calendar_2014smWednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31, 6-9 p.m. Living with Diabetes: Executive Summary. A condensed version of Living with Diabetes offered in the evening. Most insurance plans cover all or part of this program. To register, call 443-718-3000. Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at HCGH, 5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia.

Friday, Aug. 1 and Tuesday, Aug. 5, 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Living with Diabetes. Learn from an endocrinologist, podiatrist, psychologist, diabetes nurse educator and dietitian. Most insurance plans cover all or part of this program. To register, call 443-718-3000. Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at HCGH, 5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia.


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calendar_2014smMondays, July 21, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch - a Well & Wise Event. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Saturday, July 26, 9-11 a.m. Home Sweet Home. Children ages 8–12 and their parents learn ways for children to stay at home alone. Register at hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, Md.

Monday, July 28, 5:30-9 p.m. Adult/Child/Infant CPR and AED. Learn skills to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Earn two-year American Heart Association completion card (not a health care provider course). Cost is $55. Register at hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601.Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, Md.


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Monday & Thursday, July 7 & 9, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Little Ninjas at Miller Branch - a Well & Wise Class. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy students demonstrate skills to aid in focus, balance, coordination, memory, control, discipline, confidence, and fitness through the art of Tae Kwon Do. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Ages 5-7 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form required or register by calling 410.313.1950.
July 7 10:30 a.m. Registration|Release  July 9 10: 30 a.m. Registration|Release  
July 7 11:15 a.m. Registration|Release  July 9 11:15 a.m. Registration|Release 

Mondays, July 7 & 21, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch - a Well & Wise Event. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Also offered, Tuesday, July 8, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Elkridge Branch.

Monday, July 7, 6:30 p.m. Move with Games at Elkridge Branch - a Well & Wise Class. Exercise while competing with friends on the Wii or XBox Kinect. Healthy snack provided. Ages 11 – 17. No registration required.  

Wednesday, July 9, 7-9 a.m. Prenatal Class for Early PregnancyParents-to-be and those in the first trimester of pregnancy learn about pregnancy’s early stages. Register at hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, Md.

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Tuesday, July 1, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch – a Well & Wise Event. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Friday, July 4, HCLS is Closed in Observance of Independence Day.

Monday & Thursday, July 7 & 9, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Little Ninjas at Miller Branch – a Well & Wise Class. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy students demonstrate skills to aid in focus, balance, coordination, memory, control, discipline, confidence, and fitness through the art of Tae Kwon Do. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Ages 5-7 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form required or register by calling 410.313.1950.
July 7 10:30 a.m. Registration|Release  July 9 10: 30 a.m. Registration|Release  
July 7 11:15 a.m. Registration|Release  July 9 11:15 a.m. Registration|Release 

Mondays, July 7 & 21, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch – a Well & Wise Event. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Also offered, Tuesday, July 8, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Elkridge Branch.

Monday, July 7, 6:30 p.m. Move with Games at Elkridge Branch – a Well & Wise Class. Exercise while competing with friends on the Wii or XBox Kinect. Healthy snack provided. Ages 11 – 17. No registration required.  

Wednesday, July 9, 7-9 a.m. Prenatal Class for Early Pregnancy. Parents-to-be and those in the first trimester of pregnancy learn about pregnancy’s early stages. Register at hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, Md.


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PamPeeke_BrownLeather_webIn her publications – The Hunger Fix, Body for Life, Fit to Live, and Fight Fat After Forty - Dr. Pamela Peeke takes a holistic and integrative approach to mental, emotional, and physical fitness. From a perspective of full body health, she describes how to stay (or get) fit, healthy, and happy without endangering any aspect of your well being – a much needed and appreciated approach in our diet-obsessed culture.

The formula for weight loss is simple, right? Burn more calories than you eat – easy as that. However, becoming or staying truly fit takes more than eating the proper foods and getting enough exercise; it involves reducing stress and eschewing self-destructive habits. But how do you do that? Each aspect taken on it’s own seems easy enough, but taken as a whole it’s a hefty list: reduce stress, eat nutritious foods, decrease or eliminate self-destructive habits, and practice enough safe and satisfying exercise. Whew! I can’t even get to the end of that sentence without getting tired.

Luckily for all of us, Dr. Peeke has outlined a couple scientifically backed plans to improve health and wellness for people of any age or gender. Following Dr. Peeke’s three stage detox and recovery plan as outlined in The Hunger Fix or the five point plan she lays out in Fit to Live will ensure that all variables in the health and fitness formula are addressed. In The Hunger Fix, Dr. Peeke describes how dopamine rushes can be connected to unhealthy foods in the brain, and she lays out a plan to replace “false fix” foods with healthy fixes like meditating, writing, walking, or even laughing. In Fit to Live, she reframes healthiness with a simple question, “Are you fit to live?” Meaning, are you really mentally, emotionally, and physically fit enough to survive in the modern world with all it’s stressors and possibilities? With a lifestyle and health assessment, Dr. Peeke provides long term prognoses of different levels of fitness and a plan to improve by cutting out toxic lifestyle elements.

As you’ve no doubt seen previously on Well & Wise, Dr. Pam Peeke, internationally renowned expert on nutrition, stress, fitness, and public health, will be speaking tonight, Monday June 9th, at the Howard County Library System Miller Branch at 7:00pm. Registration is available online or by calling 410-313-1950. Come by to ask Dr. Peeke your nutrition, stress, and fitness questions directly!

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, for a decade.

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Did you know that Columbia’s movie theaters offer free refills on tubs of large popcorn? Sadly, I not only know that, but I get the free refill, bring it home, and find myself eating a handful of popcorn without even having felt hungry or made a conscious decision to eat a snack. Because of this behavior and many others that inevitably will surface in future blogs, Dr. Pamela Peeke’s The Hunger Fix flew off the shelf and into my hands.

As I settle in for a motivational read, I wonder how the book will speak to me. I pride myself on being self aware. I try to be self critical on an as-needed basis, but often I feel free to put myself down just because. Since my childhood found me in a family where food was the solution to every problem, self-deprecation and food can be a vicious cycle for me. I dole out my own misery and its relief. Will Dr. Peeke recognize this pattern, acknowledge this person?

Dr. Peeke convincingly promotes the idea that food can be an addiction. One in three Americans is obese. Even many Americans who are not overweight struggle with food addiction. One’s body physiology helps fuel this food addiction by creating the urge to satisfy the “dopamine-driven reward pathway.” Unlike other addictive substances, food is needed for life. The challenge is to avoid “False Fixes” (destructive behavior) and the “dopamine-fueled pleasure burst” that lead to unhealthy overeating. The goal is to say “no” to false hunger and go for “Healthy Fixes” (productive behavior) instead.

When science is presented alongside advice, my attention is focused. Dr. Peeke’s advice hooked me. She points to studies of brain scans showing diminished dopamine receptors in the brains of obese subjects, causing these subjects to have to eat more to trigger the good feelings associated with food. This is the same physiology seen in the brains of substance abusers and alcoholics. Dopamine is released by the brain during pleasurable activities. Eating and thinking about foods we like causes dopamine release. The “high” we get with dopamine release leads us to seek that high. If the dopamine release continues to increase in frequency and amount, the body accommodates by decreasing the number of dopamine receptors. With fewer receptors, the “high” feels diminished, causing the addict to increase the consumption in order to achieve an equally powerful high. The activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) is also reduced in obese subjects. The PFC is the region of the brain associated with complex decision making. Decreased activity in this area of the brain may indicate an association with lack of willpower and reduced mindful behavior. Of note, stressful lifestyles increase the body’s acetylcholine and cortisol levels. Dopamine can counteract the uncomfortable feelings caused by those hormones.

The chemistry behind food intake as a means to cope with stress is real. The power of reward is just as real. We can form new habits regarding what we see as a reward. Just because food was a reward for me as a child does not mean it always has to be this way. Dr. Peeke applies her knowledge of neurochemistry to guide readers to the place of “Healthy Fixes,” taking us through the stages of detox and recovery. She provides abundant information on constructive thought processes (mind), nutritious dopamine-building foods (mouth), and healthy dopamine receptor-regenerative behaviors (muscle). As the “fix” proceeds, the PFC is strengthened. Just as overeating can become the body’s new normal, so too can healthy behaviors become what we are accustomed to and what we crave. A healthy relationship with food can be achieved.

Intriguing, right? Well, I invite you to explore The Hunger Fix further. Browse our blogs on Dr. Peeke’s books. The best news of all is that you can hear her in person when she visits the Miller branch on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7 pm.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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