Can you trust it? How to find credible and accurate nutrition information

tape-403593_1920.
Looking in the wrong place for nutrition information can cause you to make unnecessary or harmful diet changes, give up foods you don’t need to, and waste money on special supplements and products.

How do you know what information you can trust, whether online, from friends, or in the news?

Join me in the Diabetes Smart Online Symposium to learn how to determine whether a source is credible, and get ideas for where to turn for accurate nutrition information.

===

Can you trust it? How to find credible and accurate nutrition information
Tuesday, June 7 at 3pm Pacific Time
FREE and open to the public
SIGN UP TODAY!

===

Don’t be gullible. Sign up for my class and stop falling for bad nutrition information.

Intellectual Wellness (8 Dimensions of Wellness Series)

I'm Smart Kent County Girls on the Run April 06, 20101
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo (stevendepolo) on Flickr
Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.
–William Lyon Phelps

This aspect of wellness incorporates lifelong learning, knowledge and education, mental skills, curiosity, and creativity “for the personal growth of the individual and for the betterment of society” (Roscoe, L J 2009).

Some common examples of activities related to intellectual wellness include going to school, reading, learning a new language, watching educational videos, applying experiential knowledge to new situations, doing crossword puzzles, seeking a mentor’s advice, and experimenting with new recipes. While any of the previous examples can be used for the “betterment of society,” two more specific examples are learning new tasks for a volunteer project and reading up on best practices in your industry so you can help your workgroup more efficiently.

The Internet makes intellectual wellness easier

Many websites, like YouTubeCraftsy, Udacity, and TED talks, offer opportunities to increase your intellectual wellness for free, through online classes and videos. You can also find free puzzles and games at sites like Luminosity, which was developed to keep your brain challenged.

Finding other people committed to intellectual wellness is also easy. Meetup helps groups organize around common goals and events, such as learning new languages or skills, and other websites offer mentorship programs within specific industries.

For those interested in traditional school/education, there are also several scholarship databases (like Fastweb) and other educational resources available online.

This post is part of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series focusing on each aspect of wellness and providing related resources. To get more free resources and information about wellness, click here to get each post by email.

New Series: 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Image from http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/what-is-wellbeing/ © 2012 Washington State University
Image from http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/what-is-wellbeing/
© 2012 Washington State University

Wellness usually means a wholistic approach to health and prevention of disease. The wellness wheel captures the idea that wellness isn’t only physical health, but includes many aspects of how you live your life and interact with people and situations. It is also called the wellbeing wheel, dimensions of health, etc.

There are multiple versions with varying number of sections, but since I first saw this wheel as an undergraduate student at Washington State University, I will describe the version they use.

Each section of the wheel represents a different part of wellness. The sections overlap and are all related, with one affecting the others, but to keep it simple, they are listed as separate sections:

(links in previous list go to the post about that aspect of wellness)

I mostly talk about physical wellness on this blog, but I am going to start expanding that focus to incorporate more information and resources from all parts of this wheel diagram. Over the next few months, I will write several posts that explain each of these sections of the wellness wheel and provide examples and resources for you to use.

I hope you will join me in learning more about health and wellness. Click here if you want to get each of the posts in your inbox for free and haven’t already signed up.

How SMART are your resolutions?

Happy New Year!
Photo Credit: digitalart (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

What kind of New Year’s Resolutions did you make? Was it something vague, like “Eat better,” or does it pass the SMART test?

When setting goals (resolutions included), many people use a technique I learned in school: make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).

Specific

Put details in your goal so that you have a clearer idea of what you are planning on doing.

Measurable

Phrase the goal in a way that you can easily tell if you’ve accomplished it or not.

Attainable

Make a goal that you have the ability and resources to meet (or, make sure you have a plan to get the skills and resources you will need).

Realistic

Write your goal so that you do not have to be a miracle-worker to achieve it.

Timely

Include a deadline or time frame in your goal so that you know when to evaluate your progress.

Here are some generic examples with a few of the many possible changes to making SMART goals.

Generic or otherwise non-SMART SMART examples
  • Eat better
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Drink more water
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal or snack
  • Substitute a glass of water in the place of one soda every day
  • Work out
  • Do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
  • Attend an exercise class three times a week, after work
  • Be a better person
  • Volunteer for one hour on Tuesdays at the local food bank
  • Compliment a stranger every day
  • Lose weight
  • Lose 25 pounds, at a rate of 1 pound each week, through portion control and exercise
  • Meet with the dietitian monthly to discuss and plan realistic weight loss goals and progress
  • Get a better job
  • Apply to 3 jobs per week, until a new job contract is signed
  • Save money
  • Save $100 per month for the 2014 European summer vacation
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Host a monthly movie party for close friends
  • Eat Sunday family dinner each week

What are your resolutions? Do they pass the SMART test?

For more wellness posts, subscribe to get each post by email.

Lessons from my first year of grad school

A very small selection of my many textbooks for the past year, with a page from my very full planner. (C) 2012 Shelly Najjar
Only a few of the textbooks I have from this past year, and a glimpse of my overly packed planner.

I have officially finished Year One of grad school. During that time, I wrote papers, took tests, stressed about deadlines, and learned some things about nutrition and public health.

But I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was to learn so much about myself, about the way I work and think, and about life in general. Here are the three biggest lessons I learned this school year.

1. Choosing something means not choosing other things.

This is difficult for me to remember, because I really want to do everything. Then I remember to practice saying no, and think about this quote, which I saw when passing by a church marquee:

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

After talking with some people who know me and whose opinions I deeply respect, it seems that knowing my priorities is possibly the best way to make choices that I won’t regret, or that may even allow me to manage time well enough to choose more than one option.

2. Don’t procrastinate when facing things you don’t want to do. You won’t want to do them any more later than you do right now.

Speaking of time management, the temptation to procrastinate has become a big challenge for me, so this lesson is extra important. When I have something I don’t want to do (but must do), I find that it is better to just suck it up and focus on finishing, even when I don’t feel like it, so that I have more time to do something that is appealing later on.

I’ve also found that for this past quarter, it works better for me to choose one or two things to work on the entire day, instead of choosing eight things to work on for one hour each. (I used to do this so I wouldn’t get bored, but while learning about doing unpleasant things now, I realized I often used this “one hour” trick to procrastinate.)

3. You can do more than you think.

I have never been more academically challenged than I was this past year. It is frustrating and overwhelming, but it produces the best feeling of accomplishment. If I hadn’t been given as many assignments, as much responsibility with my fieldwork, or as much encouragement, I wouldn’t know that I could accomplish all that I did.

It has been a crazy experience so far, but overall, I’ve made progress toward my goal of focusing on learning (instead of focusing on getting good grades). Thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement and advice over the past year!

-Shelly