Doesn’t Play Well With Others

doesntplaywellIt may come as a surprise to some people, but adding more supplements to your diet when you already take prescription medications may do more harm to your health than good.

Some combinations you should be particularly careful with:

  • Fish Oil:  The omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy, but for some people, fish oil capsules can elevate the risk of excessive bleeding when combined with a common anti-coagulant, Warfarin, (A.K.A. Coumadin and Jantoven).  Warfarin is frequently prescribed to reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke.
  • Ginko Biloba:  With it’s reported ability to support memory and cognitive function by increasing blood flow in the brain, Ginko Biloba is a popular supplement.  But, as with Fish Oil, be careful when taking when you are prescribed Warfarin.  This supplement also increases your chance of internal bleeding if you are on the popular blood thinner.
  • St. John’s Wort:  This herbal supplement is intended to help those with mild depression, but it is not intended to be taken if you are already on a prescription anti-depressant like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.  If you mix the herbal supplement with any of these drugs, you are at risk for a dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can cause diarrhea and shivering in its milder forms, but it can escalate to mental confusion, fever and seizures and can even prove fatal.
  • Vitamin D Supplements:  taking water pills), drugs that include hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), chlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, indapamide and metolazone, used to treat hypertension and edema; combining them with vitamin D supplements can lead to high calcium levels and possible kidney stones, weak bones and cognitive problems.
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) can have some scary consequences if you are on a prescription antidepressant.  A Korean study published in July 2015 found that combining them and any class of antidepressant can increase your risk of intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding inside the skull). In some people, this type of bleeding can lead to permanent brain damage and death.
  • If you take any type of prescription nitrate for a heart issue, be aware of potential risk of natural erectile dysfunction supplements which often contain ginseng, L-arginine, tribulus, yohimbine and even horny goat weed.  One study found that more than 80 percent carry traces of phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors (PDE5Is), the active ingredient in drugs like Viagra and Cialis, which commercials say can cause a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can react negatively with blood pressure mediations, with blood thinners or daily aspirin intake, and can cause your blood sugar to drop too low.
  • Niacin (B3) can cause a spike in blood sugar, so be careful if you’re diabetic, and can cause liver damage if you are taking cholesterol lowering medications.

As with anything you take while under a doctor’s care, it’s worth at least a phone call to make sure you aren’t adding anything to your daily routine that can cause harm to your health.  Hmmm

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Don’t Follow This Advice

no-pain-no-gainWhether we admit it or not, we women especially, suck up every bit of fitness and weight loss advice we can find.  We follow fad diets, take that magic fat burning pill, join gyms, buy the latest and greatest equipment to “shrink those trouble zones,” and scour the magazine racks looking for that quick fix to take years of neglect off of our bodies.

Newsflash!  Most of the advice we follow is crap meant to entice us to open our wallets.

fitness-myths-part-1     fitness-myths-part-2

Here is some other bad advice I found, and the rationale behind why it’s advice you should ignore:

  1. If you exercise you can eat all you want and still lose weight:  Not true.  You can’t stuff your pie hole full and expect to burn off the calories with exercise alone.  The National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994 by scientists at the University of Colorado and Brown Medical School, followed more than 10,000 Americans who have lost weight and kept it off for years. Just 1% kept the pounds off with exercise alone, 10% did it with diet alone, and 89% balanced eating healthier foods, controlling their portions and incorporating regular exercise into their lives.
  2. Never squat below parallel (no more than 90° angle to your knees): Not True.  The National Institutes of Health published a manuscript of a study focused on Knee Joint Kinetics in Relation to Commonly Prescribed Squat Loads and Depths that supports the following squat guidelines:  to avoid injury to your knees and hit the “sweet spot” for sculpting firm muscles, you need to drop your butt as low as you can while maintaining your balance so your glutes kick in and do the work.
  3. NO PAIN, NO GAIN:  Absolutely Not true.  An article in Psychology Today, written by Dr. Michael Otto, author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, confirms that all of our coaches and personal trainers are wrong. “If you’re not an elite athlete and you’re exercising for the health benefits, including better heart health, improved mood, weight regulation, increased energy, or getting more sleep, there is no need for pain. You can attain all of these benefits with minimal discomfort.”
  4. You aren’t fit unless you have a 6 pack:  NOPE NOT TRUE.  Scientific American notes that the healthy range for a 20- to 40-year-old man’s body fat is 8-19%.  To get those perfect 6-pack abs men usually have to dip well below 8%, which is dangerous because their bodies actually have too little fat. Serious damage can result from trying to achieve and maintain a 6-pack: weakened immune system,  genital problems,  damage to the heart and nervous system, shrinkage of internal organs, and, even worse, death.
  5. Doing lots of cardio will result in weight loss: Not Entirely True.  In a Shape Magazine article, Chris Artis writes that, “Diet is the most important part to weight loss and… long, slow ‘steady-state’ cardio training has been shown to deplete T3, the thyroid hormone that controls metabolism—especially in women. Normal T3 levels allow our bodies and muscles to function efficiently, but too little T3 (hypo-thyroidism) puts the body in a state where fat is gained more easily, regardless of activity levels. That’s why many casual gym-goers can spend lots of time on a treadmill with little or even negative results.”

I am the biggest offender of being sold on a quick fix or shortcut to fitness.  If it were as easy as buying a new gadget or taking a magic pill the obesity epidemic in America would cease to exist.  The bottom line to all of the advice seems to come back to eating a healthy diet most of the time, exercising regularly and moderately (even if it is housework that makes you sweat), not taking any one activity or eating plan to the extreme and being consistent.  While I know and understand all of this, I may have to be physically restrained the next time I see some wonder workout or nifty gadget that can restore my body to where it was when I was 30.  Oh I loved my body at 30….hmmm

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Where is the Love of the Game?

basketAs crazy as it seems, since I wasn’t a big fan of my own son (sorry Jason) during the same years, for nearly 20 years I have coached 6th to 8th grade boys basketball.

I Coach:

  1. To see the love of the game shining at the youth level;
  2. To see the light go on when a skill that’s been taught over & over finally clicks;
  3. To see the bond that a team with great chemistry has in their 2nd & 3rd years;
  4. To see the boys get to the point where they don’t have to be begged to play as a team;
  5. To see the boys pull themselves together to erase a big deficit for the first time; and
  6. To see the pride & confidence the boys develop between 6th and 8th grade.

The number of hours that are devoted to communicating with parents, preparation, practice, games, tournaments, recruiting new players, negotiating space to practice, fundraising, dealing with the politics of the ever-changing youth sports landscape and more is staggering.  We play year round, rarely have a weekend without games and all of this is done as an unpaid volunteer without even having a child in the program anymore (it’s been 13 years since our son played). The years I’ve spent devoted to preparing middle-school boys for High School Basketball makes it really hard when I hear about boys, a few who were formerly in our program, that want to quit playing a game they once loved.

I completely understand the desire to quit or make a team change if:

  • A coach is verbally or physically abusive;
  • A coach displays an obvious and/or unreasonable dislike for a player;
  • A player is being bullied;
  • A coach favors their own son above all other players/employs a “Daddy ball” mentality;
  • They have had a bad experience with a coach at the next level;
  • I even get it if the player comes to a realization that they don’t genuinely enjoy the game and being part of a team (although I’d really want to talk about it and understand why).

Especially in the turbulent early teen years from 6th to 8th grade, in order to always know how a player is feeling about themselves and their team, I’d recommend having frequent and open discussions with your son:

  • Why does he play? I’d want to know he wasn’t playing because I love the game (as his parent or coach) but because he loves the game and wants to continue playing.
  • Does he like his teammates and coaches?
  • Does he feel like he is learning and getting better at the game he loves?
  • What are his basketball (or whatever sport he’s playing) goals?

It’s no secret that I was a tomboy. I played schoolyard ball as a kid and team ball from 4th grade all the way through high school. Although I had no female basketball idols, I loved watching the 1970’s & 80’s Lakers play anyone and everyone. To some extent, I tried to imitate the games of players like: Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Dr. J., James Worthy, and I even loved the toughness of Dennis Rodman (before the strange behavior…) on the boards.

I don’t see the same focus or even knowledge of the game in today’s kids.  When more time is spent playing basketball on their video game consoles than they do on the school yard, in the park or on a basket in their driveway, it’s no wonder that so many youth players are so badly out of shape and in possession of such poor ball handling skills.

I am also really worried about the influence the increased “Me, Me, Me” focus today’s NBA game is having on youth athletes.  They know who the top scorers are, who can “hit a sick 3,” and who “throws down monster dunks,” but they don’t seem to care or recognize great rebounders, defenders or other team focused aspects of the game.  It’s all about trying to imitate an ESPN “Sports Center Top 10” shot, and it’s really frustrating trying to teach them unselfish team play.

Sportsmanship, teamwork and humility are being replaced by bad attitudes, selfish play and unacceptable on-court behaviors that the kids on my team know will get them a spot next to me on the bench:

  • Throwing up 3 fingers after hitting a long basket;
  • Not getting back/walking on defense (only playing offense);
  • Intentionally fouling or hurting any other player;
  • Taunting the other team by word or action;
  • Using foul language on the court or the bench;
  • Showing disrespect to officials, coaches, or parents;
  • Questioning the officials;
  • Trash talking the other team or (even worse) each other;

Unfortunately it’s not just the NBA that’s teaching these kids to act the way they do. Respect for and love of the game is often killed by overly critical parents applying undue pressure, expressing disappointment in their sons, nit-picking their effort, and demanding perfection/excellence every game.

We need only look into the stands at any AAU game and we see parents and others:

  • Applauding/encouraging their son’s selfishness and arrogance;
  • Yelling at the officials, chirping back and forth with opposing team parents, loudly bad mouthing players on the court and openly questioning the coaches;
  • Unable to objectively view their kids’ within the context of the team as a whole;
  • Berating their kids in front of others for “poor performances” after games; and
  • Blaming the coaches for their kid not being ready for the NBA in the 6th grade.

Over the course of 20+ years, there have been about 1/2 dozen times when we’ve had to cut boys because their parents were:

  • Convinced their son was recruited to play because the team needed a “savior;
  • Angry that the offense isn’t designed to showcase their son;
  • Indignant when they are not treated as special and are asked to pay the same team fees as every other player;
  • Obsessively focused on only their son’s individual stats & achievements;
  • Unable to grasp why their son isn’t starting/playing every second;
  • Uninterested in hearing about the growth of their son as a team player;
  • Concerned that sons of friends/family were scoring more points per game or, even worse, are the star on their team(s) when their son is “better than ___” yet the same can’t be said of their son;
  • Openly critical of other players on the team: their son doesn’t get as many minutes as so-and-so, who (in their opinion) can’t dribble/dribbles too much, can’t shoot/shoots too much, turns the ball over/won’t pass to their kid, etc.;
  • We had a big lead in another game and, after we’d told the team to hold the ball, had a dad who yelled orders to his son, “You get yours _____.
  • We’ve had kids who, after a specific play is drawn at a time out, ignore the coaches and jack up/miss a 3 and then aren’t at all apologetic about it.
  • We had a kid who, while really nice, couldn’t handle the ball to save his life.  Ignoring that indisputable fact, his father (who admitted his own lack of athletic skill or basketball knowledge) insisted that his kid “deserved to be the point guard.”  When I pointed out that the kid couldn’t dribble, couldn’t run the offense, refused to drive, and turned the ball over nearly every time he touched it, the father’s response was, “I’ve been working with him.
  • We had a mother of twins who, despite many parent meetings where the reminder was given that equal playing time was never going to happen at the competitive upper AAU level we were at, attempted to rally the parents against the coaches because one of her sons wasn’t getting the exact number of minutes as his brother.
  • Another parent, after we’d lost a very close game, said loud enough for players, parents and other coaches/league officials to overhear and report, “It wasn’t the team’s fault.  Your coaches are terrible.”

When a player wants to quit after so many years of working so hard, I have to question the real reason. How did they lose their love of the game? Is it because of a current coach? Did they have a parent who broke down their confidence? Was a parent trying to live vicariously through them without recognizing that they had a son who didn’t want to play the game?  Or, in his years between beginner and future high school star, when he was in my care, did I fail, as a coach, to try and insulate him from the unreasonable expectations of his parents, or others influencing them, until he was able to voice his feelings himself?

When it all comes down to it, no matter what the answer is, it breaks my heart.  Hmmm

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Product Review: Ped Egg Powerball

pedicureI spend $75 every two weeks getting a gel fill on my fingers and a “Spa” pedicure.  Somehow, despite that unreasonably high charge, the calluses on my feet never seem to get dealt with (even when I pay the extra for “callus removal”) nor do they become any softer.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

pedegg-powerball-pivoting-callus-remover-set-d-20151204094858647~455041_100Yesterday, while sneaking off to Rite Aid to get a scoop of Thrifty Ice Cream, I walked the aisles to kill some time and ended up in front of the “As seen on TV” display.  I saw the usual unexciting things and then did a double take when I saw a product that I hadn’t seen before:  Ped Egg Powerball.  With a swiveling head and ability to be recharged (instead of running on expensive batteries), it looked interesting enough that I spent the $19.99 and left with one to give it a try.

The box instructions left a bit to be desired, so I headed to the internet to see if there was anything I needed to know, like, could I use it in the bath tub?

The first thing I noticed about the website was that I seemed to have gotten a good price.  The website advertised it at $29.99.  I didn’t get the 3 replacement rollers or the fancy organza carrying bag though, so the $10 was likely a wash.  The website also promised me:

  • Beautiful younger looking, baby smooth feet
  • Easily buffed away calluses, dead skin, or dry and rough skin in seconds
  • A painless, blade free experience
  • Can be used on “Men’s callused hands” as well

What did not give me was the ability to buy the add-ons, any instructions or warnings.  Hmmm

I did a google search and found other sites selling the Ped Egg Powerball, but found the same lack of additional information and also some alarmingly low ratings – averaging 1 star.

According to Sue K, who bought it 2 months ago at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (who at least will take it back no questions asked)  it doesn’t work, stops running at the least application of pressure, and she could do a better job with a loofa.  UG!

Finally I came across the official website, but again, not a lot of useful information.

  • There was an accessories section, but no ability to buy replacement rollers
  • The F.A.Q. section only answered shipping/ordering questions
  • The Testimonials section had zero reviews…

Since I had struck out in my search for warnings and instructions, I forged ahead and just assumed that I can’t use it in water and that, after reading Consumer Reports and other reviewers, I should expect it to be slower/less powerful than advertised.

45 Minutes later and I’m not impressed.  First I stood at the counter with my left foot, which has a thicker callus on the heel and big toe than my right, and tried the Ped Egg Powerball (with a full charge) dry.

  • If I pushed with any pressure at all the roll came to a stop
  • To the promises of:  Easily Buffed Away Dry Skin, Dead Skin & Calluses in Seconds – NOPE nothing fast or easy about the process;  Painless Experience – Yes, it barely registered as more than a tickle;

Because I seemed to be getting nowhere fast, and I had a hot bath with dead sea salts waiting for me, I decided to have a good long soak and attack it again after my skin was softened up.  I soaked for 30 minutes, shaved with coconut oil (which also then ended up in my bath, then dried off and immediately gave the Ped Egg Powerball another shot.  I still ran into the same pressure issue, but it seemed to do a much better job after the hot bath, salts and oil to soften the work areas up.  I did notice that the roller seemed to gum up pretty quickly and that makes me feel like they would need to be replaced fairly often with regular use…HMMM

Final opinion:  It’s not the worst $19.99 I’ve ever spent, but I have a hard time spending an additional $15.99 plus shipping every time I need new rollers.  The only way I’ll be using it in the future is if I remember to charge it while I am taking a bath and feel like spending an extra 15 minutes doing what would take me 5 minutes in the tub with a pumice stone. It eventually does what it promises if you take the additional steps and time to help it work a little less hard, so I’d give the Ped Egg Powerball only 2 stars out of 5 for performance and only 1 out of 5 for a good value – considering the lack of replacement rollers included and the cost (+ difficulty) to acquire more.

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Is Your Fear Irrational?

Abstract word cloud for Phobia with related tags and terms

A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.  Ok, I can work with that.  Of the things I truly fear, I think the absolute annoyance I feel when someone is chewing loudly is probably my most irrational.  But COME ON, how can someone not realize they are chewing so loud I can’t hear the television?

What kind of things scare or annoy the crap out of you?

  • Thanks to 9/11, I am not a big fan of being in tall buildings (acrophobia);
  • Thanks to Jaws, I was too afraid of what lurks in the ocean’s depths (thalassophobia) to complete the scuba lessons I paid for;
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” pretty much put me off of all things winged (ornithophobia);
  • Spiders (arachnophobia)? Snakes (opidiophobia)? Yep they’re both on my list!
  • Loud chewing bugs the crap out of me (Misophonia)…and I’m sure there are others

I was surprised to find out that some of these things that I fear have actual scientific names and qualify as phobias, even in extreme cases, could be described as anxiety disorders.  Hmmm

Medial News Today takes the basic definition above and adds that a phobia can be labeled as, “an anxiety disorder in which the individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place or thing.”  In extreme cases a person starts to organize their life around avoiding that which they fear.  If they are met by the source of their fear, and in some cases even if they think about it, they suffer enormous emotional distress and often total panic and meltdown.

Phobia Fast Facts

  • Phobias are much more serious than simple fears.
  • Over 50 million people in the US have a phobia.
  • Females more commonly suffer from phobias than males.
  • Phobias often have their origins in early life.
  • Despite phobic individuals being aware that their fear is irrational, they can not control the feelings.
  • Symptoms may include sweating, chest pains, and pins and needles.
  • Specific brain areas have been found to be involved in phobias.

Hmmm  I don’t think I’m that bad.  I don’t like it, but I do go in tall buildings, I have been known to snorkel from a boat in deep water, I yell & jump if I am near a spider (then squish it) but it doesn’t alter my day, birds I just don’t like and avoid but I don’t melt down, and loud chewers?  I can leave the room.  None of those cause me to alter my life to avoid them, so I’m pretty sure I don’t really suffer from any phobias.  Whew!

Some of those I came across, with “phobia” as part of their name were not phobias at all, instead they are words used to describe a prejudice or a term that discriminates like:

  • Homophobia:  not a fear of, rather a dislike of homosexual people
  • Ephebiphobia: dislike of youths or teenagers by older people
  • Xenophobia: a dislike of strangers, foreigners or the unknown

Some are Simple Phobias:  a disproportionate fear about specific situations, living creatures, places, activities, or things like

– Dentists (dentophobia)
– Bats (chiroptophobia)
– Dogs (cynophobia)
– Flying (aviophobia)
– Snakes (opidiophobia)
– Birds (ornithophobia)
– Frogs (ranidaphobia).

Some are Complex Phobias:   linked to a deep-rooted fear or anxiety about certain situations, incidents or circumstances, which make them much more disabling than simple phobias and would be pretty hard to live with in everyday life:

  • Agoraphobia a helpless feeling of panic when traveling via public transportation, going into large shops or shopping malls. The most severe sufferers may be unable to leave their home.
  • Social Phobia (a.k.a. Social Anxiety Disorder)  being in social situations is emotionally paralyzing for sufferers, who fear judgement, embarrassment or humiliation as a result of being the center of attention.  Being forced to speak or act on a stage would terrify those suffering from this disorder. 

In the 1980’s and 1990’s Robert Haining took the time to compile a list of phobias.  The things that are there are head scratching and really, really make this thalassophobic girl go HMMM.

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