For A Better Us

November 30, 2022

YMCA Training for Gate River Run

Have you ever imagined crossing the finish line at the Gate River Run, but aren’t sure how to even start? No matter your age or ability, we can help you achieve that goal with our free 12-week training program beginning December 11.

The program includes cycling, group exercise, some outdoor running/walking and plenty of motivation and accountability. It’s a little unconventional but a whole lot of fun!

For more information, email Christy Jones or join our Facebook group.

Sign Up

The Gate River Run is March 4. Use code YMCA to save $5 when you register for the race.

If you want to participate in the training and you are not a First Coast YMCA member, join the Y December 11-31 with online promo code PEDAL and you’ll pay nothing until January!

Have you ever imagined crossing the finish line at the Gate River Run, but aren’t sure how to even start? No matter your age or ability, we can help you achieve that goal with our free 12-week training program beginning December 11. The program includes cycling, group exercise, some outdoor…


October 12, 2022

World Arthritis Day: Managing Inflammation with Nutrition

Arthritis, or the inflammation or swelling of one or more joints, is used to describe over 100 conditions that affects joints, tissue around the joints, and other connective tissue. This diagnosis includes symptoms like pain and redness at the affected joints, difficulty moving around, and even trouble breathing. This chronic state of inflammation cannot be cured, but it can be managed with purposeful nutrition strategies that support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and strengthen bones. Below are some foods to include in your balanced diet.

  • Fish Rich in Omega-3s

  • Studies have found that those who had the highest consumption of omega-3s had lower levels of two key inflammatory proteins, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. Consuming three to four ounces twice per week is the recommended amount for beneficial effects. With this in mind, try swapping your usual protein for tuna at lunch or salmon at dinner. Consider taking 600-1000mg of fish oil daily to ease joint pain and stiffness if fish is not a do-able protein for you.

  • Olive Oil

  • Olive oil is known for containing heart-healthy fats but it also contains oleocanthal. Oleocanthal has similar properties to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – this unique component of olive oil can inhibit the activity of certain enzymes that in turn can diminish the body’s inflammatory processes and reduce one’s pain sensitivity. Aim to consume two to three tablespoons daily to experience those pain reducing benefits. Experiment with avocado and safflower oils and consider drizzling walnut oil on salads and in nutty baked goods – it has 10x the anti-inflammatory properties compared to olive oil!

  • Cherries + Berries, Citrus, Leafy Greens, and Broccoli

  • Fruits and vegetables add color to our plate – and provide loads of antioxidants to fight inflammation throughout the body. Studies have shown that deeply hued cherries and berries could reduce the frequency of gout attacks while citrus can aid in the prevention of inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints. Leafy greens aren’t only great for salads, but they are also rich in calcium and vitamin D which are essential for strong bones. Broccoli is a powerhouse vegetable for good reason – it is rich in vitamin K and C as well as suplforaphane which could prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Consider making a smoothie with extra berries in the morning and trying a stir fry of veggies in the evening to hit the goal of 9 servings of both fruits and vegetables throughout the day.

  • Low fat dairy

  • Not only is dairy a good source of protein, it is also rich in calcium and vitamin D, both of which are necessary for bone health and strength. Vitamin D also supports a healthy immune system that can in turn aid in the fight against chronic inflammation. Reach for lower fat cottage cheese (with some berries for an extra anti-inflammatory boost) or high protein yogurts to get around 3 servings of dairy in each day.

  • Green Tea

  • The highly researched beverage is known for it’s ample amounts of polyphenols which can reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. It also contains epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). This unique component of green tea blocks the molecules that cause joint damage in people who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Try swapping your regular caffeinated beverage for some green tea and see if you can feel a difference in your joints!

  • Whole grains

  • Yet another healthy pick when it comes to our carbohydrates, whole grains are very beneficial in lowering the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a know marker of inflammation associated with many chronic diseases, so being able to lower this inflammation marker could bring some relief to those with arthritis. Pick whole grain options over more refined options when picking bread, pasta, and even crackers.

  • Beans

  • Beans, beans, the magical fruit… we all know the little jingle with these fiber and protein packed nutrition powerhouses but there’s more to these legumes than just that! Their high fiber content has been shown to lower CRP similar to whole grains and they are also rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium – all of which are known for their positive impact on the heart and immune system. Break out the chili recipes and three bean (or more!) soups to really benefit from beans.

  • Nuts

  • Nuts are often the go-to healthy snack – and for good reason! They are not only rich in both protein, fiber, and heart healthy fats (hello alpha-linolenic acid!) but they also contain calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E which are all necessary for a healthy immune system to fight chronic inflammation. Try snacking on about a handful and a half (1.5 ounces) of unsalted or lightly salted versions to reap the benefits.<

So, although arthritis cannot be cured, it can be a little easier to manage by including these foods that will help reduce inflammation and the pain that comes along with it. Plus, you might notice other health benefits when you incorporate these healthy foods into your diet, too!

Arthritis, or the inflammation or swelling of one or more joints, is used to describe over 100 conditions that affects joints, tissue around the joints, and other connective tissue. This diagnosis includes symptoms like pain and redness at the affected joints, difficulty moving around, and even trouble breathing. This chronic…


June 30, 2022

Do You Know If You Are Hydrated?

Staying hydrated has its benefits, but how do you know if you are hydrated? Temperatures are rising all over the country, but especially for us here in Florida! The humidity that we experience in our beautiful state makes it even more crucial for us to stay hydrated.

Benefits of staying hydrated include:

  • High energy levels
  • Increased mood and memory (brain performance)
  • Reduced headaches
  • Prevents and relieves constipation
  • Reduces risk of kidney stones
  • Weight loss
  • Maximizes physical performance

Hydration Needs

Everyone has different fluid needs based on their weight, amount and intensity of exercise, climate, pregnant/breastfeeding and age. Although there is no proven rule for the amount of water we should be consuming, there are some guidelines to help us get started and figure out our own individual needs:

  • 1 mL per calorie we intake daily
  • 8, 8 ounce glasses of water daily
  • 30 mL per kilogram of body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms)

Dehydration

Dehydration can happen due to fluid loss from sweating, excessive urine output, fever, vomiting or diarrhea. What does dehydration “feel” like?

  • Thirsty!
  • Dry mouth, lips or eyes
  • Dark yellow or strong-smelling urine
  • Fatigue, light headed, headache, dizzy, lethargic, irritable
  • Low urine output

Tips to Stay Hydrated

  1. Carry a reusable water bottle. You can find them at any local grocer store, dollar store, or even online if you are looking for a specific look.
  2. Consume fruits and vegetables, such as cabbage, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and strawberries. These are all great sources of water in the diet.
  3. Limit foods that are overly salty or sugary as they decrease your hydration levels by moving water out of the cells, which causes dehydration.
  4. Add fruits, vegetables and/or herbs to your water to keep things interesting. Some quick recipe combinations include:
    • Cucumber + lime + strawberry + mint
    • Orange + star anise + hibiscus (gather loose herbs and flowers in a tea diffuser)
    • Lemon + raspberry + rosemary
    • Orange + blueberry + basil
  5. Use an app to set reminders. Some apps that you can search your app store for include:
    • Water Reminder – Daily Tracker (free)
    • Hydro Coach (free)
    • WaterMinder
    • Aqualert: Water Tracker Daily (free)

Remember that staying hydrated isn’t always easy, but it is important to maintain health in spirit, mind and body. Plus, it’s essential to feeling great in these hot summer months and beyond—so drink up!

Staying hydrated has its benefits, but how do you know if you are hydrated? Temperatures are rising all over the country, but especially for us here in Florida! The humidity that we experience in our beautiful state makes it even more crucial for us to stay hydrated. Benefits of staying…


June 27, 2022

Signs My Blood Pressure Is Too High

We may know a lot about blood pressure and may have even been diagnosed with hypertension (High Blood Pressure or HBP). However, there may be a few of us out there who could be experiencing higher than normal blood pressure and not even know it.

High blood pressure often has no symptoms. However, over time and if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.

So what can you do to prevent and know the signs and symptoms that your blood pressure may be increasing?

First, let’s address the signs and symptoms.

According to the American Heart Association you can’t. (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/what-are-the-symptoms-of-high-blood-pressure)

The truth is, high blood pressure is largely symptomless, which is why it’s nicknamed the “silent killer.” If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.

The American Heart Association recommends that:

The American Heart Association goes on to address a variety of symptoms that may be indirectly related to, but are NOT always caused by, high blood pressure, such as:

  • Blood spots in the eyes: Blood spots in the eyes (subconjunctival hemorrhage) are more common in people with diabetes or high blood pressure, but neither condition causes the blood spots. Floaters in the eyes are also not related to high blood pressure. However, an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may be able to detect damage to the optic nerve caused by untreated high blood pressure.
  • Facial flushing: Facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate. It can occur unpredictably or in response to certain triggers such as sun exposure, cold weather, spicy foods, wind, hot drinks and skin-care products. Facial flushing can also occur with emotional stress, exposure to heat or hot water, alcohol consumption and exercise — all of which can raise blood pressure temporarily. While facial flushing may occur while your blood pressure is higher than usual, high blood pressure is not the cause of facial flushing.
  • Dizziness: While dizziness can be a side effect of some blood pressure medications, it is not caused by high blood pressure. However, dizziness should not be ignored, especially if the onset is sudden. Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and trouble walking are all warning signs of a stroke. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke.

Next let’s address how to prevent high blood pressure.

There are a number of factors and variables that can put you at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension). Understanding these risk factors can help you be more aware of how likely you are to develop high blood pressure.

Some risk factors like family history, age, gender, race, & chronic kidney disease are not preventable. However, there are many modifiable risk factors that are. (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/know-your-risk-factors-for-high-blood-pressure)

These are the risk factors you can change to help prevent and manage high blood pressure, Here are some things to make note of:

  • Moving our bodies. Physical activity is great for your heart and circulatory system in general, and blood pressure is no exception. Not getting enough physical activity as part of your lifestyle increases your risk of getting high blood pressure. Learn more about getting regular physical activity.
  • No variety in how we fuel our body. Good nutrition from a variety of sources is critical for your health.  How are you fueling your body for the lifestyle you live?  Our body can only manage so much salt and sodium.  Consuming more than our body can handle can lead to high blood pressure.  Whole foods packed with nutrients and fiber can help lower blood pressure. Learn more about improving your diet.
  • Weight. Carrying too much weight puts an extra strain on your heart and circulatory system that can cause serious health problems. It also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Learn more about managing your weight.
  • Regular, heavy use of alcohol can cause many health problems, including heart failure, stroke and an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically and can also increase your risk of cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. Learn more about alcohol, high blood pressure and the importance of moderation.
  • Sleep. Sleep is always a good thing. Our bodies need to rest. Sleep apnea is something to be aware of when it comes to high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea may increase risk of developing HBP and is common in people with resistant hypertension.
  • Cholesterol. High cholesterol: More than half of people with HBP also have high cholesterol.
  • Blood Sugar Levels. Diabetes: Most people with diabetes also develop HBP.
  • Smoking and tobacco use. Using tobacco can cause your blood pressure to temporarily increase and can contribute to damaged arteries. Secondhand smoke, exposure to other people’s smoke, also increases the risk of heart disease for nonsmokers. Learn more about quitting smoking.
  • Stress is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But too much stress may contribute to increased blood pressure. Also, too much stress can encourage behaviors that increase blood pressure, such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and using tobacco or drinking alcohol more than usual. Socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress can affect access to basic living necessities, medication, healthcare providers, and the ability to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Learn more about managing your stress.

Bottom line it’s important to know YOUR numbers and what is normal for you.

Check your blood pressure regularly and take a moment to listen to what your body is telling you. When something feels off, it’s important and wise to seek professional advice to confirm any diagnosis.

For more information on Blood Pressure, what it is, and ways to change your numbers go to https://www.heart.org/


Written By: Lisa Peacock, VirtuWell Coach

We may know a lot about blood pressure and may have even been diagnosed with hypertension (High Blood Pressure or HBP). However, there may be a few of us out there who could be experiencing higher than normal blood pressure and not even know it. High blood pressure often has no…


June 14, 2022

Fuel for Men’s Health

Written by Kerri Napoleon, Registered Dietitian

Skipping meals, not eating enough during the day, snacking at night, not eating enough fruits and vegetables. These are the most common habits I see my male patients do. When we talk about men’s health, men’s needs are not that different than those of women. Men need to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods that protect the mind and body. They need to eat often to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients their body needs and to increase vegetables and fruits for disease prevention.

Below are some ideas to include in your diet to help ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs for a healthy body.

Start with breakfast. Try the Overnight Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats as a grab and go option. Packed with soluble fiber, protein, and good fat, this breakfast will keep you satisfied till lunch. Try to incorporate a salad a day to increase your vegetable intake. Try the Everyday Lunch Salad – packed with a variety of vegetables, fiber and good fat – this salad will help you reach your vegetable goals. For an anti-inflammatory punch try the Bacon Mushroom Kale Salad. Consuming dark leafy vegetables is key to a heart-healthy diet.

 

Overnight Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

  • ½ cup oats
  • 5 oz Fairlife Protein Shake – Chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raspberries or strawberries

In a jar, add the oats, peanut butter, and protein shake. Top with berries. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours. Serve cold or warm in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

1 serving: 345 calories, 12.5 g fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 23 g protein


Everyday Lunch Salad

  • 3 cups spring mix
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes
  • 6 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper
  • ¼ cup sprouts
  • 1/3 avocado
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Bolthouse Farms Ranch Dressing
  • Optional – add grilled chicken or shrimp

Mix together all ingredients.

1 serving: 428 calories, 23 g fat, 45 g carbs, 16 g fiber, 18 g protein


Bacon Mushroom Kale Salad

  • 6 cups very thinly sliced kale (tough stems removed)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 slices center cut bacon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Place kale and eggs in a large bowl. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Leaving the bacon fat in the pan, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Chop when cool enough to handle. Add oil, onion and peas to the pan and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, mustard, pepper and salt. Pour the mushroom mixture over the kale and eggs. Add the bacon and toss to combine.

4 servings: 211 calories, 12 g fat, 19 g carbs, 11 g protein, 5 g fiber


Written By: Kerri Napoleon, RDN, CSSD
knapoleon@fcymca.org

For more ideas on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle, visit our Nutrition Services page to contact one of our Registered Dietitians.

Written by Kerri Napoleon, Registered Dietitian Skipping meals, not eating enough during the day, snacking at night, not eating enough fruits and vegetables. These are the most common habits I see my male patients do. When we talk about men’s health, men’s needs are not that different than those of…


June 8, 2022

Can having a chronic disease increase your chances of developing Alzheimers?

Did you know that worldwide, more than 55 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia? Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.


We are living longer and by 2030 about one in five Americans will be 65 years and older. Longevity is one thing, however good health, well-being and vibrancy is another. As we age, we increase our risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, also known as comorbidities or multi-morbidities, and associated functional impairment – limitations in the ability to carry out day-to-day household activities and chores or experiencing interference in engaging in activities outside of the home. Many older adults live with a growing number of complex health issues that adversely affect their day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life. For some, these concerns are further compounded by the presence of memory issues. The question on many people’s minds is this, can having a chronic disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure increase your chances of developing Alzheimers?

First let’s define a chronic disease…

According to the CDC, chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention, or limit activities of daily living or both.

Many chronic diseases are caused by a short list of risk behaviors that are similar to those of Alzheimers and Dementia. These include:

But does this increase your chances of developing Alzheimers?

One article from the CDC mentions this: (https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/chronic-diseases-brief.html)

Subjective cognitive decline or (SCD) is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss within the past year. It is a form of cognitive impairment and one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of more severe memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

SCD can have detrimental implications for living with and managing chronic diseases, or performing everyday activities like cooking or cleaning. When cognition is impaired, it can have a profound impact on an individual’s overall health and well-being.

Multiple chronic diseases (two or more) have been found to be associated with increased potential for functional difficulties. These difficulties can be further exacerbated by the presence of worsening memory. Among adults aged 45 years and older, those with one or more co-morbid chronic diseases reported a higher likelihood of having SCD interfere with their daily lives than those with no chronic diseases. Additional challenges for those with one or more chronic diseases include having to give up household activities or chores as a result of SCD, or having SCD interfere with one’s ability to work, volunteer, or engage in social activities outside the home.

In another article (https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/multiple-long-term-conditions-in-midlife-increases-dementia-risk/ ), researchers from the UK and France have found that having two or more chronic conditions in middle age is associated with an increased risk of dementia later in life.

Researchers found that having two or more diseases at age 55 was associated with a higher risk of dementia compared with people without any of the 13 chronic conditions.

The number of people with two or more chronic diseases increased as people got older, with 32% of people having two or more diseases at age 70. This was still linked with an increased risk of dementia but the link was not as strong.

When the researchers looked at those with three or more chronic conditions, the time at which people developed the health condition had even more bearing on subsequent dementia risk.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that we still don’t know all the direct links to Alzheimer’s and dementia, but what we do know is that living a healthy lifestyle – including sleeping well, eating a variety of whole foods, staying hydrated, active, and in community – can benefit us in multiple ways.

Here are some additional ways to keep your brain in tip top shape:

Did you know that worldwide, more than 55 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia? Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. We are living longer and by 2030 about…


June 6, 2022

Boost your brainpower with the MIND diet!

Did you know that eating certain foods and skipping others has the power to slow brain aging by 7.5 years and even reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s? With June being Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to learn how to protect and even sharpen our brains through what we put in our bodies.


The MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, was developed by medical researchers with the goal to reduce the risk of dementia and loss of brain function as you age. These medical researchers developed the MIND diet by combining two well-known diets, the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet, to create a way of eating the helped combat inflammation markers in the body while protecting and boosting overall brain health. They found that the food we eat has a major role in combatting oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. A diet high in antioxidants and polyphenols was most effective at fighting inflammation and providing a protective environment to support brain health. With that in mind, what exactly should we be focusing on when adopting the MIND diet?

Leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and spinach are packed with vitamin E, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Even just one serving a day has been shown to slow brain aging – time to order that kale salad!

Berries like strawberries and blueberries are great sources of flavonoids. Flavonoids are the natural plant pigments that give berries their beautiful hues. Those who consume two or more servings per week showed the slowest rates of cognitive decline. Savor these sweet treats by the handful or in a brain-boosting smoothie!

Nuts like almonds and walnuts are rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, which is known for its brain boosting qualities. When you reach for nuts to snack on, be sure to check the ingredients panel and grab dry-roasted or raw nuts to steer clear of excess sodium, sugars, and oils. Same goes for nut butters – look for lists that only include the nut and salt, skip the hydrogenated oils.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – you’ve heard it time and time again, but this is not only the go-to oil for heart health but also for brain health! When shopping for a quality extra virgin olive oil, look for an opaque or dark glass bottle to avoid any additional light oxidation. Also skip any options that are labeled as ‘light’ – that means the oil went through refining processes due to an off odor or even low-quality fruit therefore decreasing the overall quality of the final oil!

Meat-free meals like eating legumes and lentils in place of beef or pork has been shown to be quite beneficial for the brain. Not only do these meat-free protein alternatives pack a fiber punch but they also slow the rate of digestion and support a health GI tract (mind gut connection anyone?) and studies have shown that those who had the lowest intake of legumes had the highest rates of cognitive decline. Maybe the old jingle ‘beans, beans, the magical fruit’ was really onto something…

Fatty Fish like salmon or tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. These healthy unsaturated fats have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid – or the proteins that form damaging clumps in the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Wine – Another Mediterranean trend coming through here but light to moderate drinking could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by two to three years. How so? Alcohol affects blood flow making it less ‘sticky’ and in turn less prone to dangerous clotting. With the risks associated with alcohol, don’t pick up a drinking habit in hopes of benefiting your brain. But if you do enjoy a drink with dinner, limit yourself to that one drink and you could be doing your brain and future mind a favor.


Be sure to check out all of our Healthy Living programs to help you live better in spirit, mind and body.

Did you know that eating certain foods and skipping others has the power to slow brain aging by 7.5 years and even reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s? With June being Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to learn how to protect and even sharpen our…


May 4, 2022

Thank You, Teachers

Like the Y, schools are places that connect and engage and inspire a brighter tomorrow. We applaud all of our educators and school employees on the First Coast.

Thank you.

To show our gratitude, every teacher and school employee in Northeast Florida gets FREE access to any First Coast YMCA the entire month of May.
Plus – all teachers and school employees are eligible for these specials when they join the Y:

  • NO JOINING FEE – Save up to $100!
  • Monthly Discount on Membership Dues*

This is just a small way that we’re able to give back to those who give so much.

The Y offers programming and activities for all ages, interests and abilities including group exercise classes, virtual fitness, chronic disease prevention, nutrition, swimming, basketball, pickleball, camp, before and afterschool child care, volunteer opportunities and so much more.

We’re here to help our neighbors focus on what matters most: their health, their family and friends, and their community.

Join online today or, for more information, please contact your local Y.

*Monthly discount good for as long as the membership remains active and in good standing. Discount may vary by county. Contact your local Y for more information.

Like the Y, schools are places that connect and engage and inspire a brighter tomorrow. We applaud all of our educators and school employees on the First Coast. Thank you. To show our gratitude, every teacher and school employee in Northeast Florida gets FREE access to any First Coast YMCA…


April 12, 2022

Know. See. Respond.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month! As part of the Y’s commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re joining youth serving organizations across the country by participating in the Five Days of Action—a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all to prevent it. By taking part in this important campaign and through implementing abuse prevention practices year-round, the Y is committing to the safety of all children in our community.

The Five Days of Action enforces critically important habits — KNOW. SEE. RESPOND. — which enable us to understand how and when abuse happens, recognize the signs of abuse, and quickly and appropriately respond to it. When we embrace these habits, we foster a culture of child abuse prevention—a culture of happy and healthy children!

We take our commitment to child protection seriously and we hope you do too. Make your commitment alongside us today. Learn more about protecting the children you love at www.fivedaysofaction.org.

Resources

Five Days of Action is an initiative of the YMCA Champions for Child Protection created and designed by Darkness to Light, with support from YMCA of the USA, The Redwoods Foundation, The American Camp Association, and the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month! As part of the Y’s commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re joining youth serving organizations across the country by participating in the Five Days of Action—a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all…


February 14, 2022

Mindful Eating – Reconnecting with Food

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindfulness is rooted in bringing full awareness and attention to the present moment. Mindful eating is based on the same principles, just with food. Mindful eating is all about paying attention to the food you are eating like taking in the appearance, texture, flavors, and even the preparation process if you are cooking your meal. And on top of that, it’s also a judgement-free zone. Mindful eating helps reconnect with our own innate wisdom about hunger and satiety. Being more engaged with what you are eating can lead to less mindless munching and can help you navigate and pick more fulfilling options throughout your day. Mindful eating helps us slow down, check in with our needs, and make empowering decisions when it comes to our meals and snacks.

Benefits of Mindful Eating

  • Increased awareness of how food makes you feel during and after a meal
  • Better understanding of which foods you enjoy and which ones you dislike
  • Increased enjoyment and satisfaction from food
  • Better understanding of your motivations for eating
  • Increased appreciation and gratefulness for your food
  • Increased ability to cope with non-physical reasons for eating
  • Decreased feelings of guilt and shame around food

Tips on Starting Your Mindful Eating Journey

1. Check in while you’re eating

  • Try the ‘first bite, mid-way bite, and last bite’ approach
  • At each check in, consider checking in on how rushed you’re feeling.
  • What are your hunger cues – are you eating to nourish or for comfort, or both?
  • What does the food taste and feel like?
  • How the food makes you feel emotionally and physically?

2. Limit distractions when eating

  • Avoid doing work, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone while eating. The major goal of mindful eating is focusing on all the aspects and feelings associated with eating. It can be difficult to be fully engaged when your attention is divided.

3. Remember it is a judgement free mindset

  • Eating mindfully is challenging in our fast-paced society and it can be nearly impossible to slow down at every eating opportunity and practice mindfulness.
  • Remember to have compassion for yourself and that this is not an “all or nothing” approach. Try eating mindfully at one meal or snack to start, and build momentum with each successful mindful meal or snack. With nearly anything, practice makes perfect! The more you practice mindful eating, the easier it will become.

Written By: Katie Painter, RDN
kpainter@fcymca.org


References:

https://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating

What is Mindful Eating? Mindfulness is rooted in bringing full awareness and attention to the present moment. Mindful eating is based on the same principles, just with food. Mindful eating is all about paying attention to the food you are eating like taking in the appearance, texture, flavors, and even…