Eating for Health, Happiness and Successful Weight Control

Don’t diet, just eat and lose weight!

First, the following “diet” is really not a diet, in the conventional sense, but a natural way of eating. It allows one to eat essentially anything one wishes, while attaining weight loss or weight control goals and consuming the necessary nutrients for a long and healthful life. The term “diet” implies restrictions by either eliminating or radically reducing the intake of certain foods or food groups. Most diets are inappropriate, unhealthful (some are even dangerous) and ultimately doomed to fail.

The most important objective of eating any food is to provide the body with all the essential nutrients for a long and healthful life. Almost every food provides some element needed by your body. If you do not care about being healthy, avoiding sickness and disease and living a long life, then this natural way of eating is not for you. The second most important reason for eating any food is because you enjoy it and it makes you happy. It is highly unlikely that you will consistently, and for long term, eat foods that you do not enjoy. Similarly, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to completely eliminate foods that you do enjoy from your diet.

Many diets and dieticians expect a person to continually keep count of every calorie, carbohydrate and/or gram of fat that enters your mouth! Again, what is likelihood of being able to maintain this tedious ritual for any meaningful length of time? Nothing could be more depressing and stress-inducing as the constant monitoring of calories, carbs or fat. Therefore, if enjoying your meals is not important to you, then this natural way of eating is probably not for you.

Finally, you should eat food to maintain an appropriate weight for your height and frame. Being over-weight or under-weight is not conducive to a long, healthful life nor does it promote a positive self image. If being too heavy or too thin is not important to you, than this natural way of eating may not be for you.

Tips for Successful Weight Control

Lose or gain weight because you want to and not to please others.Otherwise, you will not be sufficiently motivated to change your bad eating habits. In fact, when the inevitable happens and you fail to achieve you goal, it will reinforce and, most probably, escalate the inappropriate behavior (i.e. over-eating, exclusively eating junk food, bulimia, etc.)

You must begin this natural way of eating with a positive outlook and the belief that you can achieve your goals with a minimal amount of effort. If you lack the self-confidence and motivation, or you do not believe that you can lose or gain weight, you will not!

It is extremely important for you to learn about the nutrients contained in the foods you eat. This is the only part of this natural way of eating that requires some effort on your part. The only way to accomplish this is to read. The internet is probably the best and easiest venue for obtaining this type of information. The following are excellent sources of health and nutrition-related information:

1) Medline Plus

2) Food and Nutrition Information Center

3) McKinley Health Center

4) USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory

Remember, the key to weight control is to be healthy, happy and fit. You must understand which foods will provide these three, all-important elements. Believe it or not, there are foods which you enjoy that are actually good for you!

Incredibly, many overweight people actually do not eat enough! Listen to your body, not your mind. Your body knows when it has had the appropriate amount of food and, more importantly, the appropriate amount of nutrition. Because many people do not understand nutrition, they eat food that does not supply sufficient nutrients to the body. They will feel hungry even after a large meal because theirs bodies are “starving” for proper nutrition. For this reason, most diets do not work or the individual cannot stay with the diet because it is an unnatural way of eating. Your body literally believes it is starving; therefore, it will take actions to survive the famine. It is a self-preservation mechanism, if you will. The body begins drawing off your muscles and stores the fat for later use in the event that it does not receive the necessary nourishment for an extended period of time. When a person finally falls off the diet (which is inevitable), they gain back all the lost weight and, in many cases, even more! The reason is because it takes the body sometime to adjust from its self-preservation mode, so all the food that is consumed is stored as fat while your body continues to draw from muscle.

There is no such thing as losing weight fast. It will take 3 to 6 months (or more depending on the amount of weight loss needed),to lose a significant amount of weight. The good news is that once you have lost the weight, you should not gain it back because you will have learned about the food you eat.

Yes, you have heard it before and you are now going to hear it again – exercise! Even a small amount of exercise (1/2 hour per day, 3 days per week) will greatly accelerate weight control.

If you feel like having a snack or something sweet, have it. Your body is telling you it needs something. Of coarse, it would be better to eat a piece of fruit rather than a candy bar. However, either is preferable to over-eating at your next meal or agonizing over the decision to indulge the urge.

Tips on Managing Your Student Health Center

Budget time is just around the corner. As you begin your planning process, follow this simple and effective checklist to be sure that your health center’s budget does not come up short:

Make your health center part of the solution to a student affairs problem. When planning your budget, consider how your requests will also help the student affairs department to meet its objectives, and then be sure to articulate that. For instance, when requesting additional staff, think about making a case for how having more qualified professionals on hand in your health center will better enable you to keep students healthy and enrolled at your university.

Think like an MBA. Not all of us in health care have a business background, but the people who we report to probably do. Learn what makes these analytical types tick. Use and understand their language when making budget requests. Terms to know and use include “return on investment” (ROI), “profit margin”, “quality assurance”, and “operating costs”.

Engage in “Show and Tell.” Even though we are health care practitioners, health and counseling center staff also need to think of ourselves as marketing professionals. Hopefully, over the past year you have done a little public relations work for your department. Newsletter articles highlighting your health center, health promotion literature or survey results all serve as reminders of the value that you offer to your campus. Prepare a packet that showcases your efforts. Make sure that you measure results from each initiative and include those in the packet.

Chart your success. Remember, you are not just asking for a budget. You are justifying that you deserve it. Recall all of the things that you have done over the past year to provide for a healthier student population. Then, be prepared to tell your story. Produce charts and graphs that illustrate how you’ve moved the needle in various areas, including decrease in incidence of disease, percentage increase in number of students who show proof of immunization, increase over last year in numbers of student visits to your health center, etc.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Health Center

A family health facility is an important consideration when choosing your family’s medical care. Discovering the right health center requires you to consider the family needs, proximity to your house, genetic conditions, practitioners at the center and type of services provided at the center. When choosing a health facility, you need to consider one that is included in your personal insurance provider’s network. Once you find a center that provides the right medical services, then you will have found a valuable resource.

· Location

If you are looking for medical care that caters for yourself and your family, it is advisable to choose a health facility that is located near you. This way you will not have to drive many miles away to see a healthcare provider or to have diagnostic tests. The health facility you choose should be located in a convenient and central location that makes it easy for you to access from home, work and/or school. This will give you an opportunity to receive a quick blood test before going to work. You can also afford to take one of your children for a physical exam after classes.

If you have recently moved to a new neighborhood, you can ask your neighbors to recommend a health facility. Find out the layout of the neighborhood to locate an outpatient center that is located conveniently to your home. Consult the directory for insurance provider’s network to find a health facility that has adequate staff of covered physicians.

· Insurance coverage

When choosing a health facility, the health insurance cover is an important consideration. If your family is a member of any managed care plan, you will be restricted to healthcare providers within the insurance provider’s network. The insurance networks consist of doctors and health centers that have entered into a contract with your insurance company to offer their services to clients at certain rates. Some care plans offer their clients the option of seeing healthcare providers outside the network but for a higher cost. For primary care, it is advisable to select an in-network doctor.

· Services

The best healthcare facility provides a variety of services all under one roof and offers a lot of convenience. Some of the medical services provided include general practitioners, pediatricians, obstetricians, dermatologists, dentists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists- among other services. This gives you an opportunity to schedule an appointment with different specialists operating in the same facility. Some centers provide a walk-in clinic to cater for urgent care, pharmacy and diagnostic testing services, such as blood tests and x-rays.