December 28, 2008

Feeling Fab

Filed under: By Ellen Bittner — Tags: , — Administrator @ 4:10 pm

  Ellen Bittner

Chapter 1:  A New Vocabulary

An interesting phenomenon happened as I focused on my new healthier lifestyle.  While my weight decreased and my muscle mass increased, I also noticed that my vocabulary was expanding.  

Some of the words that I used frequently in the past, and wrote about in previous blogs, were:

  • Frustration – describing how I felt when I wasn’t losing weight or couldn’t meet a physical challenge
  • Plateau – what my weight did for months at a time, and was the focus of From Flab to Fab Chapter 2: Battle of the Bulge
  • Injury – which resulted in limitations in the use of my shoulder & required modifications to my work-out routine (From Flab to Fab Chapter 5: Injury)
  • Fear – of water, heights, speed, almost anything new (From Flab to Fab Chapter 4: Fear)

Some of the words that I’m hearing from other people, who have observed my weight loss and physical changes are:

  • Sexy at Sixty – describing how I look and feel
  • Skinny – describing my new shape
  • Wow!! – what people say when they hear how much weight I’ve lost; and how I feel when I’m able to accomplish a physical challenge that eluded me in the past  
  • Awesome – another word people use when I tell them how much weight I’ve lost
  • An inspiration – what people say to me when I tell them about my weight loss/fitness journey
  • Determined - how people describe me; and how I feel about maintaining this healthy lifestyle    
  • These are just some of the words that reflect how my attitude, as well as my body, has changed. 

    In future blogs, I hope to share how this new attitude and “Feeling Fab” has impacted my life.

    To be continued…      


December 11, 2008


Filed under: By Paul Jason — Administrator @ 8:51 pm
  Paul Jason  

The Recovery – Part I.

I had been told that the recuperative period for the by-pass surgery would be about eight weeks. Eight  weeks!!  I had never been away from my office for more than nine consecutive days (one work week sandwiched between two weekends) in thirty years.  Since entering the hospital, I had already been out of the office for twelve (eight working) days.  How could I possibly stay away for another eight weeks?
Now, the second great reality began to set in.  The first great reality was that I was mortal.  The second reality was that I was not indispensable.  Much as many of us tell ourselves during our career-building years that we are essential cogs in the machinery of this or that success, the bottom line is that we are replaceable.  Perhaps the sooner we accept that notion, the healthier our mental outlooks will be.

Other people stepped in to fill the void created by my absence.  My secretary ran the day-to-day operations of the office, communicating with clients, advising them of my physical condition and the prognosis for my return.  Other local practitioners helped to breach the gap created in the commitments I had made prior to the onset of my illness.  My loving daughter visited the office regularly and lent her very structured organizational skills to ongoing operations.  And when my secretary and my daughter called me,  they told me not to worry, and that “everything is under control.”
For the first four weeks or so, I was buoyed by these reassurances and made no attempts to contact the office.  Thereafter, I advised my secretary and my daughter that they could phone me in the event any matter arose concerning which I alone might have personal information or knowledge.

Relieved of the stress of worrying about the operation of the office, I was left to cope with the overwhelming issue of physical recovery.  The first two weeks were pure agony.  I was taking pain killers for some relief, especially at night, but the difficulty of finding a comfortable place for myself was dominant.  I could not get into, or out of, bed without my chest feeling like it would pull apart.  So instead of sleeping in bed, I usually wound up falling asleep on a sofa, or in an easy chair.  However, no position would remain comfortable for more than an hour or so; I was supposed to keep my legs elevated, too, to control fluid collection.  After awhile, my left leg would start to ache and my breathing would become labored.  Therefore, I was only able to rest for short spurts throughout the day and night, and was literally exhausted for most of those two weeks. My security pillow was a constant companion because any sudden move – - – any cough or sneeze – - – was an exercise in torment. In those moments, the only thing I could do was grab that pillow and hug it firmly to my chest.

I was constantly wearing a full length surgical stocking on my left leg. Invariably, at the most inopportune times my leg would start to itch. Even worse, the forced inactivity, coupled with the unorthodox sitting positions I found myself in,  gave me generalized dull aches in my upper and lower back (distinguished from the sharp pain in my left shoulder blade), and my behind hurt as well.  I can assure you that nothing is more frustrating than backaches which can’t be massaged, and an aching backside which cannot be relieved.  After all, I couldn’t sleep on my side or my stomach.  And I couldn’t load up on analgesics either.

Getting out of bed was an adventure. . . . a painful adventure.  First I had to inch my way to the edge of the bed.  Then I had to bend my knees and start a slow rolling movement onto my side, pushing my body upright using my elbow and trying simultaneously to swing both of my legs to the floor.  All the while my sternum would be repositioning itself with each motion.  Of course, once I got into a sitting position I had to remain there for a few seconds to allow my blood pressure to adjust so I wouldn’t get dizzy and fall down. Cardiac medications have a way of doing that to you; remember that the next time you see an elderly person who is unsteady on his/her feet.  Then I would put both of my hands on my thighs, bend forward slightly and thrust upward with my legs, not my arms. If I was lucky, I would wind up in a standing position. . . well, almost a standing position.  The incision in my chest made me hunch over a bit. Getting back into bed was a somewhat reverse procedure.

Sitting down in a chair involved similar techniques, with emphasis on the leg muscles.  First I would try to straighten my back and then slowly lower myself onto the front edge of the chair; then, using my legs, I would slither backward an inch at a time.  A miscalculation could result in me plopping into the chair, an unintended event accompanied by pain.  To stand up, I would inch my way to the front edge, plant my right foot a little bit ahead of my left foot, place my hands on my thighs, bend forward and thrust upward with my legs.  

Fortunately, the hospital social worker had been very cooperative and had arranged for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York to call on me.  Twice a week a nurse would come to see me for a few minutes, check my vital signs, my incisions and the girth of my left leg. As far as I know, the nurse’s report reached the desk of my cardiologist.

The first nurse, in turn, authorized the services of a home health aide and a physical therapist. I say the “first” nurse, because three different nurses visited me over a four week period. Therefore, as I said, as a result of the actions of the first nurse an aide came three times a week for three weeks, each time for a couple of hours, and helped me into and out of the tub so that I could shower myself sitting on a bathtub bench.  Of course, I had to use a hand-held spray because I wasn’t supposed to let the full force of the regular shower head hit my chest.  

The aide also rubbed body lotion into me to try to help alleviate some of the muscle soreness that had cast its pall over me, especially in my back.  After each massage I felt better for an hour or two, and I was thankful.

To be continued…

Keeping your New Year’s Resolution

Filed under: By Vadim Vilensky — Administrator @ 1:00 pm

vadim_bw.jpg    Vadim Vilensky

 Every New Year, millions of Americans make a resolution to “get in shape.” Sure, they’ve done it before, but this year they really mean it. Many people join fitness clubs, which are so crowded in January that they have to wait nearly an hour for the next available treadmill. Some buy exercise videos and equipment sold on TV. Others promise to jog or walk every day, or to start using equipment that was stored in their basements and garages for years.

Unfortunately, statistics show that by March only a few of those people are still exercising. Over 90% will face another broken self-promise to get in shape.

Here are few tips, which may help you avoid becoming a part of this statistic:

  1. Do not repeat last year’s mistakes – try something different. Make your exercise more fun by trying a variety of activities. Attempt to find “your thing”, something you like to do. If you hate treadmills, don’t think that if you push yourself to run on it for a month you will “learn to like it”. You will hate it more and will start looking for excuses to skip a workout. Many fitness clubs offer a variety of classes such as spinning, tai chi, jazz dance, etc. Try them all until you find the one that you like and feel that you can stick with it.
  2. Set reasonable short and long-term goals. Goals should be measurable and specific. Assess your progress regularly. Don’t wait a whole year just to realize that you are still in the same shape you were in when you started. If you feel your present routine doesn’t work for you – change it. Find an exercise program that delivers measurable and visible results. When people see results they are motivated to continue working out.
  3. Change your behavior. I often see people coming to a fitness club, taking an elevator to the second floor, spending 30 minutes climbing a stairmaster, and then taking the elevator back to the first floor. Just showing up to the gym 3 times per week for an hour will not compensate for a sedentary lifestyle. You have to become physically active during your day: at work, at home, during your leisure time. The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. These activities may include: leisure biking, walking, raking a lawn, house painting, or cleaning gutters. While many people do not enjoy formal exercise, these forms of activities can be just as beneficial.
  4. Choose an exercise program that helps you do the things you like to do. In other words, exercise should help people to perform activities of daily living with ease. That’s why an exercise program should be specific to an individual’s needs. If you are trying to improve your golf swing, or lift up your grandchildren from the floor without getting pain in your lower back, your program should emphasize exercises which will help you to do that. A bodybuilding approach or dance aerobics class may not help you in this case. Just like for every sport there is a specific conditioning program that helps athletes to perform better at their game, you should have a customized exercise program that helps you to deal with the things you have to do or like to do in your life.
  5. Get professional help. Personal training can be expensive, but it gives you a better chance to succeed. A good trainer will make your workout more fun, add motivation, set goals, track your progress, help you get results faster, avoid injuries, and make the whole process more comfortable and convenient. For people who have a history of breaking their fitness self-promises, or for those still waiting for the right moment to start, maybe it’s time for them to make an investment in their bodies by hiring a professional trainer.

    Finally, don’t let unexpected setbacks end your fitness program. Many people overreact when something doesn’t work the way they expected. Improving your body is a long-term commitment, and you have to be prepared to meet some obstacles and to cope with them. While there are many potential barriers, lack of time and inconvenience are cited as the most common. Try to divide an activity into shorter bouts and do it more often, exercising at home or on your way to work. Finding activities that fit your lifestyle and interests are key to maintaining regular exercise over a lifetime.


December 9, 2008

Nutrition Guidelines for Stomach Upset

Filed under: By Tamra Rosenfeld — Administrator @ 1:14 pm

  Tamra Rosenfeld

Stomach viruses are a common problem this time of year.  Here are some nutrition tips to help:Diarrhea
·        Keep hydrated.  Try electrolyte solutions such as Gatorade, PowerAde, or Smart Water to maintain your fluid/electrolyte balance.
·        Try the BRATT diet – Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea.  These items are gentle on the stomach and they will help bind.
·        Add yogurt – if you can handle eating yogurt beneficial bacteria will be added to your gastrointestinal tract to help fight the “bad” bacteria.  If you cannot tolerate yogurt try acidophilus supplements – they can be found over the counter.
·        Eat something high in protein before going to bed.

·        Eat crackers before getting out of bed.

·        Avoid any fried or greasy food.

·        Ginger and some teas can be helpful in preventing nausea.

·        Smaller frequent meals can also help.

·        Peppermint, either smelling it in aromatherapy form or sipping the tea can help curb nausea.

·        Eat whatever you can keep down. Slowly add more foods to your diet as possible.

·        When possible avoid hunger, it can also make your stomach queasy.

·        Keep hydrated – take 1-2 small sips at a time.  Drink whatever fluids will stay down. 
·        Eat dry crackers such as saltines.  Eat 1-2 crackers at a time.
·        If meals can be tolerated try small, low fat meals.

Powered by WordPress