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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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How to avoid overeating during the holidays


Town Crier
Overindulging on holiday sweets can have a negative impact on an individual’s blood-sugar level and overall mood during the holidays. File Photo

With the holidays upon us, you will probably find yourself at an office holiday party, dinner party or other social activity surrounded by tempting foods and drinks, which look inviting and taste delicious but are usually high in calories, fats and simple sugars.

Many people overeat during the holidays – and not just because of the increased availability of goodies. Often, individuals are attracted to such foods because of their association with celebrations and other positive childhood memories.

Eating foods high in carbohydrates and simple sugars increases the brain chemical serotonin, which affects the brain’s pleasure center. This elevation provides an immediate sense of well-being and makes you feel good. However, this feeling is very short-lived, and can add to feelings of depression, increased anxiety, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Additionally, consumption of these foods wreaks havoc with blood-sugar (insulin) levels, causing a depressed mood when those levels drop.

Some people use food for self-soothing as they seek to re-create a happier time when they were part of a family structure or social support system that involved holiday food and a sense of belonging. Older adults living alone who have decreased social support because their spouse has died or their extended family lives out of the area are particularly vulnerable. They are often lonely and turn to food or alcohol to feel more connected to others.

Creating a plan

Overindulging during the holidays can trigger a cycle of guilt and remorse. People often think, “I’ve already blown it, so I might as well give up.” Those who drink more than they normally would may experience a loss of inhibition, causing them to eat and drink even more and put on additional pounds. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year.

The good news is that those prone to overeating and gaining weight during the holidays can take steps to effectively manage their behavior. The most important step is to create a plan.

• Manage your activities. If you are a highly social person, try to pre-empt holiday stress by not overbooking yourself with too many activities. If you live alone and don’t have a large social network, don’t hide out. Find some activities to engage in, such as volunteering in the community. If you’re a senior, visit your local senior center to interact and converse with other people.

• Maintain your current exercise program or build in additional physical activity. If you are a regular at the gym, keep going. If you drive to work, park your car farther away than usual and walk the extra distance, or walk around the block during lunchtime. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in your office or apartment building.

• Train your brain. Rather than soothing your mood with food, consider a warm bath or massage. If you’re feeling isolated and depressed, go outside and take a walk or call a friend rather than turning to mindless eating for a quick fix, which sets up a cycle of remorse and guilt. If your mood is really bad, however, contact your doctor.

If you overindulge during the holiday, don’t get completely derailed and beat yourself up. Pick yourself up the following day with a reminder that today is a new day during which you will get back to managing your plan. Be realistic about your health goals during the holidays and, most importantly, enjoy the time with family and friends.

Barbara A. Mocnik, R.N., CNS, is clinical director of Behavioral Health Services at El Camino Hospital.

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