A Strong Start To Your Day

Schar shared this great insight in their recent newsletter.  They posted that making the right choice to fuel your day ahead. An enjoyable start to your morning . Everyone knows how it is to oversleep, then leap out of bed, rush into the shower, grab a cup of coffee on the run and plunge straight into the day’s activities.You don’t have to be health-conscious to know that that can’t be good for you.

A burst of energy which lasts the whole day. In the morning, after about eight hours of sleep, the body really needs to replenish its energy and nutrient supplies so that it can regain its momentum. It is necessary to make the right choice. But what is the right choice?

Morning grouches. Not everyone has the appetite for a hearty breakfast at the crack of dawn, as delicious as it may be. However, just a few nibbles can stimulate the circulation. Therefore, a lighter menu is introduced. Whether it is a simple slice of toasted Classic White Bread with a little butter and jam or a creamy yogurt, and perhaps even a selection of seasonal fruits. Anything goes – the fantasy knows no limits.

For large appetites. Anyone who wakes up hungry needs a proper meal. In this case, the portions should also be larger. It is important to have a balanced combination of cereal and dairy products. Fresh fruit and sufficient liquid should also be available. This will ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs for, among other things, a quick boost of energy. It also guarantees strong nerves and the smooth performance of numerous bodily functions.

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What Smartphones Do to Children’s Eyes

When the children gave up their phones for a month, the dry-eye symptoms significantly improved.

Pediatric dry-eye disease can negatively affect vision and school performance and is believed by many specialists to be underdiagnosed, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Staring at smartphones, computers and other screens has been linked to reduced blinking, which can lead to faster evaporation of the tear film and increase the risk of dry-eye disease. Smartphones also have a short watching distance due to their small screens that can tire the eyes, the researchers said. Read more

Don’t let detox diets deceive you, says chef

Ellie Krieger in the Washington Post shared that  she still chuckles when she  thinks about the tweet put out years ago by the famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: “The likelihood that a person uses the word ‘toxin’ correlates strongly with how much chemistry the person does *not* know” (punctuation his).

She continues with, no doubt we will be pummeled by that word and its cousin “detox” over the next few weeks as the diet industry jumps on its big window of opportunity with resolution makers. Despite that, those who know chemistry agree that some foods and drinks are more protective than others. So apart from all the hype, is there anything true or helpful about the notion of detoxing?

Ms. Krieger posed that question to Rebecca Katz, author and founder of the Healing Kitchens Institute. As a consultant, speaker, teacher and chef, Katz seeks to help medical professionals incorporate flavor and nutrition into their work. She is the author of “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery” and “Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality.”Ellie asked her, by phone and email, for her insights on detoxing. Here are her responses, edited for space and clarity.

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10 strategies to save money on the gym

Find a deal on a gym membership, and you can do all three. Here’s how.

Time it right:

According to Consumer Reports, to save money sign up late in the month — any month — when health club sales teams are trying to meet their monthly quotas.

Look for daily deals:

Never, ever join a gym without quickly searching daily-deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Gym memberships and other exercise classes are one of their most common offers. There were 534 exercise deals on Groupon when I checked.

Ask work about your workout:

Many employers have negotiated discounts with nearby gyms. If yours hasn’t, why not band together with co-workers and do it yourself?

Negotiate a custom deal:

Speaking of negotiating, it pays to play hard ball. Make sure the gym you want to join knows that you’re talking to other gyms, too, and ask for a price match. Then, see if it will waive the initiation fee.

Planning to use just one location in a chain? Request a discount for that.

Don’t need included services like child care? Ditto.

If you can’t get the gym to give you a lower price for less stuff, try to get more stuff for the quoted price, such as free personal training or massages.

Pay as you go:

Better yet, don’t join at all. Sometimes it makes more economic sense to get an exercise “class card” or pay daily rates as you go, especially if you’re unsure how committed you are. Paying daily or month to month may cost more, but it will save you money if you decide to bail out. I’m not a fan of long-term “future services contracts” that you can get out of only if you can document that you moved away or got injured.

Advanced strategies

Head to the hospital:

You know that failing to exercise can land you in the hospital, but did you know that you can exercise at the hospital?

That’s right, many hospitals have fully equipped fitness facilities that welcome the public. Best of all, most do not require ironclad long-term contracts.

Go to college:

Colleges and universities are another often-overlooked resource. Most now have elaborate exercise facilities to attract students, and many offer memberships to the community.

Exercise your health insurance:

Insurance companies have caught on that keeping people healthy saves them money, so many now include some sort of gym benefit as part of their plans.

For example, Aetna says it offers discounted rates at more than 10,000 gyms. And United Healthcare will reimburse you $20 each month that you visit one of its participating fitness centers at least 12 times.

Additionally, if you are exercising to overcome an illness or injury, some gyms will work with you to submit claims to your insurance company.

Try apps that pay for wellness:

Mobile apps such as Pact and Wellcoin will actually pay you to exercise.

Pact rewards you with cash — paid by other members who didn’t meet their goals. When you use Wellcoin, you earn points you can use to buy products on the site, including gym classes. The payments aren’t huge, but there’s an intangible motivational value that some consider priceless.

Ask for fitness financial aid:

Not sure you can afford a commercial gym? The YMCA offers financial assistance and says it never turns away members who can’t pay.

Why Undereating Won’t Actually Help You Lose Weight


Trinh Le, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian for MyFitnessPal shared that we all know that calories matter a lot when it comes to weight loss. As long as you eat fewer calories than you burn, you should lose weight. The logic is sound for most healthy adults, but we can also take that logic too far. In the case of healthy, sustainable weight loss, more restriction doesn’t always lead to better weight loss. In fact, regularly eating too few calories can put you at risk of malnutrition, resulting in unhealthy weight loss and nutrient deficiencies.

To prevent this, MyFitnessPal automatically has a minimum daily calorie goal of 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 calories per day for men. These minimums, based on recommendations from the National Institutes of Health, ensure the majority of us trying to lose weight do so safely and get enough essential nutrients from food to prevent malnutrition.


The difference between fasting and chronically undereating (which can lead to starvation) is a matter of duration. Fasting is commonly practiced on a timescale of several hours, but while the term has earned itself a bad reputation from notorious fasting or “detox” diets (think: cayenne pepper diet), fasting for weight loss can be safe. Our bodies were actually designed to handle short-term fasts, like when we don’t eat for eight hours during sleep. We also go anywhere from 4–8 hours without eating when we skip meals during life’s busier moments.

On the other hand, going without food for several days or eating less than the calorie minimum for weeks to months puts you at risk of malnutrition. As well-nourished individuals, we do carry enough stored fuel to meet our needs for 1–3 months in the form of muscle tissue and fat. However, our body can only store 1–2 days’ worth of glycogen (the body’s carbohydrate stores), which, if not replenished, is quickly used up to maintain blood sugar.

After several days of undereating, the body switches to energy-conservation mode, meaning your metabolism slows way down, making you feel tired and edgy. As carbohydrate stores run low, protein and fat become the dominant sources of fuel. After 48 hours without food, your body runs out of glycogen to power the two organs that need it the most: red blood cells and the brain. While glucose is the only fuel blood cells can run on, the brain will begin to adapt to power itself with ketone bodies made from fat. To meet basic energy needs, your body ramps up breakdown of muscles and organs in addition to fat. Read more

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Jenny Sugar wrote for POPSUGAR that whether it’s the Freshman 15, breakup weight, baby weight, or can’t-stay-away-from-the-dessert-cart weight, losing those extra pounds is not as easy as putting them on. It doesn’t matter if you have five or 105 pounds to lose, here are the top reasons most people abandon their weight-loss goals, and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

It’s Taking Too Long

Just as those pounds seemed to slowly creep on, it also takes time to slowly shake them off; coming to terms with this will make it easier to stick with your plan. Know that to safely lose weight and keep it off, you’ll only drop one to two pounds a week, so do the math and you’ll have an idea of how much time it’ll be before you’re near your goal weight. Find ways to celebrate your smaller goalsand it’ll help keep you on track.

I’m Hungry

Weight loss comes down to simple math: calories in cannot exceed the amount of calories out. If you choose high-calorie foods, you’ll only be able to have a few bites, which will leave your belly empty and unsatisfied. Eat smarter by choosing low-calorie foods like vegetables, high-fiber foods like whole grains, and foods with high water content like fruit. These foods will keep you feeling full, preventing hunger pangs.

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Sleep-deprived drivers have plenty in common with drunken drivers

Those are the findings of an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report released recently that draws on original research and past studies to create a troubling picture of the risk caused by a go-go world where many people don’t get enough rest.

“Managing a healthy work-life balance can be difficult, and far too often we sacrifice our sleep as a result,” said Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA.

About 35 percent of people get fewer than the needed seven hours of sleep, and 12 percent say they sleep for five hours or less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier research by AAA Foundation showed that 21 percent of fatal crashes involved a sleep-deprived driver. The group’s new work uses data from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey to delve into how much driving ability decreases based on varying lack of sleep.

Not surprisingly, the less sleep, the higher the risk of a crash.

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YMCA’S Diabetes Prevention Program

heart-and-applesqThe YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps overweight adults at risk for type 2 diabetes prevent or delay the onset by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together to achieve the program goals of reducing individual weight by 7% and building up to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

It’s delivered over a 12-month period in a classroom setting and can be offered in any community location to participants who meet qualification criteria putting them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The qualifications:

  • ·         Adults 18+
  • ·         Overweight (BMI >25)*
  • ·         At risk for or have been diagnosed with PREDIABETES
  •  Via a blood test with one of the following results:
  1.        Fasting Plasma Glucose between 100–125 mg/dL
  2.           2-hour Plasma Glucose between 140–199 mg/dL
  3. ·          A1c between 5.7% and 6.4%
  •   Or a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes

− If a blood test is not available, a qualifying risk score based on a combination of risk factors— family history, age, etc.

The Program is based on the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program funded by the NIH and the CDC, which showed that by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a small amount of weight, a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58% and by 71% in individuals over age 60.

The participants do not have to be Y members.

For additional information, please contact:

Katie Sivak – Director, Organizational Engagement
B.R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County
49 Deicke Dr. | Glen Ellyn, IL  60137
630 547-2022

Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

three-kidsAction for Healthy Kids shared that if is too cold or snowy to go outside and play during winter break you can still stay active over the break with Game On’s Health at Home ideas. You’ll find tips for eating better and moving more, especially during the holiday season.

Check out how much fun it is to stay active. Spread holiday cheer with healthy and active parties (such as celebrating the 12 Days of Fitness) to gear up for the holidays.

And … with the holiday season right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how  kids can stay healthy this season. The holiday season has typically been a season for unhealthy behaviors, weight gain and inactivity. Follow these tips to strat eating healthy and moving more at home over the holidays.

Enjoy the Healthy 12 Days of Fitness

man-and-giftUsing the melody from the  12 Days of Christmas tune as the 12 Days of Fitness for a twelve-day physical activity challenge. Do all physical activities on the same day or spread it out over a 12-day fitness challenge:

  • “On the first day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 1 fit kid climbing up the tree (arms moving hand over hand as in climbing while running in place)
  • On the second day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 2 legs a squatting and 1 fit kid climbing up the tree…
  • On the third day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 3 arms a’reaching…
  • On the fourth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 4 reaching benders (toe touches)…
  • On the fifth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 5 stride jumps…
  • On the sixth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 6 torso twisters…
  • On the seventh day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 7 arms a’circling…
  • On the eighth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 8 legs a’lifting…
  • On the ninth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 9 heads a’turning
  • On the tenth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 10 arms a’swimming
  • On the eleventh day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 11 feet a’pedaling (sit with rear hand support)
  • On the twelfth day of fitness, my teacher gave to me: 12 body lifts (face down lean on elbows lift body to level position, lower and repeat), 11 feet a’pedaling, 10 arms a’swimming, 9 heads a’turning, 8 legs a’lifting, 7 arms a’circling, and 6 torso twisters,……….. And one fit kid climbing up the tree.Happy Holidays !!!!!!!