SLCo Healthy Lifestyles Blog
Love Your Body
We have so many images, videos, and sound bites coming at us everywhere we turn. The media consumes our world and promotes false ideas about what we should look like. Media tells us that our appearance is what matters in life; and that the way to happiness and fulfillment lies in what we see in the mirror. Even worse than this false promise of happiness is the promotion of ideals that are fake and impossible to achieve. The beauty we so often see around us is distorted. We can bring more peace to our minds if we learn to recognize the falsity in the majority of the media we consume.
Our physical appearance shouldn't consume large amounts of our time or determine our self-esteem; we have so much more to offer
the world than our looks! Our bodies allow us to engage with the world and the people around us. They are the tools we use to accomplish all we do. It is essential to notice and appreciate all the things our bodies allow us to do as opposed to focusing on how they look. When we change our focus from how we look to how we do (a verb of action), we can enjoy life so much more! Pay attention to the thoughts that come into your head about your appearance and try to challenge them with thoughts of what your body can do. Check out this
article for more information on why seeing ourselves as an agent of our lives instead of an object is so important.
- Start focusing on what your body allows you to do in everything you do- work, relationships, exercise, etc.
- Become aware of the distorted messages that media portrays and pay attention to how you feel after viewing these advertisements. Fight them and their influence on your body image.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Push out thoughts about comparing yourself to others. Make a list of what makes you unique and what you like about your body.
- Stop fat talk in your head and when others around you fat talk, change the conversation into something positive and educate your friends, family, and co-workers about the damaging effects of fat talk. Check out this
article and this video about fat talk.
- Take a break from media and notice the difference in your outlook on life.
- Stop a negative thought about yourself when it comes into your head and replace it with a
- Be compassionate and recognize that struggles with body image are had by all genders, sizes, races and ages.
For more ideas on how to improve body image and change the definition of beauty click
Watch this Ted Talk about beauty sickness and how the media affects us. It is geared towards women, but it is a gender neutral issue:
An Epidemic of Beauty Sickness
Ever find it overwhelming to go grocery shopping? With so many choices and options it can be confusing to know where to start.
Check out this month's Health Hub education piece to learn a few easy tips to healthify our shopping trips!
Before your next visit to the grocery store, check out the resources below for some great tips and tricks.
Build a grocery list with this smart phone app and avoid unplanned purchases.
NIH's guide for healthier and more economical food shopping.
It’s Not Just a Woman’s Issue!
Q: What is Body Image?
Body image is the subjective picture of how our body looks and moves and how we think others perceive us. In
medicine and psychology, body image refers to a person's emotional attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of their own body, including height, weight and shape.
Q: What shapes our body image?
A: Our body image is
shaped by both positive and negative perceptions, emotions, and sensations. Cultural messages and popular standards of beauty – as portrayed through the media (TV, internet, magazines, etc.) can significantly influence our body image. Family and parental attitudes also influence our body image.
Q: What are the adverse consequences of negative body image?
: Over-concern with body image can have damaging effects on both our physical and mental health. According to the
NationalEating Disorders Association, poor body image is associated with an increased risk for developing an eating disorder, feelings of depression, isolation, poor self-esteem and a hyper-focused approach to weight loss. Additionally, negative body image can
increase feelings of anxiety and shame, and can lead to difficulty concentrating. Not only are the physical/mental/emotional consequences, but there are social ones too! When you feel bad about your body, you often don’t want others to see you at all, which can result in loss of friendships/relationships, job opportunities, and other socially negative effects.
Q: Isn’t body image a female problem?
A: Historically, body image dissatisfaction has been viewed as a women’s problem. However, is not the case, as both men and women experience issues pertaining to body image. Did you know that an estimated
50 million men worldwide have body image issues? Additional studies have found 21% to 47% of males diet as a means to increase weight and
Q: Why is positive body image important?
A: How we feel about our bodies greatly impact the amount of value and love we share with ourselves and others. Working towards having a positive body image will improve your self-esteem, self-acceptance, and health outlook for the future.
Q: What can I do to improve my body image?
A: Having a healthy body image is an achievable goal. Here are
some tips to help you get started:
- Focus on your positive qualities, skills, and talents
- Say positive things to yourself everyday
- Avoid self-talk that is berating or negative
- Focus on what your body CAN do and HAS done
- Set positive, health-related goals rather than weight-related goals
- Avoid making body comparisons to others
- Make a conscious decision about what to read and look at
- Talk positively about your body in your home and around others
Q: What role does the media play with body image issues?
A: The media (TV, magazines, movies, internet sources, etc.) promote a very narrow, specific version of ‘beauty’ and by being constantly exposed, men and women learn to internalize the same view of beauty. Not only does this contribute to how we see other people, but it also affects how we see ourselves. This is dangerous because the images in the media
havebeen altered (‘photoshopped’) drastically. In many cases, the celebrity is
nothinglike the image on the magazine cover, and the alterations are so severe that they are usually unrealistic. This creates an impossible standard that we are comparing ourselves to, which can only lead to poor body image and dissatisfaction with our bodies.
YouTube Video: TED Talk
Dimensions of Wellness
Welcome to the September Health Hub. This month, we are looking at Wellness, and what that means for you. When thinking about wellness, we must look at all areas that influence health. That being said, one of the best ways to really understand wellness is to split it up into smaller parts, and then giving each area attention. These areas are called ‘The Dimensions of Wellness’.
Often, we think of ‘wellness’ as simply eating habits and physical activity levels.
In fact, ‘wellness’ is so much more.
Although physical activity and healthy eating are important, there is so much more to health. The purpose of The Dimensions of Wellness is to help you think outside the box and realize that a holistic approach to health can have many benefits.
There are a number of ways to conceptualize the different areas of wellness. The most common is the Eight-Dimension model. There is no single, correct way to define these dimensions, but it’s important to understand that no matter how many dimensions are highlighted in a model, finding balance and focusing on all areas of health is key.
The Eight-Dimension Model
Source: The Eight Dimensions of Wellness
This Eight Dimensions of Wellness Model was developed by United States Department of Health and Human Services: SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) with the goal of giving a well-rounded and detailed description of general wellness. This model defines the Eight Dimensions as:
- Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one's work.
- Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.
- Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.
- Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills.
- Spiritual: Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
- Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.
- Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.
- Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations.
The Dimensions of Wellness and YOU
Health and Wellness can be split into many parts, but often, people will focus on just one or two aspects. Wellness can be so much more! Take some time to think how each dimension of wellness impacts your life, and how certain areas can use a little extra attention.
We encourage you to use this very helpful tool to see where you lie in each dimension. With such a great tool, you can quickly see what areas are your strengths, and what areas are your areas of improvement.
To learn more about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, simply click on that model's image above to be redirected to an informational page, or you can Contact Us with any questions!
Do you know someone with diabetes?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes.1 An estimated 25.8 million people in the United States—roughly 1 in 12 people—have the disease, but what exactly is diabetes and what are some common misconceptions?2
Diabetes: The Basics
Most of us know someone with diabetes, but do we really know what that means? Diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body uses digested food for growth and energy, but before we can really understand diabetes, it helps to know and understand the role and importance of glucose, insulin and the pancreas.
- What is glucose? Glucose, or sugar, is the body’s main source of energy and comes from the food we eat, like pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy, and bread.3-4
- What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels and provide engergy.5
- It works like a key, opening the doors to the cells of our body, allowing the glucose in our bloodstream to enter and fuel our cells.5
What does the pancreas do? The pancreas produces insulin to help move glucose from the blood into the cells and other organs. In people with diabetes, the pancreas tries to increase the production of insulin, causing further damage to the organ.6
So…what is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as
diabetes, is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose that occur in the body when there are defects in the production or action of insulin.7-8 More simply, diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body can’t use glucose normally.1 There are two main types of the disease – type I and type II.
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease accounting for 5-10% of diagnosed cases in the US.1 Accounting for 90-95% of diagnosed cases,
type II diabetes is the most common form of the disease in the United States.1
Do you know the truth about diabetes?
Put your knowledge to the test when checking out some of the commonly held beliefs about the disease.
Myths & Facts:
(courtesy of the American Diabetes Association)2
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes type II diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type I diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type II diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors such as excess weight, physical inactivity and poor diet.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type II diabetes.
Fact: Although being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type II diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type II diabetes, and many people with type II diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in saturated and trans-fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.
Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks, talk with your health care team to figure out the right amount for you.
Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.