Qigong – new 45-minute, 6-week class begins Wednesday, June 27 at 3:30pm.  On-going instruction from Regina Wolgel focuses on slow movements and coordinated breathing.  This is a great class for stress reduction, balance and body awareness. Cost is $120.

Yoga for Healthy Backs – Begins Tuesday, August 7 at 6:30PM.  (5 student minimum)

Taught by Trish Nealon of The Yoga Within. Trish is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-Hour Level.

This 6-week course is a gentle introduction to breathing exercises, movement patterns, and restful poses specifically designed to help you relax and let go of back pain. Trish will begin with individual assessment of your back care needs. Each week she will progress by adding a few more poses into class, taking care to offer modifications as needed.  At the end of the series, you will have your own sequence to take home with you to continue your practice. Cost of this 90-minute class for 6 weeks is $150.


Thousands of years ago, our bodies were programmed to consume lots of food because we didn’t know when or where the next meal would come from. We feasted during the summer, spring and fall months and starved during the winter. Deep in the recesses of our brains, we still have this mentality of feast and famine even though we live in a world where we are surrounded by countless opportunities to eat lots of calories.

In addition to the historic connection, there also is a physiological context to stressful eating.  When we are emotional, the hypothalamus triggers the anterior pituitary to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) into the blood. This hormone travels to the adrenal cortex, where cortisol is purged into the bloodstream.

Cortisol is the stress hormone that causes an increase in blood sugar, suppresses the immune system and assists in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrate. It also is largely responsible for what is commonly known as the fight-or-flight mechanism. Our ancestors lived in an environment where this stress mechanism saved lives by filling their bodies with hormones and sugar to either fight danger or run from it. However, once the body has responded to the stressful situation, it craves sugar and carbohydrates to recharge this system. Today, we live in a stressful society where we are constantly bombarded with these stress hormones and the subsequent cravings of sugar to recharge.

Historically and physiologically, we are hardwired to eat when stressed (or sad, bored, angry, etc.). Emotional eating can be defined as eating in response to negative emotions and is directly linked to binge eating.

In addition to the cortisol-induced cravings and stress, there are other common triggers to binge eating such as social eating, childhood habits, mindless eating, self-sabotaging thoughts and the cycle of hunger and restriction.

Proven Strategies for Putting the Brakes on Emotional Eating: Research has shown that 75 percent of overeating may be linked to emotional eating.  Here are five proven strategies to help put an end to the damaging cycle of emotional eating:

  1. Keep a food diary. First, keep a minimum of a three-day food diary (two weekdays and one weekend day), writing down the times you eat, what and how much you eat, and how they felt when eating. Tracking food and beverage intake is the first step to be mindful about the amount of calories you are consuming. This process will also help to identify the most stressful times of the day and/or week.  Do you notice a particular time of day or situation when you are more likely to overeat and/or what emotions are causing you to overeat?
  2. Recognize the feeling of hunger. When we are eating emotionally, it doesn’t matter if we are hungry or not. Try to understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger. One method is the 10-second cure for stress eating:

Think of your stomach as a gas tank and to try to measure how full or empty it is. Assign a 1 for feeling starved and a 10 for being overfull. The goal is to eat when the stomach feels about a 4—somewhat hungry, but not starving, which might cause one to overindulge. You may find yourself asking this question all day long. That’s okay. We really don’t check in enough to our physical hunger, but over time, this hunger self-check will become second nature.

3.  Stop self-sabotaging thoughts. Emotional eating isn’t helped by persistent negative self-talk—the judgments we make about our eating, bodies or feelings, or our expectations of how we should eat, look or behave. We are all guilty of this, especially when we’re experiencing a difficult time in our lives. Negative self-talk like “I will always be fat”, or “I’m too weak to change” can sabotage any plans to change eating habits.

Trying saying these things out loud or write these thoughts down, because it makes you more mindful of what you are telling yourself. Next, ask, “Would I talk to my best friend like this?” The answer will probably be “no,” which leads directly into the next question: “Then why do I talk to myself this way?” Learn to talk and accept yourself as if you were your best friend.

4.  Build resilience. Developing emotional toughness can help you resist the urge to binge when times get rough. It will also make it easier for you to deal with the inevitable stress that everyone must face at one time or another.  Here are some helpful strategies you can use to strengthen your resilience.

  1. When we’re in an emotional state we have a tendency to blow things out of proportion, so stop dramatizing when things go wrong.
  2. We also tend to lose perspective, so be realistic. (How important is it really?).
  3. You need to shift out of your negative responses by using positive self-talk.
  4. Find ways to recharge like exercise (of course), taking a walk with a friend, meditating, finding a change of scenery or taking a mental break, and getting a good night’s sleep.

These actions will help build the foundation needed to resist the temptation to emotionally eat.


PUMPKIN – It’s not just for Halloween! While fresh pumpkin is typically a classic fall favorite, the canned variety is a great option all year round, as it is a delicious nutrient powerhouse. “At only 40 calories per half cup, canned pumpkin is packed with 4 grams of fiber per serving, has 300% of the daily value for Vitamin A, and also contains Vitamin C, potassium and riboflavin,” say registered dietitians and sisters Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, also known as the The Nutrition Twins®.

Ways to Enjoy: This isn’t your average canned food. Being that it’s practically sodium-free and extremely tasty you could eat it right out of the can. If that’s not your style, The Nutrition Twins®, authors of the book “The Secret to Skinny,” suggest adding a dash of cinnamon or brown sugar, or a drop of maple syrup, depending on what your taste buds prefer.

The beauty of pumpkin (besides it’s great color) is that it’s extremely versatile, which makes it a great option for baking as an alternative for oil in items such as desserts and pancakes. It’s also a healthy addition to some of the items you’re most likely already enjoying. From smoothies and soups, to pasta dishes and oatmeal, The Nutrition Twins® recommend pumpkin for its great texture and delicious favor. “It even makes for a great parfait when layered with honey, almonds, walnuts or yogurt.”