National Men’s Health Week

National Men's Health WeekJune 15 – 21 is National Men’s Health Week.  To quote Congressman Bill Richardson (Congressional Record, H3905-H3906, May 24, 1994):

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”

You can find a ton of resources and things to do on this website, and be sure to pass it on!

Nat’l Senior Health & Fitness Day 2015

Nat'l Seniors Health & Fitness Day 2015Keep up the fun & momentum after your Memorial Day Weekend and celebrate with seniors around the country for National Senior Health & Fitness Day! While these ‘national observances’ show up only once annually on your calendar, they’re meant to create awareness and promote healthy change.  This website is full of good information on how to develop healthy lifestyles for the seniors in your life (and it wouldn’t hurt if you jumped on the bandwagon with them!). A few little changes can go a long way to living a healthy, vibrant life. 

April 6 – 12 is National Public Health Week

CaptureThe U.S. doesn’t have the top health care system – we have a great “sick care” system. We have great doctors, state-of-the-art hospitals and we’re leaders in advanced procedures and pharmaceuticals. But studies consistently show that despite spending twice as much, we trail other countries in life expectancy and almost all other measures of good health. This holds true across all ages and income levels. So what is missing?  We need a stronger public health system that supports healthy communities and moves us toward preventing illness, disease and injury.

Healthiest Nation 2030 has all sorts of resources and ideas to help promote National Public Health Week, but you don’t have to stop there.  Implement some of these activities at home or work and do your part to get healthy and help others do the same.

How to Use the Hunger and Fullness Scale

Hunger & Fullness Scale

The Hunger and Fullness Scale* is a useful tool for assessing your hunger and fullness levels before, during, and after you eat. It will help you identify your hunger cues, observe how different types and amounts of food affect you, and recognize when the urge to eat has been triggered by something other than hunger. This scale is not intended to set strict guidelines about when you should eat; rather, it helps you develop a greater awareness of your body’s subtle signals.

The Hunger and Fullness Scale ranges from 1 to 10. A level 1 represents ravenous—you’re so hungry you could eat this page. A level 10 means you’re so full that you’re in pain and feel sick. Remember, smaller numbers, smaller stomach; larger numbers, larger stomach.

In the middle of the scale is level 5: neutral, comfortable, or satisfied. At a 5, you cannot feel your stomach at all. It’s neither empty nor full; it isn’t growling or feeling stretched.

It helps to develop a good mental picture of what’s happening to your stomach at these different levels of hunger and fullness. Make a fist with your right hand; your empty stomach is about that size.

This is a level 1. One or two handfuls of food will take you from a level 1 to a 5.

Another way to picture your stomach is to think of a balloon. When it’s empty you’re at a 1. When you blow that first puff of air into the balloon, it fills out gently and takes its shape. That’s a 5.

As you take a deep breath and force more air into a balloon, its elastic walls begin to stretch and expand. These are levels 6 through 10. Your stomach is able to stretch to a 10 in order to hold excess food; therefore, the numbers over 5 indicate how stretched or uncomfortable your stomach feels.

If you blow too much air in, a balloon would continue to stretch and eventually pop. Fortunately, stomachs rarely rupture, but most of us have eaten so much at one time or another that we’ve said, “If I eat one more bite, I will explode!” When you feel this way, you’re at a 10.

Of course, changes in blood sugar levels, energy levels, moods, and substances in the bloodstream resulting from the digestive process also signal hunger and fullness. These other clues help tell you how hungry or full you are.

It may be challenging at first to label your hunger and fullness levels with numbers, but as you practice, it becomes second nature. You can learn to use this awareness to decide when, what, and how much to eat.

Hunger and Fullness Descriptions*
1 – Ravenous: Too hungry to care what you eat. This is a high-risk time for overeating.
2 – Starving: You feel you must eat NOW!
3 – Hungry: Eating would be pleasurable, but you can wait longer.
4 – Hunger pangs: You’re slightly hungry; you notice your first thoughts of food.
5 – Satisfied: You’re content and comfortable. You’re neither hungry nor full; you can’t feel your stomach at all.
6 – Full: You can feel the food in your stomach.
7 – Very full: Your stomach feels stretched, and you feel sleepy and sluggish.
8 – Uncomfortable: Your stomach is too full, and you wish you hadn’t eaten so much.
9 – Stuffed: Your clothes feel very tight, and you’re very uncomfortable.
10 – Sick: You feel sick and/or you’re in pain.

* From the book series: Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. Download chapter one at http://amihungry.com/chapter1.

Copyright Michelle May MD. Reprinted with permission.

December 7 – 13 2014 is National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Hand Washing Awareness Week

Although the attached materials are created to engage children, handwashing is not just for kids.  This article, among many others too-easily-found when you Google ‘adult handwashing habits’, is a sad dose of reality for those of us who DO wash our hands.  Interestingly, 95% of people claim they wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, but take a look at the REAL numbers as people are being secretly watched.  Hmmmm.

So, it seems extremely relevant that we support National Handwashing Awareness Week to remind people about how handwashing can reduce the the spread of colds, diarrhea and many other infectious diseases.  And while you’re downloading and printing these flyers for the kiddos, maybe you’d like to print another one or two & take them to the office.  Be part of the solution! 

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness have been endorsed by the AMA and AAFP

‘Mindless to Mindful Eating’ Success Story

Kelli and her family

Kelli and her family

Recently, Enliven Wellness Works sat down with Kelli Marchman Rivera to discuss her recent successes after completing the Mindless to Mindful Eating Corporate Wellness Program. Here’s what she had to say…

EWW: What positive health/mind/behavior changes have you experienced since the start of the program?
KMR: I am in control!!! Eating was taking over my life. I ate for every reason in the world except for being hungry. Since starting this program, I now am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it asks for. Putting down my fork was the first step. Now, as a family, we eat more unprocessed foods (my husband is so excited about our new crock pot!), and we take the time to sit down with no distractions and enjoy each other’s company. And I’ve had my son tell others about how big your stomach actually is (a fist) and how much food it can hold. I LOVE hearing this thinking taking hold in my family.

EWW: How would you describe your health before you started Mindful Eating?
KMR: As an older teacher, I was eating to control stress. My weight was creeping up the scale, cholesterol was an issue, and I was always tired. I had also noticed the shape of my body changing, and while a little extra around the middle is common in 40-somethings, I was unhappy. I felt out of control, and it was time to do something. The Mindful Eating program came at exactly the right time for me. I used to eat everything on my plate without really enjoying it. Portion control was my biggest issue. Even now I still find myself eating everything on my plate. I just use smaller plates, or put half away before putting the food in front of me.

EWW: What motivated you to make these changes? 
KMR: As a teacher, there are many things that are beyond our control. Teacher evaluations, unruly kids, long hours, and new curriculum every year take its toll emotionally and physically. Eating was one thing within my power to control. And now I can.

EWW: What keeps you motivated?
KMR: My body is changing. While I do not own a scale, and never will, I feel that my clothes are fitting a little bit better. My mood is happier. Control does that. And in the back of my mind, the idea that being healthy will keep me around longer to take care of my family will always motivate me. I’ve also been talking to others about being mindful. While some have been resistant, I’ve had a couple come back and say, “You know, I tried putting down my fork, and I really did begin to feel satisfied before I’d finished the food.” Success!!! Friends in the program have also helped me. It’s nice to see a fellow mindful eater in the hallway, and celebrate successes together.

EWW: What are your future goals?
KMR: I will continue to eat mindfully, one day at a time. With the holidays coming up, this will be interesting. But no more diets! I am in control of me! I choose what I will eat, and this has freed me up from the guilt involved in what I used to think of as “cheating”.  I have also begun a weight training program in the mornings (Body Electric on PBS) that makes my body feel stronger. And I will continue to wear my pedometer. It’s a great motivator to get moving.

EWW: Do you have any advice for others who would like to improve their health but realize now that diets are not the answer?
KMR: Pay attention to your body. Slow down and listen. Food is not for comfort. Food is just for staying alive. Put your fork down between bites for just one meal. And see what happens. 

 

Enliven_Logo_sprout_1Enliven Wellness Works provides a full menu of workplace wellness solutions.  To learn more, contact Jennifer@Enlivenwellnessworks.com or click here.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month, observed annually in November, is a time for individuals, organizations, and communities across the country to shine a spotlight on diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, – or sugar – for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems we face today. Over 8% (26 million) of the U.S. population are dealing with this battle.  Compared to the general population, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history are disproportionately affected by diabetes. Diabetes can be prevented or delayed  by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.

For more information on diabetes, visit http://www.diabetes.org. Or, to see what’s happening around the world on World Diabetes Day (November 14th), click here.