Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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