Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

January 24, 2012

How to Burn Off Post-Holiday Weight Gain

One of the difficulties with post-holiday weight gain is that it happens to come about in the middle of winter. This is not an inspiring time to get out and move. The weather is often cold and wet, and the mornings and evenings are dark. It’s tempting just to hibernate and wait until spring to get in shape.

The trouble is that excess weight may get harder to lose the longer it’s on, and you might get used to it. So take advantage of the timing – it may be the middle of winter, but it’s a new year, and that’s a good time for a healthy weight loss program. Here are some tips for burning off that holiday weight.

Choose Your Exercise

During the winter, you may have to be more deliberate about exercising, but that doesn’t make it less important. If you can’t get outside for your usual walk or jog, try some of these options instead:

* Use a mini-trampoline, the sort that is only about three feet across, to jog in place. It’s easy on the joints, and the mini trampoline can be stored fairly easily. Some of these trampolines come with upper-body workout attachments and timers to track your progress.

* Take to the stairs! If you live in a ranch-style house, this may not be practical. But for those who have access to indoor stairs, you can design a workout around running up and down them. If you don’t have stairs, you can use blocks to mimic steps and do your workout accordingly. In fact, you can find videos online and in stores to help you design a stair-based workout.

Eat Well

* Spice up your meals with low-calorie, high-flavor foods. Think salsas and spicy peppers, and condiments like Dijon mustard and horseradish. Use these flavorful condiments as replacements for higher-calorie, higher-fat items like mayonnaise or cheese. Also, spicy foods may mean you’ll eat less, and studies have shown that some piquant condiments – mustard in particular – actually boost metabolism.

* Freeze leftovers, preferably in the basement in a deep freezer. No one likes to be tempted, but if you put all that holiday candy, fudge, cake, pie, casseroles, etc. in the freezer, it might well be out of sight and out of mind. And if you have to go down into a basement or out to the garage to get it, you may think twice before indulging that craving.

Another perk of freezing your leftovers is that you can dip into them slowly and carefully over the following months, making sure to share with friends and family. They can also make great “emergency meals” months down the road, when one fattening meal won’t set you back from your main goals. Speaking of goals…

* Sources say that making lots of little resolutions instead of one big one are best for weight loss goals. See if you can put together weekly goals that challenge you, but that still are reachable. You don’t want to get discouraged.

January 14, 2012

Stage of Labor – What to Expect

Labor is usually broken down into stages. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these stages so you’ll know what’s going on and what to expect. This helps prevent fear or panic from taking over. So here are some tips on what to expect during each stage.

Stage One: Contractions and Dilation

During this first stage, you will experience regular contractions that are moderate in strength. They may feel like great pressure across your abdomen, or like an over-sized menstrual cramp or ache. It will usually subside in less than 30 seconds, and in 5 to 10 minutes, you will probably experience another contraction. They may be farther apart or closer together – the sign, say experts, that you’re really in labor is the strength and regularity of the contractions.

What’s going on is this: each contraction thins and opens the cervix (the opening between the mouth of the womb and the vagina) a little bit more. This is known as dilation. Your healthcare provider will measure the progress of the dilation with an internal exam, and once the cervix is fully dilated, the second stage can begin.

Stage Two: Transition

Somewhere between Stage One and Stage Two is a phase known as transition, and this usually marks the beginning of Stage Two. There may be an actual pause in contractions toward the end of transition, where the labor seems to “hang” for a moment. You may feel giddy or feel like crying and laughing at the same time. You may feel shaky. It’s an intense time, and your body kicks in with all kinds of “feel good” hormones and chemicals like endorphins. If you are having an unmedicated labor, transition is often when your labor takes on a dream-like state and you may not remember all of what happens afterward.

Stage Two labor involves stronger contractions that come closer together. Your cervix dilates rather rapidly, and your contractions require your full attention now. The contractions last around one minute each, which is much longer than the shorter contractions of Stage One labor. This stage usually lasts anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.

Stage Three: Descent

Sometimes, babies begin to descend during Stage Two. Otherwise, Stage Three is when the baby begins to descend into the birth canal. The stage has been set: the cervix is dilated to allow the baby’s head to come through; the contractions are strong and forceful; and now you will begin to feel the urge to push.

Interestingly, the contractions often back off a bit at this point, and there may be a longer resting time between each one. If you’ve had an epidural, you may not feel as much urge to push, and may need to be coached to pushed with each contraction. In a non-medicated labor, sometimes women are advised to hold off pushing if it’s early in labor that they get the urge, because it can cause exhaustion if pushing is begun too early.

Stage Three ends with the delivery of your baby. A normal birth starts with his or her head, then shoulders, then the rest of the body – and finally with the passing of the placenta. After your baby is born and you’re busy marveling at him or her, your uterus will contract again (you may not even notice). After a few minutes, the placenta separates from the uterine wall and, perhaps with a little push from you, passes out of the vagina. You will probably barely feel it!

January 7, 2012

Teenagers and Personal Security Online

In some ways, the internet is safer than “real life” socializing – after all, your teen is not outside on the street after dark; he or she is camped out in front of the computer in your own home. But the internet also poses certain dangers. Teens’ personal information can be obtained and their identities stolen, or they may become victims of cyber bullies. Following are some tips for personal security online for teenagers.

1. Make sure your teen only sends credit card information through secure sites. Check the URL to make sure. Many anti-virus software programs will detect insecure sites and warn you.

2. Think before your share. Teens are often reckless, and don’t really comprehend the potential consequences of their actions. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have really clear guidelines as to what your teens can and can’t share, so your teen does not have to use his or her judgment each time he or she has something to share. Your rules could be as simple as no picture sharing unless Mom or Dad has seen the picture, or it could be more detailed, such as a list of things your teen is allowed to share online.

Another thing to keep in mind with regard to sharing photos is the issue of bullying. Your teenager should be aware that anyone can take that picture they’ve posted and use it to make fun of or otherwise defame them.

3. Remind your teen that the people on the other side of the screen are real people. In addition to being a victim of bullying, your teen could get “sucked in” to being a bully him or herself. Social networking creates a certain distance between people, and sometimes that makes it easier to be mean.

4. The FBI warns that online sexual predators need to be taken seriously. Make sure your teen knows never to arrange a meeting between him/herself and someone he or she met online. Sometimes teens feel invincible – “it won’t happen to me; I’m different” – and it’s important to keep a watchful eye on their meeting of new people online.

5. Playing games online leaves a “door” open to hackers, because ActiveX or JavaScript must be turned on to play the games. These need to be shut off after playing. Otherwise, they act as an opening for hackers.

6. One of the simplest things you can do is have the computer in a “public” or open area. Set it up where you can keep an eye on any internet browsing. Of course, many teens have mobile devices and laptops, so awareness of safety is still crucial.

January 6, 2012

Fever in Children – Treatment Options

When parents see that their child has a fever, then they know the child is “really” sick. Fevers are a confirmation of sorts, letting us know that our child does have a legitimate illness. Should a fever be treated? Is it a problem? What are the treatment options?

Here are some of the treatment options for childhood fevers.

Nature’s Infection Fighter

It’s a good idea for parents to remember that a fever is, in a way, a good sign – it means your child’s body is doing what it is supposed to do to fight off infection. Fevers of 100 degrees F or below are usually not cause for alarm. Some medical experts and health enthusiasts do not recommend treating a low to moderate fever at all; rather, they recommend letting the fever run its course and do its job.

What Else Is Going On?

Perhaps a better question to ask is not “how high is the fever?” but “what other symptoms are present?” For example, a low-grade fever may mean there is a condition that needs treatment if it is accompanied by more serious symptoms such as a stiff neck, or if the fever is persisting for more than a week.

Fever-Reducing Medications

Perhaps the most common treatment for fever is non-aspirin pain relievers like acetaminophen. These medicines are not without concern or possible side effects, however. Make sure to look into the possible complications associated with the fever reducer you intend to give to your child. Also remember that there is often a “rebound effect” when the fever-reducing medicine is stopped, so you’ll need to give it regularly once you start it.

Lukewarm Baths

Many parents report good results from an old-fashioned, lukewarm or cool bath. If you have peppermint on hand, mixing cool peppermint tea into the bath water is soothing and cooling. Sponge your child all over with the bath water, and dress him or her lightly in cotton after the bath. If the child has chills, use blankets to help ease the shivers. Blankets are more easily removed and adjusted if the child goes from cold to hot.

Cool Drinks

Remember that peppermint tea? Iced peppermint tea is a favorite with children, and can be very soothing to drink. You can sweeten it if you like, and let the child drink however much he or she likes. Water and/or watered-down juice are good choices, too. Dairy, like hot chocolate or chocolate milk, should probably be avoided – some sources note that dairy products increase phlegm and inflammation.

January 5, 2012

Smart Ways of Encouraging Your Kids to Read More

Reading is key to learning. It’s one of those basic skills that, if never mastered, will affect a child’s entire academic career. While experts generally agree that pushing children to read very early is not a good idea, you can set the stage for your child to succeed in reading. Here are some smart ways you can encourage your child to read more.

1. Surround yourself with books. Studies have shown that children who live in homes where there is lots of literature around (magazines, catalogues, books, and so forth) have better reading and math skills. So fill your house with books! Used book sales, yard sales, and the library are great places to start.

2. Make use of the library. Take your child with you to help choose interesting books. Then put the books in a special basket or bin that you and your child can dig through whenever you or your child want to read.

3. Have a special reading corner with a comfy chair, some stuffed animals, and a generally comfortable area. Make sure it has good lighting and is cheerful and inviting. If you like, you can have some snacks and drinks available in this corner, too. This reading corner can stand in for a positive time-out place – when your child feels overwhelmed and frustrated, he or she can take a break in the reading corner. This can help your child calm down, and associate reading with feeling better. How nice if more people turned to books rather than media for an escape!

4. Read to your child every day, regardless of his or her age. Even infants enjoy being read to, perhaps while you are nursing or feeding. For infants, choose books with bright colors and simple shapes in the illustrations. Older children enjoy all sorts of picture books and later, chapter books. Just because a child can read doesn’t mean you should stop reading aloud, either; children all the way through gradeschool (and even beyond!) enjoy being read to.

5. Let your child stay up a few minutes past bedtime if he or she is reading. This makes reading a bit of a reward – being allowed to stay up late is a treat! But make sure your child only gets to stay up late if he or she is reading.

6. Choose books that reflect your child’s interests. Pay attention to what your child likes, and go to the library and choose appropriate books. If you need help, librarians can help you find books on the particular subject matter you are looking for.

7. Children’s magazines are another way to encourage reading while learning about fascinating subjects.