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July 2006 - Vol 3, Issue 4
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Greetings!

Summer is finally here! This is a great time to eat vine-ripened fruits and vegetables from our backyard or local farmers market, and to spend time on long walks. It's a wonderful time to relax and enjoy the amazing weather that many Portlanders await for months. Summer is an excellent time to get healthy! This issue will explore the effects of chronic stress on our health and offer evidence-based suggestions for combatting these effects and staying healthy. Look for information on emotional eating in our August e-newsletter.

July marks the 2-year anniversary of Portland Health and Wellness! Recently we have added health-based cooking classes, a drop-in weight loss group for men and women, and group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders. We continue to offer individual healthcare services, workshops and classes on various health topics, and our year-long comprehensive weight reduction program.

We have developed an outstanding clinical team! Donald Altman, MA, in addition to being a counselor, is a former Buddhist monk and award-winning writer. He offers '12 Weeks to Mindful Eating', a program he created to help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as workshops on stress management and mindfulness. This fall he will offer continuing education (NASW) mindfulness seminars for psychotherapists. Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a clinical nutritionist with a broad range of experience. She is certified in adult, adolescent, and childhood weight management. Juleeanna was recently featured in the Northwest Women's Journal. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice.

In September, look for a special appearance by Canadian author and food connoisseur Birgitta Hellman. Her cooking class will feature recipes from her recently published book "taste this: ordinary ingredients, extraordinary flavours".

  • July 12........90 Minutes to Stress Reduction
  • July 22........Intro to Weight Management
  • Aug 15........Why Diets Don't Work; a medical perspective
  • Aug 19........30-minute Gourmet Meals
  • Aug 26........Cooking for Men who Hate to Cook
  • Aug 30........12 Weeks to Mindful Eating
  • Sept 8/15....Mindful Eating training for Healthcare Professionals
  • Sept 9/16....Mindful Living training for Healthcare Professionals
  • date TBA.....Mindful Living: Finding Peace in a Chaotic World
  • Sept 23.......'taste this' cooking class and book signing

  • Ongoing groups include a weekly drop-in weight loss group on Mondays from 12:30 to 1:30 pm (led by Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD / cost:$15 per session) and weekly group psychotherapy for individuals with binge eating disorder or bulimia on Mondays from 5 to 6:30pm (led by Christine Howard, PsyD / cost: $45 per session). Please call us for additional information.

    For up-to-date information about our upcoming workshops and classes, please check our website or give us a call. Registration and payment in advance are required for all ph&w; events and space is limited to 12 (cooking classes are limited to 6). We strongly encourage early registration.

    Most of us know that too much stress is not healthy, but do you know what effect it can have on your health? If you lead a high-stress life, or simply have trouble managing stress in your life, this article is for you.

    Stress, whether we like it or not, is a normal part of life. Not all stress is bad. In fact, our body's response to stress, in certain situations, is critical to our survival. Stress can be brought on by physical demands, such as a bear chasing after us in the woods, or not getting enough sleep and working long hours. Emotional factors, such as concerns about an ill family member, having an overly-demanding job, or relationship difficulties, can also cause stress. Simple, everyday tasks such as a hectic drive to work can leave us feeling "stressed out", while putting a strain on our bodies. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Common physiologic reactions to stress include increases in blood flow to muscles, metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. People that are under a lot of stress may feel "out of control" and experience a diminished sense of well-being.

    We all have different abilities to handle stress; what may be overwhelming for one person may be enjoyable for another. Left unchecked, chronic stress can cause potentially serious problems in vulnerable individuals. Too much stress can cause emotional and physical problems. For example, stress can lead to insomnia, anxiety, low mood, loss of appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, and headaches. High stress levels can aggravate hypertension and heart disease. There is research indicating that chronic stress or high levels of short-term stress can decrease our body's ability to fight off infections.

    Since stress is inevitable and there is mounting evidence of its potentially harmful effects on health, what can you do to keep things in check? Here are some quick tips for reducing the harmful effects of stress:
    • identify things that cause stress; if there is nothing you can do about it, work on letting go
    • be realistic about your schedule - make sure you don't over-commit yourself
    • make time in your day for relaxation (even 10 to 20 minutes can help!)
    • learn to be mindful, or in the moment; this can be a great way of minimizing stress
    • make time in your day for a walk or some other form of physical activity
    • talk to or spend time with a friend or loved one
    • eat healthy, balanced meals in a relaxed setting (not while driving in your car!!)
    • admit that you can't do it all today, and that most things can wait until tomorrow
    • take Donald Altman's '90 Minutes to Stress Reduction and Enjoying Life Again' class

    If you are interested in more detailed information about stress, check out The Mayo Clinic's website using the link below.

    copyright 2006 portland health and wellness

    We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to see covered in future newsletters. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,


    the staff of
    Portland Health and Wellness

    phone: 503.236.4506