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UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEALTH: Chronic Disease
Did you know manageable lifestyle behaviors are at the root of 80% of Chronic Disease? These behaviors include: poor sleep, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol, poor stress management, and lack of screenings. Sound familiar?

So why should you care? The CDC reports: Heart Disease, Cancer, Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases, Stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, and Diabetes are the leading causes of death for adults. It’s also costing you money. According to Professor Ron Goetzel in Health Affairs (the leading journal on health policy and research on health reform, health care costs, and health system innovations), individuals who exceed the recommended health standards face higher annual healthcare costs:
  
  • Blood Pressure: $1,400 more
  • Cholesterol: $3,614 more
  • BMI: $1,100 more
  • Glucose: $1,600 more
  • Tobacco: $1,300 more

Luckily, you don’t have to give up everything you love to improve your health risk factors and save some cash. Continue reading the rest of the newsletter and watch some videos on hChoices.com to get motivated and learn how small changes can make a huge difference. - hChoices.com -

UNDERSTANDING YOUR NUMBERS: Glucose

Glucose is a simple sugar you get from bread, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. It is an important source of energy; it’s called blood sugar when it circulates in the blood. As long as your glucose level is under control, you are OK.

You can get your glucose level checked by your physician, at a community health screening event, or at home using a glucose monitor. For the most accurate results, fast for eight hours (that means no food or drink other than water) before getting tested. The test result classifications are listed below.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Diabetes is a disease marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from problems in how insulin is produced, how insulin works, or both. Complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, skin infections, nerve damage (neuropathy), coma, and premature death.

You can control your blood sugar level in a variety of ways including watching what you eat, exercising more, losing weight, and taking medications prescribed by your physician. The good news according to the American Diabetes Association is that just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes. - hChoices.com -

OCTOBER WELLNESS CHALLENGES

  • 10/1 - 10/7: Salt Challenge
  • 10/8 - 10/14: Core Challenge
  • 10/15 - 10/21: 10,000 Steps Challenge
  • 10/22 - 10/28: Positivity Challenge
  • Join a Challenge

BEHAVIOR CHANGE: Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is our belief in our own ability to complete a task successfully or to achieve a goal.  Your personal level of self-efficacy will determine whether you will be able to cope and persevere in the face of challenges. It plays a role in how you approach goals, tasks, and challenges.

According to Psychologist Albert Bandura, if we believe we can perform well (high self-efficacy) we are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered, rather than avoided.  Low self-efficacy can lead us to believe tasks are harder than they actually are. This often results in poor task planning, as well as increased stress.

Self-efficacy influences how high we set our goals, and our overall level of engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors that directly impact our health outcomes and quality of life. Bandura identifies four factors affecting self-efficacy.

  • Experience: Personal achievement or mastery
  • Modeling: Seeing someone else succeed
  • Social persuasion: Direct encouragement from another person
  • Physiological factors: Personal belief in the implications of these potential factors

Self-Efficacy is different from Self-Esteem. Self-esteem is the overall feeling of our worth or value vs our ability. Self-esteem focuses on being valuable, while self-efficacy focuses on being capable.

Here are some ways to improve our self-efficacy.

  • Set and accomplish small goals
  • Watch others who are performing the task successfully
  • Look back at past successes
  • Practice positive Self Talk: “I Can Do It!”
  • Practice visualization: see yourself being successful
  • Find a role model or mentor
  • Accept and manage self-doubt

Remember: if you already have a strong belief in your ability, remind yourself that you can do it! If you’re uncertain, tell yourself that you can do it! - hChoices.com -

EAT: Grocery Shopping

Whether you are eating to achieve a healthy weight, or following a nutrition-conscious lifestyle for long-term maintenance and fitness, one of the most challenging tasks you face regularly is going grocery shopping. The choices are overwhelming and the multitude of decisions dizzying, so entering a grocery store without a plan can result in wrong food choices and destruction of a healthy lifestyle.

To avoid the various pitfalls that can occur during grocery shopping, we offer these 5 simple and easy-to-remember tips:

Tip #1: Shop the perimeter of the store

The outer aisles of the grocery store is where you will find the foods that are fresh (that's why they are on the outer edges - years back that was the easiest place to set up and run the coolers and chillers). Think about the store where you ordinarily buy groceries. You find fresh meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, eggs, and other real, unprocessed, unpackaged foods along the outside walls. These are the foods that are typically higher in fiber, lower in sugar and salt, and more nutrient-dense.

Walk up and down the inner aisles only as necessary. For the most part, inner aisles are home to processed, sugary and fattening foods, full of preservatives and other "extras" you do not require as a human being. We like to think of them as the "over" foods - over packed, overpriced, over processed and over advertised.

Tip #2: Buy lots of fresh produce
Pretty much every grocery store puts the fresh fruits and vegetables in clear view by their main  entrance. That's good news for us. It helps to get us started shopping by choosing seasonal as well as nutritious items. Pick out 1 or 2 fruits and 2 or 3 veggies during every trip to the store. Keep it interesting by trying new choices every once in a while. Produce is typically low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, which are essential when following a nutritious eating regimen.

Tip #3: Always use a shopping list

Make a shopping list based on nutritious meals you have pre-planned - and stick to the list when you are grocery shopping. This will help you stay focused on healthy choices, and keep you from being swayed by attractive packaging with fabulous claims or clever cartoons on the labels. And sticking to a pre-planned list will help you avoid purchasing items that cause buyer's regret once you are home, and ultimately go to waste... or to waist!

Tip #4: Never shop when you are hungry

Ever! Avoid going anywhere near a grocery store when you are hungry, which means do not grocery shop on the way home from work, or after your workout at the gym. A rumbling, empty stomach often speaks louder than a rational, nutrition-oriented brain. We know! But if you must shop at these times, bring a light healthy snack (like a piece of fruit or a raw veggie) and eat it before you enter the store.

Tip #5: Read labels

When you reach for a food item that is packaged in a box, bottle or jar (and there are times when you will) always - always - read the nutrition label. Do not be fooled by the claims made on the front of the box or jar. The truth is always on the back! This is where the ingredient list and nutrition information are found. We know this can be a daunting task, so here is a simple rule-of-thumb to streamline the process: avoid packaged foods and drinks that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce. Simple! 

To remember these 5 tips, commit this to memory: "perimeter, produce, list and labels - when I am not hungry" and you will never again be led astray from a nutritious, healthy lifestyle while grocery shopping. - Dee Wolk,  Founder of the No Diet Weight Solution -

MOVE: 10,000 Steps

You have probably heard most people are not moving enough and it’s impacting your overall health and longevity. Various clinical studies recommend 10,000 or more steps per day. So how far is 10,000 Steps? 2,000 steps is approximately 1 mile and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles. If you are already achieving the 10,000 daily step goal, keep up the good work. If you are not, continue reading to devise your plan to achieve success.

  • Start by wearing a pedometer every day for one week
  • Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time
  • Record your daily steps on hChoices.com or in a log or notebook
  • End of the week: calculate your average daily steps
  • Goal: Increase average daily steps by 500 until you average 10,000 per day

Walking is also a great way to burn calories while limiting the impact on your joints. Below are some examples based on your weight and walking speed.

Slow walking (<3.5 mph) burns 35 calories per mile for every 100 pounds of body weight.

  • 150 pound person will burn 53 calories per mile
  • 200 pound person will burn 70 calories per mile

Faster walking (>3.5 mph) burns 63 calories per mile for every 100 pounds of body weight.

  • 150 pound person will burn 94 calories per mile
  •  200 pound person will burn 126 calories per mile
  • Increases figures about 10%

Depending on your personal health goals, consider the following:

  • General health: 30 minutes, most days of the week, talking pace
  • Cardiovascular fitness: 20-30 minutes, 3-4 days a week, fast pace
  • Weight loss: 45-60 minutes, 5+ days a week, brisk pace

Remember to watch your posture while you walk. Walk tall with your head up, chin level and eyes forward gazing about 20 feet ahead. Shoulders should be down, back, and relaxed. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks while you go. The benefits of walking are almost too many to list, but here goes:

  • burns calories
  • strengthens muscles and bones
  • slims your waist
  • lowers blood pressure
  • tones your legs and butt
  • cuts cholesterol
  • reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • reduces stress, improves mood
  • can be done almost anywhere
  • allows times for family and friends
  • requires no equipment
  • it’s free.

Now I don’t want to hear any excuses about not having a pedometer, because you don’t need a smartwatch, fitness band, or pedometer to track your steps. Your phone can do that too. Use the Apple Health app on iPhones (5.0 or later) and the Google Fit app on Android phones. Just remember to take your phone with you! Good luck, you can do it! - hChoices.com -

RELAX: Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing means using our diaphragm (the major muscle below our lungs) to pull air in and push air out from our lungs. Using our diaphragm to breathe is considered, by professionals from some of the most respected hospitals and universities, as the most efficient breathing method. So why don’t we use it? It sounds simple!

Actually, it is. When we’re born, we naturally use diaphragmatic breathing, and continue until about the age of 10. Then we switch to shallow upper body breathing. Most people think that happens because it’s easier when we sit for hours in classrooms. By the time we’re in middle school, diaphragmatic breathing feels odd or uncomfortable.

So why the big push now back to diaphragmatic breathing? Here’s a bunch of reasons:

  • Breathing more deeply helps reduce anger, anxiety, and stress
  • It increases oxygen delivery to our cells, and stimulates blood flow, nourishing our brains and muscles
  • It gives our lungs more space to expand. One of the reasons singers, actors, and athletes practice diaphragmatic breathing.
  • It helps lower blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease
  • It helps lower blood sugar, and the risk of diabetes
  • It releases serotonin, which not only makes us feel good, but can reduce cravings for processed carbohydrates and other junk food. I like the sound of that!
  • It increases the secretion of growth hormone and slows the aging process.
  • It improves mental focus and clarity. Could use any help I can get for the next big test.
  • It improves sleep quality
  • And finally, it facilitates weight loss. OK, now I’m definitely with the program.

To learn more about Diaphragmatic Breathing check out the hChoices video gallery to learn how to get back to what we instinctively knew how to do when we were children. - hChoices.com -

SLEEP: Setting and Keeping a Sleep Routine

It’s funny, most people understand the importance of getting a good night sleep, but very few adults actually follow a sleep schedule or sleep promoting routine. Most of us just go to sleep after we are exhausted, and/or our eyes hurt from that late night stint on the Internet. More and more studies are being published documenting the significant benefits of getting enough sleep, like a happier, healthier life, but how do we actually do it.

So first, what is the impact of sleep deprivation? The consequences include:

Decreased Performance and Alertness: Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as 1-1/2 hours for just one night can result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.

  • Occupational Injury: Contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
  • Automobile Injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

Setting your schedule

  1. Pick a wake up time and count back 7 hours (most experts recommend 8, but let’s take baby steps).
  2. Stick to it, even on the weekend, or at least as often as you can.

Setting your sleep promoting routine

  1. Peel yourself off the couch and put down the electronics including the TV and smartphone 45 minutes before your scheduled bedtime.
  2. Turn on your bedroom diffuser (lavender promotes sleep).
  3. Brush your teeth (The dentist paid me to put that in there) and don’t forget to floss.
  4. Get into your comfy sleep gear, if you are not already in them since you got home.
  5. Get your mind ready for sleep: Read a book, meditate, try progressive relaxation, or have sex (Did you know: More sex helps you sleep, and more sleep boosts your sex drive).
  6. Turn off the lights.
  7. Be consistent, do it every night to make it a habit.

If you’re not convinced, here are some additional benefits of getting enough sleep: sleep helps you live longer, helps you lose weight, improves your immune system, and makes it easier to interact socially. Promise yourself to take the first step to setup a sleep schedule and routine and stick to it. Why not start tonight? - hChoices.com -

THRIVE: What Is Your End-of-Day Routine?

Imagine a typical work day. Do you move quickly from activity to activity, task to task, phone call to email to appointment? Do you jump right into your workday without a nourishing breakfast and some movement to warm up your body?

Or do you have plenty of time to complete each activity before starting the next? Do you take a full lunch break and frequent stretch breaks throughout the day?

Odds are your day tends to look more like the former than the latter.

In which case, as you start to relax in the evening, you probably become aware of a number of loose ends you need to tie up.

One way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks is to create an “end of the day routine” where you can capture and assign any action items generated throughout the day. You can easily accomplish this by mentally reviewing your day. Here’s what I mean.

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes before the end of your work day.
  • Make a pile of any papers generated throughout the day. This includes scraps of papers, post it notes, projects, files; anything you jotted ideas and thoughts on.
  • Look through your calendar, paying attention to meetings, appointments, and project due dates.
  • Examine your call log.
  • Review your inbox and sent email folder.
  • Process each piece of paper, think about each appointment, review each phone call, each email.
  • Capture each “next step” generated by those actions in a to-do list.
  • Looking forward, plot your next three most important goals for tomorrow.
  • Shut down your computer.
  • Change your outgoing voice mail message.
  • Shut off the light.
  • Leave for the day.

The best method for capturing loose ends is to note your next steps at the conclusion of each activity, task, meeting, appointment, phone call, email, etc. However, in reality, this is not always possible. By creating a time at the end of each day to mentally go through your activities and capture next steps, you can easily ensure that nothing important is omitted. How you do that, and what specific steps you take, are of course depend on the nature of your work, but what’s important is that you do the review.

Don’t start your day with stress and worry, trying to remember what you were supposed to remember the previous evening. Instead, start with an organized plan, created by ending your day with an organized plan! Then, turn off your “business brain” and enjoy your personal time, knowing that you have a great start to your next day! - Lisa Crilley Mallis, Certified Coach, ImpactiveStrategies.com - 

TO DO LIST

  • Eat: When shopping remember - perimeter, produce, list and labels - when not hungry
  • Sleep: Setup a sleep schedule
  • Move: Increase average daily steps by at least 500
  • Relax: Practice diaphragmatic breathing - daily
  • Thrive: Create an end of the day routine
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