Monday, January 28, 2008

Trying to keep your weight in check?

The following article is reprinted here courtesy of Honora Lee Wolfe, Dipl. Ac. and editor at Blue Poppy Press. Below you'll find 8 time-tested tips to help you hold the line on weight gain, which is especially important when your health conditions are specifically related to overweight or at least worsened by excessive weight.

1) EAT breakfast. In fact, regular meals and even some minimal healthy snacking helps us all to prevent the “starve-then-feast” phenomenon that can sabotage dieters. Whole grain cooked cereals, poached or soft-boiled eggs, or fresh, room-temperature or cooked fruit are a great start to the day.

2) TAKE TIME when you eat all meals. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full, so when we gulp down our food, we can eat more than we need without knowing that our body has had enough. Try chewing more slowly, put down your fork between bites, have a conversation, and savor the textures and smells of the food while you are eating them.

3) FEELING hungry between meals? Bite into a pickle or suck on a lemon slice. Neither one has any significant calories and the sour taste curbs appetite. If you don’t have either of these in the refrigerator, brush your teeth when you feel hungry and see if that short-circuits the urge!
4) POST a list of around-the-house or artistic projects on the refrigerator door (and a couple of other places around the house as well). When you need dieting-discipline tackle a project instead of eating. This helps you ride out the cravings.

5) START with a smaller amount than you think you can eat…and use smaller plates whenever you can. This fools your eyes into thinking less food is more.

6) PLAN your exercise in the morning if you can. After fasting overnight, more than half of the calories burned will come from stored fat, which is better for weight management than burning the carbs you ate for lunch when you work out at night. (Of course a walk before breakfast AND after dinner is not a bad idea either!!)

7) REMEMBER that a good aerobic workout will burn calories during the workout and for several hours afterward.

8) DRINK lots of water before and during a party where you will be drinking alcohol. It will fill you up, lessen your chance of a hangover, and make you feel full so that you eat fewer canap├ęs or cookies!

You may also want to check out Juliette Aiyana's book on Chinese Medicine & Healthy Weight Management for more great tips!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

finding the right doctor

When was the last time you had to find a new doctor? Have you been with the same doctor for many years? Or have you had to switch doctors many times due to moving cities or switching health care coverage? In our day in age, less and less people are able to establish lasting and trusting relationships with their health care providers. Many people don't have a doctor to go to with questions regarding their health. Some because they can't afford health coverage. Others because they haven't, for some reason or another, sought out a doctor in years. That's not to say they feel great all the time. Rather, they are reluctant to take their problems to a stranger who they, frankly, are not quite sure will help or very much care.

In speaking with people, I have found that those who have been seeing the same doctor for a number of years are much more likely to go in for a consultation when something doesn't feel right. They've established a relationship of trust, and they feel they have someone they can turn to. Those who do not have an established physician, on the other hand, tend to hold off on seeking help, partly out of fear, partly because they don't know where to begin in their quest for a trustworthy provider.

Starting a new relationship is never easy. Be it with an associate or colleague, a new teacher, a step-parent, housekeeper, mechanic, or a physician. The initial stages are always awkward, until we learn to know and trust each other. For some relationships, we don't have a choice as to the people entering our lives. For others, we get to choose. If we don't like our mechanic, we find another. The same is true for our health care providers. I believe that finding the right health care provider is essential!

The best way to find a good doctor is to get referrals from people you trust. Sometimes, this isn't possible, say if you've just moved to a new area and don't know anyone there yet. Or maybe none of your friends have the same insurance coverage, or none of the doctors they've recommended are accepting new patients. If you have to pick someone randomly off a list of approved providers, you could call them and ask about their health philosophy. Find out a little bit about what kind of a person they are. Some physicians now have personal websites that allow you to find out a little bit about them before you commit to entrusting them with your health. As you are looking over doctors' names and bios, see if you can tap into your intuition. Does one name resonate with you more than another? What's the feeling in your gut when you consider one person over another? See if you can tune out your rational thoughts for a moment and connect with the subtle feeling deep inside of you. Are you feeling agitated and tense as you are focusing on the person's name? Or are you experiencing a sense of calm and ease? If it's the former, keep looking. If it's the latter, give that person and try.

Dr. Judith Orloff has written a wonderful book called
Intuitive Healing , in which, among other things, she gives suggestions on using your intuition to find the right healer for you. It doesn't have to be an MD. In fact, depending on your condition, you might benefit more from seeking the care of a holistic practitioner, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, a Chiropractor, or a Licensed Acupuncturist. Or you may require a team of health care providers, including an MD, and maybe a holistic counsellor, a Reiki practitioner, or a Licensed Hypnotherapist. Whatever provider you end up choosing, your intuition can help guide you to her or him.