studies bear out this situation showing that students who carry extra weight have fewer years of education and are less likely to go to college.

Weight bias is present even in health care. One study of medical students showed that students already had integrated weight bias in their thought processes, including negative attitude towards people who carry extra weight, blame for their condition, unfavorable feelings, and dislike of working with patients who carry extra weight. Many settings are do not accommodate patients who carry extra weight, such as non-private weighing stations and seats with arm rests that do not fit heavier patients.  

Physicians assign blame to patients who carry extra weight and often communicate their negative judgments.  They believe that patients will not get better, spend less time with them, and also forgo examinations, often skipping routine screenings and exams. Facing this inherent bias leads to feelings of shame and discomfort. The result is that many patients who carry extra weight delay or avoid going to their doctor, which may delay diagnosis or even lead to worse illness that is not monitored or treated appropriately.

How can we make an impact on this problem and reduce its devastating consequences?  

First we must be aware that it is happening:  

  • Notice when biased views are portrayed in the media
  • Notice the comments made by those around you that reflect weight bias
  • If you are the target of weight bias, identify it for what it is.  Do not take these negative message in. Instead, recognize that this prejudice is unjustified, and call it out to yourself, “That’s not safe.”

The following recommendations include some of the excellent tools provided by Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, a global nonprofit leader dedicated to providing effective and empowering protection, positive communication, and social safety skills for all ages, abilities, cultures, beliefs, and identities. I am on the Board of Directors and often provide these tools for patients in my practice.

If you are the target of weight bias, and it is safe to respond, be prepared speak up and to protect your feelings from the negative words and actions:

 

  1. Set clear boundaries: “I believe you mean well when you comment about [my weight, my food choices, my exercise], and when you say those things, I feel uncomfortable/hurt/etc. Please stop making those comments to me.” “We don’t talk about weight here. It is against our values of respect and safety. . Please don’t make those kind of jokes around me.”
  2. Redirect the behavior: “My eating choices are fine. Tell me more about the trip you just took…” Or, “I don’t want to talk about this subject. Please tell me more about how you are doing.”
  3. Be prepared to persist in the face of negative reactions. It is normal for people to react negatively when they have been told that they did something wrong. They often belittle, minimize, or deny. For example, you might say, “I understand that you think I am being overly-sensitive. And I think it is disrespectful to put anyone down about their weight or other differences. Please stop.”.

If setting boundaries is not safe, you can still protect your feelings from emotional triggers.

Walk away from negative conversations. You can just leave quietly or make an excuse about being busy.

  • Use an emotional “rain coat,” shielding your heart from the impact, by undoing the negativity: If someone says you are lazy because you are fat, you can say to yourself, “That’s not true!  I am effective and efficient at my work.”

Be an Upstander instead of a bystander.

  • If you feel safe to do so, interrupt jokes or negative comments. “We don’t talk about weight here. Making fun of people’s identity is not funny or safe. Please stop.”

Use respectful language when you talk about people.

  • Avoid using terms like “obese” when describing people.  For health care providers, we can talk about people affected by obesity, rather than using obesity as a descriptor: “the obese patient.” Or using the term, “people who carry extra weight.”
  • Do not comment about your own weight or other’s weight in negative terms with friends, colleagues, and especially around children.

Be preemptive in addressing weight bias.

Because so many patients who are working on healthy lifestyle choices are dealing with weight bias, you can introduce the subject in a way that leaves them feeling less isolated and vulnerable. For example, you might say, “Many people who carry extra weight, have to deal with weight bias. Being treated as less worthy or even just hearing constant putdowns about weight can make it hard not to  take in these negative messages. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and advocate for others. “

Additional Resources:

How to Speak Up About Putdowns https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/speaking-up-about-putdowns/

Triggers, Emotional Attacks, and Emotional Safety Techniques https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/triggers-safety-techniques/

How To Stop Negative Self-Talk – Unsafe Words We Use On Ourselves – https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/stop-negative-self-talk/

Kidpower Skills for Health Care Providers https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/health-care-providers/

Round and Beautiful Like a Full Moon https://www.kidpower.org/library/article/round-like-a-full-moon/

 


 

How To Protect Kids With Extra Weight From Bullying

Healthful Life MD Abby Bleistein

Too often, kids and adults alike suffer from name-calling, taunting, rude gestures, pranks, and other cruel teasing and bullying because of their weight. The following recording and handout are thanks to Dr. Abby Bleistein, who is a board certified physician in Internal Medicine, pediatrics, and obesity medicine. Abby has a practice specializing in medically managed weight loss for adults and kids. She uses Kidpower to provide support and skills for her patients because they face a much higher risk of being bullied about their size. She includes this knowledge in her presentations on pediatric obesity at educational conferences for pediatricians.
As a Kidpower Board member who has participated in our Skills for Child Protection Advocates Institute, Abby partnered with us to create a handout and plan for what health care providers can say and do to help protect their patients who carry extra weight in their bodies from bullying.

Please put your name and email in the form below to download our handout for health care providers and other supporters. 

Kidpower Tips and Resources for Health Care Providers: Protecting Overweight Youth from Bullying

In the following audio recording of a telephone meeting with some of our instructors and board members, Abby discusses how she is partnering with Kidpower to educate pediatricians and other professionals about how to use Kidpower skills and resources with their patients.

Although the focus of the handout and discussion was about young people, all of these tools have also been useful for adults. At any age, people who want to lose weight in a healthy way often struggle with image and boundary issues that diminish their sense of self-worth and confidence. Health care providers and other people in positions of authority have the opportunity, even in just a minute or two, to communicate powerful information that can make a big difference.

To learn more about Abby’s excellent resources for helping people make healthy lifestyle choices, visit her website at: http://www.healthfullifemd.com/

 

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.Click

Friday Fitness Tip

Friday Fitness Tip

Exercise Helps You Resist Temptation

They don’t call it a “runner’s high” for nothing! Whether you’re addicted to sugar, cigarettes, or even heroin, exercise could play an important role in resisting your substance of choice.

In one study, scientists found that the endorphin rush released during exercise acts on the same neural pathways as addictive substances.

The result?  Mice in this study opted for the treadmill over the high from an amphetamine-laced solution, suggesting that humans could do the same.

If you are in the Metro Denver area and ready to get started loosing weight and getting fit, book your FREE 30 minute session with Dr. Abby who is located in Golden, CO here: http://bit.ly/TalkToDrAbby

 

Creativity Can Help Keep You Healthy!

Creativity Can Help Keep You Healthy!

Creativity reduces stress and keeps you healthy

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, like singing, dancing, or acting?  Or perhaps you have a love for horses and want to take riding lessons? Don’t brush it off as a silly extravagance or something you just don’t have the time or money for — giving into your creative desires is not only fun, it’s also good for your emotional health.

Creative Thinking: Why Creativity Is Important

Creativity is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • It’s fun and enjoyable. Doing things that you like reduces stress and improves overall well-being.
  • It boosts self-confidence. Trying new things can improve self-confidence and make you a more interesting person.
  • It stimulates the brain. Creativity sharpens the brain, which can stem the advance of dementia in old age. The more new things you learn, the more use the brain gets — and the sharper it will remain. It’s often recommended that seniors learn new skills and challenge themselves with new opportunities, but this recommendation is appropriate for any age.

Creative Thinking: A Balanced Life

You already know that all work and no play do not make for a healthy life — and can result in a pretty unhappy you. But that also doesn’t mean that all play and no work is good either, and that’s why striking the right balance is so important.

Working and being productive helps keep you sharp, organized, and even happy — as long as it’s well balanced with leisure and creativity. Whether it’s at your daily job, taking care of your children, or cleaning up your home and yard, you feel a great sense of accomplishment after a productive day — and that does a lot for your emotional health. But we all need time to rest and rejuvenate, and do something fun and stimulating. So block off some time each day or each week for a little creativity.

Creative Thinking: Making the Most of Your Time

During your “you” time, do anything that you enjoy or anything that’s new and different to you. Make it something that’s challenging, stimulating, and that you look forward to. Here are some good ways to challenge your brain, learn new skills, and get your creative juices flowing:

  • Write in a journal or do some creative writing
  • Tackle a crossword puzzle
  • Take a knitting, crochet, or cross-stitch class
  • Take up gardening
  • Visit the theater
  • Take a painting or sculpture class
  • Take a dance class
  • Learn yoga or tai chi
  • Listen to lectures
  • Take a cooking class
  • Learn to sing or play a musical instrument
  • Learn to speak a new language
  • Go back to school and take some academic or other classes of interest to you

Most importantly, whatever you decide to do, make it fun. Sure, it’s one more thing to add to your busy schedule, but taking time for creativity is one of the best investments you can make for your body and spirit.

Article written by:  Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD
Original Article Link

Strategic Goal Setting Seminar Identifies Top 5 Values

Strategic Goal Setting Seminar Identifies Top 5 Values

Mindfully Moving Toward a Highest Self

In this seminar, we identified values and created a vision and set goals that aligned with those values.

We identified powerful goals and deep motivation to help participants to stay on track with their plans.

During the seminar, we used interactive exercises to clarify values and then created a vision aligned with these most meaningful and compelling aspects of their lives. The final product, a personal vision board, can now be used as a visual tool to keep the participants moving toward their highest self.

If you are interested in signing up for upcoming events, contact Dr. Abby today!

 

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