Julia Buss says it best in her book, Your care plan, when she said, “Nurses are undoubtedly experts in caring for others, but are not always experts in caring for themselves.”
Julia’s book uses the template. Decide.
“D = Find if you have a problem with your lifestyle.
E = Estimate what it might mean to you. You can put yourself at risk of serious illness or even premature death.
C = Choose your result. Want to lose weight, exercise or both?
I = Identify what you need to do to make changes.
D = Do it.
E = Evaluate your progress. Celebrate and reward yourself ”(page 5).
I liked the self-assessment in the chapter, Discover Your Problem. She gives the right answers right up front. Personally, it helps me get the answers when I have self-exam. That way, I’m not biased by what the answer should be – but really answer what it’s like for me.
Julia offers seven excellent questions that you can reflect on. Space to write the answers to the introspective questions would have been helpful to me. I like to come back later and see how I’ve changed or grown or identify if I’m still doing what I’ve always done (be it healthy or unhealthy).
In the chapter on estimates, estimating the risk, Buss reviews the scary facts about obesity – obesity, inactivity, excess alcohol and tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. I would urge readers to write in the current date and add their body mass index (BMI) and their waist measurements, right there is the book on page 19. Then in one, three, six, nine months and one year again the book and see the progress is done by following your care plan. Julia has a comprehensive but concise list and explanation of all the risks of the four areas addressed. It would be enlightening to have the reader list the ones he / she can think of and then add the information. As nurses, we know the information, but it will serve to reinforce the risks we do not easily consider when making life decisions.
Our bodies, our behavior and environment, reviews genetics, epigenetics (environmental influences) biochemistry, stress, meme (cultural influences) and our surroundings are reviewed. I was not familiar with the term “meme” so found this information very interesting and informative.
Julia reviews the guidelines and bottom lines around food, sugar, carbohydrates, fiber, salt, fat, protein, meat, water, supplements, organic, seafood, chocolate (my personal favorite), exercise, alcohol and tobacco. She has chosen the most appropriate sources for the guidelines and has worked to make them meaningful by providing examples to translate the guidelines into real terms.
The information on sugar is plentiful, as is our consumption, and made me read the labels on numerous items in my fridge and cupboards. The fiber guideline of “14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed” for me needed a further example, as I can’t remotely visualize what it tells me. As a vegetarian, I know I get lots of fiber, but as a nurse I have a hard time translating this to clients / patients. She cites the Monterey Bay Aquarium website as having a helpful seafood guide. Here is the URL of the site:
The next chapter, Take Action for Health introduces an analogy that is creative and thought provoking. To think about your body and your choices in your life, like a pilot thinking about his flight and his safety during his flight. Julia discusses our individual choices and encourages readers to record in a notebook. This is an excellent strategy as I find that writing down things really helps you identify the problem and helps you reach your goals if you identify areas that need change.
In terms of training guidelines and bottom lines, I find that the pedometer is a very valuable tool to help people get more exercise in their lives. Measuring steps helps encourage and motivate you to take even more.
Bus offers good suggestions, my suggestion is to remove the word “try”. I find that when people say they should “try to lose weight”, or “try to quit smoking”, or “try to …”, they actually say “No”. By simply removing the word “sample” the recommendations are more direct and powerful. For example, “… take time for yourself, … Share practice … Use a new recipe … on page 93 instead of” try to take some time, … try sharing practice .. . try a new recipe. “
I would add that consulting with a dietitian to review your 24 hour or one week food diary can be very informative if you are working on weight loss strategies. My food pyramid ( http://www.mypyramid.gov/ ) is another great source of information on what to eat, how much to eat and the amount of exercise you need based on your age. It also provides examples of all food categories (meats, fruits, vegetables, etc.) and helps you identify appropriate portion sizes for your specific calorie needs.
For stress reduction at home or in the workplace, I would strongly recommend using the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered by your employer if one exists. I have found this extremely valuable. Talking to a HR specialist can also be effective if you have work-related issues that you need help solving.
Bus contains light recipes and as a non-cook I think these are not only light but also quick. For nurses after a long day at work, typically 12 hours, it is great to be able to come home and create a quick and easy meal and a tasty meal on it.
Of course, as a non-cook – I need some clarification. Am I really looking for rocks (as in rocks) or hardened lenses. I also have to know what it means to “sweat” a onion – it is similar to sauté. As you can see – I’m not really a cook!
Julia’s colleagues have participated through recipe posts, and Jean’s 10 minute peas and mint soup sounds delicious. I will submit it to the chefs where I work and see if they will try it.
The noodle soup sounds divine with onion noodles, vegetable broth, low sodium soy, sesame oil, shitake mushrooms and tofu. Perfect! As a vegetarian, I always look for recipes that offer vegetarian options. If you prefer, you can use chicken broth. I’ll try this recipe this weekend – just need to get some sesame oil and shitake mushrooms.
During salads, Julia offers two of her favorite salad dressings. Balsamic and olive oil and lemon and olive oil. From an editing perspective, I would have put the two salad dressings on the same side as lemon and olive oil are on the next page with green salad and beet salad. Or just numbered them. Both compounds sound light, delicious and healthy.
In this day of prepared foods, she has a light pasta with tomato sauce. So instead of buying jars with Prego or Classico, this tomato sauce would be fresh and original.
During desserts, she recommends a fruit salad. My further recommendation is to freeze fresh fruits during the summer and then toss them frozen in a serving bowl. Eat them for dessert when defrosted on your table. Not only are they delicious, but they make a nice center piece on your table while they defrost with all the colors of berries, peaches, … use whatever fruits you like.
Bus’s resources are excellent and extensive. I learned from two sites that I was unfamiliar with. I have now added them to my list of personal resources.
Throughout the book, the photographs are nicely done and add to the lovely presentation of each page.
Julia also throws some funny sayings from the UK like, is now and truly seized (page 35) . full of prayers (page 96) and squirt out on a meat thermometer (page 127) which adds her unique voice to a fact-filled book.
In general, I thought this was well written, full of good information and a resource that nurses can use in their own lives as well as sharing with others. Non-nurses find this book useful as they learn about healthy choices they can make.