5 Unexpected Reasons for Weight Gain

Weight gain – it’s not something any of us wants to do, and that’s why we try to diet and exercise as much as we can. But the battle of the bulge is sometimes not as straightforward as we think it is. It becomes harder with age and a sedentary lifestyle, but even if you’re young and dedicated to your diet and workout program, the possibility of weight gain sneaking up on you always exists. And even though each of us is different physiologically, the basic reasons for unexpected weight gain are:

  • Drugs: Some medicines like antidepressants and mood enhancers are known to cause weight gain, especially around the waist and hips. Besides these, birth control pills, non-steroidal anti-inflammation medication, diabetes drugs, hormone injections or pills, and steroids are also causes for unexpected and sudden weight gain.  Consult your doctor to see if the prescription drugs you’re taking could be a cause for your unexpected weight gain, and if it they are, ask about remedial measures.
  • Hormonal imbalance: In women, the diminishing production of estrogen by the ovaries as the body ages is a cause for concern. In order to compensate, other sources of estrogen like body fat, skin and a few organs are tapped for this hormone. So in this struggle for hormonal balance, your body tends to hang on to every bit of fat it can get and you gain weight. Women over the age of 35 are prone to hormonal imbalance, so it’s best to get yourself checked regularly.
  • Stress: This is one of the most common reasons for unexpected weight gain for both sexes. We lead extremely stressful lives, and to add to this, we don’t watch what we eat when we’re preoccupied with work and other issues. The hormones that our body secretes when we are stressed block weight loss because we go into what is called the starvation or famine mode – the body thinks it is not going to get enough food in the near future and so holds on to every fat cell that it can to tide it through supposedly lean times. The same mechanism takes place when you starve and deny your body the nourishment it needs.
  • Insulin metabolism: When you eat a diet that’s very low in healthy fats (like those found in almonds, flaxseed oil and fish) and high in carbohydrates, your body becomes resistant to insulin over a period of time. So it tends to retain fat and prevents it from burning even though you exercise regularly.
  • Medical conditions: Ailments like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s Syndrome cause you to gain weight because your thyroidal hormone and others like cortisol fluctuate and cause you to gain weight in unseemly ways. Your face and stomach bloat up and you generally feel lethargic and unhealthy.

If you experience sudden or unexplained weight gain, consult your doctor and take adequate curative steps before it’s too late.

The Ten Best Arguments for the Healthcare Reform

It would be an understatement to say that healthcare reform is the one issue that has been debated the most this past year. The subject has been put through so many different wringers that the main issues have almost been clouded. There are fears, both imaginary and real, but none of them are strong enough to suggest that this reform must not pass. And although it remains to be seen if the healthcare reform proposed by President Obama will reduce the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years, bring greater accountability to health care or reduce waste in the system, there are a few things that we can be assured of. And it’s these issues that make the ten best arguments as to why we must pass the healthcare reform:

  1. Insurers cannot discriminate against you or refuse to cover you if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
  2. It allows the common man to pick and choose insurance providers just as members of Congress do now, by comparing costs and benefits and going with the one that fits their needs. With the competitive health insurance exchange, it’s harder for your provider to raise premiums suddenly or without explanation because you could just as well switch to another insurer.
  3. It puts a ceiling on out-of-pocket expenses; the reason people buy insurance is to minimize what they spend on healthcare, so this makes a great deal of sense.
  4. It will prevent your provider from dropping your coverage if you contract a disease during the period of coverage.
  5. It allows you to be insured for preventive care as well, one of the most ignored aspects of healthcare that is extremely important if we want to minimize costs in the long run.
  6. Those of you who are self-employed or who run small businesses will not find it hard to find healthcare insurance at reasonable rates.
  7. Middle-class citizens and small business owners will be provided with tax credits to help make insurance more affordable for them.
  8. Premiums are expected to reduce considerably. While the figures vary widely and may even be exaggerated, it’s safe to say that there will be a significant decrease in what you pay for healthcare insurance.
  9. You can carry your children on your policy until they’re 27 if you choose to do so.
  10. You won’t be denied coverage after a certain upper limit has been reached – your insurer must continue to pay for your medical expenses until you get better.

It’s pretty ironic if you consider the fact that most bankruptcies were filed because people, even those who had insurance, were unable to pay their medical expenses. And to think they say we have the best healthcare system in the world. I would say it’s time for a change, because anything that changes this status quo can only be better, not worse than the current mess that is the US healthcare system. 

50 Great Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers

With one out of about every 150 children suffering from one of the Autism spectrum disorders, everyone is sure to be affected by it. Parents, families, and more are all struggling to deal with raising a happy and healthy autistic child. With more and more teachers also being exposed to ASD, sometimes textbooks on it are not enough.

To help make sense of it all, we have gathered 50 great blogs and links for Autism teachers. They are written by experts, parents, teachers, and even those who suffer from some sort of ASD. Get a real look at the faces and voices of Autism by having a look at the below.

Great Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers by a Professional

These experts in Autism have loads to say about it via blog.

    1. Autism Speaks
    This site remains one of the leading advocates for those with Autism. Learning the signs and getting the latest headlines are just some of the topics featured here. There is also an active community both online and traditional.

    2. AspieWeb
    The author of this site believes too much negative time is spent on autism spectrum disorders. With a focus on the positive, they provide news and useful resources. Be sure to check out the Resource Guide with more.
    3. Autism Support Network
    This is the ongoing story of Buckholtz’s life as a multi-platinum record producer, songwriter, and founder of a non-profit aimed at directly assisting families coping with autism, all while coping with Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD. He shares some of the thinking processes, behaviors, and experiences here. There are many useful entries for teachers, such as how to pay attention, and even the latest news.
    4. Autism Blog
    Lisa Jo Rudy is the mother of Tommy, age 14, diagnosed with PDD-NOS — an Autism spectrum disorder. She is also a professional writer, researcher and consultant. Her expert blog for About.com is full of entries such as speech therapy, early trials, and more.
    5. Age of Autism
    Click here for a daily web newspaper of the Autism epidemic. They share papers, reports, and other pertinent information. You can also check the A through Z categories on many broad topics.
    6. Action for Autism
    Mike Stanton is from the United Kingdom where he teaches children with learning difficulties. He also has a son with Asperger’s syndrome and is a member of the National Autistic Society. Support for all those affected by Autism spectrum disorders is abundant.
    7. Autism Street
    Dad of Cameron gives a guided tour through the often misinformed public on Autism. Bizarre medical practices, hidden challenges, and successes are all featured. Reviews of other blogs and news items are often the topic of posts.
    8. Autism Podcast
    Over 90 episodes and counting can have both teachers and parents spending hours learning from experts. Michael Boll includes the story of many families with autism, along with leading experts in the field. A recent episode was on adults with autism.

Great Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers by a Parent

The first word on children with Autism, parents of children with ASD blog below to give a better understanding of it.

    9. Autism is not the Boss
    Mae is a parent mentor and advocate for people with disabilities. She believes in inclusion and self determination just as she has shown with her son with a PDD-NOS diagnosis. Get product recommendations, advocacy, and educational tips all on one blog.
    10. Autism & Public School
    The blogger’s son has high-functioning autism and attends an experimental public school program in New York City for children on this end of the Autism scale. The blog is her attempt to chronicle the journey through this experimental education and share other items of interest. A recent blog entry was on the progress of the last year.
    11. Autism Twins
    Kal has two twin boys who were both diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Family life, both good and bad, is shared here. Pictures and stories are usually the topics of posts.
    12. The Autism Blog
    Risa is from California where she shares the trials and tribulations of a family with a child with Autism. She left her job at a medical device company to focus more on her children and began this blog. It focuses on exploration, raising children, and discussion of therapies and treatment.
    13. Skinny Kids
    This blog is an attempt to document the lives of two children, Michael and Laurel. Their mother intends for this to be their virtual baby book and has struck a note with the rest of the blogging world. Stories, successes, and more are shared.
    14. Autism Parents
    “Sweet Caroline” is the inspiration of the blog and can be seen in various pictures. Her dad also blogs on many interesting aspects of the disease, along with entries on daily life. Be sure not to miss the recipes especially for families with Autism.
    15. Wrong Planet
    Both individual and parents are encouraged to engage in the discussion forum here. There are also expert articles, and much more. Be sure not to miss Autism Talk TV with more.

Great Community Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers

Check out the below to read and share stories regarding autism.

    16. Autism Society
    All those affected by Autism can visit here to share stories, get news, and more. Teachers will enjoy the Professional section with items just for them. You can also get free downloads, an online art exhibit, and tons of other tools.
    17. Moms Fighting Autism
    Visit here to create a profile and meet tons of parents of children with autism. The site is updated constantly with blog entries and stories. You can also click to learn more about the Autism webinar series.
    18. Child Autism Parent Cafe
    Helping children with Autism reach their full potential is the focus of this blog. Topics include education, schools, coping, and much more. They even have a Google search within their own site.
    19. Autism Blogger
    Their mission is to allow people who have been affected by Autism to share their stories, provide support, and to help others. Videos and images are also included. Recent entries are even on the principles of behavior and negative reinforcement.
    20. Visual Supports in Autism
    This company provides special teaching tools for children with Autism. However, the blog has loads of useful tips on what they are and how they work. A recent entry was on teaching aids for Autism.
    21. Easter Seals and Autism
    This group is founded specifically to help people and families with disabilities. With a special section for Autism they have useful resources such as the warning signs of Autism and the disease after age 21. There are also loads of stories to read and share on the site.
    22. Autism and PPD Support Network
    Support to cope with Autism spectrum disorders is featured here. Learn more about the basics of Autism, along with useful links to resources by state. They also have a support forum and message boards.
    23. Autism Women’s Network
    Mothers, teachers, and other women with Autism in the family are encouraged to visit here. Their mission is to provide effective supports to Autistic females of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy, and resources. They also have useful blog entries right on the homepage.
    24. iCan
    The Interactive Collaborative Autism Network is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to support those affected with Autism. It was developed with teachers and other support specialists in mind who want to learn more. It also offers instructional modules and other relevant information.

Great Educational Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers

These blogs and sites focus on the educational challenges of Autism.

    25. I Teach Autism
    A special education teacher with a class full of autistic students is the author of this blog. Along with a team of Autism advocates, they discuss the educational aspects of the disease. Get resources on teaching, Asperger syndrome, sensory overload, and much more.
    26. Model Me Kids
    The documentary on children with Autism is reason enough for teachers to visit here. A teacher shares her experiences with these special children in the ten minute film. They also have other tools for teachers.
    27. Autism Teaching Tools
    Juliet Burk founded Autism Teaching Tools in 2002 as a resource to help parents and professionals find specific tools and teaching tips for working with learners with Autistic spectrum disorders. As a parent of two ASD children, she knows firsthand how to educate children with Autism. Choose from art, safety, music, a blog, and more.
    28. Practical Autism Resources
    This site is dedicated to the support of the hard-working individuals who are key players in the lives of children with Autism. Resources, tips, and more are included. They recently just released a CD with even more.
    29. Aspie Teacher
    Sandy was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and has an M.S. in Education. Previously employed as a teacher, she has experienced struggles in education, employment, and personal life. Must read entries on the blog include “Getting to Yes with Accommodations” and “Why Closed Captioning Isn’t Just for Deaf People.”
    30. Simply Robert
    He is an elementary music and vocabulary teacher and even teaches presentation delivery and Autism to adults. Bible classes and Asperger’s syndrome are another area of Robert’s expertise. His favorite posts are on Obama myths and child friendly fonts.
    31. Spectrum Siblings
    Both an Autistic college student and ABA therapist blog here. The focus is on how to thrive on the Autism spectrum. Autistic traits are often featured and discussed.
    32. The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
    The editors at this blog and site help parents and teachers make informed decisions with love. Entries include divorce rates, a daily record, special ed 101, and more. You can even send in your own story.
    33. The Coffee Klatch Blog
    Parents of special needs children gather here to discuss challenges. Often taking on the topic of education, it is a good choice for teachers. One of the latest posts was on the challenges of going back to school.

Great Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers by an Autistic.

For various reasons, these blogs and sites are a must read for teachers and others involved with Autism.

    34. Autist’s Corner
    Lindsay is from Kansas and was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at age five. A recent university graduate, she has degrees in biochemistry and English literature. See Autism from the other side in this must view blog.
    35. Aspie Rhetor
    This Autistic blogger is also a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State. Tags include advocacy, rhetoric, scholarship, and more. A recent blog was on passivity.
    36. Cat in a Dog’s World
    Thoughts on self advocacy from an Autistic cat lover are shared here. Sarah comments on everyday life, in addition to her condition. A recent entry was on what it truly means to be normal.
    37. LoriB.me
    After a successful career and relationship, Lori found out that she had Asperger’s syndrome. It actually came as a relief. Life with Asperger’s, normalcy, and why to not fix it are all discussed.
    38. The Art of Being Asperger Woman
    Aspie Bird writes on “the fun of life and the way I deal with Asperger’s.” A video bar shows just that. There are also blog entries on topics such as things to celebrate.
    39. Drive Mom Crazy
    Jason Ross is 29 and has Asperger’s syndrome. Fascinated by medicine, he does not necessarily attempt to drive his mother to madness. However, his blog is full of an insider opinion on the news and developments on Autism spectrum disorders.
    40. Neurodiversity Weblog
    Autism spectrum disorders are the focus of this neuro blog. OSR and the FDA are recent subjects of posts. You can also get tons of other articles.
    41. Comet’s Corner
    Clay is a literal jack of all trades having worked as everything from a burger flipper to independently employed and financially stable. Read about all his experiences, including those with Autism, on his blog. It is lengthy and full of inspired thoughts.
    42. Counting Time
    This 30 something “geek girl” was given the label of Autism and Asperger’s syndrome at 35. Her blog is an attempt to incorporate these new labels into her life, to write about what it is like to find out you are on the spectrum as an adult, and explore the world of Autism.
    43. More Than a Number
    Brandy is a self-proclaimed “opinionated Christian Autistic 21 year old.” She also has Septo Optic Dysplasia and Bipolar Disorder. Check out her blog to get must read entries such as “Things I Don’t Say About Autism But Want To.”
    44. Misadventures from a Different Perspective
    This website is part of the Autism-assembly and a coalition of members of the Autistic community who share the common goal of seeking acceptance for those on the Autistic spectrum. They aim to educate about Autism do not seeking a cure for it.

Great Niche Blogs & Links for Autism Teachers

These blogs capture other aspects of autism spectrum disorders.

    45. Hyperlexicon
    This family suffers from Hyperlexia, one of the Autism spectrum disorders. Christa, the mother, gives observations on everything from challenges to social skills. A recent entry was on a show that helped her child.
    46. Autistic Amoeba
    Anemone writes a treasure trove of essays and critiques of research on autism. There is also a film blog that dispels many myths seen on screen.
    47. Amblyopia Kids
    Amblyopia, or lazy eye, can be found in autistic children as well as others. Learn more about the condition and treating it from this blog. Reviews, resources, and more are shared.
    48. Adventures in ASD and GFCF Living
    Erin is a gluten, casein, and corn free cook and mother. All of the recipes on her blog are allergy friendly and useful to families in the Autism spectrum disorder. A recent recipe was on wings.
    49. Naked Brain Ink
    Lindsey Nebeker is a young woman living in Washington D.C. in her 20’s who writes on romance, relationships, and related items. Her Autism gives a unique view to all and is a good read for any adult.
    50. Medical News Today
    Get the latest headlines on Autism spectrum disorders here. Updated often, the latest news is on robots and brain scans for Autism. There is also a guide to what Autism is and a video library.

Whether a teacher with decades of experience or a parent who has just got some bad news, there is loads to learn and teach on the above 50 great blogs and links for Autism teachers. If you suspect a child is Autistic, consult a physician right away, as time is an important factor in diagnosing and treating ASD.