Obesity Is Costing You More Than A Lean Physique

obesity increasing costsIs there a cost to being obese? Experts say, “absolutely.” The costs of obesity can extend beyond personal health. There is a lifelong financial impact, beyond medical bills. There are direct health costs (medical services) and indirect costs: value of lost work, quality of life and insurance – all related to obesity.

 
According to a report from the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services, the tangible annual health and work-related costs of obesity for a woman amount to $4,789 more than a woman of average weight would pay. For an obese man, those added costs are $2,646 annually.
 

 

Being obese can impact insurance rates, even more so than your age.

 

Prevention is key. Start making choices that will reduce obesity. Get moving and strengthening. Physical activity is one way you can invest in your long-term health. Movement is great for your mind, body and can promote weight loss.

 
Eat less processed foods, and eat less in general. Nourish your body with at least five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Make meal choices to include lean proteins and healthy fats.

 

Enjoy a good night’s sleep, and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and excess stress can sabotage weight loss efforts.

 
Participate in your company’s wellness program. Taking advantage of company wellness perks is a way to be proactive about investing your wellbeing.

 
Seek professional support. If you are not having success with your weight loss efforts, look to a professional for guidance. It does not matter if you have been overweight your entire life, there are changes you can start to make at any age to improve your health.

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

Quit Gaining…Weight, That is. Diet and Health Go Hand-In-Hand

Weight Gain Weight gain can put your health at risk. A couple pounds a year can add up to an increased BMI over time. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that excessive weight and obesity can put you at risk for all of the following:

 

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Abnormal Blood Fats
  • Metabolic Syndrome (the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke)
  • Cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
  • Reproductive Problems
  • Gallstones

 

Read on for three simple tricks that don’t include a gym membership or a diet plan, but these tips do promote weight loss.

 

  • Size does matter when it comes to weight loss. Stop supersizing your meals. Order smaller sizes. Serve and eat your food on small plates. People automatically eat fewer calories when they reach for the tiny plate. Leave a bit of each meal behind, or grab a plate that is a contrasting color to your food; this can serve as a stop signal. Studies show that these quick tricks may reduce calories, which can lead to weight loss over time.

 

  • Skip the midnight snack. No more late night eating. Give yourself an “eating curfew.” Food is fuel, and there’s no need to load up on carbohydrates before you hit the hay. There is research that suggests nighttime eating may lead to weight gain.

 

  • Swap out grain breakfast selections with a protein rich option. Find ways to swap out a refined carb breakfast with a protein rich option. Protein rich options include eggs, nuts, seeds, beans or fish. Limit processed protein (e.g. deli meat, protein shakes) and red meat choices. Abandon beliefs that you can only eat certain foods at certain times. It’s acceptable to eat a salad in the morning for breakfast, or an omelet for dinner. Research demonstrates beefing up your healthy protein intake may increase satiety and promote maintenance of your current body weight.

 

References:

British Heart Foundation – Portion Distortion report

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/4/900.full

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1558S.long

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

We’ve Got Your Back… Exercise: Some Motivation Required

Back pain is a common complaint and can happen for various reasons.  Science is not certain of the exact recipe to heal back pain. Research on different modes of rehab and training designed to help back- pain sufferers is on-going.

 

Building a strong and balanced back may be protective. Surprisingly, your consistent attendance in Pilates class along with your chiseled abs and back may not shield you from back pain.

 

Overall conditioning of your core muscles may safeguard you from future injury. Core muscles refer to a person’s trunk, back, glutes, hips, abductors and abdominal muscles.

 

Conditioning includes walking with correct posture and balance exercises, along with range of motion and strengthening activities. These components, collectively, factor into protecting your back.

 

Best Back Practice:

 

  • Walk or regularly engage in some other physical activity.

 

  • Proper postural alignment influences moving with ease.

 

  • Sensory-motor control training may be as important as strengthening or endurance of the trunk muscles when building a strong base.

 

  • Yoga is good practice for strengthening, flexibility and pain management.

 

  • Strengthening the pelvic and trunk muscles plays a role in core stability.

 

You should consult your primary care provider before starting a new exercise routine, to be sure you are healthy enough to pursue a workout regimen. Once you are cleared for exercise, consider adding the following to your daily routine to build a solid foundation. And remember, if you feel pain– STOP!

 

Walking:

Walking (with proper form) at a moderate-intense level for as little as six minutes daily may benefit your back. Read on for details on proper posture.

 

Postural  Alignment:

The  National Osteoporosis  Foundation  describes proper standing posture as keeping your head high, chin in and shoulder blades slightly pinched together. Maintain the natural arch of your lower back as you gently contract your abdomen inward, feet are pointed straight ahead with knees facing forward.

 

Sensory-Motor Control Training (SMC):

SMC is an approach to balance training. Stages of SMC include static, dynamic and functional. Perform your balance exercises at home in a doorway for safety.

 

Static: Stand on one foot and look straight ahead, progress by closing your eyes or adding head movements.

Dynamic: Add arm and leg movement while standing on one foot. Try to main- tain a steady posture.

Functional: Try balancing on an un- stable surface such as a wobble board, furniture cushion, or sitting on a stability ball.

 

Be sure to perform the above exercises on each foot, up to 30 seconds, two times throughout the day.

 

Yoga, Stretching and Strengthening:

Try a beginner yoga class or basic strengthening group session, watch a video or download an app. Experiment with different activities to see what feels good.

 

References:

http://www.bjjprocs.boneandjoint.org.uk/content/88-B/SUPP_III/449.1

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24731894

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22850802

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24211698

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25529265

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

Negative Attitude And Outlook May Impact Brain Function As Well As Overall Health

Consistently viewing the world through a cynical eye may contribute to dementia, Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease.

Consistently viewing the world through a cynical eye may contribute to dementia, Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease.

“Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.”
– Joyce Meyer, Author and Evangelist

 

Is Being A Grinch Bad For Your Health? Research finds an association between cynicism and dementia. Cynicism is the belief that only selfishness motivates human actions, and that there are no selfless acts. Sounds like Grinch-like thinking, doesn’t it?

 

This way of thinking has been linked to poor health. Previous studies have reported that cynicism may be a predictor of adverse health outcomes, such as coronary artery disease.

 

 

Cynicism Is Associated With Additional Health Problems

 

Now, along comes evidence that cynicism is associated with additional health problems. The Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia Study looked at the association between cynicism, dementia and death. This study measured cynical distrust based on the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale.

 

Dementia was diagnosed by objective criteria. Many other factors that could lead to dementia were also considered, including age, sex, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, socioeconomic class, and a test that, when positive, is sometimes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Those with high levels of cynicism died at a younger age, but this finding was explainable by other factors, including lifestyle choices, socioeconomic class and other health issues.

 

On the other hand, those with the highest levels of cynicism had a higher risk of dementia, even after considering all confounding factors. At present, the relationship between dementia and cynicism is just an association, not necessarily cause and effect. In other words, we cannot really say that being cynical is likely to lead to dementia, or that adopting a more positive outlook on life will prevent dementia. But, we do know that people who believe they are living a happy life, find life more enjoyable and live longer. So, don’t be a Grinch!

 

 

Are You At Risk?

 

Are you at risk? Are you wondering if you are cynical?  Consider these statements.  Do you think they are mostly true or false?

 

  1. No one cares much what happens to you.
  2. It is safer to trust no one.
  3. I think most people would lie to get ahead.
  4. Most people do not like helping others.

 

The more you think these statements are true (agree with them) the more cynical is your personality. The more cynical you are, the less healthy you may be.

 

Tips for good spirits: Seeking more balance in your life can bring happiness. Balance is a state of symmetry of all things in your life.  Spend time with people who make you smile, find a funny quote and post it as a reminder, watch a comedy, focus on the positive in your life, get moving, partake in activities that bring you joy, get outdoors for fresh air, listen to music, take a nap if you need rest, meditate, or simply jot down a list of items that make you happy.

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

Five Foods To Forego…Everyday Choices Pose Health Concerns

Experts frequently remind us that fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that come in rich, vibrant colors, should hold a valued position on our tables at meal time. These foods contain nutrients that are known to stave off serious, debilitating diseases. Unfortunately, many people in our “always on the go” American lifestyles choose convenience over quality.

Experts frequently remind us that fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that come in rich, vibrant colors, should hold a valued position on our tables at meal time. These foods contain nutrients that are known to stave off serious, debilitating diseases. Unfortunately, many people in our “always on the go” American lifestyles choose convenience over quality.

Eating fruits and veggies is great practice for your good health. Think colorful food selections that grow from the earth.

 

The food you eat should be processed by your body, not a factory. Fill up most of your plate with fruits and veggies and skip the less-than-stellar selections listed below to build your plate for power.

 

The top five foods every consumer should leave off the grocery list:

 

5. Deep Fried Foods:

Cooking at high temperatures can result in the formation of toxic chemical compounds that are not good for your health.

 

4. Processed meats:

The Harvard School of Public Health reports that eating processed meats may increase one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes when a diet consists of regularly eating about 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of processed meat per day. Processed meat includes deli slices, sausage and bacon.

 

3. Soft drinks (diet or regular):

Most sodas contain food dyes and preservatives. It is uncertain how safe these drinks are and they provide very little by way of healthy nutrition and nutrients.

 

2. Condiments in a bag:

Mustard and ketchup in small packets are engineered to remain stable. They contain additives that your body doesn’t need.

 

1. Refined and artificial sweeteners

We don’t know if these substitutes are harmful. Claims are confusing and these substitutes provide no healthy nutrients.

 

Recent  research  has  found  a  possible link between artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance. The American Heart Association released its recommendations which state that most American women should consume no more than 100 calories in these sweeteners per day (about 6 tea- spoons).

 

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons).

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References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23335051

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/processed-meats-unprocessed-heart-disease-diabetes/

http://www..nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13793.htmlpubmed/23335051

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

Taking Steps to Control Stress Is One Key to Overall Health Benefits

Stress Image

by Heather Klaus, Health and Wellness Manager, Medcor

 

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. People feel stressed for different reasons. Stress can be placed in two categories: good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). Examples of good stress or eustress include riding a roller coaster, playing sports or having a baby. These situations can actually inspire and motivate you. Keep in mind that even though you perceive these scenarios as enjoyable they still result in a physical reaction in the body such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, stomach tension, etc. However, when stress begins to feel like distress or bad stress, it’s a warning flag to regroup. When a situation starts to feel unmanageable or overwhelming, it’s time to take steps to manage stress for health’s sake.

 

Can you control stress? Yes! Well, you can control how you feel about stress. According to Al Ritter, author of The 100/0 Principle: The Secret of Great Relationships, there are techniques you can try to feel better.

 

Remember the “Five A’s”:

 

1) Apply the 100-0 principle to the stressor.

– Give 100 percent and expect zero percent in return, and you will never be disappointed.

 

2) Avoid the stressor

– Learn how to say “no” to a situat- ion that is causing your stress.

 

3) Alter the stressor

– Express your emotions and feelings in a respectful way as opposed to bottling up your feelings.

 

4) Adapt to the stressor

– Reframe the problem in order to find a solution. Ask yourself: how important is this situation in the long run?

 

5) Accept the stressor

– Accept what you can’t change or control.

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

People Can Achieve Benefits By Investing In Thirty Minutes of Modest, Daily Activity

New research supports that it is never too late to begin an endurance training routine and benefit from it!

 

A study on men has found that “relatively intensive” endurance exercise provides heart benefits regardless of age when training begins. The exercise specific to this study was running or cycling.

 

Each participant was assessed before and after training, and the results revealed that, “despite biological changes with age, the heart still seems – even at the age of 40 – amenable to modification by endurance training. Starting at the age of 40 or older does not seem to impair the cardiac benefits.”

 

 

One need not be a marathon runner or an elite athlete to derive significant benefits from physical activity

 

The Surgeon General’s Report, a joint CDC/ACSM consensus statement, and a National Institutes of Health report agreed that benefits will generally occur by engaging in at least 30 minutes of modest activity on most—preferably all— days of the week.

 

Modest activity is defined as any activity that is similar in intensity to brisk walking at a rate of about 3 to 4 miles per hour.

 

Remember, moving is good for your heart at any age. A regular dose of physical activity can:

 

– Lower your resting heart rate

– Help manage your weight

– Reduce blood pressure

– Decrease LDL (think: “L” for lousy cholesterol)

– Increase HDL

– Increase your exercise tolerance (be able to do work with less fatigue)

– Increase in insulin sensitivity

 

 

 

Author: Heather Klaus, Medcor, Wellness Program Manager. Heather oversees Medcor’s internal wellness program for nearly 900 associates nationwide.  She also develops and supports wellness programs for Medcor clients.  Heather is a regular author and contributor to health and wellness blogs, videos and newsletters.  Heather holds a Bachelor’s in Science from Northern Illinois University in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a certified trainer, fitness instructor and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.  http://www.medcor.com.  Contact: heather.klaus@medcor.com

 

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