6 Simple Tips for Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season

Eating Healthy During The Holidays

Let’s face it, it’s hard to eat healthy during the holidays. But you don’t have to be resigned to the fact that you’re going to need to set some weight-loss resolutions once the new year rolls around.

Here are six strategies you can follow to help you stay on track with your dietary goals throughout the holiday season.

Track What You Eat

Keeping a journal or using one of the countless fitness apps available to record what you eat throughout the day can help you keep yourself accountable and committed to whatever goals you have set for yourself.

Pack Healthy Snacks for the Workday

How many times have you gone into work only to find that a coworker has brought in their favorite cookies or dessert to share with everyone?

Resisting the urge, especially while others around you are giving into temptation, is one of the hardest things to do. Bring healthier snacks, like nuts, fruits and veggies, to stash at your desk for moments like these.

Don’t Be Afraid to Enjoy Some Sweets

This might be the most important tip of all: Be realistic.

Throughout the holidays, you’re likely to find yourself surrounded by sweets and rich foods. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the flavors of the season — just do so in moderation!

Don’t Skip Meals

We all know how busy this time of year can get, and skipping breakfast or lunch might seem like the only way to get all the work, shopping and activities in before the holidays. But if you’re concerned about eating well, skipping meals opens you up to more snacking and potentially overeating later.

Make sure you get a good breakfast to start your day, and if you’re going to be heading off to a party at any point, try nibbling on some fruits and veggies to taper your appetite before you arrive.

Try Healthier Alternatives to Holiday Favorites

Making your favorite holiday treats just a little bit lighter can go a long way. From guilt-free eggnog to heart-healthy gingerbread cookies, there are countless recipes available on our website and across the internet that drop the calories without sacrificing any of the taste.

Partner Up

Having someone there to keep you accountable throughout the ups and down is one of the best ways to keep up with healthy eating goals. Whether you partner up with a friend or family member or work with your primary care doctor, you’ll find that it’s easier to stay on target when someone else knows your goals and your challenges.

This is even more important and valuable if you’re someone with diabetes. Fortunately, if you live in Charles County, the expert teams at the Center for Diabetes Education or with UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology are ready to help.


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5 Things You Need to Know About Diabetes

It’s something you’ve probably heard about from your doctor, in the news or even from someone you know. Diabetes is an all-too-prevalent disease that affects a large percentage of the American population.

Join us this month, which is American Diabetes Month, in learning more about diabetes and working to inform your family, friends and community about the causes, risk factors and treatment options available.

To get you started, here are the five things you need to know about diabetes right now.

How Many People Are Affected by Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and that one out of every three people in the U.S. will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s also estimated that 1 out of 4 people don’t know that they have it.

The Differences Between Types of Diabetes

There are three distinct types of diabetes. Each comes with its own causes, symptoms and management practices.

Type 1 – This type of diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease because it occurs when your body can’t produce the insulin needed to control blood-sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Type 2 – It’s estimated that 90-95% of all Americans who have diabetes are affected by type 2 diabetes. This type occurs when your body is able to produce insulin but is unable to produce enough to properly control sugar levels.

Gestational – Though less common than types 1 and 2, gestational diabetes is brought on by pregnancy. While it usually disappears once the baby is born, this condition requires careful monitoring and can put a woman at higher risk of developing diabetes within 10 years.

Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes

Whereas type 1 diabetes generally appears before the age of 18 and isn’t currently preventable, there are a handful of risk factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, including:

  • Being overweight
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Age (over 45 years old)
  • Lack of physical activity (exercising fewer than 3 times a week)
  • Previously had gestational diabetes

If you’re concerned about developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, consider taking our diabetes risk assessment and discussing the results with your doctor.

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Because type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, prevention of the disease largely revolves around embracing healthy eating habits and a more active lifestyle. In addition to being physically active for 30-60 minutes every day, choosing nutrient-rich foods instead of sugary or high-calorie foods and snacks goes a long way in the fight against diabetes.

Be sure to check out the CDC’s website as well. It has some great tips and guides about what you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes in yourself and your family.

How to Live Well with Diabetes

Just because someone has type 1 or type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean they can’t live fulfilling lives. Thanks to groundbreaking treatments, new management strategies and improved community awareness, people with diabetes are living longer and better than ever before.

Southern Maryland is no exception. Residents of this region have access to proven diabetes experts and always have somewhere to turn when they need support or have questions about diabetes.

If you or someone you know is struggling with diabetes or a recent diabetes diagnosis, be sure to check out our Center for Diabetes Education. In addition, the new UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology practice in Waldorf, MD, provides long-term care to those dealing with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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Introducing Charles County’s New Diabetes Team

UM Community Medical Group - Diabetes and Endocrinology

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by a diabetes diagnosis or just wish that you had a support system of experienced individuals to help you manage your diabetes?

We have good news: Your diabetes team is right here in Southern Maryland.

Together with the Center for Diabetes Education, the new UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology practice can help you treat, manage and better understand your diabetes or endocrine condition.

Specialties include treating conditions such as those affecting:

  • Thyroid
  • Bone
  • Pituitary
  • Adrenal
  • Parathyroid
  • Islet Cells
  • Testes
  • Adipocyte
  • Ovaries

Why choose UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology? It’s because the physicians there schedule fewer patients than other practices, so they give you the time and attention you deserve. That means more one-on-one time and less wait time.

Plus, because they work in tandem with UM Charles Regional’s Center for Diabetes Education, you can expect a compassionate, comprehensive approach to taking control of your diabetes.

UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology is located in Waldorf, MD, and accepts most major insurance plans. To learn more about this new practice and how it can help you, call 301-870-4100 or visit umcmg.org/charlesdiabetes today.

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5 Easy Ways You Can Combat Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

It’s no secret that America struggles with obesity.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this condition affects nearly 37 percent of American adults and 17 percent of children.

Obesity carries with it numerous health consequences for people of all ages. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mental illness and physical pain are just some of the serious diseases and disorders that affect people with obesity at a higher rate than those at a normal weight.

Make no mistake, there is no simple solution to solving the obesity problem in America, but parents can play a key role in shaping the future of our country’s population by instilling positive health and wellness values in their children early in life.

That’s why we encourage you to join with us in promoting healthy lifestyles and combating childhood obesity during National Childhood Obesity Month. Here are five easy things you can do right now to help prevent obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle for your children:

Make Sure They Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase hunger levels because of the effect it has on hunger hormones. You have the power to turn off the TV, the iPad or the phone at night and ensure your child gets plenty of sleep — they’ll definitely feel better in the morning, and their metabolism will likely benefit as well.

Ditch the Chips in Favor of Fruits and Veggies

When you go grocery shopping, do you fill your cart with chips, cookies and other nutrient-deficient foods? Consider swapping out popular snack items like potato chips with fruits and veggies. You’ll be providing your children with lower-calorie options and help limit their intake of added sugars and solid fats that contribute to obesity.

Say Goodbye to Soda

Water. What more can we say? Non-diet soda is loaded with sugar and nutritionless calories. Unfortunately, most fruit juices aren’t great alternatives, either. So the next time your kids are thirsty, get them a cold glass of water.

Encourage Extra Physical Activity

No, you don’t have to force your kids to go on long runs or do weight training at an early age. But you can encourage them to stay active by getting them to participate in age-appropriate physical activities that they’ll have fun doing.

The Charles County Recreation Division runs several free and low-cost programs that provide physical activity for kids of all ages. Check out its offerings here.

Set a Good Example

Always remember, kids often emulate the habits and choices of their parents, so the best way to instill a healthy mindset in your child is to have one yourself! Our Online Health Library has some simple yet useful tips for adults looking to fight weight gain.

Want more tips and advice for how you can enhance your child’s activity and nutrition? We’re proud proponents of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s “We Can!” program, which empowers parents to impart healthy eating and lifestyle choices on their entire family. Learn more about this great program on its official website.

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Dedicate Yourself to a Healthy Diet During National Nutrition Month


We could all stand to eat a little bit better. But eating better doesn’t doesn’t mean you have to endure meals consisting of nothing but asparagus and cauliflower — unless, of course, you totally want to.

Contrary to what you’ll see on TV or hear on the radio, there’s so much more to embracing a healthy diet than sacrificing flavor or your lifestyle.

National Nutrition Month, celebrated every March, is centered around the idea that there are countless ways for adults and children to create healthy diets that fit their lifestyles. That’s why the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics wants you to “Put Your Best Fork Forward” this month and find the diet that works for you.

Throughout the National Nutrition Month website, you’ll find an endless amount of useful information — all presented in a fun, visual format — to help you choose the perfect blend of healthy and tasty food for your life. Here are a few of our favorite articles:

Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store — Because finding and buying healthy food doesn’t
have to cost you a fortune or an entire afternoon.

The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label — The nutrition facts label is your ultimate weapon against
unhealthy eating. Learn to decipher and understand it here.

5 Tips to Kick Bad Eating Habits — Poor eating habits are tough to get rid of. Try these tips if you’re
having trouble sticking with a healthy eating plan.

Staying Away from Fad Diets — Here are the diet plans you should avoid completely.

Want even more healthy eating tips? Don’t forget to check out our Health eCooking section on our website — you’ll find plenty of regularly updated healthy recipes that you and your family will love. And if you’re diabetic, our Center for Diabetes Education is the place to learn more about healthy eating habits that can help you manage your diabetes.

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New Issue of Maryland’s Health Matters Magazine Available Now


When it comes to getting the latest health and wellness news, updates and recommendations, Charles County residents have a variety of sources they can turn to.

In addition to our blog and all of the content available on our website 24/7, you also have access to Maryland’s Health Matters, the quarterly magazine of the University of Maryland Medical System.

The UM Charles Regional Medical Center edition includes content specifically tailored to Charles County’s health and wellness needs. And each issue of the magazine focuses on helping residents in our community make informed health care decisions for themselves and their families.

Inside, you’ll find the latest news, event information and stories from UM Charles Regional Medical Center and the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation, as well as information regarding relevant health topics for our community. Here’s a glimpse at a few of the topics covered in the latest issue:

Living Well with Diabetes — Discover our Center for Diabetes Education, and see how this new program is helping Charles County residents with diabetes live more fulfilling lives.

Healthy Happenings — There are so many great classes, support groups and events (many of which are free) scheduled for the coming months. See what they are and find out how to be a part of them.

Foundation Focus  — Get the inside scoop on upcoming foundation happenings and events, including the highly anticipated Celebration Gala.

Maryland’s Health Matters is available for free online and in print, so you can get an inside look at the articles and insights that matter most, no matter which format you prefer. Click here to check out the latest issue now — future issues can be found by visiting our Maryland’s Health Matters landing page on our website. If you’d like to subscribe for free print editions of the magazine, please contact Tina Anderson by emailing Tina.Anderson@umm.edu today.


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Help us Fight Cardiovascular Disease During American Heart Month


High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of all Americans have an increased risk for heart disease because of at least one of these factors.

Some risk factors, like family history and age, are completely out of our hands. But during American Heart Month, observed every February, we encourage you to take steps to help reduce your chance of developing heart disease.

What are those steps? The American Heart Association calls it “Life’s Simple 7,” which includes:

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Blood Sugar
  7. Stop Smoking

In addition to these tips, a trusted primary care provider, such as Dr. Lorenzo Childress at UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care in La Plata, can help you stay on track with your health goals and give you the resources you need to keep your heart healthy. And if you have diabetes, our new Center for Diabetes Education can help you get on the path to lowering your risk for developing heart disease.

Though heart disease is serious and can cause life-threatening occurrences like heart attack and stroke, a lot can be done to lower your risk. So take this as a challenge and let’s all do our part this month to reduce our chance of developing heart disease and to encourage the ones we love to do the same.

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Make 2017 the Best Year Ever with These 8 Resolutions


Say goodbye to 2016 and say hello to a happier, healthier new year. These eight health and fitness resolutions are key to both short- and long-term health goals, and we’ve made it easy by providing tips and motivation for each one.

Resolution 1: Get Moving

Whether you’re starting a full-blown exercise program or just committing to walk more often, deciding to start a fitness program and add more movement to your life is the most important step. Be realistic about your goals to prevent getting discouraged, and stick to your plan by following some basic tips. And don’t forget to warm up and stretch before working out — nothing derails a resolution like getting hurt!

Resolution 2: Eat Healthy

There’s no question that eating healthy around the holidays is tough. But even if your holiday eating was overindulgent, it’s never too late to start eating well. Focus on long-term goals of overall health and fitness by making small changes in your diet rather than extreme, short-term adjustments. Find ways to keep your diet interesting and tasty with fun, healthy recipes. And no matter what, don’t get discouraged!

And if you have diabetes, we’re here to help you make 2017 a year of healthy food habits. Our Center for Diabetes Education, located right here at the hospital, can work with you to develop a healthy eating plan and more.

Resolution 3: Quit Smoking

2017 could be the year you call it quits for good. To be successful, you’ll have to attack the physical and mental addiction to tobacco, which is often done through a combination of medicine, habit changes and emotional support. Build a “Quit Plan,” use one of Charles County’s free Smoking Cessation Courses — do whatever it takes to set yourself up for long-term success and long-term health.

Resolution 4: Stress Less

Excessive stress affects much more than just your emotional well-being. In fact, stress can be the cause of a number of disorders and even puts you at risk for developing other illnesses and physical ailments. Learning and practicing some basic mind-clearing and relaxation practices can lower your stress and improve your health.

Resolution 5: Laugh More

Laughter goes hand-in-hand with relieving stress. Laughter is one of the most effective ways to stimulate organs and strengthen your immune system — and even burn a few calories in the process! Surround yourself with things that make you chuckle and people who make you smile in the new year, and experience the many benefits of laughter.

Resolution 6: Get Screened

The easiest way to improve long-term health is to receive regular wellness exams. Annual health screenings may help detect problems before they become serious and make it easier to administer effective treatments. Your primary care physician can help you plan for the necessary screenings, but taking charge of your own health is just as important. And because men and women have different needs, be sure to understand what screenings are recommended before you go.

Need to find a new primary care physician, or just looking for a more convenient primary care practice? Learn more about UM Community Medical Group’s new primary care practice in La Plata on our blog.

Resolution 7: Seek Help

You should never ignore the signs and symptoms of depression, mental illnesses or suicide in others or yourself. Whether you’re seeking help for yourself or for someone you know, a better understanding of what depression is makes it easier for a person to get help. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Resolution 8: Spread the Word

Committing to your resolutions is easier when you are accountable to others, so get out there and share those resolutions. Partner with a friend or family member who can help you keep your resolutions alive throughout the year. Don’t forget: Teamwork makes the dream work!

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November is American Diabetes Month


You’ve probably heard about diabetes from your doctor, in the news or from someone you know. But do you know just how prevalent this disease is in our country?

Although many people with diabetes live productive and happy lives, it’s important to understand how this disease affects our community. And during American Diabetes Month, we invite you to learn more about diabetes and how to prevent and manage this disease.

The Statistics
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million people (1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes. Here are some important numbers to know about diabetes:

  • 1 out of 4 people don’t know they have diabetes, and 9 out of 10 people don’t know they have prediabetes
  • 12 out of 100 people in Charles County have diabetes
  • Every year, diabetes causes $245 billion dollars in medical bills and lost wages
  • People with diabetes are at higher risk for blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke or loss of toes, feet or legs, as well as chronic wounds that often require treatment

The Difference Between Types of Diabetes
Not all forms of diabetes are the same. Here’s a brief overview of the differences between type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

  • Type 1: Previously known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin to control blood sugar levels. Although it can strike at any age, it often appears before the age of 18. There is currently no known way to prevent this type of diabetes.
  • Type 2: 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type occurs when your body is able to produce insulin, but doesn’t produce enough to properly control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity which means a balanced diet and physical activity can contribute to prevention and management.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Though relatively uncommon, this type of diabetes is brought on by pregnancy. Being overweight prior to becoming pregnant can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

The Risk Factors
Being overweight, inactive and having a family history of the disease can contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes during your lifetime. Your doctor can help you determine your individual risk factors, but you can also take our type 2 diabetes risk assessment to learn more about your level of risk now.

The Good News
Although there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are things you can do right now to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, eating healthy and being more active can greatly reduce your risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes in your lifetime. In addition, knowing the symptoms of diabetes can help with early detection, which may reduce the risk of further complications.

We know that a diabetes diagnosis comes with many questions, and we’re here to help you find the answers. Our new Center for Diabetes Education is here to help you live a healthier, more fulfilling life with diabetes. To learn more about the services we offer, visit our website or call (301) 609-4413.

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UM Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education Earns National Accreditation as a Diabetes Education Program


A diabetes diagnosis comes with a lot of questions. Our recently opened Center for Diabetes Education is the place for patients to find the answers and get the knowledge they need to make the most of life with diabetes.

Don’t just take it from us. The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), a Nationally Accredited Organization certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has accredited our Center for Diabetes Education as a Medicare Certified Diabetes Self-Management Education Program.

To achieve this accreditation, a diabetes program must meet the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Programs. Programs that meet this criteria are considered to be of the highest quality and have been shown to improve the health status of those who embrace the education provided.

University of Maryland Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education is exactly the type of program we envisioned when we set up our accreditation in 2009,” said Accreditation Director for the Diabetes Education Program Leslie E. Kolb, RN, BSN, MBA.

The Center for Diabetes Education, located in La Plata, offers a variety of services, including individual evaluations, group education, insulin instruction, blood sugar meter training, nutrition instruction and injectable training. Through these comprehensive services, led by an extensively trained diabetes educator, people with diabetes gain the knowledge and skills necessary to modify behavior and successfully manage the disease and its related conditions.

“Our new Center for Diabetes Education works to arm patients with the answers they need to make the most of life with diabetes,” said Certified Diabetes Educator, Cindy Adams, RN, BSN, CDE. “It’s a big step forward for diabetes education in Charles County and southern Maryland as a whole.”

To learn more about our Center for Diabetes Education, visit our website or call (301) 609-4413 to schedule an appointment today.

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