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body. mind. spirit. A Times Union Publication

Stressed Out? Put off that big decision! Are You

Exercising at the

RIGHT Time? Plus...

• "skinny" comfort foods • home medical tests • childless by choice

February 2014

Stylish Ways to dress your age

e Check out th Times Union

Home Expow

vie Exhibitor Pre Inside!

11

Foods your dentist AVOIDS


bite-sized lessons For the love of chocolate, a gift for the heart

Craving more? Join your Hannaford dietitians for FREE nutrition classes and in-store demos. Go to hannaford.com/dietitians for upcoming FREE events and a monthly schedule.

Most people would agree that eating chocolate is one of life’s guilty pleasures. Luckily, current research shows that certain kinds of chocolate, when eaten in moderation, can also be good for your heart! For example, dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonoids that have been shown to decrease risk of heart disease by inhibiting blood clotting to ensure regular blood flow to and from the heart. Look for dark chocolate that is 65% cacao content or higher. For this Valentine’s Day, love your heart and try these delicious chocolate truffles.

Jean Bottillo-Faulisi, MS, RD Niskayuna Hannaford 3333 Consaul Rd.

Jean is available: Mondays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Select Fridays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Select Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Enlightened Chocolate Truffles Makes about 20 truffles Prep Time: 10 min. Total Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Marianne Romano, MPA, RD, CDN

Ingredients: 4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided 2 tsp. honey 1/4 cup light coconut milk (unsweetened, canned) 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules 1/2 tsp. McCormick® Pure Vanilla extract Kashi® GOLEAN® Cereal, crushed (optional) McCormick® Ground Cinnamon (optional) Colored sugar (optional)

Colonie Hannaford 96 Wolf Rd.

Marianne is available: Tuesdays, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Patty Wukitsch, MS, RD, CDN

Directions: 1. Place chocolate, 3 Tbsp. of the cocoa, honey, coconut milk, and coffee granules in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat while slowly stirring until mixture is smooth and shiny and chocolate is fully melted, about 3 minutes. Be careful that heat is not too high or the mixture can burn. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.

Delmar Hannaford 180 Delaware Ave.

Patty is available: Mondays & Fridays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Select Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

2. Transfer chocolate mixture to a wide, shallow bowl and refrigerate until mixture is thick and holds its shape, about 1 hour. 3. Sift remaining 3 Tbsp. cocoa into a small bowl. Scoop truffle mixture by the 1/2 teaspoonful, roll into ball, and drop it into the cocoa. Gently roll truffle in the cocoa to coat. Alternately, roll in crushed Kashi cereal or colored sugar or sprinkle with ground cinnamon, if desired. Nutrition Facts, Approximate Amount per Truffle: Calories 35, Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 4.5 g, Dietary Fiber 1 g, Protein 5 g Recipe courtesy of Hannaford fresh Magazine

Coming Soon!

We will soon announce the registered dietitian for our Albany store. Albany Hannaford 900 Central Ave.


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IMPROVE THE WAY YOU LOOK WITH THE

body. mind. spirit.

Experienced Medical Laser People

Publisher George Hearst III Editorial Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor Design Tony Pallone, Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Designers

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After

Contributing Writers Donna Christopher, Beth Cooney, Melissa Fiorenza, Valerie Foster, Anna Zernone Giorgi, Wendy Healy, Jayne Keedle, Carin Lane, Traci Neal, Emma Tennant, Melinda McGarty Webb Contributing Photographers Paul Barrett, Leif Zurmuhlen

Before

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Sales Kurt Vantosky, Sr. Vice President, Sales & Marketing Kathleen Hallion, Vice President, Advertising Tom Eason, Manager, Display Advertising Michael-Anne Piccolo, Retail Sales Manager Jeff Kiley, Magazine Sales Manager Circulation Todd Peterson, Vice President, Circulation Dan Denault, Home Delivery Manager Business Ray Koupal, Chief Financial Officer

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Visit our State-of-the-Art location! 950 Route 146, Clifton Park www.almedspa.com Michael Salzman, M.D., P.C.

TimesUnion.com Paul Block, Executive Producer HealthyLife is published ten times per year. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of HealthyLife magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or e-mail magcirculation@timesunion.com. For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. HealthyLife is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2014 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.


28

63

body

mind

every issue

24 Exercise Science

57 Ask Emma

  8 talk back

Does it matter when you work out?

28 Open Wide

Dentists hate these 11 foods

30 Hit It

Hate your job? Good.

58 Boob Tube

Does TV really rot your brain?

63 Childless by Choice

The decision NOT to have kids

Can less exercise = more results?

34 Always Hungry?

spirit

38 Dig In

71 My Word

Blame your hormones Slimmed-down comfort foods

40 Something Fishy

Sustainable seafood feasts

46 DIY Medicine

Considering an at-home test kit?

50 Staying on Pace

Keep your metabolism revving

6

healthylife

Confessions of a webochondriac

73 Clouded Judgment

Making decisions under stress

78 Not Your Daughter’s Closet Wardrobe ’rules’ as you age

10 on the web 12 editor’s note 14 fit & fab 16 news & views 20 did you know? 82 cover model Q&A

Up close with Lori Porter

Hair and makeup by Kimberley’s A Day Spa, Latham, (518) 785-5868. Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park, Clifton Park Center, (518) 348-0800. On the cover: jacket and blouse by Nine West, pants by Jones NY, jewelry by Ashley Cooper. At right: blazer by Nine West, skirt by Architect, jewelry by Ashley Cooper. Photos taken by Leif Zurmuhlen at The College of Saint Rose.


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talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Time to Run Beth Cooney  While it’s really interesting to me that the body may respond better to certain kinds of exercise at certain times of the day, for me the best time to get my body in gear is the first hour after my kids get on the school bus. Otherwise, work and life get in the way. So I’m with the experts who say the best time to work out is “when you’ll do it!” See Beth’s story on page 24.

Model Close-up Brianna Snyder  Hanging out with Lori, this month’s cover model, was super fun. Lori’s a professional voice actress and a lover of the outdoors. She’s also an actress and appears in lots of local theater productions, and her personality reflected all of that. Fun, funny and energetic, Lori was a total blast to work with. Check out her Q&A to see for yourself. See Brianna’s story online at timesunion.com/healthylife.

join the conversation!

! n i w or a Like us f win o chance t of s all kind ! free stuff

facebook.com/ HealthyLifeNYmagazine

“Blame it on your hormones” Valerie Foster  If you’ve tried exercising and dieting and you still can pinch more than an inch of fat, we found some experts that say: Blame it on your hormones. Perhaps the best news is that getting our hormones under control is not rocket science. It’s all about eating good, nutritious foods, meditating and getting the right amount of sleep. Sounds like a good after-New Year’s resolution to me! See Valerie’s story on page 34.

Don’t Eat These Traci Neal  Sipping on a large coffee all day, apparently, is like soaking my teeth in acid. Yikes! I was surprised to learn too that a quick rinse with water after a meal or drink is so beneficial! See Traci’s story on page 28.

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Anna Zernone Giorgi  When I heard that it might be possible to keep fit by exercising only four minutes a day, I was intrigued. After all, “not enough time” has always been a staple excuse for my giving up on any exercise regimen. With digging, I found that these fourminute sets are done at maximum intensity and typically in multiple reps, probably not something an exercise evader like me could jump in on with full force. However, the principles of the technique can make comprehensive fitness plans more efficient, less boring, and yield better results at all levels. Now, that’s something worth making time for. See Anna’s story on page 30.

Worry-Free Comfort Eating Melissa Fiorenza  My favorite kind of recipe is one that whips up a meal that looks and tastes like standard comfort food but really isn’t bad for you, which is why I asked local and national chefs to give us some ideas ... and they really came through. See Melissa’s story on page 38.

We asked, you answered!  What movie do you think (or hope!) will win an Oscar this year? Emily: I know it would never win but I think Don Jon had a lot to say about sexuality, religion, relationships and “judging the book by the cover” syndrome. Jane: The Wolf of Wall Street/The Great Gatsby. Brianna: I adored Enough Said and Nebraska was nearly a perfect movie.

8

Fitness Bursts

Body Chemistry

Bruce Dern deserves some recognition!

 What’s your favorite recipe to make when it is FREEZING outside? Gail: oh yeah. chicken soup with orzo pasta:))) Pamela: Pastina chicken soup Sue: 8 can taco soup ... Google 8 can taco soup and click on the link from highheelsandgrills. It is SOOOOOO delicious!!!!!!

 If you were to pick one song to be your personal anthem, what would it be? Steve: “Notorious Lightning,” Destroyer Vincent: “Five to One” (The Doors) Colleen: I’M A GROWWWWNN WOMAN [by Beyonce] Lisa: “Indestructible” by Robyn Natalie: “Bad Girls” by MIA Kendra: “Alone.” :sobs:


Which hospital offers the latest techniques and technology in cardiac care and broadest range of options for patients? The Answer is Albany Med.

Dr. Adanna Akujuo, a cardiothoracic surgeon who offers the latest minimally invasive techniques, joined Albany Med’s team because it is on the leading edge of cardiac care.

When you need expert care for your heart, THE ANSWER IS ALBANY MED.

www.amc.edu/heart


on the web facebook.com/ HealthyLifeNYmagazine

check out the healthylife channel

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

BEHIND THE SCENES Read our Q&A with Lori Porter on page 82, then head online to read our behind-the-scenes story and see photos from our shoot!

healthylife

blogs

COOKBOOK Read all about creating a seafood feast on page 40; then head online for this recipe for prawn-studded Persian rice over wilted spinach.

Midlife Mom Rebecca Haynes, editor of HealthyLife Connecticut, offers her perspective on life and motherhood while she navigates the teen years and beyond.

Writer and freelance editor Beth Cooney scans the web to bring you the latest info and tips for healthy living.

Healthy Life

BONUS FEATURES Extra recipes from national chefs like Nadia G’s Nonna’s Penne al Forno. And see what our local chefs have to offer on page 38.

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Writer and designer Carin Lane shares her success stories with losing weight her way — without a gym membership, a personal trainer, or special foods.

HOME EXPO Check out our mini-booklet inside this issue to get the rundown on the largest and longest-running home expo in the Capital District. Learn more at TimesUnionHomeExpo.com.

Illustration: Computer mouse, ©Irina Iglina/Dreamstime.com.

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editor’s note

30 Days simply by committing to doing something new for 30 days. The talk, as many TED talks do, got me thinking and, more importantly, planning. I decided to take the challenge and invest in myself. First up: knitting, even for just 10 minutes, for 30 days. From there? Meditation. After that, I’m not sure, but I’ve got a little time to decide. What gift can you give yourself for 30 days?  HL

Photo by Krishna Hill.

A

s I write this, it’s just days into the new year and I’m feeling reflective. Last year was one of the worst of my life. On New Year’s Eve, I said good riddance and vowed not to look back. The sooner 2013 becomes a distant memory, the better. But it takes more than that — at least it does for me — to erase the pain and frustration and anger that marked much of that year. And so it was a happy coincidence — fate? — that I discovered a short TED talk by Matt Cutts (tinyurl.com/TED30days) about how dramatically your life can change

Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor jreynolds@timesunion.com

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fit and fab ▶ COZY FRESH:

▲ WORKOUT SMART: Surprising your muscles by working them in new ways can garner faster and better results. The SmartBells PRO, available in several weights, exemplifies functional training by allowing for range of motion in all directions. The softcoated cast aluminum has a comfort grip, making it perfect for all ability levels, any age and any workout — including yoga and pilates. $119.99. Visit proform.com/xfinity.

Move over, traditional hoodies,for the new cape in town. This superchic, side-zip Nike Tech Fleece Cape Hoodie combines jersey fabrication with a synthetic spacer to trap body heat without the bulk. The long sleeves and thumb holes keep everything in place. The side zip looks fresh and opens for a flattering neckline, while the drop back provides extra coverage. $110. Available at Dicks Sporting Goods or visit nike.com.

by carin lane

Love is in the air — and I’m in love with these Fit and Fab finds that happen to come in red. For more Fit and Fab goodies, go to timesunion.com/ healthylife. Have a new product you’d like to share? E-mail Carin at clane@timesunion.com.

You can visit Carin on Facebook at facebook.com/ carinlane.healthylife and follow her on Twitter @tiredorinspired, Pinterest at pinterest.com/carinlane and Instagram at instagram.com/carinlanehealthylife.

▲ COVERING UP: The right undergarments can make or break a workout and a great outfit. This Under Armour Still Gotta Have It Bra keeps everything in place and sweat-free, thanks to the moisture wicking transport system. The Pure Stretch Cheeky panty is soft, fitted and made with an unfinished hem — so no embarrassing panty lines show through. Sports bra, $24.99; panty, $12. Available at Dicks Sporting Goods and Sports Authority or visit underarmour.com.

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healthylife

▶ DRINK UP: Many experts say hydration is the key to long-lasting health. This Lifefactory 22-oz. glass bottle with flip cap and silicone sleeve makes it easy to get your daily fill anytime, anywhere you go. $24.99. Available at EMS stores, Four Seasons in Saratoga Springs and Uncle Sam’s in Troy, or visit lifefactory.com.

◀ LUNCH TIME: Ditch the brown paper bag or that large cooler you’ve been toting for years. This Pleated Meal Carrier in Henna Red by Rachael Ray is a stylish yet practical way to carry your lunch and drinks. The SuperFoam insulation keeps food cool all day and cleans up easily in case of a spill. Packing your own lunch instead of eating out is a great way to keep the weight off and save a few bucks. You don’t have to use it just for lunch — take it to the gym or use it as a baby bottle carrier. $29.99. Available at Target, or visit rachaelray.com.


Don’t forget that special person in your life this Valentine’s Day. COME SHOP WHERE STYLE MATTERS, FASHION FLATTERS, AND THE EXCITEMENT IS DOOR TO DOOR. FOLLOW OUR SIDEWALKS AND YOU’LL DISCOVER 60 SENSATIONAL SPOTS TO SHOP AND DINE. SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

ON WESTERN AVENUE WHERE THE NORTHWAY BEGINS.

Sign up for our e-newsletter at stuyvesantplaza.com

facebook.com/StuyvesantPlaza


news and views compiled by beth cooney

B

Sexual Regret Divide

oth men and women experience profound sexual regrets in their lifetime, but researchers say what they fret about most illuminates some fundamental gender differences. While women tend to lament sexual decisions — such as a one-night stand or losing their virginity to the wrong person — men tend to regret missed sexual opportunities. Researchers at the University of Texas, along with colleagues at UCLA, say the findings of their comprehensive peer-reviewed study are most likely rooted in evolution. Men, they suggest, seem to regret not being more sexually adventurous — especially while single — because they are hardwired genetically to seek mates. “For men, throughout evolutionary history, every missed opportunity to have sex with a new partner is potentially a missed reproduce opportunity — a costly loss from an evolutionary perspective,” says Martie Haselton, a UCLA social psychology professor who participated in the research. “But for women, reproduction required much more investment in each offspring, including nine months of pregnancy and potentially two additional years of breastfeeding. The consequences of casual sex were so much higher for women than for men, and this is likely to have shaped emotional reactions to sexual liaisons even today.” Interestingly, researchers found these findings were replicated with gay men and women who participated in the research. The findings were reported recently in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. source: http://tinyurl.com/hl14sex

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healthylife

Listen Up! H

ey Mom and Dad! It is time to pay attention to all that time your kids spend with ear buds jammed in their heads. Researchers at Penn State have determined a shocking one in six American teens has some form of preventable hearing loss and they note in a new study that many parents are clueless about the prevalence of the problem. The researchers note that everything from iPods to concerts, lawnmowing and even attending loud sporting events can be detrimental to hearing. Add that to the fact that the Centers for Disease Control estimate that some 5 million American teenagers suffer from some preventable form of hearing loss and experts say parents need to be having regular conversations with their kids about strategies for protecting their hearing for the long haul. The researchers reported their findings in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology. source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14hearing

Photos: GettyImages. Sexual Regret, Louis-Paul St-Onge; Listen Up, Alexandra Grablewski; First Blush, Don Farrall; Going Natural, Peter Dazeley; Dry Eyes, Laure LIDJI.

The


First Blush of High Blood Pressure

I

f your face blushes after a cocktail or two you should pay close attention to that rosy hue. Researchers says that facial flushing after alcohol consumption — a phenomenon already linked to a higher sensitivity or even an intolerance to alcohol — can be a sign of high blood pressure. Medical researchers suspect flushing is caused by a genetic inability to break down an acetaldehyde, a metabolic component of alcohol. Korean researchers found these so-called “flushers” who consumed more than four alcoholic beverages per week were more likely to have what they described as alcohol-related high blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The study was reported recently in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. source: http://tinyurl.com/ hl14alcoholflush

Urban View:

S

ome 4 million people ages 50 and older are estimated to suffer from dry eye syndrome, an uncomfortable disorder noteworthy for the way it can make eyes itch, burn and become inhospitable to contact lenses. Now researchers say the syndrome — which is the bane of many postmenopausal women — may be linked to pollution. A new study recently released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that patients living in urban centers including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles were more likely to

Going Natural

W

omen who’ve delivered a baby by caesarean section and want to attempt a vaginal delivery for a subsequent birth can be encouraged by news out of Great Britain. British researchers affiliated with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists studied births involving close to 150,000 mothers with a prior history of C-sections. In this group they found that among the women who subsequently attempted a vaginal delivery (also known as a vback) some two-thirds of them were subsequently able to give birth without surgical intervention. Interestingly, British researchers

found younger mothers (ages 24 and younger) were more likely to attempt a vaginal delivery than mothers ages 35 and older and minority women were more likely to try a natural delivery than Caucasian women. The study authors, who recently reported their findings in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggested their data calls for expectant mothers considering their delivery options after a prior caesarean delivery should engage in more detailed discussion of their birth options with their doctors and care providers. source: http://tinyurl.com/hl14csection

Dry Eyes be diagnosed with the syndrome than their peers in less congested, less polluted rural areas. The study, researchers suggested, supports the idea that environmental factors can exacerbate the condition, which can make daily activities such as reading, watching television or working on a computer seem unbearable. Experts at the AAO suggest that manipulating one’s environment by controlling indoor humidity and using a highquality air filter may prove beneficial. source: http://tinyurl.com/hl14eyes

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

17


news and views

Text for Success

M

any weight-loss experts counsel on the importance of keeping a diet and exercise journal to people trying to shed pounds, but researchers at Duke University say they’ve found a modern take on the practice may be more effective: texting. In a small study, Duke researchers say obese study participants who texted their daily exercise and diet choices and subsequently received coaching via short texted responses lost a small amount of weight over a six month period, while

those using more traditional methods actually gained an average of 2.5 pounds. Experts affiliated with the study say texting as a form of diet accountability may simply pair better with the modern technology-fueled lifestyle, noting it’s such a ubiquitous communication form that mobile devices may even be more readily available for some dieters than pen and paper. The study was published recently online in the Journal of Online Medical Research. source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14weightloss

Healthy Gums,

W

Slim by Healthy Heart Design

T

ant to keep heart disease at bay? Start by brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis. Researchers at Columbia University says they’ve found a direct correlation between improvements in gum health and a reduction in bacteria in the mouth as well as a decrease in the buildup of unhealthy plaque in the arteries. This was true, researchers noted, even in study subjects who had not been diagnosed with full-fledged periodontal disease. The study findings, recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, add to a growing body of research that shows a correlation between oral hygiene and heart health. “Our results show a clear relationship between what is happening in the mouth and thickening of the carotid artery, even before the onset of full-fledged periodontal disease,” says study co-author Panos N. Papanano, a professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine. “This suggests that incipient periodontal disease should not be ignored.” This news, of course, is especially important for women, as heart disease remains their number one killer.

hose all-you-can-eat food buffets sometimes seem like an open invitation to load the plate with mounds and mounds of calories, but researchers say restaurants can steer their patrons toward better choices: Place healthier options first. Researchers at Cornell University found when buffets began with healthier options (think fruits and low-fat yogurts and granola) diners were more likely to put those on their plates. But when buffets began with greasier, high-fat fare (think cheesy eggs, bacon and fried potatoes) diners were less likely to choose healthier fare as the line progressed. Indeed researchers, who reported their findings recently in the journal Plos One, determined that the first three foods a diner encounters ultimately comprise about 66 percent of the contents of their plate.

source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14teeth

source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14buffet

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healthylife


Dangerous Drink

Photos: GettyImages. Texting, Rick Gomez; Healthy Gums, John Kuczala; Slim Design, Fuse; Drink, Zlatko Kostic; Autism, Image Source; Snoring, Image Source.

W

omen with soda habits have just been given yet another reason to consider making the switch to something a little less sweet. Researchers have established a correlation between the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks to endometrial cancer. The disease, which tends to be most prevalent in postmenopausal women in their 60s and 70s, appears to develop at a

much higher rate in women who are heavy soda drinkers, according to researchers affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Researchers did not find a similar link in consumers of diet or sugar-free beverages. One theory researchers offered for their findings is a possible correlation between sugary beverages, obesity and cancer as obese women tend to have higher rates of insulin and estrogen

Snoring and Pregnancy

Don’t Mix

I

f you’re pregnant and snore during your sleep, it’s nothing to snooze about, according to a new study. It turns out snoring may actually be harmful to you and your baby. Researchers at the University of Michigan reveal in a new study that expectant mothers who snore three or more nights per week are at higher risk of poor delivery outcomes, including births by cesarean section and delivering low-birth-weight babies. Researchers found that even when their gestational ages were similar, babies of chronic snorers were often likely to be much smaller than

babies born to nonsnorers often falling below the tenth percentile of birth weights. The researchers also noted that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at higher risk for dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Researchers say the study has important implications for maternal and fetal health, as identifying snoring mothers during pregnancy and treating them for problems such as sleep apnea may lead to better pregnancies, safer deliveries and more robust newborns. The study was reported recently in the journal Sleep. source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14snore

than their healthier-weight counterparts. Higher rates of insulin and estrogen have been associated with endometrial cancer. Meanwhile, the American Beverage Association, an industry trade group, says that the study did not establish an actual cause and effect relationship between endometrial cancer and sweetened drink consumption. source: http://tinyurl. com/hl14sugar

Focus on Autism A

s researchers continue to delve into the complicated and baffling reasons for the autism epidemic, they have set their sights on finding ways to identify the syndrome earlier in infants. And they’ve yielded another important clue: Although autism and its related spectrum disorders are often not formally diagnosed until after the age of 2, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) say they have been able to spot symptoms in much younger children by focusing on their eye contact or lack of it. In a study recently published in the journal Nature the NIMH researchers said they discovered a startling decline in the amount of eye contact infants later diagnosed with the disorder made with adults — most notably their mothers — beginning between the ages of 2 to 6 months. Children typically begin to explore the faces of others within the first hours of life. The next step, researchers say, is to translate their findings about early eye contact in a manner that is helpful for diagnostic and treatment uses. source: http://tinyurl.com/hl14autism

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

19


fast facts

compiled by brianna snyder

1921

Edith Wharton was the first woman ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. She won it in 1921 for her novel The Age of Innocence.

source: tinyurl.com/HLfeb14-Pulitzer

12

25-33 % Between 25 and 33 percent of the population sneeze when they are exposed to light. source: tinyurl.com/HLfeb14-sneeze

6

Dentists recommend you keep your toothbrush at least six feet away from your toilet in order to avoid airborne particles that release from flushing. (Ewwwwwww.) source: tinyurl.com/ HLfeb14-teeth

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healthylife

50,000

Your nose can remember about 50,000 different scents. source: tinyurl.com/HLfeb14-smell

On average, it takes about 12 weeks after beginning to exercise to see measurable changes in your body. source: tinyurl.com/ HLfeb14-exercise

Photos: GettyImages. Sneezing, Jamie Grill; Exercise Time, Comstock Images; Smells, artpartner-images.

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body 24 WHEN to Work Out     28 11 Foods to Dodge     30 Exercise ... Less?  34 Hormonal Hungries    38 Skinny Comfort Foods 40 Fish for Dinner!  46 At-Home Testing  50 Metabolic Boosts  timesunion.com/HealthyLife

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fitness

Exercise Science does time of day matter when it comes to your workout? by beth cooney

 The American Council of Exercise notes an expanding body of research that suggests early a.m. exercisers have an edge losing weight and maintaining weight loss than the sleep-in crowd because of their consistency. continued on page 26 

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Photo: Aurora Creative/GettyImages.

B

ecause he‘s worked closely with one of America’s most famous doctors, Donovan Green is well-versed in fitness studies. Sure, he’s heard about research that suggests peak performance is best achieved with a mid- to late-day workout routine. Of course, he knows some experts maintain early morning fitness routines are best for consistency. The impeccably fit Green, who happens to be personal trainer to the popular syndicated talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, pays no mind to any of that journal science. Indeed, he practically calls it mumbo jumbo. When reminded research suggests anyone looking to beat the competition should stick with afternoon workouts, Green, a former martial arts competitor, waves it off with one of his bulging biceps. “Honestly, I don’t care about any of it,” says Green, whose Shock workout studio is based in Fairfield, Conn., and is a regular contributor to Oz’s website and show. As far as he’s concerned there is one correct answer to the question, “when is the best time to work out?” “That answer is when you will work out and when you will do it consistently.” Still, science is flexing its intellectual muscles to suggest that some times of day are truly better than others to hit the gym (or do whatever it is you do to stay fit.) Consider the following:


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fitness

continued from page 24

 Those ACE experts also note another body of scientific data that suggests peak athletic performance is tied to the relationship between our body clocks, or circadian rhythms. By working out when the body is warmest (usually between 2 and 4 p.m. for most people) research suggests exercisers are better able to elevate their heart rates and tap into muscles making them fitter and stronger than their early rising or evening exercising peers.

There are some better times to work out if you have the flexibility, but most people don’t have that.

But the fitness experts HealthyLife polled suggest that’s helpful news for, ahem, fitness-minded rodents. When it comes to people, for many a midday workout is simply impractical and the idea of hitting the pavement for a pre-dawn jog might make them want hit the snooze button in protest. “I think different people perform better at different times of day,” says Nancy Gildersleeve, director of Healthy Living for the Capital District Y. “There are many people for whom a midday workout just wouldn’t work for their lives. There are people who have night jobs or children who just can’t get to the gym at the crack of dawn.”

A

nd American Heart Association expert Dr. Russell Pate, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, maintains the most important consideration with workouts is not when you exercise but for how long. The AHA recommends 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes (one hour 15 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise a week. Indeed, Pate suggests in an AHA briefing he prepared on the subject that the “best time” to work out is really better based on many factors, including your personal schedule, the setting of your workouts, the social situation and your workout style. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table by doing what’s going to work for you,” says Pate. Gildersleeve suggests deciding the best time to exercise should ultimately be about lifestyle and fitness preferences. “There’s no real evidence you burn more calories one time of day over another and, ultimately, that’s what we’re talking about,” she says. “For me, it’s more about motivating people to find the way to fit it in and also helping them find what kind of workout they’ll realistically incorporate into their life.” For example, Gildersleeve suggests a busy stay-at-home mom or working professional who rises early and has a

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physically taxing daytime schedule may be too beat at night to go all-out in Zumba class or a push-it-to-the-limit Crossfit session, but “might find yoga the perfect way to unwind after a long day.” And someone with a desk job and a lot of stress but little physical activity from 9 to 5 “might find something high-energy like a boot camp exactly what they need because they’ve been sitting all day.” In her own office, Gildersleeve says a lot of her co-workers “slip on their sneakers at lunch time because it’s the best way to fit exercise into their work and family life.” The earlier you can squeeze your workout into your day, the more likely you are to get it done. “But for some, that might mean a short walk after dinner is the best they can do because they don’t have the energy at the end of the day to do something more intense,” says Gildersleeve. And while some research suggests that too much physical activity too close to bedtime can be akin to downing a fully caffeinated Starbucks venti, that physical jolt of late-day exercise is also not a one-size-fits-all insomnia syndrome. “Some people can only fit [exercise] in during the evening, but they do just fine with an intense workout a few hours before bed and tell me they sleep easily,” says Gildersleeve. “For someone else, it might be really difficult for them to unwind and get to sleep. Again, it’s personal.” Green, who confesses that he prefers an early a.m. workout so he can devote the rest of his day to clients and family, says even he has to be flexible in his own disciplined life to squeeze in fitness. “I’m no different than anybody else. I have to do it when I can. Sometimes it’s a half-hour here, 15 minutes there. Sometimes it’s morning, sometimes it’s at night,” he says. “And I always tell my clients the best time is the time that’s going to get them off that couch.” HL

Photo: Comstock Images/GettyImages.

 And then there’s the new study reported in the December 2012 issue of the journal Physiology, in which researchers affiliated with the University of California, who looked at mice, found that vigorous exercise mid-day seemed to make the creatures’ body clocks more efficient.


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dental damned  MILK

Open Wide 11 foods dentists want you to know about by traci neal

F

ew things are more difficult for a dentist than having to tell a parent her 3-yearold has a cavity. “It’s heartbreaking,” says Dr. Kendra Zappia, an Albany dentist. “But when you have to tell them their child has 10 cavities, it’s devastating.” Parents usually respond with “a look of horror, a look of defeat,” says Zappia. “They think, ‘What have I done?’ and they list all of the things they don’t let their kids eat.” Zappia says the problem often is not cookies or candy or soda, but often something a lot less apparent: milk or juice. More specifically, milk or juice in a bottle or sippy cup. We all know soda and candy are bad for our teeth, but milk? Juice? HealthyLife asked some local dentists for the list of foods you and your family should watch more carefully for optimum tooth health.

Milk contains natural sugars that cause decay, which can be especially troublesome when parents allow babies or toddlers to sip all day. “By now the word is out that babies shouldn’t be put to bed with a bottle, but you’d be surprised how often I see it,” says Dr. Frederick Wetzel, a Schenectady dentist. “When kids are regularly put to bed with a bottle of milk, you tend to see discoloration and a change in the texture of the enamel. It’s sort of worn down, whereas a healthy tooth is shiny. I work with families that should know but it runs the spectrum of socioeconomic groups.” Zappia also warns parents against allowing kids to sip. “When they’re having it all day long, it’s like they’re bathing their teeth in it,” she says. “That’s when decay starts to happen.”

DRIED FRUIT  Dried fruit, such as raisins, are similar to candy as far as the teeth are concerned, says Dr. Steven Lysenko of Voorheesville. Sugars become highly concentrated in dehydrated fruit and as a result the fruit tends to be sticky. “Anything that sticks to your teeth that contains sugars can cause damage,” says Lysenko.

  COFFEE Zappia says drinking coffee all day long, especially sweetened with milk, constantly re-exposes teeth to sugars. To lessen the bad effects on teeth, she recommends drinking through a straw, taking smaller sips and not swishing drinks around in your mouth.

FRUIT PUREE POUCHES & SQUEEZABLE FRUIT  Marketed for toddlers — and adored by parents everywhere due to their messfree ease and portability — many fruit purees claim to be healthy, but, “You have to be really careful because it’s not necessarily the fruit they put in it but all the other garbage they put in,” says Wetzel. Read the label to discover whether the puree has corn syrup, aka sugar.


For FDA toothpaste warnings, visit timesunion.com/healthylife.

Photos: GettyImages. Milk, craftvision; Dried Fruit, Sally Williams Photography; Coffee, Atw Photography; Water, Hanquan Chen; Energy Drink, P_Wei; Cough Drops, MARK SYKES/ SPL; Gummy Vitamins, Stephan Zabel; Orange Juice, Donald Erickson; Fruit Roll-Ups, Alexandra Grablewski. Fruit Puree, Diet Soda, and Gum photos by Colleen Ingerto.

  BOTTLED WATER Bottled water — too much of it, anyway — may cause trouble. Because it isn’t fluoridated, drinking and cooking with bottled water exclusively can result in weaker teeth, especially in children whose teeth are still developing, says Lysenko. “They’re not getting the fluoride protection that’s in the community water,” he says. “There are fluoride tablets for children that need them, and topical treatments at the dental office are always a great thing.” Wetzel recommends tap water. “First of all it’s free, but secondly, unless you get your water from a private well, it has fluoride, which is important for developing strong teeth in young children.”

  SPORTS DRINKS OR ENERGY DRINKS The problem, says Wetzel, is that the acid in sports drinks breaks down the enamel, making teeth more susceptible to cavities. “I’ve seen problems, especially with teens who’ve had perfectly fine teeth and then suddenly they join a team sport and start drinking a lot of sports drinks and we start seeing a lot of decay in a short amount of time.” Also, says Zappia, they’re drinking them all day long. “Anytime you’re having a drink or a snack throughout the day,” she says, “it’s like you’re bathing your teeth all day in a sugar or an acid bath.”

COUGH DROPS  “Some people tell us they suck on cough drops even if they don’t need them,” says Zappia. “We had a patient who had one spot of decay and erosion and we couldn’t figure out the pattern until we learned that what she was doing was holding a cough drop on the side of her mouth all day.”

  SPARKLING WATER & DIET SODA Sparkling water and diet sodas contain several different types of acids that dissolve the enamel on the teeth, says Lysenko. “We see problems even with people who drink diet soda because while it doesn’t have the sugar, it still has all the acids.”

Four out of five dentists surveyed … To help prevent tooth decay, the American Dental Association recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals to increase saliva flow and help wash out food and neutralize acid. The ADA has given its Seal of Acceptance to five sugar-free gums. They are: Dentyne Ice, Stride, Trident, Wrigley’s Extra, and Wrigley’s Orbit.

GUMMY VITAMINS  Gummy vitamins may be healthy for the body, but they can be bad for the teeth because they’re sticky and made with added sugar, the American Dental Association warns. Have kids rinse their mouths and brush well after chewing their vitamins.

  ORANGE JUICE Orange juice has a lot of acid and acidic foods and drinks tend to erode the enamel, which can lead to decay. “I’ve seen people who drink a lot of juices actually get a frosted, whitish area on their teeth.” Wetzel says, adding he “learned the hard way” when his own daughter developed an OJ habit. “She drank a lot of orange juice and we thought, ‘Hey, she likes it. That’s great!’ But she ended up with a breakdown of her teeth. We started watering it down and that did help. But you still have to be careful.” If you must have juice or sweets, the American Dental Association recommends doing so as part of a meal rather than as a separate snack.

  FRUIT SNACKS OR FRUIT ROLL-UPS You may as well be eating caramels, says Lysenko. “It may be fruit flavored but it’s still full of sugar and just as bad as candy,” he says, “particularly because it’s sticky and the sugars tend to stick to your teeth.” HL

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

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exercise

HIIT It! can less really mean more when it comes to exercise? by anna zernone giorgi

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In one study participants increased aerobic capacity by 14 percent.

Photo: Moof/GettyImages.

O

ne of the fitness industry’s biggest challenges is to address the needs of people who avoid exercise because they don’t have enough time. With evidence that it’s possible to improve your level of fitness and gain fat-burning results with shorter periods of exercise, have they finally done it? Perhaps. The hype is supported by research that says short periods of high intensity interval training (HIIT) can provide more physical benefits than longer periods of traditional cardio workouts. The periods studied have been intervals as short as four minutes. The HIIT approach to fitness is not a new idea. The regimen has been used by athletes at all fitness levels, from weekend warriors to the pros, for decades. A HIIT workout switches between periods of intense exertion and periods of recovery or rest. The opposing periods of activity and rest are consistent for each movement. Just about any exercise and can be done with a HIIT workout. The work to recovery ratio also can be varied. A typical HIIT exercise session might involve sprinting at maximum speed for 30 seconds, followed by a rest period of 15 seconds, then repeating the sequence several times. “The really important feature of HIIT is the intensity. If you’re working at a higher intensity, there’s theoretically more fitness benefit to that. You’re essentially creating a larger stimulus for change in your body. So, the adaptations that your body makes are more likely to be greater and more profound than with a lower intensity training,” says Dr. Hamish Kerr, a primary care physician board certified in internal medicine, sports medicine, and pediatrics. He practices in Latham at Albany Medical Center Latham Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. HIIT has several benefits. “One type of fitness that typically benefits from HIIT is aerobic fitness,” Kerr says. “It may help someone who’s doing a marathon and wants to try to gain fitness more quickly and build their aerobic platform. You’re working at a higher intensity, which requires the body to make adaptations at the cellular level, in the muscles, and in your breathing and cardiac functions.”


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HIIT also benefits the anaerobic system. “The anaerobic system is the system that requires you to be able to sprint. You start out using your aerobic system and if the intensity of the exercise is so that the anaerobic system is being used, then you’re starting to build up lactic acid and you’re not using oxygen to burn energy,” Kerr says. “It’s been shown in multiple papers, manuscripts, and journals that it’s very beneficial and it’s probably the best way to train.” By reaching your anaerobic threshold, you also may be able to reap the benefits of a HIIT workout for hours after you’ve left the gym. “HIIT allows you to burn fat. Therefore, your workouts stay with you longer,” says Blythe Thompson-Hurlburt, a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and owner of fitnessCOREyou in East Greenbush. “The traditional kind of cardio-style workouts that we did in the past tended to only give you the calorie burning benefit during those 45 minutes. But, with HIIT, you continue to burn fat after you’re done. You’re getting that metabolic boost by getting your metabolism in a fatburning mode versus just a calorie burn.” AN AHA MOMENT!

The merits of HIIT were reexamined in 1996 when research by Izumi Tabata showed that short episodes of HIIT performed at maximum intensity provided impressive results. Working with the coach of the Japanese Olympic speed skating team, Tabata analyzed the effectiveness of a HIIT training regime using short periods of exercise. Tabata’s research compared two groups of athletes using a cycling ergometer, a special cycling machine for measuring exercise exertion. One group performed what is now known as the “Tabata protocol” — 20 seconds of extremely intense effort followed by 10 seconds of inactivity, or rest. The sequence was repeated for eight rounds for a total session time of four minutes for five days per week, with an added 30 minutes of average cycling on the fifth day. A control group exercised at an average rate of intensity on the cycling ergometer for 60 minutes for five days per week. In only six weeks, the Tabata protocol group demonstrated that athletes could obtain both the aerobic and anaerobic benefits of HIIT in short periods of time. Participants increased their aerobic capacity by 14 percent and anaerobic capacity by 28 percent. The control group had an aerobic capacity increase of just 9 percent, but no increase in anaerobic capacity. Other researchers have experimented with the idea of making gains within short periods of exercise time. In 2009, professor Martin Gibala, of McMaster University in Canada, reported that a group of students performing 60 seconds of intense exercise and 75 seconds of rest

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exercise

for eight to 12 repetitions, three times a week, showed gains similar to what would be expected to steady state exercise done five times per week. In 2013, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science research team reported the results of four rounds of Tabata protocols. Each round consisted of 20 seconds of an intense full-body exercise, balanced by 10 seconds of rest. The outcomes met or surpassed industry guidelines for improving cardio fitness, modifying body composition, and burning calories. IS IT FOR YOU?

No one questions that HIIT can offer health and fitness benefits. And, the possibility of achieving both fitness and fat-burning results in a short period of time may just be enough to entice most couch potatoes from their posts. However, you need to read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. When talking about HIIT in short intervals, as in the Tabata protocols, it’s important to realize that the 20 seconds of activity must be done at a high — make that very high — level of intensity for you to achieve significant results. “That 20 seconds, you have to be putting in all of your energy. Your 20 seconds is 20 seconds at 110 percent; your rest is also at 110 percent,” Thompson-Hurlburt says. Classes based on the four-minute protocol, usually called Tabata training, are offered at many fitness centers in the Capital District. However, don’t expect to be in and out that

For most of us, the benefits of exercise offset the risks, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The organization’s position stand on the quantity and quality of exercise appropriate for healthy adults advises, “A program of regular exercise that includes cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults.” The ACSM says that most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. To meet this goal, its policy recommends that you should: • Participate in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for five days per week or 20

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to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise for three days per week. • Use either one continuous session or multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes each to achieve the recommended daily amount of exercise. • Gradually increase your exercise time, frequency, and intensity to reduce your risk of injury. • Train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of resistance training exercises and equipment. • Utilize flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve your range of motion.

• Participate in neuromotor exercise, such as tai chi or yoga, two or three days per week in periods of 20 to 30 minutes. The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. Its more than 40,000 members include physicians, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. You can find out more information and review the full set of recommendations at the ACSM website: www.acsm.org.

Photo: Robert Daly/GettyImages.

General Guidelines for Fitness and Health

quickly. Typically, these classes last about 45 minutes, incorporating a warm-up, cool down, and multiple four-minute high intensity rounds, often with several different exercises. “Tabata is about getting physically fit as well as mentally fit because you’re training your mind to work past that comfort zone. Not only are you training your body to work at its maximum, you’re training your mind to push past the next level because you have eight cycles to get through. You’re tired when you’re done,” Thompson-Hurlburt says. However, it’s not just a matter of getting through the class. The emphasis is on working at full force for each 20-second burst of activity. “Tabata and all HIIT are based on one thing, that’s your heart rate. Your heart rate is the biggest factor in how successful your Tabata or interval training program is going to be,” says Adam Cernauskas, fitness manager at the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center in Albany. “The person starting this kind of program has to have a fitness level that will allow them to get to the vigorous state, and the majority of those who have been sitting around without an exercise routine are not able to get to a vigorous state and hold it there for, at the very minimum, four minutes.”


If you’re not able to work at your maximum level, you’re not going to get the same results. “Could you go into a class and make your exercise 80 percent, certainly, but then you’re not going to get the benefits of Tabata. You wouldn’t get that metabolic switch over if you’re not maxing it,” Thompson-Hurlburt says. While any type of HIIT doesn’t necessarily require equipment, it’s advised that you use a heart monitor to gage your progress. Cernauskas recommends using the Karvonen formula to calculate your low, moderate and vigorous heart rates. The Karvonen formula allows for variable levels of fitness, as opposed to the traditional method of simply basing it against your age. Karvonen calculators are accessible online. Ultimately, participation in Tabata, or any HIIT program, may not be for everyone. If you have high blood pressure or a history of heart problems, stroke, or injuries, it may not be appropriate. “HIIT, although very beneficial for training, has its risks. And, someone contemplating that kind of exercise should use a heart monitor, but they also should talk to their physician about whether or not they are ready for that type of exercise,” Kerr says. “For example, if you’re on a beta blocker, you can’t get maximum heart rate because your medication stops you. It’s another reason to be talking that over with a physician to make sure that you’re not overreaching your fitness goals. Realistic goals can improve your fitness and your health rather than hinder it.” If you’re physically cleared and ready to start, it’s best to begin with exercises with which you’re familiar and start out slowly, at a lower intensity. “If anyone wants to do a Tabata by themselves, they surely can start simply with just four minutes. But, your body will eventually adapt to that, so you will want to increase the intensity. The major idea is getting to a high enough intensity for your body to allow you to only need to work out for those four minutes to see results,” Cernauskas says. If you’re considering a class, talk to the instructor about the exercises and his or her approach to find out if you’ll fit in. Many exercises use multiple muscle groups to make the most of those intense 20 seconds. “It certainly wouldn’t be a beginner’s exercise. It could be demotivating if you have the wrong person standing in front of the room,” Thompson-Hurlburt says. For optimum benefits, short-interval HIIT workouts may be used best as one component of a total fitness regimen, not as a substitute for one. “The problem with higher intensity exercise is that you’re more prone to injury performing it. If you’re working at a higher intensity, you are more likely to strain a muscle or injure your body somehow,” Kerr says. “If you’re planning an exercise strategy for the week, you only might want to do high intensity twice a week, a few days apart. Don’t do it every day because if you’re doing it every day, your body’s not going to make adaptations and you’re going to be more prone to injury.” HL

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weight control

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hormone levels may be the culprit by valerie foster

W

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weight control

1. CORTISOL is our main stress hormone. It makes

us crave comfort foods, makes us want to eat more, depresses our immune system and disrupts our sleep. If belly fat is your issue, it might be cortisol.

2.

INSULIN is the primary fat-storage regulator. When it’s not working correctly we have a huge appetite, and crave sugar and carbs. Love handles? Fat on the back of your arms? Fat hanging out over your bra? Belly fat? Could be insulin issues.

3. ESTROGEN affects our body’s ability to store or burn fat. Too little can equal more belly fat. It can also mean trouble for your hips, thighs and breasts.

4.

Gottfried calls the THYROID hormones “the bosses of our metabolism, determining how fast you burn calories.” Turner adds that these hormones control every single cell in the body and directly affect heart rate, cholesterol level, body weight, energy, muscle contraction and relaxation, skin and hair texture, bowel function, fertility, menstrual regularity, memory and mood. Fat everywhere? Look at your thyroid hormones!

5. LEPTIN governs our hunger and boosts our fat-

burning capacity, reasons why Gottfried says it needs to be controlled. If uncontrolled, it causes fat to accumulate all over the body. Leptin levels naturally increase while we sleep, so too little sleep causes a drop in leptin and leads to overeating.

6. GHRELIN (rhymes with melon) increases hunger

and slows metabolism. Stomach growling? That’s a signal that too much ghrelin is being produced. It lets us know when it’s time to eat. So think about this: When you are dieting, if you are not eating enough, your body will think you are starving — constantly.

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7. GROWTH HORMONE

affects our ability to store or burn fat. It’s released during sleep and exercise, so the moral of this hormone is to get enough sleep and get moving.

S

o now what? Gottfried offers a simple test for too much insulin: “Put on a pair of skinny jeans and look down at your body. If you’re spilling over your jeans, there’s most likely a problem with insulin.” Of course, if you can’t get those jeans over your ankles, both doctors would say you have more than one hormonal imbalance. But there are other ways. Gottfried suggests visiting thehormonecurebook.com/quiz and answering 46 questions. You’ll get an immediate assessment of your hormone profile. “This is a self-assessment like the one I developed for my own practice, which is my favorite way to assess hormones,” she says. “Lab tests only show data for a single day and time, which means they might not pick up on hormone resistance or daily fluctuations. But I also love people to know their numbers, which means asking your doctor to run some tests for you.” She suggests: • Thyroid: TSH, free Ts, reverse T3, cortisol, DHEA, fasting glucose • If overweight: leptin, insulin, IGF1 (growth hormone) If your doctor won’t order these tests, Gottfried recommends CanaryClub.org to order home tests. Her favorite is the Advanced Plus Hormone Profile. Turner offers her hormone tests in her books, including the just released The Supercharged Hormone Diet. Instead of Gottfried’s 46 questions, there are almost 300 assessments you need to make, a section on how to interpret your scores, and an explanation of your results. “The results will help you discover the hormones that are working properly and those that are not working correctly,” Turner says. “In addition, I think everyone

Photo: Brand New Images/GettyImages.

mones govern the most essential bodily processes, including weight, sleep, sex and mental state,” says Gottfried. “Women, more so than men, experience a hormonal roller-coaster throughout their lives.” Each doctor has identified the hormones that, when not working optimally, are most influential in controlling hunger and weight. Although there are many, Turner says her top four culprits are cortisol, insulin, estrogen and thyroid (yes, it is a gland, but it also produces four types of thyroid hormone — thyroidstimulating hormone, thyroxine, triiodothyronine and rTs). Gottfried’s top four are insulin, thyroid, leptin and ghrelin, but adds cortisol, growth hormone and estrogen to her list. Let’s look at each of the seven and some reasons why Turner and Gottfried say we need to get them under control.


Store who gives wholesale pricing should ask their doctors to order traditional blood tests and have a naturopathic or functional doctor order saliva tests.” By now, you’re looking for the fix. So here it is. Registered dietitian Amy Imler suggests logging onto choosemyplate.gov, to see what and how much we should be eating at every meal: • Half the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. • A little more than a quarter should be whole grains, not the white bread and white rice that has had all the nutrients stripped out.

to

everyone.

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• The remaining space is for protein, and Imler suggests lean protein such as poultry, fish or beans, or a whole grain/protein such as quinoa. • Think of low-fat or no-fat dairy as a side dish. Many of Imler’s clients complain that healthy eating is too expensive and they don’t have time to prepare meals. But as dietician at the ShopRite in Colonie, she knows healthy eating can fit into anyone’s lifestyle. “Look at sale items and clip coupons,” she suggests. “And decide at home what meals you are going to make for the week. Make a shopping list and follow it at the grocery store. Make some things in bulk, like soups and stews in a crock pot. Or a casserole. That way you will have meals for many nights to come. If you eat a healthy diet, in most cases you will keep your hormones stabilized.” Gottfried agrees: “You can take control of your hormones, no trickery required. In fact, it’s possibly the best thing you can do for your weight, energy, productivity and sex drive.” Her solution: • Reset your attitude toward stress.

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• Add natural supplements to fill in nutritional gaps. Turner also favors a multi-faceted approach. To reset our hormones, she offers three steps.

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comfort food

Dig In! these slimmed-down comfort foods are hearty and healthy by melissa fiorenza   |   photos by paul barrett

Whether it’s the cold temperatures outside or the family feasts we hold inside, this time of year always has us craving warm, filling comfort foods — even as we enter the new year resolved to eat less. So as not to derail our diet too much, we asked local and national chefs to dish out their favorite skinny-fied recipes. Here’s what they gave us:

Stuffed Peppers by Roslyn Zecchini  •  Executive Chef Boca Bistro in Saratoga Ingredients 1 /2 cup brown lentils (dried, picked over, rinsed) 2 cups water 1 /2 tsp thyme 1 /2 tsp cumin 1 /2 tsp paprika 2 green bell peppers (large) 1 /2 cup onion (finely chopped) 1 /2 head roasted garlic 14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes (un-drained) 1 /4 tsp kosher salt 1 /8 tsp ground black pepper 1 cup manchego cheese ( shredded, or mozzarella) 3 cups canned black beans, drained 3 cups brown rice

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Chef Roslyn says … I selected this dish because it contains hearty and wholesome “ ingredients that make for great healthy dinner alternative. Vegetable, beans and legumes, high in protein and fiber, it’s a great meal that will fill you up that’s nutritionally balanced with minimal fat.”

method Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 13x9-inch baking pan and medium skillet with cooking spray; set aside. Combine lentils, water and thyme in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Meanwhile, cut bell peppers lengthwise through stem into halves. Remove seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut-side down, in pan. Bake 15 minutes or until tender.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and roasted garlic. Cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring several times. Add un-drained tomatoes, salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, keep warm over low heat. Stir in drained lentils and black beans. Turn pepper halves over. Place half of tomato-lentil mixture in peppers. Top with half of the cheese. Add remaining tomatolentil mixture and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more to melt cheese. Serve with rice.


We’ve got more recipes at timesunion.com/healthylife.

Turkey & Chorizo Chili with Avocado by Eric Tisaj  •  Executive Chef Tala American Bistro in Latham Ingredients 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil 1 pound Mexican chorizo, cut from casings 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 each jalapeno, seeded and minced 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped 2 tablespoon ground coriander 2 tablespoon ground cumin 2 tablespoon chili powder (1) 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 pound cooked, diced turkey breast 2 to 3 cups chicken stock 2 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo 2 tablespoons cornmeal or quick-cooking polenta 1 tablespoon honey 1 /2 bunch chopped cilantro Lime wedges, for serving Diced avocado, for serving

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Lasagna with Ricotta by Marla Ortega  •  Chef/Owner Illium Cafe in Troy Ingredients 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound lasagna sheets 3 pounds Swiss chard (3) 8-ounce cans of pumpkin puree 1 /2 cup heavy cream Salt and pepper Pinch of fresh nutmeg 3 1/2 cups skim ricotta Pinch of cayenne pepper Pinch of cinnamon 2 1/2 cups parmigiano reggiano 3 large eggs 2 whole butternut squash

method Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the chorizo, crumbling the meat as it cooks. Add the garlic, onions and peppers and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, chili powder,

method Heat oven to 375. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta sheets until soft about 3-4 min. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Roast in over for 20-25 min until tender. Scoop out squash from skin. Let cool. Saute Swiss chard with oil, salt and pepper. Let cool. In mixing bowl, mix butternut squash, pumpkin puree, ricotta, cream, Swiss chard, eggs, ricotta, 1 and a half cups Parmesan reggiano. Mix until completely combined. Add nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. In large 9x9 baking dish, layer alternating layers of pasta and squash mixture. Top with the remainder of the Parmesan cheese and bake covered for about 40 minutes at 375 until slightly firm.

and tomatoes, followed by the turkey, stock, chipotles, cornmeal and honey. Simmer over low heat to thicken, 45 minutes. Add the chopped cilantro. Top with diced avocado, and serve with a lime wedge alongside.

Chef Marla says … This recipe is a warm-spirited twist “ on classic lasagna and it reminds me of

eating at my grandmother’s house when she would slow-roast butternut squash.”

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

39


cookbook

Something

Fishy

sustainable seafood feasts anyone can make

by janet reynolds   |   photos by antonis achilleos/chronicle books

HOW TO PICK FRESH SEAFOOD

40

healthylife

Ask to smell the fish before you buy. “It’s so instructive,” she says. “Any hint of ammonia or any of those off smells, and you just look for something else.”

Visual clues — Fresh fish should have gloss, rather than look flat. Its body loses its texture when it’s old.

Fish Illustrations: Dorling Kindersley/GettyImages.

H

ardly a day goes by that we aren’t being exhorted to add more fish to our diet. The wonders of seafood — Omega 3s! Low fat! — are touted by everyone from physicians to nutritionists. Concerned environmentalists offer a caveat on our fish consumption, however. Over-fishing certain species, combined with pollution and climate change, can result, they say, in potentially eliminating certain species or eating seafood that is filled with less-than-healthy items such as mercury. (If you want to know what fish are considered the best to eat, from both environmental and nutritional points of view, check out seafoodwatch.org, which also features a handy app for your phone, making seafood choices while you’re shopping easier than ever.) Cookbook author Cree LeFavour decided to tackle the fish dilemma in her new cookbook called, simply, Fish. “I was really frustrated by the fish cookbooks that are available. Many point to sustainability but then call for fish that’s not really sustainable,” she says. “I like to buy fish but wanted to buy sustainably and cook healthy fish not filled with heavy metals. I think the landscape is really confusing for people and I tried to clarify that.” LeFavour, who also wrote Poulet, also wanted to help people feel more comfortable about cooking fish. “There’s that fear factor,” she says, ticking off concerns about freshness and the debate about previously frozen versus fresh. “I think I used to buy into it until I really researched it.” Fish that is frozen at sea, she says, can be preferable as long as it’s thawed properly. As a result of LeFavour’s approach, Fish is simultaneously a mini-primer on choosing fish as well as terrific ways to cook it. Don’t be afraid, LeFavour says, to ask where the fish came from. She explains why and when it’s important to choose wild fish versus farm-raised. And she includes a list of fish you can always eat in good conscience. LeFavour also includes a fish tip with each recipe about the best option for that particular recipe, i.e., choosing a European variety versus, say, Asian.


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Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts, by Cree LeFavour, photographs by Antonis Achilleos, Chronicle Books, 226 pages, $27.50

This is not to suggest that Fish is didactic or preachy. LeFavour’s style is straight-talking and her recipes straight-forward. The book has a section about different ways to cook fish, and her recipes all include salads or sides to go with the particular main fish course. Instant meal with all the directions right there! And fish for dinner is speedy. Unlike chicken, the go-to choice of many a harried family cook, fish can take only minutes to get from the pan to the table, depending on the recipe. Now that’s a recipe anyone can like! HL

CREE LEFAVOUR’S TOP THREE We asked LeFavour to pick her top fish she wished people ate more of and why. Arctic char—LeFavour calls this the perfect alternative to salmon, which is not a good choice unless it’s wild Coho salmon. “There is an endless controversy about farmed and Atlantic salmon,” she says. “I think this is the perfect solution. It’s more affordable and more available, and it’s farmed in a closed system.” You can cook it just like salmon, LeFavour says, making it an easy salmon substitute. Cod— “I’m a huge cod girl. It’s not as complicated and easy to cook,” she says, noting the cod populations are recovering in the northern Atlantic. “It’s super versatile, whether you’re cooking it in a rich sauce or roasting or whatever.” Clams and oysters—LeFavour likes these because they’re “super sustainable and versatile.” And you can easily tell when they’re not fresh: They don’t open. “The whole anxiety over getting a bad seafood is taken care of by … buying when alive. They will reveal if they’re less than fresh if they don’t open.” see recipe on page 44 

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cookbook

continued from page 41

Mussels with cream, saffron, garlic toast and angel hair Serves 4 Ingredients 3 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded if necessary 1 cup white wine 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 small shallot, chopped 6 strips lemon zest, julienned 6 sprigs fresh thyme 1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente 3 tablespoons butter 1 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, slivered, with fennel fronds reserved 1 cup heavy cream 1-2 teaspoons saffron, lightly crushed 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley flaky or coarse salt and pepper method In a large Dutch oven or pot with a lid, combine the mussels, white wine, garlic, shallot, lemon zest and thyme and set over high heat for 10 minutes or until all the mussels are open. (Discard any that have not opened.) Turn off the heat and use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a mixing bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid in the pot. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shells and set aside. (Discard the shells.) Once the pasta has cooked, toss it with the butter. Set aside. Return the cooking liquid from the mussels to medium heat and reduce for 5 minutes or until about 1 1/2 cups of liquid remain. Add the fennel bulb, cream and saffron and reduce for 2-3 minutes over high heat. Just before serving add the parsley and return the mussels to the sauce to reheat. Line four pasta bowls with pasta and portion out the sauce and mussels over the top. Finish with the fennel fronts, lightly torn, a pinch of flaky or coarse salt, and a generous grind of black pepper.

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FISH NOTE: Mussels are sustainable and mostly farmed. As always, source from the United States or the European Union. Farmed mussels are beardless. Feel free to make this recipe with clams or even oysters.

Garlic toast Ingredients 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and lightly crushed 1/2 cup olive oil 5 large chives, chopped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons butter 4 large slices flavorful, chewy sourdough bread flaky or coarse salt method In a blender, small food processor or mortar combine the garlic, oil, chives and kosher sale. Work un-

til the garlic is no longer in visible chunks. Transfer to a small saucepan, add the butter and place over very low heat until the butter melts and the mixture begins to simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes. The butter should not brown. Toast the bread until crisp and lightly browned. Paint on or gently drizzle the fat onto the hot bread. Be sure it’s adequately salted and that you have plenty at hand. Prawn-studded Persian rice over wilted spinach: For this recipe (pictured on page 40), visit timesunion. com/healthylife.


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home care

Do-It-Yourself Medicine when should you consider an at-home test kit?

F

or years it seemed the only over-the-counter at-home medical tests were for women wondering if they were pregnant or for diabetics who needed to check insulin levels. No more. Today’s consumers can buy tests that give them a wide variety of medical information. In fact, a quick survey of several chain drugstores found athome kits to test for illegal drugs, HIV, urinary tract and vaginal infections, and cholesterol levels. An online search found lots more, including test kits for colon disease, DNA and child paternity. Need to test your thyroid or see if you have strep throat? Or determine whether you’re in menopause? Maybe you want to check the sperm count of your significant other, or see whether you have a hormone deficiency, blood in the stool or hepatitis? Or maybe you just want to know your blood type? You can find tests for them all, with costs ranging from $12-$15 in the drugstore for a simple UTI kit or $59 for an HIV test kit; to $99 and up for an online DNA kit, sometimes referred to as an ancestry test. “The list grows ever-longer,” says Dr. Mary Applegate, associate dean for public health practice at the University of Albany School of Public Health in Rensselaer. The widespread availability of tests is good news for consumers, she says, as long as they buy products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. “I think on the whole, yes, it’s good. It makes testing more readily available to those who might not have good access to health care,” she says. “It empowers them and lets them find

46

healthylife

out what’s going on. It concretely puts people in charge of their own health with less frequent visits to the doctor. It emphasizes that you’re in charge of keeping yourself healthy.” At-home tests might help rule out illness or make a diagnosis more accessible to someone with no primary care doctor. And for those with conditions that require frequent monitoring, some of these at-home tests can be life-savers. For example, diabetics must test their blood sugar daily and heart patients sometimes need to test blood pressure and clotting levels, Applegate adds. Finger-stick glucose and blood pressure monitors are good tools that allow people to test themselves at home. “Without these kind of tests, people would have to go to a doctor’s office multiple times a week and that would create a big barrier to health care,” she says. “Having the device at home allows you to monitor your blood sugar and puts people in the driver’s seat of their own health.” But while consumers may feel empowered when they test themselves, the real question is what to do with the test results. For example, if a UTI test is positive, you still have to see a doctor for treatment. “Most home testing needs to be done in connection with a health-care provider,” says Applegate.

W

hile the Food and Drug Administration, which reviews tests for safety and effectiveness, says most home-use medical tests undergo a review to provide reasonable assurance of its safety and effectiveness, it adds that no at-home genetic tests have been reviewed, so the accuracy of their claims hasn’t been evaluated. And

Photos: GettyImages. Pregnancy Test, camilla wisbauer; Glaucometer, gerenme.

by wendy healy


medical exams that include conventional laboratory tests such as blood chemistry and lipid profiles are a more appropriate starting point for diagnosing diseases and assessing preventive measures, according to the FDA and Centers for Disease Control. And some at-home tests are better than others. Tests for blood sugar or blood pressure are fairly accurate, but cholesterol kits don’t take a person’s full profile or other health factors into consideration, experts say. Some tests show immediate results, such as the UTI test, taken by urinating on a strip. Others, such as the DNA test, need to be mailed back to a lab after swabbing your cheek. Tests also can produce false positives, according to the FDA. Pamela Pesta, a pharmacist at Fallon Wellness Pharmacy in Latham, says the do-it-yourself tests aren’t that popular with customers, who she says mostly buy the athome drug tests, probably to test their teenagers. Applegate says that although drug tests may be appropriate in certain situations, she has misgivings about parents

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Genetic Testing: It’s Complicated If considering an at-home genetic test, the FDA recommends you: • Talk to your doctor or health-care practitioner about whether it might provide useful information about your health, and if so, which test would be best. Make sure you understand the benefits and limits of the test before you buy it. • Ask your doctor or a genetic counselor to help you understand your test results. Most companies that sell at-home genetic tests do not interpret the results. • Discuss the results of your test with your doctor or health care practitioner before making dietary or other health-related decisions. Genetic test results can be complex and serious. You don’t want to make any decisions based on incomplete, inaccurate, or misunderstood information. • Protect your privacy. At-home test companies may post patient test results online. If the website is not secure, your information may be seen by others. Before you do business with any company online, check the privacy policy to see how they may use your personal information, and whether they share customer information with marketers. • While most other home-use medical tests undergo FDA review to provide a reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness, no at-home genetic tests have been reviewed by the FDA, and the FDA has not evaluated the accuracy of their claims. You can check whether a test is FDA approved by visiting fda.gov.

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home care

surreptitiously testing their teens. This causes trust issues, she says, and might impede frank and open discussions about drugs. The HIV test, she says, is probably better done in a doctor’s office, so that if results are positive, a person can be calmed and counseled. “Think this one through,” Applegate says. “It’s potentially devastating news to get. Do you want to get this news when you’re at home, or in a place where you can talk to someone in the doctor’s office?” She also offers a word of caution about tests that can be tampered with, such as a DNA swab test of your cheek that’s sent in the mail. Some tests, she says, are better done with a certified lab. But she’s a big proponent of home pregnancy tests because the sooner a woman knows she’s pregnant, the earlier she can get prenatal care and also change or stop any unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, eating poorly or not getting enough rest. The blood-in-the-stool test is another good home test and a staple in screening for colon cancer. These at-home tests, Applegate says, “are a useful adjunct to help people get tested more easily and quicker than having to wait for a health care appointment. But balance it with the news you might get. Have a plan for what to do regardless of what the result is.” HL

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eating right

Ten Behaviors That May

SLOW

Your

Metabolism M by melinda mcgarty webb

etabolism. It’s a term we throw around all the time, but do we really understand precisely what it means and what affects it? Metabolism is simply the method by which our bodies take the food and liquids we ingest and turn them into the energy our organs and bodily processes need to function. The problem lies when we take in more calories than our bodies can put to use. When that happens, the excess energy gets stored as fat. So in order to stay trim and lean, we want our metabolisms to burn through those calories as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we can be doing things today — even right at this very moment — that adversely affect our metabolisms and make our bodies burn calories more slowly. So read on and see if you are making any of these 10 mistakes — and then make a change.

How long has it been since you got up and got your body moving? If it’s been more than an hour, you’re probably not doing your metabolism any favors. So if you can’t stand up while you read the rest of this article, then run up and down the stairs a few times when you’re done, or do two minutes of fast jumping jacks, jog in place, (high knees, if possible,) or do whatever short burst of activity you prefer. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has conducted extensive research on how sitting affects our health. “Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels,” he writes on the clinic’s website. Some physicians recommend standing or moving for at least 10 minutes out of every hour. And if you’re watching television at night, your exercise needn’t be limited to pointing and clicking the remote control. Some people place an exercise bike or treadmill within viewing distance, keep hand weights nearby, or do floor

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exercises while watching. Squeezing in a mini-workout during business hours can be trickier. Levine suggests standing while talking on the phone or eating lunch, or getting a standing desk. He also suggests conducting meetings while walking laps, or working while walking on a treadmill.

2. GETTING TOO LITTLE SHUT-EYE “There are studies that show when you don’t get enough sleep, the day after, you crave carbs later in the day, and that makes you sleep worse the next night,” says Dr. Tracy Bloom, a chiropractor who also specializes in diagnostic nutritional medicine at the Bloom Well Center in Albany. “What happens is your blood sugar drops in the middle of the night, and your body produces adrenaline and cortisol to wake you up to eat, or you don’t sleep as deeply, so you get up and eat more the next day.” It’s a vicious cycle. According to an article about the metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation in the June, 2007 issue of Sleep Medicine Reviews, sleep loss may be linked to both obesity and diabetes. It says current studies suggest that when someone doesn’t get enough sleep,

three things can occur that can potentially lead to weight gain and/or diabetes: glucose metabolism is altered; our appetites can increase; and our energy expenditures can decrease. If we’re tired, we’re less likely to feel like exercising too.

3. DEHYDRATION “We should all aim for at least 64 ounces of water a day,” suggests Dr. Stuart Erner, a bariatric physician with Capital Region Progressive Medicine and Longevity Practice in Albany. “You could also add some green tea to the equation. Even if you have regular green tea, it has very little caffeine in it. It also has something in it called EGCG, (or epigallocatechin.) This EGCG can enhance thermogenesis and enhance weight loss.” University of Utah Professor E. Wayne Askew, director of the Division of Foods and Nutrition in the University of Utah College of Health, has found evidence that eight, eightounce glasses of water a day not only help keep the body hydrated, but may bolster its metabolic rate as well, resulting in more efficient calorie burning, according to university literature. continued on page 52 

Photo: monchierie/GettyImages.

1. SITTING TOO MUCH


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eating right continued from page 50

4. LESS EFFICIENT EXERCISING Many people think they can hop on the treadmill and walk their way to weight loss. But while low intensity cardiovascular exercise may be good for your heart and your overall health, it might not rev up your metabolism as much as you’d like. “Unless you exercise extremely vigorously five or six times a week, it is not going to be a very useful tool to lose weight — especially in the early stages of a weight loss program,” says Erner, “You will benefit more in weight loss if you do short, intense bursts of activity — things like high intensity interval training or strength training. If you skip these, what you’re doing is missing out on what’s called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” That term refers to the increase in oxygen intake that occurs after strenuous exercise. It’s why we involuntarily breathe rapidly during exertion — our bodies are trying to make up for the oxygen debt created — and we burn calories more quickly during this time.

5. TOO MANY SIMPLE CARBS “Your refined carbs and sugars are one of the biggest things that slow your metabolism, because they’re so easy to digest,” explains Andrea Lilley, a registered nurse and owner of The Ideal U, a weight loss and wellness clinic in Albany. “The body doesn’t need to work hard to digest them ... It kind of goes into hibernation mode. Typically people say, ‘Oh, I just have a candy bar because it gives me energy.’ Yes, it gives you a burst of energy, but that’s it. Then, your body just shuts down. That’s why people have those highs and lows.. Every time you have a simple carb or sugar, you’re encouraging your insulin to secrete, and when your insulin secretes, if it doesn’t have anywhere to go — almost like an overload — it stores fat. Our metabolisms slow down and we put on weight.”

6. NOT ENOUGH LEAN PROTEIN Some physicians — Erner among them — say that on the whole, people in our society don’t get enough lean protein, and that it has a detrimental effect on our metabolisms. “Why is that important?” he asks. “Because protein has the highest thermic effect of the three macronutrients, (proteins, fats and carbohydrates.)

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If a person wants to know what a good amount of protein is on a daily basis, we usually tell them to aim for their body weight x 0.7. For example, a 200-pound person should be eating about 140 grams of protein a day — again, lean, healthy protein.” That lean protein not only helps maintain lean muscle tissue, which can deteriorate during weight loss, but helps burn fat as fuel. As we all probably know, muscle burns more calories than fat. “Women in general don’t get enough protein ... Women don’t generally sit down and have an 18-ounce steak,” says Lilley. “Women have to think about how they can put extra protein in their diets — whether it’s a protein shake, or chicken breasts or tofu. Protein really is the key to having healthy muscle and a good metabolism, and feeling fuller longer.”

7. EATING TOO LITTLE Yes, you read that correctly. Many of us can tend toward the extreme if left to our own devices. “People will sometimes reduce their caloric intake too drastically,” says Erner. “This can lead to starvation mode. When that happens, the body starts to shut down, and store fat, and you don’t metabolize calories as efficiently.” The same holds true when we skip breakfast. “People should eat within an hour of waking up,” says Lilley. “If not, your body feels like it needs to conserve energy and it goes into survival mode. So it starts to store energy and slow down your metabolism.”

8. STRESS, STRESS & MORE STRESS Let’s not sugar coat it here — stress wreaks havoc on our bodies. “You can keep your fat regulatory hormones balanced, if you can manage your stress,” says Erner. “But if you don’t, they go out of balance. We tend to tell our patients to experiment with yoga, transcendental meditation, or relaxing with a book, or music ± something that helps you manage your stress. But that’s easier said than done.” If possible, avoid stressful situations when you can. But we live in a stressful world, and to combat the unavoidable difficulties, we can choose to exercise, find activities that relax us, and be aware of what foods or substances exacerbate our response to stress.

9. AVOIDING SPICY FOODS “Avoiding spicy foods is actually not a good thing — that is, unless your GI system can’t tolerate it,” says Erner. “The reason we should get some spicy foods into our diet is that they contain things called capsaicins. These can boost your metabolism by as much as 50 percent for three hours after you eat them.” If your poor digestive system just can’t tolerate spice, though, (as happens to many of us as we age,) the doctor suggests supplementing your diet with nutraceuticals containing capsaicin-like compounds.

10. NOT ENOUGH B VITAMINS “ Not taking in enough B vitamins can be a problem,” says Erner. “If people don’t eat enough foods rich in B Vitamins, like leafy green vegetables and some fruits, it will slow their metabolisms. All of my patients are on at least a multi-vitamin, or sometimes a B-complex, to make sure they’re not lacking in Vitamin B.” These vitamins are essential to metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy for our bodies to use. HL

TEN BEHAVIORS THAT MAY SLOW YOUR METABOLISM ❏ Sitting too much ❏ Getting too little shut-eye ❏ Dehydration ❏ Less efficient exercising ❏ Too many simple carbs ❏ Not enough lean protein ❏ Eating too little ❏ Stress, stress & more stress ❏ Avoiding spicy foods ❏ Not enough B vitamins

▲ Post this on your fridge as a reminder to keep your metabolism in check!


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mind Ask Emma 57   TV and Your Brain 58 Childless by Choice 63

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ask emma

Hate Your Job? guess what? you probably should by emma tennant

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Lise Gagne.

I

’ve been sitting in the chair long enough to see certain trends develop over time. One thing I hear more now is “I hate my job.” This “hate” is a product of multiple converging lines of suck — if I may be euphemistic. “They treat me like I’m a moron,” “They give me more and more to do and I haven’t had a raise in five years,” “I’m always on the clock, I get e-mails at midnight,” or what I see even more often now is that my patients have two jobs — one just isn’t enough to pay the bills. Don’t get me wrong, the 19th century was no picnic. Most of us would be working on farms, missing fingers, and hoping that the crop came in enough to keep us fed over the winter. Those of us born women would have a good chance of dying in childbirth. Only the very fortunate would have been given an education beyond the basics. So on balance, probably, our lives are easier than they have been historically. But not as easy as they were 30 or 40 years ago. That’s the agony right there. We feel as if we are struggling. We believe that this is something that is wrong with us. We aren’t up to the task. We aren’t making the grade. But the facts baldly stated show that we are genuinely living in a time — most of us — where we are going backward financially and in terms of job satisfaction. The post-war boom years were an anomaly, and we thought it was a prosperity that would continue to increase. We were wrong. Just to be sure I wasn’t making this all up based on my patients’ agonies, I did a little research and came across an article that offers some interesting statistics. A recent survey conducted by Salary.com found that only 38.5 percent of Americans feel satisfied with their jobs. Over 70 percent are motivated solely by their paychecks. Over half of all Americans say they do the bare minimum at work and 18 percent “are so bitter about their work that they’re actively trying to sabotage the workplace.” Think about that! One in every five people in your office is actively trying to make sure that your projects fail, miss their deadline, or look as if they were assembled in kindergarten. And yet, as much as we hate our jobs we are terrified of losing them. Almost half of American workers say they are afraid their benefits are going to be cut, 31 percent expect to see their salaries cut; almost 30 percent say they are worried they will be laid off, and the same percentage say that if they were laid off, they would exhaust their savings in a month or less. I could go on but you get the picture. In fact, you are probably living the picture.

S

o this is where the psychological meets the socioeconomic. This is where Freud meets Marx. Real world dynamics are depressing us, making us feel trapped and depriving us of self-worth. The effects are felt in our selfesteem, the way we see ourselves in the eyes of our children. Our increasing envy. Our panicked refusal to take all our vacation days — we take less vacation than anybody, with the exception of Thailand and South Korea. We actually leave vacation days on the table! That’s a psychological problem, because we are afraid to be away from the jobs we hate because we fear that we will be undermined when we are away — perhaps by those 18 percent saboteurs in our midst. The very real crisis in the workplace is making us unhappy in our heads and hearts. So what’s my advice? Three points to consider: 1) Scale down: We want all the things we think we should have — boats, cars, TVs, new appliances, and so on. They assure us that we are on the right track. That we belong. This is habitual and crazy and self-defeating. You must stay ahead of your expenses. You must take in more than you spend. This is a mental discipline. It is an ethic. It will make you feel more in control of your life and less afraid of the future. 2) Get a life: As my analyst drilled into me over many years, institutions are not parents. Your company does not love you. Your company does not appreciate all the extra work you do. Your company is not a person; it is a money-generating robot. Your company will sail quietly on as you flounder in the waves. Accept this. Find a life of meaning outside your work — with your dogs, your children, your skiing habit. Do your job, but do not make it your center. 3) Always be learning: No matter what your age, you should be actively preparing for a next career — even if that career is waiting tables or delivering the mail at Christmas. Do not be passive. Do not live in hope. Hope will not help you, preparation for the next step will. Best of all, if you combine these three disciplines, your hate for your current job will diminish — maybe. HL Emma Tennant (not her real name) is a practicing psychotherapist. All advice offered here is simply that. If you have a pressing concern, you should see a specialist in person. If you have a question you’d like addressed or a comment for Emma, send it to askemma@ timesunion.com. Inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.

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mind matter

Boob Tube(s)

does tv (and other media) really rot your brain? by donna christopher

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Photos: GettyImages. TV, John Holcroft; Woman, Selahattin BAYRAM.

L

ove watching TV so much it causes anxiety when you’ve forgotten to DVR Criminal Minds? Do you, like most Americans over 15, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, spend an average of 2.8 hours per day watching television, more time than socializing? The question is: Is this behavior a problem? The debate over whether TV watching can help or harm your brain has been going on almost as long as I Love Lucy reruns. Does TV help or harm your intellect? Can it aid in relaxing? How much is too much? The answer, experts say, depends on what and how much you’re watching. “Common sense prevails that there are good things about television and there are bad things about television,” says Dr. Carol A. Bernstein, associate professor, department of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “If you like historical fiction, for example, then shows like Downton Abbey distinguish themselves” for entertainment’s sake. Bernstein hosts a radio program at NYU on health. She says she’s never heard experts mention TV as it relates to brain health. “We’ve had lots of experts on shows on healthy aging of the brain. I can tell you that nobody’s mentioned TV as helping on our broadcasts. They’ve said exercise, being involved socially, eating right and what is good for the heart is good for the brain, all of that.” Nor does she support the notion that TV is a good way for people to de-stress or unwind or for families to be together. “Some people just watch mindless television to relax, but I wouldn’t make that as a prescription. For families, if everyone watches in one room, I suppose it’s better than they watch TV in different rooms. Obviously, there’s something of interest if people are watching but nobody would say it substitutes for good family time.” What about learning? Can watching TV make you smarter? “Of course, what you watch is important. If you’re watching stimulating/educationally valuable shows … it’s certainly the case that such shows can help to engage and perhaps sharpen

things like critical thinking skills,” says Dr. Michael Andreychik, assistant professor of psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. “But, if you’re watching shows with little educational value, such processes aren’t going to be engaged and, in fact, such skills may atrophy if one spends lots of time watching un-engaging television.” Andreychik calls TV viewing a form of “passive learning” where you sit back and take in information. He says this form of learning is not as effective as active learning where you practice skills and engage with information, “basically, learning by doing. So, even if you are watching educationally valuable programming, it would likely be more beneficial for you intellectually to spend the same amount of time learning actively. Minute for minute, you’ll get more bang for your buck from actively engaging with some material than from passively receiving it through a television.” “Watching television can serve many purposes for adults. For example, it’s a way to stay informed on local and world events, and it can provide hours of entertainment that offer a break from everyday stressors,” says Senior Research Scientist Amy Bleakley, Ph.D., at the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Whether TV — and other screen — watching offers similar benefits for children, however, may be another matter, especially if the people they’re modeling — their parents — spend too much time in front of a screen. continued on page 61 

Screen Stats at a Glance • The average 8- to 10-yearold spends nearly 8 hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend 11 hours or less per day. • 71 percent of children and teenagers report having a TV in their bedroom. • While TV remains the predominant medium (4 hours or less per day), nearly onethird of TV programming is viewed on alternative platforms such as computers, iPads or cell phones. • Computer time accounts for up to 1.5 hours per day of this; half is spent in social networking, playing games, or viewing videos. • 75 percent of 12- to 17-yearolds now own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. • Teenagers actually talk less on their phone than any other age group except for senior citizens. • Half of teenagers send 50 or more text messages per day, and one-third send more than 100 per day. • T  wo-thirds of children and teenagers report that their parents have no rules about time spent with media. Source: Oct. 28 report, Children, Adolescents, and the Media released by the Council of Communications and Media, The American Academy of Pediatrics.

  Nearly all children and teenagers have Internet access (84 percent) and one-third have access in their own bedroom.

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mind matter

Photo: Eric Audras/GettyImages.

continued from page 59

Bleakley is one of the researchers of a study in the August 2013 issue of Pediatrics, “The Relationship Between Parents’ and Children’s Television Viewing,” published online July 15. Researchers asked 1,550 parents with children 17 years old or younger about the amount of time parents spent watching TV, DVDs, or movies and shows on their computers, as well as the number of TVs in the home, where the TVs were located, and how many rooms had computers with Internet access. They also asked about their children’s screen time as well as family rules about the amount of time spent on TV. Among findings, the researchers learned that parents’ TV viewing time had a stronger connection to children’s viewing time than did other factors such as rules about time limits, whether the children had a TV in the bedroom, and co-viewing. “The best predictor of children’s TV time is their parents’ TV time,” says Bleakley. “This study suggests that parents may be important socializing forces — that they are acting as role models. If Mom and Dad automatically turn on the TV when they have free time — instead of reading a book, for example — it’s likely that their kids will learn to do the same.” HL

Setting Boundaries with Your Kids Pediatricians offer this advice* to parents for how to handle TV and new media boundaries for their children. • Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day. • Discourage screen media exposure for children under 2 years of age. • Keep the TV set and Internetconnected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom. • Monitor what media your children are using and accessing, including any websites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using. • Coview TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers and use this as a way of discussing important family values. • Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime curfew for media devices, including

cellphones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about all phones, texting, Internet and social media use. For adults, there seems to be no standard for suggested TV viewing, Dr. Andreychik, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, says second to TV watching the next most common leisure activity was socializing, which Americans spent an average of .75 (threequarters of an hour) per day doing. Bridge players at the Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center in Albany weighed in on their TV watching habits, some actually saying they attribute greater intelligence to the types of programming viewed. Albany resident Sheila Vandercar, a retired college admissions professional said, “After dinner and cleaning up that’s all I want to do. I like PBS and sometimes it increases my knowledge. I like the British theater programs. They’re entertaining. It does raise your cultural level I think. Shows like Downton Abbey and The Midwife do that. I run through the channels. And I’m a news geek. I watch

the British news cast and MSNBC. I try to watch all the news.” Joan Paul of Albany, formerly a secretary in a state assemblyman’s office, estimates she spends about two hours daily in front of her TV. “I get involved with the [characters] on shows like The Big Bang Theory and repeats of Seinfeld amuse me and I laugh out loud. I don’t depend on TV to improve my knowledge. I read the news for that.” Flora Geller, 86, of Albany was a science teacher and medical technician until retiring. She watches several hours of programming daily. “There is so much good stuff on PBS and the documentary and travel channels, also National Geographic.” Meanwhile, Nancy Remick, also of Albany, said TV’s just not her thing. “Lately I don’t’ watch much at all. I think it blocks your brain. I feel it tries to make your impressions for you, rather than let you be discerning. I get information from radio and reading articles and if I have a question I can look into it and research.”

* Source: Oct. 28 report, Children, Adolescents, and the Media released by the Council on Communications and Media, The American Academy of Pediatrics.

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life choices

Childless By CHOICE Photo: © Micro10x/Dreamstime.com.

many factors weigh into the decision NOT to have kids by jayne keedle

A

lot of little girls grow up assuming that they will, at some point, get married and have children. I was not one of them. I was quite determined never to marry and, though I surprised myself by actually doing it — not once but twice —when it came to having kids, I remained on the fence. I’d always thought if it happened, it happened — but I took active precautions to make sure it didn’t and vowed never to take extreme measures to try to conceive. I just never felt I needed to have a child of my own to make my life complete. Having spent most of my teenage years babysitting, I was under no illusions as to just how labor-intensive, allconsuming and exhausting it can be to raise a child. And though I imagine the rewards are far greater if the child is one’s own, I knew I wanted to travel the world and have a career far more than I wanted to have a baby. So that’s what I did. And when I finally did meet a man I could imagine having a child with, he came with one daughter (who I adore) and a vasectomy. If my mother was disappointed that I would give her no grandchildren, she never said so, although her joy at the birth of my brother’s two children did give me a few pangs of guilt. Still, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it any differently — and the people I know who are also childless by choice feel the same way. A GROWING TREND

We tend to assume that people who don’t have children are the exception rather than the norm, but the fact is that about 80 percent of all households in the United States don’t include children, according to Census data. That same data also shows that in 2003, about 20 percent of American women ended their childbearing years without giving birth, compared to 10 percent in 1976. Indeed, birthrates are falling in just about every demographic and, in 2010, hit their lowest rate ever for U.S. women in the 20-24 age group. continued on page 64 

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life choices continued from page 63

These days, financial considerations are often cited as a factor in a couple’s decision regarding when or whether to have children, but it’s not just the current state of the economy that’s driving this trend. Attitudes are also changing. In 2007, a Pew Research Center survey found that just 41 percent of Americans said children are “very important” to a successful marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990. “The number of people who are choosing to be childless has gone up in recent years, partly because there are so many other options open to women, and more and more women are able to pursue high-powered career options that a generation or two ago were really closed off, “ says Mary Applegate, associate dean of public health at the University at Albany and an expert in family planning. WHY WOMEN WITH CHOICES CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN

Laura Scott, a California life coach and author of Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice (2009), did extensive research to find out what motivated people to remain childless. Her Childless by Choice survey of 171 people (71 percent women, 29 percent men) conducted from 2004 to 2006 found that people without children fell into four categories: early articulators, postponers, acquiescers and undecideds. The top six reasons they gave for not having children were as follows: 1. I love our life, our relationship, as it is, and having a child won’t enhance it. 2. I value freedom and independence. 3. I do not want to take on the responsibility of raising a child.

4. I have no desire to have a child, no maternal/paternal instinct. 5. I want to accomplish/experience things in life that would be difficult to do if I was a parent. 6. I want to focus my time and energy on my own interests, needs or goals. For those who fall into the “postponer” category, being childless may become a de facto proposition. Although the range of possibilities for women has changed over the years, one thing remains the same. “Female fertility peaks at 18,” says Applegate. “Unfortunately, our biology and sociology don’t match up. When you’re in your 20s, you’re finishing college, maybe going to graduate school or starting a career and you may not have found the right person to settle down with. By the time all those pieces of your life have come into focus, you’re 35 and fertility has become a much more difficult proposition. “As our life expectancy increases and 70 is the new 50, it would only be fair to have our fertility go up too, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet,” she adds. For a large number of women who opt to be “child free,” however, having children was never a high priority. ASSUMPTIONS AND STEREOTYPES

Women who opt not to have children are frequently labeled “selfish,” as if the world will somehow suffer because we’re depriving it of our offspring. Childfree couples are so frequently asked why they don’t have children that forums on websites such as DINKS (Double Income No Kids) and Childless By Choice, fill up fast with suggested answers. (“I hate kids,” is wryly noted as the best way to shut down all inquisitors).

By The Numbers

18.1

Married couples with children accounted for just 18.1 percent of total households.

In 2010, there were 63,017. That’s a decrease of 10.7 percentage points.

89,457

In 2000, there were 89,457 married couples without children.

95,528

27.4

The number of married couples without children, meanwhile, had risen to 27.4 percent.

70,600

In 2000, there were 70,600 married couples with children.

64

63,017

healthylife

In 2010, there were 95,528 married couples without children. That’s an increase of 6.8 percentage points. Interestingly, the average household size hadn’t changed, remaining at 2.41 for both 2000 and 2010.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/chictype.

According to the 2010 Census, couples with kids were on the decline in the AlbanySchenectady-Troy area:


Our goal is to significantly Childfree couples are so frequently asked why they don’t have children that forums on websites fill up fast with suggested answers. Women who are single and childfree contend with even more assumptions. As one woman noted, people often leap to conclusions that she’s a lesbian or view her with pity as a “sad case” unable to have children. When she goes on dates, it’s even worse because men typically leap to the conclusion that she’s trying to ride a fast train to marriage and babies before her biological clock runs out of time, when nothing could be further from the truth. “As a sex we have become kind of polarized between people who have gone whole-hog into parenthood and all kinds of support circles, and people who’ve gone the route of not having kids,” says Applegate. “In general, there’s a good deal of suspicion and lack of understanding across those two groups.” There’s ample evidence of that on many of the childfree websites, as people refer to parents as “breeders,” children as “sprogs” or “spawn” and tout bumperstickers that proudly proclaim, “My dog is smarter than your honor student.”

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THE PRESSURE TO PROCREATE

Some of this animosity is blowback against the societal pressure that many women still feel to have children. And, according to a recent study of 1,200 childless women in America conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Julia McQuillan, the pressure to procreate is alive and kicking. “Motherhood is so highly connected with adult femininity in the United States that many women feel that they need to be mothers,” states McQuillan, whose study was published in the October 2012, issue of The Journal of Marriage and Family. But though they reported feeling external pressure to have children, many of the women who participated in McQuillan’s study weren’t bowing to it. Among the women surveyed who were childless by choice, “there are women who have low or no distress about not being mothers, even if their friends and family want them to have children,” McQuillan says, adding, “Rather than assume that women without children are missing something, society should benefit from valuing a variety of paths for adult women to have satisfying lives.” Applegate agrees. “I have two daughters, one of whom is 27 and has two kids and the other, who is 24, has been saying she is never going to have kids,” Applegate says. “We still need to mature to be able to really support the directions that women really end up going in. Both choices have their trials.” HL

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my word

Confessions of a

Photo: Kamruzzaman Ratan/GettyImages.

Webochondriac D o you know what a heart attack feels like? I don’t. I’m just wondering if you do so you can tell me. Ask the Internet and it’ll tell you that a heart attack feels like everything. It literally feels like every symptom you can ever have. Stomach pain, chest pain or pressure, nausea, heartburn. Acid reflux. Dizziness. It feels like pain or numbness in your arms, elbows or wrists. Throat pain, jaw pain, back pain. It feels like fatigue. It feels like breathlessness. It feels like sweating. A feeling of impending doom. Like something’s just not right. Here’s what’s extra-scary to me: If the Internet is right — and believe me, I’ve spent hours Googling this, and consensus is strong — you’ll likely not even know right away that you’re having a heart attack if in fact you’re having a heart attack. So you’ll be sitting on the couch — dying — Googling “symptoms of a heart attack.” Sometimes you won’t actually be dying. You’ll just kind of think you’re dying. Really, you’re just freaking out. And you know what freaking out feels like? It feels like a heart attack. (Google “panic attack.” Breathlessness. Nausea. Tingling in your arms. Fatigue. “A sudden feeling of dread.”) So here’s the tough part: how do you tell the difference between a panic attack, gas, muscle strain, a toothache, general fatigue and a heart attack? I asked my doc that question and he said, “I’m not sure you can tell.” Isn’t that hilarious? A few years ago, the neologism “webochondria” started popping up online to describe people who get sucked into an obsessive diagnostic process of Google searches for diseases. So if you’re a person who suddenly notices a freckle on your arm that you’ve never really noticed before and if your way of dealing with that is to Google-image “cancerous freckles and spots” at work — which is horrifying, trust

by brianna snyder

me; do your skin searches at home — then you might be a webochondriac. Actually, if you Google any ailment at work there’s a high chance you’re a webochondriac. Especially Google searches for, just for example, dropsy, gout, ALS, lupus, cancer of any kind, stroke, or “things that might kill me that I haven’t thought of yet.” It’s pretty funny when you Google something and the search results are purple already and so you realize that you’ve already Googled “blood clot or mosquito bite?” and that makes you kind of laugh. Kind of. I’ve been told I’m wasting my life fearing my death. I am exacerbating this terrible anticipation of The End with my constant searching for the things that will inevitably bring me there. I should be ignoring this inevitability and getting on with my life. But my mortality is so heavy on my mind that sometimes I can’t breathe. Fear of pain, loss and grief overwhelm me. I can’t escape these feelings of dread about not just my own death but the deaths of everyone I love. It makes sense to me in a way it never did before that some people just go completely bonkers from the agony and the terror. Remember that case of the woman on an airplane a few months ago who just started screaming and flipping out? Her mother had just died. That’s the kind of thing that just breaks you. And I’m just waiting for it. How can anyone be expected to stay sane with that looming ahead of you? That terrible, terrible sadness. Don’t worry. I just got a yoga DVD and I’ve been practicing my breathing. It’s helping. Breathing is good. Breathing is living. Breathing is not a symptom of a heart attack. Well, actually, I mean, technically you are still breathing when you’re having a heart attack, so it’s not not a symptom of a heart attack, but you know what I mean. HL

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emotions

d e s s e r t S Out?

by anna zernone giorgi

Photo: CareyHope/GettyImages.

why it’s a good idea to put off big decisions if you can

H

ave you ever had to make a big decision during a time of stress and then later regretted your choice? It’s not surprising. Stress is a part of life — whether it’s the morning traffic, financial hardship, a demanding boss, whining child, troubled marriage, lost job, new birth, or an illness or death — and in reaction your body responds with physiological changes intended to preserve your well-being. These same defenses, however, can affect your judgment and compromise your ability to make sound decisions. Stress is a reaction to factors your body interprets as harmful and is based on the “fight or flight” response that helped our ancestors survive predators and other life-threatening situations common to survival. When your body feels stress, it interprets it as a threat from external stimuli. “Fight or flight response is your body’s protective feature to your life being threatened,” says Melissa A. Them, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Health Psychology Associates in Albany. “You’re meant to either fight off what’s happening or run as quickly as possible to get away. It floods our brain and body with chemicals to do that to make us stronger and faster and more capable. The problem is, that would be great if you met a bear in the woods, but it’s not the same as being reprimanded by your boss at work. You’re not typically in danger. Yet, our body and brain have not yet evolved enough to tell the difference. It just sends the message that it’s being threatened, and that chemical response happens anyway.” The mechanism is intended to heighten your ability to act on instinct, or without thinking. “You’re really using your hindbrain, the automatic part of the brain that controls breathing, heart rate, and things like that,” Them says. “It’s that instinct that is biologically driven, the thing that says, ‘This is what I need to survive.’ It puts you in survival mode.” Those same responses allow the stimuli to bypass the part of your brain that controls reasoning, allowing the instinct reaction to act more efficiently. “Your body’s reaction makes you less effective at using the frontal cortex, the part that considers things, that plans and organizes,” she says. “This is the part that humans have and other

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emotions

There’s some research that suggests that stress will cause you to focus more heavily on the positive aspects of things.

— Melissa A. Them, Clinical Psychologist

74

healthylife

“I see that primarily in people coming out of relationships and the whole idea of having a relationship on the rebound. The problem there is that almost anything seems great if you’re hurting from losing a relationship or having been in a bad relationship.”

I

t’s important to realize if you’re in the midst of a stressful situation so you can assess the wisdom of your judgments. This can be useful particularly if you’re trying to make decisions during a major life event, Them says. “When those things are happening or when we notice that we’re not feeling like ourselves, one of the important things to do is to take a step back, even if it’s only to count to 10, but take that step back and consider it. We have this tendency to ignore the evidence against it. It’s important to take those two seconds to say, ‘what are the pros and cons, what are the real choices’ and try to be a little more balanced.” Living with situations of chronic stress, such as a problematic workplace or abusive relationship, can have the opposite effect, making you emphasize the negative in decision-making. “For folks who are chronically stressed, and therefore depressed, their bias is toward the negative,” Them says. “If you’re using the filter of chronic stress and anxiety and depression, and everything that you’re looking at has to make its way through that filter, by the time it gets to you, it feels really bad. So, it’s a matter of stepping back and doing an analysis of how you’re interpreting things and how you’re seeing things.” Dealing with stress also can allow you to pursue harmful

Photo: Alexey Avdeev/GettyImages.

animals do not. It doesn’t make the frontal part shut down completely, but it is less effective than it normally would be.” As a result, your ability to think logically may be hindered by deferring to instinctual actions. Stories of people performing superhuman feats, often at their own risk of danger, are evidence of this. We’ve all heard of heroics such as those in which a man pulls a stranger out of the path of a speeding car or a woman lifts a heavy object off her trapped child “without thinking.” By reducing the unique abilities of your frontal cortex, stress can impair your power to use logical thinking in making judgments. Otherwise objective decisions may be distorted by feelings of being trapped or overwhelmed. “There’s some research that suggests that stress will cause you to focus more heavily on the positive aspects of things,” Them says. “When you’re under stress and you feel that you need to make a judgment as soon and as quickly as possible, then there is a little research that says that we inflate the positive outcomes and dismiss or don’t pay as much attention to the possible negative outcomes, just to get rid of the stress.” Under stressful circumstances, our tendency is to make these decisions quickly, without considering all of the potential outcomes, she says. “The saying is that ‘the grass is always greener.’ When we’re stressed about what’s happening here, we really only look at what would be better about the other situation without necessarily being balanced in the way that we think about it.” The issue can have significant effects in making major changes such as choosing a new job or a new relationship. “Looking too positively at an alternative job can be a problem if it’s a reaction to how bad your current job is,” says Philip Drum, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Saratoga Psychological Associates in Saratoga, Latham and Clifton Park.


How to Handle Stressful Situations Step back and count to 10. Even if you’re pressed for time, a 10-second timeout may be just what you need to clear your head, survey the situation, and consider the consequences of your choices. Talk it out. Whether it’s a spouse, a relative, a close

friend, a colleague, or a professional counselor — talk to someone who may be able to help you consider options and their consequences more realistically. Be ready. It’s the strategy behind emergency preparedness training — if you practice reactions to stressful

choices and inappropriate behaviors as a form of escape. “There’s a little bit of literature to suggest that there is a link between high amounts of stress or anxiety and using alcohol or drugs because we’re overwhelmed with that physiological and emotional response, and the relief from that is what we’re looking for, but we’re not considering the longterm consequences,” Them says. The feeling of having to do something, or having to make a decision to change, can be fueled by the body’s urge to react. “Very often, people need to realize that they’re encountering that kind of stress or having that kind of a reaction and to take a step back and to really think through what their options are,” Drum says. “The natural impulse, to engage in some sort of response, is often not what’s required by situations that people encounter in modernday circumstances.” The results of these impulses can cause a wide range of physical reactions that can make it difficult to think logically and consider consequences. “It results in physical reactions like a panic feeling, which is a very natural feeling, but unfortunately, we’ll have it in circumstances where we really don’t want to act on it. Think of something like being pulled over by a police officer,” Drum says. “It’s stressful and chances are you’re going to have a fight or flight reaction, but you don’t want to act on it. You have to be able to keep a handle on that and decide what you want to do rather than go with the impulse.” The tendency to react on impulse doesn’t have to be caused by an acute or immediate threat. Dealing with chronic stress also can trigger the reaction. “Stress will build up in people where they will have a panic reaction even though not much is going on,” Drum says. “And then, suddenly, there’s still that push to run away

or snap at somebody or to take it out on somebody. It’s important that people realize that those physical reactions are not necessarily what they should base their decisions on.”

situations, your “automatic” response is more likely to be the right one.

irrelevant information and isolate the core decision that needs to be made.

Channel your basic instincts. Your innate “fight or flight” reaction, which focuses your attention on the biggest threat when you’re in danger, can help you see past

Make a list. Identify both the pros and cons of your decision to help ensure you’re not overemphasizing either positive or negative outcomes because of stress.

Professionals in law enforcement and the military receive extensive training to prepare them to channel their reactions to extremely stressful situations. “In the case of a police officer or in the military, the better the training, the more they can anticipate the kinds of situations they’re going to find because in an acute stress situation, you don’t want to have to think too much. You want to have a pretty clear idea of where you want to go with it,” Drum says. “It’s why it’s good to have fire drills and things like that so that people have some idea of what they’re supposed to do in those extreme circumstances.” You can use that same reasoning by being prepared for stressful situations and the challenges that may arise while you’re experiencing them. The value of support groups, both formal and informal, as well as professional counseling, can help you consider potential solutions for problems that might arise during stressful situations, Drum says. “Stress, particularly difficult stress that goes on and on, can lead people to isolate themselves. And isolation tends to make it worse. So, when people can be in contact with others and have some supportive relationships, that can be very important,” he says. “Having someone around can help you realize when you’re under stress as well as help you come up with solutions.” It’s also important to ensure that you’re taking steps to reduce stress to a level that’s manageable. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or relaxing hobbies can help you maintain a healthy balance. “Exercise, eat well, sleep with a regular sleep schedule, or talk to a spouse, a friend, or sibling about what’s happening just to blow off some steam,” Them says. “It’s hard to say when a person is too stressed. Generally speaking, when we notice we’re stressed, we’ve got to the place where we’re too stressed.” HL

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A DV E R T I S E M E N T

Have you heard about this new technology that is FDA cleared, and non-surgical treatment for back pain?

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magine how your life would change if you discovered the solution to your back pain.

In this article you’ll discover powerful new back pain technology that has the potential to be that solution for you. This incredible technology is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and the DRX 9000. Here’s the amazing story how it was discovered and why it has a chance to help YOUR back pain...

How Science Helps Back Pain The lower back is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and noninvasive way, lots of people with back and leg pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.

Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain suffers!

Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.

The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • •

Back pain Sciatica Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?

After being fitted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63

I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try


A DV E R T I S E M E N T I would definitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70 Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50

Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC demonstrates the DRX 9000 to a patient

to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to

normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46

I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on fire and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68

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Not Your Daughter’s Closet wardrobe ’rules’ as you age

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Photo: David Wolley/GettyImages.

fashion


You are never alone at...

by beth cooney

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few months ago I met an old friend for a specialoccasion lunch at a happening bistro. I was wearing a new mini-skirt — a teal tweed number I layered over black opaque tights and sported with riding boots, a long-sleeve cashmere T-shirt and smattering of long silver chains. I thought I looked quite chic until my friend greeted me with a snicker focused squarely on my thighs. “You look … cute,” she slowly mouthed. But what I saw on her face said, “You look ridiculous.” Honestly, I had spent the whole morning debating the propriety of the skirt and now, with one glance, my friend had confirmed my fears: As a newly minted 50-year-old, I was past my mini-prime. Even worse, I had been hoodwinked in a fitting room by a 20-something sales clerk who told me I looked “awesome” in the offending skirt. The tights and boots were my post-purchase way of making the skirt age-appropriate. But I was wrong. Or was I? My skirt had provoked a question for the middle-ages: Is there a time when a woman needs to break up with certain elements of her wardrobe? (Or give her mini-skirts to her daughter?) I decided to weigh in with some experts. I began with Cary Fetman, a Hollywood stylist who got his start dressing Oprah in Chicago and whose current client list spans the ages. For multiple seasons he’s dressed the fetching 20-somethings starring in ABC’s reality series The Bachelorette, but he’s also dressed Julia LouisDreyfus, Catherine Zeta-Jones and currently counts E!’s Fashion Police host and octogenarian comedian Joan Rivers among his high-profile clients. (So he gets young, mature and everything in between.) “A mini-skirt? At 50? Absolutely not,” pronounced Fetman, as I begin to describe my outfit. But when I managed to slip in that I had worn the offending skirt with flat boots and opaque tights, the wardrobe expert’s sentiments abruptly changed. “Well, you needed to tell me that first! A mini-skirt over tights and leggings is still fine, as long as you have the figure.” Fetman’s opinion on the skirt, in some ways, reflects what fashion experts say is at the heart of the art of age-appropriate dressing. Sometimes, it’s not what you’re wearing, but how you’re wearing it. Plunging necklines? Form-fitting T-shirts? Skinny jeans? Can a woman transitioning from her 30s to her 40s or 40s to 50s still claim these as her fashion domains despite her accumulating decades? Well, turns out the official answer is “That depends.” “Honestly, this often comes down to whether you still have the figure to pull it off,” suggests Peter Weissman, owner of the Casual Set boutique in Albany. “For some of our customers, I would say ‘no’ and suggest you probably

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should avoid a mini-skirt or something snug. But for another woman, it might be fine. It often is about how you put it all together.”

success, that sort of thing isn’t really a whole lot out there for women once they hit middle age. And of course, there isn’t much that touches on the physical reality of their lives.”

But Weissman adds the question of what’s appropriate is one he hears coming from his store’s dressing rooms every day. “A lot of women are insecure about fashion in general,” he says. “You’ll hear someone who looks great in something say, ‘I’m not sure. Can I still wear it?’” Sometimes, he says, even their friends aren’t their most objective and honest counselors. “There can even be some jealousy involved. You’ll have one woman tell another woman she shouldn’t be wearing something because she’s ‘too old,’ when she looks fabulous.” Fetman has a slightly different perspective: He protests that far too many women fall victim to the idea that because they are still “thin enough” to slip something on, it’s license to wear it. “As you age, you have to develop some objectivity. Take a good look in the mirror,” he says. “And I mean a good look. The boobs sag. You can get rolls of fat around the middle even if you are relatively thin. Your legs can be thin and toned, but be covered in spots or your knee skin is sagging. I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m middleaged too, and the same thing applies to guys. When you see a guy my age in a tight t-shirt and a pair of frayed jeans, it kind of looks ridiculous.” Still, Weissman says, “There’s a lot of confusion on the subject and it’s understandable because fashion itself can be confusing.” That confusion is at least partly to blame on the fact that as women approach their 40s and beyond, they tend to be abandoned by the popular fashion press. Pilar Steinborn, a nationally known style expert who currently advises CNN’s on-air talent on their wardrobes, notes that while fashion magazines “constantly advise young career women on how to dress for

That physical reality is something “that just happens, like it or not, to all women, no matter their size or shape,” notes Sandra Dollard, owner of the Evoke Style boutiques in Albany and Rhinebeck. So, one of her guidelines for her 40-plus customer is to develop a sophisticated yet relaxed style that truly flatters a middle-age figure. “I call it Easy Chic, Spandex Free,” says Dollard, who encourages her customers to avoid everyday apparel (like a tight T-shirt or super snug sweater) that requires shapewear for them to pull it off. “Shapewear is great if you want to look fabulous and smooth in a great evening dress for a special occasion, but you shouldn’t have to wear it every day to look good in your clothes.” She notes there are better options, such as quality shirts that skim (rather than cling to) the body and hi-low cut sweaters (that feature a flattering, slightly longer back than front) that hide a multitude of figure flaws, “but also have the benefit of being completely on-trend.” One reason why seeking age-appropriate style is essential, Steinborn explains, is that what women wear and how they wear it conveys a deeply personal statement. “It’s really how people make their first impression of you. It can impact your credibility.” That’s why one of Steinborn’s tried and true “rules” for age-appropriate dressing is “If you’ve worn the trend already, don’t wear it again.” So if clogs were your go-to footwear choice in the ’70s, they shouldn’t be in your closet now. Dollard offers her own rule: “If your daughter owns it, you might want to avoid it.” Not that this means you are destined to a closet full of frumpy clothes. The experts insist it’s the opposite. “If you can accept your age and dress in a truly appropriate way you can look more than fabulous,” Fetman says. HL

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Photos: GettyImages. Clothes rack, dem10; Woman in Black Dress, Fuse.

fashion


Age-Appropriate from Head to Toe Our experts gave us some general guidelines on age-appropriate do’s and don’ts for wardrobe items that get trickier with age.

T-Shirts Snug ones are still fine “at the gym” to allow for ease of movement, says Steinborn. Otherwise, limit them as a layering piece only. “I love them under blazers, with some chains for a sophisticated look,” says Evoke Style’s Dollard. Upgrade your materials. “As you age, the cut and fit of a T-shirt becomes so important, I would invest in them the same way you might a good pair of jeans or boots. We wear T-shirts so much, don’t scrimp on them,” says Fetman.

Plunging Necklines Consider Your Chest and Neck. “If you have a lot of sun damage, it’s probably better to opt for a [less-revealing] neckline,” Steinborn says. Fetman adds lower necklines can also be aging on a mature woman if she is very thin. “The bones of the chest can be distracting and the skin can really sag.”

Sleeveless Anything As you approach your 50s, really begin to think twice. “The elephant in the room here is that your underarms can droop just like your boobs,” says Steinborn. So, if that’s happened to you, opt out of sleeveless apparel or limit it to a layering piece.

Jeans Fit is everything. A jean with a rise that is too low or too high can look too young or too old, depending on the circumstances. To keep your denim sophisticated opt for a slimming bootcut with clean lines and dark washes. Both Steinborn and Weissman recommend the Not Your Daughters Jeans line. “They have a terrific fit that makes them seem like they have Spanx built inside,” says Steinborn, who has introduced them to many of her private clients. She also advises middleage women to “not fall into the rut of wearing their jeans too big.” When denim hangs off the body it can add weight and read frumpy, even with an otherwise sophisticated ensemble. “It may seem counterintuitive, but most women can afford to go down a size in their jeans.” Avoid distressed or trendy styles. “You

are robbing yourself of sophistication by wearing jeans that are simply too young,” says Fetman. Do a Bend Test. “No one needs to see your underwear when you sit and bend,” says Dollard. “Not all women need to go to a mid- or high-rise jean, but you can’t show your undergarments.”

Leggings OK at most ages if worn with a top that drapes over the backside, such as a sophisticated tunic with the leggings tucked into boots. Consider a belted tunic to keep the overall look from being too boxy. Without that kind of coverage and considered styling, “the only other option is for the gym,” says Steinborn.

Mini-Skirts After the mid-40s limit them to fall (rather than bare-legged summer) and wear them only with heavy opaque tights and boots.

Short Shorts Toss them for everything but running. They are officially the domain of women 30 and under.

Accessories Really delicate necklaces and bracelets can start to read “too junior” at a certain age, says Steinborn. “In general, you want things a little bolder now.” If pieces are sentimental, consider refashioning them in new ways. For example, take the delicate charms from your cherished “mom” necklace and have them added to a statement-making bracelet that could become a family heirloom. Think about belts. “A lot of women are afraid of them, but at the heaviest part of a waist, they can provide balance and be flattering,” says Dollard. Focus on sophistication and quality. Go for a great tote bag, flattering sunglasses and classic coats such as trenches. Scarves can bring color and light to your face, offer coverage to aging necks and lend an air of sophistication to an ensemble.


cover model q&a

up close with ... Lori Porter by brianna snyder   |   photo by leif zurmuhlen

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t 51, Lori Porter is healthy, fit, optimistic and active — she’s involved in several local theater groups and a professional voice actress when she’s not at her full-time job as project manager consultant for Computer Technology Services, Inc. Porter, who’s from Saratoga Springs, lives with her partner, Mark, in Cohoes. The two are enthusiastic outdoors people and often head to Mark’s second home on Indian Lake on the weekends to spend time with nature and each other. What made you apply to be a HealthyLife model? I was realizing that having worked a desk job for, gosh, almost 30 years, I was starting to feel very old and stiff and out of shape. I decided I needed to do something. I realize that even if you’re 51 you can start to lose weight and get in shape and get healthy. I never thought I could do it, but with Mark I realized all these things I can do and I really feel fulfilled.

What do you do to stay active? Kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, ATV-riding, snowshoeing and then this past summer I rediscovered how much I love fishing. I used to go fishing with my dad. I realized how much fun that is. It’s so peaceful and calm and feels good to be on the water. You’re a professional voice actor and a community theater actor. Tell us about that. I do a lot of acting with community theaters. I’ve done shows in Johnstown, Albany, Schenectady, Troy. I just started a show called Boeing Boeing at the Albany Civic Theater, which goes from Feb. 7-23. I’ve been doing acting since about 2007. And it’s something that I wanted to do when I was a kid but was basically I was too much of a chicken to make it a career. I picked it up in 2007, 30 years after I let it go and it’s one of the things I like to do the most. What’s your favorite part of being a voice actor? I think it’s the challenge of meeting new people and being handed a script that’s a cold script. It’s different from acting in that you have to convey the message with your voice, not

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Behind the Scenes

Hair and makeup by Kimberley’s A Day Spa, Latham. Photo taken by Leif Zurmuhlen at The College of Saint Rose, in Albany. Above: Jacket by Calvin Klein, black pants by Jones NY, jewelry and scarf by Ashley Cooper. Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park. Visit facebook. com/healthylifenymagazine to view our Behind the Scenes photo gallery, or scan the QR code at right to link to our HealthyLife photos page on Facebook.

your body. It’s just another form of acting, which is really my passion. If you could have lunch with one person living or dead, who would it be? Meryl Streep. I think she’s probably the finest actress of our time. I think it’d be really cool to see what she’s like in person.  HL

‘Before’ photo by Colleen Ingerto.

About how much weight did you lose? Over the course of the past [couple of years], about 15 pounds and I’ve managed to keep it off.


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HealthyLife February 2014