November 2012

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Insulin is a hormone which pulls sugar out of the blood; therefore people with Type 2diabetes often have increased blood sugar. High levels of sugar in the blood can lead to dangerous complications as noted below.


Type 2 DiabetesPatients with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing heart disease. Diabetes speeds the process by which cholesterol builds up in the arteries, causing them to harden and become narrower. This then causes blood pressure to increase, which strains the heart. In addition, small bits of cholesterol can break off from larger arteries and move to the smaller arteries that supply the heart and brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke.


Many of the complications of type 2 diabetes stem from the effects of high blood sugar on small blood vessels. High amounts of glucose can clog the small capillaries, which are necessary for carrying blood to sensitive tissues. When these capillaries become clogged due to high levels of glucose, blood flow to some tissues can be harmed. This can lead to poor oxygen flow, which can result in tissue death.


Type 2 diabetes can affect vision. Temporary blurring of vision can be caused by fluid changes in the lens of the eye, which can be the result of high blood sugar. Because the lens works to help focus images, changes in the fluid inside the lens can make it difficult for the eyes to properly focus. Poor blood flow due to damaged capillaries can also affect the retina, which is the portion of the eye that turns light into signals to the brain. This condition, diabetic retinopathy, can lead to blindness.


Another danger of diabetes is damage to the kidneys, which are important for filtering the blood and excreting waste products as urine. High blood sugar and high blood pressure (due to build up of cholesterol) can cause kidney damage or kidneys to fail requiring dialysis or a transplant.


Another hazard of diabetes is damaged nerves. Nerve tissue is very delicate and extremely high blood sugar can cause irreversible nerve damage. This can cause patients to develop tingling or numbness in certain parts of their body, particularly the extremities. Foot wounds are especially dangerous because impaired circulation can also make it difficult for wounds to heal, leading to serious infections.
By: Janet Hunt
Next Article: How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Snack Healthy

Janet Hunt Alabama Orthotics and Prosthetics Inc

Janet HuntLower back pain is very common among adults and is often caused by overuse and muscle strain, injury, or carrying too much body weight. Treatment, correct exercises, and weight loss can help you stay as active as possible. And it will help you understand that some continued or repeated back pain is not surprising or dangerous.

Lower back pain
Most low back pain can get better if you stay active, avoid positions or activities that may increase back pain, use ice, and take nonprescription pain relievers when you need them.

When you no longer have acute (sharp) pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your abdominals, back, and legs (core muscles), and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain, but it may also help you recover faster, prevent re-injury to your back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain.

Exercises to reduce low back pain are not complicated and can be done at home without any special equipment. Your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can show you some exercises that will help you with lower back pain.

It’s important that you don’t let fear of pain keep you from trying gentle activity. You should try to be active soon after noticing pain, and gradually increase your activity level. Too little activity can lead to loss of flexibility, strength, and endurance, and then to more pain.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Janet Hunt Personal Trainer ALAOP

Janet HuntThe question I am asked most often by my training clients and participants in my weight management classes is: how many calories should I eat? Well, this is a very complicated question. This depends on your activity level, your metabolism, your age, your gender, your muscle mass, and more. Below are some VERY GENERAL ideas for calorie consumption to maintain your current weight. To actually determine what is true for you, maintain a daily food diary with an accurate calorie count and weigh daily to confirm your weight is not changing.

If you are inactive, you should eat about 20 calories per kilogram of body weight. For those that are somewhat active, 25 calories per kilogram is recommended. And if you are very active, you may be able to eat up to 30-35 calories per kilogram.

To calculate this, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. Then take this number and multiply by 20, 25 or 30 to 35 depending on your activity level. Below are some results.

Calorie Counter

Then, to lose about one pound per week,(which is a safe, healthy goal for weight loss,) you need to reduce your food intake about 3500 calories per week (500 calories per day) or increase your activity level without increasing your calorie intake.

Health & Fitness

If you decide to drop your calories to less than 1200 calories per day, you should talk to your physician first. If you are going to increase your activity level, you may want to consult your physician first.

To find out more about healthy weight management programs and successful activity programs, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530.
By: Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt Personal TrainingALAOP

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Most of us know that exercise can help prevent (lower the risk) of breast cancer. Exercise can also increase the likelihood of a full recovery after treatment for breast cancer. Studies now show that many of the symptoms and side effects of breast cancer treatments (both physical and psychological) can be reduced or alleviated (including the symptoms of early menopause) with exercise.

Below are some of the more notable benefits:

increased ability to perform activities of daily living
increased mobility and range of motion after a mastectomy
decreased body fat
increased lean muscle mass
reduced loss of bone mineral density
decreased nausea and fatigue that often comes with chemotherapy and radiation treatments
improved mood and self esteem

Exercise can be beneficial before, during and after diagnosis of breast cancer.

Personal trainers are great people to help get you started on an exercise program to lower your risk of breast cancer or help you through treatment and recovery. If you are not comfortable at gym, an effective program can easily be accomplished in your home or the privacy of a personal trainer’s studio. By: Janet Hunt

A glycemic index diet uses the glycemic index, whereby foods and beverages are ranked based on how they affect blood sugar levels. Foods that contain carbohydrates are scored on a scale of 0 to 100. You can find extensive food lists online and in books, but many foods remain unranked. Manufacturers can pay to have their brand-name products ranked by Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Services in Sydney, Australia, which maintain a database of glycemic index values for carbohydrate-containing foods. http://www.glycemicindex.com

Sydney University’s glycemic index website doesn’t promote specific commercial weight-loss plans or label carbs as good or bad. Rather, it recommends that you use the glycemic index to help you choose what foods to eat and suggests that you:

  • Focus on breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
  • Choose breads with whole grains, stone-ground flour or sourdough
  • Eat fewer potatoes
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid oversized portions of rice, pasta and noodles

Commercial diets that are based on the glycemic index say that you’ll lose weight without having to count carbs or calories. Results from research studies are mixed. Weight loss results with a glycemic index (GI) diet may have positive results because the GI diet is easier to stick to for the long term since it’s not considered an extreme diet.

The bottom line is that to lose weight, you must reduce the calories you take in and increase the calories you burn. Traditional recommendations for weight loss advise losing 1 to 2 pounds a week by reducing calories and fat and emphasizing complex carbohydrates.

Concerns With Glycemic Index Diet:

Glycemic index doesn’t rank foods according to how healthy they actually are. Some foods with a lower GI ranking may, in fact, be less healthy because they contain large amounts of calories, sugar or saturated fat, especially packaged and processed foods. Both potato chips and ice cream, for instance, have a lower glycemic index ranking than do baked potatoes, even though baked potatoes are generally considered healthier.

Glycemic index ranks foods independently. In reality, how your body absorbs and handles carbs depends on how much you eat; how the food is ripened, processed or prepared, the time of day it’s eaten, other foods you eat it with, health conditions you may have, and more. So the glycemic index may not give a completely accurate picture of how one particular food affects your blood sugar.

You may find it difficult to follow a GI diet on your own. Most foods aren’t ranked by glycemic index. Packaged foods don’t generally list their GI rank on the label, and it can be hard to estimate what it might be. And for some types of food, the glycemic index database has multiple entries — you may not be sure which entry is accurate.

For more information regarding a glycemic index diet or weight management classes, contact Janet Hunt.
By: Janet Hunt

Is gluten bad for you?

No, unless you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant, or have a wheat allergy.

Why do you think gluten has such a negative reputation these days?

It may be largely media driven. Gluten is part of the protein in wheat, which is a good grain that sustains millions around the world in the form of bread. About 1 in every 100 Americans has a digestion system that cannot tolerate the gluten in wheat.

What’s the biggest mistake people make with regard to a gluten-free diet?

They believe/hope that the health/weight loss benefits from the diet will occur overnight. Everyone is looking for a culinary magic bullet, but it takes work to be healthy.

Who should consider a gluten-free diet?

Probably anyone, if that means eliminating highly processed foods and eating fresh foods made from healthful ingredients! It is tempting to think that a gluten-free diet will instantly result in weight loss and great health. However, the reason most people find that their health improves on a gluten-free diet is simple: they are, skipping highly processed junk foods.

Gluten occurs ONLY in wheat, barley and rye. Everything else — vegetables, fruits, olive oil, nuts, beans, lentils, rice, corn, dairy products, eggs, poultry, fish, meat, wine and even chocolate — is gluten-free.

The reason that a gluten-free diet is considered restrictive is because wheat flour (a major source of gluten) is included in almost every processed food made in the USA, including: frozen meals, chips and snacks, “health” bars, breakfast cereals, donuts, cookies and cakes. Sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs also involve wheat flour. In addition, all these products usually contain huge amounts of fats, salt, sugar, and additives to prolong shelf life.

How can I tell if I have a gluten sensitivity or allergy?

Celiac disease and other wheat-related conditions can have many different symptoms, from bloating and debilitating gastrointestinal upsets to a rash. If you suspect you have a wheat issue, see a physician and ask to be tested, but NOT after going gluten free, because then you won’t have the telltale antibodies in your bloodstream.

What are some easy substitutes for gluten if you like the taste and feel of foods such as pasta?

Gluten-free pasta, made from brown rice, soy, potatoes, quinoa, and corn is now available. Up until quite recently, gluten-free bread made from alternative flours tasted awful. Thanks to all the publicity about gluten, manufacturers have now come up with soft, sliced, gluten-free bread that approximate familiar sandwich bread, plus hamburger buns, bagels, pizza crusts, and sweet bakery items. Keep in mind many gluten-free products are not fortified with added nutrients and are often high in sugar.

What do people on a gluten-free diet need to be mindful of in terms of nutrition?

If you eat a balanced, varied diet of foods derived from plants (vegetables, grains, beans, olive oil, nuts, fruit) plus eggs, fish and poultry, good nutrition will take care of itself.
By: Janet Hunt

Watching your weight? Watch out for restaurant meals. Researchers asked roughly 1,000 men and women to record everything they ate at home or at restaurants for a week. People of normal weight averaged 550 calories per meal at home, but they gobbled up 825 calories at a restaurant. For people who were overweight or obese, a typical meal at home had 625 calories, but at restaurants they swallowed about 900 calories.

What’s more, the overweight or obese ate their meals (at home and at restaurants) more quickly than others, yet they were no hungrier than their normal-weight counterparts. If anything, they were fuller (from previous meals) when they sat down to eat than people of normal weight.

A second study documented just how many calories (and how much sodium, saturated fat, etc.) restaurant meals contain. Researchers collected nutrition facts on more than 28,000 dishes served in 245 restaurants nationwide.

A typical appetizer had 700 calories (a quarter had more than 1145 calories), and a typical entrée had 590 calories (a quarter had more than 890 calories). That did not include a typical side dish (210 calories), side salad (410 calories) with dressing (150 calories), non-alcoholic beverage (360 calories), or dessert, rolls, or other baked goods (355 calories).

What to do: Eat out with caution.

Nutrition Action Health Letter July/August 2012, pg. 8, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Maintaining a healthy weight can help your joints and ease arthritis pain.

BMI stands for body mass index, an estimate of your body fat based on your weight and height. BMI is a more reliable indicator of body fat than weight. Knowing your BMI can help you and your doctor determine if you’re at a healthy weight. Generally a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. If you’re older than 65, it may be better to have a BMI between 25 and 27.

Maintaining a healthy weight, or normal weight, can benefit joints already affected by arthritis. One pound of weight puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your knees! Therefore, you can reduce joint pain by shedding pounds, even as little as 10 percent of your total body weight. Doing so can also decrease your risk of developing arthritis in joints not already affected, and lower the chances that you’ll need a joint replacement. Even though there are many diets and exercise programs out there, the simplest way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. If you need help getting moving, talk to a personal trainer to design a program to fit your specific needs, contact local gyms for a free trial, or look for community programs in senior centers, churches, etc.

BMI is frequently used as an indicator for how body weight affects health. A normal-weight BMI reduces risk for a number of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low good cholesterol or high bad cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

While BMI is useful, it’s just one of many factors that influence your overall health. Your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, whether you smoke, your diet and your current level of physical activity all play a role.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530  to schedule an appointment.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise and the outside temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which then increases your
heart rate. If the humidity is high, your body has additional stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness
Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids. Heat illnesses

  • Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps (front of your thighs) and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F, and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F. Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

Pay attention to warning signs

During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition. Remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Drink fluids — water or a sports drink. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact
your doctor. If you have signs of heatstroke, seek immediate medical help.

How to avoid heat-related illnesses

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Watch the temperature. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts
  • Get acclimated. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in
    the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level. If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. If you plan to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink instead of water.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas — or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
  • Understand your medical risks. Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.

Heat-related illnesses are usually preventable. By taking basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn’t have to be sidelined when the heat is on.
By: Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

According to a recent Gallup study, three in 10 people in the USA are trying to lose weight,. Below are 11 of the most effective weight loss strategies.

  • Tackle barriers. Determine what is holding you back and create strategies to overcome those obstacles.
  • Dump the quick-fix approach. Quick fixes lead to failure. If you lose weight quickly, you will probably rapidly regain it.
  • Change only one habit at a time. If you do too much at once, you will be overwhelmed and quit. Start with small dietary changes – for example load your sandwiches with more vegetables and less meat.
  • Keep a food and physical activity diary. If you want to lose weight, you have to become more aware of your exercise and eating behaviors which means keeping a diary.
  • Weigh daily
  • Think about calorie density, not just calories. Low calorie density foods are foods that have lower calorie content per certain volume of food than high density foods. Low density foods include fruit, vegetables, beans, and cooked grains, whereas high density foods are crackers, chips, nuts, candy, butter, etc. Lower calorie density foods will fill you up faster with fewer calories.
  • Commit to at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.
  • Sleep more. Not only does lack of sleep make you cranky causing you to turn to “comfort” foods, it may cause cortisol and insulin levels to increase, making you think you are hungry.
  • Pay attention to portions. Use visuals to identify correct portions. Weigh foods at home. Use a smaller plate. Limit your dining out.
  • Focus on fullness, not hunger. People have a difficult time identifying hunger because it is both emotional and physical.
  • Stress less. Stress may lead to comfort eating. In some individuals, stress increases cortisol levels which can lead to weight gain.

For information about “Battling the Bulge” and a healthy lifestyle contact Janet at jhunt1@pclnet.net or 256-614-3530.