6 simple tips to help you quit smoking for good

Today is Great American Smokeout Day


November 20 is the Great American Smokeout Day. Make this the day you quit for good!

More than 400,000 Americans die as a result of cigarette smoking each year. But no one ever died from quitting! Here are six simple — but not easy — tips to help you quit smoking for good.

Tips to quit smoking

  1. Prepare in advance by setting a “Quit Day.” Then, celebrate when that date comes. It’s a special occasion and should be treated as one.
  2. Think about your tobacco behavior and identify what triggers your urges and cravings. Then, learn to separate yourself from the situations in which you used tobacco by changing your routine. Most people find the craving goes away within a short period of time. Until it does, don’t go back to your old routines. Continue reading

When a marriage proposal on one knee is part of rehab.

Kyle Ziegler credits determination and MedRehab for making it possible.

UofM pic

Kyle and Katie Ziegler married on June 23, 2012

The U-M MedRehab program is celebrating 25 years of service. Here, cancer survivor Kyle Ziegler shares how he learned to walk again (and surprise his future wife, whom he married on June 23, 2012).

In the fall of 2007, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was 18 years old, and I’d been dating my then-girlfriend Katie for a year and a half. I received inpatient chemotherapy at the University of Michigan Hospital from October 18th to October 30th, and was sent home for a break before I started another round of chemotherapy. On November 7th, I was readmitted because I had a rare reaction to one of the chemotherapy drugs. This lead to a chain reaction of issues. I was not able to eat or drink anything for about 6 months. It was so bad that when I was coherent, I would flip through the TV channels looking for food commercials.

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First in a series: Healthy holiday tips

8 tips to get you started on a healthy eating routine this holiday season and beyond

holiday eating blogDo you approach the holiday season feeling that weight gain is inevitable? Although many people think gaining weight goes hand in hand with holiday celebrations, studies show that between mid-November and early January, the average person actually gains about one pound — not the 5 pounds we often expect to see on the scale. But most people never lose that one pound they may have gained during the cold months, and find that after 10-plus years, those pounds have added up. This first in our series of “healthy holiday tips” focuses on ways to make sure healthy eating is part of your holiday routine.

The key is to establish a healthy routine now, before the holidays begin, and carry that throughout the winter, spring, summer, fall … A healthy routine may be difficult at first, but once it becomes just that — routine — you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

8 tips for a healthier “you” during the holidays and beyond:

  1. Don’t skip meals. It may seem like a good idea to save calories for a large meal later in the day, but being overly hungry can set you up to overeat, especially if you’ll be near high-fat or sugary treats. Instead, have breakfast, a light lunch and a small snack such as a piece of fruit. It’s easier to make healthy choices when you’re not famished.
  2. Prepare healthy meals at home. Plan ahead for meals that are quick and easy. If you’re expecting company, get your guests involved in the kitchen so you don’t miss the fun. And don’t forget to fill your plate with vegetables and fruits, lean protein and whole grains to give added energy.
  3. Include delicious, nutritious snacks. Rather than cheese and crackers or holiday cookies, plan snacks like raw vegetables and hummus or a handful of nuts.
  4. Take healthy dishes to a potluck-style dinner or party. Think foods you can eat freely: a vegetable tray, roasted vegetables or a fruit salad. You’ll know ahead of time there will be at least one healthy dish available.
  5. Avoid drinking excess calories. It’s easy to put away 350 calories or more with a single cup of eggnog — and calories add up quickly from alcohol. Save those calories for your food, and choose calorie-free beverages such as sparkling water or water with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  6. Include a few treats as part of your healthy eating pattern. A few splurges shouldn’t de-rail your health or weight management plans as long as you fit them into your day by eating well the rest of the time. Have a small portion of the most delicious treat, the one made especially for you or the one you only see once a year. And then get back to healthy living — without feeling guilty or discouraged.
  7. Make exercise a priority. Whether you’re on “vacation schedule” or following your usual schedule, set aside time for physical activity every day. Go to the fitness center, try a winter sport like cross country skiing, go dancing or simply get out and walk. Even if it’s a holiday, we still need to be moving, stretching and burning calories!
  8. Take time for stress management. Even the happy stressors of holidays and vacations can take a toll on your well-being if you don’t allow time to take care of yourself.

Think of your healthy routine as the gift you give yourself this holiday season.You’ll arrive at the New Year feeling encouraged and motivated to keep up the good work.

As part of the holiday season, consider the gift of good health for yourself or others. The U-M Metabolic Fitness Program accepts new patients each month who are particularly interested in optimizing their lifestyle to prevent heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.

Take the next step:

Weintraub 2 150x150Martha Weintraub, ACSW, MPH, RDN, is a member of the outpatient nutrition team at the Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic at Domino’s Farms.




Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.


How our grandson battled cancer and paralysis at age 5

“We have our Gabe back” – Debbie and William Belcher

Gabe BelcherThe Pediatric NeuroRehabilitation program at Milestones is celebrating 25 years of service. Bill and Debbie Belcher share how their grandson Gabe’s life changed after a leukemia diagnosis.

Our grandson Gabe was just five years old when two life-altering events suddenly crashed his kindergartner world. First was the diagnosis no family can ever be prepared for when we were told Gabe had acute lymphocytic leukemia (A.L.L.) Then, shortly after starting treatment, complications led to another unimaginable outcome- he became paralyzed.

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You can have your Thanksgiving feast and eat it, too

Thanksgiving feastThanksgiving brings to mind tables covered with rich foods, desserts and good company. It may also bring worry about derailing your healthy eating plan but you can have your Thanksgiving feast and eat it too – without guilt – if you follow five basic principles.

It’s a holi-DAY not a holi-SEASON!

  1. Start thinking of the holiday as a day, not a season.

No one can be perfect 100% of the time, so try to eat a healthy diet 90% of the time and Continue reading

Beyond the sticker shock of Warfarin alternatives

Analysis shows costs savings without frequent blood draws and fewer complications

Pills spillDoctors who are worried about the risk of stroke among their patients with the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation often look to anticoagulants for help – medicines that prevent dangerous blood clots, but can cost a lot.

Cardiovascular specialists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center looked at the cost of dabigatran (Pradaxa) which is part of the new class of anticoagulants. They are simpler to use and less risky than Warfarin.

Medicare will spend an average of $75,496 to cover the cost of dabigatran for a 65-year-old with Medicare Part D coverage, compared to Warfarin’s cost of about $61,586. Research by the University of Michigan presented at this week’s American Heart Association scientific sessions reveals that in spite of the price tag, the new medicines can be cost-effective.

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