Archive for May, 2010

Sleep – are you getting enough?

May 31, 2010

Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night helps you to lose weight, look younger, feel better, and do better with memory, focus and willpower says Daniel G. Amen, M.D. in the book Change Your Brain Change Your Body.
This is a great book if you want to improve your life by changing your mind, and we can all do this if we choose to.
Here is a summary from the chapter on sleep:
2009 Sleep in America Poll:
– 20% of people get less than 6 hrs of sleep
– 28% of people get a good 8 hrs of sleep
– Temporary sleep issues affect almost everyone
– Sleep deprived people are twice as likely to eat sugary foods & simple carbs and skip breakfast which affects blood sugar which leads to poor choices all day

Sleep requirements for adults: 7-8 hrs
National Sleep Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Losing sleep can make people fat:
– University of Chicago study
– People who are sleep deprived eat more simple carbs
– More of hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite
– Less of hormone leptin which tells the brain you are full

Sleeping more helps with weight loss in a Glamour magazine study:
– 7 women slept 7&1/2 hrs for 10 weeks – lost 6 to 15 pounds

Sleep does more for your skin than cosmetics – younger, smoother, refreshed
Adequate sleep:
– Promotes good brain activity – memory, willpower, and focus
– Boosts athletic performance – better motor function & learning
– Improves mood and energy for socializing

Tips to help you go to sleep & stay asleep:
– maintain a regular sleep schedule
– create a soothing routine that encourages sleep
– read – avoid action packed or horror stories
– avoid naps
– sound therapy – nature sounds, music, fan
– drink warm milk with pure vanilla and stevia
– take electronic equipment out of the bedroom
– avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
– exercise but not within 4 hours of going to bed
– avoid caffeine, chocolate, nicotine & alcohol
– avoid checking the clock if you wake in the night
– use the bedroom for sleep & sex – if you wake up go to another room
Change Your Brain Change Your Body is published by Harmony Books New York.


Cancer prevention

May 22, 2010

If 5 to 15% of cancers are genetic, that leaves 85% or more cancers which are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. If we want to prevent cancer, our best bet is to focus on being healthy instead of focusing on the fear of getting cancer.

Our bodies are assaulted every day by foreign chemicals in food, water, and air. We also make bad chemicals inside our bodies when we have negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, worry, and negative stress. Our job is to provide a balance so our bodies can function properly and recover from these assaults.

If we want to prevent cancer or any other condition such as diabetes or heart disease, we need to focus on doing what it takes to be well. If we are in our best possible state of wellness, these diseases will be kept under control and we can live in good health for the most part.

I took my health for granted before I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986 and colon and skin cancer in 1987. I figured that I was too young to get cancer, and I would pay more attention to my health as I got older.

I’ve learned that the effort to be well is less than the effort required to be ill. Since I’m a bit lazy it suits me fine now to put my effort, time, and money into wellness rather than illness.

Most people know what it takes to be well – the trick is to want to do it enough to make some simple lifestyle choices. There are 4 areas which form the basic pillars of wellness: healthy eating, regular activity, adequate sleep & deep relaxation, and good stress management. Any one can choose to improve their wellness if they make it a priority.

Making healthy lifestyle choices is simple and with a coach it can also be easy. Support systems make the difference between success and the need to try again. Coaches can be friends, family or professional wellness coaches.

I learned much from having cancer and I want to share what I’ve learned with people who want to improve their wellness. My coaching business is called Start Here and Go Forward because I think it’s important to focus on where you’re at right now and where you want to go. If you want to Start Here and Go Forward to wellness, I will be your partner in health.

How I Kicked Cancer’s Ass

May 17, 2010

Congratulations to Meaghan for creating I Kicked Cancer’s Ass! I don’t usually use that word in public, but then I’ve been quiet about a lot of things for a long time. I kicked 3 types of cancer in 1987 and have been cancer free since then. Woohoo – that’s 23 great years of appreciating my life like I never did before cancer.
This is my story which was posted to Meaghan’s blog on how I learned to kick cancer:
I was preparing myself to die with breast, colon, & skin cancer in 1987, and I’m so thankful to the people around me who helped me to change my mind. I did a lot of work myself, but my support team helped to make it easy for me.

If you have cancer and you want to kick its ass – get a support team to help you as it’s very tough to do this alone. If you know someone with cancer who wants to kick its ass, then whatever support you give them will make a big difference in how they’re able to live their life.

I was fortunate to have a wonderful health care team all through surgery and chemotherapy. My doctors were helpful and they inspired me to do everything I could to complement conventional medicine and help myself get well.

The Cancer Agency ran a support group where I learned to do meditation, visualization, guided imagery, deep breathing, and deep relaxation. My surgeon recommended a psychiatrist to help me deal with unfinished business, and a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course to help me deal with depression.

With love and support from family and friends, I learned how to manage my stress and change my diet and exercise pattern. Reading books, listening to tapes, and attending workshops taught me many other coping skills and bit by bit I built my road to health and wellness.

I’ve been an active member of the cancer community for many years now as a survivor, health care worker, and as a volunteer. It’s with sadness that I’ve seen many people die of cancer. If we don’t know cancer is there and we let it grow too long, it just takes over like an aggressive weed. When cancer is advanced it takes over our bodies and takes away our energy; with more cancer and less energy we have less chance of kicking it out.

I think the best defense is an offense; we need to be aware of our bodies and check out signs and symptoms when they begin. This way I hope more people will give cancer a swift kick, and take control of it before it controls them. Cancer is like a bully! When we let cancer have its way, it takes over our lives and even takes our lives for no good reason. When we stand up to cancer we at least have a chance of kicking it out of mind and out of sight. By focusing on being as well as we can possibly be, we improve our quality of life and possibly our quantity of life.

One day at a time, I give thanks for every day.

Here’s Meaghan’s contact info:




May 15, 2010

Simplicity seems to be a lost art in most busy lives today. It’s too bad because many people don’t have time or take the time to stop and notice what surrounds them. When we remember to do this, there’s always something interesting to see and if we’re lucky, something beautiful to lift our spirits.

People from many different spiritual beliefs promote “living in the moment”, “being present”, and “taking one day at a time”. This recurring theme seems to be an ideal way to live if we want to enjoy life. How many of us actually do this on a regular basis?

It takes so little time to stop, take a deep breath, and look around to take in where we are, what we’re doing, who’s there, and to relish the fact that we’re alive. When we actually do this though, we get more in touch with who we are and why we’re here.

When we think about who we are and why we’re here, then we’re better able to overcome negative details that can drag us down. Thinking about the bigger picture inspires us to keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving towards our ideal of what we want for ourselves.

The most important things in life start with simple things such as love for our selves and others. Please take the time today to acknowledge yourself for who you are and what you do to enjoy life. Happiness is the key to good health!

Breast cancer genetics

May 8, 2010

Thinking about daughters and genetics on Mother’s Day –

I read about this conference as a result of a link on Twitter:

The conference in Toronto sounds interesting, but I have alarm bells going off when I hear about women facing a “daily conflict” about telling daughters of their risk for breast cancer.

Daily conflicts are not healthy – if we pile more daily conflicts on top of all the other concerns we have when living with breast cancer, they will further damage our health.

I say learn about genetics if you can handle it, but not if it creates emotional pain which may affect your health and well being.

I think it’s important to remember that genetics are responsible for only 15% of cancers.

Some lifestyle choices – which we can control – are responsible for many more cancers than genetics. Taking charge of our lifestyle choices is empowering!

Women are disempowered when they think they have no control over their prognosis because of their genetic makeup.

Women need to be empowered in order to overcome breast cancer.

Women can protect their daughters by encouraging them to eat healthy food, be physically active, get enough sleep and deep relaxation, and manage their stress. Healthy habits make a difference!

I know because I had Stage II breast cancer in 1986. I’ve been cancer free since 1987 and I’ve done that by changing my lifestyle once treatment was over. I eat a low fat high fiber diet, walk every day, get enough sleep and deep relaxation, and manage my stress level. This is simple stuff, and if I can do it so can many others.

Cancer institutions tell us that 30 to 50% of cancers can be prevented. I believe you get what you focus on and this is what we need to focus on if we’re going to reduce the cancer rate in the next generation.

Peace of mind helps us to survive cancer. I believe that negative emotions and daily conflicts can ruin our health, so it’s important to work through them and move towards a healthier state of mind.

In the words of an old Chinese doctor: Happiness is the key to good health!