Monthly Archives: February 2015

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.

diet and lose weight

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!

Fruits...

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