Diabetes Myths

There are a lot of myths associated with diabetes that can easily be cleared up. It’s important for people to understand that the medical community is not trying to hide the cure for diabetes from you to keep you on diabetes medication. The truth is, before treatments were available many people simply progressed until they died of complications from diabetes. Today, with the right knowledge you can live a long and normal life with diabetes.

Eating Sugar Causes Diabetes

While eating sugar does not cause diabetes, those with diabetes (or people who want to live a healthy lifestyle) should avoid white sugar as much as possible. Instead of a high sugar dessert or drink, choose something else. Eating whole fruit for dessert, and fresh filtered water for hydration is just a much better choice. But, sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. However, eating too much can lead to a higher risk for diabetes along with other illnesses.

All Overweight People Have Diabetes

Many people are overweight their entire lives and never develop diabetes. While it does seem to be true on the surface, and being overweight you should seriously do something about it to avoid diabetes, the truth is that all overweight people will not develop diabetes. This is not an excuse to stay overweight, though. Instead, cut down on your calories, eliminate high fat, high sugar, highly processed foods from your diet and enjoy better health longer.

Living with Diabetes Is Hard

While having diabetes (especially Type I diabetes) makes life more challenging, it’s not really hard. Simple tools have been invented to help you test and medicate in privacy without much problem. You’ll have to be more careful with some things, but if you’re aware you may live out a much healthier and full life than otherwise.

Testing and Injections Hurt

Needle sizes for injections and testing are pretty small. Many can’t even feel the testing needle or the injection needle. It’s hard to make yourself inject yourself to start with but once you get used to it, it will be much easier. It’ll be second nature, and it will save your life.

Diabetes Is Contagious

While there is a high coloration of first-degree family members having diabetes and you eventually getting it, it’s not contagious. There is no worry about being around others with diabetes. And there is no reason someone with diabetes can’t be around others. They are not at risk of contracting communicable diseases at a higher rate.

Diet Always Cures Diabetes

While diet and exercise can contribute to better blood sugar results and a healthier life overall, sometimes diet doesn’t improve your numbers – even when you are doing everything you’re supposed to do. Try not to be discouraged, listen to your doctor, and do the best that you can.

While a lot of myths prevail about diabetes, it’s important if you or someone you know has diabetes to read the literature and keep up to date on the most advanced treatments available to you through reliable sources. Check out anything someone tells you about a “cure” and always talk everything over with your doctor.

5 Signs of Weak Core Muscles

If your core is weak, your balance is poor. This leads to an unstable body, increasing the possibility that you could suffer a fall. A week core also makes you feel physically weak. You can support more physical effort when your core is strong. Most people think of core muscles as your abs. But your core is actually composed of 6 groups of 29 muscles located in your upper thigh, lower back, and the sides and front of your stomach.

How Do You Know If Your Core Is Weak?

You may have an extremely strong core that is located beneath several layers of fat. This means you can actually look overweight and still have a very healthy core. So how can you tell if your core is weak or strong? A poor core and chronic lower back pain often accompany each other.

If you experience frequent tightness and pain in your lower back, a weak core could be a part of the problem. Since core muscles also protect your spine, poor posture is sometimes a sign of a weak core. Do you slouch when you stand or sit? This might be because your core muscles are weak, and cannot support your upper body for extended periods of time.

How is your balance? A weak core leads to poor balance. Try this. Stand with your feet 6 to 8 inches apart and start a timer. Close your eyes and lift one of your feet up off of the floor. Balance as long as you can, keeping your eyes closed. You should be able to stay in this position for a minimum of 10 seconds. If not, you need to work on your core muscles. Try this with each of your legs.

You can also take a simple breathing test to see how strong your core is. While standing, take a deep breath. Hold for a second and then exhale. When you begin exhaling, compress your stomach back towards your spine as far as you can possibly go. If you cannot hold this pose for at least 10 seconds, your core definitely needs some work.

You can also test your core by holding the plank position. Lie face down on the floor. Supporting yourself on your forearms, with your elbows at a 90 degree angle, straighten your spine from your neck to your ankles. If you cannot hold this position for at least 50 or 60 seconds before you crash to the floor, your core needs some help.

Successfully Avoiding Arguments

Life can be complex and challenging. At some point, you’ll inevitably encounter situations where you want one thing and someone else wants another. In such situations, wouldn’t you prefer to avoid an argument?

But how do you keep the peace without giving up what you want?

Use these strategies to avoid an argument while still gaining what’s important to you:

1. Refrain from taking offense. When you see that someone is getting “hot under the collar,” remind yourself that the situation is most likely not about you.

2. Listen and read between the lines. Although it’s important to pay attention to what the other person is saying, it’s actually more critical to understand what they’re hoping to get across.

* Consider this example: You’ve arrived late to a social event that you arranged with your neighbor. He’s upset because he didn’t know how you’d planned to handle distributing name tags. He says in a loud, irritated voice, “Why didn’t you try harder to get here on time? I got stuck with everything!”

* In this illustration, recognize your neighbor doesn’t really want to know “why” you “didn’t try harder” to arrive on time. He does, however, want you to acknowledge his feelings of distress about not knowing how to handle the situation.

3. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings. Making statements like, “I don’t blame you for feeling that way” or “I’d feel frustrated too if that happened to me.” Doing so shows you’re listening and you understand.

4. Avoid conveying strong emotions. One of the best ways to avoid an argument is to refrain from letting your own emotions run rampant over you. Just because someone else is upset doesn’t mean you have to be upset also.

* Although you might find it necessary to respond in some way, keep in mind that objectivity is your friend here. Refrain from taking the person’s emotions personally.

5. Respond rather than react. Take time to think through how you can appropriately respond in a challenging situation. If you react too quickly to the other person’s emotions and comments, you might later regret your words or actions.

* Instead, think how you can most judiciously and fairly respond, even if you believe the other person is less than tactful.

6. Use appropriate voice tone and level. After you’ve thought about your response, state it using an even voice tone and low volume. Speaking loudly can escalate a conversation into an argument.

7. Take a cooling off period. If you notice your frustration or anger levels are rising, leave the room and take 5 or 10 minutes to formulate what you want to say. Feel free to let the other person know that you need to spend a few minutes thinking about this.

* Avoid storming out of the room while showing negative emotion. Instead, take a deep breath and inform the other person you need a small break. Nip an argument in the bud by indicating you plan to step out for a few moments.

8. If you owe someone an apology, provide it. A simple apology like, “I’m sorry I was late. I didn’t mean for that to happen” might be quite helpful in avoiding an argument.

9. Offer a win-win solution. The strategies above will help you cool down the situation so that you can bring clarity of thought as well, opening the door for ideas that you can both agree on. Seek a resolution where you each get something you desire and you’ll both walk away from the situation feeling happy and satisfied.

Refraining from engaging in arguments is a realistic and achievable goal. Review the above strategies to build your skills at communicating effectively in trying situations. And next time you find yourself in a heated situation, apply these methods to avoid an argument.

Criticize Constructively and Watch Others Adopt Your Suggestions

Providing criticism is a bit like walking on eggshells. You want to be helpful, but egos are easily bruised. But good criticism is very valuable. Sometime people don’t understand the mistakes they’re making.

Providing constructive criticism effectively is a skill. Providing criticism poorly is a nightmare.

Try these strategies to deliver positive criticism effectively:

1. Ensure your criticism is actually helpful. There are many things we can say that are true, but not helpful. Unless you feel confident that your critique will be beneficial, keep your comments to yourself. Consider what you’re going to say and to whom you’re going to say it. Some take criticism better than others do.

* Even the best of intentions won’t always result in a positive response. Be prepared for a negative reaction.

2. Ensure you’re the best person to provide the criticism. Consider your history with the other person. Maybe they would be more receptive to the ideas if someone else told them.

3. Be specific. It’s not helpful if you say, “Gee, it wasn’t very good.” Specific feedback is much more useful and actionable. Focus on a few key points and provide suggestions on how to remedy the situation.

4. Choose an appropriate time and place. Providing criticism in front of the other person’s peers is questionable. In most cases, a little privacy is a better idea.

* Attempt to minimize the embarrassment the other person might feel.

5. Keep your emotions under control. You might have a good reason to feel upset, but your criticism will have the wrong tone. Stay calm and give the feedback in a fair and balanced way. Watch the tone of your voice, too.

6. Focus on the behavior. Telling someone they’re sloppy is received as an insult. Telling them their tennis backhand technique is inconsistent addresses the behavior. When you attach the error to the person, resentment occurs.

* Would you rather ask your spouse to pick up their dirty socks or ask why they’re such a slob? The difference in the responses would be startling.

7. Smile! Everything is easier with a smile. Use open body language. Show that your message is sincere. A smile also conveys that everything is okay.

8. Start with a compliment. Say something positive about their performance before launching into your criticism. A critique is easier to take after hearing a compliment. End the criticism with a compliment, too.

9. Go small. Even if you can spot 20 flaws, keep your comments limited to the one or two that are most easily fixed. Set them up to be successful. Too much criticism can be overwhelming. Help others to be at their best. When the smaller errors have been corrected, feel free to address the more significant issues.

* You also build trust with this tip. The more serious criticisms are then easier to accept.

10. Use humor. Be lighthearted if appropriate. Humor makes everything a little more palatable. Share a funny story about the mistakes you’ve made in the past. It will help to ease any tension or embarrassment.

11. Know when to stop. Pay attention to their reaction. It will be obvious when they’ve had enough. When that happens, wrap it up. There’s always another time and place to revisit the issue.

If you have children, employees, or a significant other, there will be occasions to provide constructive criticism. Depending on the situation, providing criticism can help you too, especially if the other person is driving you crazy. Providing criticism well is a skill. Learn to be helpful and provide constructive comments to the people in your life.

5 Pieces of Fitness Equipment That Won’t Take Up Too Much Room in Your Suitcase

Travelling and exercise do not mix well. You will not have access to your local gym or home equipment and you obviously cannot take your favorite exercise machines with you. To make it worse, the hotel you end up staying at might either lack a top-notch fitness center or have one that charges a hefty fee to use the equipment. This, however, does not mean that you will have to lose whatever fitness progress you have made. There are several small and lightweight travel-friendly exercise tools that you can take with you. Here are 5 workout tools that are both very affordable and pack well without taking too much valuable suitcase space.

1. Resistance Bands
The great thing about resistance bands is that they are as effective as they are portable. Most bands weigh less than a kilogram. Therefore, you will not even realize you have them in your suitcase. Since resistance bands are flexible and versatile, you can work both your upper and lower body right inside your hotel room using your own body weight or resistance from the door, bed, or other available pieces of furniture. The number of workouts you can engage in using resistance bands are many.

2. Jump Rope
Jump ropes offer a fantastic way of staying fit while you are away on vacation or a business trip. With a jump rope, you will be able to strengthen your lower body, give your heart a good workout, and burn tons of calories all at the same time. You can even maximize results by jumping rope several times throughout the day.

Equally as light as resistance bands, a jump rope will take up very little suitcase space. You will also be able to find one that fits your budget and height as most jump ropes are affordable and offer the option of adjusting height.

3. Yoga Mat
Yoga requires very little space and offers several benefits including increasing blood flow, improving flexibility, building muscle, and relaxing both the body and mind. For these reasons, it will make a great exercise substitute during those trips where you cannot engage in your normal workout routines. Finding a yoga mat that will fit into your suitcase will not be difficult as most famous yoga brands nowadays offer a whole line of yoga mats solely designed for traveling.

4. Swimming Gear
Swimming is not only a great form of exercise but it is also a fun activity that will make your trip more enjoyable. So, if your travel destination has warm weather and a hotel pool or nearby beach, make sure to pack your swimming gear with you. The swimsuit will barely take up space in your suitcase while the other swimming gear (goggle, swim cap, etc.) can be stashed into a small pouch/cloth bag which you can stuff into the side pocket of a carry-on.

5. Fitness Tracker
When on a backed up business trip that leaves no time for exercising, a fitness tracker or pedometer can be of great help. Such a gadget can help you move more and engage in a beneficial amount of physical activity throughout the day. The best part is that it takes absolutely no space in your suitcase as you can simply strap it to your arm, chest, or wrist depending on the model.

So, there you are, 5 travel-friendly workout tools that are affordable, take little room in your suitcase/carry-on bag, and prevent you from the notorious “travel weight gainâ€

Subtle Signs That You’re Improving Your Fitness Levels

It can be tough to stay motivated and on track with your workout plans. You see the perfect bodies at the gym. In the checkout line at the supermarket the fitness magazines show impossibly toned and ripped cover men and women. You look in the mirror and don’t see much, if any, results of all your hard work. So it’s understandable that you are thinking of throwing in the towel and giving up on getting in shape.

Guess what?

You may be stronger and more fit than you think. Changes taking place inside you may be paying off your exercise efforts. The outward results might just be subtle, instead of noticeable. The following are not-so-obvious signs that your workouts are working, and that visual proof of a stronger, leaner, fitter you are just around the corner.

You Are Sleeping Better

Weird, huh? Most people do not connect better sleep habits with being fit. The truth is when you build muscle and burn fat, you sleep better. So if your sleep has improved, you are on the right physical fitness track.

You Don’t Need Your Usual Cup(s) of Coffee in the Morning

This is connected to the healthy sleep cycle that fitness creates. When you work out during the day, your body repairs at night. You sleep better and wake refreshed, not always needing the usual amount of morning java.

You Can Stand without Having to Shift Your Weight

Can you stand through a short meeting without switching your weight from one foot to the other? Do you effortlessly stand in line at the grocer or DMV? These are subtle signs that you have improved your functional strength and flexibility.

You Can Keep up With Your Kids

Kids seem to have endless energy. A lot of parents start exercising to be able to spend more time with their children. If you notice you can keep up with your kids better than before, that’s a sign your hard work is paying off.

Your Friends Notice Health Improvements

“Have you been working out?” When you hear this, it means the improvements are noticeable. You stand a little taller. Your posture improves, along with your self-confidence. You walk with a lighter step. You may not notice gradual but positive changes that come as a result of exercising, but your friends, family and co-workers will let you know.

You Find That You Are Mentally Sharper

Exercise fires off “feel good” endorphins and other chemicals in your brain. Physical exertion also makes your mind clearer and more focused. Have you noticed you are mentally more capable than usual? Exercise could be the cause.

Create a Support System That Actually Supports You

Life is challenging. Life is even more challenging when you’re forced to face it alone. Life is also more enjoyable when others are along for the ride. If you find yourself without the support system you need, it’s time to create one. Perhaps the best advice is to be supportive of others. People naturally reciprocate. Be supportive and you’ll receive support.

Get the support you need:

1. Envision your support system. What do you need? Do you need a shoulder to cry on? Borrow $20? Are you dealing with cancer? Or do you simply need a reliable friend? Once you know what your support system looks like, you can begin building it.

2. Start close to home and branch out from there. Family and close friends are the obvious starting point for creating a support system. But you have to be willing to ask for help. It’s also important to provide support when others are in need. Start with your close friends and branch out to more casual friends and coworkers. You might have a few neighbors, too.

3. Engage in your hobbies. Others that share the same interests can become new friends. You already have a lot in common! Be a good friend and you’ll be able to expect the same in return.

4. Find a work mentor. This might be someone at your place of employment. It could also be someone from a different company or even someone retired. When things are tough at work, you’ll have someone to rely on that’s familiar with your situation. They also have your best interests at heart.

5. Find a support group. If you have a specific challenge, such as alcoholism or the death of a loved one, you can find a local support group and share your story. Those that share the same issue can be the most sympathetic.

6. Find a spiritual mentor. A spiritual mentor might be a qualified yoga teacher or the priest at your local church. It might even be an interested, fellow church member. Church is a great place to find caring, helpful people.

7. Volunteer. Your fellow volunteers are likely to be supportive of your endeavors. You’ll also have the opportunity to see how great your life really is. Find an organization you believe in and provide support to others.

8. Join a club or sports team. There’s nothing like the comraderie of a fellow team member. Play your favorite sport and make new friends. You can also join the chess, hiking, or knitting club. Find something you enjoy.

9. Be open. Others are much more likely to be empathetic if you’re able to be open. Share your story and allow others to see that you need help.

10. Go online. You can be anonymous while getting the advice and support you require. There are an endless number of support groups and forums ready, willing, and able to help. You can even choose your own name.

11. Get professional help. There’s plenty of help available. Some of it will require payment, but there are also free options out there. Talking to an expert can be of great help.

Create a support system for your life. Networking isn’t just for your career. The same skills are used to find those that will be supportive. Create the network you need now so it will be there to support you when you need it.

5 Myths About Carbs In the Diet

It seems that carbohydrates are the new evil food item. It used to be that fat was the nutritional villain in our lives. This led to the “fat-free” food craze that ironically has made so many people fat. In place of fat, sugar, MSG and other fat building chemicals were added to foods. We now know that fats don’t make you fat, sugar does.

Recently, low-carb diets like the Caveman Diet and the Keto Diet are all the rage. They limit carbohydrates from processed foods, and carbohydrates in general. They focus on eating healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries, wild caught fish and grass fed beef. Is this low-carb attitude the best nutritional approach? Let’s take a look at some carbohydrate myths you may have fallen for, and reveal the truth behind the lie.

1 – All Carbohydrates Are Equal

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. They are broken down quickly in your body, so quickly that they often are stored as fat for energy. Complex carbohydrates are starches. They take a long time to process, and do not lead to excessive fat buildup. Complex carbohydrates are great for your body, simple carbohydrates are not, and all carbohydrates are not created equal.

2 – A Low-Carb Diet Is Right for Everyone

No 2 human beings are even remotely similar. Your internal processes, millions of them, are totally different than all of the other 7 billion people roaming the planet. Low-carb diets have proven to be incredibly healthy for a great number of people. That said, what works for one person may not work for you.

3 – You Will Always Lose Weight on a Low-Carb Diet

This simply isn’t true. There are plenty of low-carb foods that can be fattening, especially if you consume too many calories. No matter what you eat, if you consume more calories than you burn on a daily basis, you will gain weight.

4 – Eating Low Carb Means Eating More Unhealthy Saturated Fat

We now know, after literally decades of anti-fat propaganda, that saturated fat is basically harmless. You don’t have to avoid healthy fats like coconut oil. Fat cuts of meat are okay to eat as well. So are fatty fish like salmon, rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Just because we know that saturated fat is not the villain it has been made out to be doesn’t mean you should run out and consume 50 grams of fat every day, however.

5 – You Don’t Need Dietary Fiber As Long As You Cut Down on Carbohydrates

Dietary fiber is essential to human health. Soluble fiber can lead to health benefits such as improved cholesterol levels and weight loss. Unfortunately, a lot of carb-rich foods are also high in healthy fiber. This is why it may be a good idea to add BeneFiber or some other fiber supplement to your diet if you are cutting back on the carbs.

Strategies for Becoming a Consistent Finisher

Are you a great starter, but a poor finisher? It’s a common ailment. The beginning of any adventure is full of excitement and enthusiasm, but it doesn’t always last. Part of being a successful adult is learning how to finish things. It’s part strategy and part grit. There are always a few sticking points to endure and overcome. Life can’t be all fun and games.

Develop the habit of being a finisher:

1. Understand when you’re likely to quit. Look at your past. When are you most likely to throw in the towel? What were your reasons for stopping at the time? Can you think of a strategy for getting through those times? Is there a way to avoid them altogether?

2. Dole out your time wisely. Getting caught up in too many meaningless projects won’t improve your ability to finish things. When possible, limit yourself to those things that really interest you. Life is too short for hobbies that make you want to shrug. If you’re passionate about something, you’re much more likely to get it done.

3. Track your progress. When you can visually see how much progress you’ve made, you’ll feel more motivated to continue. Make a chart, graph, or other visual representation of the work you’ve completed.

4. Visualize the expected result. Constantly remind yourself how great you’ll feel when you’re done. Make note of all the benefits you’re receive.

5. Have realistic expectations. If you didn’t start playing piano at a young age and practiced for several thousand hours before your 18th birthday, it’s unlikely you’ll ever reach the level of a world-class pianist. This is especially true if you’re 48 years old, have a family, and only have 30 minutes a day to practice.

* While it’s admirable to strive for perfection, be careful. You’ll always quit if perfection is the only acceptable outcome. Have realistic expectations for your situation.

6. Be realistic with your timetable. You might be making good progress, but if you believed that you should’ve mastered the Russian language by now, you’ll become discouraged. It’s not easy to estimate the amount of time it will take to complete something.

* Do you have a history of thinking that things will take less time than they actually do? Build a fudge-factor into your estimates.

* After you’ve make a little progress, revisit your expectations and adjust them accordingly.

* If you’re enjoying yourself, who cares how long it takes? Once you’re done, the fun is over!

7. Get better at finishing the small tasks in your life. If you’re washing the dishes, avoid leaving that greasy, disgusting pan until morning. Fold all the clothes rather than leaving some of them for later. Clean the entire room. Pay all of the bills. Run the full 3 miles you planned to run.

* Finishing is a habit. Get in the habit of finishing all of the tasks in your life.

8. Be immune to criticism. One of the reasons we stop before completing a project is to avoid criticism. Once it’s done and available for the world to judge, we can get apprehensive. Then we rationalize reasons not to complete it. The people that matter won’t be unkind. The unkind people don’t matter.

* There’s no way to stop the criticism, but you don’t have to allow it to bother you.

These small tips can be a great help in finishing future projects. If there’s one trait you’ll find in high-achievers, it’s the ability to get things done. Half-finished projects are incredibly wasteful. You put in a lot of work and didn’t receive the benefit. Learn how to finish and observe the impact it has on your life.

Complications from Diabetes

There are many serious problems and risks for people with diabetes. These risks all go up exponentially if left untreated. Treating diabetes through both medication and proper diet can help eliminate or delay problems associated with diabetes. So if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s imperative that you and your doctor keep close monitoring of your health.

Blindness – Even though you are treated, many people who have diabetes will still suffer from some form of eye problems, reduced vision and even blindness. Always let your eye doctor know that you have diabetes. Eye problems are so common in diabetic patients that sometimes the eye doctor is the first one to notice something wrong.

Kidney failure – Due to the fact that diabetes damages small blood vessels, kidney problems and even failure is common among diabetics. Keep your doctor informed if you notice problems or start getting a lot of infections.

Cardiovascular issues – One of the biggest killers of people with diabetes is cardiovascular illness. You can develop coronary artery disease which can lead to a heart attack and/or a stroke. Many people only find out about their diabetes when it’s too late and they’re in the ER due to a heart attack.

Amputation – Due to the fact that diabetes damages small blood vessels, veins and nerves, some people with diabetes have trouble with their lower extremities. Injuries don’t heal as fast, and they develop problems that eventually require amputation. Due to damaged nerves you may not realize you’ve even hurt your foot. Do regular self-exams to be safe.

Pregnancy issues – If you have diabetes during pregnancy you are at greater risk of having a child with organ damage, and the mother is at an extremely high risk of kidney problems and even death without well-managed care.

Avoiding Complications from Diabetes

When you have diabetes, regardless of the type, it’s important to try to manage and keep your blood glucose as close to normal levels as possible to stop these problems. Depending on what type of diabetes you have, diet will have either an enormous effect or enough of an effect to matter.

Follow your doctor’s instruction on testing your blood. This depends on what type of diabetes you have, as well as some other factors. With Type I diabetes, your doctor will likely ask you to test at least three or more times per day – typically after meals, before and after exercise, before bed and sometimes even during the night.

With Type II diabetes, depending on how much insulin you take, you’re usually going to be testing in the morning after fasting, and after meals. Some people with Type II who can manage without insulin don’t have to test as much.

Your doctor will give you a range for which you want your blood sugar levels maintained. Usually and on average, before meals your range should be between 70 and 130, after a meal 180, and after fasting between 90 and 130 (mg/dl). Ask your doctor to help you understand these numbers so that you can keep track better.

Your doctor will also prescribe a specific diet. If you want to manage and control your diabetes to avoid complications, it’s important to take it seriously and follow instructions.