Heart-Healthy Future

Painting in her studio in Artmongerz Gallery in Greensboro, Jacalyn Romano, did not have a specific direction in mind. Rich yellow and red acrylics over plaster lines and swirls turned into a sun’s light reaching into deeper blue and burnt sienna hues.

Then Jackie experienced the worst pain in her life. “A fire struck the center of my chest and I just couldn’t stop screaming,” she describes.She was taken to Moses Cone Memorial Hospital, where she was told she was having a heart attack. Dr. Thomas Wall, now her friend for life, realized how dire her situation was and acted fast. On July 13, 2010, Jackie had a triple bypass and heart valve repair.

“I still had paint under my nails,” remembers Jackie. “My sister, Rebecca, helped me clean them at the hospital.” The painting she was working on took on a new meaning for her.When completed, she entitled it “Just a Heart Beat Away.” To her, the sun now represents a second chance. Since her heart attack, Jackie has stopped smoking and is managing her type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol with good nutrition and exercise. This experience inspired her to create a new series of artwork, entitled “Matters of the Heart.”

Jackie is proud to share her studio space with other artists in what she refers to as “The Gallery that Gives.” Jackie donated one of her works to the 2011 Guilford Heart Ball and other artists from the gallery are joining her.

“If I could send a message to women in Guilford County, it would be to take care of yourselves even through times of turmoil, listen to your body and don’t let your fear of hearing bad news keep you from seeing your doctor and possibly heading off heart disease,” shares Jackie.

February is American Heart Month and Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s nationwide initiative fighting heart disease in women, the #1 killer of women in North Carolina and the U.S.

For more information visit http://www.heart.org/goredtriad and http://www.heart.org/guilfordncheartball.

Reject The Diet Mentality

Become an Intuitive Eater

It’s time for our next principle of Intuitive Eating—Feel Your Fullness—and I have a confession to make.I failed at feeling my fullness tonight.First,I worked late, not finishing up with my last client until almost 8:00 pm.It had been too long since lunch, and I found myself in quite the ravenous state by the time I was leaving the office.Second,I failed to eat without distraction.Because I am always two steps behind on meeting a deadline, I chose to eat dinner while writing this very article.Both of these decisions—ones that inhibit an intuitive eater from truly respecting her fullness—left me further away from satisfied than I would have preferred and teetering on the edge of stuffed.

I share all this for one reason: To remind you, my friend, that this journey is about progress, not perfection!Tomorrow is a new day.But in the meantime, let’s get an overview of this month’s principle.

Principle Five: Feel Your Fullness

The original intuitive eating pros—Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, define “feeling your fullness” as the ability to stop eating because you have had enough to eat biologically.Much like what happened to me, certain habits, such as becoming ravenous before you eat, staying distracted while eating, or feeling obligated to eat by well-meaning “food pushers”, can cause overeating. Additionally,the majority of chronic dieters don’t stop eating until the last morsel is gone, and this creates an inability to recognize a level of comfortable fullness.These “clean-your-plate” club members come by this honestly— either through a lifetime of meager portions offered in dieting plans or from well-meaning parents who taught that plates must be cleaned before you leave the table.

Therefore, many members of the clean-your-plate club turn on autopilot when they pick up the fork. That is, they eat until completion, or until the food is gone.To break this unhealthy pattern, it is often beneficial to move to the opposite end of the continuum, which means becoming more mindful, or even hyperconscious, of eating—not a place you want to live forever but long enough to break the cycle.

One of the first steps away from “autopilot eating” is conscious eating, which Tribole and Resch have broken into a series of stages.First, pause in the middle of a meal or snack and take a time-out for taste and satiety checks (something I obviously forgot to do!).Ask yourself if the food tastes good, or are you just continuing to eat because it is there? Check your fullness level, much like you Check your hunger level prior to eating.Do you still feel hungry? Or is your hunger going away and satisfaction setting in?

Once you finish eating, ask yourself where your fullness level is.(See the sample scale.)Did you reach comfortable satiety or did you exceed it? The more you become aware of your fullness level at satisfaction, the more you will know when a bite of food is your last—a most important step in respecting your fullness.Don’t get discouraged if this takes time.The important thing is you are on the road to recovery and not still signing-in at the clean-your-plate club for every meal.However, the flip side of this is there is no rule that says you must leave food on your plate.If you are hungry and not yet full, eat it all and enjoy! The key is to become conscious, learn how to respect fullness, and be free from the shackles of dieting.

Ten Core Principles of Intuitive Eating

by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R. D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace with Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Feel Your Fullness

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

7. Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise–Feel the Difference

10. Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition

Cindy Mondello is a Licensed Professional Counselor and founder of Restoration Place Ministries, a local nonprofit organization offering significantly-discounted counseling services for women.For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, call 336-508-8573 or visit us at http://www.restorationplaceministries.org.

Your Fitness

BE SMART WHEN SETTING GOALS FOR 2O14

Keeping your resolution to get fit and lose weight doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these S-M-A-R-T tips to realize your goals in 2014.

SPECIFIC

Ensure the goal you set is very specific, clear and easy to understand.Instead of setting a goal to lose weight, be more specific and aim to lose inches off your waist or to run a 5k race.

MEASURABLE

Choose a goal with measurable progress so you can see the change occur.By measuring your changes, like measuring your waist or tracking how far you can run, you can see how you are progressing and notice how it is helping you reach your goal (or not).

ATTAINABLE

Set goals that are attainable and relevant to you.If you set goals too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing what it takes to get there. Setting a goal to run an ultra-marathon is probably not a prudent goal if You have never run before.Choosing a 5k or 10k would be much more attainable and will give you the sense of achievement when you accomplish it.

REALISTIC

Make sure your goal is realistic. Resolving to workout 7 days a week and to stop eating all your favorite junk food is not realistic.Consider taking smaller steps at first to reach your goal, such as exercising 3 days a week and reducing your junk food intake to 1 time a week.

TIMELY

Set a timeframe for the goal.Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague and it’s easy to put it off until tomorrow.Following the SMART method for setting goals is a great way to achieve your New Year’s Resolution.Other tips are to plan ahead, get support from friends and family, reward yourself, and remember you are human and that nobody is perfect.

Reject The Diet Mentality

Become an Intuitive Eater

Principle Four: Challenge the Food Police

In our quest to become Intuitive Eaters, we will focus this month on the fourth of ten principles: learning how to challenge the food police. In the world of dieting and eating, there are specific “voices” which influence the way we think, feel, and behave in regard to eating. In light of our limited space here, I will introduce you to the two most important voices: the Food Police–which is only harmful–and the Nurturer–which is only helpful–in determining the success of becoming an Intuitive Eater. To learn about the other voices and how they can help or hinder your journey, read chapter 8 in Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

Developed through dieting, the Food Police is a strong voice that judges how “good” or “bad” you are in the area of eating, and it almost always surfaces with a verdict of “guilty.” The highly critical Food Police inspects every eating action. What thoughts are being promoted by your police? Here are a few common ones: Sweets are bad for me. I should never eat after 6:00pm. I should never eat anything that has fat in it. Cake is bad. Carrots are good.

It is important to realize that the Food Police is not only alive and well within our own private thoughts, but also in our culture, where even non-dieters experience eating angst. In a random survey of approximately 2,000 adults, nearly half reported feeling guilty after eating food that they enjoy! So be aware that the Food Police lurks in the shadows of society, in the comment of the well-meaning friend or family member who says, “You’re not going to eat that, are you? I thought you were trying to lose weight!” However, we must realize that just because someone makes an inappropriate comment does not make it true.

On the other end of the spectrum, where the Intuitive Eater is found, you hear the voice of the Nurturer–soft, gentle, and nonjudgmental. It never scolds or scrutinizes and is one of the most significant tools to becoming an Intuitive Eater. It will provide coping statements to counteract the harsh accusations that the Food Police can hurl. The following are examples of what our Nurturer might say: It’s okay to eat a cookie; eating a cookie is normal. When I overate today, I wonder what was really going on with me that I needed more food to comfort myself. Losing weight is a slow process, and I will choose to be patient and celebrate the successes along the way.

So remember, even when you reject dieting (principle one), honor your hunger (principle two), and begin to make peace with food (principle three), if the Food Police isn’t subdued, you are on a slippery slope headed back to bondage.Rid yourself of the negative voices that have been buried in your psyche for so long, and instead choose to nurture yourself with gentle truth. By listening to your instinctual signals, you’ll have the chance to form a healthy relationship with food!

Health and Wellness

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are known as essential fatty acids because they are nutrients that are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them, so we must obtain them from our diet. An abundance of research indicates that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help reduce the risk of many age related conditions including heart disease, memory loss, joint inflammation and depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
According to research reported in the May 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those people who consumed 6 grams of fish oil daily and walked 45 minutes 3 days a week for 12 weeks had increased levels of HDL cholesterol and decreased levels of serum triglycerides.

Other studies have reported that fish oil supplements can reduce LDL cholesterol, improve arterial health and lower blood pressure significantly in people with existing hypertension.

According to information from the University of Maryland Medical Center, there is strong evidence that omega 3 fatty acids help inhibit the development of arterial plaque in blood clots.

Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of colon cancer as well as the risk of developing macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness as we age.

Diabetes is a related area involving omega-3 research. Many people that have diabetes also have high triglycerides and low HDL levels. Omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, may be particularly helpful in managing these two risk factors in people who have diabetes.

There has also been a good deal of research investigating the impact of omega 3 fatty acid supplements on inflammatory joint conditions. Many studies have focused on rheumatoid arthritis.

Most all of these studies concluded that omega 3 fatty acid supplements reduce joint tenderness, decrease stiffness, especially morning stiffness, and often allow people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis to reduce their medication.

The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA for adults. For those with high cholesterol levels, the American Heart Association recommends an omega 3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 – 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.

When purchasing an omega-3 supplement, there are two things to look for…purity and potency.

Some fish may contain potentially harmful contaminants, such as heavy metals (including mercury and lead), dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) due to the diet of the fish. The source is very important. Make sure that the fish oil product is ultra-pure certified pharmaceutical- grade fish oil. The best fish oil contains a blend of the seven ultra-pure essential fatty acids found in fish. When comparing products available, be sure that your comparisons are accurate.

Look not at just the size of the capsule, but at the actual amount of EPA (at least 545 mg) and DHA (at least 360 mg) available. Processing method of fish oil is extremely important. A method called triple distillation at low heat guarantees the finest product with low odor, no after-taste and no impurities.