Posts tagged with "type 2 diabetes"

Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: to live your healthiest life by Greg Macpherson for use by 360 Magazine

Reversing the Aging Process At A Cellular Level

By: Greg Macpherson, pharmacist, author, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging

You might think that the occasional gray hair, fine line and wrinkle starting to stare back at you in the mirror is a sign that time is starting to have its impact felt, but these visible changes as we age are just a symptom of what has been going on at a cellular level inside your body for decades. We all know that you can’t change time, but recent advances in our understanding of aging at a cellular level mean that in the not too distant future we will be able to change the impact that time has on our cells.

And it’s about time. Right now, despite the decades and billions of dollars that have gone and continue to go into attempting to understand and solve the diseases associated with advancing age like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease, we have not made the progress we should.

Researchers are now starting to ask the question – what if we change track and seek to understand the aging process? By slowing aging, we not only spend decades longer in good health, but we push the diseases associated with old age down the road–possibly avoiding them all together.

 Why We Decline with Age

With better questions come better answers, progress, and breakthroughs. Nearly a decade ago, in the absence of a single theory regarding aging, scientists reached a consensus on nine key areas of our cells that decline in function as we age. These key areas are called the nine hallmarks of aging, and they all have something in common. If you make them worse, you age faster. If you make them better, you slow the aging process down.

Identifying the hallmarks of aging has given researchers cellular targets to focus on, and has unleashed an incredible amount of human capital focused on solving, or at least reducing, the ravages of aging on our bodies. Researchers armed with tens of billions of dollars in research grants and private equity are now racing to find the answers. And the prize is huge–resolving the aging process, deferring the diseases of older age and extending the time we spend in middle age in good health by decades will transform humanity and will both disrupt and create a trillion dollar industry overnight.

Progress is being made at an accelerating rate, and there are now therapies that have  been proven in mice models that are now making their way into clinical studies. Rapamycin, a pharmaceutical that is typically used for organ transplant recipients, because of its ability to help the body avoid rejecting the organ, is now understood to extend life in mice by up to 60%. Senolytics, molecules that help the body identify and remove senescent cells that increasingly accumulate as we age and literally poison the healthy cells that surround them, have extended life in mice by up to 30%. Metformin, a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes has been identified to significantly reduce cancer rates and extend life.

And these are just a few of the compounds that have been identified that shift the effect of time on our bodies. These and more molecules being developed right now, plus strategies for healthy aging that have been identified from the blue zones around the world where people live to 100 and beyond at a much higher rate than the rest of us, are amongst the many healthy aging strategies that I featured in my book, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging, to Live Your Healthiest Life.”

As a pharmacist with 30 years of experience, I have spent the last decade working in the biotechnology arena associated with anti-aging, translating the complex world of anti-aging science to make it available for the rest of us. By understanding the nine hallmarks of aging­–adopting simple strategies from the blue zones, and sharing the breakthrough molecules that have not been available to humans in previous generations– I’ve put together a step-by-step, healthy aging strategy. We can all adopt  this strategy and, in the process, significantly alter our aging trajectory and making healthy aging much more of a certainty.

Why DNA Matters

One example of a hallmark of aging is “genomic instability,” which is another way of saying that the negative changes to our DNA in our cells that happen as we age. Your DNA is your cellular instruction set and defines what it means to be a human versus every other living species on our planet. Your DNA is responsible for the difference between a skin cell and a heart cell, a neuron and an insulin producing cell.

Your DNA are molecules that sit at the center of almost every single cell in your body, helping it function, live and thrive. Your DNA does this in an incredibly hostile environment as it deals with the external stress of pollution, mutagenic foods and chemicals, UV light and X-rays, and the internal insults of oxidative stress. Due to these factors your DNA is damaged between 50,000 and 100,000 times per day, per cell.

Because of the importance of having a healthy instruction set, your cells spend a huge amount of resource on the repair and maintenance of your DNA and as we age, and this process starts to decline, which has significant effect on the health of your cells. Take a quick look at the back of your hand compared to the skin on the inside of your wrist to get a sense of the difference between cells exposed to UV damage that hits your DNA.

DNA damage is happening right now in every cell in your body, and over time it affects the ability of your cells to function effectively. Starting as early as your 30s, by supporting DNA repair and maintenance through making lifestyle changes and by taking molecules, like hobamine, NMN and apigenin, as outlined in my book, it can help your body keep your DNA and the other hallmarks of aging in good shape. By following the roadmap of this breakthrough strategy in a healthy aging, you will age better than previous generations have ever been able to achieve.

Biography

Greg Macpherson is a pharmacist, entrepreneur and author of, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: To Live Your Healthiest Life.” For more than a decade, he has been working in the biotechnology sector, specifically focusing on the aging process at the cellular level. This work led him to discover ways to harness the nine identified, scientific hallmarks of aging, which is the premise of his book that addresses the natural aging process, how to age more favorably and simple strategies to slow the aging process and build a functional longevity plan. Beyond theory and concept, Macpherson has used his entrepreneurial spirit to further develop solutions to this new paradigm of aging, described in his book, by launching SRW Laboratories, a science and research based company that curates the latest biotechnology research to formulate natural products designed to help slow the onset of aging and disease, and develop evidence based solutions for those who are experiencing age-related health concerns. SRW, which stands for Science, Research and Wellness, is Macpherson’s natural world laboratory that will develop the preventative formulas from nature required to slow down the aging process based on the nine hallmarks of aging, which include mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere attrition and cellular senescence, to name a few. With aging being the single biggest risk factor for developing disease, Macpherson’s mission to slow the aging process at a cellular level could help millions of people delay the onset of diseases associated with advanced aging like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
greg macpherson headshot for use by 360 Magazine

health

UVA Tests Different Approach to Managing Type 2 Diabetes

A researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine is testing what he calls a “radically different” approach to managing type 2 diabetes for those who can’t or don’t want to lose weight.

Daniel Cox, PhD, professor of psychiatry and internal medicine, said his program “flies in the face of conventionality” in that it doesn’t insist on weight loss as a key component of controlling blood sugar. Instead, it combines continuous glucose monitoring with well-informed eating choices, to understand the effect of different foods on blood-sugar levels, and well-timed exercise, to reduce those levels as needed.

“The convention is ‘lose weight.’ And if you lose weight, you lose belly fat, and if you lose belly fat, you lose adipose tissue in the liver. And that, in turn, reduces insulin resistance,” Cox said. “That’s all fine and good. And if you can, in fact, lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off for a long time – a lifetime – you’re golden. You can even put diabetes in remission. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, and it’s a very effective approach. But some people don’t need to lose weight, and some people don’t want to lose weight, and other people want to lose weight but they can’t, or they can’t keep it off for a lifetime.”

A Different Take on Diabetes Management

Cox’s approach relies on continuous glucose monitoring to help people understand how their food choices affect their blood sugar. Different foods may affect people differently, he notes.medicine

Continuous glucose monitoring involves wearing a sensor on the back of the arm that continually sends a signal to a receiver that shows the person’s blood glucose level, without the need for fingersticks. Continuous glucose monitoring lets people see how a particular food affects their blood-glucose levels, whether it’s a sugary slice of cake or a seemingly healthy bowl of oatmeal, Cox said. Understanding that lets them make smart choices to keep their blood sugar under control.

If they do choose to indulge in a sugar-spiking food, the program encourages them to use light exercise, such as walking, to help bring their blood sugar back into check.

“This is the innovation: One, you dampen how much [blood sugar] goes up by minimizing the amount of carbohydrate you eat, and, two, you hasten its recovery by becoming more physically active,” Cox said. “Physical activity does two things: One, the skeletal muscle burns blood glucose as fuel, and, two, physical activity reduces your insulin resistance for a short period of time, about 24 hours.”

“Instead of fixing supper and having a great dinner and then plopping in front of the TV for the rest of the night, the alternative is becoming more physically active,” Cox said. “Do your shopping after you eat, walk the dog after you eat, clean your house after you eat.”

About the Diabetes Clinical Trial

Cox, of UVA’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, is testing his approach in small clinical trials at UVA, West Virginia University and the University of Colorado. Each site is recruiting four people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who have not yet begun taking medication. The participants will be provided with a treatment manual, continuous glucose monitors and activity/sleep trackers. Trial organizers will then check in with them virtually over several weeks to see how well the approach keeps their blood sugar under control.

The study is the latest in a series evaluating the approach. Cox said he has been encouraged by previous results but notes that “there’s no one approach that works for everybody.”

“In our 12-month follow-up study, slightly over half of participants – 52 percent of people – we would still classify as responders, meaning they’re having a significant benefit,” he said.

For the right people, he said, the approach may offer a way to control blood sugar without medication or with less medication, while still allowing flexibility in dietary choices. “We’re not asking for radical changes in lifestyle,” he said. “We’re asking for modest changes in lifestyle that directly impact blood sugar.”

For More Information

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

6 Therapies To Alleviate Pain Linked To Diabetes And Other Health Issues

The complications associated with diabetes are many, and chronic pain is common for many who suffer from the disease – especially back pain.

Most adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and almost half suffer neck pain. Usually, an injury or other musculoskeletal issue is associated with either affliction, although on occasion a disease may be linked to the problem as well.

Just as an example of the latter, researchers at the University of Sydney recently found that diabetics are at significantly higher risk of lower back pain and neck pain. While the report couldn’t establish a causal relationship between type 2 diabetes and back or neck pain, the research team pointed to preventable problems, such as obesity and lack of exercise, as contributing factors.

But whatever the source of any neck or back problem, finding that underlying cause is key to developing a treatment program that can both alleviate the pain and act as a form of prevention, says Dr. Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com).

“Most patients have a combination of problems causing their pain,” Butler says. “It’s very rare that just one thing needs to be treated.

“It doesn’t make sense to treat just the symptoms and not fix what is causing them. Many people, however, aren’t getting the correct therapy, so to them it’s no longer fixable. But it is – as well as preventable in the future with the right therapy.”

Butler has tips on treatments that can heal neck and back pain:

  • Acupuncture. Like chiropractic, acupuncture is a mystery to many people. “Its roots are deep in health and healing, and not in back pain alone,” Butler says. “More and more medical research is showing how incredibly effective it can be. Some studies show that it’s more effective than pain medications, and acupuncture produces actual results – it doesn’t just mask the symptoms.”
  • Chiropractic care. This a popular way to solve joint problems associated with almost all back and neck problems. “A spinal adjustment is the safest and most effective way to mobilize the joints,” Butler says. “Flexibility and range of motion of the affected segments is increased, disc circulation is improved and nerves function better.”
  • Massage therapy. “Massage is a powerful healing tool,” Butler says. “It helps to treat pain, inflammation, and spasm associated with back pain of all levels.” A highly trained massage therapist aids in breaking down scar tissue and increasing blood flow to the affected area, which accelerates healing while aiding the body in lymphatic drainage.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. There are two different types of muscles that control the spine: voluntary and involuntary. “Voluntary muscles control global movements of your entire spine or region, movements such as bending and turning,” Butler says. “Involuntary muscles are controlled directly by the brain and central nervous system. Neuromuscular reeducation uses specific exercises and movements to stimulate your brain to retrain these involuntary muscles and make a better connection.”
  • Physical therapy. “Physical therapy helps increase range of motion, strengthens the spine against injury, and improves posture and gait,” Butler says. “Some people think about physical therapy only as it pertains to post-injury, post-surgical recovery, but it’s also critical to longevity.”
  • Spinal decompression. “This therapy has been a game-changer in the treatment of patients with back pain who have degenerated, bulging, or herniated discs,” Butler says. “It’s the most advanced nonsurgical treatment for discs. It can be used for discs in the neck or lower back.”

“Singular treatments rarely work,” Butler says. “A properly designed plan should include multiple therapies for most people if the goal is to fix the problem.”

Four Prediabetes Predicaments

The Common Obstacles

You May Encounter(and Solutions for Overcoming Them)

When prediabetes threatens your healthy future, it’s up to you to reset your lifestyle.

But unforeseen obstacles could derail your progress. Here, I explain the HURDLE method and offer solutions for four obstacles you might face along your journey to better health.

Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide

If you have prediabetes or have been told that you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you probably know that now is the best time to take action to improve your health. And hopefully you are already working on developing some habits and setting goals to get your health under control. But new habits are tenuous and can be easily broken. It’s normal to worry that an obstacle could derail your progress and send you back into your old unhealthy (and potentially dangerous) routine.

Obstacles are always lurking anytime you’re trying to adopt healthier habits. To be successful with your lifestyle reset, you will need to anticipate obstacles and have a plan to overcome them.

To do this, I advise brainstorming as many solutions as possible, including thinking of out-of-the-box solutions.

Eventually, looking for impediments to your success will become second nature. But when starting out, I recommend using the HURDLE method to overcome obstacles.

The HURDLE method is defined here:

H: How is your upcoming schedule different? Think about your day and look at your calendar for appointments and activities. Is there something unusual or at an unusual time?

U: Understand how these events, appointments, or obligations could derail you from your healthy lifestyle goals. Will something prevent you from eating a meal, getting to exercise class on time, or getting to bed at the usual hour? Will someone else be in charge of your meals or your schedule?

R: Record your options. Brainstorm and write down every possible solution, even the silly ones.

D: Decide on a solution. Pick one or more realistic options from your list of possible solutions.

L: List the steps. Record everything that you must do to make this solution work. Include if you need to buy things, wake up early, change your schedule, ask for help, etc.

E: Exercise your choice and Evaluate it. Carry out your selected option. Make notes about how it went, what you learned, and what you will do differently next time.

Often, the best solutions to problems are the ones you figure out on your own. At the same time, there are some common obstacles most of us run into, and it can be helpful to have some time-tested solutions for how to tackle these obstacles. Here are some common roadblocks and solutions for overcoming each.

OBSTACLE: You’re Too Busy for Breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast can kick-start your good eating choices for the day and give you the energy for physical activity. But between getting the kids ready for school, taking the dog for a morning walk, trying to get out the door, running your morning errands, and getting to work, you may struggle to find time to eat a nutritious meal. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Find a few grab-and-go options. Some options include:

Whole-wheat tortilla with reduced-fat cheese heated in the microwave

Whole-wheat waffle with peanut butter

Greek yogurt and fruit smoothie

Overnight oats with strawberries and blueberries

Tuna sandwich

Cook oatmeal or egg-and-vegetable muffins on the weekend. Grab a single serving each morning.

Take a week’s worth of breakfast food to the office on Monday. Prepare and eat your breakfast at work. A few good choices are cottage cheese with fruit and muesli, yogurt with fruit and dry cereal, and an English muffin with almond butter and banana.

Ask a family member to prepare your breakfast. Maybe someone in your household has a little extra time in the mornings or they’re already making themselves breakfast.

OBSTACLE: There’s Too Much Tempting Food at Work

You’re working to take control of what you eat but find yourself backsliding at the office. It’s a common problem. Many people stay stressed-out or frantically busy at work, and they cope by reaching for unhealthy treats. Maybe you’ve had a rough day and your manager just bought a whole box of doughnuts to share with the team. Or perhaps it’s your officemate’s birthday and everyone brought in delicious treats to share (with very few healthy options). How can you resist?

Create a rule with exceptions. An important purpose of establishing “food rules” is to free you from an internal argument of should I or shouldn’t I. But occasionally allowing for an exception to the rule helps you stay on track. These exceptions need to be created in advance and not on the fly. Making exceptions in the moment is the same as breaking your rules.

My own simple rule is that I do not eat office junk food unless it is so unusual that I’ll miss a unique experience. I had another rule for eight years in a different office that I dipped into the candy jar only on Wednesdays. I always had Wednesday to look forward to, and I never argued with myself on the other days.

Limit temptation to one area. Ask your officemates to keep tempting foods in only one spot. Try to avoid that one spot.

Ask coworkers if they also want to eliminate certain types of food from work. You might be pleasantly surprised. After all, you aren’t the only one who cares about what you eat.

Pack your coffee in a thermal container. By bringing your coffee with you, you can avoid the junk food in the office kitchen when you need a coffee refill.

OBSTACLE: You’re at a Party Full of Unhealthy Foods and Drinks

You don’t want to blow all of your progress at a party. Success starts with intention, so avoid the temptation to simply wing it. Do some planning and strategizing in advance. Also, resist the temptation to avoid parties altogether just because you fear that you will lapse from your health goals. Here are a few tips for staying on track.

Determine your trade-offs. Will you skip appetizers and starchy sides to enjoy a piece of birthday cake, or do you prefer a cocktail and an appetizer? It helps to make these decisions before heading out the door.

Be cautious with alcohol. Alcohol has a way of leading people to greater food temptations. Start with a low-calorie, non-alcoholic drink and have a second non-alcoholic beverage after you drink a cocktail or glass of wine.

Take the edge off your hunger before going to the party. There is usually no reason to pre-eat, which often results in eating too much overall. But if you feel uncomfortably hungry when you’re teased with an abundance of party food, you will likely find it hard to hold control.

It’s okay to enter a party with a normal appetite. But if you need a small snack first, choose something healthful and filling like an apple, an orange, or a glass of vegetable juice. At the party, take your first bites of lower-calorie foods like fresh fruits and veggies or steamed shrimp.

Be active. If dancing or playing games is part of the party, join in.

Bring a healthful dish to share. If you know you’ll be tempted by a table full of cakes, cookies, and glazed meatballs, opt to bring a healthier dish that you can share with the group, like a veggie tray with hummus or fruit skewers.

Distract yourself. Keep yourself occupied with conversation and other non-food activities.

Avoid the buffet. When you’ve had enough to eat, position yourself far from the food.

Remind yourself of your new habits. Remember that just because you’ve always indulged in party food, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change that.

OBSTACLE: Vacation Disrupts Your Healthy Routines

Vacation doesn’t mean that you should give yourself a free pass. Avoid the mentality that you deserve unhealthful eating because you’re on vacation. Really, no one deserves unhealthful eating. Everyone deserves to eat healthfully, and everyone deserves just a bit of not-so-nutritious food tossed into the mix for a little extra fun.

Pack food for the trip. If you are traveling by car, use a cooler and fill it with fruit, veggies, yogurt, low-fat cheese and cottage cheese, vegetable juice, hard-boiled eggs, and a turkey or tuna sandwich. Whether you have a cooler or not, you can still carry nuts, dried fruit, some fresh fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, and granola bars or fiber-rich cereal bars.

Be prepared for plane travel. If you are traveling by plane, pack a small amount of perishable food in a plastic bag. Keep it cold with ice in a separate plastic bag. Airport security will probably want you to get rid of the ice before you go through screening. Once you’re through security, stop by a food vendor and kindly ask to refill your plastic bag with more ice.

Stock up on healthy choices. Once you’re at your destination, stock up on additional wholesome options. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, keep a small amount of perishable food fresh with ice and an ice bucket. Or pack a collapsible vinyl cooler in your luggage for use while away.

Snack only on fruit.

Apples and bananas are great choices to carry in your purse or backpack. Or you can find fresh fruit at any grocery store and even at many convenience stores, gas stations, or coffee shops while you’re on the road.

Search for healthy dining options.

Ask locals for restaurant ideas and search menus online before going out to eat.

Walk whenever possible. Opt for a walking tour instead of a bus tour.

Stay hydrated. Carry a refillable water bottle and be sure to sip from it frequently.

Find a local gym. You may be able to get in a gym workout even while on vacation. Call around to gyms in the area where you’ll be staying and ask if they have any weekly membership offers. Or stay in a hotel that has a gym.

Decide in advance what amount of treats is reasonable for you.

Is it a glass of wine a day? A couple of desserts over the week? Create your rules and exceptions, so you have a working blueprint to follow.

By using some of these tips when you find yourself facing one of these common obstacles, you can help guard yourself against a full-blown relapse and protect your health.

If you do have some setbacks along the way, shake them off. We all have them from time to time. Note them for what they are—little lapses that won’t have a big impact if they are few and far between. Recognize all the little changes you’ve made that add up to something bigger—better health and wellness. So pat yourself on the back and soldier on.

Emotional Eating Contributing to Your Prediabetes?

Here Are Eight ADA-Approved Techniques to Break This Dangerous Habit

If you’ve got prediabetes, it’s time to adopt healthier eating habits. But emotional eating is one habit that could derail your progress and put you further at risk. Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide, offers tips to help you stop emotional eating today.

Arlington, VA (May 2018)—If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or have been told that you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you already know you’ve got to change your eating habits. But overhauling your diet is anything but easy—especially when you’re feeling hurt, sad, mad, lonely, or aggravated. If you turn to food when you’re stressed or unhappy, you could be damaging your health with emotional eating.

“Plenty of people who try to adopt healthier eating habits often find themselves waylaid by emotional eating,” says Jill Weisenberger, who partnered with the American Diabetes Association to write Prediabetes: A Complete Guide: Your Lifestyle Reset to Stop Prediabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses (American Diabetes Association, May 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40674-1, $16.95). “Digging into a carton of ice cream or bag of chips when you’re feeling down can quickly derail your health goals. And for the 84 million American adults with prediabetes, emotional eating can be especially dangerous to your health.”

Weisenberger says it can be hard to break the habit of emotional eating, because psychology and biology are both at play. People reach for “feel-good” foods like Mom’s cookies or a cheesy casserole. Additionally, stress hormones crank up the appetite, and eating releases the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Often, a psychotherapist skilled in working with people with disordered eating is the ideal person to help you. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral if you think a psychotherapist can help you.

Despite these challenges, you can learn to stop emotional eating with practice and diligence. Are you ready to break free of emotional eating and move one step closer to reclaiming your health? Here are a few techniques that may help you on your journey.

Keep a log. Record your food intake for a week or two. Track what you’re eating along with your mood. This process may help you find choice points in which you can learn to change your thinking and behavior and teach you to identify your breaking points long before you break.

“Consider keeping a photo log,” suggests Weisenberger. “If you’re about to eat, snap a picture. Do this for a week to see in color the choices you’ve been making.”

Notice and label your emotions. Having negative emotions isn’t usually bad. In fact, having negative emotions is actually normal. But taking a deep dive into a bag of salty, crunchy snacks because of negative emotions is unhelpful in the long run.

“Practice noticing and labeling your emotions,” says Weisenberger. “Are you sad, anxious, lonely, or mad? Naming them and observing them without judgment will help you learn about them. Many people find that journaling about their emotions is helpful.”

Imagine handling emotional situations. In your mind, practice responding to common triggers in ways that don’t lead you to overeating. Think about what you can do next time you feel overwhelmed with household chores or the next time you argue with your spouse or whatever situation leads you to eat emotionally. Over and over in your mind, practice acting in desirable ways. “Here again,” says Weisenberger, “many people find journaling enlightening and empowering.”

Create a plan. After imagining responding in positive ways, create a plan for difficult situations. If you need distractions, gather things to help you, such as puzzle books, adult coloring books, nail polish, a list of people to call, or a list of activities such as soaking in a bath or playing with your dog.

“If you know that exercise or meditation help you cope with strong emotions, plan to take at least five minutes for meditation or exercise,” says Weisenberger. “You may need more than one plan to address various situations.”

Practice non-food coping skills. Regularly soothe yourself without calories. Every day, take time for soothing enjoyment, so when the time comes, you have an arsenal of coping strategies at the ready. Some ideas include taking deep-breathing breaks, using adult coloring books, writing in a journal, listening to soothing or uplifting music, chatting with a friend, buying yourself flowers, or soaking in a hot tub.

“I regularly play with my dog, Benny, a perpetual puppy,” says Weisenberger. “I also call and text my daughters, spend quiet time drinking tea or coffee with my husband, take five-minute breaks outside, and sit alone sipping a warm and fragrant tea from a beautiful cup. How you choose to soothe yourself is as individual as you are.”

Adopt a morning ritual. A morning ritual potentially has the power to affect your entire day. A ritual is different from a routine in that a ritual holds a deeper meaning. A few examples are:

• Express gratitude in thoughts, a journal, or aloud.

• Reaffirm your goals in writing or aloud.

• Practice yoga, meditation, or prayer.

• Watch a sunrise.

• Visualize good things happening in your day.

• Recite affirmations or a mantra.

Build in food treats. Whatever food you reach for in times of stress probably has some special meaning to you. Is it chocolate, macaroni and cheese, pizza, or hot-from-the-oven cookies? Whatever it is, be sure to have some now and then. Not as a reward, but simply because you like the way it tastes. Practice enjoying this favorite food in a reasonable amount, perhaps as part of a balanced meal. Simply removing a food’s taboo label can be helpful. In this way, you are learning that it’s okay to treat yourself and removing the notion of treats as cheats. We all deserve treats, but cheat days are the wrong mindset.

Create a personal wellness vision and review it often. A personal wellness vision is a concrete and motivating picture of you being healthy, feeling healthy, and living a healthful life. Imagine yourself at your ideal level of well-being. How do you feel? Look? Act? Write down what this looks like for you. This vision will help you identify what is important to you.

“After creating your vision, be sure to regularly look it over! It’s easy to forget what really matters when you’re under stress or running in crisis mode. But knowing—and remembering—what’s really important steers you to appropriate actions.”

“Reaching for food to manage your emotions can be a very hard habit to break,” concludes Weisenberger. “Become aware of times when you look to food to soothe you, calm you down, or help you avoid your feelings. When you recognize that you’ve been eating with your emotions, you can change the behavior and continue striving toward your health goals.”

You can visit Jill Weisenberger’s website here