Saturday, January 9, 2010


One important way to manage heart disease and maintain heart health is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Heart disease is one of the most serious health issues affecting American men and women today. As we get older it becomes harder to stay in good health. Consider these lifestyle changes to help you maintain good heart health:

• Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High blood sugar levels can damage vital organs including your heart. High blood pressure makes it hard for your heart to work properly and bad cholesterol can clog your blood vessels.
• Eat more fruits , vegetables, beans and whole grain.
• Stay active. Build up to exercise sessions of 30-60 minutes several times a week.
• Maintain a healthy weight.

DASH to Good Health ~ Controlling Your Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is common in people with heart disease. The centers National Institute for Health have created DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertention). This is a diet that helps lower your blood pressure with healthy eating and lifestyle changes. The plan includes which foods to eat for heart health, recipes to make tasty and nutritious meals and exercise tips for any age or fitness level.

Get Active
Exercise is another important part of a heart healthy lifestyle. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that help reduce stress and promote a sense of well- being. Exercise can also help lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol, raise your ‘good’ cholesterol, improve your blood sugar control and reduce your blood pressure. Here are some ways to get more active throughout the day:

• Leave the elevator and make more trips up and down stairs.
• Choose a parking spot that’s further away than usual.
• Walk together with a friend.
• Use part of your lunch break at work to walk for 10 minutes.
• Play active games with your kids or grandkids.

Heart Health for the Whole Family
When it comes to heart health, what is good for you is good for the whole family including the very youngest members. By teaching your children, grandchildren and other young family members the importance of eating well and getting regular physical activity, you will help them develop healthy habits for a lifetime.

Let them see you eating healthy nutritious snacks and enjoying outdoor activities. Invite them to join you. Show young children how to clean fruits and vegetables and combine them into salads. Teens can learn to make simple healthy dishes such as pasta, vegetables and baked or broiled chicken and fish.

Try to engage in activities that they enjoy so that won’t think of exercise as a chore. Go on outings such as hiking, swimming or bike riding.

Heart Health for a Lifetime
It does not matter how young or old you are. Whatever your age, you need to take action to protect your heart. Do remember to consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

For more information visit:  Help in Lowering Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

To Your Continued Health and Success!
Miss Julia

Friday, January 8, 2010


In these time of soaring gas prices and rising grocery and medical bills, many find it impossible to make ends meet. With a little ingenuity and planning you can eat well and maintain a healthy life style while still watching the dollars.

The greatest challenge for many people especially older citizens is the choice between whether to purchase medication or food. And certainly this is not just a challenge for older citizens but for younger people as well especially those with small children and others just trying to raise families.

Eating Healthy on a Budget
It may certainly be a challenge to eat healthy and stay within your budget but it can be done with some quick planning. And while these tips may be all to familiar and we’ve heard them all before, it is certainly time now (given these economic times) that begin to put them into practice.

Before you Shop:
• Make a shopping list. Plan out weekly meals and only buy what you need.

• Check the local newspaper for grocery ads. Check for sales at your local supermarket and clip coupons accordingly. Take advantage of ‘double’ coupon days. Remember that many manufacturers coupons can also be printed from the internet.

• Limit pre-packaged junk foods such as sodas, chip, cookies and frozen meals. They tend to be more expensive and higher in calories. (As always and as we have always been told ~ fresh fruit and vegetables make a better choice for snacks and tend to be less expensive).

• Always, Always, Always eat before you go food shopping this will help you to avoid impulse buying and impulse buying can wreak havoc on your grocery budget.

Consider these other Budget Stretching Tips:
• Choose lean cuts of beef which are lower in fat and cost less (less expensive cuts of meats can be cooked to perfection in a crockpot)

• Poultry such and chicken and turkey are low in fats and calories. Choose whole chickens and cut them up yourself (pre-cut chicken is generally more expensive). Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground beef and is generally less expensive.

• Consider trying dried beans and peas instead of meats for some meals. Beans are a great source of fiber and protein and cost less. Try using Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth in place of water; this ads excellent taste without having to add meat to the recipe.

• Trade your cereal for oatmeal. Oatmeal is a health grain costs about $4 a box and will last much longer than a box of cereal. Oatmeal has also been shown to help lower cholesterol-so how neat is that…

• Visit your local farmer’s market where local produce is cheaper than at the grocery stores and many times even fresher.

• When shopping compare store brands to name brands. Store brands are cheaper and generally taste the same (tip: Many store brands are made by the same manufactures that make the name brands ~~ Same Can Different Label)

• You may also consider a dietary supplement that will help to more efficiently absorb the nutrients that take in from food.

Ways to Save on Medications
If you are looking for ways to cut back on your medication spending ~ try following these cost-saving tips:

• Try Generics. Talk with your doctor about switching to generics. Generics are safe and effective. Additionally, the average copayment is less than half of the brand-name copayment for most health plans. Take advantage of lower-cost generic programs offered by pharmacies at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target and K-Mart.

• Use Mail-Order. If you would like to use mail –order, you will generally need a 90-day prescription from your doctor with at least 3 refills. With most health plans you will get a three month supply for the cost of only two months after you mail in your payment and prescription. Check your particular health plan for specific benefits.

• Optimize your Dose. As your doctor or pharmacist whether you can take a higher dose of your medication once a day rather than multiple times a day. You can also ask your doctor if it would be safe to split certain medications (many are already scored).

• Be an Informed Consumer. Research information and do not be afraid to discuss your concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You may consider speaking with your doctor about adding a dietary supplement to help enhance your overall health and well being. There are also supplements that can help you to more efficiently absorb the nutrients that you take in from food.

Stay Active ~ Walk to Fitness
If you can’t afford a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment, walking is one of the most effective ways to keep fit and it is easier on your joints than most forms of exercise. A regular period of walking at least 30-60 minutes at least four or five times a week is a good way to reap the benefits of exercise. Remember these tips before you begin your walking sessions:

~ Do a five minute warm-up of regular walking

~ Continue with a period of faster walking that will raise your heart rate

~ Take a five minute cool-down period of regular walking

~ Stretch after walking

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start slowly and work your way up to 30-60 minutes. Always remember to speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Eating well, staying healthy and keeping fit really is possible, even on a budget.

To Your Continued Health and Success!
Miss Julia

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

QUIT SMOKING ~ It’s Worth It!

Quit Smoking ~ It's Worth It!
Whether this is your first time or your tenth time trying to quit, it really is worth it. Research shows that smoking causes disease in nearly every organ of the body. Smoking is linked to diseases such as leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia, and cncers of the cervix, lung, kidney,, pancreas, and stomach. Lung cancer alone claims the lives of more women than any other cancer. So as you can see, it is well worth your while to quit once and for all.

Why is it so Difficult to Quit?
If you have tried to quit smoking before or you know someone who has, have you ever wondered why it is so hard? This is because smoking is not only a habit, it is an addiction.. Those who have tried to quit before become very irritable when they do not have a cigarette to puff on. This irritability is a result of nicotine withdrawal. The nicotine makes your body to crave for more of it and this makes you keep smoking.

Environmental Triggers
If smoking has become a routine for you, you probably find that there are certain things that you associate with having a cigarette. These may be things like when you have a cup of coffee or a drink of wine or beer, or after lunch or dinner. You may also feel the need to have a cigarette first thing in the morning. You may also be triggered to smoke when you are around with others who are smoking. Smoking routines create instructions to the brain telling you that you are suppose to smoke at specific times. So, if you tell yourself it is time to quit smoking expect to meet a lot of resistance from your body.

The Benefits of Quitting
20 minutes after quitting your blood pressure drops and the temperature in you hands and feet rises. 8 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal. 24 hours after quitting your chance of having a heart attack goes down. 2 days after quitting you can taste and smell things better. 2weeks to 3 months after quitting you have better circulation and your lungs are working better. 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; your lungs start to function better, lowering your risk of lung infections. 1 year after quitting your risk for heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. 5 years after quitting your risks of having a stroke is the same as someone who doesn’t smoke. 10 years after quitting your risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of a smokers, 15 years after quitting your risk of heart disease is now the same as someone who doesn’t smoke. All-in-all you will have the chance to live a longer, healthier life.

Making the Commitment/Creating a Plan
You must make a commitment to yourself. List reasons why you want to quit. If you are health conscious do this for yourself , your family, your children. You will definitely need the support of your family and friends. Here are some tips to help you with your plan:

• Plan and write down a start date
• Remove cigarettes and ashtrays from your surrounding
• Do not permit anyone to smoke in your house
• Choose people around you that will encourage you and who are not smokers themselves
• Learn ways to distract yourself ~ avoid the ‘smoking triggers’
• Understand that you may be faced with setbacks so expect them and be prepared.
• Consider the use of a stop smoking aid. There are several on the market such as inhalers, patches , gums and nasal sprays.

Quitting will most likely take a lot of hard work and effort on your part. Your decision to quit now is one of the most important decisions that you will make this year.  For more information visit: Assitance in Quitting.

To Your Continued Health and Success!
Miss Julia

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Set Goals for the Coming Year ~ Get SMART!

As the  New Year is upon us, most of us tend to experience that sudden burst of motivation as resolutions force us to examine our lives. Many of these resolutions include everything from losing weight to working out more to stop smoking to spending more time with the family and the list goes on.  Sadly though, many of our New Year's resolutions are short-lived and we find ourselves right back at the same book, the same chapter and on the same page of our lives from the year before.  If you are like most people, your intentions are good and you really, really want to do it this time.  To increase your chances for success consider these recommendations for goal-setting......

1.  Choose the Right Resolution for the Right Reason ~ You really need to give some thought to what you want and why you want it - what is this particular resolution about anyway? Is this something that you want to do for you 'or' are you doing because.... - Well, whatever the reason you must be specific.  You must define your goal - say it or write it down.  For example:  instead of saying "I will exercise more" ~ you would be more specific by saying " I will walk 30 minutes 3 times a week" (OK, I will walk for 30 minutes on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday).

2.  Create a Plan ~  Now that you have set your goal you must create a plan for how you intend to accomplish that goal.  You have to identify the exact steps that you plan to put into motion to get to where you want to be.  With any reasonable plan, you will most likely make significant progress as you move closer to your goal.

3.  Stay on Track ~  Reaching your goal may not be easy; it probably will not happen overnight; it most likely will require some discipline on your part.  Do what you need to do to stay on track.  Create a "To Do List" or some kind of daily action plan.   If you need outside help ~ get it!  Consider working with someone that can motivate you like a really good friend or a personal trainer.

Whatever your goals for the coming year or for goals at any point in time in your life you must  ~Know What You Want and you have to know How to Get There ~ and you must be Smart about it...


 S ~ Be SpecificBe exact and specific about what you want to accomplish. Rather than saying "I'm going back to school this year," say "I am going to today to sign up for XYZ college."  Or instead of saying "I want to eat healthier," say "I will begin go eat four fruits and vegetables every day."

M ~ is for Measurable.  It is much easier  to know if you are successful, if your goals include specific guidelines, such as "for an hour each day" or three times per week."

A ~ be Action -Oriented. Your goals should include actions you can take  and behavior changes that you can make.

R ~ is for Reasonable.  Just take small steps at first.  One little baby step at a time and then build on your successes.

T ~ is for Time.  Whatever your goal may be it should be set in a framework of how much can I do this, how often do I need to do this, how long will it take for me to do this.  All in the essence of time.  

Putting all of these things together with a little 'get-up-and-go' on your part you will surely be able to accomplish the goal that you have set for yourself.   How about this:  Instead of  saying "well  I am gonna try and walk a little bit  more this year" ~ Say -- "I am going to start walking three times a week on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday beginning January 3rd.

To Your Continued Health and Success !
Miss Julia

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So You've Decided to Lose Weight ~ Now What?

Why do you want to lose weight in the first place?  Is it to look good or fit in that new dress or pair of jeans or to turn heads at the next class reunion?  Why do you really want to lose weight?  Have you considered that being overweight is also a hazard to your health?  Most people really do not understand  the risks of being overweight.  While looking good or fitting into that new pair of jeans is certainly a benefit this should not be your sole reason for losing weight.  Overweight and obesity kills thousands of people every year.
Overweight and obesity are problems that continue to get worse in the United States.  This is a result of bigger portion sizes, little time to exercise or cook healthy meals, and relying on cars and public transportation to get around.

The Risks of Being Overweight
Being overweight can lead to such diseases as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes to name a few.  So please understand that overeating, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can increase your chances of getting these and other diseases.

Do 'Not' Go on A 'Diet'

The first thing most people think of when losing weight is 'going on a diet'.   No, No , No. 'Diets' are temporary fixes.  You should think of losing weight as a 'permanent lifestyle change'.  You will probably need to learn new and wiser eating skills and re-arrange your mind set.  Consider the last time you went on a 'diet'- you were probably miserable, right?  This is because most so-called 'diets' are restrictive, forcing you to eat only certain food (i.e no carbs, juice only, special soups, veggies only, etc...) and the list goes on.  If you are like me you have probably tried some of these before. I will say that diets are diets and many people have found success with a number of them. However, the real 'key' to losing weight over the long term and keeping it off is to make gradual lifestyle changes that you can stick to.  Try some of these ~ use fat free milk instead of whole milk, drink water instead of high calorie soda, start eating smaller portion sizes, eat leaner cuts of meat such as chicken and turkey, snack on peanut butter, light popcorn, low fat cheese and fruit instead of chips and junk food.  These lifestyle changes then become a part of your 'normal'.

Losing Weight and Becoming Healthier
With so much conflicting  information in the media most people are not provided with the truthful facts about losing weight and becoming healthier.  With all of the fad diets, and quick weight loss gimmicks it is understandable that so many people really don't know the truth about losing fat and keeping it off long term.
Simple FactYou are either gaining fat, or losing fat; there is no in-between.  Well, duuh you say.  OK, consider this.  How many times have you justified binging because you came to a road-block?  or how many times have you said "well since I messed up today already at lunch, I'll just eat what I want for dinner"~ or "I'll start eating healthy again on Monday".  You know the deal.    So what did binging do for you?  You gained more fat and took a step backward from where you were - get the picture? The trick is not letting the road block completely derail your entire lifestyle change.

Have you thought about (up until now) how much you consume each day?  Many overweight people eat thousands of extra calories and fat without even realizing it.  It is hard to know if you are gaining weight or losing weight each day unless you are actually keeping an eye on what you are consuming.  You can do this by keeping a journal; a journal can help you keep up with your daily food intake and other things pertinent to your weight loss program.

Natural Dietary Supplements
There are a variety of supplements on the market to help you lose weight, maintain weight, boost your immune system ~ the list goes on.  Some of these can be very effective in your weight loss program.  Please research any supplement that you decide to use and make sure that it fits into your personal weight loss plan. Also remember to consult with your physician before taking any supplements or beginning any weight loss program. 

Finding and Implementing Your Weight Loss Program

There are many weight loss plans and programs on the market today.  Do your research and find the one that is best for you.  Many programs today are more flexible than they once were. You will want a program  that gives you some control rather than a one-size-fits-all program that imposes rigid demands.

Keep in mind also that your weight loss program should also include some type of physical exercise.  You might consider this as the 'fun' part of your program.  Consider joining a gym or working out with friends.  Incorporate everyday activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further down the parking lot or taking a walk at lunch.
Once you have made up your mind to lose weight, the first thing that you must understand is that this will be a long term commitment.  How long, depends on the amount of weight you want to lose and your own personal goals. If you have tried to lose weight in the past or if you know someone who has - we all know that it can be quite a challenge.  In fact, for some people it will just be down right tough.  Remember, it takes time, practice and support to change lifetime habits.  And remember it is a process, it will not happen overnight but it can happen and you will succeed and reach the goal that you have set.  However, at the end of the day it is You and You alone who has the power to lose those unwanted pounds.

Learn how to find and implement your own weight loss program~ Miss Julia's Weight Loss Guide (Eat to Live~ Don't Live to Eat)

To Your Continued Health and Success !
Miss Julia

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