Fiber? I Don’t Even Know Her

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

Ever wonder why that senior citizen couple on TV have such big smiles on their faces as they pour their powder packet of Metamucil into their morning juice? Well, ladies and gentleman, because that packet of fiber means one more bowel movement on the books. It sounds gross, but fiber is a necessary part of digestion and most people only have a vague idea about what fiber is and why it is so important. Here’s what you need to know:

1.       Most people do not get enough fiber in their diets.

For adults aged 50 years and younger, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams of fiber for women. For those over 50 years of age, the IOM recommends 30 grams of fiber for men and 21 grams of fiber for women (this is because people eat less as they get older). Most Americans only get 15 grams of fiber per day.  

 2.       A high fiber diet keeps your bowels happy.

Fiber is like a tube on a lazy river through your digestive tract. It helps move everything through your body and increases the bulk of you stool which can help with constipation and keeping your bowel movements regular (which becomes increasingly important with age). It helps regulate the weight, size, and softness of your stool and thus also prevents diarrhea. Unfortunately, no amount of fiber will help if you eat too much Taco Bell.

3.       Diets high in fiber may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

A study by Harvard found that people who have diets that are low in fiber, but high in foods that quickly increase blood sugar levels have a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. Soluble fiber has also been linked to lower cholesterol and may help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

4.       Fiber can help you reach a healthy weight.

High fiber foods tend to make you feel full quicker and feel that way for longer than low fiber foods. These foods also have less energy in proportion to the amount of food you are consuming, which means you can eat more, but ingest fewer calories.

5.       There are many different foods that are high in fiber.

The following have 3 grams or more per serving:
Fruits- Raspberries, pears (with skin), apples (with skin), bananas, oranges, strawberries
Grains-Whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, bran flakes, popcorn, brown rice
Legumes, nuts, seeds- cooked split peas, cooked lentils, cooked black beans, cooked Lima beans, baked beans, sunflower seeds, almonds
Vegetables-cooked artichoke, cooked peas, boiled broccoli, cooked Brussels sprouts

6.       If you decide to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, do it slowly.

Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet quickly can overload your system and cause constipation, gas, malabsorption, and diarrhea. In addition, if you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, make sure you also increase the amount of water; otherwise you can cause blockages inside your intestines. This puts a block in the pipes and doesn’t let any other food get past. This should not be something you decide to take on an hour before a first date.

Making sure you get adequate fiber in your diet is a good habit to get into now. One day, your bowel movements (or lack thereof) will be appropriate breakfast conversation with not only your partner, but your neighbors, friends, family, and mailman.  I’m pretty sure they already make up a majority of male-to-male Snapchats.

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How I Conquered Fear Through Yoga

LG YogaBy Liz Gluckstern
lizteachesyoga@gmail.com

The day has finally come that I can call myself a registered yoga teacher! Amazing! It has been equally exciting, but also challenging, to discover what misconceptions come with my new title. The public assumption is that yogis eat granola, chant “OM,” and smile a lot. Well, that’s true. But people often also believe I can answer medical questions, I’ve become vegan, and I can stand on my head. That’s not true. Despite these common stereotypes, yoga instructors are normal people with fears on and off the mat.

When I was asked to write a short piece for Health Unbreaded, I panicked. Of course I wanted to write about my love for this practice, but fear debilitated me. Will the post be funny? Could I unintentionally turn people away from yoga? After yoga school, I thought I was ready for any challenge. It turns out that fear got the best of this yogi! Then I remembered that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to “fear no more.” I had to take my own advice and start writing. After all, I may have something decent to say!

Yoga is about letting go: it’s about finding the surrender in the most intense moments. So I say, surrender to your fears! Look them in the eye. Confess your fears in the mirror. Write them down on paper. Admit that something scares you. Practice naming by acknowledging the fear, repeating it, and releasing it.

Let the New Year motivate you. Make a game plan. Write a due date in your calendar and stick to it.  Stop ordering take out by February 1st. No seriously, stop eating greasy food, it’s bad for you. The power is in you! Be honest and ask for help. Your loved ones will be happy to help you overcome a fear.

Start small. Take on one of your less overwhelming fears (such as cooking that seasonal vegetable you saw at Whole Foods) and let the success of overcoming this fear help you tackle larger fears. Remember that fear is just a feeling and feelings come and go. One minute you may really want to finish the bag of peanut butter M&Ms, and the next minute you don’t. Or wait, is that just me?

Envision yourself without that fear. Is there a new lightness in your chest? Do your shoulders drop down? Do you stand a bit taller? Visualize a less fearful you and be patient with yourself. These life changes take time, but they are worth it.

My last recommendation is to breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. Repeat. Breathe into this openness and think of fear in a new way. F.E.A.R. For Everything Already Resides. The strength is within you, it always has been.

So, as I sit here pouring my heart out to you, I realize, I just did it! I just wrote this article, and it wasn’t daunting. In fact, it was fun! I visualized myself as a yogi with an outstanding online resume and this moved me forward.

And in terms of standing on my head, I’m still totally afraid of doing a handstand in the middle of the room and breaking my neck. I am, however, gradually conquering my fear by moving further away from the wall of my apartment.

Namaste!

LG croppedLiz Gluckstern lives, works, and stays fit in New York City. After completing a triathlon and half marathon, she was looking for a new challenge and discovered “asana,” the physical practice of yoga and found that it connected her mind and  body and kept her inspired each day. Raised by a dietitian, Liz continues to advocate for eating balanced meals and now recommends an “ayurvedic” diet, which encourages one to eat foods based on their “dosha” or body/personality type. Since becoming an accredited yoga instructor, Liz is focusing on sharing her love and passion for yoga with the borough of Manhattan and beyond. She believes that remaining positive, encouraging truth, and that using “pranayama” to control your breath will lead everyone to live a happier and healthier life!

If you live in the NYC area, Liz is teaching a Vinyasa yoga class, open to the community, on Thursday, January 16, 2014, 2:30 PM-3:45 PM at Laughing Lotus located on 636 Sixth Avenue, 3rd Floor. Entrance is on 19th Street. You can find more details here.

Email Liz at lizteachesyoga@gmail.com

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Why The Winter Months Can Make You SAD

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

The holidays are over. You’re not getting any more presents, your iPad is already broken, and the whole world got engaged while you had one unsuccessful Tinder date. Plus it’s about negative eight degrees outside and there’s no way to look cute when as soon as you enter a building, your nose starts dripping snot.

For some people, this time of year is not the best, but manageable with hot chocolate and a stolen Netflix account. For others, the winter months bring symptoms of a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

SAD can impact anyone, but is more commonly found among women and those between the ages of 15 and 55. Living in an area where the winter days are shorter and having a close family member with SAD can also increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing SAD.

The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, but it may be due to a lack of sunlight disrupting the sleep-wake cycle and/or changes in the levels of serotonin or melatonin in the brain. In the United States, between 4-6 percent of people suffer from this disorder.

Symptoms of winter-onset SAD include:

-          Hopelessness

-          Increased appetite with weight gain (especially if you are eating and craving carbs)

-          Increased sleep

-          Less energy

-          Lower ability to concentrate

-          Loss of interest in work or other activities

-          Sluggish movements

-          Social withdrawal

-          Unhappiness and irritability

People who suffer from SAD will experience these symptoms during the same time each year. The symptoms usually start in September or October and end around April or May. Ten percent of people who have SAD will experience symptoms during the summer months and may experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, irritability, agitation, or anxiety.

While most people reading have already self-diagnosed themselves, your health care provider is the one who can officially make the diagnosis. If your symptoms are severe enough, you may need antidepressant medications, counseling, or light therapy. Light therapy involves sitting in front of a special fluorescent lamp that mimics the sun, and is usually prescribed before symptoms present themselves, for 30-90 minutes each day. Despite popular belief, this is not an excuse to go tanning. The lights in those beds will not cure your SAD, they will just give you skin cancer.

There are things you can do at home as well. First, put down that bottle of whiskey/wine/mouthwash. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse and cause you to make bad decisions while you’re already in a bad place. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising regularly.

While treatable, some people will deal with SAD their entire lives. If you are experiencing any of the SAD symptoms, it is important that you discuss them with someone as soon as possible. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with your doctor. A conversation with a medical professional, at the very least, will help you decipher if what you’re feeling is something that can be managed on its own or needs more aggressive treatment. As with any ailment, it’s easier to treat when the symptoms are small and manageable. Reach out to your friends and family and seek medical attention immediately if you are thinking about hurting yourself in anyway.

You already have to shovel snow, avoid slipping on the death trap that is a public sidewalk (there is never enough salt), and wear way too many layers. There’s no need to manage your depression alone as well.

The following are links to more resources:

American Psychological Association

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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How To Properly Wrap Your Package

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

It’s been a while since your 9th grade health teacher demonstrated with a banana and this is an important skill if you want to avoid some nasty sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  or an unplanned child. Sadly, only 39 percent of American high school students are taught how to use condoms correctly. Both men and women know how to unhook a bra and thus both sexes should know how to don a condom as well.  Here are some basic instructions:

1.       Make sure it’s not expired or used.

It’s unlikely that you’re going to be checking an expiration date as your partner is staring at you as you dig through your pants/desk drawer/roommate’s night stand, but try and make sure they are not left over from generation’s past or left in your car from last summer. As far as used goes, it is gross that it even needs to be said, but it does. Enjoy that image.

2.       Put the condom on before you have sex.

Not half way through, not at the very end, and not the second time after you realize you “forgot” the first time. STDs such as genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (see: HPV vs. Justin Bieber) are primarily transmitted through infected skin or mucosal surfaces so you want to protect yourself from the very start.

3.       Unroll the condom after placing it on the penis.

An analysis of a collection of studies since 1995 by researchers at The Kinsey Institute for Research of Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University, led by Stephanie Sandors, found that 25.3 percent of people reported unrolling the condom before placing it on the penis.

4.       Make sure there’s wiggle room.

If the condom doesn’t have one of those fancy little tips at the end, make one by pinching the tip so there’s space for when the man ejaculates.

5.       Use the right lubricant.

The lube you choose should always be water-based if you’re using it with condoms.  The one’s sold in stores will usually have a label right on the front.  Oil-based options include petroleum jelly, massage oils, mineral oil, body lotions, and cooking oil.  The oil can cause the latex to weaken and break.  If you’d use it for your pasta, you probably shouldn’t be using it on your penis.

6.       Don’t linger too long.

After the man finishes, before the penis gets soft, grab the condom from the base as he withdraws and throw that bad boy out.

Congrats! You’ve done it! Unfortunately, while this seems easy enough, each year 18 out of 100 women who do not use condoms correctly with their partner will become pregnant. In this case, good intentions are not enough. Protect your partner, protect yourself, and protect your parents from having to dig out your old crib a few years early.

If you are a visual learner, this nice gentleman (with a cool accent) explains it in a short video.

Some of these experiences sound familiar? Feel free to share stories you’ve heard about your friends in the comments section. While safe sex is between the individuals involved, learning about safe sex/sharing horror stories is for everyone.

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Science teacher loses almost 40 pounds on ‘McDonald’s diet’

Originally posted on KFOR.com:

[ooyala code=”xwZWJsajrIsOPtHUwhzqjObZk0MKCbn0″ player_id=”df513009265e4427aaf5f0342a75c90e”]

COLO, Iowa – A teacher in Colo, Iowa, decided to eat only at McDonald’s for 90 days to see what it would do to his health.

The result turned out to be a good lesson for him and his students.

Which picture of this man was taken after he had eaten nothing but McDonald’s for 90 days? McDonalds weight loss

“The average Joe would say the guy on the right,” science teacher John Cisna said. “I can eat any food at McDonald’s I want as long as I’m smart for the rest of the day with what I balance it out with.”

That was the theory Cisna laid out for three of his students at Colo-Nesco high school this past fall.

Ninety days of Mickey D’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner but with strict daily nutritional limitations of 2,000 calories and trying to stay close to the recommended dietary allowances…

View original 221 more words

Why You’re Hungover And What Can Help

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

You’re not sure what hurts more: the fake eyelashes still stuck to your face scratching the surface of your eyeball or the idea of getting out of bed to throw up for the eighth time. You blame the excess of bubbles in the champagne, seeing your ex at the bar, and the 6 AM Chinese food binge. While all of these might have been contributing factors, you feel like wet dog food because you drank too much. Here’s why your body turned on you and how to get back on its good side:

The Cause

Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently which is why everyone’s hangovers are not the same. Genetics and gender (discussed in 6 Facts Every Man Should Know About A Woman’s Body) both play a role and are the reason you’re still in bed and your roommate is at Crossfit. The effects your feeling post drinking are a result of a few different reactions taking place in your body. Alcohol makes you  urinate more frequently and thus leads to dehydration, which is why you might feel thirsty, weak or lightheaded and also the reason there’s such long lines at the club for the bathroom. In addition, alcohol increases stomach acid which can lead to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Drinking alcohol can also lower your blood sugar resulting in fatigue, weakness, and changes in your mood. Sleep is also affected. While alcohol can make you feel tired, it reduces the quality of your sleep and disrupts your circadian rhythm.

The Cure

There’s no magic pill to turn you back into a human from the blob of flesh and regret that is laying in your bed right now. Sleep, though, will help. So will drinking water to help with dehydration. Bouillon soup can also be beneficial, as it will help replenish lost electrolytes, specifically sodium and potassium. Along with drinking fluids, eating bland foods can help make your stomach feel better. As for that pounding headache, you can take an over the counter pain reliever, but non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil) can upset your stomach further and there’s a risk of hurting your liver when taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) and drinking heavily.

Sometimes a hangover can turn into something more serious. If you or someone you know experiences confusion, persistent vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, or unconsciousness, you need to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Preventing This Misery In The Future

Hangovers are not a higher power’s punishment for going out on a Tuesday night. They are your fault and they are preventable. Eating before you go out can help absorb the alcohol, so eat a meal before pounding shots. I know it’s hard to eat a burger when you’re about to put on a little black dress, but that’s why they invented Spanx. Plus, nothing looks less cute than puke in your hair. Next, avoid the cigarettes. Studies have shown that drinking and nicotine makes hangovers worse. In addition, darker colored alcoholic beverages might be more likely to give you a hangover the next day. Bourbon, scotch, tequila, brandy, dark beers, and red wine are more likely to make you hate yourself in the morning than lighter colored drinks such as light-colored beer, gin, and vodka.

Now time to get up and get some Taco Bell. You need your energy to apologize for those drunk texts or at the very least analyze the ones you received. Welcome to 2014, it’s going to be a good year so put on your big girl panties, or at the very least a pair of pants. Hopefully, this will be the year you learn self control.

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8 Facts You Should Know Before You Dance With Molly

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

Molly has all the qualities of a good date: the drug is popular, available, and cheap. If things go well, you’ll spend $20 dollars, dance for a few hours, and go home. But what if they don’t? Here’s what you  need to know:

1.    Molly’s real name is 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA.

“Molly” comes from the word “molecular” and refers to the “pure crystalline powder form of MDMA” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

2.    Molly won’t last the whole night.

One dose lasts approximately 3 to 6 hours with people taking more as the drug begins to wear off.

3.    It is not a new drug; it just has a new name.

It was developed by Merck and Company in 1912 in Germany and during the 1970s and 1980s it was used by psychiatrists to assist with psychotherapy, even though it had not been formally tested or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During this time, MDMA made its way to the streets for recreational use.

4.    It is illegal.

It was officially banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1985. MDMA is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no therapeutic value.

5.    It’s synthetic.

This means that anybody can make it with whatever ingredients they may have lying around in their basement. Ever make a cake and run out of oil? You’ll substitute, and so will the person mixing up your drugs. As a result of new branding, Molly has gained the reputation of being “pure” and safer than its predecessor, Ecstasy. However, it has been found to be frequently mixed with other chemicals including ephedrine, dextromethorphan, ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and even synthetic cathinones (also known as “bath salts”).

6.    It can make you feel really good.

People who take Molly report feelings of euphoria, loss of inhibition, a feeling of closeness with others, and increased sensuality. The drug works by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The elevated mood is likely related to the high levels of serotonin released. Because of this effect, MDMA is being used in clinical trials to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

7.    It can also make you feel really bad.

Unfortunately, once this large amount of serotonin is released, the brain is then depleted of the chemical and this can have effects that last for days after taking the drug. People who have used the drug have described feelings of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia after stopping use. Furthermore, recent research has reported that these effects may be long term.

8.    Molly can kill you.

An overdose of MDMA has been associated with seizures, hyperthermia, blood clotting problems, arrhythmias, heart failure, stroke, renal failure, and/or liver failure. Hyperthermia occurs because the drug interferes with your body’s ability to regulate temperature.  This combined with hot clubs and hours of dancing can cause dehydration, blood clotting problems, rhabdomyolysis, and kidney failure. Another cause of death is the imbalance of fluid and electrolytes. The effects of MDMA combined with drinking too much water and salt loss due to sweating can cause brain swelling and seizures.

In 2008, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that MDMA was responsible for 17,865 visits to the Emergency Room. The study also reported that 77.8 percent of emergency room visits involved patients using at least one other drug in addition to MDMA. This past August, it was confirmed that two people died and four were hospitalized from using MDMA while attending  the popular music festival Electric Zoo.

With any drug, whether it be Tylenol or cough syrup, or in this case, MDMA, there are benefits and risks. With illegal drugs, though, there are no dosing guidelines, or packaging information including the active ingredients, to refer to and this makes experimenting a lot more dangerous. Plus, at least you know your pharmacist is wearing gloves. You don’t know if the shady person making the powder you’re about to swallow is even washing their hands after they go to the bathroom. Just something to think about the next time a cute girl covered in glitter and fur asks if you want to party.

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What’s Better For You: Sex Or Cheese?

Photo Credit: Getty

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

On a Saturday evening out in the city, your night is either going to end with pizza or intercourse, and if you’re lucky: both. While you often make the decision based on what’s most readily available, which one is scientifically proven to be better for your body and mind? Let’s explore:

For the purpose of this article, we are going to define sex as the old school “P” and “V” action. While this is not the only type, this is where most of the research has been focused. A 2010 article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that a person’s level of satisfaction with their mental health was positively correlated to the rate they were having sex. Surprisingly, a greater incidence of masturbation was related to a higher level of depression and a lower level of individual happiness (i.e. real woman>porn).

In regards to your overall physical condition, sex helps strengthen a woman’s pelvic floor muscles and can help prevent incontinence later in life. For men, there may be a link to the amount of times a man ejaculates and a lower risk of prostate cancer, however there is not enough research to completely support this claim.  For both men and women, sexual intercourse is linked to lower systolic blood pressure.

While kissing strangers might get you sick, sleeping with them might help boost your immune system. A 2004 study by Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan found that out of a pool of 112 college students, the ones that had sex one or two times per week had a higher level of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. The higher the level of IgA, the stronger your immune system, and the more likely you will be to fight off colds and viruses. Sex has also been linked to better sleep, less stress, and as a method to relieve pain.

Before you download Tinder, Grindr, or become more active on JDate, there are risks to engaging in sexually activities. One of the most serious is sexually transmitted infections (see HPV vs. Justin Bieber) along with pregnancy, and regret. Yet, if you’re in a healthy relationship and practicing safe sex, you could be love making your way to better health.

Now, let’s talk about the glorious gift that cows gave to humans: cheese.

Cheese not only tastes like miracles and sunshine, it’s also filled with essential nutrients including calcium. There’s more calcium in the body than any other mineral. It’s necessary for the function of your blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and hormones and plays a vital role in the structure and function of your bones. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults, both male and female, 19-50 years old, is 1,000 mg. A small amount, such as a 1.5 oz. piece of cheddar cheese provides 307 mg, which equates to 31% of the Daily Value.

Cheese is also a high source of protein which helps build bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood and plays a role in creating enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. The RDA for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. One ounce of part-skim mozzarella cheese provides 8 grams of protein and one cup of low-fat (2%) cottage cheese provides 26 grams of protein.

As if that wasn’t enough to stuff your face with a block of cream cheese right now, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues found that a fatty acid, called trans-palmitoleic acid, may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Of course, as with sex, there are drawbacks. The second highest source of saturated fat and cholesterol in the United States is dairy products. Luckily, there’s a solution: low-fat cheese! Not the same as the real deal, but sometimes you have to make modifications (i.e. condoms) in order to make healthier choices.

Well folks, now that you have the facts, this is a decision that you’re going to have to make as a mature adult (on a Saturday night after eight Fireball shots). The real difficult question is: if you had to give up one for the rest of your life, which would it be?

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How To Keep Santa From Stealing Your Sanity

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab

Remember December 1st? You were making your gift list spreadsheet, listening to the Mariah Carey Christmas song, and happily clicking through Anthropologie to find the perfect dress to wear to your office party.  But then, December 15th happened and you almost knocked over a Salvation Army Santa on your way to Rockefeller Center and you weren’t even sorry about it.

The holidays can be a big ball of stress rolled in some gift wrap, that you hope no one opens. Here’s how to stay neatly packaged during an extremely stressful time of year:

1. Deal with your fear of missing out (FOMO).

The best way to do this? Get off Facebook. Studies have shown that the amount of time spent on Facebook is negatively correlated with happiness. It does not take scientific research, though, to realize that stalking your ex-significant other’s pictures with their new and better significant other in matching ugly sweaters will make you sad. Plus, December is the most popular month to get engaged and is becoming more popular for weddings as well. So at dinner this year, when your parents ask if they’re going to be in wheelchairs for your wedding, instead of stalking Facebook, I would eat your feelings instead.  Maybe you’ll meet someone in the gym burning off those excess calories.

2. Exercise.

Walking against the current of tourists in Times Square does not count. Physical activity can make you feel better by releasing endorphins, providing an outlet for tension and stress, improving mood, and helping you sleep better. Don’t wait until January to start your resolutions. You’ll feel less guilty about eating a second helping of dessert and you’ll be a regular at the gym in the New Year while everyone is trying to figure out how to use the elliptical without looking like a marionette.

3. Volunteer.

This time of year, everyone can use a little perspective. Buying gifts can be an overwhelming task, but consider yourself lucky because that list you’re so stressed about is also a list of the people that make up your strongest support system. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are homeless this holiday season, separated from their family, or grieving loved ones that won’t be there to celebrate this year. While working at soup kitchens, helping with coat drives, and visiting children’s hospitals are great, there are smaller ways you can give back as well. Shovel an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk. Invite a friend over for dinner. Research organizations you’re interested in becoming involved in year round. Added bonus: researchers have found that volunteering in any capacity lowers a person’s level of depression, increases life satisfaction and sense of well-being, and even lowers the risk of death.

4. Just say “NO.”

You said “yes” to the Latka and Vodka party, to helping bake cookies for your friend’s school bake sale, and to watching Elf in your underwear with your roommate for the tenth time. Now you have to either follow through, or let someone down by coming up with a horrendous excuse. Saying “no” helps you set boundaries and focus your time on things that are truly important to you. Obviously, watching Elf is prioritized over everything. In this situation, by saying “no,” you’d avoid unnecessary stress and having to put on a pair of pants.

5. Decline the extra glass of “Christmas Cheer.”

Four shots of Bailey’s in your coffee may seem like a smart idea while surrounded by your relatives for an extended period of time, but instead of avoiding the drama, you’re more likely to be the one that accidentally comments that your sister got fat at college. Not to mention the threat of making other poor life choices, like hooking up with the new intern or eating an entire cheesecake. Additionally, studies have shown that drinking alcohol when feelings stressed can lead to more stress in the long run. Put the glass down and take some selfies of you playing with your nieces instead. Girls love that.

If after reading these tips you’re still hyperventilating at the thought of entering Macy’s, there’s always the option of becoming a Jew, though I’m not sure we have it much better. While we avoid setting up a nativity scene and hanging Christmas lights, there’s the massive amount of Christmas FOMO in addition to the stress of how to break it to your parents that you won’t be going to the movies with them this year because you’re too hungover from the Matzo Ball. Happy Holidays!

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Poll: What Health Issues Matter to You?

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

Do you care about learning how to live longer or just how to look good in a bathing suit after eating three trays of Grandma’s cookies this Christmas?

This blog is meant to provide information that relates to you in an attempt to keep you  out of the doctor’s office and away from the hospital so you can spend more time becoming successful humans or at least have more days here to see how Miley’s career pans out.

If you have more feedback or other topics you would like to see on Health Unbreaded, please use the comment section below.

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