The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks, and reflect. They are also a time to help your employees pay special attention to their health. Give the gift of health and safety to your employees by offering these holiday tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unrealistic optimism is defined as the mistaken belief that good things are more likely to happen to you than to others and that bad things are less likely to happen to you than to others. In other words, unrealistic optimism is the mistaken belief that one’s chances of experiencing problems are lower than those of other people.
People are unrealistically optimistic about a wide variety of events even when the stakes are high. We all know that statistics show that about 50% of marriages end in divorce. Yet, at the time of the ceremony, most couples believe there is 0% chance their marriage will end in divorce. Even among those previously divorced.
Unrealistic Optimism? Probably.
Fifty percent of all new businesses fail. Yet in a survey of entrepreneurs starting new business most responded that while they understood this statistic, they believed that they had a 90% chance of success.
Unrealistic Optimism. Likely.
A lot of individual risk taking in the areas of risks to life and health can be attributed to unrealistic optimism. Most young people surveyed said they were far less likely than others to have a heart attack or get cancer. Older people underestimate the likelihood of suffering a major disease. Even smokers are aware of the risks of smoking but believe they are less likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than most nonsmokers.
Unrealistic Optimism. Absolutely.
Unrealistic optimism is pervasive in human life. People may fail to take sensible preventive steps due to the overestimation of their personal immunity from harm.
For example, most people will say they know they should eat healthier and exercise. Many can even recite the alarming health statistics associated with with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, yet will resist any attempt to change. A problem that has puzzled scientists for decades is why human optimism is so pervasive when reality continuously confronts us with information that challenges these biased beliefs.
A recent report in the journal Health Policy found that among high-income nations, death rates improved least in the U.S. Among people under the age of 75 for conditions considered preventable with timely screenings and care, including cancer.
I, for one, do not think ignorance is bliss. I believe it’s time to temper our unrealistic optimism with a dose of reality. We are not superhuman. Stuff happens. We do get sick. Many of us will receive a dreaded diagnosis sometime in our lives. Why not make a few simple changes now to help forestall those situations as much as possible by taking responsibility for our health and wellness?
Read More About It
Dillard, A. J., Midboe, A. M., & Klein, W. M. P. (2009). The Dark Side of Optimism: Unrealistic Optimism About Problems With Alcohol Predicts Subsequent Negative Event Experiences. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(11), 1540 -1550. doi:10.1177/0146167209343124
Sharot, T., Korn, C. W., & Dolan, R. J. (2011). How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality. Nat Neurosci, 14(11), 1475-1479. doi:10.1038/nn.2949
Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Updated.). Penguin (Non-Classics).
ConsumerReports onHealth v23 #12 Consumers Union Yankers, NY
In the first two installments of the Weight Management series we discussed the issues of overweight, obesity, the difference between dieting and weight management, the dieting mentality, and things that actually work when trying to manage your weight.
In this third and final segment, we will look at simple steps to changing your eating habits, address portion control, and a brief look at the mental aspects of weight management.
Changing your eating habits
Most of us don’t eat foods that come from the earth, but instead from a box or can or prepared by food scientists in a factory. The easiest and perhaps most flavorful way to eat in a healthy and nutritional way is to follow a Mediterranean-style of eating. In the 1960s, researchers looked at death and disease rates in different countries and discovered a group of people who, despite having poor medical care, had the longest life span in the world. They also had some of the lowest rates of heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and obesity found anywhere. These healthy folk were the citizens of Crete, Greece, and Southern Italy, and they all shared one thing, a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle (10).
Back in July, posted an article dealing with working out in the heat of summer. For many of us, particularly us desert dwellers this is an important issue. However, now that we are moving into colder weather across the nation (even here in the desert) we need to turn our attention to winter workouts.
While for many, working out in the winter is just too much to ask. But there is one major advantage to exercising at this time of year. According to the American College of Sports Medicine,
“you can burn up to 40% more calories while exercising when it’s cold.”
Here are 4 important steps to improve your winter workouts:
1-Dress in layers
70 to 80 percent of the energy your body uses during exercise is released in the form of heat. Dressing in layers is one way to help keep more of the heat your body is releasing. And layers can easily be loosened or removed to help regulation your temperature. To avoid overheating, dress so that you feel slightly chilled as you begin your workout. Then loosen or remove layers as you heat up.
In spite of the fact that 5 years ago trans fat was essentially band from foods, a recent report indicates that many foods still contain them. Trans fats raise the risk of heart disease and other diseases.
So what is trans fat anyway?
Trans fat is unsaturated fat—which are liquid at room temperature—that food manufacturers try to make more solid so that it lasts longer in the food. This process makes it less likely that the fat will become rancid thereby ruining the food item. Manufacturers make the unsaturated fat solid at room temperature through a process known as hydrogenation. The result is a partially hydrogenated unsaturated fat or trans fat.
Trans fats are listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) of food products when there is half a gram or more per serving. They will also be found in the ingredient list as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. The FDA regulations indicate that if there is 0.49 grams of trans fat or less in a product, it is declared as “0” in the Nutrition Facts Panel.
Recently, NuVal LLC ran a scan of 73,000 food products to determine the number of foods that still contain trans fat. What they discovered is a little bit scary.
Over 2,500 food products listed 0.5 grams or more trans fat in the NFP!
Nearly 6,500 products listed partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
Why does this matter?
The recommended level of trans fat consumption is as close to zero as possible. In spite of this recommendation, here were nearly 9,000 food items that still have trans fat in them. Some of the food categories that trans fat can still be found in include frozen pizzas, trail mixes, muffins, rice-type side dishes, microwave popcorn, candy, ice creams, crackers, cookies, drink mixes, and appetizers.
What does this mean to me?
While the media has move on to sweeteners as the current evil nutrient, trans fats are still out there in many foods you find on the grocery store shelf and likely in your own pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. So the important message then is to look closely at the NFP for trans fat or partially hydrogenated fat in the foods your serve your family.
One third of all cancers are caused by 4 common lifestyle factors — tobacco, diet, alcohol, and obesity!
This finding, published in the December issue of the British Journal of Cancer,comes from a detailed review of lifestyle and environmental factors. Researchers calculated the numbers of cancers that can be attributed to each of these factors and found very disturbing results.
Lead author and professor of epidemiology at Queen Mary University, London, Max Parkin, MD, noted that this study is the most comprehensive review of cancer and lifestyle undertaken to date.
“Many people believe that cancer is down to fate or is ‘in the genes,’ and that it is the luck of the draw whether they get it,” Dr. Parkin said. However, he added, “looking at the evidence, it’s clear that about 40% of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change.”
It is becoming more alarmingly clear with each passing day that our Western lifestyle is killing us. And while this study is not good news, it does show that there is something we can do to in our own lives to change this.
There is hope
In the past few years, study after study has shown that cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes. Those lifestyle changes include stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, improving diet and nutrition and regular exercise and physical activity. These lifestyle changes can significantly shift the negative statistics cited here in your favor.
So put down the beer, put out that cigarette, push that plate of wings back, and get out of your chair and start moving.
The time for change is now!
Not sure where to begin, contact the coaches at Lifestyle Wellness Group, LLC., and lets us help you create a plan that will greatly improve your lifestyle.