Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RECIPES: What the Happy Nurse & I Are Eating This Week! Baba Ganoush, Plant-Strong Pizza, Cuban Black Beans, Salads & MORE!!!

As I write this post I'm waiting for homemade pizza dough to rise in the oven.  I had the afternoon off and after coming home to the exciting discovery of an Amazon box on my doorstep, I decided to delve straight in to Mark Sutton's new book "Heart Healthy Pizza!"  I'll keep you all posted on the pizza construction process but so far it looks very promising!!  


It feels like I haven't written a food plan post in FOREVER, but its been a hectic few weeks and between vacation and work I just haven't had time!  I kept up my commitment to salads (as I wrote in this post) and have actually come up with a few yummy salad ideas on my own!  Much to my surprise, I'm really liking the addition of salads to my daily diet!  It makes getting the necessary veggies (I eat minimum of 2 cups straight veggies per meal) in easier!


WHAT ARE YOU EATING THIS WEEK??!!! ANY RECIPES TO PASS ON?


Snacks:
  • Smokey Baba Ghanoush from the Party Vegan by Robin Robertson:  Made this for a party last weekend and WOW it was a hit! I HIGHLY recommend you get this cookbook--I've posted about recipes from it here & here.)
  • Robin Robertson's Polenta Crostini with Eggplant Tapenade also from her book, Party Vegan.  I used store bought polenta as the base.  The Tapenade was AMAZING.  You mix together the inside of one eggplant (roasted in the oven for 20 mins & then cooled so you can peel the skin off) with 1/2 cup kalamata olives, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper.  I adapted the recipe a bit because I didn't have any capers and was making this all in a big rush before the party!  Everyone LOVED it! 
Entrees & Soup
Salads:

  • Rice Noodle Salad (cold) mixed with my Shredded Kale and Carrot salad (below) & Cool Slaw Dressing from "Appetite for Reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
  • Shredded Kale & Carrot salad--this has been an exciting find that I figured out all on my own!  Inspired by the awesome My New Roots' Winter Slaw recipe, I shredded kale and carrot together for a basic, yummy and nutritious salad.  I've eaten this a few different ways:
    • With raisins mixed in, no dressing
    • With "Cool Slaw"Dressing from the Appetite for Reduction Cookbook by Isa Chandra (I can't tell you how highly I recommend this cookbook!!!  She has tons of low fat dressing recipes & everything I've made from here so far is excellent) (recipe below)

Mix in a blender or food processor:
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 Tbl minced onions (she says fresh, I used dried minced)
1/2 cup water
5 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp non-cane sugar sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp salt
pepper

  • Caesar Salad:  With Healthy Girl's Kitchen's  "No-Oil Caesar Salad Dressing,"  I modified the recipe a bit.  I used pinto beans this week instead of garbanzo.  I add more capers (she says 2 Tbl, I add the whole bottle!).  I add more dates (she says 2, I add 5!).  See the original (and I'm sure delicious) recipe here.
COMING SOON!!:
  • Preparing for a Joint Replacement--What can YOU do BEFORE surgery to have a quicker recovery? ~post series in two parts: Knee & then Hip ~
  • SLEEP:  Why Is it Critical for Your Health ~ Join the Sleep Challenge!!!
  • Interviews With My Favorite Plant-Strong Bloggers!
  • AND MORE!!
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm In Need of Gardening Advice! Calling All Gardening Folks Please!! :-))

The last of my garden last summer!
So last summer was my very exciting first year planting my own garden and growing vegetables!  My tomato plants died almost immediately from a virus but I had a robust cucumber crop, green & purple peppers, carrots, basil, green beans, a few snap peas, dill, cilantro, rosemary, swiss chard and italian parsley.  I was able to get two small acorn squashes out of the process before the squash bugs killed them as well as the pumpkin and watermelon plants (which were thriving before but sadly hadn't born fruit yet!).  Unfortunately my next pest turn was the cucumber beetle which killed all the cucumber plants & then powdery mildew which finished everything off except the peppers!


I know this sounds like a story of woe but I actually REALLY LOVED the whole process!  Every morning I would rush outside excited to see what grew in the garden!  I started the garden way too late in the season and had no plan to it--just grabbed all the organic seeds left at the Lowe's & bought a few baby herbs, tomato & pepper plants because that was all the garden center had left!  I'm very proud to report that I also built a chicken wire enclosure to protect the two beds & incorporated deer netting as well (we don't have deer but we do have squirrels!)--I did it all with my own two little hands :-)  Well my hands aren't that little!  But I was very proud to discover these unknown skills!!


This year I'm organized.  I am picking out seeds to order, making a chart of where I want things and expanding the size of the garden.  At least I knew last year how to prep the beds (I gardened with my Mom when I was little so I remember that!) so the beds are looking lovely in this second season! (I hope none of those pests and diseases are able to stay in the soil through winter??!)


Its a bit cold to start planting but I would love some advice from all you seasoned folk on any or all of the following questions!


1) Which vegetables do you think are the easiest to grow?  What are YOUR favorite veggies to grow?
2)  Have you ever grown from Heirloom seeds?  Are they more difficult to grow than regular seeds?
3)  Any favorite seed companies to buy from?
4)  Any gardening books or resources to recommend?  I have a ton but you know me, always want more to read!
5)  Any advice on how to organically address those pest issues I mentioned above?  I tried to catch the cucumber beetles and squash bugs and kill them, but couldn't keep up with the population!
6)  I'm going to try to plant a flower bed this year as well--any tips or favorite varieties?
7)  What can I do now inside to start growing the plants to put in the garden once its warm enough?
8)  Any general gardening tips?


Beyond those questions I'd love to hear you share with me your gardening stories!  Both successful and not so successful!


I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section below.


Thanks in advance for your time and recommendations!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere From the Last Week!! Restaurant Tips, Mobile Health Devices & A Post from a Doc!!! AND, the Recipe of the Week: Heart Healthy Pizza!!

Well its been a fun and interesting week in the blogosphere!  I'm excited to be back reading other folks blogs because last week I spend a lot of time catching up from vacation and just didn't get a chance for much leisure time in the ensuing chaos!  


Anyways, here are my favorites from last week.  What are yours?!


1) From the Happy Herbivore's blog:  "Plant-based (Vegan) Restaurants":  This is a good primer for folks on how to approach restaurant eating on a low fat vegan diet.  Pretty straightforward instructions but its good to see them organized--there is a good link from this post to guide eating in ethnic restaurants (Dining Out).  The Happy Nurse and I don't go out to dinner to eat very much for financial reasons but we found a great Ethiopian place this weekend that was a vegan, gluten-free paradise--SO good!:-)  I've been preparing several restaurant reviews from recent travel:  vegan places in Philadelphia, Sarasota & the DC area.  Next month I'm off to Texas for another conference and will visit a few more vegan restaurants and then publish a week of reviews in late March :-)  Keep your eyes out for that post series!!  


2)  From the Kevin MD blog:  Taking Care of Patients is a Great Honor!  This is an outstanding article.  So honest and it really strikes a cord because I feel exactly the same way (down to the medical school debt--I have more than her but still!)!  For an OB/Gyn to write about why she loves her job is really even more incredible because I think they work the worst, most unpredictable hours.  Take a moment to read this post--its really good.  I'm considering submitting a post to this blog--they welcome guest bloggers competitively and doctors can submit posts for consideration to be published so it would be a huge opportunity for me to share about the blog to a large physician and patient audience.  I just need to write something good!  


3)  Great article in the NY Times:  "Monitoring Your Health With Electronic Devices."  Really interesting look at the future of medicine and the power of the smartphone--what a great opportunity for folks to become empowered to manage their own health--from monitoring glucose to measuring blood pressure!  I really rely on my iPhone for a lot of medical reference data--particularly medication management so I can see how this would be possible.  Very engaging piece.


4)  Advice for Small Town Living in E2's The Daily Beet.  Very helpful post on how to be plant-strong in small towns!  I know I posted about this on Facebook but I had to include it because its a great resource!  Another fantastic, inspiring post on E2's blog is Kara's Story on how she helped relieve some of the worst symptoms of her myoclonus (I imagine its myoclonic dystrophy but I'm not sure because she doesn't go into details) and eliminate her chronic fatigue syndrome with a plant-strong diet!  Love it!


Recipe of the Week:


1) Pizza Sauce YUMM:  Millet, Sunflower Seeds, and Oregano Pizza Sauce from Robin Robertson's Blog Vegan Planet.  The sauce is from "HEART HEALTHY PIZZA" by Mark Sutton.  This books looks AMAZING!  I LOVE pizza and it has tons of vegan recipes many gluten and soy free for pizza!  ALL OIL FREE!! I just ordered it from Amazon and I can't wait to tell you all about it!! 


The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Salads For A Full Meal: How I've Resisted Them & Now I'm Learning To Make Them! RECIPES!!:-)

My own pasta salad with vinegar,
sundried tomatoes, carrots, scallions &
rice pasta
So I haven't eaten salads consistently in years.  If I ate them at all I ate them out.  I rarely if ever made them at home!  I think because when I was dieting all those years (and failing again and again), salads were a staple.  Eating them reminds me of those unhappy days and so I avoided doing that often since entering recovery!

But then I became a vegan!  And by force of my dietary limitations (gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free) I'm starting to slowly warm to them.  All of a sudden I'm discovering that you can actually eat salads for complete, nutrient dense meals!  And eating them makes you feel well nourished and energetic!  

The only thing is, I was kind of at a loss on how to create a diverse enough salad to keep me satiated AND provide me with a wide variety of nutrients.  

Enter the amazing vegan low-fat blog world.  


I am so grateful to all my favorite bloggers for teaching me how to do this!  I've been easing into this slowly but the more I read Wendy's (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) posts on how she and her husband eat a salad for dinner nightly, the more I'm becoming jazzed up to actually give this whole salad thing a try!  At first I didn't think it was practical--how was I going to find the time to prep all the raw veggies, etc, during the week!  And what was I going to put on it for dressing??  But then Wendy once again came to the rescue--just recently she posted that she makes all their salad dressings for the week once on the weekend and she also shared the helpful information that without the dressing, a prepped salad can last for several days!

So I'm going to start trying it!  For my food plan next week salad is going to factor in prominently!  My life is becoming more complicated with each passing day and I'm set to travel nearly all of March so I'm going to need some simpler foods to prepare while I'm on the road.  I'm thinking HELLLLOOOOOO Soups and Salads!  

Some great resources in the blogosphere that I have found to guide this new food category for me include:

Tons of AWESOME resources in Wendy's blog "Healthy Girl's Kitchen:"
HGK's No Oil
Caesar Salad Dressing
Fantastic posts on Susan Voisin's blog "Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen:"
Other Amazing Salad RECIPES I like:
A BIG thank you to all you bloggers out there who give us SUCH great salad recipes and "how-tos!"

Do you all eat many salads?  If so what are your favorite combos and do you have any favorite healthy dressings to recommend?  Would love to learn more from y'all!!
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Exercise A Good Way To Lose Weight? My Surprising Answer: Maybe Not at First!


Ok this post is for all my readers that have been courageous and made major lifestyle changes in the last few months—whether its becoming a new vegan, newly sugar-free, newly gluten-free, etc.  Lets see a show of hands if your New Year’s Resolutions included BOTH a new food plan AND a new exercise regimen?

If you are anything like me in the past than I’m going to see a lot of hands. 

Next question, how many of you are struggling to meet BOTH the dietary and exercise goals?

What if I told you that in my experience its best to start by focusing on ONE thing at a time?  If you are struggling, pick food first!  Let me tell you why.

In the past, every time I started a combined new exercise and diet program I failed!  So for the first 3-4 months of my 12 step based overeating recovery program I did something different—I just focused on diet without adding gym sessions to the mix.  And it was very successful for me.  I think the key is to be smart, start small & celebrate the little victories.  I say this because in the past I started big & specialized in punishing myself for not meeting my athletic AND weight loss goals!  For my overweight patients, I usually counsel them to pick food first, lose a bit of weight and then start exercising.

The issue is really the time it takes to make a successful behavioral change.  I think it is extremely time consuming to make a dietary change—we spend a lot more time thinking about what to eat, what to cook and how to shop.  Adding exercise into the mix can actually make things even harder to execute the plan!  And also, if you are very overweight, it can actually be dangerous at first.  

I don’t watch TV often but I did catch a few episodes of the Biggest Loser a few years ago and was pretty appalled.  The contestant's accomplishments were so inspiring and I am ALL for people losing weight, BUT, I could not believe the intensity of the physical activity portion of the weight loss program.  It is truly a miracle that these folks didn’t get seriously injured!!  And trust me, I’m a rehab physician!  Seeing folks with injuries due to starting ill advised aggressive exercise programs is EXTREMELY common!

In the past I often used exercise in to try to keep my disease of compulsive overeating in check.  One my main techniques to manage my weight was alternating periods of weight gain with periods of vigorous exercise.  Over the years the weight gain periods got longer and the vigorous exercise got more dangerous—I seemed to get injured every time I tried to hit the gym!  My body just couldn’t take the abuse—the obesity itself interfered with my movement by itself, but it also punished my joints! 

The end results of the pressure of my ever increasing body weight on my knees were muscle strains, sprains and (my favorite—just kidding) shin splints!  {Side note--I often tell my patients an interesting fact:  Did you know that your knees carry FOUR times your body weight?!  So extra bonus—for each pound you lose, you lose four pounds on your knees!  All my arthritis folks take note :-)}    

Important pointThis is not to say that exercise is not important—in fact it is CRITICAL to preventing disease and living a long life.  Check out this fun & entertaining video that the Healthy Librarian posted!  Exercise produces endorphins and elevates mood.  But you know what really makes you depressed (at least it did me), not being able to maintain my newly healthy lifestyle, staying obese, staying sick, staying sad.  So I’m here to tell you that unless your doctor is telling you to immediately start exercising vigorously than wait.  Wait just a month or two until you feel SOLID in your new food plan.  Be gentle with yourself!

Now I'm not saying that you should give up physical activity completely!   You may not be working a freestanding exercise program—i.e. doing aerobic videos, lifting weights, power walking, running, etc, but you do need to make a concerted effort to be more active in everything you do.

A few things I did during my waiting period before starting an exercise program included:
  • Parking my car further away in the parking lot so I had to walk a longer way to school and work
  • Making myself take at least one flight of stairs when moving between floors.  I would walk up one flight and take the elevator for the rest.  By four months in I could walk 4 flights without being out of breath!
  • I put a pedometer on during my work day and tried to walk more each day compared to the previous day.  I didn’t set a big goal, I just looked at what my steps were the day before and then tried to walk more than that the next day
Other things that are really easy to do to make your life a bit less sedentary include:
  • Doing tummy exercises while watching TV or sitting at your desk.  Every commercial break puff out your stomach to make it bigger and rounder and then pull your belly button into your spine as far as you can go.  Hold that for a few seconds and then release.  Work up to doing five per commercial break while watching TV or five per hour when you are at work or driving in the car (while at a stoplight of course!)  If you have cardiac or blood pressure issues, check with your doctor first before doing this because it increases pressure in your abdomen which could effect your heart if you health is fragile.
  • Put your remote control on top of the TV.  Every time you want to change the channel then walk up to the TV to get the remote.  This forces you to get out of your seat to avoid the commercials.
  • If you have dogs try walking them a bit faster than before.  Or a bit longer.  Just don’t go crazy.
When you have gotten a handle on the food, your body will be much better able to exercise if you have prepared it by creating a more active lifestyle in general!  Becoming more active during your regular day is easier than learning to set a new routine with gym time, video time, running time, etc.  It’s a good starting point.

Next time I’ll share about my experiences with exercise now that I’m coming back from my neck injury and starting a new fitness program (a struggle for me!).  

For now, I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on this?!!  Maybe you all have experiences different from mine!   I’d love to hear your success stories and tips if you were able to combine both food and exercise together from the start!  I’d also love to hear if you are struggling. 

Oh!  And if  YOU have some tips to share on how to be more active in your daily life I’d love to hear them too (and so will the other readers!)!  

Thanks for listening.  We are all in this together.  Go team! :-)
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions. 

MONDAY MEDITATIONS FOR HEALING: Leadership & A Commitment to Self for Caregivers


Good Morning!  

Its the Happy Nurse here guest posting the Monday Meditation.

Have a WONDERFUL week!


Today's Quote 

"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the
self-esteem of their personnel. 

If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."

~Sam Walton

A Commitment to Self for Caregivers 
(whether you are a healthcare provider or a family member caring for a loved one):

Just for today, I will try to boost my own self-esteem when I do something well rather than knock myself down when I make a mistake. 

This week I will also try to boost the self-esteem of others rather than criticize. 

I will believe in myself and in others.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foods That Heal: #2: SWEET POTATOES!!!! (and RECIPES!)! Does Your Body Hurt? Do You Feel Sick? Want To Prevent Disease? Start Eating These Foods!!


Well folks its time for spotlighting another awesome anti-inflammatory, antioxidant food!  This time I thought I'd pick a starch that may surprise you!  SWEET POTATOES!!  

Yes, thats right folks, I'm talking about potatoes!  But sweet potatoes aren't really "potatoes" as we think of them!  While doing research for this post, I was surprised to discover that sweet potatoes themselves are actually not part of the "potato family"--they are a root vegetable in their own family completely separate from white potatoes & even yams!  So bring on these "potatoes!"   As I shared last week with KALE, in each post I'll share why each food rocks nutritionally and give you some recipe options to try to prepare it!  Once again, I'd love to hear any recipe ideas that you have to cook/prepare yummy meals with the featured "Food That Heals!"  Please share your ideas in the comments below!

And now:  back to the sweet potatoes!

You'll note that sweet potatoes showed up on all three of the anti-inflammatory/antioxidant lists I've shared on the blog.  Thats because they are full of powerful micronutrients that pack a major punch to fight & prevent pain, cancer & even stabilize blood glucose in diabetics!  Extra bonus--they taste delicious & have a relatively low glycemic index which makes them a perfect food to satisfy a sweet tooth!

I really love sweet potatoes--I have since I was young but when I became vegan and sugar-free I got a bit stumped on how to cook them!  I was so used to having them baked with butter and brown sugar or in a casserole with marshmellows!!  Luckily, the vegan blogger world stood ready to provide me with many tasty recipes to enjoy this nutritious & delicious treat!  I'll share some yummy recipes later in the post but first, why do sweet potatoes rock?  Remember, I'm a doctor but still engaged in my own nutrition education so I'll do the best I can explaining these nutrients!

Antioxidant Value

  • Vitamin A (1 cup provides 438% of the RDA!)--as I shared in Kale last week, Vitamin A is one impressive vitamin.  
  • Vitamin C--like Kale, according to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" this vitamin is an "antioxidant that is required for at least three hundred metabolic functions in the body including tissue growth and repair..."
  • THE POWER OF PURPLE: 
    • In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was 3.2 times higher than that of a type of blueberry! This is due to the anthocyanin (discussed in anti-inflammatory value below) which was  found in one study to have the strongest antioxidizing power out of 150 flavonoids
    • I haven't been able to find any purple sweet potatoes at my local Whole Foods but I'm going to see if my little organic shop up the street will order me some from these folks that I found via Google!:-)
Anti-Inflammatory Value (some overlap with antioxidant)
  • Anthocyanin:  the pigment that makes sweet potatoes orange and sometimes, even purple!
    • a class of flavonoids.  As I mentioned last week, flavonoids are extremely beneficial, check out this paper by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
    • Shown in studies to reduce the inflammatory agent  cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) {small informational note: COX-2 inhibitors--things that reduce COX-2--include the drug Celebrex!}
Other fantastic nutritional benefits include:
  • Potassium; manganese; Vitamins B6, B3 & B5; copper; tryptophan
  • FIBER:  nearly 4 grams per cup!
  • and MORE! 
What diseases are Sweet Potatoes thought to influence, prevent, reduce or improve:
***Caveat:  If you have kidney or gallbladder problems, check with your doctor before you eat a lot of sweet potatoes--they have oxalates in them which can crystallize.***

Recipes:  SO many great recipes!!  What are YOUR favs?

Ok thats all folks!  Enjoy!
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Do You Do When You Are A Vegan and/or Changing to A Healthier Lifestyle & Your Spouse/Family Won't Join You?!

After reading the comments from some of my previous posts,  I was struck by the fact that a lot of you out there are concerned about the health of those around you and not sure how to convince those you love to make healthier choices!  Some of you are operating as solo vegans in your household (your spouse and kids are committed omnivores).  And some of you are married or parents to compulsive overeaters or anorexics or bulimics or just unhealthy people.  My husband posted on this problem after his father had some heart issues on Christmas Day, but I'm going to delve into it a bit further.  


What can you do to change your loved one's behavior and help them make good choices?  

I don't think you are going to like my answer!  

(Small caveat, my answer applies to adults only--for your kids under the age of 18 I'll refer you back to my posts on Dr. Leo Galland's book:  SuperImmunity for Kids.)

The solution is very simple, very frustrating and a little scary.  And the heart of it is something I've heard money management guru Dave Ramsey say a hundred times:  "Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still."  The thing I have learned in my 12 step compulsive eating recovery program is that you cannot change anyone's behavior but your own.  


If you want to stop those around you from harming themselves with food, the best thing you can do is focus on your own recovery & let go of trying to control theirs.  In my 12 step program, we call it "a program of attraction and not promotion."  You attract people to your serenity, your honesty and your physical recovery far more powerfully than trying to convince them that any specific program is right for them! 


Now of course, if your loved one is seriously under or overweight or has significant mental or physical issues that require emergent treatment, you may need to hospitalize them.  But I'm talking about someone who is not emergently ill from their disease, I'm talking about someone who is still practicing eating behaviors that are unhealthy despite your best efforts to change their behavior.    


I see patients come in all the time who have made poor lifestyle choices.  Oftentimes the burden of their care falls on their spouse.  It breaks my heart every time.  It isn't fair, it isn't right but no matter how much we try, no one can make anyone else choose to change.  If you really struggle with this, I've heard that groups like Al-Anon can offer good support for relationship issues such as these.  

Unfortunately, I can share from personal experience that nothing you could say can change another's behavior.  No matter how much I loved my parents, my sisters and my friends, I couldn't stop eating compulsively just because I knew the pain I was causing them.  I remember my Mom sitting me down at one point to have a conversation about how concerned she was about my health--she was crying and saying that it was heartbreaking to see me killing myself every day.  As I passed the 200lb mark, I remember my sister (at my request!) trying to design a workout program for me and motivate me to exercise with her, but I kept being "too busy."  I wasn't wiling to change and sadly, no one could make me willing until I reached my own bottom!


Ironically, I was on the other side of the fence last year trying to deal with my husband, The Happy Nurse's unhealthy food behaviors.    I encouraged, I pushed, I prodded, I guilted, I begged & I yelled but guess what--no behavior change.  Only a lot of resentment and anger.  So my very wise sponsor told me to stop trying to sponsor my husband against his will and focus on my own recovery, in other words: shut up.  So I did.  


I lost another 40lbs and my husband kept noticing (and commenting on) the weight loss, the increased energy, the change in attitude.  Then one awesome day, not long after I stopped bringing up anything to do with weight loss, food or exercise, he came home and informed me that he'd started working a recovery program with his own eating habits.  And I smiled and said great but didn't make a big deal about it.  I shut up.  I let him work through his own process.  I focussed on me.  And it worked--when he was ready he became willing.  


Now my husband, The Happy Nurse is amazing me with his commitment to establishing a healthy lifestyle!  Like me, he is imperfect (who would want a perfect husband??!!) but the point is progress, not perfection--he inspires me every day to keep working my own program! 


The point is, the best advice I can give you is focus on YOU.  In a quiet moment away from a meal, tell your spouse/family how you feel about their behavior ONCE and then let it be.  You don't need to actively endorse your spouse/family's unhealthy behaviors by cooking fried food or massive meaty meals, but you should step away and let them make their own choices.  When they ask you to help them, then you can share what works for you.  Until then, step back and let them do what they decide to do.


The more delicious your own food is, the more they will want to "try it."  The more physical, emotional and spiritual changes that they see in you, the more they will want to join you!  Keep up the hard work!  You can be an inspiration by choosing health one day at a time!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

MONDAY MEDITATIONS FOR HEALING: Aim For The Stars & A Commitment to Self for Caregivers


Good Morning!  Here is today's meditation to inspire your spirit to self-healing this week! 

Have a WONDERFUL week!



Today's Quote 

"If You Aim At Nothing, You Will Hit It Every Time."

~Zig Ziglar


A Commitment to Self for Caregivers 
(whether you are a healthcare provider or a family member caring for a loved one):

Having a dream is one thing, having a goal is something else.

Dreams are what we HOPE will happen.
Goals are what we WORK to MAKE happen!

This week, I will find a quiet time to reach inside myself, meditate with my Higher Power and write down the dreams of my heart.  

I will pick one dream and come up with a plan for how to achieve it.  

I will set a deadline and take one action this week to begin my purposeful journey.

I will aim for the stars and build a ladder to get there.


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