red green and white holiday cookies in the shape of presents mittens and trees

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

If you’re working hard to manage your weight, the holidays can be frustrating. The months of October through December can seem filled with one opportunity to overeat after another. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and let us have some of our favorite treats we normally avoid. You can relax your normal diet without going overboard. Here are 10 tips for healthy holiday eating.

 

Think it Through.

 

Before you go to that holiday office party or sit down to indulge with family and friends, visualize the gathering. What foods do you think might be there? Are there some good choices you can fill your plate with? What healthier dish can you bring to share?

 

Look up the average amount of calories in dishes you plan to eat. Also, know which foods are better choices over others. For example, if you love pecan pie but can settle for pumpkin, it usually has many less calories.

 

Are you hungry?

 

Also, analyze your feelings and if you are really hungry. We tend to overeat the most when our feelings are getting the best of us. Holiday stress, sadness or loneliness if we are missing someone who is no longer there to celebrate with us, and other difficult emotions can make us want to indulge when we may not even be hungry.

 

Focus on why you’re really there.

 

When we break away from focusing on eating, we appreciate even more why we are at the celebration. Good conversation, laughter, games and enjoying family and friends can help take your mind off the temptations.

 

Position yourself away from temptation.

 

Is it possible to stay away from those cookies just sitting there waiting for you to grab them? Are others mingling in the living room? Sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” is a great strategy to implement.

 

Slow down.

 

During the holidays, all the errands, cooking, shopping and traveling can tempt us to eat “on the go” often. However, we tend to overeat when we don’t really focus on our meal and what we are taking in. Sit down, turn off all the distractions like TVs or smartphones and enjoy slowly eating your meal.

 

Taking time to chew your food and put your utensil down between bites can also help you savor your favorite holiday dishes.

 

Beware of your portions.

 

Sometimes it isn’t so much what we eat that is a problem, but how much of it that we eat.  Instead of grazing in a buffet style fashion, portion out your meal and commit to not going back for seconds.

 

Choosing a smaller plate can also help if that is an option. The bigger the plate, the more empty it seems with small portions.

 

Fill up on fiber and high-protein dishes.

 

Fill your plate with high protein and fiber items such as lean meats, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Not only will these dishes be lower calorie than those savory desserts, but they will help you feel fuller longer. Also, eat these foods first to leave less room in your stomach for dishes that tend to make you want to overindulge.

 

You don’t have to clean your plate.

 

Many of us grew up with parents that made us feel guilty if we didn’t clean our plates. Although they meant well, this strategy can leave us with some unhealthy eating habits as adults. You not finishing your plate has nothing to do with gratitude or how much someone else gets to eat. In fact, some practice leaving a bite or two on their plate as a strategy to not overeat.

 

Avoid meal skipping.

 

Skipping meals is rarely a good strategy. We tend to overeat even more when we do this as our blood sugar is then not well regulated.

 

Keep moving.

 

It can be easy to get off a daily exercise routine during the holidays, but it is important to keep moving and burning calories. Break up your exercise into smaller segments. Even ten minutes is very beneficial.

 

Also, incorporate some activity during your gatherings. Taking a walk after dinner, dancing or throwing around a football with the kids are great ways to get some exercise and not miss out on the festivities.

 

 

We hope you find these tips for healthy holiday eating helpful. We also wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you need further assistance in your weight management journey,  we want to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find out more information at mmgbariatrics.com. You may also call Dr. Sawyer’s office at (580) 510-7042 to learn if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Hands in sink with running water

Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands

This week is National Hand Washing Awareness Week. Teaching kids to wash their hands can be difficult. Young children are always on the move, and don’t want to slow down to practice boring hygiene habits. Still, it is important to instill important hand washing practices in your children.

 

Teach children when to wash their hands

 

Good hand washing is the first line of defense to combat various illnesses — from colds to the flu, meningitis, bronchiolitis and hepatitis A. The first step is letting children know we wash our hands to help keep everyone safe! Then, make it a habit by always washing their hands when the following activities take place:

  • before eating and cooking
  • after using the bathroom
  • before and after visiting sick friends or relatives
  • when coming in from outside
  • when finished cleaning around the house
  • after touching animals
  • after blowing one’s nose, sneezing or coughing

 

Discuss germs

 

Helping children to understand the concept of germs can be challenging. Explain to children that germs are most everywhere on surfaces and our hands. Consider finding a book with lots of pictures or simple songs or videos online to show them.

 

Make hand washing convenient and safe

 

Getting up to the sink can be hard for small children. Making it a fun, safe and convenient practice is important. Place a stool in front of the sink if the child cannot reach the sink by his or herself. Let children pick out a fun stool with characters, colors or designs he or she enjoys. Many stools for children have rubber grips on the steps to help secure their footing as well. Also, consider putting a rug under the stool to help catch water and prevent slipping. Kids can make a mess when the sink is involved.

 

Make sure hand towels are easily accessible also. Towel racks that are too high and cause children to reach too much could result in a fall.

 

Teach children how to use the soap

 

It may take awhile before a young child is capable of getting his or her own soap. Practice using the soap pump with them. Also, choosing a themed soap dispenser may be fun for some children.

 

Make sure the water is a safe temperature

 

Turning on the tap and getting the temperature just right may be difficult for many children. Teach your child how to turn on the cold water first and to slowly increase the temperature. Demonstrate putting just the tip of a finger in the water to test the temperature.

 

Help children learn how long to wash

 

You should wash your hands for 20-30 seconds. This is about the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice or the alphabet song once. You may also teach children how to set a timer and watch it count down while they wash.

 

Rinse well


Teach children to look thoroughly for any soap residue. It is not dangerous to leave soap bubbles behind. However, children often put their hands in their mouths. The taste of soap may be a deterrent from wanting to wash their hands in the future.

 

Carry hand sanitizer when on the go  

 

Soap and water is always best, but sometimes it may not be available when you are on the go. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

 

As with everything else they learn, good hand washing practices come to small children with lots of practice. Remember to praise their good behavior as you are teaching them this important tip in their daily hygiene routine.

For other healthcare concerns regarding your children, visit ccmhhealth.com/directory/specialties/pediatrics to find a list of CCMH Pediatricians.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Seven Ways to Support a Survivor of Suicide Loss

On November 17th, International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is observed. No one wants to have a connection to this day. Grief and loss are difficult enough to experience without the shock of someone we love taking their own life.

Those that are left behind after suicide have a difficult journey ahead of them. They may also feel a wide variety of emotions. These emotions may include sadness to anger to even unnecessary guilt if suicide loss survivors feel they should have done something to prevent the loss from taking place. They need much support from friends and family. Here are seven tips to show suicide loss survivors you care as they walk their grief journey.

 

Be very careful with your words.

 

Sometimes some of the cliche statements made when someone experiences a loss have the opposite effect of what we intended. Telling someone that their loved one “is in a better place” for example, may be painful even if they believe that statement deep down. Such statements seem dismissive as if suicide loss survivors should just “get over it”.

Also, don’t try to tell a loss survivor that he or she should feel differently. Guilt is a very common feeling with loss, and it will pass although it may take awhile. Statements such as “No one blames you” are better than “You shouldn’t feel guilty.”

You may be tempted to avoid the situation to avoid saying the wrong thing. This can hurt and seem dismissive too. A heartfelt look, hug and an “I’m sorry” can go much further than you realize.

 

Let loss survivors lead the conversations.

 

Allow suicide loss survivors to talk about the deceased person as much as they want. Don’t try to “distract” them when they want to talk about the deceased. It may not be comfortable conversations for you, but remember that the grief they carry is constantly with them. Eventually the conversations will become less frequent, but know they need a listening ear from time to time.


Likewise, don’t force them to talk about it. Grief is a very personal thing. No two people handle it the same. When the loss survivor wants a distraction, allow them that as well. Grief is not over and done. It comes and goes for a long time.


Don’t try to make loss survivors  “feel better.”

 

You can’t make someone feel better when they are grieving as much as you wish you could. Suggesting they should be in a better place when it comes to dealing with their grief suggests that what happened was not a “big deal.”

You cannot force someone through grief faster either. It is a path that in some ways must be walked alone. Survivors of suicide loss as with all survivors of loss, don’t want to feel better when they begin grieving. It may take weeks, months or years before they feel like “themselves” again. A great tragedy has taken place in their lives and in many ways they can never be the same again.


Treat loss survivors as you always have.

 

Even though grief must be walked alone, that does not mean you should leave someone alone completely. Even if the loss survivor says “no” one hundred times, still invite him or her to join you on outings like you always did before. Don’t take a refusal to get out of the house personally. Even though it may seem at the time that your friendship is not important anymore, loss survivors need your friendship more than ever before. Eventually, he or she will accept your invitation again.

 

Check on loss survivors in the evening.

 

Daily routines are filled with needed distractions for loss survivors. Evenings can seem long and difficult because he or she may be alone with nothing to do but think. This is a good time to call or stop by. Small daily tasks and self care can seem overwhelming when you’re struggling with loss.  Stopping by with his or her favorite meal will be very appreciated.

 

Remember that grief doesn’t stop with the funeral.

 

Everyone else seems to “move on” after the funeral. This can make loss more difficult for those who are close to the deceased. Check on loss survivors frequently months down the road. Chances are they are still struggling, but will try to hide their feelings since everyone else is back to their routines.

 

Remember significant dates.   

 

Nothing shows someone you care more than simple acknowledgment. Know the dates that are important to him or her- birthdays, anniversaries and death dates. A simple note or card can mean a lot to him or her. Offer to accompany them to a favorite spot to share memories of their loved one or to the cemetery to place fresh flowers at the gravesite.

If you are struggling with grief, you have our sincerest sympathies. We invite you to take place in our grief education and support services. Learn more by visiting  ccmhhealth.com/pastoral-care/.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Do You Know Your Tips for Halloween Safety?

From cool costumes to sugary treats, kids can’t wait for Halloween to arrive. Halloween is one of the most anticipated days of the year, yet it is important to also be very cautious and know some tips for Halloween safety. In Fact, the National Safety Council reports that children are twice as likely to be killed in a car accident on Halloween than any other day of the year. 1 Here are a few tips so you can make the most of your Halloween holiday and avoid an emergency visit to see us here at CCMH!

Costume Safety

Be aware of the following to help children avoid accidents involving their costumes:

  • Consider buying light-colored costumes that are easy to see at night.
  • Add reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark tape to your child’s costume and to their trick-or-treat bag. Some children enjoy carrying glow sticks or flashlights as well. Ensure your child knows not to break into the glow stick because the contents are toxic.
  • Make sure all costumes are flame-retardant. If you make a costume, use nylon or polyester materials.
  • Accidents can occur not only because children are distracted on Halloween, but because some costumes make it difficult to see. Consider using non-toxic face paint or makeup instead of masks.
  • It is illegal to sell colored or decorative contact lenses. Only use them if a licensed optometrist prescribed them. When not prescribed and ensured for safety, colored contacts may cause inflammation and pain and serious infection, which may cause permanent vision loss.
  • Talk to your child about how to be safe with any costume props by avoiding swinging or throwing them. Props that are plastic, lightweight and flexible are best.
  • For younger children, put their name, your name and contact information on a notecard in their pocket.
Trick or Treating Safety
  • Halloween is not the best night to let an unexperienced driver occupy the roadway. Compromise by allowing older kids to walk the neighborhood with their friends but pick them up and drop them off at designated locations. Also know the route they plan to walk beforehand.
  • Remind your kids to put electronic devices down and pay close attention when crossing roadways.
  • Teach your children to use crosswalks, sidewalks and lit areas and never assume drivers will stop. When possible, tell them to try to make eye contact with drivers so they can be certain they are seen.
  • Although they are excited, remind your children to walk, not run. Running in the dark often leads to serious accidents.
  • Discuss safety tips concerning strangers with your children. Remind them not to go up to houses that do not have the porch light on and not to enter the home or vehicle of strangers.
Candy Safety
  • A good meal prior to trick-or-treating will discourage your child from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Fortunately, candy tampering is rare. However, help your child check all treats to make sure seals are not broken and packages have no holes or tearing.
  • Throw away spoiled items and homemade treats that were made by strangers.
  • Ensure young children do not have candy that may cause choking.
  • Make sure children know not to eat any candy until they are home so you can inspect it.
  • Halloween can be challenging if your child has food allergies. It’s important that parents closely examine Halloween candy.
  • Always read the labels on treats. Many popular candies contain common allergens, such as peanuts or tree nuts, egg, soy wheat or milk.
  • If the ingredients aren’t listed, hold a treat “exchange” with other friends.
  • Candy is often high risk and contains trace amounts of common allergens because it is usually manufactured in factories that produce many different products.
  • “Fun size” candy bars sometimes contain different ingredients or be made on different equipment than the regular size candies, meaning that brands your child previously ate without problems could cause a reaction.
Prepare Your Home for Trick or Treaters
  • Ensure the safety  of your home for other children too.
  • Remove anything that could cause them to trip or fall.
  • Make sure the lights are on outside your house and light the walkway to your door.
  • Keep pets away from trick-or-treaters.

We hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

Sources

1 National Safety Council. 2018. Halloween Safety On and Off the Road.

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Managing Mental Health: There’s an App for That

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. struggle daily with at least one mental illness.1 In recent years, with light being shed on such statistics, mental healthcare has emphasized empowering those struggling with mental health to speak up and seek help when needed.

It is important to be especially concerned for mental wellbeing as we go into the fall and holiday season. Even if you do not struggle daily, factors such as changes in your diet or routine, alcohol consumption, the inability to be with friends or family and less sunlight can trigger “holiday blues.”2

How can technology help manage mental health?

Many apps help manage physical health by promoting dieting and exercise, but what about mental health? With more and more individuals being concerned about managing mental health, a growing number of apps can help. Medical research has not been provided for many of these apps specifically, but the basis of many of them including meditation, breathing exercises, sleep, and relaxation, are all proven techniques to help stabilize our moods. Here are 7 apps to help you focus on mental health management. (All apps were free for both Iphone and Android at the time this research was conducted unless otherwise noted.)

Happify

Do you need help to overcome stress, negative thinking and increase resilience? Happify is an app that helps to manage such feelings. According to the app, 86 percent of the users report having an improved outlook in life after two months of use. The app offers activities and games to ward off negative emotions and weekly  it calculates your “happiness” score. The app uses evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and positive psychology to help you form better habits.

Calm

In 2017,  Apple named Calm as their “App of the Year.” The goals of this app include reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and increasing feelings of happiness, clarity and peace. These goals are worked toward through meditation, breathing exercises, music and nature sounds.

Moodpath

Moodpath works as a digital mental health companion that provides insights you can discuss with your doctor by generating an electronic document detailing your assessment after two weeks of use. The app helps screen for symptoms of depression by asking you daily questions. It also has the goal of increasing your awareness of your feelings and emotions. Moodpath contains over 150 videos and psychological exercise.

SuperBetter

SuperBetter is a gaming app that focuses on increasing positive feelings and motivation to take on challenges. Research by the University of Pennsylvania found that those that played SuperBetter for 30 days reported better moods, decreased anxiety and depression and increased positive attitudes toward goal achievement.Also, SuperBetter is designed to assist with chronic illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.

Pacifica

Pacifica combats daily anxiety and stress using methods such as meditation, mood tracking, CBT and relaxation. The app contains audio lessons and activities, and it assists you at tackling anxiety one day at a time by setting daily goals as well as long-term goals.

Moodnotes

Available only for Iphone for $3.99.

Moodnotes helps you learn about your “thinking traps” and how to overcome them through insights gathered from your thought journal and mood diary. Your feelings and thinking habits are assessed and improved through implementing positive psychology and CBT.

Headspace

Headspace has hundreds of themed mindfulness and meditation sessions to assist you in achieving a happier, healthier life. The app emphasizes reducing stress, building healthier relationships and finding a place of calm.

We hope you find this list helpful. However, no app will ever be able to replace medical care when you have a need. If coping seems like a battle that becomes more difficult each day, please reach out for help. You can find a list of our providers at http://www.ccmhhealth.com/providers/.

Sources
1 National Institute of Mental Health. November 2017. Mental Illness.
2 Greenstein, Laura. National Alliance of Mental Illness. 19 November 2015. Tips For Managing The Holiday Blues.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania. 2015 June. Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive Symptoms.

Disclaimer
The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.