Monday, April 23, 2007

Feel Good About Yourself, You Deserve It

In so many ways the media has declared war on men and women’s self esteem. Youthful, funny, skinny, outgoing, good looking people are always portrayed as successful and popular characters. The reality is that the average model is size 2 while the average American woman is size 12. What the media portrays is unrealistic and it is imperative that we learn to look past what is portrayed as “ideal” and find peace within our own bodies and minds. I love the quote… “The true definition of beauty is like a fingerprint: Everyone's is uniquely their own.” –Julia Davis

Consider this…

“If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you’d have no friends left at all.” –Marcia Hutchinson, author, Transforming Body Image

Make changes to feel better about yourself. The more confident you are about yourself the more confident others will feel around you.

  • Choose to value yourself based on your goals, talents, and character.
  • Be realistic about your size and shape.
  • Work towards self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Strength Training: Get Fit for Summer

Summer is just around the corner and most of us can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the weather. It seems to be the time of year when people are especially concerned about “looking good” in their swimwear. Some people accomplish this by going to the gym or working out. The stereotype may be that men go to the gym to “bulk up” and use the weights the most, while women go to use an elliptical machine. The truth is, most everyone can benefit from a little bit of strength training. Not only will it help tone and shape your body, but it also provides benefits such as; healthier bones, weight control, increased strength, more energy, improved heart health, and an overall improved quality of life. Strength training should be done at least two times per week and if you want to train more, muscles should have at least 24 hours of rest before they are trained again.

If you are already a person who loves to strength train or a person who has no desire to ever touch a dumbbell, the great news is that there is a type of strength training for everyone. Strength training can be done through the traditional route of weights, dumbbells and barbells; but people can also use less intimidating devices such as resistance bands that weigh less than three ounces or your own body weight. Even programs such as Pilates and Yoga can be good strength training activities. The point is, you will love the benefits that come from strength training and there isn’t a better time to start than now. Our Healthquest program (a 10-12 week health behavior change program covering all aspects of a healthy body) has a session specifically for strength training and it cost only $25 for the whole program, or $5 per topic. This program is available for UVSC faculty, staff and students. Contact Amy Grubbs at 863-8127 or visit our website at for more information.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Change Your Thinking For Stress Relief

Self-defeating thoughts, negative self-talk, and irrational beliefs are the cause of much of the stress in our lives. Most people are not aware of their stress-producing thinking. Through a technique known as cognitive restructuring, we can learn to recognize and change unhealthy thoughts and attitudes so that we can reduce stress and the physical symptoms related to it.

Unhealthy thinking often produces negative emotions, such as anxiety, fear, sadness, frustration, anger, or guilt. These negative emotions can in turn result in physical problems, such as headaches or fatigue, or behavior problems, such as irritability with friends or addictions. With cognitive restructuring, you first learn to identify your own cycle of thoughts, emotions, physical symptoms, and behavior. Then you learn to change your thinking, which can reduce stress, improve your relationships, and benefit your health.

Try this for yourself. What is one negative thought you are constantly telling yourself? Maybe it’s something like – “I hate this class, it makes me feel so dumb. I am dumb. I never understand what the teacher is talking about. I am never going to pass this class.” Take that thought and instead change it to – “This class is really hard, I am really struggling with it. Also I’m sure other people are struggling too, we should get a study group together and help each other.”

Changing your thoughts and your attitude can make a huge difference in the amount of stress you feel in your life. Take a minute each time you have a negative thought to change it to something that is more positive and will work for you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Living on a budget, cooking for just one person and not having a lot of time are three of the top reasons why college students eat the way they do. In our department we have encountered many college students that either eat out a lot, or eat prepackaged food. One of the concerns with this is the amount of sodium that are in these items.

We should only be consuming > 500 mg a day but < 2300 mg or 1 tsp of sodium a day. but the average American gets over 2.5 tsp of sodium a day. There are some health concerns associated with large consumption of sodium so reading the nutrition label is important when shopping for food.

Some of the wording can be tricky so here is a guide to use.
Sodium free or no sodium: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium and no sodium chloride in ingredients
Very low sodium: 35 milligrams or less of sodium
Low sodium: 140 milligrams or less of sodium
Reduced or less sodium: At least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product
Unsalted: Made w/o salt, but still contains the sodium that’s a natural part of the food itself.

For more info come and see Wellness Ed in SC 221.

Monday, March 26, 2007


We have all experienced feeling worried or nervous at some point in our life and for most of us, it is a part of our everyday life. These feelings are not all together bad. As a matter of fact, mild to moderate feelings of anxiety can help us focus our energy, attention, and be motivated. However, when anxiety becomes severe, you can experience feelings of helplessness, confusion, and extreme worry. Anxiety causes both physical and emotional symptoms. A few of these symptoms are trembling, sweating or cold, clammy hands, sleep problems, irritability, inability to concentrate, and/or constant feelings of sadness.

Although sometimes professional treatment is needed, here are some simple tips to help manage anxiety by managing stress in your life:

1. Managing your time by setting priorities, say no when you need to, and avoid procrastination by using a planner or breaking down large projects into smaller chunks
2. Building healthy coping strategies by writing thought and feelings in a journal or using relaxation techniques
3. Build a good lifestyle by finding balance, getting plenty of sleep (7-9 hours a night), and finding a sense of purpose in life
4. Have a good social support system filled with people you love and trust
5. Change thinking to more positive and practical thoughts to avoid triggering the bodies stress response
*Information from WebMD

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

TAKING BREAKS: Tips to avoid breakdown and burnout

Our bodies are resilient and built to work, but they are not invincible. Research has shown that no matter what type of work you are doing it will be most productive if you take breaks. Our body’s ultradian rhythms control our energy flow throughout the day. During the first hour of a task our heart rate, brain waves, hormonal levels, and muscle tension all increase. When that hour is up somewhere between 90-120 minutes our body tells us we need a break by yawning, wanting to stretch, or we start to have difficulty concentrating. When we experience these symptoms we should listen to our bodies and take a break. We need not feel guilty because the truth is that the break will help us work better anyway.

We are capable of over-riding these natural cycles, but only by summoning the fight-or-fight response and flooding our bodies with stress hormones that are designed to handle emergencies. The long term cost is that toxins build up inside of us and we can only push for so long without breaking down and burning out. - Power of Full Engagement- Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weight Management Watch

So a couple of months has passed since a lot of us have set our New Year's Resolutions. We should be asking ourselves, how it's going, evaluating our habits and revisiting our goals. I'm sure there are those that have put Weight Management on their goal sheet so here are a couple of things to remember when you are trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight...

Remember: It's healthy to lose about 1-2 lbs a week. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories so if we decrease our calories anywhere from 500-1000 calories a day we can lose 1-2 lbs per week.

Remember: Many of people who have weight issues have an environment that supports our habits so if we clean out our refrigerators, cuboards, desks, backpacks, cars etc and throw away foods that might not be the best choices.

Once you've cleaned out your food it's time to shift our choices to be more healthy. For instance if you had cookies, sugary snacks replace them with fruit or low fat pudding, frozen yogurt etc. If you had white bread, pasta or rice try and switch to 100% whole grain bread, 100% whole grain pasta, 100% whole grain rice.

These are just a few ideas of how to manage your weight...for more in depth health behavior change come to Wellness Education and try out our Healthquest program or sign up online.

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