Sunday, 7 January 2007

Can a binge be caused by happiness?

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I totally know about the "happy binge." I just really love to eat, and whether I'm feeling bummed out or celebrating something awesome, I always tend to think of it as "extenuating circumstances" that give me permission to put my diet on hold. Of course there's nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then when something special happens, it's just important that you make sure it doesn't get out of hand. Pretty soon what started at "I got a promotio n!" turns into "It's Saturday!" or "My favorite TV show is on!"

This post on iVillage.com tells a sweet story about a girl who had a great day followed by a "happy binge," and how talking with her friend helped her feel better about the whole thing and less likely to binge again over emotions, good or bad.

I don't think any amount of talking can prevent all "potato chip attacks," but I bet it can help stop a few.

Fast growing skin cancer may not look like you think

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Skin cancer has become so common in recent years I think most people could name at least a few of the signs to look for when wondering if a "spot" is cancerous or not. But the ABCD rule -- asymmetry, border irregularity, color irregularity, and large diameter -- has actually become somewhat dangerous. How is that possible? A study out of Australia shows that often melanomas (the fastest growing and most deadly form of skin cancer) do not have any of the ABCD characteristics, and actually go so far as to be completely opposite (regu lar borders, even color, symmetrical, etc). They are, though, usually itchy or bleeding and elevated.

So what's the best way to be safe? Have any growing or changing skin lesion checked by a professional asap, whether it fits any symptom set or not.

Fainting dieters cause of subway delays

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If you live in New York City and have experienced a subway delay recently, you can feel comfort in the fact that many of the delays are caused by sick dieters. Sick -- as in dieters who end up fainting due to dizziness. Clonk -- ouch!

If you're going to go on a diet, transition into it gracefully and test normal activities that you perform daily to ensure you don't subject your body to much change over a short period of time. I know this from experience.

But, with the New Year jus t past us, many resolutions have kicked in, and the sprinters who wanted to start fast (as in "lose weight") have metabolisms that can't just switch gears like a car.

Fit Pregnancy: When your get up and go gets up and leaves

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In our Fit Pregnancy feature, blogger Jennifer Jordan speaks her mind about maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Every two weeks through March 31, 2007 she'll weigh in on exercise, diet, wellness and other health-related issues as she manages her own journey from pregnancy to motherhood.

There's a line in a song I heard somewhere where the singer notes his "get up and go must've got up and went." Like the tweener that found deep-rooted personal meaning in every sad song she heard, this line pretty much sums up life for me these days, as I wallow in the glory of my third trimester.

I say wallow because I have done very, very little in the way of extra exercise since the holidays hit. And, in an unusual twist of fate, I don't really care. Normally, at the start of the new year, like everyone else, I am champing at the bit for another shot at rounding the park in an effort to get my body "bikini ready" by bikini season. This January, however, as I enter the last three months of pregnancy, I am finding that I have little interest in hoofing it anywhere. It's not that I'm overly tired yet (although have heard energy can decrease in T3) or that I'm bored with my routine. It's not even that I can't breathe from my giant uterus smushing my diaphragm--I managed to adapt to this pretty quickly.

It's just that, well, I'm so DISTRACTED. There are simply so many things to do in this last trimester that I can't seem to find the time or interest in working out. Between getting a nursery set up, picking a stroller, figuring out the wonderful world of maternity leave and getting the rest of my life in order before baby makes his debut, I'm just too caught up in life to work out! This is coming from a woman who LIVED to see if she could outpace her husband during a 9 mile race and who considered hills catalysts for speed. Ah well.

Now I'm lucky if I can get myself changed into workout wear and stretched out for ten minutes before hitting the pavement. What's worse is that I know it's wrong for me to become sedentary at this crucial time. Well, I wouldn't say "wrong" exactly, but I understand the importance of exercise during pregnancy and the many benefits resulting from it. I also know that I'm more mentally sound when I work out and more grounded. Grounded is the last thing I feel right now. Giddy? Sure? Gassy? Definitely! Overwhelmed? Perhaps a tad. But grounded--not so much.

My husband likes to tell me the story of how this one colleague of his walked almost every day until she gave birth and had an easy delivery two weeks early. I can't verify if this is true but according to him (according to her) the exercise is what made everything so smooth. And she got her bikini body back. Truth is, I don't care about my bikini body. That may change post-pardum, but I feel like the thing to do is concentrate on what seems right NOW.

If my body--and perhaps my baby--is telling me to take it easy, enjoy myself, focus on things that need to be done so I can relax and enjoy my new son, then so be it. I know I'll never give up exercising completely, even during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. And I know that after he's born, I'll weave my son in to the wonderful world of exercise that I share with my husband. Perhaps that's why I'm not so worried about it right now--I know exercise is a part of life for me and always will be.

Osteoporosis claims get new placement on food labels

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In general, I've seen the FDA crack down more on certain marketing claims on processed and other foods rather than promote claims. Well, not today.

The Food and Drug Administration will begin allowing label claims regarding "reducing the risk of osteoporosis" on foods, beverages and dietary supplements containing both calcium and vitamin D.

Of course, a large food/beverage company is behind the move (no surprise), as the FDA proposal was spurred by a petition from Coca-Cola -- maker of Minute Maid orange juice products.

Celebrity trainers tell us what works

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Don't lie! Everybody wants to look like a celebrity. Well, maybe not exactly like a celebrity, but fit and beautiful in your own skin is pretty fair to say. I'm not a celebrity, so I really don't know how easy or difficult their lives are, but I do think it's easier for them to eat healthy and stay in shape with personal chefs and personal trainers at their beck and call. Sometimes they even get several months allotted before a movie just to get as buff as possible...

Must be rough.

So just what are those celebrity personal trainers teaching people like Oprah, Elle McPherson, and Madonna? Everything from focusing on health instead of appearance, to finding activities you like, to being realistic about just how much hard work it takes to get in (and stay in) shape.

Good to know they have to work hard at it, because I sure do!

Take control of your emotional eating

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What do you do when you're stressed? Do you get angry? Do you cry? Do you go for a run? Or do you reach for the double stuff oreos and madly shove them down your gullet until you are covered in cookie crumbs and feeling very ashamed of yourself? If you answered the latter, you're an emotional eater. If you eat when your sad, or mad, or glad (Dr. Seuss?), you're also an emotional eater. For me, it's usually sadness or boredom that cause me to raid the pantry with feckless abandon. But this always makes me feel worse than I did before, and guess what that causes? More emotional eating.

Yes, it's a vicious circle, but it can be stopped. The first step is realizing you have a problem. For ideas on how to control your emotional cravings, check out this article.

What are your ideas for ending emotional eating?

Pleasure vs. pain in the merchandising of America

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Do you purchase things based on how much pleasure they can bring you? I'll bet that most of the overeating in this country is due to that fact -- the chemicals and enhancements used in so much of ours foods provide a pleasurable feeling along with a type of "addiction" -- hence, we consume (or eat) more. Most of us, anyway.

But what about the financial aspects that stretch beyond the biological aspects? Your body has a struggle about the pleasure of buying something with an expectation (which is almost always good) versus the pain of spending money. Deep down, you know, most of us want to...err...save money. Mayb e.

A new study challenges an economic theory that purchasing decisions are a trade-off between current pleasure (buying something now) and future pleasure (buying something else later). Which is it in your opinion?

Asthma: treating children with inhaled steroids

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At a visit to your pediatrician for your child's recurring cough, you're prescribed...a steroid? If your child is diagnosed with asthma, that's likely the case. Many parents become confused when their child is given a steroid, picturing body builders and giant athletes. This article does a great job of describing the difference between different types of steroids. Parents -- your asthmatic children will not grow up to be muscle men and women -- at least not because of their asthma medication!

Steroids come in different forms and the kind that are used to treat asthma are called anti-inflammatories. T hey're inhaled deep into the lungs to soothe irritated tissue that causes the chronic cough and wheezing of the disease. There are risks to taking them, as there are with any medication, but most physicians agree that the benefits of controlled asthma far outweigh the risks of the medicine. (These types of medication differ from fast acting inhalers -- such as albuterol -- which are used during an asthma attack. Inhaled steroids prevent an attack, but won't stop one that is already in progress.)

As the article points out, the best course of action is to educate your child and yourself on the proper dosing and use of the medication so that your child can have well-controlled asthma with the fewest side effects possible. That means more time and freedom for playing and having fun!

The 'reverse diet' turns meals upside down

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Think you've tried every new diet out there? Think again! The Reverse Diet turns meal time head over heels and claims to help dieters lose weight quickly.

After what sounds like a difficult past, the author, Tricia Cunningham, woke up one day and realized she needed to do everything differently. So she started with a meal and ate dinner, for breakfast. She had a small lunch, then ate a bowl of shredded wheat for dinner. Soon, she saw the weight melting off and has kept it off ever since.

What I like about this book is that it was written with the help of a nutritionist -- so if you follow it you can rest easy that you'll be getting some basic nutrition. From looking at her sample menu, however, I think the weight loss comes more from eating a low calorie/high nutrient diet. I don't know if I'm convinced that eating dinner before dawn is an effective weight loss technique in itself, but obviously it worked well for her. I can see the benefit of having your biggest meal early in the day; it would provide extra energy and probably lead to a smaller lunch. It's an interesting concept...what do you think?

How to look your best by tomorrow morning

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I think skin is like hair: you can have "good skin days" and "bad skin days." It's almost impossible to tell which one you'll get until you're up in the morning looking in the mirror, and it seems like inevitably, if you have something special going on, you're skin is at it's worst. But no worries! There are ways to help limit the bad days and encourage the good ones, and things you can do the day before to help ensure you'll be looking your best by morning.

Many of the tips in this article are just good reminders of things you should already know, like sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! But some others are a little different, like trying to sleep on your back at night (to reduce puffiness and creases) and eating "skin friendly" foods like spinach, blueberries, and salmon.

I think I'll try the special 24 hour skin-friendly diet suggested, but some of the other ideas are just not an option for me. If I couldn't sleep on my side at night I might have less wrinkles over time, but I gaurantee I'd have dark circles the size of dinner plates due to lack of good rest!