Posts tagged with "diabetes"

Joshua S. Yamamoto, M.D., F.A.C.C. ,You Can Prevent A Stroke, 360 MAGAZINE, author, book

World Stroke Day is Coming (Oct. 29th)

By: Joshua S. Yamamoto, M.D., F.A.C.C. (Author, You Can Prevent A Stroke)

The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent it.


Yes, You Can Prevent a Stroke, and remember, prevent is an active verb.


A stroke is damage to the brain from interrupted or inadequate blood. When we don’t get blood to the brain, it dies. Fundamentally, when we maintain adequate circulation to the brain, we prevent strokes.

Recognizing that our circulation naturally ages gives us the chance to be proactive in maintaining our health and preventing the otherwise inevitable changes that cause strokes.

Strokes are considered a “disease of aging.” This is true. But “aging” is much better understood than it once was. Aging is largely predictable. That makes it measurable and manageable. In fact, there is almost no such thing as cardiovascular disease, it’s mostly just natural aging.


Everyone ages, even Olympic athletes. No one is immune. We have 100,000 heart beats a day. That’s a lot of wear and tear. This internal aging is what leads to plaque build-up in arteries, increased strain and work in the heart, and the inevitability of less reliable and irregular heartbeats. These are the internal changes which cause strokes.


“Risk Factors” like diabetes, smoking, unfavorable lipids and higher blood pressure, are best thought of as things that accelerate natural aging. But there are two key things to remember: we are all dealt a genetic hand when we are born. We can not change the cards we are dealt, but we can choose how we play them. Secondly, time always passes.
The inevitable internal changes of aging do not produce symptoms before they lead to brain damage. That’s why we call heart and vascular disease the silent killer. It may be silent, but it is not invisible.


We can see it, long before it causes problems. But you need to look. No one knows their health on the inside until they look, but looking is easy and painless. We can use tools like ultrasound and extended cardiac monitoring. Once you know your health on the inside, then you can work with your doctor to actively prevent a stroke.


Our lifestyle choices and personal effort (that is, our diet and exercise) make a difference, but only to a point. Ultimately, genetics and time will matter more. If we want to prevent a stroke, think: “D-HART.”


Have a Doctor, and ask-


What is the health of my Heart (and how do we know)?


What is the health of my Arteries?


What is my heart’s Rate and Rhythm?


Is it Time to do something or start a medication?


Ask these questions so you can make informed decisions on how to navigate your own aging because, You Can Prevent a Stroke.

Expert Offers 10 Tips for Surviving Bottomless Brunch Without Hurting Your Liver

Now that brunch season is upon us, the last thing anyone wants to think about at their weekend gathering is how the fluffy French toast and fruity sangria they’re enjoying is affecting their health and how best to avoid hurting their liver. Lucky for them, that is where Dr. Tarek Hassanein of Southern California Liver Centers comes in.

Dr. Tarek Hassanein is a liver specialist who doesn’t believe in completely eliminating the fun from your life in the name of health. Instead, he has bcreated 10 tips to navigating your bottomless brunch. By offering your audience this advice, you are helping them navigate their upcoming boozy gathering with friends and family without negatively affecting your health…or your fun.


10 Tips for Navigating Your Next Boozy Brunch

1.       Savor your meal before drinking. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

2.       Enjoy your beverage. Do not overeat and Sip your drink.

3.       Avoid binging. Binge drinking is 5 drinks or more in less than 4-5 hours.

4.       Keep your number of drinks as low as possible. Don’t consume more than 3 drinks for a man and 2 for a woman.

5.       Know your alcohol. One beer is equivalent to a glass of wine or a shot of liquor.

6.       Find a driver. Don’t drive after drinking. It is hard to judge your blood alcohol level and its effects on your cognitive ability and reflexes.

7.       Take your meds. If you are a diabetic or hypertensive, suffering from a heart or liver condition, take your daily medications, and check with your doctor to avoid alcohol interactions with your medications.

8.       Avoid overdoing pain meds. If you are going to use Tylenol, don’t exceed more than 3 grams in one day. Be aware that a lot of headache medicines or pain killers contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), so avoid accidental overdosing.

9.       Don’t mix. Avoid mixing alcohol with other recreational drugs.

10.     Space your beverages out. Allow your body the ability to metabolize what you ingested and avoid intoxication.

Why Whole Grain?

Whole grain can contribute to health by changing intestinal serotonin production

Adults consuming whole grain rye have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fibre wheat bread, according to a recent study by the University of Eastern Finland and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In the study, the consumption of cereal fibre from rye or wheat was also found to reduce serotonin levels in the colon of mice. In light of the results, the health benefits of whole grain cereals may be linked, at least in part, to the alteration of serotonin production in the intestines, where the majority of the body’s serotonin is produced. The results of were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The consumption of whole grain cereals has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. There may be effects on bioactive compounds contained in whole grains, phytochemicals and fibres from which different metabolites are produced by intestinal bacteria.

The new study explored how the consumption of wholegrain rye modulates concentrations of different metabolites in the bloodstream. The study employed untargeted metabolite profiling, also known as metabolomics, which can simultaneously detect numerous metabolites, including those previously unknown.

For the first four weeks of the study, the participants ate 6 to 10 slices a day of low-fibre wheat bread, and then another four weeks the same amount of wholegrain rye bread or wheat bread supplemented with rye fibre. Otherwise, they didn’t change their diet. At the end of both periods, they gave blood samples, which were analysed by a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Their plasma metabolite profiles between the different diet periods were then compared.


The consumption of wholegrain rye led to, among other things, significantly lower serotonin concentrations when compared to consumption of low-fibre wheat bread. The researchers also tested in mice whether the addition of cereal fibre to the diet changes serotonin production in the intestine. The diet of the mice was supplemented for nine weeks with rye bran, wheat bran or cellulose flour. The mice receiving rye or wheat bran had significantly lower serotonin in their colon. For additional information on supplements and how they can modify diets go to website


Serotonin is best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, serotonin produced by the intestines remains separated from the brain, serving various peripheral functions including modulation of gut’s motility. Increased blood serotonin has also been associated with high blood glucose levels.

“Whole grain, on the other hand, is known to reduce the risk of diabetes, and on the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels,” says Academy Research Fellow Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland.

The researchers are also interested in the association of serotonin with colorectal cancer.
“Some recent studies have found cancer patients to have higher plasma serotonin levels than healthy controls,” Scientist Pekka Keski-Rahkonen from IARC adds.

The consumption of wholegrain rye bread was also associated with lower plasma concentrations of taurine, glycerophosphocholine and two endogenous glycerophospholipids. In addition, the researchers identified 15 rye phytochemicals whose levels in the bloodstream increased with the consumption of rye fibre.

 

Risks of an Animal Protein Diet

Diet rich in animal protein is associated with a greater risk of death

A diet rich in animal protein and meat in particular is not good for the health, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland finds, providing further backing for earlier research evidence. Men who favored animal protein over plant-based protein in their diet had a greater risk of death in a 20-year follow-up than men whose diet was more balanced in terms of their sources of protein. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Men whose primary sources of protein were animal-based had a 23% higher risk of death during the follow-up than men who had the most balanced ratio of animal and plant-based protein in their diet. A high intake of meat in particular seemed to associate with adverse effects: men eating a diet rich in meat, i.e. more than 200 grams per day, had a 23% greater risk of death during the follow-up than men whose intake of meat was less than 100 grams per day. The men participating in the study mainly ate red meat. Most nutrition recommendations nowadays limit the intake of red and processed meats. In Finland, for example, the recommended maximum intake is 500 grams per week.

The study also found that a high overall intake of dietary protein was associated with a greater risk of death in men who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the onset of the study. A similar association was not found in men without these diseases. The findings highlight the need to investigate the health effects of protein intake especially in people who have a pre-existing chronic medical condition. The mean age of the men participating in the study was 53 years at the onset, and diets clearly lacking in protein were not typical among the study population.

“However, these findings should not be generalized to older people who are at a greater risk of malnutrition and whose intake of protein often remains below the recommended amount,” PhD Student Heli Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland points out.

Earlier studies have suggested that a high intake of animal protein, and especially the consumption of processed meats such as sausages and cold cuts, is associated with an increased risk of death. However, the big picture relating to the health effects of protein and different protein sources remains unclear.

The study is based on the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) that analyzed the dietary habits of approximately 2,600 Finnish men aged between 42 and 60 at the onset of the study in 1984-1989. The researchers studied the mortality of this study population in an average follow-up of 20 years by analyzing registers provided by Statistics Finland. The analyses focused on the associations of dietary protein and protein sources with mortality during the follow-up, and other lifestyle factors and dietary habits were extensively controlled for, including the fact that those eating plenty of plant-based protein followed a healthier diet.

6 Therapies To Alleviate Pain Linked To Diabetes And Other Health Issues

The complications associated with diabetes are many, and chronic pain is common for many who suffer from the disease – especially back pain.

Most adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and almost half suffer neck pain. Usually, an injury or other musculoskeletal issue is associated with either affliction, although on occasion a disease may be linked to the problem as well.

Just as an example of the latter, researchers at the University of Sydney recently found that diabetics are at significantly higher risk of lower back pain and neck pain. While the report couldn’t establish a causal relationship between type 2 diabetes and back or neck pain, the research team pointed to preventable problems, such as obesity and lack of exercise, as contributing factors.

But whatever the source of any neck or back problem, finding that underlying cause is key to developing a treatment program that can both alleviate the pain and act as a form of prevention, says Dr. Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com).

“Most patients have a combination of problems causing their pain,” Butler says. “It’s very rare that just one thing needs to be treated.

“It doesn’t make sense to treat just the symptoms and not fix what is causing them. Many people, however, aren’t getting the correct therapy, so to them it’s no longer fixable. But it is – as well as preventable in the future with the right therapy.”

Butler has tips on treatments that can heal neck and back pain:

  • Acupuncture. Like chiropractic, acupuncture is a mystery to many people. “Its roots are deep in health and healing, and not in back pain alone,” Butler says. “More and more medical research is showing how incredibly effective it can be. Some studies show that it’s more effective than pain medications, and acupuncture produces actual results – it doesn’t just mask the symptoms.”
  • Chiropractic care. This a popular way to solve joint problems associated with almost all back and neck problems. “A spinal adjustment is the safest and most effective way to mobilize the joints,” Butler says. “Flexibility and range of motion of the affected segments is increased, disc circulation is improved and nerves function better.”
  • Massage therapy. “Massage is a powerful healing tool,” Butler says. “It helps to treat pain, inflammation, and spasm associated with back pain of all levels.” A highly trained massage therapist aids in breaking down scar tissue and increasing blood flow to the affected area, which accelerates healing while aiding the body in lymphatic drainage.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. There are two different types of muscles that control the spine: voluntary and involuntary. “Voluntary muscles control global movements of your entire spine or region, movements such as bending and turning,” Butler says. “Involuntary muscles are controlled directly by the brain and central nervous system. Neuromuscular reeducation uses specific exercises and movements to stimulate your brain to retrain these involuntary muscles and make a better connection.”
  • Physical therapy. “Physical therapy helps increase range of motion, strengthens the spine against injury, and improves posture and gait,” Butler says. “Some people think about physical therapy only as it pertains to post-injury, post-surgical recovery, but it’s also critical to longevity.”
  • Spinal decompression. “This therapy has been a game-changer in the treatment of patients with back pain who have degenerated, bulging, or herniated discs,” Butler says. “It’s the most advanced nonsurgical treatment for discs. It can be used for discs in the neck or lower back.”

“Singular treatments rarely work,” Butler says. “A properly designed plan should include multiple therapies for most people if the goal is to fix the problem.”

Getting to the Heart of the Problem

Although it is well known that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among all Americans, there is still a misconception that it primarily affects older, white men.

The truth is, the risks are even higher for African Americans. African Americans have higher rates of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Currently, 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of heart disease in the U.S.

Experts say there are several reasons why heart disease disproportionally affects the black community ranging from genetic to environmental factors. There are simple ways to control certain risk factors to reduce your risk for heart disease – it can be as simple as changing your daily habits.

Lifestyle Changes Can Include:
-Healthy diet
-Be physically active every day
-Reduce stress
-Quit smoking

During Heart Health Month, Dr. Wayne Batchelor, an interventional cardiologist and member of the Association of Black Cardiologists, is available to explain what you need to know if you have a risk factor that’s out of your control, how to talk to your doctor and the latest advancements in treatment options.

NasalGuard®

A Topical Gel that Reduces Inhalation of Harmful Airborne Contaminants Makes National Debut

Perfect for Flu and Cough Cold Season, Indoor Pollutants, Pet Allergies and More

Trutek Corp. announces the launch of NasalGuard®Airborne Particle Blocker®. NasalGuard is an electrostatic topical nasal gel that prevents airborne particles from entering the nose. The product is drug-free and safe for pregnant or nursing women, children, and those concerned about potential drug interactions with other medications. It is a perfect solution to guard you against the Flu/Cough/Cold and all indoor pollutants this winter season.

NasalGuard protects against virtually all types of contaminants in any location. Users can count on it to work in their homes, offices, and other environments where airborne particles may present a health hazard. The product works immediately upon application and lasts up to six hours. NasalGuard gel uses a cationic (positively-charged) polymer that creates a safe electrostatic field around the nasal passages that traps oppositely charged particles and repels similarly charged particles to reduce inhalation of most harmful airborne particles before they enter your body. NasalGuard gel can be purchased online, Amazon or by calling 855-627-2545 in a 3 gram tube for $11.85.

Every day, people are exposed to millions of airborne particles in crowded, confined spaces such as airports, airplanes, transportation centers and subways, homes and offices, hospitals, doctor’s offices and movie theaters. Using NasalGuard gel regularly will help protect against the immediate and long-term risk of breathing harmful contaminated air.

There has been a growing public health concern globally regarding the adverse health effects caused by the inhalation of microscopic airborne particles. Asthma, diabetes, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease are all proven to be linked to air contamination. In response to this widespread problem, Trutek has successfully advanced their technology which was originally focused on blocking allergens from entering the nose for preventing allergy symptoms. This breakthrough provides a greater electrostatic blocking effect that is effective against a much wider spectrum of microscopic indoor and outdoor contaminants including mold, pollen, pet dander, pollution, and virus-sized particles.

NasalGuard technology was invented by Ashok Wahi, the founder and CEO of Trutek Corp., an R&D Product Development Company. An engineer by training, Ashok was inspired to create this technology to aid his own daughter, Aikta, who suffered from severe allergies. “I developed this product because of the vital need to have some kind of personal air filter that was drug free and easy to use,” says Ashok Wahi.

About Trutek Corp.

Trutek Corp. has been marketing patented NasalGuard technology all over the world since 1995. Over 12 million tubes have been sold with no reports of adverse effects.

Follow us on Facebook @nasalguard

Four Prediabetes Predicaments

The Common Obstacles

You May Encounter(and Solutions for Overcoming Them)

When prediabetes threatens your healthy future, it’s up to you to reset your lifestyle.

But unforeseen obstacles could derail your progress. Here, I explain the HURDLE method and offer solutions for four obstacles you might face along your journey to better health.

Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide

If you have prediabetes or have been told that you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you probably know that now is the best time to take action to improve your health. And hopefully you are already working on developing some habits and setting goals to get your health under control. But new habits are tenuous and can be easily broken. It’s normal to worry that an obstacle could derail your progress and send you back into your old unhealthy (and potentially dangerous) routine.

Obstacles are always lurking anytime you’re trying to adopt healthier habits. To be successful with your lifestyle reset, you will need to anticipate obstacles and have a plan to overcome them.

To do this, I advise brainstorming as many solutions as possible, including thinking of out-of-the-box solutions.

Eventually, looking for impediments to your success will become second nature. But when starting out, I recommend using the HURDLE method to overcome obstacles.

The HURDLE method is defined here:

H: How is your upcoming schedule different? Think about your day and look at your calendar for appointments and activities. Is there something unusual or at an unusual time?

U: Understand how these events, appointments, or obligations could derail you from your healthy lifestyle goals. Will something prevent you from eating a meal, getting to exercise class on time, or getting to bed at the usual hour? Will someone else be in charge of your meals or your schedule?

R: Record your options. Brainstorm and write down every possible solution, even the silly ones.

D: Decide on a solution. Pick one or more realistic options from your list of possible solutions.

L: List the steps. Record everything that you must do to make this solution work. Include if you need to buy things, wake up early, change your schedule, ask for help, etc.

E: Exercise your choice and Evaluate it. Carry out your selected option. Make notes about how it went, what you learned, and what you will do differently next time.

Often, the best solutions to problems are the ones you figure out on your own. At the same time, there are some common obstacles most of us run into, and it can be helpful to have some time-tested solutions for how to tackle these obstacles. Here are some common roadblocks and solutions for overcoming each.

OBSTACLE: You’re Too Busy for Breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast can kick-start your good eating choices for the day and give you the energy for physical activity. But between getting the kids ready for school, taking the dog for a morning walk, trying to get out the door, running your morning errands, and getting to work, you may struggle to find time to eat a nutritious meal. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Find a few grab-and-go options. Some options include:

Whole-wheat tortilla with reduced-fat cheese heated in the microwave

Whole-wheat waffle with peanut butter

Greek yogurt and fruit smoothie

Overnight oats with strawberries and blueberries

Tuna sandwich

Cook oatmeal or egg-and-vegetable muffins on the weekend. Grab a single serving each morning.

Take a week’s worth of breakfast food to the office on Monday. Prepare and eat your breakfast at work. A few good choices are cottage cheese with fruit and muesli, yogurt with fruit and dry cereal, and an English muffin with almond butter and banana.

Ask a family member to prepare your breakfast. Maybe someone in your household has a little extra time in the mornings or they’re already making themselves breakfast.

OBSTACLE: There’s Too Much Tempting Food at Work

You’re working to take control of what you eat but find yourself backsliding at the office. It’s a common problem. Many people stay stressed-out or frantically busy at work, and they cope by reaching for unhealthy treats. Maybe you’ve had a rough day and your manager just bought a whole box of doughnuts to share with the team. Or perhaps it’s your officemate’s birthday and everyone brought in delicious treats to share (with very few healthy options). How can you resist?

Create a rule with exceptions. An important purpose of establishing “food rules” is to free you from an internal argument of should I or shouldn’t I. But occasionally allowing for an exception to the rule helps you stay on track. These exceptions need to be created in advance and not on the fly. Making exceptions in the moment is the same as breaking your rules.

My own simple rule is that I do not eat office junk food unless it is so unusual that I’ll miss a unique experience. I had another rule for eight years in a different office that I dipped into the candy jar only on Wednesdays. I always had Wednesday to look forward to, and I never argued with myself on the other days.

Limit temptation to one area. Ask your officemates to keep tempting foods in only one spot. Try to avoid that one spot.

Ask coworkers if they also want to eliminate certain types of food from work. You might be pleasantly surprised. After all, you aren’t the only one who cares about what you eat.

Pack your coffee in a thermal container. By bringing your coffee with you, you can avoid the junk food in the office kitchen when you need a coffee refill.

OBSTACLE: You’re at a Party Full of Unhealthy Foods and Drinks

You don’t want to blow all of your progress at a party. Success starts with intention, so avoid the temptation to simply wing it. Do some planning and strategizing in advance. Also, resist the temptation to avoid parties altogether just because you fear that you will lapse from your health goals. Here are a few tips for staying on track.

Determine your trade-offs. Will you skip appetizers and starchy sides to enjoy a piece of birthday cake, or do you prefer a cocktail and an appetizer? It helps to make these decisions before heading out the door.

Be cautious with alcohol. Alcohol has a way of leading people to greater food temptations. Start with a low-calorie, non-alcoholic drink and have a second non-alcoholic beverage after you drink a cocktail or glass of wine.

Take the edge off your hunger before going to the party. There is usually no reason to pre-eat, which often results in eating too much overall. But if you feel uncomfortably hungry when you’re teased with an abundance of party food, you will likely find it hard to hold control.

It’s okay to enter a party with a normal appetite. But if you need a small snack first, choose something healthful and filling like an apple, an orange, or a glass of vegetable juice. At the party, take your first bites of lower-calorie foods like fresh fruits and veggies or steamed shrimp.

Be active. If dancing or playing games is part of the party, join in.

Bring a healthful dish to share. If you know you’ll be tempted by a table full of cakes, cookies, and glazed meatballs, opt to bring a healthier dish that you can share with the group, like a veggie tray with hummus or fruit skewers.

Distract yourself. Keep yourself occupied with conversation and other non-food activities.

Avoid the buffet. When you’ve had enough to eat, position yourself far from the food.

Remind yourself of your new habits. Remember that just because you’ve always indulged in party food, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change that.

OBSTACLE: Vacation Disrupts Your Healthy Routines

Vacation doesn’t mean that you should give yourself a free pass. Avoid the mentality that you deserve unhealthful eating because you’re on vacation. Really, no one deserves unhealthful eating. Everyone deserves to eat healthfully, and everyone deserves just a bit of not-so-nutritious food tossed into the mix for a little extra fun.

Pack food for the trip. If you are traveling by car, use a cooler and fill it with fruit, veggies, yogurt, low-fat cheese and cottage cheese, vegetable juice, hard-boiled eggs, and a turkey or tuna sandwich. Whether you have a cooler or not, you can still carry nuts, dried fruit, some fresh fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, and granola bars or fiber-rich cereal bars.

Be prepared for plane travel. If you are traveling by plane, pack a small amount of perishable food in a plastic bag. Keep it cold with ice in a separate plastic bag. Airport security will probably want you to get rid of the ice before you go through screening. Once you’re through security, stop by a food vendor and kindly ask to refill your plastic bag with more ice.

Stock up on healthy choices. Once you’re at your destination, stock up on additional wholesome options. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, keep a small amount of perishable food fresh with ice and an ice bucket. Or pack a collapsible vinyl cooler in your luggage for use while away.

Snack only on fruit.

Apples and bananas are great choices to carry in your purse or backpack. Or you can find fresh fruit at any grocery store and even at many convenience stores, gas stations, or coffee shops while you’re on the road.

Search for healthy dining options.

Ask locals for restaurant ideas and search menus online before going out to eat.

Walk whenever possible. Opt for a walking tour instead of a bus tour.

Stay hydrated. Carry a refillable water bottle and be sure to sip from it frequently.

Find a local gym. You may be able to get in a gym workout even while on vacation. Call around to gyms in the area where you’ll be staying and ask if they have any weekly membership offers. Or stay in a hotel that has a gym.

Decide in advance what amount of treats is reasonable for you.

Is it a glass of wine a day? A couple of desserts over the week? Create your rules and exceptions, so you have a working blueprint to follow.

By using some of these tips when you find yourself facing one of these common obstacles, you can help guard yourself against a full-blown relapse and protect your health.

If you do have some setbacks along the way, shake them off. We all have them from time to time. Note them for what they are—little lapses that won’t have a big impact if they are few and far between. Recognize all the little changes you’ve made that add up to something bigger—better health and wellness. So pat yourself on the back and soldier on.

Emotional Eating Contributing to Your Prediabetes?

Here Are Eight ADA-Approved Techniques to Break This Dangerous Habit

If you’ve got prediabetes, it’s time to adopt healthier eating habits. But emotional eating is one habit that could derail your progress and put you further at risk. Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide, offers tips to help you stop emotional eating today.

Arlington, VA (May 2018)—If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or have been told that you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you already know you’ve got to change your eating habits. But overhauling your diet is anything but easy—especially when you’re feeling hurt, sad, mad, lonely, or aggravated. If you turn to food when you’re stressed or unhappy, you could be damaging your health with emotional eating.

“Plenty of people who try to adopt healthier eating habits often find themselves waylaid by emotional eating,” says Jill Weisenberger, who partnered with the American Diabetes Association to write Prediabetes: A Complete Guide: Your Lifestyle Reset to Stop Prediabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses (American Diabetes Association, May 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40674-1, $16.95). “Digging into a carton of ice cream or bag of chips when you’re feeling down can quickly derail your health goals. And for the 84 million American adults with prediabetes, emotional eating can be especially dangerous to your health.”

Weisenberger says it can be hard to break the habit of emotional eating, because psychology and biology are both at play. People reach for “feel-good” foods like Mom’s cookies or a cheesy casserole. Additionally, stress hormones crank up the appetite, and eating releases the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Often, a psychotherapist skilled in working with people with disordered eating is the ideal person to help you. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral if you think a psychotherapist can help you.

Despite these challenges, you can learn to stop emotional eating with practice and diligence. Are you ready to break free of emotional eating and move one step closer to reclaiming your health? Here are a few techniques that may help you on your journey.

Keep a log. Record your food intake for a week or two. Track what you’re eating along with your mood. This process may help you find choice points in which you can learn to change your thinking and behavior and teach you to identify your breaking points long before you break.

“Consider keeping a photo log,” suggests Weisenberger. “If you’re about to eat, snap a picture. Do this for a week to see in color the choices you’ve been making.”

Notice and label your emotions. Having negative emotions isn’t usually bad. In fact, having negative emotions is actually normal. But taking a deep dive into a bag of salty, crunchy snacks because of negative emotions is unhelpful in the long run.

“Practice noticing and labeling your emotions,” says Weisenberger. “Are you sad, anxious, lonely, or mad? Naming them and observing them without judgment will help you learn about them. Many people find that journaling about their emotions is helpful.”

Imagine handling emotional situations. In your mind, practice responding to common triggers in ways that don’t lead you to overeating. Think about what you can do next time you feel overwhelmed with household chores or the next time you argue with your spouse or whatever situation leads you to eat emotionally. Over and over in your mind, practice acting in desirable ways. “Here again,” says Weisenberger, “many people find journaling enlightening and empowering.”

Create a plan. After imagining responding in positive ways, create a plan for difficult situations. If you need distractions, gather things to help you, such as puzzle books, adult coloring books, nail polish, a list of people to call, or a list of activities such as soaking in a bath or playing with your dog.

“If you know that exercise or meditation help you cope with strong emotions, plan to take at least five minutes for meditation or exercise,” says Weisenberger. “You may need more than one plan to address various situations.”

Practice non-food coping skills. Regularly soothe yourself without calories. Every day, take time for soothing enjoyment, so when the time comes, you have an arsenal of coping strategies at the ready. Some ideas include taking deep-breathing breaks, using adult coloring books, writing in a journal, listening to soothing or uplifting music, chatting with a friend, buying yourself flowers, or soaking in a hot tub.

“I regularly play with my dog, Benny, a perpetual puppy,” says Weisenberger. “I also call and text my daughters, spend quiet time drinking tea or coffee with my husband, take five-minute breaks outside, and sit alone sipping a warm and fragrant tea from a beautiful cup. How you choose to soothe yourself is as individual as you are.”

Adopt a morning ritual. A morning ritual potentially has the power to affect your entire day. A ritual is different from a routine in that a ritual holds a deeper meaning. A few examples are:

• Express gratitude in thoughts, a journal, or aloud.

• Reaffirm your goals in writing or aloud.

• Practice yoga, meditation, or prayer.

• Watch a sunrise.

• Visualize good things happening in your day.

• Recite affirmations or a mantra.

Build in food treats. Whatever food you reach for in times of stress probably has some special meaning to you. Is it chocolate, macaroni and cheese, pizza, or hot-from-the-oven cookies? Whatever it is, be sure to have some now and then. Not as a reward, but simply because you like the way it tastes. Practice enjoying this favorite food in a reasonable amount, perhaps as part of a balanced meal. Simply removing a food’s taboo label can be helpful. In this way, you are learning that it’s okay to treat yourself and removing the notion of treats as cheats. We all deserve treats, but cheat days are the wrong mindset.

Create a personal wellness vision and review it often. A personal wellness vision is a concrete and motivating picture of you being healthy, feeling healthy, and living a healthful life. Imagine yourself at your ideal level of well-being. How do you feel? Look? Act? Write down what this looks like for you. This vision will help you identify what is important to you.

“After creating your vision, be sure to regularly look it over! It’s easy to forget what really matters when you’re under stress or running in crisis mode. But knowing—and remembering—what’s really important steers you to appropriate actions.”

“Reaching for food to manage your emotions can be a very hard habit to break,” concludes Weisenberger. “Become aware of times when you look to food to soothe you, calm you down, or help you avoid your feelings. When you recognize that you’ve been eating with your emotions, you can change the behavior and continue striving toward your health goals.”

You can visit Jill Weisenberger’s website here

Diabetes × 11 Motivational Tips

Fight Your Diabetes and Finally Get Fit in 2018:

11 Motivational Tips for Getting Started

If you suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, being a couch potato is particularly dangerous to your health. Here, the American Diabetes Association and Dr. Sheri R. Colberg explain why staying fit is crucial to managing this disease—and offer 11 tips to get you excited about exercising just in time for the new year

Now that 2018 is finally here, you’ve decided that this year you’re finally going to better manage your diabetes, starting with that dreaded word: exercise. According to Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM, if you suffer from diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease, deciding to commit to fitness could be a real lifesaver. That’s why it’s more important than ever that you make sure this resolution sticks.

“Considering that more than 29 million people have diabetes and 84.1 million American adults have prediabetes, it’s crucial that a large number of people make lifestyle changes for the sake of their health,” says Dr. Colberg, who partnered with the American Diabetes Association to write the new book Diabetes & Keeping Fit For Dummies® (Wiley, February 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-36324-8, $22.99).

“If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, exercising regularly is the single most important thing you can do to keep your blood glucose levels in check, reduce your risk of developing complications, and slow down the aging process,” she adds. “And the new year is the perfect time to commit to doing more physical activity.”

Although having diabetes increases your risk of getting health problems that can greatly reduce your quality of life, Dr. Colberg says you can fight back by keeping fit. Exercise enhances your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Many chronic diseases in addition to type 2 diabetes are associated with reductions in your insulin action, like hypertension and heart disease. Exercise may also enhance your body’s ability to produce more insulin. Plus, it lowers your risk of premature death, heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and severe arthritic symptoms.

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“Beyond just the physical benefits, exercise can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional health as well by lessening feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression,” she adds. “Being active can also positively affect your self-confidence, body image, and self-esteem.”

Knowing all those benefits may not be enough to get you motivated to start exercising more. So many find that the hardest part can be trying to find the motivation to begin. Read on for Dr. Colberg’s tips to get you moving in the new year and beyond.

Choose activities you enjoy. It’s human nature to avoid doing the things you really don’t like to do. If you absolutely hate running, it’s probably not the best activity to choose to get started with. Most people need exercise to be fun, or they lose their motivation to do it over time. By actually having fun with your activities, you will more easily make them a permanent and integral part of your routine. Try picking activities you truly enjoy, such as salsa dancing or golfing (as long as you walk and carry your own clubs).

“Maybe you haven’t found any activities that you enjoy much,” says Dr. Colberg. “If that’s the case, choose some new ones to take out for a test run (so to speak). Also, be sure to choose an exercise that suits your physical condition and overcomes or works around your limitations.”

Start off with easier activities. Dr. Colberg warns that exercising too hard right out of the gate will likely leave you discouraged or injured—especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. Instead, start slowly with easier activities and progress cautiously toward working out harder.

“If you often find yourself saying that you are too tired to exercise, your lack of physical activity is likely what’s making you feel sluggish,” says Dr. Colberg. “But after you begin doing even light or moderate activities, your energy levels rise along with your fitness, and your physical (and mental) health improves.”

Check your blood glucose for added motivation. When starting a new exercise, use your blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor to check your blood glucose before, during (if you’re active for more than an hour), and after your workout. Why? A reading that changes—especially in the direction that you want it to—can be very rewarding and motivating. You will be able to see evidence of real results. If you don’t check, you may never realize what a positive impact you can have on your diabetes simply by being active.

“Let’s say your blood glucose is a little high after you eat a meal, and you want it to go lower without taking (or releasing) any more insulin,” says Dr. Colberg. “You can exercise after your meal and bring your blood glucose down within two hours after eating and taking insulin, or you can avoid or lower post-meal spikes in your blood glucose. You wouldn’t know the extent of the effect you can have without using your blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor to check.”

Spice up your routine. One of the chief complaints about exercise is that it is boring. Feelings of boredom with your program can be the result of repeating the same exercises each day. To keep it fresh, Dr. Colberg suggests trying different physical activities for varying durations and at different intensities. Just knowing that you don’t have to do the same workout day after day is motivating by itself.

“You may want to do a variety of activities on a weekly basis, an approach known as cross-training,” says Dr. Colberg. “For example, you can walk on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but swim on Tuesday and take dance classes on Saturday. In addition to staving off boredom, adding variety to your workouts has many other advantages as well, such as using different muscles so more muscles get the benefit of exercise training.”

Find an exercise buddy (or several). You don’t have to go it alone when being active. Having a regular exercise buddy keeps you accountable, increases your likelihood of participating, and also makes your activities more social and fun. Get your spouse, family members, friends, and co-workers to join in your physical activities. Having a good social network to support your new or renewed exercise habit helps you adhere to it over the long run.

“Your community may be a good place to look for other exercise options,” says Dr. Colberg. “Take the time to find out what’s available in your area. You can often find groups of health-conscious people walking together during lunch breaks, or you may be able to join a low-impact aerobics or other exercise class offered at your workplace, community center, or recreation center. The more you can get involved in making your lifestyle changes a part of a larger community, the more likely you are to be successful in making them a lifelong habit.”

Set goals… Setting goals can help keep your interest up and be a great motivator. For instance, if you walk for exercise, you may want to get a pedometer and set a goal of adding in 2,000 more steps each day. But when laying out your fitness goals, be realistic and avoid setting unreachable goals that will sabotage you from the start. That said, if you do have large goals, great! Break them down into smaller, realistic stepping stones (such as daily and weekly physical activity goals). This will help keep you on track and keep you from becoming too overwhelmed with trying to accomplish your goal.

“Using a fitness tracker, activity log, or fitness app may also be a good idea for helping you reach your exercise goals,” says Dr. Colberg. “Figure out what works best for you.”

…And don’t forget to reward yourself. Having goals is great, but with no reward, what motivation do you have for reaching them? When you reach an exercise goal, be sure to reward yourself (but preferably not with food!).

“No one ever said that sticker charts and non-food treats are just for kids,” says Dr. Colberg. “Maybe you can promise yourself an outing to somewhere special, the purchase of a coveted item, or another treat that is reasonable and effectively motivates you to exercise. If you do miss one of your goals, try to make the rest of them happen anyway. Then reward yourself when you meet any of your goals, even if you don’t make them all happen.”

Have a Plan B ready just in case. Always have a backup plan that includes other activities you can do in case of inclement weather or other barriers to your planned exercise. For example, if a sudden snowstorm traps you at home on a day you planned to swim laps at the pool, be ready to walk on the treadmill or try out some resistance activities (like abdominal crunches and leg curls). Even if you don’t enjoy your second-choice exercise as much, you can always distract yourself to make the time pass more pleasantly. Read a book or magazine, watch your favorite TV program, listen to music or a book on tape, or talk with a friend on the phone while you’re working out.

“Keeping an exercise routine can be a slippery slope—especially when you’re starting out,” says Dr. Colberg. “One roadblock can be all it takes to set you back. By having a backup plan, you are still keeping your body active in some capacity and are less likely to quit altogether.”

Schedule your workouts. You show up for your doctor’s appointments, so why should scheduling your physical activity be any different? Write your exercise down on your calendar or to-do list just like you would any other appointment. Scheduling it into your daily activities will help keep you from making excuses. If you already have the time blocked off, you will be more likely to do the activity.

“Never make the mistake of assuming exercise will happen just because you claim that you want to do it a certain number of days per week or month,” says Dr. Colberg. “It takes some planning ahead and the commitment to make it a priority.”

Take advantage of opportunities for “SPA time.” How many times have you driven around a parking lot to find a spot close to the door instead of just parking farther away and walking? When you do that, you’re missing out on an opportunity for spontaneous physical activity (SPA). There are plenty of ways to incorporate SPA into your daily routine. If you have a sedentary desk job, take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever you can. Walk to someone else’s office or the neighbor’s house to deliver a message instead of relying on the phone or email. Guess what? You’ve just gotten yourself more active without giving it much thought.

“Keep in mind that you don’t have to do activities at a high intensity for them to be effective,” says Dr. Colberg. “Adding in more daily movement in any way possible is likely to benefit your health. These could include gardening, doing housework, walking the dog, or even just standing while talking on the phone.”

Take small steps to get yourself back on track. Even after you’ve developed a normal activity routine, it can be easy to get off track. If you’re having trouble getting restarted, simply take small steps in that direction. You may find you need to start back at a lower intensity by using lighter weights, less resistance, or a slower walking speed. Don’t overdo it to make up for lost time. Starting out slowly with small steps will help you avoid burnout, muscle soreness, and injury.

“If you don’t want to exercise on a given day, make a deal with yourself that you’ll do it for a short time to get started,” says Dr. Colberg. “After all, getting started is often the hardest part. Even doing only 5 to 10 minutes at a time (rather than 30 minutes or more) is fine. After you’re up and moving, you may feel good enough to exceed the time you planned on doing in the first place. The key is to begin through any means possible.”

“When it comes to living with diabetes or prediabetes, exercise is very powerful medicine, and the side effects are all good ones,” concludes Dr. Colberg. “This is why it’s so important to get motivated and commit to an exercise routine, because it will change your life and put you on the road to wellness. Make 2018 the year that you take charge of your life, get fit, and discover better health at last.”

About the Author:

Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM, is the author of Diabetes & Keeping Fit For Dummies®. She is professor emerita of exercise science from Old Dominion University and an internationally recognized diabetes motion expert. She is the author of 12 books, 25 book chapters, and over 300 articles. She was honored with the 2016 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. Contact her via her websites (SheriColberg.com and DiabetesMotion.com).

About the Book:

Diabetes & Keeping Fit For Dummies® (Wiley, February 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-36324-8, $22.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.