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Take Control Of Your Health

This morning I had one of those interesting events where I read about something and the next person I speak to brings up the same topic. Was someone peeking over my shoulder? Most likely not. However, when these things occur, I think it’s positive reinforcement for what I’d just read or thought about.

So, what did I read? An article in the New York Times with this title: Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure . According to this article, under the guidelines formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of adults with high blood pressure will rise from 72 million to 103 million. And what are these new guidelines? 130/80 is now considered high, down from 140/90. Just FYI, the top number, systolic pressure, represents the pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts; the bottom number, diastolic pressure, is the pressure as the heart relaxes between beats.

As we all know, high blood pressure is an indicator of cardiovascular disease, which can increase your risk of getting a stroke or heart attack. These new guidelines will lead doctors to prescribe medications to those people who fall within the old 140/90 guidelines. In a study called Sprint, undertaken in 2015, researchers assigned one group of people over 65 to get their blood pressure down to 140 and another group to get theirs down to 120. The latter group was given three drugs instead of two. At the end of the study, the latter group had decreased their incidence of heart attacks by one-third and death by one-quarter. They also had no more side effects than the first group. So far so good. However, although the latter group enjoyed better cardiovascular health, acute kidney disease had doubled because of the increased drug intake.

As a health coach, I am a firm believer in keeping numbers within the guidelines. This can be done through making lifestyle changes – better nutrition, regular exercise and proper stress management. By the way, another article written by a doctor in response to the one mentioned here, speaks of blood pressure being a variable measurement depending on where you are and what you are doing. Most doctors don’t take that into consideration.

So, bottom line, the solution is to take control of your health. If you don’t feel capable of doing it on your own, you may need a coach to help you. Just fill in the information in the form below, and I will get back to you. The consultation is free, and you are under no obligation.

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Coping With Breast Cancer

As I wrote in my last post, if you are a woman who has never been diagnosed with breast cancer, you most likely know someone who has. The illness is so widespread that The National Cancer Institute says that a woman in the United States has a 1 in 8 chance of getting it. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer found in women after skin cancer, but the good news is that more women – an average of 89.6% according to the Cancer institute – are surviving five years or more after being diagnosed. Two of my close friends are breast cancer survivors, and one of them has passed the five-year mark. A younger cousin passed away last year.

Here are some things the National Cancer Institute recommends you can do if you have been diagnosed with cancer:

Get support – Cancer not only affects how you feel physically, it also affects your emotional health. You may feel afraid, depressed, helpless and hopeless. Some people may not want to tell their loved ones they have cancer because they do not want to scare them. I understand this, but I think that when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s not a time to be alone. In the case of my cousin mentioned above, she withheld the news from her family for a long time. When she did tell them, she was near death.
You may live alone and not have any family members close by. There are many support groups all over the country that you can join. Being around people who are either going through the same thing as you, or have gone through it, can give you a feeling of belonging and hope. You can also learn coping strategies for dealing with your illness. One of my friends says she has benefited tremendously from those groups.

Beware of feelings of denial – If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you may ask yourself, “Could this really be happening to me?” You may even become angry, but do not allow denial to prevent you from starting treatment. Speak to your doctor or a counselor if feelings persist. The sooner you begin treatment the better your chances are of surviving. My cousin also waited a long time before starting treatment and that caused her cancer to metastasize throughout her body. Don’t let this happen to you.

Have a positive attitude. This will help you as well as those around you cope with the changes you are experiencing. As I wrote in my welcome post, I am a firm believer in God and look to Him for support and strength when I need it. Even if you are a believer, keeping a positive attitude and hoping for the best outcome can help you survive this disease. Scientists are actually studying the effect that a positive attitude has on healing.

Stay active – Try to keep up with your day-to-day activities as much as possible, but rest when you feel tired. Take a walk. Listen to music. Spend time with friends. If you have the time, start a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up. Pray, meditate, keep a journal, practice relaxation exercises. Regard each day as a blessing.

There is so much more I could say about coping with cancer, but I think I’ve said enough to give you a general idea of what you can do if you’re in this situation. If you know someone who is, please pass on this information to them. And if you’re finding it difficult to cope with stress or depression as a result of illness or any other situation, maybe I can help you. In the form below, just leave a short note about your major concern, and I will get back to you.

Also, I am still waiting to send those bangles I told you about in my last post. Just fill in the form below and say, “Send me my bangle.” Until next time, stay healthy.
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Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Courtesy morguefile
If you are a woman in the United States today, your chance of getting breast cancer is 1 in 8, according to the most recent report published annually by the National Cancer Institute’s [NCI] Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results [SEER] Program. Looked at another way, the chance that you will never have cancer is 87.6 percent or 7 out of 8. That’s good news, isn’t it? But your chances of getting cancer increase as you get older, although the risk varies from woman to woman.

So, apart from age, let’s look at other factors that impact your chance of getting breast cancer.

1. Family history – If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, you are likely to get it. Another pertinent fact according to SEER: if you have a male relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases.
2. Breast density – Women who have dense breast tissue are more prone to breast cancer than those who don’t.
3. Breast cancer – If you have had breast cancer once, you are likely to get it again.
4. Alcohol – increases your risk of breast cancer
5. Reproductive and menstrual history – early menstrual onset and late onset of menopause – after age 55 – and not having children are all risks for breast cancer.
6. Obesity – carries with it an increased risk.
7. Hormone therapy – postmenopausal women who use combined estrogen and progestin for more than five years increase their risk of getting breast cancer.
8. Race – Caucasian women in the US have a higher incidence of breast cancer than women of other races.
9. Physical activity – Women who are physically inactive increase their risk of breast cancer.
If you have never had breast cancer, it is very likely you know someone who has, and this is why I’m focusing on it this month in an effort to help you help yourself or someone else. As you can see, many of these risk factors are outside our control, however we can and should do everything in our power to prevent ourselves succumbing to this horrible disease. Read my previous post for some pointers on what you can do. In my next post, I’ll go more in depth.
Until then, stay healthy.

From now until the end of the month, I’m offering four of these pink ribbon and hearts bangles free of cost to four women when you sign up for my mailing list. This beautiful bangle will brighten your day and contribute to the fight against cancer. Just fill in your information in the box below and in the comments section state why you would like to have one of these bangles. Four women will be chosen to receive one of these bangles free of cost. God bless you.[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

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Cancer Awareness Month – No Bra Day

As you all know, the month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this just happens to be the month I have my annual mammogram. So, you guessed it. I had mine done this morning. Never a pleasant experience, but I do it dutifully because I know it can help save my life. Last year, one of my dear friends was diagnosed with breast cancer, but, thank God, she is okay now.

So, there are a few things you can do right now to help stave off cancer:

1. Make sure you get your mammogram this month if you have not done so already.
2. Follow a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
3. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Just walking will do.
4. Limit the use of alcohol. Quit smoking
5. Pay it forward. Support breast cancer patients, donate to worthy causes and do whatever you can to help those who need it.

In case you’re wondering about the picture above, it is taken from a post by the National Day Calendar on Breast Cancer Awareness. According to the calendar, today is National No Bra Day, and here’s why. So if after reading you choose to go without a bra, that’s up to you. I’m not taking my support that far. No pun intended.

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What to Do If You Feel You’re Getting off Track

Sometimes we have the best intentions but still slip and get off track. Is it a mindset problem? Or was the goal too big? Did you lack support? No matter what the reason, don’t give up! You can return to working on your resolution.
Decide if the goal really means something to you, and if it does, you’ll want to follow this simple process to get back on track.
• Review your plan. Did you set your goal a little too high? For example losing 50 pounds in 3 months? Aim a bit lower. Set your target goal to a more attainable one. So for this example, losing 10 or 15 pounds in 3 months or changing what you eat and scheduling exercises would be a better resolution.
• Break down your goal if your original goal is too large to accomplish easily. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year, then break it down into smaller tasks. In this example, 50 pounds a year is less than a pound a week. Then set up an eating and exercise plan to lose a pound a week.
• ¬Focus on one resolution at a time. Choose the most pressing one – losing weight, eating healthy, changing your mindset—and concentrate on it until you achieve it. Trying to change more than one habit at a time can be overwhelming.
• Get an accountability partner. Enlist the help of a friend or professional to keep you accountable who can advise you on what you need to be doing.
• Be flexible and willing to change how you approach your resolution. Lengthen your timeline if necessary.
• Work on smaller goals at a time that lead to your ultimate goal.
• Create new milestones if you feel like you’re just too far off track. Modify your original goal for a new more attainable one that fits in the remaining time. That way, at least you’re making some progress towards your original goal.
• Get more specific if you created a very broad and grand resolution. Maybe your goal was to get healthy. That’s great, but it is without an action plan and specific definition of what healthy means to you. Does it mean eating clean foods? Or exercising three times a week? Does it mean controlling your diabetes?
Just because you find yourself getting off track doesn’t mean you’re going to fail, or you should give up. We all need support and guidance at times. I can help you achieve your goal of making those lifestyle changes in order to achieve optimum health. Just fill in the form below so we can schedule a time to talk. Talk to you again soon.

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Incorporating Exercise Into Your Daily Life cont’d

So, you recognize that exercise is important otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article, but you are having some difficulty establishing and maintaining a proper exercise routine. In my last post, I spoke about setting your mind to move more and setting aside a specific time each day to exercise.

Here are a few more tips to help you get off that couch:

Find your favorite exercise. You’ll be more likely to stick to it if you enjoy it. To find one you’ll enjoy, think about what you played as a kid. Did you enjoy team sports? You might be more of a group or class person, so try a spin class or sign up for an adult sports league. Did you enjoy playing alone? Try running, tennis or a marathon. Rent an exercise video to experiment with different types of exercise.
Vary your routine and activities if you get bored easily. Try cardio three days a week and strength training twice a week and yoga twice a week. Try working out in the morning part of the time and in the evening part of the time.
Exercise at the right time of day for you. The best time to exercise is whatever works for your schedule. Mornings might be ideal if you’re a busy professional. Fit in a gym session on your lunch hour or after work if that works best for you.
Have a dog? Then you have a dedicated exercise partner. A 150 – pound person walking Fido one mile for half an hour a day burns 112 calories.
Have fun –Exercise can be fun. Do you like to dance? Alone or with your partner (more enjoyable), dancing is a great calorie burner. Or maybe you prefer swimming. Whatever your choice, adding movement to your life can help you lead a more healthy lifestyle. Just be consistent.

Want to learn more about how you can lead a more healthy lifestyle? Just fill in the form below.

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How to Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Lifestyle

Studies have shown that daily exercise can improve not just your appearance but your overall health and well being. However, having a daily exercise routine can be difficult depending on your lifestyle and your state of health. If you are new to exercising or you haven’t done it for a while, the best way to begin incorporating exercise into your life is to begin with small steps.
• Set your mind to the idea of moving more. Remind your body to get more movement every day by standing more or taking the stairs more often. Other ways to get more movement in are to do stretches in your chair, squat to pick something up from the floor or park farther away from the door.

• Move more. Find ways to move more in your regular daily activity.

You don’t have to join a gym or do anything strenuous. Just make sure you increase your physical activity so you burn those calories – if you want to lose weight. The key is to keep it simple.

In my next post, I will show you more ways you can include exercise into your daily lifestyle for optimum health.

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How To Incorporate Healthy Eating In Your Daily Lifestyle

According to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions, healthy eating is one of the top five resolutions made each year. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 75 percent of all New Year’s resolutions will end in failure.
So, if we’re determined to change at the beginning of a new year, why do so many fail at following through? Temptations! They lurk everywhere: sweets at work, fast food for lunch, potato chips calling your name when you walk past them in the grocery store. The good thing is, you are not alone and it’s never too late to get back on the right track.

Maybe you dropped the ball on your New Year’s resolution and with half of the year gone, you figure, why bother? If this is you, here are 4 ways to incorporate healthy eating into your daily lifestyle:

1. Don’t sacrifice a nutritious breakfast. You’ve probably heard the old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and it’s true. But not just anything will do. Skip the sweet Danish for a more nutritious breakfast. Keep plenty of healthy breakfast foods on hand.
2. Enjoy easy, healthy snacks. Healthy snacks keep you from getting too hungry and overeating at your next meal. Keep foods such as yogurt, nuts, fruit and veggies such as washed apples, carrot sticks, and grape tomatoes, cottage cheese or sliced turkey on hand for a quick snack.
3. Cook more than you can eat. This tip saves you time and money while allowing you to eat healthier. Cook extra to refrigerate or freeze for your next day’s lunch or dinner. When you know you already have a nutritious meal waiting for you, you’re less likely to grab the high-calorie, high-fat junk food at the drive-through on your way home. Some good options include chicken, veggies, soups, and grains, including quinoa and brown rice.
4. Eat as many colors as you can every day. Opt for a range of nutritious vegetables and fruits every day. Keep a variety of colors on hand and make it a point to see how many different colors you can eat a day. Eat red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes and blackberries one day and the next eat green peppers, yellow squash, blueberries and bananas.
It takes time to make these changes, but if you keep trying every day, you’ll eventually begin to see it’s become a habit to eat healthier.
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National Call Your Doctor Day

In checking through my email last night, I saw this message from The National Day Calendar that today is “National Call Your Doctor” Day. Now I haven’t called my doctor in a while so I thought I’d read the post to see why I should call the man in the white coat. According to the site, today, the second Tuesday in June is a day set aside by Bright Pink, a woman’s health non-profit, for young women to call their doctor and schedule their annual Well-Woman Exam.

As women, we make all kinds of appointments: hair dresser, manicure and pedicure, massage etc. Even pet grooming gets priority. Why not take a few minutes to schedule an appointment for something that can save you months, maybe years, of illness later on?

Other reasons why you should schedule a Well-Woman visit?

1. Like I said above, it can save you years of illness later on. It may even save your life. Years ago during my annual exam, my OB/GYN discovered I had abnormal cells. Had I waited a little longer, they would have become cancerous.
2. Establishing rapport with your doctor. Health care, thankfully, is becoming all-embracing. You don’t just go to your doctor when you have a cold or some ache or pain. During your well-woman visit, You should ask questions and voice your concerns so your doctor will know what else he should screen you for. Weight gain or loss, stress, fatigue, all of these can be discussed with your doctor.
3. It’s free. Under the Affordable Care Act, a well-woman visit comes under preventative care and therefore carries no out-of-pocket costs. So when you call to schedule, today, be sure to say you’re coming for a well-woman exam.

Now remember, when you schedule that exam, you are not just doing it for yourself, but also for those you love. So pick up your phone and call today. And when you finish calling, call your BFF or family member and make sure they do the same.

Need more information? Here are some helpful resources:


Do you have health concerns you would like to discuss with someone? Why not fill in the form below and let’s talk about it?
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Women’s Health Week

This is the eighteenth annual National Women’s Health Week, and in observance of this week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has listed a number of steps women can take to improve their overall health. Some of these steps are:

Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings.
Get active.
Eat healthy.
Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
Learn what steps you should take for good health based on your age.

What are you doing to reach or maintain your optimum level of health? Leave a comment in the form below. If you would like to have me coach you so you can reach those goals, please leave your information and I will get back to you. Have a healthy and blessed week.

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