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Time Flies…

January 4, 2011
Graduate School of Management Library, St Pete...

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…When you’re working your ass off in graduate school.

It appears that I’ve neglected my blog a bit. The irony is that I have come across so much information that I would love to share, but learning it all distracts me from writing about it.

In a week I start my last semester of graduate school with some Advanced Physiology, Research Methods and Sports Nutrition. Hopefully I will do a better job of journaling some of what I learn.

Last semester, my Exercise Psychology class really changed the way I looked at physical fitness.

So much of health revolves around personal habits that, on a non-competitive level, the issue is really lifestyle rather than diet or exercise in particular.

I have a great idea for an informational website based on that idea (which I’m sure I will never get around to making).

I’m already looking ahead to what I can fill my hours with after this degree is done. Medical school? Physicians Assistant Program? CPA? Cardiac Rehabilitation internship? All of these things are looking pretty interesting, although I’m pushing it on age for medical school considering I have a few pre-reqs to do first.

Anyway, I need to finish one thing before I start another. So, we will see in a few months.

Hope everyone had a healthy holiday and has made realistic health goals for the new year 🙂

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Good News About Thanksgiving Foods

November 25, 2010
The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

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So it turns out that some Thanksgiving treats aren’t as indulgent as they are made out to be.

Here’s a few things that you don’t need to feel guilty about, when consumed in moderation.
Happy Healthy Turkey Day!

 

Motivating Physical Activity – Because I Said So

October 27, 2010
Fire ants

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Right now I’m all about exercise psychology. I’m reading three books for my class and I feel like lightbulbs are turning on all over.

I’m learning about how to get to know people in order to figure out the best way to help them succeed in a healthy lifestyle. I think the pivot point is that there really is no “right way” to be healthy.

Every individual has different habits, history and preferences.

Without learning these, it’s really tough to give good advice on lifestyle changes.

In fact, I just read from Duke University that the use of motivational interviewing (where you put the patient in charge, ask questions, give support to their opinions/concerns) by doctors showed a dose-response relationship with patient weight loss.

So, doctors who gave personal attention to patients regarding their weight loss issues had patients who lost weight. More MI techniques = greater weight loss.

Doctors who used confrontation or commands had patients who maintained or gained weight.

“Because I said so” doesn’t motivate anyone.

Whole Wheat But Not The Whole Story

October 22, 2010
Different types of white bread

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I was told in a Nutrition class that the best way to find whole grain bread is to stick with labels that say “100% whole grain.” Anything else is white bread with some grains thrown in for decoration.

Having spent hours in the grocery store deliberating over fiber grams, types of wheat flour and how many grains make “multi,” looking for the “100%” label is a much safer – and faster – way to shop.

I’m sticking with that method, but if you want to do the work, check out “Whole Wheat But Not the Whole Story” from the SanFran Chronicle.

If It’s Healthy, Do You Need It?

October 14, 2010
I have a question

image: Malingering

Last night I was reading Allure – I revel in ripping out magazine pages and subscribe to a dozen magazines to fuel this pastime – when I came across an ad for cat food.

New Purina with “wholesome grains for energy.”

I don’t know about your cat,  but I’m pretty sure that mine is a carnivore, perfectly engineered to rely on protein and fat for energy.

Can he eat carbs? He sure can but he certainly doesn’t need them.

This really got me thinking about the responsibility of advertisers in general and specifically the health industry. Is it ok to sell something that is potentially healthy under a narrow set of circumstances and not explain what those are?

Purina cat chow is really healthy… if your cat is a dog! Purina cat chow could save your cat’s life … if he’s dying of starvation!

Vitamin B12 supplements have a wide range of benefits … if you’re B12 deficient!

 

I guess the cat food shows that all types of advertisers prey on people’s preconceived notions. Maybe I’m an idealist but I think that when it comes to the health industry- at least the human health industry – we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

What’s wrong with selling products to the people who need them?

As it’s become abundantly clear that I don’t rule the world, I guess the market for food and health products will remain “buyer beware.”

Just keep in mind that just because something is healthy for someone, doesn’t mean it’s good for YOU.

 

P.S. Don’t go running to the bag of cat food to analyze the ingredient list. It’s full of carbs, which give dry cat food it’s bulk. Cats can digest carbohydrates, though less efficiently than protein and fat. They can eat carbs, they just don’t need them…and they certainly don’t need “wholesome grains.”

Pre-Exercise Stretching Is Killing Your Workout

October 11, 2010
hamstring sea stretch

I gave up stretching before my workouts years ago, but I know there’s a lot of conflicting information out there on whether or not pre-stretching reduces injuries or compromises maximal power output. Here’s another one to add to the mix:

Seems that most everything your high school gym teacher told you is wrong. Well, at least when it comes to all that start-of-the-class stretching.

A recent spate of studies shows that when it comes to warming up before exercising, phys ed instructors didn’t do us any favors by having us to go through a series of calf extensions, hurdler’s stretches and the like.

The latest salvo against stretching comes from a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which found that static stretching before a workout lowered runners’ endurance and made their body less efficient. While previous studies have illustrated the effects of stretching on anaerobic activities, this was the first one to show the effects on runners.

Read More at Wired.

Safer Schedules for Patients and New Doctors

October 3, 2010
A doctor from the United States uses a stethos...

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The Council for Graduate Medical Education has approved a new limit on the hours that first year medical residents can work – reducing the maximum from 24 to 16 hours, and encouraging napping when possible.

Sadly, the new limits apply only to residents in their first year, leaving other new doctors vulnerable to inhumane schedules.

I’m very pleased that progress is being made in this area. I’ve always been outraged that patient care should be sacrificed to an antiquated system of hazing in hospitals.

Not only will this help decrease mistakes made by sleep-deprived interns, it also sets an example. Knowing that doctors go 24 hours without sleep is the same as watching them pop pills, smoke cigarettes or tear into a Whopper. Doctors would never advise a patient to chronically deprive themselves of sufficient rest, so why in the world is the medical community encouraging that behavior in doctors?

I hope that advocacy groups will continue to push for reforms in workplace safety for medical residents. These changes ensure the health of young doctors, and the safety of patients in their care.