Diabetes

Cynthia Arnold Lost 76 Pounds by Taking One Year to Focus On Her Health

“I was always considered the big girl with a pretty face my entire life. From the age of 20 to 30 I gained over 100 pounds dealing with low self-esteem, taking care of two children and not taking care of me.” Cynthia Arnold says her weight never really bothered her, but as a diabetic with high blood pressure, she knew the extra pounds were taking a toll on her body.

cynthia arnold

One day, the woman who put everyone else first decided she needed to take top priority. “On May 6, 2013 I started to love me,” she admitted. “I dedicated one year to a journey of self-discovery and made a vow to get healthy.” After losing 76 pounds, Cynthia is declaring the journey a complete success, in more ways than one.

More from Cynthia in her own words –

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Binge eating. I would go days without eating and then eat until I was sick. I didn’t know portion control and used food as a comfort zone. When I was sad, angry or depressed, food was my best friend.

How did you lose the weight? I realized that it was going to take discipline to get the rewards I was looking for, so I started out with NO white carbs at all for about a week so my body could detox from the sugar. After that I did no carbs after noon and tried to eat clean. I made sure I shopped the outer edges of the store, didn’t eat too much processed food and did lots of research. 

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Retrain Your Brain to Actually Enjoy Eating Healthy Food

diet

We all know eating salad is better than eating candy bars, but you can’t control which foods you actually enjoy eating…or can you? This new study brings new meaning to brain food.

Shape Magazine recapped a recent study published by Nutrition & Diabetes explaining that it may be possible to neurologically reprogram your brain to prefer healthier foods. The study took 13 people and gave the first group a structured high protein, low glycemic index, low calorie diet while the second group could continue eating “normal” foods like pizza and potato chips. They took MRI scans of all participants before the study, then again six months later.

Both times, all participants were shown images of healthy foods and unhealthy foods, then they tracked and compared the neurological responses.

What did they find?  (more…)

The Amish Aren’t as Fit and Healthy as You Might Think

amish

By Valerie Orsoni, founder of LeBootcamp

For an Amish farmer, there’s no need for an intense fitness class! Harnessing the horses, pushing the plow, walking to and from the fields, and carrying heavy loads keeps them in perfect shape. Traditionally, those who work on a farm are fit. However, due to skyrocketing land prices, more and more Amish have to get a regular factory job (in fact, only 10% of Amish households receive their main income from farming). The health results are evident.

I just spent a month visiting an Amish farm and observing the lifestyle for myself. The early assumption would be that we’d find a healthful community, but the reality is that, in many ways, they aren’t.

The rigorous exercise and daily fitness demands of farming are waning. The men are, growing softer, if you will.

Women in this community are usually on the heavier side since they are less intensively active, though they do walk more than the average American woman and are constantly moving around in general. Social activities like canning and quilting keep them busy. Just as in our modern society, those social times always lead to a high consumption of treats and goodies, adding to the expanded waistlines. (more…)

FitBit Data May Help Insurance Companies Reduce Your Premiums

fitbit-flex

It’s all about perspective.

Ten percent can be a large or small amount, depending on the context of what it represents. If we’re talking about unemployment, 10% is unacceptable. If we’re talking about income tax, paying only 10% would be a blessing.

For today, we’re avoiding politics and the economy and instead, talking about the 10% of Americans who use wearable tech fitness trackers to monitor and track their daily activity, food intake, sleep, and exercise. This 10% of Americans make up a group of people that health insurance companies are examining closely to determine more accurate ways of calculating insurance premiums. On average, your premiums fluctuate once each year, which usually means added cost. That added cost doesn’t always have anything to do with you, and is often part of a re-rating of the group pool you’re a part of, like the company you work for.

The Only Fitness Tracker Review Guide You Need

What if your premium was calculated based on how you, as an individual, actually live? What if your premium fluctuated because of choices you make regarding your individual health and not because of others in your insurance pool dragging you down? (more…)

Farmers Markets in All 50 States Accept Your EBT SNAP Cards, Some Double Your Money!

snap at farmers market

It’s no secret: it can often take a lot of money to eat healthy. Anyone who has tried to shop at premium grocers or attempted to buy mostly organic produce can understand this. It can leave you questioning how low-income families can do it! You may not believe it, but the best place to go just may be your local farmers market.

Recently, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on G+ as a part of the TED-MED series on childhood obesity. Featured in this panel was Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity in the City of Philadelphia. When asked how to combat the issue of African American and Latino children being exposed to the highest level of unhealthy foods and beverages, he suggested policy change to allow public benefits (like food stamps) to be accepted at farmers markets.

Well, Mr. Health Commissioner, have we got good news for you: They already do!

We have noticed a growing trend in our local farmers markets throughout the country accepting SNAP (or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) just like regular cash. Gone are the days where affordability and accessibility of fresh produce isn’t possible on food stamps. Shopping at your local farmers market is not only better for the environment, but the nutritional quality is higher, and your money can literally go further.

okra forsythe market koskie

Wholesome Wave Georgia features more than 20 farmers markets that accept SNAP throughout the state, but Forsyth Farmers Market in Savannah, has taken it to another level. They literally give you twice the bang for your buck. This market will match your SNAP dollars thanks to a grant from Wholesome Wave Georgia. Accepting SNAP since 2009, they developed this partnership to ensure that the highest quality produce was perfectly attainable no matter your resources. And is it working?

“Last year, we had the top redemption rates for a single market in the state of Georgia,” says Forsyth Farmers Market co-founder and coordinator Teri Schell.

But if you’re not in the Savannah area, fear not. There are farmers markets that accept SNAP in all 50 States. We found 50 with the best deals!

Alabama: On Double Days, Homegrown Alabama will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25.

Alaska: Alaska Farmers Market Association says to check that the booth you shop at accepts them, too!

Arizona: Hosts a whole list of SNAP-specific gardens.

Arkansas: Featured this week in the Top 10 Fastest Growing Farmers Market states. (more…)

Mike Matteson Lost 279 Pounds Without Surgery. “I used Diet, Exercise and a Lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears.”

Mike Matteson admits, “I had every bad habit you can think of that contributed to my weight gain.” At 503 pounds, Mike says he often laid down to eat. Now, this bodybuilder, yes, I said bodybuilder, has lost an amazing 279 pounds. His success was hard won, and his story is one of the most inspirational I’ve read in a long time.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t overweight.

Over the years, Mike says he has dealt with “just about every uncomfortable thing that an obese person has to deal with.” From the bullying of classmates, to finding a seat belt that would fit across his midsection, Mike lived in a body that he never felt good about, and admittedly, didn’t take care of.

mike matteson Collage 2

Mike revealed that processed/junk and fast food were his diet staples. He never cooked, and says 90% of his meals were served by a waitress or through a drive-up window. Exercise, he admits, was nonexistent. “I was probably the laziest person you could ever meet,” he said.

I would wake up numerous times through the night gasping for breath.

Finally, Mike says the cumbersome weight of his body, the lack of sleep due to worsening apnea, and the warning by his doctor that he was pre-diabetic and would have to be placed on blood pressure medication finally culminated in the realization that he was in serious trouble. “I lived my life in bed,” he explained. “I knew if I didn’t do something that’s exactly where I would die.”

I lost the weight the good old fashioned way, with diet, exercise, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears!

At 503 pounds, Mike knew exercise would be a challenge. He started by walking to the end of his driveway and back again. Eventually, he was able to walk around the block. After one year, even though he hadn’t changed his diet, his increased activity helped him lose 100 pounds.

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The De-Stress Diet and 5 Foods for a Better Mood

good mood food

Eat more when you’re stressed? You’re not alone. In fact, all that stress eating can pack on an additional 11 pounds each year! Most of us are quick to turn to sugar and refined carbs the second tension gets high. When we feel overwhelmed, we seek out comforting food, giving it the power to make us feel better…and then worse.

A national survey conducted by NPR, Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that most changes to diet occurs during stressful times. And these changes aren’t always for the best.

The foods we choose under stress, like chocolate or simple carbohydrates such as bagels or white pasta, often take you on a hormonal roller coaster: surging and crashing hormone and blood sugar levels which leaves you more susceptible to new stresses than when you started. It’s a vicious cycle that must be stopped! (more…)

Miss Idaho Wants You to #ShowMeYourPump

Forget what you think you know about beauty pageant contestants. The courageous, strong, talented and yes, beautiful women who compete for the crown are so much more than pretty faces who can rock and evening gown. The newly crowned Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison, for example, made waves by wearing her insulin pump on her bikini during the swimsuit competition.

Miss Idaho

The idea to proudly display her pump, instead of finding some way to conceal it, came from a pre-competition lunch. While the competition director was asking about Sandison’s community service platform, the topic of Sandison’s diabetes came up.

“Since we were at lunch, I had to give myself a shot, and when she saw the shot, the director said, ‘Oh my goodness you’re a diabetic.’ Then proceeded to tell me about Nicole Johnson, who was Miss America in 1999. She actually wore her insulin pump on stage,” Sandison told E! News. “That gave me the confidence to get one, when I first heard about Nicole.”

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Little Blue Dynamos: My Love Affair with Blueberries Made a Blueberry Cucumber Salad

blueberries

It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.

Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!

blueberry cucumber salad

Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos… (more…)

Apple’s Health App Confirmed; to Sync with Nike+, Mayo Clinic, and More

Apple HealthKit Screenshot

Remember a few months ago when we speculated about the release of a new Apple product for tracking all things health? This month, Apple Insider confirms its upcoming release.

HealthKit and its related app, simply named “Health,” will collect and store a variety of personal health data. Apple’s Senior Vice President Craig Federighi “took the wraps” off Apple’s response to the growing trend of tech-based health tracking devices. “Health” is an app that can track and store steps taken, blood pressure, blood sugar (key for diabetics!), quantity of sleep, and many other metrics.

One of Apple’s first partners on the project is Nike and their digital interface Nike+, who previously quantified activity through their own NikeFuel and the FuelBand–their response to the FitBit.

The Only Fitness Tracker Review Guide You Need (more…)