Heart Choices: 2008-09-21 -->

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Friday Tips: How to Avoid Overeating

The weekend is almost here and it's so easy to blow your decision to begin to follow a more healthy diet.

So, why am I showing you a picture of my favorite Mexican meal from El Bravo? Well, it's because I want to share something with you on this Friday.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid overeating:

              1. Spoil your appetite: I know your mother probably told you not to eat before your dinner but I say do it with the right foods. If you're going out to dinner, don't arrive starving. You may find yourself nibbling on the bread and butter before your meal arrives and you've already consumed more than enough extra calories. Eat an apple or other piece of fruit before you leave the house.

                Health Food Junk Food

              2. Drink plenty of water: Drinking water and eating water rich fruits like melons or oranges can give you a feeling of fullness and prevent you from eating when you may not really be hungry.
              3. Don't skip breakfast: I know you've heard it before and you may not be into this habit. Usually, the reason many people aren't hungry in the morning is because they overate the night before. Having breakfast keeps your blood sugar more stable and increases your energy level. Even if you simply have a small bowl of cereal or a piece of fruit, most studies find that if you skip breakfast you're more inclined to overeat throughout the day.
              4. Have healthy snacks in between meals: The key is to not get in a situation that you're so hungry, you eat anything is sight. Stock up on fruit, nuts (small quantities only), power bars and gazpacho. It's important to have it available and begin grazing within reason during the day so you never overeat at any one meal.
              5. Ask for a doggy bag at restaurants: My favorite Navajo Taco (pictured above) is so good. If I eat without thinking, it will be gone very quickly. So, I cut it in half and take the other half home with me. Then I get to enjoy it another day.
              6. Eat slowly: If you eat fast (like me), you will consume more calories. It takes a while for our brains to realize we are full. So, slow down and savor each bite and enjoy.

              Do you have any tips on ways to prevent overeating? What's worked for you? As we go into this weekend, let's not blow all the good work you may have done during the week. And have a healthy and fun weekend!


              Is It Already Thankful Thursday?

              It is another Thursday. Wow; time seems to go by so quickly. I've spent last evening and this morning fussing and complaining because for the third time in two months my air conditioning is broken. And since my husband and I work from our home offices upstairs, it gets very hot. You have to understand that I live in Phoenix and although it's officially autumn, it's still HOT here. I think the weather report said it would reach 102 degrees today! And the air conditioning company said they would be here between 8 and 12 noon.

              So, what is there to be thankful for? Well, I decided to distract myself so I opened up my email. I subscribe to several blogs and the very first one I read this morning was Laurel Wreath's Reflections. She was participating in Thankful Thursday today. Laurel wrote a beautiful birthday tribute to her blogging friend Iris, who is the creator of Thankful Thursday.

              As I read her words, I calmed down and was able to focus on being thankful. After all, I live in my own home and I usually do have air conditioning. So many people have problems that are so much worse; like not having anything to eat or a place to sleep. So, I guess it kind of put things in perspective which is exactly what I needed. Enough of my pity party!

              Today I am thankful for my new blogging friends. I have a popular sanguine personality with a large amount of peaceful/phlegmatic thrown in. So, I need a balance of interaction with people and then time to be alone. Working from home, I've found comfort by interacting with other bloggers.

              So, on this Thankful Thursday I want to thank a few of my favorite bloggers. Each one is unique and I find inspiration in different ways from each one of them. I hope you will visit their blogs too.

              • Laurel who shares her life and reflections as a Christian mom.
              • L-Jay who blogs about her life in Norway.
              • Iris who started Thankful Thursdays.
              • Kikolani who shares her inpiring poetry and photography.
              • Melissa who allows me to dream and escape into her world of design.
              • Victoria who shares the Truth about living the Christian life.


              Heart Insight and More

              Yesterday I met a friend for an iced tea at Paradise Bakery. Ruth and I met several years ago at Destiny Dance where we were taking an adult dance class with Sheryl Cooper. We had two things in common. We were both from New York and we both laughed at how uncoordinated we were. So it goes without saying, we had lots of fun together in class.

              Ruth moved back to NY but was in town to visit family. She is now the editor of Heart Insight magazine. This is an official publication of the American Heart Association. This magazine is filled with valuable information for patients, their families and caregivers.

              Check out the latest cover!

              Heart Insight recently won two major awards:

              • A Gold Award from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors in the "New Publication" category

              • A Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications in the category "Best Overall External Magazine - Start-Up".

              The magazine is distributed through cardiology practices for free. Patients are permitted to take a copy and can then fill out a form to subscribe on their own. I love the beautiful photographs and the heart healthy recipes. The articles range from information on blood pressure, caregiver tips, and encouraging stories of people who overcame heart health obstacles. The current issue featured the story of Alison Levine who was born with a congenital heart anomoly called WPW. She is now a mountain climber!

              I have a special fondness for the American Heart Association. I was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery in New York City many years ago as a child. At that time, we needed 30 blood donors to contribute the morning of the surgery. Because I had a rare type of blood, my mom reached out for help to locate donors. The American Heart Association was so helpful and had the necessary donors lined up that morning so many years ago. Thankfully, the techniques have greatly changed since that time. But each year, my mother would take me by the hand as we collected donations for this wonderful organization. She was so grateful for their help and support during a trying time.

              This is a picture of me and my heart surgeon, Dr. Malm. Don't laugh; it was so many years ago. I had the privilege of speaking at a Homecoming at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for many heart surgery survivors. And you wonder why I became a cardiovascular nurse?

              Isn't it funny how life comes full circle? Congratulations Ruth, on the success of Heart Insight magazine. And keep up the good work!


              Excuses For Not Exercising

              Woman on fitness equipment

              How many excuses for not exercising can you come up with? I think by this time, most people know they should exercise. Pick up any newspaper and women's magazine and you'll be bombarded by the messages. But despite knowing what you're supposed to do, so many of us still find all the reasons and excuses not to just do it.

              When I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist in a cardiology practice, I counseled patients who had heart disease or had numerous risk factors for heart disease. Many were motivated to listen to my advice because they didn't want to end up with their first or another heart episode. They were often scared and so they followed through. But as time went on and they were feeling fine, many fell back to their old habits and weren't consistent with their exercise programs.

              Here are a few of the excuses I heard:

                • I hate to exercise
                • I don't have enough time
                • It's too hot outside to do my walking
                • I'm too tired
                • I'm too busy
                • I'm going to buy a treadmill but haven't gotten around to it
                • I hate riding my stationary bike
                • It's so boring
                • I'm going to sign up for the gym
                • It's a busy time at work
                • It's been raining outside

              OK; now it's your turn! What excuses have you heard or maybe ones that you use for yourself?

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