Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Courtesy Of: Sue Messina, Sarasota F
So often when we think about being “health” in the context of the foods we eat we consider the nutrients, calories and other nutrition-related information. One important area of health that is often overlooked is the Psychology of eating. While many people know what types of foods they should be eating to fuel the body and the mind, most people are unaware of why they eat the way they do. I recently had the opportunity to speak with author and expert on the psychology of eating, Karen R. Koenig LCSW, M. ED. While many people consider Dietitians the experts on the “what” of eating, Karen considers herself an expert on the “how and why” of eating. Karen has written several books about the psychology of eating and also works directly with clients to help change their relationships with food, eating and themselves.
Karen supports the idea of listening to ones internal cues in order to decide when and what to eat. Examples of this would be eating when you feel hungry, stopping when you feel full and being mindful of the foods your body is craving in order to gain satisfaction while supporting your health. For many people, being “healthy” involves eating “good” foods and avoiding “bad” foods, obsessing over the scale and carefully monitoring calories consumed. While it is wonderful to be in control of your health, these behaviors can often come along with feelings of guilt, shame and can cultivate and un-healthy relationship with food. Before I read Karen’s book, The Rules of Normal Eating I felt like my obsession with food and being “healthy” ruled my life. Learning how to listen to and trust my body helped me to build a healthy and happy relationship not only with food, but with my body as well.
I asked Karen what her advice would be for the college population and she said, “To really develop critical thinking skills. Analyze information and the world in an evidenced-based way so you can think for yourself. Analyze an advertisement, a diet’s long-term affect on your eating, or a friend’s advice and have enough trust in yourself to know it’s okay to be different.” To learn more about Karen and her approach to building a healthy relationship with food, click here. No matter what you do, remember that mental health is an important piece of the wellness puzzle!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Practicing a healthy lifestyle shows that you truly care about your well being and by exercising and eating right, you can greatly lower health costs.Practicing preventative care will lower the cost of drug prescriptions and doctor visits.Eating a diet low in saturated fats, and living an active lifestyle can prevent diseases like diabetes, which require many medical prescriptions and visits.
The center for disease control and prevention suggests that by the year 2050, 1 in 3 people will battle type 2 diabetes. Diabetics cost the United States $174 billion dollars a year on treatments like insulin pens, pumps, doctor visits, and various other materials. The average amount of money a diabetic spends a year on their treatment, is $6,000. This average cost does not even include the costs of associated risks that accompany diabetes like, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, or vision damage. With preventative care like exercise and proper nutrition, we can reduce the amount of diabetes in the US caused by obesity.
So, how can diabetics save money while treating their disease affectively?Patients could try using generic drugs, or saving costs around their supplies and equipment.There are lots of medical supplies involved when treating diabetes.The strips used to test blood glucose alone cost 60-80 cents and blood glucose monitors cost between $10-$80.By maintaining a healthy blood glucose level, a diabetic will not need to test their blood glucose as often.By taking care of materials and properly storing them, diabetes equipment will hold up and last.
The costs of disease like diabetes are incredible.Treatments, visits, and premiums are through the roof if you have a serious medical condition.The good news is that living healthy can easily prevent many of these diseases.Simple steps such as taking a walk everyday, or adding some greens to your dinner plate, are easy and can help point you in the direction of a health lifestyle.
Friday, October 25, 2013
I have been a runner for at least 13 years. I grew up running track and cross-country, with my mother as the coach. It was so easy to run 6 or 7 miles at practice when I was on a team, but now that I am in college, I get so bored running alone! After only a mile in, I’m looking to run back to my apartment because I notice myself focusing on my burning legs, or my shortness of breath. I think about how nice a hot shower will feel after I’m done. However, running just a mile just doesn’t cut it for me. I feel like I am skimping on my workout. I used to run long distance with no problem and I feel like I am getting weaker from ending my run so shortly after I start. So, I searched my favorite magazine, Runner’s World for a few solutions to my problem.
First off, think of the benefits. Running long distance provides many health advantages to your body. One of which being that it increases the amount of oxygen to your muscles. This is due to an increase in blood capillaries. Also, your mitochondria, which are the energy manufacturers of your body, increase in size and number! You will feel so much more energized! After you eat a carb-rich meal, your muscles will be able to store more of those carbs as glycogen, which will provide you with lasting energy during a long run.
Try running with music! It will focus you on the tunes rather than the soreness in your legs or your labored breathing. I notice that when I run with music, my pace often reflects the beat of the song I am listening to as well.
Running with a friend will make your workout more carefree. It will seem as though you are just hanging out with a good friend instead of exercising to get a workout in. Having a friend with you will also push you to run past your limit.
Join a running group! Once you commit to a group, you will feel obligated to join them on runs. Runners in groups all have their own method of running and you might find someone who runs at the same pace as you.
Check out our UNH campus walking guide to help form a running route. The guide will show you the distance between different buildings on campus!
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
College can be stressful; being away from home, surrounded by new people, and having difficult courses. Many students can find college to be overwhelming, especially their first year. A great way to reduce stress is reducing test anxiety. Minnesota State University defines test anxiety as “when your anxiety prevents you from showing the professor what you have learned and know. It is not the same as being anxious during a test because you are unprepared or do not understand the material.” Many students will study for countless hours and “blank out” once they receive a test.
Test anxiety can be reduced greatly by creating better study and testing skills. Not everyone has the same study habits, so do whatever you find works for you. I personally enjoy using flashcards to memorize terms, while I like group studying for complex concepts. Figure out what ways of studying you enjoy and that keep you engaged. Cramming is never the solution. Try to have planned study sessions and begin reviewing material two weeks before the test.
Eating habits, sleep, and relaxation techniques will have a huge impact on test anxiety. Often, students will feel the need to stay up late, drinking energy drinks, skipping workouts and meals, all to get an A. However every source on test anxiety claims, “do not cram!”
Here are some tips!
- Study in sessions. Always take breaks.
- Plan ahead in your studying. Take extra time to go over the hard stuff.
- Try not to simply memorize, but think about the big picture and how the information relates to the class.
- Always ask for help when you need it. Try going to your professor’s office hours or try Center for Academic Resources.
- If you start to feel stressed: take a walk, talk to friends, have a snack. Take your mind off of the exam for a while.
- Get good night’s sleep before the test.
- Eat a good meal before the test.
- Arrive prepared and early to the exam.
- Look over the test and answer easy questions first. Take extra time with difficult questions, but do not second-guess yourself.
- If you begin to feel panicked, try some deep breathing techniques.
For more ideas on reducing test anxiety visit the UNH CONNECT Program!
@CFARUNH #UNH17 #CollegeHealth
Monday, October 21, 2013
As a female student, and nutrition major, I see first hand how important body image is to maintaining a healthy mind. According to Brown University Health Education, 74.4% of normal weight college women, often or all the time had thoughts about their body image. 46% of college men, who were at a healthy weight, had the same thoughts.
Because we live in a society where there is such a strong emphasis on a “perfect” body, negative thoughts arise in many young people. College has such a dense population of 18 to 23 year olds of all shapes and sizes. It is so difficult not to compare yourself to someone who appears to be “prettier” or “skinnier” than you. I often hear women saying things like, “I wish I had her hair”, or, “I wish I had nicer skin like hers.” I even hear men around campus saying, “I need to bulk up”, or “I want to gain 15 pounds”. The more emphasis you put on the body parts you don’t like about yourself, the worse you will feel. Unfortunately, due to their negative body image, many college students will participate in risky body control behaviors like unhealthy dieting, obsessions with exercise, laxative use, binging, purging, smoking, and steroid use.
Young people who are at all insecure about their body image will take even the smallest comment to heart. Something as simple as a friend saying, “I love my body”, or “I don’t like my legs”, can affect the person suffering. Negative body image has been linked to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, thoughts of suicide, and eating disorders.
So how can we help boost body image?
- We can realize that media is not reality. Media is just a form of advertising that the producers want us to see as real.
- Do not dwell on numbers like BMI or weight. Healthy eating habits and exercise are way more substantial in the scheme of things.
- Do not weigh yourself. Do not let the scale determine how you feel about yourself. You can choose to be happy in your own skin that day without the consent of the numbers the scale shows.
- Realize that you are who you are. You can’t change that and you are beautiful.
- Do not compare yourself to others. You are you and you are perfect.
- Get energized. Run, walk, and join a team! Focus on other positive things in your life.
- Surround yourself with people who have healthy personal body images. Refrain from “fat talk” with friends and family.
Stop negative thoughts in their path. As soon as you start thinking about your body in a negative way, replace the thought with something that makes you happy. For example, if you start to think about your legs and how much you don’t like them, replace that thought with how much fun you had at the hockey game with your friends last night or how beautiful of a day it is.
For more tips on how to boost your body image, visit Brown University’s Health Education page. Also, if you feel like you have a negative body image or if you have eating concerns, reach out to the Eating Concerns Mentors on campus here at UNH or to the UNH Counseling Center. They are there to get you back to loving yourself and realizing how special and beautiful you are.
Friday, October 18, 2013
“I CHOOSE to be positive.” This is a phrase that we do not hear enough in our world. You know how when someone says, “I love your hair today”, or “You are absolutely wonderful”, you feel absolutely amazing inside? Why don’t we say these simple phrases everyday? Why don’t we make someone’s day, everyday? The goal of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self talk or “fat talk”. Negative self-talk inflicts pain; emotionally, spiritually and physically. Simple acts of kindness, as simple as leaving a tiny post-it note, containing the words, “You. Are. Beautiful,” could change not just someone’s day, but life dramatically. You never know whose life you will touch, whether it is just a stranger or someone who is truly suffering.
On Thursday, October 24th, from 5:00pm-8:00pm, Operation Beautiful will take place at UNH. This is one of the many events that will take place during Fat Talk Free week, courtesy of UNH Health Services. The goal of this event is to influence Wildcats to inspire and help each other. If you attend this event, you will receive post-its that you are urged to post around campus; whether it be at the gym, in the bathroom, the library, the dining halls, ANYWHERE! Anywhere that it will be visible. Write inspiring and inspirational messages on them so that you can spread positivity on our campus and help end negative body images. Help EVERY student, feel beautiful. It is as simple as a pen and a post-it.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Photo Credit: Amy Van Deventer
A great way to have fun and stay in shape at UNH is by getting involved in intermurals! There are tons of great activities that range from flag football to dodge ball. Everyone can find something they enjoy!
Intermurals are available all throughout the year. There are male, female, and co-ed leagues. Games are on weeknights, and are scheduled around class times. Intermurals are actually refereed by trained students, who take the games very seriously. One of the best parts about intermurals is you get an awesome t-shirt if you are champions of one of the leagues! (And bragging rights of course!)
My favorite intermural teams is broomball. I am on a female league and my team is all roommates and friends. Broomball is game, where your team is actually on the hockey rink (in sneakers), and virtually playing floor hockey. You can have up to ten people on a team, but only 5 on the ice at a time. There are bound to be lots of slips and falls, but also lots of sweat and smiles! It is hard work running around the ice but everyone has a great attitude so its tons of fun!
Monday, October 14, 2013
Health Services ECM
Eating Concerns Mentors (ECM) is a group based out of Health Services that provide support and mentor students who are struggling with body image issues and eating disorders. The mentors are trained and educated on eating concerns and helping peers regarding these issues. Mentors may often act as a bridge to the professional help students need. Mentors believe that eating disorders can happen to anyone and that there is no one universal cause. They also believe in health at every size and the non-diet approach. To learn more about this program or to request a mentor, check out the ECM page via Health Services.
Along with helping students one on one, ECMs also work to promote positive body image all around campus. One of their biggest events is Fat Talk Free Week, held every year in October. This year it will be from October 21st to the 25th. All week long ECMs will be promoting Fat Talk Free with different events and activities on campus. "Fat Talk" includes saying things like "These pants make my legs look fat" or "I wish I could be skinnier." It is basically all negative comments in regards to the way we look or feel. ECM is dedicated to erasing all fat talk, not just to our campus, but to everyone. Be sure to look for the life sized Barbie that will be at the library all week, visit event tables in the MUB, and see the awesome shows that will playing at the MUB theaters. Mark your calendars!
Friday, October 11, 2013
These days everyone is looking to save some money. One cost that people often overlook is health care costs, even though the average family pays over $400 per month on health insurance. One simple way to reduce medical spending is to look into using generic drugs, rather then using big brand name drugs.
Most people tend to think that if something is being highly marketed, (for instance, featured in television commercials, such as Lipitor or Nexium) that the product is of high quality. This is not the case when it comes to medications. The fact is the FDA requires that all generic drugs work just as well as the brand name. Not only do generic drugs need to work just as well but they “are required to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name”
Web MD has a very interesting article titled: “The Ten Most Prescribed Drugs” Surprisingly, this article explains that none of the top ten most prescribed drugs are the ones making the most money. Generic drugs are widely used however; the brand name companies make much more money selling much less quantity. It is important to remember that the pharmaceutical companies are looking to make money. Which is why they will get celebrities to endorse their products or pay lots of money to run ads on television. Just because brand name drugs are more expensive and widely endorsed does not mean it is of better quality then a generic drug.
Note that making a generic drug takes time, after a new brand name drug is developed, pharmacies need to develop the generic version and have it approved. So during a certain period of time the brand name version may be the only option.
If you are currently using any brand name drugs consider talking to your doctor about switching to generic alternatives. The FDA reported, “In 2010 the use of FDA-approved generics saved $158 billion dollars.” Lets see how much you can save!
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Health care costs are something that most people are concerned about. There are many things a person can do to lower the amount of money they spend on healthcare. For example, leading an active and healthy lifestyle can significantly lower the amount of health problems a person faces in the future, thus lowering healthcare costs. However, sometimes health incidences arise that are unavoidable and healthcare costs accumulate. So what can you do to help you manage if you ever find yourself in that situation? Carefully plan and manage your finances!
You don’t need to pay a professional financial counselor to help you to build a budget and manage your money effectively. Healthy UNH offers a valuable and helpful resource called “Cash Course”. “Cash Course” is a website available to members of the UNH community to help them to learn more about personal finances and how to better manage their money. Cash Course allows the user to customize the program to their specific interests and needs. Based on the users needs Cash Course recommends specific learning modules. Learning how to better manage your money will ensure that when unexpected healthcare costs arise you will have a plan in place to cover them.
Cash Course helps you manage your finances, but it also teaches you how to understand health insurance. When we graduate from UNH, and hopefully get jobs with health insurance benefits, you need to know what the basics are: what is a deductible, copay, and health savings account? Cash Course helps you navigate the world of insurance, so you can be a better informed individual, and use your health insurance wisely.
Not only does learning how to manage your money help you to save and plan for medical expenses, it also can help to keep you healthier. Financial insecurity can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. This can have a negative affect on ones health. People who experience high amounts of stress experience more health problems than those who avoid stress. Making a plan and learning to manage money can help a person to reduce the stress levels in their life. So not only are they saving money for unexpected healthcare costs, they are also imporving their health and thus lowering the chances of illness.
- Key Resources
- Physical Activity
- Mental Wellness
- Health Care Consumerism
- Cost Variation
- Appropriate Emergency Room Use
- Avoid Duplicate Radiologic Testing
- Increase Generic Drug Use
- Use Independent Labs
- Healthcare Spending
- Establish a Medical Home
- Understanding Health Insurance
- Using the Health Education Benefit on Campus
- USNH Benefit Resources
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