All posts by Hanna

About Hanna

Retired nurse, grandmother.

Are you dried up inside? How Retirees can stay healthy.

The question really is- are you Dehydrated?

It could happen to any of us, but it is especially dangerous for the very young or very old.

Those of us who are retired,are in that at risk category.

Should we panic?

Definitely not!

In order to stay healthy, we need to just educate ourselves to the signs, and symptoms of Dehydration, and know how to prevent it.

Dehydration occurs when we lose more fluid than we take in during vigorous exercise, or when there is Diarrhea, fever, or vomiting.

We need to be alert to replacing liquids during hot weather,also.

Symptoms include dry mouth,thirst, decreased urine output, headache, dizziness, and constipation.

Note that the color of your urine may also indicate dehydration. If the urine is clear, that is usually a good sign that the individual is hydrated.

If symptoms progress there may be little or no urine, very dry mouth, sunken eyes, decreased Blood Pressure,rapid heart beat, increased breathing, fever, and delirium.

Nothing to take lightly!

According to the Mayo clinic, thirst is not always a good indicator of dehydration.

PREVENTION
Monitoring your liquid intake is crucial. Drinking liquids prior to and during exercise is a good practice.

If you suspect dehydration, drink a sports drink such as Gatorade, or Powerade, to replace the electrolytes lost.

Call 911 if symptoms are severe.

Always contact your health care professional if there is any concern regarding Dehydration.

Have you ever been diagnosed with Dehydration? Please share your story with us.

Hanna

Vegetables for health? Why they are a must for a healthy retirement.

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Do you still remember your mother’s words- “eat your vegetables”? I believe that most of us still remember those words. Unfortunately, most of us hated those words when we heard them!

Vegetables..yuck!

We now know that mother was right. Vegetables are good for us! They are an important part of a healthy diet.

They are also a must for a healthy retirement. No doubt about that!

Why are they so necessary for your good health?

Let’s review some key facts.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), they are an important source of vital nutrients which your body needs to function effectively.

Most vegetables are low in fat and calories, and are important sources of Potassium, Fiber, Folate, and vitamins A and C.

Potassium helps to maintain healthy heart function, and blood pressure.

Dietary fiber helps to lower Cholesterol, and preserves regular bowel function.

Folate helps in the production of red blood cells, and Vitamin A nourishes your eyes, encourages healthy skin, and decreases the likelihood of infections.

Vitamin C also helps in the healing process, and promotes healthy teeth and gums.

Vegetables will be your ally should you decide to lose weight. They are low in calories.

Experts believe that vegetables also help to prevent some chronic diseases, and even some cancers.

Impressive isn’t it!

VEGETABLE LINEUP

You probably know which foods are vegetables, and which are not. However, let me refresh your memory about just a few.

The list includes sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beet greens, soybeans, Lima beans, kidney beans, spinach, corn,lentils, zucchini, and cauliflower.

Let’s not forget lettuce, broccoli, rhubarb, Swiss chard, squash, turnips, garlic, onions, collard greens, and mushrooms.

This is just a few of a seemingly endless list!

VEGETABLE DO’S AND DON’TS

*Do shop for those in season to get the best quality and flavor.

*Don’t cook them over high heat…heat breaks down the key components, and the nutrients may be lost.

*Do wash them thoroughly, and brush them before cooking, and eating.This is crucial to get rid of pesticides, and any residual dirt or pests.

* Do choose firm, crispy vegetables without wilted or loose leaves.

* Don’t buy more than you can store, and use within a safe time period.

* Do not refrigerate potatoes.

* Do store canned vegetables in a cool dry place.

PROTEIN IN VEGETABLES?

Yes, some vegetables are good sources of protein.They include Shiitake mushrooms( dried), lentil, beans, soy, green cauliflower, and kale.

However, unlike meat, they do not have vitamin B-12 which is necessary for health.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there are at least 10,000 types of protein in your body.

Your body breaks down the protein that you ingest into a substance called amino acids.

Lack of protein can lead to growth failure, weak immune,heart and respiratory systems.

There is an ongoing debate about vegetable protein, versus animal protein.This would be a good topic to discuss with your doctor, or health professional should you decide to follow a vegetarian diet.

My personal preference is to have protein from both animal and vegetable sources…with more of the vegetable kind, because vegetables have lower amounts of saturated fat, and sodium.

WHAT ABOUT THE TASTE?

I have come to love vegetables over the years. This is great because I eat them several times each day.

One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables, is to roast several of them together in the oven. I encourage you to try roasting potatoes, onions, garlic, and zucchini with just a little oil, salt and black pepper. They are delicious!

Have you tried carrots with curry? Or asparagus cooked with lite butter?

Another favorite of mine is a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, with just a touch of salad dressing.You may add boiled eggs, cheese, or anything else you like!

RECOMMENDED AMOUNTS

The USDA recommends that women 31 -50 years old, eat 2.5 cups of vegetables daily. Women 51 plus years old need 2 cups.

Men 31-50 years old need 3 cups daily, while men 50 plus need 2.5 cups daily.

These recommendations are only for those whose activity level is average ( less than 30 minutes of exercise daily). If you are more active you are allowed to eat larger amounts.

Are you a vegetable lover? Please share your thoughts, recipes, or comments.

Hanna

DISCOVER 7 MUST DO’S FOR A HEALTHY RETIREMENT

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Retirement is a goal that most people hope to achieve someday. Many give it little serious thought when they are young, and in good health. It is something to think about occasionally, but no real plan is generally developed.

Current estimates say that approximately 10,000 people retire daily in the United States of America. Many have never developed a workable plan for their financial needs upon retirement.

A healthy retirement is given even less thought! Some may feel that a healthy retirement is not even possible.

Are you among those for whom a healthy retirement seems unattainable? Do you feel that focusing on today’s problems is enough to consider?

If so, let me encourage you to reconsider.

It is very possible to have a solid plan to enjoy a healthy retirement. That does not mean that you may never be ill, but it will increase the likelihood that you will be as healthy as you can possibly be.

Medical science has proven that many illnesses can be prevented, or their effects lessened. The list includes High Blood pressure, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Shingles, Hepatitis B, Influenza, and Pneumococcal diseases.

In many cases, these disorders are linked to lifestyle issues. Yes, family history plays an important part in predicting the future of our health, however,it does not always guarantee that we will suffer with the same illnesses as others in our family.

You can fight back if you know your family history, and how these diseases can be prevented !

YOUR PLAN
So, what can you do to be healthy in body and mind during retirement? Here are seven must do’s to help you win the battle:

1.Evaluate your current health.

This will mean a visit to your physician to get a complete physical examination. You will also need to have a frank discussion with your health professional about any test results that may be negative. Ask what the results mean, and how you improve the outcome for the future.

For some this may be scary to find out what is. However, ignorance is not bliss in healthcare. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. If you know what is true, you can then take appropriate action.

2.Be determined to make your health a priority.

As with everything else in life, what we focus on, is what we tend to cultivate, and nurture. Things that we ignore tend to slip our attention, over time. So, if we want to have a healthy retirement, we need to focus on this, and give it our full attention.

Spend at least five minutes each day reflecting on your health. What is your goal, and what did you do to reach this goal? For example, exercising for 20 minutes each day may be your goal. Did you achieve this, or did you not? If you did, give yourself a pat on the back for your dedication. If you did not, determine what went wrong, and how you can fix this in the future.

3.Write down what you hope your health will be when you retire.

Be very specific. It is a powerful fact, that when you put your goals in writing, you increase the opportunity for them to become a reality. Instead of writing, “ I want to be healthy when I retire- write instead, “ I want to weigh 150 pounds (or whatever is right for you)”.

Do you have a target for your activity level? For example-do you want to travel?

Put your answers in writing, and refer to them frequently.

4.Read more about health issues from reputable sources.

Unfortunately, not everything we read is necessarily true. It is therefore important to investigate your source of information. Enlist the help of your health professional, in locating a trusted resource. Check out the credentials of this source, and their experience with the subject being discussed.

Several well known universities, hospitals, and clinics publish health related topics online. An example is The Mayo Clinic,WebMD,or JohnsHopkinsMedicine.

5.Decide to begin your healthy lifestyle today.

It is so easy to make plans but never accomplish them. If you do not begin now, procrastination may block you from reaching your goal.

Take control of your future, and keep the promises that you make to yourself.

Make a step today, and another tomorrow. Nothing ventured nothing gained, should be your motto. You could begin today, for example, by making a phone call to your doctor to schedule an appointment for a checkup (see #1).

Your future begins today.

6.Seek the support of a trusted friend, family member, health professional, or spiritual leader.

Ask that individual to hold you accountable for the changes that you are determined to make toward a healthy retirement. Meet with them on a regular basis, e.g. monthly.

Review your progress toward your goal. Let them know what you want to accomplish, and what they can do to help you.

Let them know that you need them to ask you pointed questions about your progress, or lack thereof.

Be sure to choose someone who can be firm, but kind in helping to motivate you toward your goal. You may even choose to meet with friends who are also looking forward to a healthy retirement.

The key here is someone who can give you honest feedback, not just what you may want them to say.

7.Be kind to yourself, but be realistic.

You will meet challenges, setbacks, and roadblocks along the way. You are making a long term commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

The key ingredient is to not give up.

Each step that you make, however small, will be important in getting you to your goal.

Sure, you may have illnesses along the way, however, you will be doing what you can to influence your future health.

You are increasing the likelihood that future illnesses, and conditions may not be as severe as they could be.

It is also possible to bypass some illnesses altogether!

SUMMARY
A healthy retirement is possible for more of us than we think. If we improve our lifestyle today, we are helping to preserve our health in the future.

Following these seven steps will propel you to a healthy future, and a healthy retirement.

A trip to Jamaica: Memories from the past!

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Last week I took trip back to Jamaica which was my home for the first 19 years of my life. My daughter, son-in law, and my grandson made the trip also.

It had been twenty four years since I paid a visit to Jamaica. Such as long time! I asked myself why had it been so long?

There was no legitimate answer that I could find.

It is true that before retiring, my time was not fully my own. I also had other plans when I had vacation days. My parents are both deceased, and I have very few family members still living there.
Whatever the reason, I vowed never to stay away for such a long time.

What a joy it was to look down from the plane, and to see the majestic mountains stretching across the island!

As we landed in Kingston, I was filled with excitement, and thanks to God that I had been privileged to return.

I stepped out into the hot sunshine, and looked around at the island scenery. Memories came flooding
in.

A CHALLENGING JOURNEY

Driving along the highway from the airport, I noted that the road looked so different from my previous visit. The pavement was smooth, and there were large rocks on one side, and the beautiful ocean on the other.

Every Jamaican has either heard of the road to Morant Bay, St Thomas Parish, or has experienced it firsthand. This road is legendary not only because of the beautiful scenery, but also because it is narrow, and winds through the mountains.

Our driver did not seem phased by the unexpected curves, twists, and turns.

It was picturesque because I could see sudden glimpses of the ocean.

If you are hungry, there are many roadside eateries to satisfy your appetite. There were people selling mangoes, and other Jamaican delicacies, seemingly at every turn.

Others sold Jamaican patties, Jerk chicken, Rice and peas, and other delights.

Our first stop was in the town of Yallahs. This a small but busy town, with men and women cooking out in the open, by the side of the road.

What a treat it was to sample some of the delicious dishes!

I had heard about Yallahs from the time that I was a child, but this was probably my first time stopping to eat there.

ARRIVAL

Within a half hour from Yallahs, we arrived at our destination in Morant Bay, population about 9,602. This was not my first time visiting this town. My sister and I spent some of our most cherished summer holidays there– many moons ago.

This was the home of my son-in law’s parents. They have a large home situated in a central area in Morant Bay.

Since our visit was for the most part of a religious nature, most of our time was spent in worship services, rather than in sightseeing.

However, I did have the opportunity to meet several individuals who remembered me as a child. The question was, did I remember their names, and faces?

While I was able to recall some names, yet there were others that I could not remember. Everyone was very gracious whenever I drew a blank, and could not remember their names, nor even their faces.

It was heartwarming to meet and greet them, and to hear the stories that they told of my parents, who are now deceased.

What was also special for me was seeing the tropical scenery; the mountains, sugar cane fields, and the breadfruit and ackee ( fruit) trees.

I also realized that driving on the left side of the road was something that I had never tried! I was not sure that I would be able to master this feat, having learned to drive on the right side of the road.

I must say that I was in awe of the drivers who zipped around the corners like a bullet!

I found that the livestock – specifically the roosters, made themselves noticed by their frequent, loud, and insistent crowing. It did not matter the time of day or night. They seemed to be sending an urgent message to each other,in their own language.

HEALTHY EATING

Every meal that we ate consisted of freshly cooked meats, fish, and vegetables straight from the garden. Because this was the week of Passover, only special foods could be eaten (i.e. cooked without leavening agent such as yeast).

So many delicious, healthy dishes! Breakfast consisted of callaloo (somewhat like spinach),fresh mint tea, ackee and salted fish, eggs, fried plantain, and a host of other delicacies.

Lunch and dinner were mainly chicken, or fish dishes.

The side dishes included– rice and peas (kidney beans) cooked in coconut milk, green or fried plantain, shredded cabbage with carrots. Several varieties of yams were also included.

The star of the meal was usually breadfruit which is sweet, and has a potato like consistency. The breadfruit is usually roasted in the thick green skin. The skin is then removed and discarded. What remains is a delicious, yellow looking bread like flesh that can be eaten by itself, or with any meat dish.

The drinks included carrot juice, soursop juice (made from the sweet flesh of the soursop fruit), sorrel and ginger drinks- just to name a few.

Snacks included mangoes, oranges, bananas, various plums, and custard apple (not really an apple). Also included was a sweet “pudding” made from yams, sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar, and various seasonings. Sugar cane juice was a refreshing treat!

GOOD MEMORIES

At the end of my stay in Jamaica, I concluded that this had been one of the best times that I had experienced.

I will treasure the beautiful memories of this trip. I am also looking forward to a return journey in the near future.

Have you visited Jamaica? Are you planning a trip soon? Let me know what your experience has been.

Hanna

DO YOU TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOUR CAR THAN YOU DO YOUR OWN BODY?

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We all have busy lives. This is a fast paced world in which we live. Even in retirement there is much to be done!

Think about this for a moment. Is your car, van, or truck getting more attention than you give your own body, mind and spirit?

I have been pondering this question during the last few days, because of a conversation that I had with one of my neighbors. He told me that he had not visited the doctor in 25 years.

I was shocked!

He then said that he was forced to go recently because he had some scary symptoms.He rushed to the doctor for help.

Of course, I was very empathetic toward him when he described the serious condition that he had.

He told me that his truck had been in the shop for repairs, and that he had paid a large sum of money to have it repaired.

He also shared that he had the truck for over fifteen years.

I thought to myself that his truck must have received on time maintenance, and much of his attention, to have lasted for this length of time.

In my mind, I complemented him for such diligence!

However, I felt that he had not made a wise decision in ignoring his own health.

I reflected on the cars that I have owned throughout the years.
I am sure that I did not shower them with such love and attention!

I can recall my son telling me, that in order to work well,my cars would need maintenance at regular intervals. He said that without scheduled oil changes, they would not last as long as they could.

I must confess, that as far as I was concerned, if the engine started when I put they key in the ignition, then all was well!

I had the hardest time remembering about those oil changes!

I am happy to say that things got better over the years, as I became more educated.

Today, I am happy to report that I am generally on time for regular maintenance, including oil changes!!

What brought about this important switch?

Well, I learned some basic facts about how engines work, and what contributes to their longevity.

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN A CAR, AND YOUR BODY

Just as you maintain your car, you also need to maintain your body.

Getting regularly scheduled health checks is one of the keys to a healthy retirement!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC), encourages us to schedule health checkups as one method of taking charge of our health. They state that when problems are identified early, there is a better chance for treatment, and a cure, if one is available.

WHY DO WE WAIT?

I think that many of us procrastinate due to lack of knowledge.

I also believe, that we would schedule our medical appointments if we realized that an early diagnosis could lead to a better outcome.

I did not maintain my cars because I did not understand the relevance of oil changes, and how my car would function in the future.

On the other hand, there is so much information available about healthcare that I wonder whether there are other reasons why we hesitate?

FEAR FACTOR

Could it be that we are afraid to know?

I can honestly say, that in the past, I have been guilty of waiting too long to schedule a medical appointment.

Thankfully, I am much more diligent which my medical check ups.

Today, I practice what I preach. I believe that I am much better at seeking medical advice in a timely manner.

In fact, since I retired, I see at least one of my health care providers every three months.

Let me caution,that each individual needs to set up their own schedule with their healthcare provider.

MY SCHEDULE

Each year I have a complete physical exam which includes an EKG ( electrocardiogram)- to check how my heart is functioning.

The physical exam also includes blood work. Included is a check for cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, among other things.

I also receive a PAP test ( Papanicolaou)- to check for cervical cancer, and a Mammogram-to check for breast cancer.

My yearly schedule also includes the flu vaccine.

I do have Blood Pressure checks done at each visit, and I also do my own checks at home. I encourage everyone to buy a Blood Pressure machine for your home.

In addition, I get periodic Bone density tests to rule out Osteoporosis or thin, brittle bones.

Dental checkups are a must. We now know that the health of our teeth affects our entire bodies.

Vision testing should be on the list for all retirees. Glaucoma is a disorder that has no symptoms yet if untreated can lead to blindness.

Hearing tests are highly recommended.

Colon cancer screening should be on your list ( discuss with your doctor).

HIV testing and Hepatitis C screening is recommended at least once in adulthood.

These are the routine tests that I receive each year. As I mentioned earlier, each person needs to be tested according to their own health status, and their doctor’s recommendation.

IS ALL THIS TESTING TOO MUCH?

Personally, I do not think it is, because as was stated earlier, we lavish many hours and much attention on our cars, boats, trucks, and other equipment.

Sometimes we neglect our most treasured gift-our God given health.

Only you can decide whether you prefer to wait ( as my neighbor did) for 25 years to check on your health.

I hope that you will not wait.

Your health is one of your most valuable assets.

Do you agree or disagree? Please share your comments.

Hanna

Is laughter really the best medicine for retirees?

Have you had a good laugh today? Since biblical times,man has realized that laughter is a good thing. Proverbs 17:22 says “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones”

Studies done through the years tell us that humor and the act of laughing have a positive impact on our immune system.According to Enid Schwartz ” the following effects have been documented: increases in natural killer T cell activity…decreases in the body’s production of cortisol”. High levels of Cortisol decreases the bodies ability to fight off diseases.

Norman Cousins ( 1979) shared that humor and laughter helped him to control his pain as he recovered from Ankylosing Spondylitis – a very painful disorder.He said that 10 minutes of belly laughter took his pain away for about 2 hours each time.

In health care today, there is an ongoing effort to add humor as a way to help patients and families cope more successfully with their healthcare challenges. This is true even with life threatening diseases such as cancer. Health care personnel are being taught to find appropriate ways to encourage patients to decrease their stress through laughter.

Why is it that children laugh more easily that adults? While children laugh about 400 times daily, adults are less spontaneous in their ability to laugh.

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Is it that we become so caught up with the stress of life that we no longer feel the need to laugh?

Could it be that we don’t realize the enormous benefits of laughing at ourselves, or at some of the challenges of life?

Someone said..laugh and the world laughs with you.

One of the joys of my retirement is the time that I spend with my two grand children.They certainly spice up my life with the funny and unpredictable things that they say and do. For them,every day is a joyful day, especially when they play together!

They find such joy out of life! They run, and jump and play, and just put their whole heart into whatever they do.

My personal feeling is, that we should take a page out of their book during our retirement years.

While we might not be as carefree as a small child, we can however look for more enjoyment out of life!

Granted life has some serious challenges, and somber moments, yet if we celebrate the smallest achievement,and find joy in our daily blessings, we might be able to laugh more.

Experts tell us that cheerful people are better able to successfully manage their healthcare. For example, they may take their medications as prescribed while unhappy people tend to do the opposite.

It is also said that happy people tend to live longer, more satisfying lives.

It is also a fact that humor tends to bond people together.Have you ever found yourself smiling just because someone else was smiling?

Even if you make yourself smile,it is still affects your emotions and puts you in a happy mood.

As with anything else in life there are cautions to consider. Laughter can be inappropriate in certain settings such as – laughing at someone else’s expense, or using laughter to belittle someone, or the use of hurtful ethnic jokes, and sarcastic humor.

In summary, we can all benefit from using laughter in our daily lives.This is especially true for those of us in our retirement years. Since laughter has a positive impact on our health, and it is free,let us use it liberally.

Do you have any comments on the impact of laughter in your life? If so, please share it.

Hanna

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS FOR A HEALTHY RETIREMENT.

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Was losing weight one of your goals for the new year? If so, how are you doing? I hope that you have not given up!

I truly empathize with anyone who needs to lose weight, is trying to lose weight, or has tried and failed to lose weight.I have done all of those things many, many times over the years.

I want to share some tips with you for healthy eating in retirement.These are the same tips that helped me to lose 115 pounds.After trying so many different diets, I was able ( with divine help) to get the weight off.

Before we begin, let me urge you to consult with your physician before you try any diet, or weight loss program. This is very important for retirees.One size does not fit all! You may have a condition that may preclude you from trying a specific method.

On the other hand, these tips are general in nature, so the decision is yours.

I will not be promoting any particular diet or weight loss program in this blog, however. These tips promote healthy eating which should be the ultimate goal for healthy retirement.

WRITTEN GOALS

I have found that in order to achieve any success in life, it is super important for me to write down my goals. There is something that happens in my mind that drives me to accomplish a goal that is in written form.

Have you had the same experience? It is a powerful tool that you can use to keep focused on the task at hand.

Writing down your goal to eat healthy will help to propel you to success.

EAT 3 MEALS PLUS 2 Healthy SNACKS DAILY

I have been asked by so many people over the years- how did you do it? One of my answers is- I never missed as meal!

I am religious in making sure that I eat every meal each and every day. No skipping a meal for me!! I love food, but I also know that if I am ravenously hungry, I will grab the wrong foods at the wrong time!

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PLAN EACH MEAL BEFOREHAND

This has been a great help to me in ensuring that I have the right foods for each meal. It may sound tedious, however, if you love food as I do, it is not so bad. I enjoy thinking about food!

It is very important to consider upcoming changes to your normal schedule such as eating out, or attending a party, where you know the food will include some or all that are not on your plan.

If you are going to a restaurant, it is a good idea to review the menu before arriving.That will allow you the opportunity to decide which foods you will eat. If you wait until you are actually there, it becomes much harder to make the right choices.

I ask the waiter for the low calorie menu, or light choices as soon as possible. It helps me to not look at the regular menu with all of the high calorie foods that I prefer not to have.

Another tip that is helpful is to eat lower calories during the day of the special meal being planned.This will allow you to eat more calories at the actual meal. For example, if you have been invited out for dinner,eat a lower calorie breakfast, and lunch on that day.

MONITOR LIQUIDS

I have found that I need to actually count the number of glasses of liquid that I drink. My goal is to have 6 or 7- eight oz glasses daily. I generally have one or two glasses in the morning for breakfast, one at mid day, and two at lunch. At mid afternoon I drink one more, and another in the evening.

The experts say that if you do anything for 21 days it becomes a habit.Staying hydrated and being aware of your fluid intake is one of those healthy habits.

CHEW EACH BITE PURPOSEFULLY

My father never had a weight problem. It could have been because he chewed each mouthful about 40 times!

I am a little less disciplined where all that chewing is concerned, however, I do focus on each mouthful purposefully. When I fail to do this, I find that at the end of the meal I am not sure what I ate or how much I had!

Not a good thing.

SIT DOWN AT A TABLE

When I eat on the run, for example standing up, I find that I am not as satisfied as I am when I am seated. A few minutes after the meal I am asking myself what just happened? Did I really have something to eat or was it a my imagination!

Experts tell us that it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register the feeling of satiety that we get from being satisfied enough to wait for the next snack or meal.

NO LATE SNACKS

We have all heard that it is a bad idea to eat late at night. I can attest to the fact that late night eating is not good for me.

I have found that it is best for me to eat no later that 7:00 PM. I try to follow this schedule unless there are extenuating circumstances, for example, arriving home late from a meeting.

Again, eating purposefully will alert you to remember what time of day it is, and that it is meal time. If you eat your meal late at night the process of digestion takes awhile to be completed.

If you are like me, you do like to lie down with a full stomach.That is a recipe for heartburn, or nightmares -you name it!

Some experts even say that if you eat late at night, you might gain weight instead of losing weight.

SPICE UP YOUR MEALS

To me there is nothing worse than eating a bland meal.If you are not in the habit of using spices, why not give it a try? I find that a few spices perk up any meal!

What is a meal without onions, garlic, basil, thyme, black pepper, paprika, curry- the list is endless.

However, I limit the amount of hot peppers in my meal. No scotch bonnet, or hot chili seasonings for me! If you like things hot, then enjoy!

I try to experiment with new spices, periodically. I think it adds variety to the eating experience.

NO FORBIDDEN FOODS IN THE HOME

Why make it harder for yourself? Forbidden items lurking in the refrigerator, or cupboards is a source of temptation that you or I do not need.

I find that I can stay on track easier if I do not see the cakes, pies, and cookies.I know that it is difficult if family members do not have these restrictions. One strategy is to keep the foods that are “legal” in the forefront, and hide the others in the rear of the cupboard or refrigerator.

NO SHOPPING WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH.

This is so true.I have proven it. If you shop when you are hungry you may find it more difficult to resist temptation!

I try to schedule my shopping trips right after I have had a meal. I can then focus on my list (another must), and bypass the items that tend to take me down the wrong path.

IF YOU MISS THE MARK, GET RIGHT BACK ON TRACK

So, we are not all perfect, and sometimes we miss the mark. It is pointless to beat yourself up for eating that piece of pie!

Instead, I have found that it is better to get right back on the plan. I review in my mind how I could have avoided the situation, and what would have been a better choice. For example, if went to a restaurant and had the Key Lime pie ( one of my favorites), I make a mental note to order fruit next time with the entree.

REWARD YOURSELF FOR ANY AND ALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

You lost 1 pound this week.

That is a big accomplishment in my book! It is better than to gain a pound. You might be tempted to bemoan the seemingly small loss, but don’t. It calls for a celebration!

The question is – what will you choose as the reward? Instead of a cookie- what about a massage, or a pedicure – no calories!.

Healthy eating in retirement is a choice that we can make.It does take some planning, and lots of determination, however, it not impossible.

Granted- it is a daily process.However, using these strategies will make it more manageable, and ultimately more attainable.

I would like to hear your tips for healthy eating.Let me know what works, or does not work for you.

Hanna

IS YOUR SLEEP REFRESHING?

Hello again:

Isn’t it annoying when you have trouble sleeping? Roughly 30 percent of adults in the USA experience some type of sleep problem. There are numerous types of sleep disorders that could be leading you to have less than desirable sleep, which in turn will lead to poor health.

Let me name just a few:
1. Insomnia
2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
3. Narcolepsy

sleep

INSOMNIA
This is one of the most common sleep disorders for a retiree to experience.If you have ever experienced it you will remember the trouble you had falling asleep,or staying asleep.You know the tossing and turning, watching the clock, staring at the ceiling, counting sheep or trying any other method that you think may work.

Insomnia may be acute i.e. of short duration, or chronic lasting over a longer period of time- typically 3 or more nights per week.

What is the cause of Insomnia? It could stem from medications ( many retirees take several medications that could be the culprit); or a change in location ( e.g. you are travelling and in a strange hotel bed); or you could be anxious about an unresolved issue; or perhaps your internal clock ( circadian rhythm) is out of sync.

If Insomnia continues you could have chronic fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, and mood changes.

OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA

This is another sleep problem that according to the Mayo clinic, is a potentially serious sleep disorder. Breathing stops and starts while the person is asleep.The tongue blocks the airway and cuts off breathing temporarily.I believe most of us know someone who snores loudly then suddenly the sound stops, and you wait anxiously to hear them take another breath.Quite scary!

The individual will feel tired, and lackluster the next day even after a full night’s sleep.

NARCOLEPSY

Reportedly there are approximately 100,000 Americans who suffer from this dangerous disorder. The individual will fall asleep almost instantly no matter where they are! This is truly dangerous because it could be that they are operating equipment, or driving a car.

According to the National Institutes of health “Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep wake cycles.” These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds or a few minutes.

Narcolepsy is a worldwide problem affecting both men and women alike.It is a lifelong condition that is generally under diagnosed.

While I was in the work world, I did observe a few people who had this condition. I recall one individual who tended to sleep at her desk, and in meetings.Thankfully her supervisor had the wisdom to recommend that she should see her doctor.This led to a happy ending because she was diagnosed and treated quickly.

FOLLOW UP AND TREATMENT

Sleep disorders can be of short duration or can be a chronic problem. They stem from a number of causes, including brain dysfunction, medications or sleep pattern disturbances.

Whatever the cause, they can result in the individual feeling tired, irritable, with poor concentration,or other symptoms.

If you or someone you know have experienced any of these symptoms, it is very important to see your doctor asap. Sleep is such an important part of our lives, that a refreshing night’s sleep can energize the whole body. On the contrary, poor sleep can leave us feeling worn and torn.

Please share your experiences about any sleep related problems, and any solutions that helped you to overcome them.

Have a good night’s rest!

Hanna

How to set new goals in 2015.

 

Hello again:

Want to perk up your days in 2015? Want to have a healthier mind and body?  Why not learn a new skill?

The experts tell us that it is so important for us to keep our minds sharp, and healthy by engaging it in new activities that will challenge our thinking processes.

I know that you must have that one activity that you have been hesitant to try because of fear, lack of opportunity, cost, or any number of real or imagined obstacles. I know I have!

It could very well be a hobby that you enjoyed earlier in life, but could not make the time for it with a busy work schedule. What about gardening, or crocheting?

That brings to mind other interesting things like sewing, doing crossword puzzles, or writing.

Have you mastered the Internet, or just want to learn more about it ? What about social media? What is your comfort level with Facebook, Twitter, or You Tube? Could it be that technology (including smart phones) leave you cold?

Let’s face it. Retirement today looks far different from retirement 20 or even 10 years ago. Those of us who are retired expect to keep on living life to the fullest, as God blesses us.

Many retirees are learning new job skills, and some are choosing to retire much later in life than the traditional age of 65 years. Some are starting new businesses, travelling to exotic destinations, or learning a new language.

If you are healthy the sky is the limit! Even if you have health issues, you are still able to do more than a retiree of yesteryear.How many times do you see retirees in wheelchairs travelling by air, car,or boat? I know more than one retiree who travels yearly to visit family and friends, or to attend church activities.

I am challenging you to set new goals, or to revise those that you never accomplished!

Here is my list of 2015 goals: Losing 20 pounds, travelling to Europe and the Caribbean, more proficiency with technology, learning to swim( for real this time), and setting aside more time for religious, and charitable activities.

What are your goals? I encourage you to write them down.In addition, determine a timeline to begin, and the resources that you will need in order to be successful.

I would love to hear your goals for 2015, and how you plan to accomplish them. Here’s to a healthy retirement in 2015!

Hanna

 

 

 

How to conquer stress: 5 things a retiree can do today.

 

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Everyone has heard about stress, and everyone has experienced stress at some point in their lives.It does not matter where you live today, there are always opportunities to experience stress.We have all felt the knot in our stomachs, the pounding heartbeat, sweating palms, and sometimes shaking knees!

What has been your experience? Do you get headaches, have stomach pains, or did you holler at Fido for no reason? Welcome to the human race of the 21st century!

Stress that is short lived is not usually the problem. It is the chronic, unrelenting stress that your doctor will say has the potential to lead to physical and emotional illnesses.These could include high blood pressure, depression, or other disorders.

Even good things could lead to stress. Are you planning a wedding, starting a new job, or moving to a larger and better home? These positive experiences if handled incorrectly, can lead to stress and it’s negative consequences.

According to the Mayo clinic, ” …the brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones to fuel your capacity for a response”.

Here are five sure fire ways to combat stress:

1. Know yourself and be aware of your possible reactions to certain situations. For example,if the driver in front of you cuts you off,or the sales clerk is rude, you will have a reaction whether verbalized or not.You have a choice of how you will allow their actions to affect you.

Your mother was right in telling you to count to 10 before responding.That short amount of time can give you some space to decide what you will do.You need a few seconds to consciously consider the annoyance for what it is.

I tell myself that most likely I will never see the driver that cut me off again in life. Is it worth it to get agitated, and angry? Road rage could have serious long term consequences!

2. Taking deep breaths can definitely help you to fight stress. Deep breathing will  help to decrease you heart rate and blood pressure. When you are stressed, your body is in a flight or fight mode which tends to increase your blood pressure. This increase, if chronic, could lead to serious health complications.

3. Get help or support for more long term stress such as dealing with divorce, financial setbacks, or unresolved family issues.
Consider the help of a trained counselor, minister, financial advisor or a trusted friend.

4. Be active and participate in an exercise program.As retirees, we have been told that exercise done at least three days per week can prevent the debilitating effects of aging, and it can also help to decrease stress.

I recommend an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, bike riding, or any activity that is first approved by your doctor.

I attend an exercise class at my local gym which is specially geared to seniors. It is fun, and it gets me moving!

5. Healthy eating is another way to help your body fight the effects of stress. This is an area that most of us struggle with daily, however, we must make a conscious effort to be aware of everything that we eat.

Personally, I find that now that I am retired, it is easier to cook my own meals than when I had a full time job.This allows me to know exactly what is in the foods that I eat especially the sodium level.

It helps me to write down what I have eaten for the day. On the days that I do not write it down, I mentally try to recall what I ate for each meal. If I ate a healthy meal, I commend myself. If I splurged, I encourage myself to improve the next day.

An important goal of healthy retirement is to improve our health by adding more fresh fruits,  vegetables, and whole grain to our diets, and to eat in moderation. The things we need to decrease or eliminate include fried and processed food, salt, and sugar.

It is a good practice to consult with a nutritionist who understands your medical condition, and health needs.

Stress is an ongoing part of our lives whether we are retired or not. Developing strategies to help you to combat this all too common issue will help you to have a healthy retirement.

How do you handle stress? Share your experiences and thoughts so that we can all benefit from what worked for you and what has not.

Hanna