Weight Gain – 5 tips to get back on track

Blame it on the wild winter we had. Or perhaps you were too stressed about something in your life to worry about what you were eating? Maybe you had “just a sliver” of a few too many desserts, cakes, slices of pizza, etc. – because a little bit won’t hurt, right? Or to borrow an outdated Jamie Foxx lyric, “blame it on the a a a a a alcohol.” Whatever the excuse, it happened and you’ve acquired some excess weight over the past few months.

It’s easy to get in to a mode of sedentary lifestyle and casually eating when you aren’t even hungry. I mean, cheddar and sour cream chips are so darn tasty – why not?

We’ve worked with our providers to put together a solid plan to get you back on track. Here are our top 5 tips to get you back on track:

  1. Give yourself a break – You aren’t a bad person for switching off the exercise and food intake side of your brain for a bit. You’re a person – it happens to everyone. Too often people throw in the towel because they feel they’ve blown it or it’s too hard. They then give themselves permission to continue to over-indulge thus making it more difficult! No one is perfect and we all fall away from our best intentions and eat the wrong things, skip the gym or get a bit lazy and make excuses. The most important thing to remember is not to berate yourself about it but rather spend the energy getting back on track.
  2. Learn from the experience – If you don’t recognize what led you to fall off the healthy eating wagon, you’ll probably react the same way the next time the situation arises. Write down a list of the situations that trigger you to overeat, and plan an alternative for each. For example, if parties are your downfall, have a healthy snack beforehand to keep your appetite in check.
  3. Be kind – Don’t try to punish yourself with incredibly restrictive diets and over exercise. You may lose weight short term this way, but usually this sets up a pattern of gaining and losing weight. Look at the big picture and understand that weight loss requires a small decrease in calories over a longer period of time. Also, don’t deprive yourself. If you go out once or twice a month to Zips, it won’t kill your diet (depending on how much you drown your meal in tartar sauce-but that’s more of a personal issue. Guess who might be going to Zips tonight…). Just be sure that the majority of the time you’re getting a good dose of fruits, veggies and protein.
  4. Plan ahead – When you get hungry, that’s the moment you tend to overeat. Plan some healthy snacks throughout your day. If you’re away from home, be sure to bring a snack pack or two with options such as carrot sticks, trail mix, almonds, or fruits.
  5. Shake a leg – Can’t make it to the gym, don’t have time for a run? Do something small during a break. Go for a 15-minute walk, take the stairs, etc. Every little bit adds up to the bigger picture of being more active. It can also relieve stress you may have been building up (another reason people tend to overeat). When it is exercise time, try to find something you enjoy. There are a ton of activities out there, you just have to find the right one.

by Bill Bomberger and Matt Grebe

Hoops and Health

Between Hoopfest and some amazing local teams (*cough* Gonzaga Basketball), it’s hard not to be a big fan of hoops in our neck of the woods. Not only is it great to watch, but it’s a blast to play. And – whether you are shooting hoops by yourself, playing a pick-up game or are on a competitive team, basketball is an incredible way to stay in shape – and have fun.

5 reasons why basketball is great for your health:

  1. It burns calories:

The obvious reason. Between running, jumping, dribbling and shooting, basketball is a calorie burning powerhouse! According to HealthStatus, a 200lb person burns 408 calories in an hour of shooting baskets, 744 calories in an hour of half-court basketball and 996 calories in an hour of full-court basketball.

  1. It’s great for cardio:

Basketball is an excellent sport in conditioning your cardiovascular system (your heart). It’s also an excellent form of high-intensity interval training. This works only if you are running around a half or full court (obviously full court will be better to get your heart pumping), if you are just shooting around, you may not get as much of a cardio benefit. One added benefit: it’s way more fun than a treadmill.

It helps build motor skills and coordination:

Free-throws, 3-pointers and layups are all incredibly helpful in training your hand-eye coordination and to develop those fine muscle memory skills to become better coordinated. Dribbling is another key ingredient in coordination on the court and helps to develop full-body coordination. Once this skill is mastered, it becomes second nature as a fine motor skill – letting you concentrate on your opponent versus visually making sure the ball is where it should be.

  1. It provides built-in strength training:

Basketball provides an excellent full-body workout and can help to develop lean muscle. Since it’s a physically intensive sport, there is an element of physical resistance training when an opponent may be pushing against you. Strong legs are built by shooting and running. Dribbling and shooting strengthen the arm, wrist and hand.

  1. It reduces stress:

Exercise (basketball included) is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.

Overall, basketball is an incredible sport. Whether you have never dribbled in your life or are a pro on the court, you’ll get a great full-body workout from it. Plus, with so many courts around our area, it’s a sport that is accessible to anyone – all you need is a ball.

We’re looking forward to this March Madness season – let’s go Zags!

Why get a flu shot?

CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu, and limit flu exposure to others.

Did you know that even though the new year has started and spring is just around the corner, it is still officially the cold and flu season?  Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May, in some regions.  Adults and children alike can still catch the flu, and no one wants to expose anyone to illness-causing germs.  Parents of ill children are still faced with the decision whether or not to send them to school, and adults are concerned they might spread illness to their co-workers.  We all want to help minimize missed school and work days.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some different symptoms with each illness:

Fever

Often the flu includes a fever, while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off infection.  It is the most common reason adults stay home from work, and why parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, though some schools and daycare centers will have their own rules. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.

Upper Respiratory

Adults and children may have several different cold viruses each winter.  Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, and cough, and most people can usually participate in school without any restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, and to practice proper hand washing techniques to limit the spread of germs.

The flu is similar to a cold, but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or anything else that causes the lack of ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea, who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own, may go to work and school if they don’t have any other symptoms.
Illnesses are a normal part life for both adults and children, but they’re no fun to go through. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, and we want to minimize the spread of germs to others.  That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.

If you have any questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due of any illness, talk to your healthcare provider.

For more information about the 2016-2017 flu season, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2016-2017.htm

New Year’s resolutions suck.

New Year’s resolutions suck.

92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail 1. That’s a pretty staggering statistic. The concept of “starting fresh” is great. New year, new lifestyle…right? But the method of making a resolution is inherently flawed.

“Right from the getgo [a resolution] has failure and procrastination built into it,” says Timothy Pychyl, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada, whose research focuses on procrastination. They’re typically big overarching ideas of what you want to do this year, with very little follow-up on how to achieve these goals.

It’s easy to throw your hands in the air and call it quits when things don’t go your way. I like to quote the brilliant Kunu from the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall in cases like this, “When life hands you lemons, just say forget (they used a different f word in the movie) the lemons and bail.” But the goal behind resolutions isn’t to get somewhere, it’s really to improve something; which can be more of a long term thing. The goal isn’t to lose 20 pounds and upon achieving that goal eat anything you want and sit-watching 10 hours of Netflix a day. It’s a lifestyle change.

Why January 1st?

January 1st is the date I give myself permission to do whatever thing. Change whatever I want to change. We decide January 1st is the date to do it. But each day is really a potential to start again or to begin. If you need a mental mark and you’ve decided New Year’s Day is the date, then that’s great. Let’s do this! But, let’s reframe your resolution.

How can we improve on our resolutions?

Instead of being vague, be specific. Take the example of “I want to lose weight.” How much are you going to lose? How are you going to lose the weight? What habits can you change in your life to achieve this goal? What support will you need to reach these goals? Is there a start date and an end date to achieve your goal? How will you monitor progress?

Set a specific goal and make a plan. So, in our example of, “I want to lose weight;” it needs to be broken down to make it achievable. Many people like to use the SMART goal strategy:

The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting:

Specific. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose weight,” specify how many calories you’ll burn per day, how many calories you’ll intake, etc.

 

Measurable. If you have a smart device that can track calories burned, that definitely helps. A scale is significant in tracking the goal of weight loss – considering it’s one of the only ways to measure your weight.

Attainable. This really depends on your level of exercise and food intake in a day. Start small, e.g. “I’m going to walk 15 minutes every day.” Or measure approximate calories burned, e.g. “I’m going to burn 300 calories every day through exercise.”

Relevant. Exercise is so important in weight loss! It definitely fits in your larger weight loss plan; so does watching your food intake. Personally I’m a big fan of myfitnesspal. It lets you diary your food easily and has great tips and recipes right from your smart phone or computer, plus you can log your workouts.

Time-bound. Set a goal for the week. You can try again next week, or set a new goal if it doesn’t work. It’s easier to be successful if you commit to a goal framed around a set amount of time. These can be short term – weekly goals or daily goals. Or your long term – “I want to lose 20 pounds by May 9th.”

Get others involved!

Talk about it! Let people know about your goal – friends, family, co-workers. There may be someone or a group working towards the same goal that would help hold you accountable for your actions. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle easier and less daunting.

Talk to your health provider about your goals. Did you know we have a program called “Quit Happens” to help our patients in their quest to quit smoking?* There are often different programs or support groups available to you that you might not be aware of.

Set a goal in the positive.

Add to your life instead of subtracting. For example, instead of “eat less unhealthy food,” try to “eat more healthy food.” Instead of, “don’t be so lazy,” try, “I’m adding more exercise to my routine.” You’re trying to improve your life, not make it feel like a chore.

Remember that it’s a process: If you have a terrible day, literally don’t move from the couch, and order nothing but pizza delivered to your door, don’t worry. Expect to consistently try at your goal vs. expecting perfection and giving up once perfection isn’t met. And remember, every day can by January 1st in your mind – a day to reset. If you fall back and need a reset date, there is always one tomorrow.

Keep your future in mind. Think of where you want to be in a few years and how this goal is just a piece of it.

 

1 University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, January 13, 2012.

*If you are interested in quitting smoking, we have a lot of great resources for you. See your provider or pharmacist for more information and ask them about the Quit Happens program.

By Matt Grebe, Content Manager

5 Rules for Screen Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone loves screen time.  Whether it is watching a movie, playing a video game, reading the news, or talking with friends, technology is at the center of all of our lives.  Media and screen time, like most things, should be used in moderation.  While technology use is important in most facets of life today, too much screen time has been linked to obesity, difficulty sleeping, problems in school, aggressive behavior, and bullying.  It is important to help your child find a healthy balance.  A few simple guidelines can help keep screen time in check for you and your family:

  1. Remove all screens from the bedroom. Kids with TVs in the bedroom have been found to watch 1 ½ hours more TV than kids without TVs in the bedroom.  TVs in the bedroom have also been linked to obesity.  Availability of internet and texting in your child’s bedroom gives them unmonitored access to anything on the internet.  Keep all screens (including your own) out of the bedroom.  Try setting up a charging station for all devices in a common area.
  2. Monitor what your children are doing during their screen time! Just like you would ask who they are spending time with on the weekend, ask who they are spending time with on social media.  It is important to teach children what is and is not appropriate to share on social media.  Also, be aware of the websites they are going to and the apps they are using.  Play apps and video games with them!  Then you know what they are doing and if it is appropriate.
  3. Make sure screen time is age appropriate and educational. Not sure if a movie or video game is good for your child? Check out commonsensemedia.org.  This website is run by a nonprofit organization that provides independent ratings for movies, TV shows, video games, and apps.  It provides you with a summary of the game or video and suggested ages for appropriate use.
  4. Limit screen time for everyone in the family. All children should spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen for non-school purposes.  Think of things you can do as a family that does not involve a screen: go for a walk, play a board game, go to the park, or read a book together.  Any activity that provides family interaction is preferred to screen time!
  5. No screens after dinner. We know that looking at a screen keeps your body from releasing melatonin.  Without melatonin you don’t feel sleepy when bedtime comes.  Sleep is important to help with mood, concentration, and learning.  If sleep is a problem for your child, try a screen fast (by eliminating electronic device use for a few weeks) to see if this helps restore a good sleep pattern.

 

Screen use is here to stay.  Help your child form good, healthy screen habits!

-Ashlee Mickelson, MD Pediatrician

Menopause

Menopause

AKA

The Climacteric, The Change of Life, or my favorite:

MANopause.  That’s right, fella’s, back away slowly…

Throughout a woman’s life, hormones are constantly shifting and changing, rising, and falling, performing an intricate dance.  When the ovaries reach the end of their lifespan, on average around the age of 50, they no longer produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  For some women this happens suddenly and they are thrust into distressing symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy  bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and pain with sex, low sex drive, anxiety, irritability, and even depression.  Perimenopause, the years before the official diagnosis of menopause, can last 10 years or more.  When you have not had a period for an entire year, we can officially say you are in menopause.

One of the most common distressing symptoms are called “hot flashes”. Hot flashes begin as a sudden sensation of heat centered on the upper chest and face that rapidly becomes generalized.  The sensation of heat lasts from two to four minutes, is often associated with profuse perspiration and occasionally palpitations, and is sometimes followed by chills, shivering, and a feeling of anxiety.  Hot flashes may range from less than one each day to as many as one per hour during the day and night.  On average, symptoms last 5 years but 30% of women have symptoms for 10 years and 9% of women have symptoms for 20 years

Modern medicine can offer relief from distressing symptoms, but there is no “cure” for this very natural life process.  As with any medication, there are risks and benefits.  A discussion with your provider can help you decide if medication or hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to manage symptoms at home.  These suggestions are basic recommendations for self-care:

For the management of hot flashes and night sweats:

  1. Lower the room temperature
  2. Use fans
  3. Dress in layers that can be easily shed
  4. Wear a base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin.
  5. Avoid spicy food, hot drinks, alcohol, stress
  6. Weight Loss

To keep your mood and emotions steady:

  1. Daily Exercise
  2. Daily Yoga or other mindful meditation and relaxation

For vaginal dryness and pain with sex:

  1. Use a vaginal moisturizer three times a week.
  2. Use lubrication for sex.
  3. Sorry, we have no great medical solution for libido

 

To protect your bones, support your immune system, and promote sleep:

  1. 1200mg of Calcium
  2. 400mg Magnesium
  3. 2000IU Vitamin D daily.

Calcium is only absorbed 500mg at a time so taking a supplement twice a day with meals, in addition to at least one serving of dairy or other calcium fortified food daily will supply what you need. The Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium and it activates it in your muscle and bone cells so it can work for you.  Magnesium and Vitamin D help with mood and a healthy immune system, too.

For more information on perimenopause and menopause, you can explore the following:

The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

www.menopause.org/for-women

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Senator Maria Cantwell stops by CHAS Health to talk about Basic Health.

United States Senator Maria Cantwell stopped by CHAS Health’s Maple Street Clinic to urge Washington State to bring back Basic Health Plan.

Basic Health is a federal program that was modeled after Washington State’s Basic Health Plan, which went away when the WA HealthPlanFinder Marketplace website was implemented. This program would help patients who have had difficulty affording the cost of Marketplace Plans.

Cantwell was joined by Washington State Representative Marcus Riccelli, CHAS Health CEO, Aaron Wilson, the Native Project CEO, Toni Lodge, and other advocates urging the state to adopt the affordable insurance program again. Cantwell said it could help about 162,000 people in Washington, who earn between $16,242 and $23,540 annually, which is just above the Medicaid eligibility rate. “The Federal Basic Health Plan will help patients maintain affordable coverage and will also reduce unnecessary health system costs by enabling patients to maintain continuity of coverage instead of churning between the Apple Health program and the exchange plans” says Wilson.Cantwell press conference chas

“Our state has been an innovator in health care in so many ways, and Basic Health is just another example of that.” Cantwell said, now that we have the basic health plan as a federal option, currently a family of 4 in Spokane with an income of 48,000 per year could have these options. Right now, paying a monthly premium of $259/month for a private plan on the exchange, that same family in New York under the Basic Health Plan is paying just $20/month. If the Basic Health Plan had similar premiums…that family could save over $2886/per year.”

Many families are, “literally one broken arm away for their kids to sending them in to financial hardship.”

It’s a plan that saves the consumer money, improves the overall health of our community, and it saves the state money. There could be more than 10,000 people in Spokane that would qualify for the Basic Health Plan.Cantwell press conference chas 3

 

Preventing Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” in the newborn.

whopping-cough-babies-2160x1200

 

Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough” is a bacterial infection that you or your baby can catch when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Infected droplets can travel through the air, and if you inhale the droplets you can become infected with pertussis.  Whooping cough begins like a cold, with a mild fever and runny nose.  Most adults do not have severe symptoms, but they can pass pertussis on to a newborn very easily without realizing it.

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a newborn because their immune system is not fully mature and they cannot fight this infection.  Babies cannot get the vaccine for pertussis until they are two months old.  Even after they start the vaccinations, they are not fully protected by the vaccines until they are a year old and have had three vaccinations for pertussis.  Whooping cough in a newborn is a very serious illness, and it often requires that the baby be admitted to the hospital for breathing problems or pneumonia.  Some babies who get whooping cough do not cough at all – they just stop breathing.  Newborns can die from whooping cough.

The entire family can help protect your newborn from whooping cough.  All teenagers and adults who are around your baby should get a pertussis booster, called Tdap.  The Tdap shot is a tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis.  If you are pregnant, the best time to get the Tdap vaccine is between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.  Your body will have time to make antibodies against pertussis.  These antibodies are passed through the placenta to protect your baby.  You can protect your baby with antibodies long before your baby is old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.  After the baby is born, the antibodies are passed through your breast milk.

For more information:  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Spokane Urgent Care just got ridiculously convenient…

We are excited to announce an all-new feature at our Spokane Urgent Care locations: online check-in! Not only can you save your place in line, but also view wait times, all at the push of a button. We know your time is precious, instead of sitting in the waiting room; you can wait at home, run errands, or just get a cup of coffee while you are waiting for your turn in the cue.  Does a time work better for you? You are in charge! Go to spokaneurgentcare.org, select which one of our convenient locations works best, and select the time you would like to come in!

 

 

 

 

Great care and convenience? Urgent care doesn’t get much better than this.