Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stress, Emotional Eating and Weight

Keeping a healthy weight—and especially losing weight—is not easy for many reasons. For one, easy access to extremely tasty high-calorie foods pushes many to overeat. Living with stress—a common source of negative emotions—also makes it difficult to keep healthy habits. In fact, according to http://www.webmd.com/, up to 75 percent of overeating is driven by emotions.

Stress in particular has the power to push people toward overeating and other unhealthy behaviors. Research shows that stress forces people—particularly those who usually restrain their eating—to eat more and to choose high-fat foods over healthier ones. The high-calorie foods serve as self-medication, producing a relief from negative emotions. Of course, the relief is only temporary—the effect of chocolate, for example, disappears after only three minutes, according to studies. However, because the food or beverage reduces a negative emotion, even temporarily, we tend to turn to it again next time we experience the same emotion.

Not all food works, though. When sad, disappointed, irritable or anxious, we don’t crave carrots or celery. Instead, we turn to ice cream, chips, cookies or chocolate. Research shows the palatability of these foods may affect brain chemistry. Yet, food only numbs the feelings—without resolving underlying causes. And, by adding inches to our waistlines, we also pile guilt onto the mix.

Become Aware of Your Habits

The first step to conquering emotional eating is identifying your bad habits. Do you find yourself eating when you are not really hungry or when you are in a certain mood? The next step is to pinpoint the triggers. Some emotional eating is caused by negative emotions—being bored, irritated, upset or stressed out. Certain thinking patterns, such as “I had a bad day at work; let me treat myself” or “I am overweight already, so what harm will one cookie do?” also push people to overeat. And unhealthy behavior patterns, such as stocking the pantry with tempting and unhealthy food, can also contribute to the problem.

To establish your patterns of emotional eating, write down the foods you eat and the accompanying feelings and thoughts. Record the times you eat and drink, the types and quantities of foods and beverages, your hunger rating (on a scale of 0 to 10) and situations preceding eating and any notable emotions. Next, review the journal, searching for triggers.

Forming Healthy Habits

Depending on the triggers, your strategy will differ. For some, learning to recognize the physical hunger may be needed. Ask yourself, “What exactly would feel good in my body now? Is it something hot, cold, sweet, crunchy or mushy?” Narrow the food down without judging it good or bad. Learn to trust your body.

Those with unhealthy thinking patterns need help to identify the patterns and “refashion” the thinking. For example, instead of deciding that an extra cookie won’t matter, you may say to yourself, “I’m trying to keep a healthy weight—so the cookie may make a difference. Why don’t I eat something healthier?” While it may sound forced in the beginning, over time you can change the way you think.

If you use food as a reward, a stress reliever or a distraction, try brainstorming and developing a list of healthier, non-food-related coping activities, such as reading, doing Sudoku, exercising, breathing techniques, or meditation or massage. Keep a written list of the most effective coping activities handy—to turn to in times of intense emotions, when it may be hard to think clearly.

Maintaining Motivation

As with any other habit, emotional eating takes motivation, time and practice to break. Get support from your doctor of chiropractic and other health care providers you visit. Find what will inspire you to form healthy habits. For many people, appearance, health and well-being serve as meaningful motivators—but they may need to be spelled out into practical terms, such as an outfit you want to wear, a health problem you want to avoid or an activity you want to do. Take some time to verbalize it in detail.

Your doctor of chiropractic can help you find specific foods and techniques that will help you—and give you detailed homework. Once you start a new program, remind yourself about your reasons to keep weight off to help yourself stay on track.

Signs of Emotional Eating

- Eating when not physically hungry
- Unbalanced eating—consuming large portions of food in a short time
- Eating when angry, depressed, bored, anxious or stressed
- Feeling guilty after eating
- Eating at night to cure insomnia or loneliness
- Gaining weight in times of stress
- Reducing Stress

The following strategies can also help lessen the effects of stress on your health and improve stress tolerance.

- Think positively to lessen the negative effects of stress on your health.
- Try aromatherapy, or smelling the essential oils of plants, to help you unwind after a stressful day. Aromatherapy is recognized worldwide as a complementary therapy for management of chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia and stress-related disorders.
- Relax with a cup of tea.
- Laugh it off. Humor relieves stress and anxiety and prevents depression, helping put your troubles in perspective.
- Build a support system to help you cope with stressful events.
- Listen to music. Music, especially classical, can serve as a powerful stress-relief tool.
- Try meditation to calm your mind. Focusing on our breath, looking at a candle or practicing a nonjudgmental awareness of our thoughts and actions can help tune out distractions, reduce anxiety and depression, and accept life, no matter the circumstances.
- Get a massage. It has been shown to have therapeutic properties, reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension and helping patients with chronic low-back pain to decrease pain, depression and anxiety and improve sleep.
- Give exercise a shot to relieve stress and get into good physical shape.

No matter which stress-relief methods you choose, make it a habit to use them—especially if you feel too stressed out to do so. The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Reprinted from the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association; 45(5) 40-41.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Bend to Osteoporosis!

Today, October 20, 2010 is World Osteoporosis Day (WOD). This day provides an all-important focal point for informing and educating the general public and policy makers about the prevention of a disease which still suffers from poor general awareness. With the number of participating countries and scheduled events increasing steadily year by year, the impact of WOD has grown significantly.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by low bone mass and deterioration in the microarchitecture of bone tissue, leading to an increased risk of fracture. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone mass decreases more quickly than the body can replace it, leading to a net loss of bone strength. As a result bones become fragile, so that even a slight bump or fall can lead to bone fractures. These are known as fragility fractures. Osteoporosis has no signs or symptoms until a fracture occurs – this is why it is often called a ‘silent disease’.

Osteoporosis affects all bones in the body however fractures occur most frequently in the vertebrae(spine), wrist and hip. Osteoporotic fractures of the pelvis, upper arm and lower leg are also common and are associated with significant disability. Fragile bones are not painful but the broken bones that result cause pain and increased morbidity and mortality.

Hip Fractures
Hip fractures are the most devastating fracture in terms of morbidity and mortality, as 20% of those who suffer a hip fracture die within 6 months after the fracture. Most hip fractures take place after a fall. The exponential rise in rates of hip fracture with age in both men and women results from both an age-related decrease in bone mass at the proximal femur and the age related increase in falls.

Vertebra Fractures
Vertebral fractures are the most common caused by routine activities such as bending forward, twisting and/or lifting light objects. Falls are also associated with vertebral fractures. The prevalence (the number of fractures at any one time in a community) of vertebral fractures is similar in men and women. In men this is thought to be occupation associated. However the incidence (number of new fractures) of vertebral fracture is about one third higher in women than men between 50-60 years, and doubles after age 70.

Wrist Fractures
Most wrist fractures happen in women, occurring earlier than hip and vertebral fractures, with the incidence increasing with age. The incidence of wrist fractures in men is low and does not increase with age.

The key message is "Don’t miss the signs of a breaking spine."

Three major signs of vertebral fractures are height loss, back pain, and a stoop.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

About Body Mass Index for Adults

To continue the American Chiropractic Association's October educational campaign, National Chiropractic Health Month, Why Weight? Get Healthy! the following educational information about Body Mass Index is provided.

What is BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Additionally, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

How is BMI used?
BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool. For example, a person may have a high BMI. However, to determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings.

Why does the Center for Disease Control and Prevention use BMI to measure overweight and obesity?
Calculating BMI is one of the best methods for population assessment of overweight and obesity. Because calculation requires only height and weight, it is inexpensive and easy to use for clinicians and for the general public. The use of BMI allows people to compare their own weight status to that of the general population.

How is BMI calculated and interpreted?

Calculation of BMI
BMI is calculated the same way for both adults and children. The calculation is based on either of the following two formulas:

Measurement Units
(1)Kilograms and meters (or centimenters)
Formula and Calculation: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2
With the metric system, the formula for BMI is weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Since height is commonly measured in centimeters, divide height in centimeters by 100 to obtain height in meters.
Example: Weight = 68 kg, Height = 165 cm (1.65 m)
Calculation: 68 ÷ (1.65)2 = 24.98

(2)Pounds and inches: Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.
Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5'5" (65")
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

Interpretation of BMI for adults
For adults 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using standard weight status categories that are the same for all ages and for both men and women. For children and teens, on the other hand, the interpretation of BMI is both age- and sex-specific.

The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the following table.

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 ----Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 ---Normal
25.0 – 29.9 ---Overweight
30.0 and Above-Obese

For example, here are the weight ranges, the corresponding BMI ranges, and the weight status categories for a sample height of 5'9".

Height --Weight Range-----BMI-----Weight Status
5' 9" --124 lbs or less --Below 18.5---Underweight
--125 lbs to 168 lbs ---18.5 to 24.9---Normal
--169 lbs to 202 lbs ---25.0 to 29.9--Overweight
--203 lbs or more -----30 or higher--Obese

How reliable is BMI as an indicator of body fatness?
The correlation between the BMI number and body fatness is fairly strong; however the correlation varies by sex, race, and age. These variations include the following examples:

• At the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men.
• At the same BMI, older people, on average, tend to have more body fat than younger adults.
• Highly trained athletes may have a high BMI because of increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness.

It is also important to remember that BMI is only one factor related to risk for disease. For assessing someone's likelihood of developing overweight- or obesity-related diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines recommend looking at two other predictors:

• The individual's waist circumference (because abdominal fat is a predictor of risk for obesity-related diseases).
• Other risk factors the individual has for diseases and conditions associated with obesity (for example, high blood pressure or physical inactivity).

For more information about the assessment of health risk for developing overweight- and obesity-related diseases, visit the following these Web pages from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at www.nhlbi.nih.gov:

• Assessing Your Risk
• Body Mass Index Table
• Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults

What are the health consequences of overweight and obesity for adults?
The BMI ranges are based on the relationship between body weight and disease and death. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:

• Hypertension
• Dyslipidemia (for example, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides)
• Type 2 diabetes
• Coronary heart disease
• Stroke
• Gallbladder disease
• Osteoarthritis
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

For more information about these and other health problems associated with overweight and obesity, visit the NHLBI's Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

Is BMI interpreted the same way for children and teens as it is for adults?
Although the BMI number is calculated the same way for children and adults, the criteria used to interpret the meaning of the BMI number for children and teens are different from those used for adults. For children and teens, BMI age- and sex-specific percentiles are used for two reasons:

• The amount of body fat changes with age.
• The amount of body fat differs between girls and boys.

Because of these factors, the interpretation of BMI is both age- and sex-specific for children and teens. The CDC BMI-for-age growth charts take into account these differences and allow translation of a BMI number into a percentile for a child's sex and age.

For adults, on the other hand, BMI is interpreted through categories that are not dependent on sex or age.

This educational information is provided by the American Chiropractic Association.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bring Your Best Friend to Howl & Hike Dog Walk!

Bring your dog to Horseshoe Lake (Eyland Avenue) on Sunday, October 10th from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm to enjoy the Howl and Hike Fun Walk. Sponsored by Noah's Ark Animal Welfare, this event presents dog owners the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon with their best friend while at the same time participating in a fundraiser, helping to change the lives of the dogs and cats awaiting adoption at Noah’s Ark.

Enjoy entertainment by Eric Hayes www.erichayesmusic.com, delicious food, training demonstrations, and showcase of many rescue groups and vendors. This is a great socializing opportunity for attendees and their friendly canine companions.

Terri Carr, Radio Host on 105.5 FM WDHA will MC the event.

The cost is a $25 individual admission fee for individuals over 18. Dogs are free with one individual paid admission.

Register in advance and be eligible for special door prizes. Go to http://www.firstgiving.com/noahsarknj to register online.

To participate as a fundraiser, collect pledges. Ask family, friends & co-workers to sponsor you and your dog as you walk to raise funds for homeless pets. Go to http://www.noahsarknj.org/images/PledgeForm.jpg for a copy of the pledge form. Be eligible for prizes! The success of this event depends on the number of people who walk with Noah's Ark and collect pledges. Since this is a pledge walk, it is important to ask friends, co-workers and neighbors to sponsor you. But PLEASE don’t stop there - all monies you raise provide essential funds to continue their efforts.

Check in at Howl & Hike with your pledge sheet and donations, grab their goodie bag and enjoy the day! Noah's Ark accepts check, cash or major credit cards. T-shirts will be sold at the event.

Great prizes for top pledge collectors, door prizes and costume contest winners!