- How to Stop Feeling Guilty About Everything
- See the 1980s Posters That Helped Raise Awareness About AIDS
- How To Do a Post-Holiday Party Detox
- The Healthiest Things Every 45-Year-Old Should Do
- Kids Are Eating Healthier Than In the Past—But There’s a Catch
- Texas Confirms Its First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika
Posted: 29 Nov 2016 08:30 AM PST
Constantly feeling guilty gnaws at your emotional well-being and causes negativity to snowball. “It can make you feel defeated, anxious, or even depressed,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. And we often beat ourselves up for no good reason, she adds: “Most of the time, we manufacture guilt in our minds simply because of the ridiculous expectations we set for ourselves.” Yank yourself out of the spiral with this three-week plan to being your own best friend.
Week 1: ID your guilt triggers
“If you can learn to pause and recognize when you feel guilt coming on, you’re halfway toward fixing the problem,” says Whitbourne. So right off the bat, get to the bottom of what makes you feel the most remorse.
Pay attention: Notice any moments you feel guilty, as well as what prompted the pangs (you missed a deadline, you spent a lot of money). It may help to take some notes, either on paper or in your smartphone.
Check the frequency: Did you get ticked at yourself each time you bought a $15 lunch this week? Do you lie in bed every night wishing you’d been more patient with your kids? Track how often specific subjects leave you regretful.
Group the majors and minors: At the end of the week, pinpoint the issues that incited guilt more than once or weighed on you more heavily than others. (You’ll deal with the lesser regrets in week three.)
Week 2: Change your perspective
“You don’t want to try to just be ‘over’ a guilt that’s coming up a lot for you,” says Whitbourne. “Pull it out, look at it and come up with some alternative interpretations.”
Envision a redo: Think (or even talk out loud) about what you wish you were doing differently—maybe you want to have a better attitude at work, or you think you should reel in your spending by creating a budget. “It doesn’t mean you have to go out and make some drastic change right this minute, but you’re talking about it, and that’s productive,” says Susie Moore, a life coach in New York City and the author of What If It Does Work Out?.
Pick a different emotion: “Guilt and sadness and anxiety are all on a continuum in a way,” says Whitbourne. “And when we’re stressed, it’s easy to be self-critical.” Try asking, “Wait, does it really make sense to be feeling guilty at this moment? Or am I letting stress get to me?”
Realize you’re human: “Perfectionism is often what drives guilt,” says Whitbourne. “At some point, you have to just accept your limitations.” Moore adds that it can even help to tell yourself, “No mom or wife or employee is doing everything flawlessly.”
Week 3: Shake off the small stuff
“To say you will never feel guilty again about something silly would be ridiculous,” says Whitbourne. “But it’s important to recognize when you may be blowing things out of proportion.” Practice short-circuiting your regret when it’s truly unnecessary.
Reframe a fail: Look at it with a practical eye. Instead of “I shouldn’t have left the office early today with my current workload,” tell yourself, “I needed to cut out in order to attend this doctor’s appointment that was long overdue.”
Laugh it off: “Humor is one of the greatest antidotes to guilt,” says Whitbourne. Poke fun at yourself: You ran out of time to bake and brought a store-bought dessert to the holiday party? How dare you even show up!
Find a silver lining: Let’s say you’re upset because you slapped together your gift wrapping this year. “Well, you also didn’t go to the department store and have them wrap it for you,” says Whitbourne. “You’re showing the person that you love them enough to put in the effort.”
Posted: 29 Nov 2016 06:00 AM PST
When Dec. 1 was declared World AIDS Day in 1988, the way the world thought and talked about that disease was very different from the way things are now.
One way to see what things were like back then, when AIDS was considered a fearful plague with no treatment, is to revisit the public service announcements and activist campaigns used to spread awareness about a problem that was very much misunderstood. The University of Rochester’s Rare Books and Special Collections department houses a collection of more than 8,000 AIDS education posters, building on a collection donated by Dr. Edward C. Atwater starting in 2007. The collection now includes posters in more than 60 languages, hundreds of which have been translated by the university’s language students.
Atwater began collecting the posters in the 1990s, says Lori Birrell, Special Collections Librarian for Historical Manuscripts at the University of Rochester, but they date back to 1982. Though the collection includes posters that were created in the last few years, the early entrants are a unique artifact of AIDS history.
“One of the big changes [over time] has been the emphasis on treatment,” Birrell observes. “Some of the more recent posters talk a lot more about treatment options. The earlier posters – grim isn’t quite the right word, but there’s a definite warning to many of them.”
As seen in the ten posters shown here, that warning took many forms, from the righteous anger of a group like ACT UP to the sometimes blunt admonitions of public health departments. Those darker images are an important reminder that, even as the conversation about AIDS turns to treatment and prevention, AIDS is not ancient history.
“Undergraduates at the university tend to see AIDS as a thing of the past,” says Birrell. “When I talk to Dr. Atwater, he emphasizes that this is an epidemic we continue to grapple with.”
Posted: 29 Nov 2016 05:00 AM PST
No, you definitely should not do a full 24-hour juice cleanse—but there’s nothing wrong with having an extra-low-calorie day after a night of bingeing on unhealthy food and beverages, says F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, an obesity expert at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “It won’t negatively impact your metabolism. You won’t be starved,” he says. “It’s just one day.”
Here’s how to safely power through your binge and make the most out of your post-party detox, according to the docs:
1. Hydrate. First, wake up and de-bloat with a tall glass of lemon or cucumber water. The veggie contains an antioxidant that helps reduce swelling.
Health.com: 5 Foods That Prevent Bloating
2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Have a scaled-back breakfast of Greek yogurt with 2 teaspoons hemp seeds and half a grapefruit. Or make chia seed pudding with a cup of mixed berries; you can prep it in just 10 minutes and leave it in your fridge overnight. When you wake up, the milk-soaked chia seeds turn into a delicious no-cook pudding. If you want to give this dish an even bigger nutrient boost, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of heart-healthy ground flaxseed, which will give you 20% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
3. Schedule an a.m. workout. If you overdid it the night before, there is one silver lining: “You’re likely carbed up from your indulgent meal last night, so you’re going to have a lot of energy,” explains Jim White, RD, owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. “Use that energy and do a little bit of cardiovascular training, a little bit of weight training; keep drinking plenty of water and you’ll feel better.”
Posted: 28 Nov 2016 02:26 PM PST
Dodging just three potentially preventable conditions may add many healthy years to your life. In a new study, people who avoided hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and obesity in middle age had a risk for heart failure up to 86% lower than those who had all three.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure, looked at years of data from Americans enrolled in four studies. They found that at ages 45 and 55, people who didn’t have those three conditions had a considerably lower risk for heart failure, regardless of their sex or race. Lacking these risk factors was linked to heart failure risk 73%-86% lower, compared to those who had all three conditions.
That may translate into longer lifespans for middle-aged adults. Forty-five-year-old men who didn’t have any of those three risk factors lived about 11 years longer free of heart failure than those who had all three. Women who didn’t have the risk factors fared even better, living about 15 years longer without heart failure. Similar trends were found for 55-year-olds.
The study authors weren’t surprised that avoiding these risk factors was linked to less heart failure, but “the magnitude of the associations observed are particularly impressive,” they write.
The new research underscores how important prevention is for heart health. All three of these conditions are potentially preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight through a balanced diet and adequate exercise. “It’s a lot easier to prevent heart failure than it is to cure it once it’s there, but it takes forethought,” says James O’Keefe, chief of preventive cardiology at Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City (who was not involved with the study). “The key is keeping your weight down through exercise, diet and all those sorts of things that people don’t like to think about.”
Living without diabetes seemed to have a particularly strong impact. That’s likely because type-2 diabetes has detrimental effects on the heart: causing the muscle to stiffen and thicken, while making the body retain fluid, water and salt more, O’Keefe says. But though all three are independent risk factors, they’re related. “The bottom line is it’s very preventable,” O’Keefe says. “Diet and lifestyle are really important.”
Posted: 28 Nov 2016 12:51 PM PST
First, the good news: Kids in the United States are eating better today than they were two decades ago. Now, the not-so-great part: They’ve still got a long way to go before their diet, as a whole, can be considered healthy.
These are the findings of a study published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that compared the eating habits of more than 38,000 U.S. children from 1999 to 2012.
To track dietary changes over this time period, researchers surveyed a nationally representative group of several thousand children (ages 2 to 18) each year, asking them or their caregivers to recall what they’d eaten in the past 24 hours. Based on these responses, an average Healthy Eating Index score was determined for each year in the study.
These scores rose steadily from 42.5 in 1999 to 50.9 in 2012. But that’s out of a possible 100—and even the 2012 scores constitute an overall “poor” rating.
“I am encouraged by the gains,” said study lead author Xiao Gu, a master’s student in epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health, in a press release. “Our paper provides evidence that we are on the correct track.”
Kids today are eating and drinking fewer empty calories (defined as solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol), which accounted for about one-third of the total score improvement. Increased public awareness about junk foods and sugary drinks has likely played a role, say the researchers. State and local policies, like soda taxes and school vending-machine bans, may help, as well.
Higher consumption of fruits, whole grains, seafood and plant proteins, and greens and beans also gave scores a boost in recent years.
Co-author Katherine Tucker, PhD, professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, says she was mildly surprised—and very optimistic—about the improvement in whole-grain consumption.
“A lot of people think kids don’t like whole grains, and they won’t eat them,” Tucker told Real Simple. “But this shows that efforts to introduce them to kids are working.”
Read more: 10 Whole Grain Breakfasts to Power Your Day
She’s also pleased that kids are eating more fruit and drinking fewer sugary beverages. “While a little bit of fruit juice is fine, we all know that whole fruit is more nutritious and contributes less to weight gain,” she says.
Consumption could still be much higher in these categories, however. Children in 2012 averaged a score of just 2 out of a possible 10 for whole grains, and 2.1 out of 5 for whole fruit. “I think the increasing trend is encouraging, but the current dietary quality level is disappointing,” said Gu.
And not all categories showed improvement: No significant change was reported for vegetable intake between 1999 and 2012, despite a consistent emphasis on fruits and veggies in the Dietary Guidelines over this time.
And kids’ sodium intake—which has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure later in life—actually went up. “Sodium is an acquired taste, so if you get used to eating a lot of salty snacks it makes it difficult to cut back later,” says Tucker. “That’s why it’s so important for kids to learn about the taste of real food, without all the salt and sugar.”
When Gu and Tucker broke down their findings by demographics, they found that nutrition improved across the board and gaps between ethnic groups narrowed. But disparities still remain: Scores for non-Hispanic white children rose from 42.1 to 50.2, and for non-Hispanic black children from 39.6 to 48.4. Mexican-American children had the highest scores overall, ranging from 44.1 to 51.9
Children from high-income families made the largest gains over the course of the study. Scores among the wealthiest third of participants rose 23.8 percent, compared with just 18.2 percent in the lowest third.
The researchers also found that children receiving federal benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) saw less improvement than those on the government’s Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. Both provide financial assistance, but the latter limits purchases to foods adhering to dietary guidelines, says Gu.
Across all demographics, children under 6 tended to have healthier diets than older children. This suggests that unhealthy habits may develop as kids start school and spend more time away from home.
Overall, the researchers say their findings are encouraging—but they should still be a wake-up call for parents who may not be making nutrition a priority.
“There can be a perception that eating well is expensive, but when you look closely, some of the convenient processed foods cost even more when you consider the nutrition involved,” says Tucker. “Getting back to simpler, whole foods with minimal preparation can go a long way in making sure your child gets a healthy diet.”
Posted: 28 Nov 2016 12:24 PM PST
The state has been preparing for the possibility of local cases for some time. The person infected lives in Cameron County and is not pregnant. The woman was confirmed by a lab test to have the virus despite no recent travel to anywhere with ongoing Zika transmission.
Florida has also reported locally acquired cases, with over 235 people contracting the virus from local mosquitoes.
“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a Zika case spread by a mosquito in Texas,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner in a statement.
Responders are working to confirm where the person contracted the virus. The health department reminded women who are pregnant not to travel to places where Zika is spreading, like nearby Mexico. So far Texas has reported 257 confirmed cases of the virus from travel and sexual contact.
“We still don’t believe the virus will become widespread in Texas,” said Hellerstedt. “But there could be more cases, so people need to protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially in parts of the state that stay relatively warm in the fall and winter.”
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