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Being Healthy Is More than Being Physically Fit

By Stacey Chillemi

Keeping a yourself healthy emotionally, physically, and spiritually will help you build develop a happy, productive life. Studies were done and it was found that people who volunteer, go to church, or belong to a club are more likely to have better health than people who don't engage in social activities on a routine basis.

Complete health is not just achieved by eating right, exercising and sleeping properly. These are important factors in helping to live a healthy life emotionally, physically and spiritually. Many people use prayer or spiritual healing when ill. People facing some type of illness often turn to religion for help and strength. Many people believe that having strong religious beliefs can help someone recover from sickness and retain good health

I believe we need to take care of ourselves not just spiritually and religiously but we need to take care of ourselves physically also. The way we take care ff ourselves affects us in many ways. When I started to take care of myself physically, I began to notice an increase in my energy level. Before then I was lacking energy, feeling fatigue. I was feeling sleepy. When I started to focus on my health and began to take better care of myself, I felt more emotionally Stable and spiritually in touch with myself. I understood myself even better.

I felt so proud of myself. Physically I looked like a new person and spiritually I felt like a new person. My self -esteem rose immensely. By feeling and looking healthy you begin to see yourself as a desirable individual about whom who you can feel proud. Once you start to feel proud of yourself, you will begin to feel like no task is too hard for you to achieve.

I began to realize the importance of taking care of myself. Years ago, I went to the doctor

I was feeling fatigue and sluggish. My doctor told me that I was overweight for my height and built. I was twenty two, five foot two and 146 pounds. The doctor said, if I lost the weight I would feel better about myself both mentally and physically. By losing the weight, I would help overcome my fatigue and help myself emotionally, physically and spiritually. Personally, I was unhappy with my physical appearance. At this point, I realized that I could no longer let myself get any heavier.

The first thing I did to help myself get physically back into shape was change my eating habits. If I were going to lose weight and get back into shape, I needed to change the way I consumed food. I love to eat, just like most people. I had an appetite for fatty foods, sweets, ham and eggs, cream cheese and other good foods that are not so good for the body. Pay attention to what your eating and eliminate any foods that are unhealthy and do not agree with your body. Everybody's metabolism is different, so you need to eat healthy foods that work best for you. For example, my body reacts well to carbohydrates whereas my husband's body retains much water if he ingests too many carbohydrates into his system.

I began eating mostly proteins and eliminated fatty foods as best I could. You need some fats in your meal plan, but make sure they are the right types of fats. Be careful with the fat-free foods they have on the market. They may have zero fat grams, but the amount of calories could be just as bad as a fatty food with many fat grams in it. To make the fat-free foods taste good they use a lot of sugar, which causes you to gain weight.

If you are at a weight that you are content with, then you should continue to eat healthy to maintain that weight and to keep in shape. Everything you put in your body affects your epilepsy. You should try to stabilize the amount of calories you consume each day after you decide the amount of calories you want to eat.

I stopped eating any cheeses unless they were fat-free. I stopped using any types of breads or other food products that had a high fat content. The bad thing about bread is that, breads make you feel full. When it goes into your body, it turns into sugar and increase your appetite. Soon you become hungry and want to eat again. Chinese food is high in carbohydrates, and has the same effect. The calories keep adding up and the salt in the food makes you extremely bloated. You should read the food labels when you shop in a grocery store. I ate many fat-free foods that were low in calories. I made sure that the product I was buying had little sugar and sodium in it. This was step number one to getting me back on the right track. I tried to eat as few fat grams as possible in a day.

Drinking water is an important step to eating healthy. I made sure I drank as much water as my body could consume, which is important. You are trying to get your body back into shape and lose weight Water helps you flush all those unwanted impurities out of your system. The human body contains fifty to 70% water. Because water does not remain stored in the body, we must replace it continually. Water contains no fat grams or calories and is one of the healthiest fluids to drink. Adults must consume two to three liters of some form of liquid each day.

When I became hungry during the day, I made sure I ate healthy snacks such as bananas and yogurt. I cut out all the bad foods, such as the chips, ice cream, cakes, etc. I would have healthy meats such as chicken and turkey. Meats contain many valuable nutrients among them is protein. However, be careful also because meat also contains cholesterol.

I cut down on the mayonnaise, ketchup and all the foods that put on weight and hold water. It helped also when I ate slowly. By eating slowly, I would enjoy the meal more and not eat as much.

I made sure I also ate breakfast in the morning. I noticed that when I did not eat breakfast, I would eat more during the day or at dinnertime. You want to avoid eating big dinners because the food lies on your stomach later in the evening and you do not burn as many calories. The food just lies there in your stomach. My daily diet consisted of a healthy breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner and a light snack. I felt fulfilled and I lost thirty pounds!

Losing the weight helped me because I was able decrease the medication I was taking. After I began to lose weight, my urge to eat decreased and I felt better about myself emotionally and physically. My body was feeling better and spiritually I felt my inner self began to feel at peace.

The Different Food Groups

Fat Oils and Sweets

Milk, Yogurt and the Cheese Group

Dry Beans, Eggs and Nut Group

Vegetables and Fruit Group Starches, Grains, Pasta, Rice, Bread and Cereal

The bread cereal group includes all breads and cereals that are whole grain, enriched, or restored. All cereals are very high in starch, and they are good, generally inexpensive sources of energy. The fat content of cereal products generally is very low unless the germ is included. Whole grain products contribute significant quantities of fiber and such trace vitamins and minerals as pantothenic acid, vitamin E, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum.

Most vegetables are important sources of minerals, vitamins, and cellulose. Certain vegetables, such as potatoes, contribute appreciable quantities of starch. Large amounts of the minerals calcium and iron are in vegetables, particularly beans, peas, and broccoli. Vegetables also help meet the body's need for sodium, chloride, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Carotenes (the precursor of vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are abundant in many vegetables. Vegetables are useful as sources of roughage.

The nutritional value of fruits varies. Some fruits are composed largely of water, but contain valuable vitamins. The citrus fruits are a valuable source of vitamin C, and yellow colored fruits, such as peaches, contain carotene. Dried fruits contain an ample amount of iron, and figs and oranges are an excellent source of calcium. Like vegetables, fruits have high cellulose content.

The milk group includes milk and milk products, cheese, and ice cream. Milk is a complete protein food containing several protein complexes. It also contains important amounts of most nutrients, but it is very low in iron and ascorbic acid and low in niacin. Calcium and phosphorus levels in milk are very high. Vitamin A levels are high in whole milk, but this fat soluble vitamin is removed in the production of skim milk. Riboflavin is present in significant quantities in milk unless the milk has been exposed to light.

The meat and meat substitutes group includes beef; veal; lamb; pork; organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidney; poultry and eggs; fish and shellfish; and dried peas, beans, and nuts. The meat group contains many valuable nutrients. One of its main nutrients is protein, but meat also contains cholesterol, which is believed to contribute to coronary artery disease. The minerals copper, iron, and phosphorus occur in meats in significant amounts, particularly iron and copper in liver. Different meats vary in their vitamin content. Liver usually contains a useful amount of vitamin A. Thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, all B vitamins, occur in significant amounts in all meats.

Other Foods such as, butter, margarine, other fats, oils, sugars, or unnourished refined grain products are included in the diet to round out meals and satisfy the appetite. Fats, oils, and sugars are added to other foods during preparation of the meal or at the table. These foods supply calories and can add to total nutrients in meals.

For many years the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued dietary guidelines based on four basic food groups meat and meat substitutes, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, and grains, including bread and cereals and a balanced diet would include at least one food from each group in each meal every day.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended that people eat a variety of foods daily, including fruits; vegetables; whole and enriched grain products; dairy products; meats, poultry, fish, and eggs; and dried peas and beans. While recognizing that certain people (for example, pregnant women, the elderly, and infants) have special nutritional needs, the report stressed that for most people the greater the variety of foods eaten, the less likely is a deficiency or excess of any single nutrient to develop.

The report emphasized that people should increase their consumption of complex carbohydrates fruits, vegetables, and other unrefined foods and naturally occurring sugars. It also recommended reducing the consumption of refined and processed sugars. It encouraged a reduction in fat consumption by decreasing the amount of fatty meats and replacing foods that have saturated fats with those having unsaturated fats. A reduction in the sodium intake by decreasing the amount of salt added to food was also recommended.

Research findings on nutrition, in the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services changed the daily diet recommendations from the square of the four food groups to a food pyramid, with foods that should be eaten more often at the base, and those used less frequently at the top. The emphasis is on consuming less of the group's meat and meat substitutes, dairy products, and oils and fats, and more of the breads and cereals, and fruits and vegetables. When properly followed the food pyramid teaches the use of a wide variety of food items, moderation in total food intake, and proportionality among the food groups to ensure adequate nutrient intake.

Vitamins are carbon containing substances that are required for normal metabolism but are not synthesized in the body. They are obtained, from such outside sources as food and water or are administered orally or intravenously. Exceptions to this definition include vitamin D, which is synthesized in the body to a limited extent, and vitamins B (12) and K, which are synthesized by bacterial flora in the intestinal tract. Minerals also must be obtained from outside sources. Minerals'such as calcium, iodine, and iron"are an essential part of all cells and body fluids and enter many functions.

Vitamins and minerals function as "cofactors" in the metabolism of products in the body. Most aspects of bodily metabolism proceed with the aid of specific enzymes, but if additional catalysts were not present for example, the cofactor vitamins and minerals the reactions would proceed so slowly that they would be ineffective.

Vitamin A has many important functions in the body that relate to membrane integrity, especially of epithelial cells and mucous membranes. It is also essential for bone growth, reproduction, and embryonic development.

Vitamin D primarily regulates calcium metabolism by determining the movement of calcium from intestines to blood and from blood to bone. It interacts with parathyroid hormone and calcitonin in controlling calcium levels. Thus, vitamin D is today more legitimately considered a hormone rather than a vitamin.

Vitamin E is considered to have possible value in decreasing the risk of cancer; it has shown little therapeutic value in other diseases. Fortunately, it is relatively nontoxic. Vitamin K is essential for synthesis by the liver of several factors necessary for the clotting of blood. A wide variety of vegetables, egg yolk, liver, and fish oils contain this vitamin.

With the exception of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), water soluble vitamins belong mainly to what has been termed the B complex of vitamins. The better known B vitamins are thiamine (B (1)), riboflavin (B (2)), niacin (B (3)), pyridoxine (B (6)), pantothenic acid, lecithin, choline, inositol, and paraaminobenzoic acid (PABA). Two other members are folic acid and cyanocobalamin (B (12)). Yeast and liver are natural sources of most of these vitamins.

Thiamine, the first B vitamin functions as a coenzyme in the form of thiamine pyrophosphate and is important in carbohydrate intermediary metabolism.

Riboflavin (B (2) serves as coenzymes for a wide variety of respiratory proteins (see metabolism).

Vitamin B (6), functions in human metabolism in the conversion processes of amino acids, including decarboxylation, transamination, and racemization.

In the body folic acid is converted to folinic acid (5 formyl tetrahydrofolic acid), the coenzyme form, which accepts 1 carbon units important in the metabolism of many body compounds. Nucleic acid synthesis cannot take place without the presence of folic acid.

Vitamin B (12), almost all organisms need this vitamin but only in very small amounts. For vitamin C, a sufficient daily intake of fresh orange juice provides enough of the vitamin for most purposes. The body's requirements for calcium are generally met by eating or drinking dairy products, especially milk. Most calcium (90 percent) is stored in bone, with a constant exchange occurring among blood, tissue, and bone.

Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin and of certain respiratory enzymes. Foods high in iron content include meat (liver and heart), egg yolk, wheat germ, and most green vegetables. The average diet contains 10 to 15 mg a day, adequate for most people.

Magnesium is an essential element in human metabolism and functions in the activities of muscles and nerves, protein synthesis, and many other reactions. Fluorine as fluoride is a requirement to bind calcium in bones. Micro amounts of such elements as boron, chromium, chlorine, copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, sulfur, and vanadium are considered necessary to health.

Normal diets appear to provide adequate amounts of trace minerals, but effects such as the linking of high levels of fructose in the diet with copper deficiency problems are the subject of ongoing research. Vitamins and minerals are an important factor to keeping yourself healthy.

When I started incorporating vitamins into my daily schedule, I began noticing a change in the way I felt physically. When I started eating healthily, I started using a variety of vitamins and herbs that were suppose to be helpful for epilepsy disorders. The vitamins I used were L Taurine L tyrosine(amino acids), vitamin B6 and B12, calcium and folic acid. They called an herb that I also had tried a black cohosh. Black cohosh is an eastern North American perennial herb Cimicifuga racemosa. It has a powerful action as a relaxant and a normalizer of the female reproductive system. It may be used in cases of painful or delayed menstruation, ovarian cramps or cramping pain in the womb. It has a normalizing action on the balance of female sex hormones and may be used safely to regain normal hormonal activity. It is used often for the treatment of neurological pain. As a relaxing nervine, it may be used in many situations where such an agent is needed.

Medical research has not proven that these vitamins and herbs stop seizures. Nevertheless, they have been used for decades and said to be beneficial. I still have the same amount of seizures (two to three a month), but I have noticed an increase in my energy. I also had a couple of incidents when I was about to go into an aura. For the first time, I could work with my body and stop myself from having an aura or petite mal seizure by using relaxation exercises. I took deep breaths and slowly released the air through my mouth as I thought positive thoughts.

I have recently incorporated an extra iron vitamin into my diet. Remember, if you decide to use vitamins as a part of your daily diet than it is always safe to discuss it first with your doctor.

I believe exercise can help control seizures. Epilepsy does not stop you from being athletic and keeping your body in shape. Some of the greatest athletes had epilepsy. French cyclist Marion Clignet won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics. Hal Lanier, a former shortstop with the San Francisco Giant; Greg Walker, a former first baseman with the Chicago White Sox, and Buddy Bell, who played seventeen seasons of professional baseball before retiring in 1988, all reportedly had epilepsy as did basketball player Bobby Jones, who played for the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia "76ers. Exercise helps to build or maintain strength and endurance and to make the body healthier. Exercising is good because it also helps you spiritually. Exercise has both physical and psychological benefits. Regular exercise helps develop muscle tone and strength and control weight. Besides strengthening the muscles, including the heart, regular exercise is believed to make bones stronger by increa!

sing calcium uptake.

Exercise would be extremely beneficial for all individuals, especially for epileptics who have been using Tegretol for many years. The main problems associated with Tegretol are that it causes your bones to ache. Exercise reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Psychologically, regular exercise contributes to a feeling of well-being, and relieves stress. It helps you to feel at peace with yourself. In a study reported in the professional journal Epilepsia, conducted at the department of psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham exercise proved to have a positive effect on the lives of a hundred and thirty-three people with epilepsy. Fifty-four of them were men and seventy-nine of them were women. Those who exercise intensely at least three times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes reported fewer problems with depression and stress.

Another study was done on how exercise effects epileptics were done at the University of Sport and Physical Education. In these, study fifteen Norwegian women with drug-resistant epilepsy spent fifteen weeks taking exercise classes twice a week for an hour. They combined aerobic dancing with strength training and stretching. The median number of seizures decreased from 2.9 to 1.7 during the experimental exercise phase. The women also had fewer health complaints, such as muscle pains, sleep problems and fatigue.

People who exercise are regularly more likely to continue exercise throughout their lives. Once I got into the habit of exercising, it no longer became a chore. Exercising became a physical activity that I enjoyed doing in my spare time. I made sure that I scheduled my days so I would at least have three to four days of exercise. Exercising should take place at least every other day foe a period of fifteen to sixty minutes.

I enjoy walking, floor aerobics, weights and working on the machines. I would work out a little each day and exercise with the TV or the radio. Whatever motivated me then, but remember before you begin any exercise program you should check with your doctor first.

When I exercised, it made me feel good inside. Exercise should be some activity that you can do that would not strain your body. It can be walking, jogging, running, aerobics, bench stepping, hiking, jazzercise, bodybuilding, swimming, dance or anything that you enjoy. You should do some kind of exercise to keep your body in shape. The older you become the more important is to exercise. Exercise affects the aging body, helping to maintain fitness and slow down the physical effects of aging. If not properly exercised, the aging body can develop problems in the muscles, bones and cardiovascular system. As you get older, your muscles begin to wither away and lose their tone, leading to more frequent tearing of the tendons in the muscles. Your bones become weak and brittle, fracturing easily and more often. Therefore, it is important that you take responsibility and keep yourself in good shape

About The Author

Stacey Chillemi


E-mail: staceychil@aol.com


Website: http://www.authorsden.com/staceydchillemi

PROFILE

WRITER: Stacey Chillemi

I am thirty-two years old, married with three children. There is a whole world in front of us. This world has millions of opportunities just waiting for people such as myself to encounter. It does not matter what age you are. You can achieve anything you put your mind too.

MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

I am an H.O.P.E. Mentor, for the Epilepsy Foundation. I have spoken at different events for schools, organizations, political events, I spoke in front of Congress in Washington and anywhere my help is needed to educate people about epilepsy. I was on four talk shows. The interviews focused on the importance of understanding what epilepsy is, how to help someone having a seizure and giving people with epilepsy encouragement and hope for the future.

I have been on radio stations discussing epilepsy and I have appeared in many newspapers all over New Jersey such as, The Leader, Belleville Post and the Star Ledger. In addition, on June 26, 2002, I was honored an award by the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey for Outstanding Volunteer Award.

You can find my website with samples of my work.


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