"On the Street" profiles a WebMD the Magazine reader and his or her personal health challenges. We then tap top medical and healthy lifestyle experts for answers and solutions. In the September 2012 issue, Niki O’Brien, 39, a litigation support consultant and mom in Winter Park, Fla., seeks help for exercise, meal planning, skin care, and how to get a better night’s sleep.
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Ask any working mom, "How are you?" and you're likely to hear "Tired!" That's certainly true for O'Brien, mom to 22-month-old Avery. "I am always tired no matter how much sleep I get," she says, "and I never wake up feeling refreshed."
O'Brien and her husband, Paul, also have two other sweet but unruly "kids," dogs Finnegan and Diesel, who keep the couple on their toes. There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done, she says, especially when it comes to cooking and working out.
"I'm always running out of ideas for healthy meals (and exercise routines) that don't require a ton of time." But perhaps one of the most nagging health issues is her skin. "I'm almost 40 and I still get breakouts regularly!" says the Winter Park, Fla. resident. "On top of that, my skin is starting to lose elasticity."
Here's what our experts suggested to help this busy mother and litigation support:
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is not just about quantity but also quality. Stick to a sleep/wake schedule. Go to bed and wake at the same time every day, including on the weekends. Your body will like the consistency. And eliminate caffeine by 2 p.m. Caffeine has a half-life of up to 10 hours and can keep you in a lighter sleep stage at night without your knowing it.
Michael Breus, PhD, author, The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan.
Making Time for Healthy Meals
The USDA's MyPlate nutrition icon is what a healthy meal should look like: Half the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with grains, and the other quarter with lean protein. When you're planning meals, think of filling in the blanks. And remember: If your pantry (and freezer) is prepared, you don't have to be. Shop for healthy basics such as canned beans and tomatoes, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and canola and olive oil.
Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, co-author, The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
Treating Adult Acne andWrinkles
There are three things I can't live without.
1. Sunscreen. For acne-prone patients, I suggest a mineral blocker sunscreen in a light gel formulation.
2. Vitamin C. It helps neutralize free radical damage, brightens skin, and is vital to collagen synthesis.
3. Retinols. They stimulate exfoliation to prevent blocked pores and encourage collagen and elastin production.
Mohiba K. Tareen, MD, founder, Tareen Dermatology, Roseville, Minn.; clinical assistant professor of dermatology, University of Minnesota.
Create a weekly exercise plan. Write down which days of the week and what time of day you'll exercise, the minutes of activity, and the activity you'll do, then check in each week and modify as necessary. Keep it realistic so you'll commit and do it.
Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, exercise physiologist and director, New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, NYC.
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