Monday, October 20, 2014

Stop Smoking!

Quitting tobacco is one of the most important steps you can take for your health. Tobacco doesn't just cause lung cancer. It also causes or contributes to other lung diseases such as emphysema and asthma, puts you at higher risk for stroke and heart disease, and is associated with several other cancers.

Quitting tobacco will also increase many of the pleasures of life. You will be able to smell fresh air and perfume, taste subtle flavors, save money  exercise without getting winded.

Find a date  that is no more than 1 month away-within 2 weeks is best. Try to choose a day when you won't be stressed or distracted. Circle the date on the calendar. Tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers that you are planning to quit. Ask them to help you find positive nonsmoking experiences or help you resist the urge to smoke.

After your last cigarette
(1) remove all your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays from purses, pockets, drawers, vehicle office and any other places you keep your tobacco stuff. (2) keep oral substitutes such as sunflower seeds, carrot sticks or toothpicks handy  (3) if you are using a non-nicotine medicine, take your dose each day of the week leading up to your quit day.

Discuss these tobacco cessation aides with your health care provider.

Nicotine Replacement Treatment
You can purchase nicotine patches, gum and lozenges over the counter: sprays and inhalers require prescriptions. These products are designed to ease the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Note that combing nicotine replacement with counseling works better than either alone.
Non nicotine medicine: Two non-prescription drugs, bupropion and varenicline, have been approved to help people stop smoking when combined with counseling. They are shown to reduce cravings when used as directed.

(1) begin using nicotine replacement therapy if that is your choice (2) take short walks instead of coffee breaks or take your brakes someplace new. (3) get outdoors and do some deep breathing. Fill your lungs with fresh air. (4) avoid places and situations where the urge to use tobacco is strong. (5) avoid other tobacco users if you can (6) carry sugar-free gum and hard candy for oral substitutes (7) avoid alcohol and caffeine-they often stimulate nicotine cravings (8) call a family member or friend

Withdrawal is not just physical it is also psychological. The trick is to stay calm, cool and collected in the face of cravings that sometimes feel uncontrollable. Sound tough? It is. But it is not impossible. After all, millions of people quit smoking every year.

(1) for a dry mouth or sore throat, sip ice water or juice or chew sugarless gum.
(2) for headaches and anxiety, take a warm bath and try mediating or simply breathing deeply for a few minutes.
(3) increase the fiber i.e. fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet to reduce bowel irregularity
(4) take a daily nap to beat fatigue. Do not over schedule yourself and make sure you get enough sleep.
(5) exercise daily to reduce your stress and irritability.
(6) use positive self talk, Remind yourself that you are now a nonsmoker.
(7) every time you want a cigarette, inhale deeply, count to ten and exhale. Remember that time is the great healer, and over time your urge to smoke will gradually diminish..

Remember that many people try quitting 3 or more times before they become tobacco free. It is never to late and is worth it!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weight loss basics

Two ways to learn if you are overweight are to determine your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference.

Your BMI classifies your weight in terms of your height. Too much mass over too little height can mean that you are overweight and possibly even obese. The formula for adults
(1) multiply your weight by 703
(2) divide that number by your height in inches
(3) divide your second answer by your height in inches again

Classify your BMI
18.5-24.9-healthy weight which is associated with the least risk of early death.
25.0-29.9-is overweight. Over 27 is associated with an increased risk of developing health problems
30.0-obese which is associated with the highest risk of health problems and early death

Since BMI may not be accurate for some people waist circumference is also used. Research shows that excess abdominal fat may pose a higher risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes than excess fat on hips or thighs.

To measure it
(1) run a tape measure around your body just above the highest point on each hip bone
(2) a measurement of more than 35 inches for women or up to 40 inches for men may increase your health risks

We need to eat healthfully and the proper foods. In restaurants  order salad dressings and other sauces on the side. Ask that the food be grilled without butter or oil or be prepared "light". Substitute steamed vegetables for high fat or starchy side dishes. Choose tomato based sauces instead of cream based sauces. drink water, diet soda unsweetened tea instead of regular soda or alcoholic beverages. Stop eating when you are full.

At the grocery store: check food labels for the amount of sodium, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugar and calories. (foods with mostly or only unsaturated fats are healthier than those mostly with saturated and/or trans fats but are also high in calories so consume in moderation) Also be aware that many items sold as single servings actually provide 2 or more servings)

At home cook from scratch as much as possible. Packaged  foods tend  to be high in some or all of these saturated or trans fats, sodium, calories, and or sugar. Broil or bake rather than fry, add lemon or spices instead of butter and eat wholesome varieties of pasta, cereal and rice.

By cutting 250 calories per day is the goal. Simple ways to cut calories include (1) for breakfast substitute herbal tea for high fat cappuccino. (2) at lunch hold the mayo on your sandwich and try spicy mustard instead. Drink water instead of a soda.

And exercise--very important--experts recommend moderate intensity cardio (aerobic)exercise, 150 minutes a week or vigorous intensity cardio 75 minutes a week. You may need to gradually work up to these goals. Do consult your health care provider before significally  changing your activity.