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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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