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Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Diabetes

November 22, 2013 1 comment

November is American Diabetes Month aiming to raise awareness in the movement to Stop Diabetes®. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. If you are battling the disease, learn five tips from Michael Clark, MD, a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, to help you take control of your health.

  1. Know your Diabetes: Knowledge is one of the best ways to combat diabetes. Diabetes is able to affect your entire body. Talk in depth and frequently with a diabetes educator and/or your physician to assure you are always up-to-date with the latest information. Aside from talking to your physician, make an effort to read the literature on diabetes. Thankfully, there are some great books available as well as online websites such as diabetes.org which give you important information in a structured, easy-to-understand way. Ultimately, every patient with diabetes should know their bodies and their condition better than anyone else, including their physician.
  2. Know Your Blood Sugar: How does diabetes affect you? Testing your blood sugar will not only let you see how you’re doing on a regular basis, but it should also help you understand your diabetes and inform your decision making. This could include choosing a suitable diet, knowing how activity affects you and how stressful days and illness should be managed. Furthermore, the more detail you record, the better prepared you will be when you meet with your physician.
  3. Pick the Right Diet: A healthy diet will help in a myriad of ways. The right diet will improve blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce tiredness, improve digestion and can significantly improve clarity of thought.
  4. Get in Activity: Minimal activity each day can help improve our health and help us feel more energetic through the day. Even a 20 minute walk or 15 minutes of push-ups and/or aerobics in your own living room will get the heart pumping. The effect of regular activity is also known to help increase insulin sensitivity, which can be useful for all types of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
  5. Manage Sleep and Stress: Is your head hitting the pillow for at least eight hours per night? Getting at least eight hours of restful sleep will not only help manage your weight, but it will help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

With these helpful, managing tips, you will be able to tackle your diabetes head on.

For more information about Cooper Clinic or to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive physical exam, call 972.560.2667.

Congratulations to our Wellness Warriors!

January 16, 2013 Leave a comment

CF logo_color_RGBWe are fortunate to have organization leaders who understand the importance of employee wellness and providing teammates with the tools and resources to meet their health goals. Our internal wellness program, called Cooper Fit, aims to Cooperize teammates through three key steps:

  1. Know your numbers.
  2. Be willing to act on the need for health improvement.
  3. Learn how to make the needed changes.

Each year Cooper Fit names a “Wellness Warrior” to honor teammates who have made a significant impact in their life, or the lives of others, in the field of health and wellness. After reading through multiple nominations and inspiring stories, three teammates were named our 2012 Cooper Fit Wellness Warriors.

Read more about each of their stories on how they began and are continuing a journey to good health.

Cathy Sides, Director of Customer Relations, Cooper Complete and Cooper Wellness

Cathy’s journey began as she looked in her closet and realized she couldn’t fit into many of her clothes. Due to a knee surgery, her fitness plan was put on hold. As time passed, she decided that her knee was no longer an excuse.  She had already developed a love for swimming, but knew she needed to do more to fit into those clothes!

She credits Cooper Fit to helping her on her journey. Cathy stayed motivated through monthly health challenges and by trying out group exercise classes with other teammates. One of her proudest feats was completing a half marathon with her sister, and having a blast doing it!

Cathy’s advice: “Even if you can only walk for 15 minutes during lunch, it’s better than nothing! If possible, try to meet with a dietitian – our bodies are such machines and need the right fuel. Also, find a partner to go on this journey with you! Together, you can set goals and look forward to a long, fit life.”

Juli Doyal, Certification Program Manager, The Cooper Institute

Since March 2012, Juli has lost 35 pounds and five inches off her waist. Her lifestyle now consists of exercise and healthy eating, and she feels terrific! As she worked toward her health goals, Cooper Fit was a great resource, especially for information regarding the balance of healthy eating and physical activity. Over the past year she has learned that making small behavior modifications and tracking calories can contribute to weight loss success.

Not only do the small changes help, but she draws inspiration from her fellow Cooper teammates. Each day Juli aims to take extra steps during her work day, along with adding more water, fruits, veggies and nuts to her diet. She has also cut back on Dr. Pepper, sour cream and Corner Bakery – these are now considered treats that she enjoys in moderation.

Juli’s advice: “Don’t be afraid to spread the word and inspire change. Share information with your family and friends, so they can enjoy the benefits from eating right and exercising!”

Lorraine Rose, Administrative Representative, Cooper Clinic

Lorraine is like many people – she wanted to be healthy and fit, but always  found a reason to not start or stick with a health plan. She had a wake up call at her last physical exam at Cooper Clinic. According to her doctor, she needed to make some major adjustments to her lifestyle.

In March 2012, Lorraine and her husband started Weight Watchers. The Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department had been telling her for years, “Log what you eat!” She was encouraged by both Cooper Fit and Weight Watchers to eat more fruits and veggies, limit sweets and watch portions. She and her husband worked as a team to fix more meals at home, shop smart and hold one another accountable for both successes and mistakes.

It is not always easy for her to make nutritious choices, but when she sees the slow, steady changes in her weight and energy level, she knows her hard work is paying off in this “unbelievably eye-opening journey.”

Lorraine’s advice: “Having a doctor who cares and co-workers who encourage you is awesome.  The best comment I heard during this whole process is, ‘It never tastes as good as skinny and healthy feels.'”

Congratulations to these three teammates on their great accomplishments!

I Can’t vs. I Don’t!

Hello again! It’s been a while, but I’m back to update you on my health journey. And what a journey it has been… thanks to life, technically uneven pavement, getting in the way. I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago, and as a result I have not been able to exercise. It’s amazing how an injury can impact your mood and motivation. While I’m maintaining the early weight loss I had experienced, not much else has changed. I talked to Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, about feeling deflated and she had a great tip to get my mental attitude in shape while I wait on my body to heal.

She says that every day is a new day and a new opportunity to build a long-term healthy foundation. That means, ideally, the choices we make today should be decisions, patterns, foods and activities that we can see ourselves doing next month, next year and five years from now. Meridan shared that on a plane ride home from visiting her family she was struck by an article in Health magazine. Researchers looked at the change in psychology and attitude when people said “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” regarding food challenges. They were more successful by switching their mentality to one that was more positive and committed to change and less about deprivation. Think about replacing the unhealthy words “I can’t” with the healthier “I don’t” or  “I choose not to” when confronted with difficult situations.

It’s amazing the power you give yourself and allow yourself to experience from the simple words of “I can, but I don’t.” A perfect example is a man named Reuben who works at HEB and is participating in its “Slim Down Showdown” challenge. Meridan is his nutrition coach via phone. She said that people bring donuts and other desserts to his office and one colleague is especially giving him a hard time about his health journey. Instead of falling into the jealous man’s trap, Reuben simply replies with “I can have it, but I choose not to.” The power is now on his side and it shows he is taking control of his health.

This new mindset is very inspiring. I’m excited to refocus how I view my choices. It’s very freeing being in control, rather than feeling like I’m a prisoner to what I can’t have. I hope this is helpful for you, too! Let me know what you think!

Full disclosure: HEB is a client of Cooper Consulting Partners and the “Slim Down Showdown” participants work with Cooper Wellness throughout their journey.

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

Foods that Fight Pain

June 19, 2012 2 comments

How are you doing on your healthy-living journey? Mine has been a little painful the past couple of weeks, literally. The increased exercise, both cardio and weights, is giving my knees fits! So I’m going to focus on incorporating more foods that fight pain.

Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, gave me an article from the July issue of Environmental Nutrition called, “Soothe Pain with Foods, from Fish to Fruits.” It talks about how daily food choices can either reduce or increase levels of inflammation in the body… impacting levels of pain. Foods high in refined starches, sugar, saturated fats and trans fats can increase inflammation, while diets high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats plus fish and limiting processed foods and red meat are linked with lower inflammation. That makes sense to me and drives the point home that “bad” food can make you feel, well, bad.

Here are some of the top items Meridan and I discussed that can help my knees and entire body feel better:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, produce arthritic pain-reducing effects equivalent to ibuprofen,” the article says. And of course, glucosamine and chondroitin can help alleviate pain over time due to injuries or osteoarthritis. We have a ton of information on these supplements since we sell Omega-3 and Joint Health through Cooper Complete®. For more articles on this topic, check out this search from our Health Tips section.

    I love Tropical Green Organic Tea by Zhi Tea in Austin!

  • We’ve long known that green tea is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamatory properties. I just bought a can of Tropical Green Tea from Zhi Tea in Austin while visiting my Dad for Father’s Day. It smells and tastes delicious! During the hot summer I prefer to ice my green tea. Meridan had a few other awesome tips: put the tea bag in soup and let it steep for a couple of minutes (shut the front door!); add a tea bag to boiling water for brown rice (brilliant!); or if you think green tea tastes bitter combine it with a cinnamon or other flavor to jazz it up (why didn’t I think of that!).
  • Fresh cherries or tart cherry juice are also linked with reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity. Yum! Cherries are in season and I know this thanks to my Central Market mailer. Pomegranate and red grapes are also in the alleviate pain category.
  • I was surprised to see coffee on the list, which has been shown to reduce muscle pain during and after exercise. I can’t imagine heading to my Zumba class with a cup of coffee, but it’s good to know that the one cup I typically drink in the morning is helping me in more ways than simply wake up.
  • Spices are another area that are great for reducing pain and can certainly enhance the flavor of any dish. Try ginger, rosemary, chili and nutmeg. Add a dash of cayenne to spice things up and may help you eat a little less depending on how hot you make your dish. I’m a lightweight, so one dash is all I need.

These foods will help ensure I can stay physically active while I work on my health-living, and hopefully pain-free, journey. I can hear my iced green tea and your cup of tart cherry juice clinking as we speak! Cheers!

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

Maintaining Momentum

June 1, 2012 1 comment

I’m super excited to report today my first substantial progress. Drumroll please… I lost two pounds and one inch in my waist. What did I do? What I was told: keep to my calorie limit, eat lots of fruits and veggies and exercise. And it worked. I’m high-fiving myself as we speak!

My Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Meridan Zerner said it was her best progress report this week. After we danced in our chairs, Meridan asked me a very telling question: Am I a self-saboteur? Oh, you have no idea. And then I sheepishly admitted that when I weighed this week I wanted to celebrate my loss with pancakes and cookies. Um, not exactly what I should be thinking.

My distraction: a good (nonfat) latte and book!

In my health journey I tend to take two steps forward and one step back. To keep the momentum going forward, Meridan gave me a great tip: Distraction. Yep, distract myself at the time of day when I would normally want to face-plant in pile of doughnuts. My self-sabotage typically happens at night. So instead of being at home around food or going out to eat where temptation lurks, I should do something completely different. For example, Meridan suggested I go to a local bookstore, order a nonfat latte and read. Just do something to break the cycle.

Some other things we’re going to do to help me stay on track is she’s going to call me on Wednesday to check in rather than wait a full week. A mid-week chat will help keep me motivated. She’s also going to review my food log to see if any modifications need to take place.

Another huge and freeing reminder she shared: “be healthfully selfish.” Isn’t it amazing how you finally get some traction and make some progress and then all of these people come out of the woodwork offering you warm apple pies? She encouraged me that if family or friends who unintentionally may put delicious roadblocks in my path it’s OK to “be healthfully selfish.” I’m writing this twice to let it sink in.

And a note about exercise because that was an important addition this past week. I could only go about 25 minutes on the elliptical and took a few exercise classes. But as I’m starting to exercise I know my body will respond and I’ll be able to lift more, go longer and feel better overall.

Now I just need to keep it up. I hope you’re maintaining your postitive momentum, too!

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.