The Benefits of Accountability Partners

Have you ever wondered why so many people are unsuccessful in exercise and changing bad habits? Maybe it’s due to the absence of one crucial ingredient that many need but don’t necessarily utilize; it’s an accountability partner. Without accountability, some of us will not do things that are necessary for good health. Sure, we all know we need to exercise; it’s just a matter of doing it.

I currently have some friends who are holding me accountable for exercise, drinking water, and eating correctly. We check in once a week and give our weight gains or losses. In addition to this, we also encourage each other during the week to drink more water and eat healthy foods. At other times we post pictures of our meals as suggestions for the others to try. We also have water consumption and exercise challenges.

 

Two are Better than One
There is a text in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 that says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls don, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Now here are some of the benefits of an accountability partner.

Motivation 
If I become slack in my exercise or health management, then I have someone to say, “Hey, you can’t quit now, get up and keep trying.”  Sometimes we may get tired of motivating ourselves, and that’s when an accountability partner steps in.  When you run out of gas and feel like giving up, your accountability partner is there to motivate you not to give up.  You may hear them say things such as, “That was just 15 push-ups, give me ten more.  Hey, keep going, you can do it.  Don’t stop!” 


Encouragement
There is nothing like an encouraging text, email, or note from time to time from someone who is in your corner when it comes to health. “Hey, it looks like you’ve lost a few pounds.” (they notice)  “I found a recipe you may like, try it and tell me what you think.”  “You drank eight glasses of water today?  You go, girl!”  Are you exercising for 20 minutes?  “You drank eight glasses of water today?  Way to go!”  “You’re exercising 20 minutes? Maybe you can go for 30 minutes.” Have you had your mammogram or physical this year?  Accountability partners give gentle reminders and suggestions.

Success
Many successful workplaces and groups incorporate accountability into their overall health plans. They put systems in place to keep employees healthy. Some things they offer are discount or free gym memberships, online health education, weight loss programs, or free health monitoring devices such as the Fitbit. Check with your place of employment to see if they offer any of these programs. 

Exercise buddies can be just about anyone. They can be husbands, sisters, friends, co-workers, or neighbors. You can even find online partners and groups. There is a website called www.sparkpeople.com that has plenty of free resources for losing weight and staying healthy. They also have accountability partners/groups, recipes, exercise videos, and a wealth of other information. If being consistent is difficult for you to get an accountability partner. Remember, two is better than ONE!

7 Ways to Fight Acid Reflux

7 Ways to Fight Acid Reflux

You suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with severe burning in your throat, the sensation of choking, and the regurgitation of your last meal in your mouth.  Not only that, you feel like your throat is on fire.  Some people think heartburn, burning in the stomach, feelings of fullness and nausea or other symptoms.

This scenario started happening to me regularly.  The last few episodes were frightening because I realized that had I not awakened, I would have choked (aspirated) in my sleep and it could have possibly been fatal.  I knew I needed to do something and it needed to be quick.  What is the best way to solve this problem?

The first idea was not a good one.  I started staying up at least three hours after I ate to make sure some of the food settled.  Sometimes this worked, and sometimes it didn’t.   Keeping later night hours was a poor decision because I had to go to bed late and it didn’t deal with the underlying issue.  I also knew that it wasn’t healthy to go to bed late.  My original plan did not address the problem.  The following are a few tips to deal with this issue.  I’ve used most of them.

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux 

  1. Don’t eat after 5 or 6 p.m. This is probably the easiest solution to the problem.  I found that when I ate after 6 p.m., I frequently had acid reflux.  I now try to eat no later than 6 p.m. but preferably by 5 p.m.
  2. Charcoal Capsules.   I use Nature’s Way Charcoal.   I discovered that taking two capsules immediately on waking from a choking attack, cuts the acid quickly.  I keep them on my bedside table for emergencies, but if I don’t eat after 5 or 6 p.m., I don’t need them.  If I eat later than I should, I take two capsules before I go to bed because  nine times out of ten I will get reflux. 
  3. I eliminated fried foods. Foods that you should also eliminate if you are eating them are caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, and oily foods.
  4. I now try to eat Almonds daily; they are more Alkaline and balance out the acid that is in the stomach. side note: (I also used Almonds to help lower my cholesterol.  It worked!)
  5. Eat Apples.  Apples help neutralize the acid in the stomach.
  6. Eat a light meal for supper.   I eliminated heavy foods for my last meal of the day and tried to stick with lighter meals.
  7. Take Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.  A tablespoon of  Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water can also cut down on the acid.

Understanding Cholesterol

Many people are confused about cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Women need to be careful and monitor these levels because heart disease is on the rise in this population.  When getting test results, some say they do not understand how to read them.  Doctors will usually order a panel called the “Lipid Profile.” This panel includes Total Cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.  Although I understood “Total Cholesterol,” I was a little confused about the LDL and HDL levels so, here is a breakdown of the panel.  I hope this brings some clarity to you as well.

What is Cholesterol?  Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood.  Our bodies need some fat, but if there is too much in the blood, it can lead to sickness and disease.  Having too much cholesterol can clog and narrow the blood vessels and lead to health problems.

Total Cholesterol  
This cholesterol is a measurement of the total amount of cholesterol in your body, including LDL and HDL. This number should be less than 200.

LDL
This cholesterol levelshould be low. Many refer to it as the bad cholesterol. If this cholesterol is high, it leads to heart disease by causing clogged arteries. It is best if this number is less than 100.

HDLButter

This cholesterol helps remove the bad cholesterol from the body. Many call this the good cholesterol. This number should be 60 or higher. HDL levels less than 40 put you at dangerous risk for heart disease.

Triglycerides
Triglycerides are fats. It increases the risk of heart disease. These types of fats come from fatty foods. Triglyceride levels should be less than 150.

Why Should You Be Concerned?
Over and over again in medical literature, diet and health books, the news, and many other media outlets, certain key aspects seem to be prevalent in many diseases, and the same is true for heart disease. If we address the following things,  we can significantly reduce our chances of getting many health diseases:

Exercise – Lack of exercise increases the risk of heart disease.  Even though some realize this, they do day in and day out without exercising.  Physical activity must become a way of life.  Look at it this way: You must eat to live, and you must be physically active to live.  There is no way around it.  It is a must.  Exercise is free medicine for the body.  Want to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol? Then start exercising. When I did my yearly physical at work, my triglycerides and cholesterol levels were pretty good, but my HDL was too low.   In my exit interview, evaluator instructed me to increase this level by exercising regularly and that if I didn’t change anything, my results would remain the same.

Diet – You can lower your cholesterol by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber. There is also fiber in whole grains, nuts, and beans. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, it is recommended by the National Academy of Sciences that women take at least 25 grams of total fiber per day. Stay away from refined sugar,  white bread, and pasta and try whole grains and natural sugars instead.

Fats – Saturated fats that come from animal products are significant contributors to high cholesterol and should be used sparingly or eliminated. Labels that contain the words “partially hydrogenated” and choose an alternative product.  On the other hand, some foods that are considered healthy fats are avocados, ground flaxseed, olives, walnuts, almonds and chia seeds.

Home Food Substitute Suggestions
1. Substitute for oil – Applesauce
2. Substitute for eggs – Eggbeaters, ground flaxseed, or the slimy film of boiled flax seed.
3. Substitute for sugar – Dried fruit such as dates, frozen bananas, Agave Nectar, honey, Turbinado sugar, raw cane sugar, and Stevia.

7 Ways to Relieve Stress

Professional Massage

It was just one year ago that I had my first massage ever at a spa.  During this time, I was dealing with a lot of stress at the time in all areas of life and decided to treat myself for my birthday. My muscles were tense around my shoulder and neck. I decided to do a full hour of deep tissue massage.

There was one particular benefit that I noticed right away.  It relaxed the muscles that were firm, rigid, and painful.  Once again, this year I treated myself on my birthday. Some people get a massage every three months and some more often than that.

Some of the other significant benefits include improvement in circulation, blood pressure control, and stress management. It is also relaxing because the pressure on the muscles feels excellent.

The human touch always comes with a benefit, and nothing can entirely replace that.  However, if you’re like me,  you often can’tget a massage due to time constraints or scheduling. Many people now try to find things to do at home that will be calming after a stressful day and help them unwind.

There are even massage chairs in the middle of many malls where people put money in and then sit and massage. Some companies now also offer chairs or other equipment for employees. Well, here are a few options to try at home until you can set aside time to pamper yourself.

1.  This soft pillow massager targets the back, shoulder, and neck.  The areas where many feel the tension.  If you want some quick relief, then try this soft pillow massage designed primarily for these areas.

2.  Massage Seat Cushion

The massage seat cushion is designed to sit in a chair and will relieve the tension on the entire back.  If your stress is in these areas, then this may be what’s best for you.  The other major plus about this cushion is that it is also heated.

3.  Electronic Pulse Massager Tens Unit – The tens unit is useful if you have pain or weak muscles.  A couple of years ago, I injured my knee at work and later fell on it, and I was in constant pain daily for almost a year.  I used a unit similar to this in the muscle areas around the knee. It can be used for areas of pain and muscle tension.   

 

4.  Massage Chairs –  Another way to relax is with a massage chair.  These chairs are like the ones you may see in a mall but, many people are starting to purchase them for their homes.

 
7. Dr. Teal’s Lavender Foaming Bath –  is a product I use to relax.- One of my all-time favorite de-stressors is a warm bath.  Bathing is good therapy for achy bones, muscles, feet, and just relaxation. There is nothing quite like a hot relaxing bubble bath.  I can rest easy and have a good night’s sleep afterward.   The Epson Salts in Lavender scent is an item I regularly use.  It has a soothing fragrance.  There are many other scents to choose from if Lavander is not your thing.
 

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