Archive for the ‘Doing it together’ Category

It’s Hot! Preventing Heat Related Illness

Well it’s not quite June 21st but with record highs across the country, summer is here. With that summer heat comes a whole slew of potential heat-related illnesses: hyponatremia, heat stroke and heat exhaustion,  all of which are serious and can be life threating. As an EMT, I have treated all of these, and as a Marine I suffered most of these and have seen them all many, many times. I’m going to throw at you some signs and symptoms as well as some quick tips to avoid them.

Hyponatremia: everyone really knows about dehydration, but few people have ever really heard of hyponatremia. What is it exactly? Hyponatremia is a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells. In simple terms, you drank so much water you have flushed your system of needed nutrients. This can happen when you consume large quantities of water without eating regularly and with no other food inbetween meals. Although it is more common in endurance athletes, everybody is at risk. A person suffering from this will appear intoxicated, woozy and stumbling and possibly even slurred speech and disorientation. If you believe that you or someone around you is suffering from this call 911. This is really dangerous, so sit them down in the shade and give nothing to drink. You can avoid this by eating regularly, salt food to taste, and I always had sunflower seeds as a snack. They’re high in sodium and will help prevent this from happening. Also try drinking a little Gatorade with your water.

Heat exhaustion: this happens when your body isn’t able to regulate temperature. We all have experienced this before. This is not good, but that serious however it can lead to more serious things. How it happens is your outside without taking brakes and without continually hydrating. Signs and symptoms include light headedness, cramps, cool clammy skin and just overall exhaustion. Treatment is get out of the sun, get inside, and hydrate. To avoid this,  for every 30-45 minutes of work you do outside take a 10 minute break where you resupply what you have lost with water and a snack.

Heat Stroke: this is the most serious of heat injuries. Eventually you are baking yourself! In particularly your brain! Defined as a body temperature of greater than 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) due to environmental heat exposure with lack of thermoregulation.  Your body sits naturally around 98.6, but when you’re dehydrated and have been working out in the sun your internal temp will raise sharply. Your body combats this by sweating which cools off your body. However if you have pushed yourself for a long duration of exercise, your body will not have sufficient fluids to sweat and your internal temp starts to rise. Signs and symptoms are hot, red and dry skin. It is also common for the person to become unconscious. The treatment for this is call 911, move to shade, remove all tight fitting clothing and douse with water. If you have ice available put in their arm pits, under their neck and in the groin region. You want to place it here because these are 4 places where the body can lose the most amount of heat as quickly as possible. I cannot stress the urgency of calling 911 with this one; brain damage can set in very quickly and is permanent.  The elderly and young are particularly susceptible to this. Avoid sugary sodas and drink plenty of water before during and after exercise.

With summer comes many outdoor activities and a desire to get out and exercise. Take into consideration the dangers of heat and make sure to prevent them!

Kevin

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Stages of Change

Hey guys! Here’s a section from our book about how to negotiate changing your habits when  you’re in a relationship. Enjoy!

“For most couples, seeing eye-to-eye on health and fitness is something you dream about, but not really a practical reality. You may like to read articles about diet and vegetables, but your partner is only interested in hitting the gym. Or, perhaps fitness has never been part of your relationship, but as you become more interested in a life change, you’re hoping your partner will be excited about changing with you.  In order to make this transition as easy as possible, it will be helpful to understand how willing your partner is to change and what methods will be most helpful in ensuring the two of you change together. In this section, we’ll teach you about the 4 stages of change and what strategies are most effective in communicating with a partner at each stage.  This theory was originally published by Prochaska et al in 1992, and the strategies we discuss are based on a paper published by Zimmerman et al in the American Family Physician Journal.

T he Stages of Change model shows that most people slowly change their behavior over time, instead of just having that “aha” moment. True change in one life takes time and is not a linear progression. Relapses are almost guaranteed to occur and actually become a piece of the process. The Stages of Change model describes 4 stages along to way to making a life change; pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation and action.  In the pre-contemplation stage, a person has no intent or desire to change. They don’t think the statistics apply to them and they don’t think there is any reason to live their life differently. In the contemplation stage, a person will begin to weight the benefits and costs of changing their habits. They may see the merit in diet or exercise, but giving up their lifestyle will seem like a loss. In the preparation stage, a person is getting ready to make a big change. They may test out smaller changes such as buying a pair of walking shoes or shopping for low-fat items in the grocery store. Finally, the big leap is the action stage. This person has weighed the pros and cons, done the proper preparation and has decided to jump in and live life differently.

It is critical to understand where your partner is in the stages of change before you expect a significant alteration in their behavior. If they aren’t even contemplating change, then giving them goal setting tips probably isn’t your best course of action. The most effective way to help your partner change their lifestyle right along with you is to match your interventions with their stage. So how do you do that?

The best thing you can do is to listen. Ask your partner how they feel about diet, exercise or even their own health and then listen to what they have to say. More than likely, they’ll let you know exactly where they are just by their answer. Here’s what to listen for:

If they are in the…. They might say….
Pre-contemplation Stage “All that research doesn’t apply to me”

“It’s impossible for me to lose weight”

“I’m fine the way I am”

In this stage, your partner won’t think change is necessary at all. They don’t think advice applies to them and altering their lifestyle is not something they are interested in.

 

Contemplation Stage “I know I should work out, but I just don’t have time”

“I’d like to eat better, but I just hate the taste of vegetables”

Your partner will be receptive to the benefits of diet and exercise, but they feel that the cost (whether it be money, time, or taste) is just too much

 

Preparation Stage “I’ll try walking once a week with you”

“I guess some more vegetables would be nice”

Your partner may be willing to try out small changes that don’t seem too intimidating

 

Action Stage “Alright, let’s do it”

Good idea! I’ll challenge you to see who loses the most weight!”

In the action phase, your partner is truly ready to make a big life change

We Published Our Book!

We have officially published an ebook! We’re so excited! It’s available on the kindle and on amazon.com. Here’s the link

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VI58SI

Or, you can just click on the book cover. If you don’t have a kindle, you can still read the book right on your computer. Just download the free kindle app, and get started.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the book, so please feel free to write us reviews. The book is only 99 cents, so it won’t break the bank!

Thank you so much for your support!

-Kevin and Sara

The Farmers Market

When my wife and I go to the grocery store, it is a constant struggle. We have no problem grabbing the usual items; organic yogurt, low fat string cheese, lots of fruits and vegetables and pistachios. The problem always seems to arise when it comes down to what we are going to eat for dinner. I’ll just come out and say it; I need meat at dinner to feel like I am actually eating a meal.

To me there is something truly fulfilling about meat that no amount of legumes, nuts or tofu could ever fill. Maybe it is genetic or just because that is how I was raised but some form of meat is the epicenter of dinner and everything else is an add on. The dilemma that my wife and I face is just how horrible store bought meat is for you; from antibiotics to pink slime there seems to be nothing truly nutritious about it. On top of all that the few organic or “healthier” options are so unreasonably priced that we don’t want to buy them.

Luckily we have found a simple and affordable solution.  We finally were able to find a farmers market less than a mile away from our house. They have a wide assortment of items to replace what we usually purchased from a grocery store. The best part of is that instead of trying to read a label and guess what “grass-fed diet” really means, we could ask the grower himself just where and how this animal was raised.

Our farmers market is small, consisting of about 15 tables with the usual items of green beans, spinach, kale, carrots and potatoes, but the 2 items we most excited about were grass fed beef and duck eggs. The farmer who sells the grass fed beef, which I guess would be called a rancher and not a farmer, is there to answer any questions about the diet and living conditions of the animals.  Plus, he is the one who processes the animals, so that way if you have any questions on what cut of meat to buy or how to prepare he is able to answer your questions. He doesn’t just sell beef; you can order whole chickens or pigs or any cut of those 2 animals you would like, as well as honey and milk. The best part is that you can call in an order and drive to his farm to pick up your order and see the animals in open pasture and chicken’s running free.

As my wife and I were walking along we came across a table that was selling eggs of all kinds. All the eggs were free range! As I was inquiring about a dozen chicken eggs my wife noticed that they were selling duck eggs as well. Having always wanted to try duck eggs we purchased a dozen. They are hands down the best eggs I have ever eaten! They seem to be much richer and more fulfilling than chicken eggs.

Do you shop at a farmers market? If so what do you purchase and why?

We finally put up a facebook page, so be sure to friend us on facebook.

Kevin

Can Marriage Make You Fat?

When Kevin and I started this blog, we really wanted to demonstrate how being in a relationship affects your weight loss, for better or worse. For some people, having a partner in crime when starting an exercise program can be encouraging and helpful. If your partner starts to lose weight, they tend to take you along with them and you both benefit. Unfortunately, the opposite can be quite true as well.

According to a study published in the Obesity Journal in 2002, just getting married or cohabitation can significantly elevate your BMI (a commonly used measure of health comparing your height and weight). Subjects in the study completed surveys about their height, weight and marital status, typical amounts of physical activity and common foods they ate. The same group of people was surveyed two years later, and the results are more than a little depressing.

A change in marriage status (getting married or getting divorced) led to a significant change in weight. Those who got married during the study had a significant increase in body weight and those who got divorced had a significant loss in body weight, which means that according to this research, marriage will indeed make you fat.

 There may be a few explanations for this phenomenon, all of which are definitely controllable. So, here are a few tips to avoid these common pitfalls of marriage pudginess.

Dangerous Dating Behavior: For people who are newly married, you can easily remember what it was like to be dating your spouse. You often did special things together on the weekends like going out to dinner, getting desert and extra popcorn at the movies. Your time together was special and therefore you probably tended to increase your caloric intake to celebrate. Now that you’re married, if you’ve kept up your dating behavior, those special reasons to eat poorly may be creeping up on you. Absolutely keep going on dates! However, try to keep track of how often you are treating yourselves with high calorie foods and try to find other ways to enjoy each other without killing your diet.

Unreasonable Portions: For all you ladies, if you eat meals regularly with your husband, you may be significantly increasing your portion size without realizing it. When we eat with someone else, we tend to subconsciously adjust our portion size to match theirs and can end up eating more food than we intended. If your partner is significantly larger than you are, that means they get more food!

Snuggle Time: Another habit of married people is to find it easier just to stay inside and lounge around the tv. Single people tend to go outdoors and join groups such as an ultimate Frisbee team or a soccer club, but married people tend to keep to themselves a bit more. This can really encroach on your daily physical activity. Make an effort to leave to love-nest of the couch and get outside! Go take a walk or play basketball! Your heart will thank you later!

Do you find that you’ve gained weight since you’ve been married? Would any of these strategies work for you?

-Sara

Sometimes, you don’t need to talk about it….

I know I’m a little young to be doling out marriage advice, so when Kevin and I started this blog, we sought out the advice of older couples who had been married quite a while and interviewed them about their communication and health habits. Today I want to introduce you to our first couple, R and S, and their journey through trying to improve their health and marriage.

Both R and S are in their mid-fifties and S has been gradually improving her diet and exercise over the last few years. She was diagnosed with osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis) and has been doing everything possible to avoid additional bone loss including eating better diet and getting more physical activity. R, on the other hand, has been working more and more as the years go by and has recently changed his commute to work from a 30 minute bike ride to a 45 minute drive. He has less time for physical activity and doesn’t always eat the best diet. S is becoming worried not only about his waistline, but about his health as well. She knows that a lack of physical activity and weight gain increases his risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

When I asked her about sitting down with her husband and having a conversation, she balked. “I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings!” she said. She went on to explain that she really feels that making the choice to lose weight needed to be her husband’s decision and she didn’t want to pressure him.  Instead, she keeps healthy foods around the house and invites him along when she does yard work or takes a walk after dinner.

Recently, R decided to start a weight loss program. He became concerned about his growing waistline and didn’t like the idea that he had to buy a larger pants size. He mostly has been focusing on decreasing his caloric intake, but tries to get some exercise at least three times a week. I was very interested in what caused this change. He said that he knew he was gaining weight and was concerned about his health, and he was definitely able to take the hint from his wife; she would go for jogs, prepare healthy meals, and share her successes. He knew how important health was to her, and when he saw the positive changes she made, he knew he wanted the same. When I asked him how he would respond if she had directly confronted him, he said, “Oh, I would have felt guilty, not offended.”

It seems that for these two, non-verbal communication was just as effective as sitting down and having a conversation. I know that it can be challenging to get your spouse or partner to change their habits, and for some, direct confrontation may not be the best option. I think this is a great example of how modeling the change you want to see in your spouse can have a positive effect. Sometimes just being a good role model is all you need to do!

Have you ever done this for your spouse?

Can Marriage Make You Fat?

When Kevin and I started this blog, we really wanted to demonstrate how being in a relationship affects your weight loss, for better or worse. For some people, having a partner in crime when starting an exercise program can be encouraging and helpful. If your partner starts to lose weight, they tend to take you along with them and you both benefit. Unfortunately, the opposite can be quite true as well.

According to a study published in the Obesity Journal in 2002, just getting married or cohabitation can significantly elevate your BMI (a commonly used measure of health comparing your height and weight). Subjects in the study completed surveys about their height, weight and marital status, typical amounts of physical activity and common foods they ate. The same group of people was surveyed two years later, and the results are more than a little depressing.

A change in marriage status (getting married or getting divorced) led to a significant change in weight. Those who got married during the study had a significant increase in body weight and those who got divorced had a significant loss in body weight, which means that according to this research, marriage will indeed make you fat.

 There may be a few explanations for this phenomenon, all of which are definitely controllable. So, here are a few tips to avoid these common pitfalls of marriage pudginess.

Dangerous Dating Behavior: For people who are newly married, you can easily remember what it was like to be dating your spouse. You often did special things together on the weekends like going out to dinner, getting desert and extra popcorn at the movies. Your time together was special and therefore you probably tended to increase your caloric intake to celebrate. Now that you’re married, if you’ve kept up your dating behavior, those special reasons to eat poorly may be creeping up on you. Absolutely keep going on dates! However, try to keep track of how often you are treating yourselves with high calorie foods and try to find other ways to enjoy each other without killing your diet.

Unreasonable Portions: For all you ladies, if you eat meals regularly with your husband, you may be significantly increasing your portion size without realizing it. When we eat with someone else, we tend to subconsciously adjust our portion size to match theirs and can end up eating more food than we intended. If your partner is significantly larger than you are, that means they get more food!

Snuggle Time: Another habit of married people is to find it easier just to stay inside and lounge around the tv. Single people tend to go outdoors and join groups such as an ultimate Frisbee team or a soccer club, but married people tend to keep to themselves a bit more. This can really encroach on your daily physical activity. Make an effort to leave to love-nest of the couch and get outside! Go take a walk or play basketball! Your heart will thank you later!

Do you find that you’ve gained weight since you’ve been married? Would any of these strategies work for you?

-Sara

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