Posts Tagged ‘Balance’

Restless Legs need to run.

April 17, 2011

On a recent 3-hour flight back to New York, I experienced sensations from a dreaded condition that I haven’t felt in YEARS:  Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). After a 4-day hiatus from difficult workouts and eating mom’s homemade treats, sitting for hours on end didn’t help.  I was reminded of my past life at the office: sitting for 40 hours every week led to sleepless nights of ferocious kicking.  I learned that if I consumed too much caffeine, sugar or missed my workouts, I was a frustrated mess at night.  It was awful:  the feeling made me want to crawl outside of my body.  I joined a gym and my symptoms started to subside after exhausting workouts.  Fast forward to today, leading an active lifestyle is an essential component to restful sleep and becoming symptom-free.  Instead of sitting on my butt, I’m on my feet all day long!

After brief research, I found that RLS is a neurological disorder, the severity of these symptoms (tingling, burning, creeping sensations) can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful. RLS is usually a lifelong condition affecting at least 12 million Americans.  There may be a genetic factor involved: about half of all cases involve a family history of the condition.  My sister no longer suffers after she cut down on sugar, increased her intake of iron & calcium, gets moderate exercise and takes Rhus Tox when she travels.

Even though there’s no cure, the following factors may increase symptoms of RLS:

  • Higher body mass index, lack of exercise and cigarette smoking
  • People with diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyles (like my days in the office)
  • Too much alcohol and caffeine
  • Low levels of iron, folate and/or magnesium
  • Pregnancy, especially during the third trimester

Go get your active and healthy lifestyle and avoid this insanity-provoking syndrome.  It’s SO not fun.

Self employed? Read on.

April 6, 2011

In the last two years, the ups and downs of the economy have forced many people to reinvent themselves and become self-employed.  It can be very liberating on one hand, but if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to put on weight.  The highs and lows of business are very stressful and many business owners put themselves on the back burner.

My advice?  Set yourself up for success.  With a little preparation and planning, those lovehandles will have nowhere to go:

  • Have set mealtimes.  Instead of grazing throughout the day, eat every 3-4 hours, i.e. breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, afternoon snack at 3:30pm, and dinner at 7pm
  • Portion out snacks and serving sizes. Remember that commute you used to have?  Use that time to set yourself up for success.  Peel and cut up carrots for dipping into hummus, count out and divvy up nuts so you don’t overeat them, cook up some turkey meatloaf and freeze the leftovers.
  • Substitute coffee throughout the day with caffeine-free green or herbal tea. My favorite is Republic of Tea’s Pomegranate green.
  • Nix the junk food. It shouldn’t even be in your home.  Buy your favorite salad fixin’s and eat a salad every day.  Fill a giant fruit bowl with your seasonal favorites.
  • Exercise.  Wake up an hour earlier than you planned and get a literal jump-start to your day.  Every day.  Now that you’re making “real money”, hire a trainer to bring the pain.
  • At mealtime, sit at the table. Turn off the TV or any other electronic devices and focus on your food.  Enjoy it!
  • Adhere to a schedule and stay focused. Need to catch up on emails?  Have bills to pay?  Mark your calendar for a specific amount of time to get ‘er done!

Eyes on the prize, friends!

    Eat, k?

    April 1, 2011

    Over the course of my career, I have worked with my fair share of people struggling with what I’ll call ‘disordered eating habits’.  As a body-obsessed nation, many people work towards a perfect body or at least think about it. Knowing when my client isn’t like everyone else and is possibly suffering from an eating disorder has its challenges-as a fitness professional it is my responsibility to identify warning signs that could indicate a problem. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are the two most commonly known eating disorders but “disordered eating” falls in between.  To my knowledge, I haven’t had any bulimic clients, as under-eating has been the disorder of choice for my clientele.  Hello New York City!

    Someone suffering from anorexia is typically obsessed with thinness and body image. They are determined to lose more weight, even if their weight is below normal and will have an irrational fear of fat and weight gain.  From this term, we can derive “manorexia” and “pregorexia” (any others?).

    As is often the case, “-exics” might just restrict caloric intake and increase calorie burning (through exercise), or they may also use diuretics, laxatives and diet aids to assist in their weight loss.  Yikes!

    Since our society tends to lean towards extremely thin bodies, it’s sometimes difficult to recognize these disorders by looks alone.

    Being on a constant diet is indicative of disordered eating.  Normal eating patterns follow the body’s signals of hunger and fullness.  Eating every 3-4 hours to satisfy hunger is the key is to eat for health, energy and vitality.

    As a “normal person” (am I normal?!), I think about my food intake and weight a small part of my day, but a person with disordered eating typically finds much of their day consumed with thoughts of food, calories burned, fat content and thinness of their body. You know you’ve crossed over the line from normal to disordered eating when food in itself becomes stressful.

    The problem for me (after my assessment) becomes how to deal with the ‘elephant in the room’.  Referring my client to a professional, such as a dietitian, internist, or psychiatrist is only half the battle:  the rest is a tightrope walk:  how can we work out, burning as few calories as possible?  I still want to be in a position of support and positive energy without adding to the problem.  If we can identify the initial signs of disordered eating, can we stop it from getting to the next step?