Feb 27 2013

Life's Little Health Dilemmas

Some of the biggest health dilemmas are answered by the experts who tell us the best ways to handle them:

1. Indulging at a restaurant - bread or dessert? Once people make the choice to have the bread they are subconsciously choosing to let the whole meal go and they ultimately end up eating dessert too. If you save it for dessert (eating clean the whole meal before and skipping the bread), you'll save a ton of calories.

2. Stressed about your to-do list? Should you tackle the biggest or the smallest item first? You need something positive - So pick something, but not the biggest or the most difficult; instead, something that can realistically be tackled and done. Then congratulate yourself for doing that and pick another, then another, then another.

3. We all know how important sleep and exercise are for our health -- so if you got a bad night's rest, is it better to sleep in for an extra hour, or push through your morning workout? One of the most important recovery, mental and immune system boosting activities for the human body is sleep. If you're short on sleep, you experience higher levels of inflammation and a decrease in the hormones that help you lose fat and stabilize your appetite. For this reason, you should never sacrifice sleep to exercise -- as you're likely to put your body into an unhealthy state.  

4. Ideally we'd be prepared -- but if you're stuck in an all-morning meeting and the only food choice is a pastry, is it better to eat it or skip breakfast? SKIP IT. There is nothing actually filling about a pastry -- no fiber, no water -- so it wouldn't help my hunger. In fact, many times eating something high in sugar like this will lead to an energy crash, so I wouldn't be full and it makes me tired.

5. Pounding headache? A weird pain in your side? When you have an unusual system, is it a good idea to Google your symptoms to be a better informed patient, or does searching the internet only lead to problems? So, yes -- Google your symptoms.  But do so reasonably, and humbly.  Reasonably means prioritize credible sites- not those devoted to conspiracy theories.  One very good portal is healthfinder.gov.  Humbly means to remember that an hour of Internet surfing is NOT a substitute for four years of medical school and several more of residency training.  So, use a Google search to generate good questions- but not to cultivate a passion for any given answer. Informed is empowered, and is much better than uninformed.  But misinformed and unwilling to recognize it may be the worst of all.  

-Amy

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