Archive for December, 2011

Operation 2012

With 2011 coming to a close, that means resolutions and goals for 2012 are here.  Some make a list, both personally and professionally based while others create dream boards filled with magazine pictures and quotes.  The three most common resolutions are to exercise more, eat/drink less and have better control over financial matters.

This year, a client of mine has decided against “New Year’s Resolutions” because they only last the first three weeks of the year anyway.  Resolutions are short-term solutions which mask the long-term problem.  Instead, he is calling it Operation 2012.  That way he can assess progress and make necessary changes along the journey.  He has specific goals with hard deadlines.  They are set in a way to create lifestyle changes which are attainable and achievable.  I love his thought process and reasoning.

Over the years I have also stepped away from resolutions and focused more on goals.  By setting goals, dreams become more of a reality.  They are set up to be pushed, yet successful.  A few of my own personal goals for 2012 (in no particular order):

  • to have a complete cardiac work-up done by March
  • to attend a level 1 KB workshop for ceu’s
  • to become more fluent in American Sign Language
  • to host another Y21SR workshop, with at least 20 attendees
  • to read one book every two weeks
  • to make more money than I did in 2011
  • to step out of my comfort zone and take a Zumba class
  • to begin and finish writing a curriculum for a workshop to teach as continuing ed

Come December 2012, check in and see if I’ve achieved any or all of these.  Now that I have put these out there for the world to see, everyone one of you can call me out and say “hey, remember what your goals were for 2012?”

In the end, we have to hold ourselves accountable for goals and resolutions.  We are the ones making the choices.  At some point it transitions from a matter of if to a matter of when.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year!

be well-

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Bag of Bones

For those that think this post is about A&E’s new television series created by Stephen King, I am sorry.  But if I’ve got your attention, please, keep reading.  Bag of Bones was a nickname my father gave me, and continues to use today.

It’s complicated, no doubt.  A relationship simply does not exist without relating.  Food is supposed to be about fueling our body.  Without it, we will not survive.  Overtime, our relationship with food has evolved into more than fuel.  For many of us, it has become:

  • something we use to fill the need of pleasure, comfort, reward, gifts
  • an object we turn in times of sadness, boredom, survival, depression, socialization
  • for some, an obsession or addiction

Food is often what brings a family or friends together.  Sunday dinners when everyone is in town.  Going to a restaurant for a special celebration.  Baking cookies for the holidays.

My relationship with food has changed over the years and will continue to evolve everyday.  As a child, I was genetically blessed with a tall, thin frame.  No matter what I ate or how much, weight was difficult to put on.  I am not using this as bragging rights, this is a simple fact that was part of my childhood.  And because of this, it has made me look at my own relationship with food today.

It is embarrassing to say how much I could throw down.  Whether it be the number of fresh plums at one sitting or McDonald’s after a softball game.  I was a human garbage disposal.  To me, it became a challenge, almost like a game, “How much can I eat today?”  And then I was told to gain weight my freshman year in college.  Arriving on campus with a 5’9″, 120lb frame, I was bound to get knocked to the ground.  As a red shirt, I gained the “freshman 15”, plus a few.  Between the all you can eat cafeteria and weight room workouts, my clothes didn’t look 2x larger than they were suppose to fit.

Fifteen years later, I struggle with the relationship between what my mind/body want and need verses food.  My mind knows what is good and what is not.  My body thrives on things like fruits, veggies, and red meat.  At times it craves pasta, bread and sweets.  My psyche tugs in the direction of “just one more,” the same as any addict would say.

Like most things in my life, I try to avoid all or nothing.  Learning to live in moderation also means having this balanced relationship with food.  By drinking a large glass of water I when I feel hungry is a great test to see if I really am hungry, or just dehydrated.  Staying away from finger food at parties will avoid the “just one more.”  Putting the fork down before that feeling of, “Why did I eat that last bite?”.  Listening to what the body wants and needs verse letting my mind say, “Come on, you know you want another.”

Just like any relationship I am in, whether it be with friends, family, co-workers, pets or food- we are always evolving, hopefully to grow and prosper together.

be well-


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Scratch that Idea

Just looking at this picture makes me want to scratch my head; I would have good reason to, as this is a magnified picture head lice.

As we enter the cold weather months, winter hats will be plentiful.  Young children may share with each other.  Or we try them on at the department store.  The problem is, you don’t know what is hiding underneath that hat.  Head lice is spread through sharing clothing (hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms) or articles (hair ribbons, barrettes, combs, brushes, towels, stuffed animals) recently worn or used by an infested person.  It can also be spread by lying on a bed, couch, pillow, or carpet that has recently been in contact with an infested person.  When I was in high school, a few softball teammates were infested through shared batting helmets.

Head lice and nits are commonly found on the scalp, particularly around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head, the eyelashes or eyebrows but this is uncommon.  They hold tightly to hair with hook-like claws at the end of each of their six legs. Head lice nits are cemented firmly to the hair shaft and can be difficult to remove even after the nymphs hatch and empty casings remain.

Signs and Symptoms include:

  • Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.
  • Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the head louse.
  • Irritability and difficulty sleeping; head lice are most active in the dark.
  • Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected with bacteria found on the person’s skin.

The CDC suggests the following for Treatment:

Requires using an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication. Follow these treatment steps:

    1. Before applying treatment, it may be helpful to remove clothing that can become wet or stained during treatment.
    2. Apply lice medicine, also called pediculicide, according to the instructions contained in the box or printed on the label. If the infested person has very long hair (longer than shoulder length), it may be necessary to use a second bottle. Pay special attention to instructions on the label or in the box regarding how long the medication should be left on the hair and how it should be washed out.
 WARNING:

Do not use a combination shampoo/conditioner, or conditioner before using lice medicine. Do not re-wash the hair for 1-2 days after the lice medicine is removed.

  1. Have the infested person put on clean clothing after treatment.
  2. If a few live lice are still found 8-12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. The medicine may take longer to kill all the lice. Comb dead and any remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed nit comb.
  3. If, after 8-12 hours of treatment, no dead lice are found and lice seem as active as before, the medicine may not be working. Do not retreat until speaking with your health care provider; a different lice medicine (pediculicide) may be necessary. If your health care provider recommends a different pediculicide, carefully follow the treatment instructions contained in the box or printed on the label.
  4. After each treatment, checking the hair and combing with a nit comb to remove nits and lice every 2-3 days may decrease the chance of self-reinfestation. Continue to check for 2-3 weeks to be sure all lice and nits are gone.
  • Supplemental Measures : Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities. Follow these steps to help avoid re-infestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture.
  1. Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  2. Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1-2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp. Spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  4. Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Prevention:

  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
  • Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
  • Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfect combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5-10 minutes.
  • Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
  • Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.

Before letting your children share hats and gloves with their friends or you try on scarves and hats on at the store, think about what might be hiding underneath.  Be sure to wash and dry all articles at a high heat to avoid infestation.

be well-

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Take it to the Gym

As I was perusing the New York Times this morning, I came across an article that discusses client services taking their networking to the gym instead of dinner.  I think this is a great idea.  While so many clients are enjoying prime rib with potatoes and cocktails, our waistlines keep expanding.

By incorporating networking and working out together, you are showing your clients how important living a healthy lifestyle is to you.  Maybe you introduce them to your favorite spin class, the TRX, hit the punching bag or explore a new style of dance.  Rather than curling 20 oz beers at the bar, you drink 20 ounces of water between sets. 

“People are tired of boozing it up with clients,” said Julie Rice, 41, a founder of SoulCycle, who has seen an uptick in corporate entertaining in the last year. “Businesses are looking to engage their clients in new and healthy ways.”

This method also allows the opportunity for a cell phone free zone which makes for better conversation and decision-making.  Most gyms have a NO CELL PHONE policy which limits the distraction to immediately answer a text or email when the tone goes off.

Walking meetings have also become popular.  Instead of sitdown lunches, taking a walk around the park gets people off their seat, the blood pumping through the body and a little fresh air all at the same time.  The length of meetings are cut down so they are much more efficient.  You can meet more frequently and feel productive rather than leaving a meeting feeling as if nothing was accomplished because you were to concerned about finishing your sandwich.

The next time you need to have a client meeting, think about hitting the gym rather than the steak house and see what happens.

be well-

 

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“Catch and Release”

Researchers from UVA’s National Marriage Project recently published a study saying that those in happy marriages show great amounts of generosity with each other.  Generosity was defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly” — like simply making them coffee in the morning — and researchers quizzed men and women on how often they behaved generously toward their partners. How often did they express affection? How willing were they to forgive?

My immediate thought was, “How about extending generosity to all for a happier world?”  We can be generous with our words, our thoughts, our actions; independently or all connected together.  Sit down and have a conversation with someone on the street, who is asking for money.  Listen to their story, often they just need someone to talk with.  Send thoughts or prayers when others are asking for a little help.  Offer a hug to a friend that looks distressed.  Leave a post-it note letting your coworker know how much you appreciate all they do for you.  Place extra quarters in a meter for a stranger.  Live in a tent city for a few weeks while volunteering to help rebuild a broken community.  Shortage in generosity, it simply does not exist.

Lower 9th Ward New Orleans six months post Katrina

Less than a month ago I read a very inspiring, heartwarming book called Same Kind of Different As Me written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  This story is about bringing a modern-day slave and international art dealer together.  The spirit, love, life and generosity shown towards each other is something I hope to carry with me every day.

“Catch and Release,” the title of this post, has stuck with me since reading the book.  It is a simple phrase with profound meaning.  Often we bring something or someone into our life for a brief moment, and then poof, we let it go, as if it never existed.  Unfortunately there are times when others feel we treat them as “catch and release.”  They can tell the difference between true generosity and a facade.

As we begin to reflect on 2011 and look towards 2012, how about extending generosity to all for a happier world.  And as you share it, do so with a warm smile and a big heart.  It will radiate to all those around you.

be well-

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Survival Tips for a Safe and Healthy Travel Season

Your bags are packed, tickets in hand, passport snug against your side.  But when it comes to your health and those around you, are you prepared?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind-

BE PROACTIVE

  • Learn about your destination.  Research to see if there are health risks to the country you are visiting.
  • Schedule a doctors visit if you are traveling out of the country.  Consider any recommended vaccines for your destination, and discuss any allergies, current medications, or other health concerns with your doctor.
  • Evaluate your own health.  Some airlines check for visibly sick passengers in the waiting area and during boarding. If you look like you may be sick, the airline may not let you get on the plane.

BE PREPARED

  • Pack smart.  Place a copy of your passport and travel documents in each piece of luggage, in case you lose the original documents. Don’t forget to leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.
  • If traveling with medicines-
    • Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.
    • Pack a note on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for controlled substances and injectable medications.
    • Check with the American Embassy or Consulate to make sure that your medicines will be allowed into the country you are visiting. Some countries do not let visitors bring certain medicines into the country.

BE PROTECTED

  • It is important to practice healthy behaviors during your trip and after you return home. This section outlines how you can protect yourself and others from illness during your trip.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food and after you use the bathroom, cough, or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Be careful when traveling within your destination. Accidents involving cars, buses, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles, as well as pedestrians are more common during travel that you might think.
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities (for example, life jackets for water activities and helmets for biking, rappelling, etc.)

Wishing safe travels to you all this holiday season.

be well-

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Put down the remote and Pick up a book

A few months ago I set a goal for myself to read at least one book every two weeks.  I found myself watching too much television that was repetitive, depressing and unstimulating.

Research by the 
Henry J. Kaiser Foundation has shown that setting rules about media use is a challenge for many parents/caregivers.

In 8– to 18–year–olds:

  • 28 percent said their parents set TV–watching rules
  • 30 percent said their parents set rules about video game use
  • 36 percent said their parents set rules about computer use

However, the same study also demonstrated that when parents set ANY media rules, children’s media use is almost three hours lower per day.

Other Screen-Time Statistics
(Source: Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds,” January 2010)

Children ages 8–18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen, daily:

  • Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media
  • Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
  • Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
  • Over an hour playing video games 

These data lie in stark contrast to the 25 minutes per day that children spend reading books.

Today’s youth also have the following media in their bedrooms:

  • More than one–third have a computer, and Internet access
  • Half have video game players
  • More than two–thirds have TVs

Over the years I have collected some great books and I also turned to my friends that enjoy reading.  Using their suggestions is a great way to create a dialogue to see their perspective, thoughts and ideas on the author or subject at hand.  Creating a book club with your friends or coworkers is an opportunity for you to share your interests and to open your eyes to books you otherwise may have never known about.  Personally knowing the author peaks a greater interest.  A few of the books I have read since setting my goal include:

  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand
  • Year of Impossible Goodbyes- Sook-Nyul Choi
  • The Whole Wide World- Yvonne Castaneda
  • Same Kind of Different As Me- Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • Switch- Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Good Among the Great- Donald Van de Mark

As we begin to set goals for the new year, maybe it is time to incorporate less screen time and more reading.

be well-

 

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