The Twiga Foundation believes that a big part of workplace flexibility and family consciousness is having a healthy mind, body and spirit. Below are short articles with tips and gentle reminders on how you can achieve or maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle at home, in the workplace and in the community.
The Importance of Safe Weight-LossWhat to Avoid When Losing Weight
- Some fad diets are hazardous to your health.
- May cut out entire food groups causing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- May cause adverse reactions such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Even death.
- May cause fast, extreme weight loss, which is not healthy and does not always last.
- Extremely low-calorie diets will cause initial weight-loss, but low-calorie diets cause the body to believe it is going into “starvation mode”.
- In this state, the body holds onto all the fat that it can so that it can survive the starvation period.
- Rely on diets that include normal, everyday foods.
- Work on changing your eating habits for good.
- Focus on slow, steady weight loss.
- Choose a diet that allows for at least 1200 calories per day to keep the body and all its systems running smoothly.
Over-the-Counter Drugs/Herbal Products/Dietary Supplements:
- These products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (i.e. they have not been proven to be effective or safe).
- Many are known to cause temporary or sometimes permanent health problems such as rapid pulse, cardiac arrest/heart attack, tremors, GI distress, insomnia, headaches, mood swings, nervousness, anxiety, dizziness, hypertension, etc.
- Some have even caused death.
- Herbal laxatives can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and fainting.
- Laxatives do not reduce the absorption of calories or nutrients in the body.
- Be a smart consumer. Read labels before purchasing anything diet-related.
- Stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Emphasize a variety of colorful fruits, vegetable, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products in your everyday diet.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week. Get your heart beating!
Other Gimmicks to Avoid:
- Hot baths do not speed up metabolism.
- Saunas, steam baths, body wraps, etc. do not melt the fat off the body.
- The loss one may see in inches is due to water loss and dehydration.
- Brushes, sponges, wraps, creams, and massages do not help break up cellulite or reduce fat.
Lets Get Moving!
It is spring time and many people are putting on their walking shoes and getting outside or to the gym. The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity 5 times a week. This can include: walking, biking, jogging, swimming or mowing the lawn. Moderate intensity aerobic activity means you are increasing your heart rate and may even be sweating. You can talk but you could not sing. (www.http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
It is ok to break up the time too! Try going on 3-ten minute walks through out the day. This will help build up your endurance and also allows those with busy schedules to get their 30 minutes in.
Grab an office buddy and start walking on your breaks or before and after work.
Lets all get moving!!
Many people skip meals because they are too busy to stop and eat or they believe that by skipping a meal they will lose weight. Both reasons are unhealthy. Skipping a meal will not help you lose weight. In fact, you may even be putting on more weight by only eating a couple times a day.
Most people who skip a meal and its 300 to 600 calories usually increase how much they eat at other meals in the day by at least the same amount of calories. These people, like others who come to a meal overly hungry, tend to eat rapidly, which makes it difficult for them to sense when they’ve had enough.
People who skip meals may also snack more. Although the snacks might be small in size, they can add up to a substantial number of calories and replace the calories missed at a meal (retrieved from http://www.nwhealth.edu/healthyU/keepLean/skipmeal.html
When we skip meals our bodies go into “starvation mode”. Our bodies think we will not get food for a long time so the body stores extra fat to protect itself. Skipping meals also leads to irritability, poor performance and binging.
If you are too busy to stop and eat, at the very least bring a sack lunch or healthy snacks to munch on. Smoothies are great for breakfast and are quick and easy to take with you in the car. A sack lunch provides a way to have a quick bite to eat between meetings. Bring carrot sticks, pretzels, apples, string cheese or almonds as a healthy snack between meals.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Snacking at Work
Many of us sit at a computer all day. This can be a very dangerous environment for overeating and snacking. Bringing a sack lunch to work is a great idea and bringing snacks along with it is even better. When we don’t have our own snacks on hand we tend to reach for whatever is available. These options are usually high in calories and come from a vending machine or a bakery. Here are a list of snacks to pack with you to the office every day. If you have a refrigerator at work bring enough for the whole week. Drinking lots of water or chewing gum will also help curve your desire to snack.
- peanut butter and apples
- carrots and hummus
- cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes
- string cheese and an apple
- sliced turkey with rice crackers
Snacking between meals, when you are hungry, keeps your metabolism working and prevents you from binging at the next meal. Keep the snacks healthy and low in sugar and sodium. Try encouraging your co-workers to bring in bran muffins, bagels or fruit instead of donuts.
Is your office constantly celebrating birthday parties and retirements? Try changing things up a bit. Instead of cake try bringing in fruit, granola and yogurt and making parfaits. You may be surprised how many people will love the idea. If there is cake, remember that moderation is key. But if there is more than one party a week, you can always bring in your own yogurt and kindly pass on a piece of cake.
Working For Your Health
Have you ever noticed how refreshed you feel after a good workout? That’s because physical activity goes beyond improving your physical health. Regular activity enhances mood, performance and improves concentration. It’s clear: a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
Because most adults spend half their waking hours at work, finding ways to include physical activity during the workday is the most practical way for many adults to become more active.
Workplaces can do a variety of things to foster a working environment that incorporates regular physical activity throughout the year.
Promoting physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time consuming. A little creativity can go a long way! Workplaces that encourage regular physical activity report:
- Increased productivity and morale
- Reduced injury rates
- Better employee relations
- Improved job satisfaction and team spirit
- Improved employee health and fitness
It’s never too late to incorporate regular physical activity into the workday. Many worksites havefound innovative ways to promote physical activity. Here are a few activities organized by workplaces this year:
If you have ideas how your workplace can become more physically active please e-mail them to me at email@example.com
Water, Water, Water
Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Water aids in healthy digestions, replenishes the moisture in your skin and helps to speed up the metabolism. Drinking water helps you feel fuller and thus you may be less likely to snack throughout the day. It is recommended to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration – as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight – can sap your energy and make you tired. The easiest way to get enough water every day is to bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go. If you don’t have a water bottle, get one! Find a fun water bottle that fits your style. REI has some great water bottles for under $20.
Filling up your water bottle throughout the day is also a good excuse to step away from the desk and stretch your legs!
Finding Time for Physical Activity
I hope some of you watched the Super Bowl the other night. What a game! While we don’t expect you to work out like a football star it is important to find at least
30 minutes a day to devote to physical activity. It can be walking, riding your bike, roller blading, golfing (without the cart), running or simply cleaning your house. The point is to get your heart rate up and to get moving
! Physical activity is a great outlet to burn stress. We will talk more about what kind of physical activity is right for you and how intense you need your physical activity to be in order to achieve your goals. But first, we need to find 30 minutes in our hectic days to devote to physical activity.
Here are some things you can do to get started:
- Write down your daily schedule. Is there room to move things around?
- Make a list of priorities. Physical activity should be on that list.
- Write down your goals. Is it weight loss? Stress management? Fun?
- What resources do you have available to you? Do you own a bike? Have a gym membership? Is the green belt close to your house?
- Who is part of your support system? Do you have a workout buddy? Is your spouse interested in walking? What about your kids?
Writing down the answers to these questions will help you see where you are and where you want to go. It may be that physical activity is a way to bring the family together and help you to unwind after a long day at work. Or perhaps you need some alone time and would like to kick off your morning with a brisk walk to wake you up.
Below are some of the health benefits to physical activity:
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html
Today’s topic is menopause. Every woman at some point in their life is going to go through menopause. It usually does not occur until after 40 years of age. By looking at all the women in our group I am not sure if we have many over 40. Nevertheless, it is important that we all understand what our loved one is going through when they do in fact begin menopause. This will help you better understand your mother, sister, wife, friend or your own body’s changes.
Menopause is a normal part of aging; about 70% of woman experience symptoms. Lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and medications can help. Awareness of health during this stage is essential.
Menopause affects every woman. Premature menopause symptoms (or early menopause symptoms) may include irregular periods or hot flashes. Other signs of menopause include night sweats, sleep difficulties, and irritability. Menopause treatments may include hormone replacement therapy, although this is not for every woman. Herbal remedies for menopause may include soy foods and natural supplements. If you have bleeding after menopause, call your doctor as it may indicate a more serious problem.
Who experiences Menopause?
Menopause is the milestone in every woman’s life that marks the end of her reproductive years. Most (95%) of all women begin the transition to menopause (perimenopause) between ages 39 and 51. On average, women start perimenopause around age 46, with an average of 5 years until menstruation ends. After 1 year of no menstrual periods, a woman is said to have reached menopause.
- The average age of menopause is between 50 and 51. In 95% of all women, it occurs between the ages of 44 and 56.
- Menopause before the age of 40 (spontaneous premature menopause) is rare, affecting about 1% of women in the United States.
- Genetic factors can be a strong predictor of when menopause will occur. If your mother had an early or late menopause, you probably will also.
- Cigarette smokers experience menopause an average of 1.5 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- Women living at high altitudes experience an earlier menopause.
Menopause is a natural change that doesn’t require treatment. But symptoms of hormonal change can be difficult. If you have insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, cloudy thinking, heavy menstrual periods, or other menopause symptoms, treatment can help you manage this transition more comfortably. As you review your options, consider the following:
- Healthy lifestyle habits will help you reduce menopause symptoms. These habits include eating a balanced diet; reducing stress; getting regular exercise; and avoiding smoking, heavy caffeine, and heavy alcohol use. An unhealthy lifestyle can make symptoms worse.
The last paragraph is key and why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle. Below are some additional links for more information on menopause. I will continue to find articles to send to everyone this week. If you know someone going through menopause buy them a non-fat latte or a piece of dark chocolate. They deserve it!
Great article from Dr. Northrup on making the most of menopause:
Symptoms to look for:
Support and resources:
Your job and the Importance of Sleep
According to National Sleep Foundation (NSF) polls, half of American employees report that sleepiness on the job interferes with their performance at work. Twenty-six percent would nap during work breaks if their company allowed naps. Not only that, but the line between work and home is blurring. Fifty-eight percent bring work home at night to complete. And those who work long hours report greater impatience, lower productivity, and difficulty concentrating. There are still many skeptics out there who are not sure that wellness fits at the workplace. Many individuals feel that their health is their business and their employer should have nothing to do with it. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-deprivation-workplace
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
For more information please visit:
Interesting article on sleep and the workplace:
Brought to you by Heather Myklegard, Business and Wellness Correspondent, and a certified Exercise Specialist with a degree in Health Promotion. If your company is interested in learning more about workplace wellness, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.