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Adopting Healthy Habits During a Stressful Holiday Season and Covid-19 Pandemic

The holiday season is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year!”

If this is true, why do so many people suffer through this season? There are a lot of factors that can contribute to feeling the holiday blues, but one of the main reasons is stress. Not to mention, COVID-19 has thrown a whole other level of stress into all of our lives. 

There’s so much pressure to buy gifts, host family members, and cook delicious meals (while social distancing and remaining healthy) that it’s easy to see where the joy gets sucked out of celebrating such a wonderful season. Unfortunately, this stress can also lead to health issues that contribute to weight gain, anxiety, depression, and more! 

To help you better manage your stress levels, I wanted to share a few healthy habits to adopt to ensure that stress (and sickness!) doesn’t get the best of you. Let’s dive in…

Why Holiday Stress is So Dangerous

Before we dive into my healthy habit suggestions, let’s take a minute to digest why stress can be so harmful to the body. 

First and foremost, when you start to feel stressed, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones–adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals put your body in “emergency mode” heightening your senses, increasing your blood flow, tightening your muscles. 

When these hormones continue to flow through your body, it takes a toll on your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. At the same time, these chemicals make it difficult for you to “shut off” so you can rest and get sleep. 

If you’re unable to ease the stress in your body, you might experience…

  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Racing Heart 
  • Insomnia

Worst of all, do you know how many people end up managing stress? The answer: eating. 

When you eat, oxytocin (your body’s feel-good chemical) is released. The more you eat, the better you feel. And now, instead of simply dealing with stress, your body weight is affected. 

If this cycle keeps up, your body is going to suffer in more ways than one, which is why it’s so important to learn healthy strategies for managing stress. 

What might those strategies be? Here’s what I recommend…

Stress-Reducing Tip #1: Fuel Your Body with Healthy Food Choices

Consuming healthy, nutritious foods builds a foundation for a healthy body. When that foundation is in place, the outside effects of stress have less of an impact. 

Having healthy foods on hand is also important for when you feel the need to eat during stressful times. While it’s important to not overeat, eating a handful of bell peppers or a bowl of yogurt is much better than digging into a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream. 

Most importantly, a healthy diet helps keep you strong in the event you contact an illness, such as COVID-19. While I can’t claim that healthy food choices can cure you, they will provide you with a firm foundation to fight illness in the event you get sick this season.

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthy items! 

Stress-Reducing Tip #2: Practice Self-Care

During the holidays, it’s easy to focus on everyone else and forget about yourself. 

Self-care is so important and can help you unwind and relax before too much stress builds. Practicing self-care looks different for everyone. If you’re not sure how to add self-care into your routine, try some of the following ideas…

  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy a hot bath
  • Read a good book 
  • Make time for a cup of coffee with a friend 
  • Prepare a healthy meal/snack for yourself 
  • Watch a movie
  • Tap a nap 

Stress-Reducing Tip #3: Learn to Say No 

Are you someone that burns yourself out doing things for others? Today is the day to learn how to say no. 

You have absolutely no obligation to attend every holiday party you’re invited to, to bake homemade cookies for your kids’ classroom, or to take part in every activity that’s going on in your community. 

Prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mark your calendar. And politely decline invitations to things that don’t interest you. 

Stress-Reducing Tip #4: Set Realistic Expectations

A false sense of expectations often leads people to panic when things don’t go as planned. This year, don’t let unrealistic expectations bog you down. 

Set realistic goals. It’s ok to hope for the best when it comes to cooking meals, giving gifts, and hosting parties, but understand you’re not perfect—nor is anyone else! 

Do you best and focus on what matters most…time spent with the people you love. 

Stress-Reducing Tip #5: Get at Least 30-Minutes of Exercise Each Day 

Finally, exercise is a wonderful way to naturally reduce your stress levels while also keeping your body healthy. In fact, exercising releases the same feel-good chemical that eating does! 

I know you probably have a lot going on this time of year, but I encourage you to make the time to exercise for at least 30-minutes a day. 

Take your dog for a walk, climb up and down your staircase, or stream and online yoga class. There are so many ways you can get moving! 

I hope this season is filled with joy, love, and good health for you!

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Lifestyle Changes LLC Celebrates First Anniversary!

This month, on April 11th,  Lifestyle Changes LLC will officially be celebrating it’s one year anniversary!  There are so many reasons I am thankful for hitting this milestone. 

First and foremost, every year I’m in business is another year that I have the opportunity to help people across the country regain their health and start loving their body! 

I look forward to celebrating everyone’s success and good health in the year to come.

Second, opening Lifestyle Changes LLC has allowed me to continue my passion as a board-certified doctor, simply in a different capacity–online. It’s been a great way to provide online customized and personalized care. There’s nothing better than getting to wake up every day and do what I love! 

Finally, since opening my doors, I’ve had the opportunity to partake in so many wonderful opportunities and connect with people around the world.

To celebrate our one year anniversary I want to share a list of my favorite highlights from this year. Thanks so much for being a part of the Lifestyle Changes family and I hope you’ll continue to celebrate with us as the years go on! 

I was featured in Business Wire, Main Line Today, and Philly Mag.

I was honored to have an article published on how your life can change when you put forth the effort to lose weight. I invite you to read the entire article below! 

Read the article here

A second article I contributed to was for Main Line Today. In this article, I discuss how I use an app for remote patient monitoring via my weight loss management program. 

Read the article here

My book became an Amazon #1 Bestseller.

This year, my book, Get Your Sexy Back: A Guide to Bouncing Back After Pregnancy became a #1 bestseller on Amazon. 

Here’s the synopsis…

Being pregnant and becoming a new mom is one of the most special times you will have in your life. But along with pregnancy comes baby weight—and caring for a newborn makes it difficult to find the time to shed those excess pounds! At the same time, though, losing that extra weight comes with a myriad of benefits, including preventing health complications, improving your mood, and increasing your energy levels. Fortunately, this book can help.

If you’re interested in giving it a read, you can find it here

I was able to connect and care for my wonderful patients online. 

Since opening my doors, I’ve been able to provide quality, personalized online patient visits to over 100 men and women. 

If you’re interested in scheduling an online visit, you can do so here

I’ve successfully helped patients safely lose weight. 

Over 10 patients have successfully lost weight within the first three months on my program…and you can too! 

Interested in learning more about the program? Schedule an appointment today

I’ve built a wonderful community on social media where I can educate and connect with people around the globe! 

In the last year, I’m proud to say that my social platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have been growing. At this point I have about 1,000 followers across all platforms. 

This is exciting as I use these platforms to share information, educate people, and connect with those in need of quality health care. 

I’ve conducted over 30 Facebook lives and have over 100 posts on my social accounts. 

If you’re not following me yet, you’re missing out!

Stay up to date with all the latest news and information by following the accounts below…

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter 

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in various speaking engagements. 

Education is key when it comes to helping people attain good health. I’ve been honored to speak at various locations including Girard College, local high schools, and Oracle, where I’ve been able to share important information on health and wellness. 

I look forward to many more speaking opportunities as the year goes on.

Providing COVID-19 Assistance

Over the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world. During this stressful time, people have needed access to skilled medical professionals like never before. 

Conducting online screenings/patient visits has allowed me to help my patients get the knowledge, care, and diagnosis they need in order to remain healthy. Best of all, virtual appointments help protect everyone from having to sit in an ER or doctor’s office where others might potentially be carrying the virus. 

If you’re worried about your health or are suffering from flu-like symptoms, I encourage you to set up an online screening so we evaluate whether you may need further testing.

Schedule an appointment today

Whether you’re a patient, a social media follower, or a friend/colleague/or family member I want to thank you once again for being part of the Lifestyle Changes family. 

I look forward to continued growth and helping those in my network achieve their health and wellness goals.


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How to Set Realistic Health and Wellness Goals for 2021

It happens every year…

The clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and we all make pledges to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Then…3 weeks later we are eating junk, sitting on the couch, and neglecting our newly purchased gym memberships or equipment. 

Why does this happen? And what can you do to ensure you actually stick to your health and wellness goals for this year? 

The answer is simpler than you think! It’s all about setting realistic goals for yourself so you don’t burnout within the first month of adapting to better health and wellness habits. 

In an effort to encourage you to start 2021 off on the right foot, I want to share with you some of my tips for setting realistic health and wellness goals this year. 

Here’s what I recommend…

Tip #1: Start Slow with a New Exercise Routine 

Making a commitment to run 5 miles a day to improve your health is a great idea. However, it’s pretty unrealistic for most people—especially if you’re not a runner. 

After 1-2 long, excruciating runs, you may quickly find yourself losing motivation and giving up on yourself. The reason: Your body isn’t ready for this kind of commitment yet.

Think about it…

Many marathon runners train for nearly a year before they are ready to run a great distance. This means you need to start slow as well and build up the endurance and strength your body needs to successfully accomplish your goals. 

This is true for ANY exercise routine you want to adopt. 

Start small, start slow. Then, build yourself up BEFORE you burn yourself out. Any movement is good for your body, so don’t feel bad if you’re only about to run a half-mile or lift 10-pound weights to start. 

When you remain committed to your exercise routine, you’ll start seeing results. 

Tip #2: Find Creative Ways to Adjust Your Diet  

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions around. Yet, so many people fail because they jump to crash or FAD diets and obscure eating plans that ultimately lead to failure. 

If you’re not a healthy-eater to begin with, radically changing your diet can become a miserable experience. And if you have picky kids to feed this only complicates your ability to make changes. 

The good news is that healthy food choices are very versatile, and it’s easier than you may think to make minor changes that can drastically change your diet. All you have to do is get a little creative! 

For example:

  • If you don’t love greens but enjoy smoothies, blend kale and spinach into your morning drink. You’ll never know it’s there!
  • Are your kids always begging for pizza? Try a pizza with a cauliflower crust! 
  • Not a vegetable person? Finely grate carrots, eggplant, zucchini (or just about any veggie) and mix them into your meatballs or meatloaf. 

Simple cooking hacks can also improve the health of the food you’re eating. For instance…

  • Instead of frying chicken (or any other form of meat), grill it! 
  • Look for sodium-free spice blends in the grocery store to season your food. 
  • Use fresh herbs to add flavor to meats and veggies instead of fattening sauces. 

Yes, meal prep may take a little more thought than simply throwing a freezer meal into the microwave, but I promise your body will thank you in the long run! 

Tip #3: Listen to Your Body

Due to age, health history, injuries, etc. it’s important to be mindful of your body when adopting new health habits. 

If you have aching legs and a bad back, a gym full of stairmasters and treadmills might not be the right place for you. Instead, joining a YMCA with a swimming pool (which offers a low-impact exercise option) is probably a better choice! 

It’s important to listen to your body and talk to your doctor about what types of exercise will be most beneficial to you so you don’t get frustrated and give up. 

From walking and biking to yoga and Zumba classes, there are a million different options available! Test a few different options out and see what works best for you! 

Tip #4: Join a Virtual Class Vs. Individual Workouts 

Some people really enjoy the social aspect of exercise. If this describes you, your best bet is to enroll in a class where you’ll be able to exercise alongside other people who can help motivate and inspire you. 

Of course, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, opt for a virtual class to stay safe!

Who knows, you might even make a new friend…a definite bonus as you work hard to achieve your fitness goals. 

Most gyms and rec centers offer…

  • Spin classes
  • Swimming Classes
  • Group Yoga
  • Dance Classes 
  • Crossfit
  • Etc. 

Be sure to check out what your local gym/rec center offers and sign yourself up! 

Tip #5: Make Time for your Mental Health 

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all negatively affect your ability to reach your health goals. 

For example, when people are stressed, they might stress eat. Or, if you’re feeling down, finding the motivation to get off the couch and workout might seem simply impossible. 

We often forget that mental health is a huge part of whole-body health. And there’s nothing wrong with getting help, visiting your doctor, or talking to a mental health professional if you need care. 

Another part of managing your mental health is self-care. It’s so important to take the time you need to rest, relax, and refocus amongst the hustle and bustle of work, kids, and other responsibilities. 

Take a hot bath…read a good book…treat yourself to a mani/pedi or a massage. Never forget, it’s ok to put yourself first and spoil yourself sometimes!

Tip #6: Find an Accountability Partner

Sometimes we all need a little extra encouragement to make healthy choices. This is why an accountability partner is so important! 

Find a friend or family member who you trust that can help keep you accountable for your goals. Make sure they check in with you every week to ensure you’re staying on track. 

Better yet, find someone who is interested in working out with you or meal prepping with you. Going through the motions with someone else is a great way to establish healthy habits that last for a lifetime. 

Tip #7: Speak to a Healthcare Professional About Your Goals

Nobody knows your health better than your physician. 

In fact, he/she likely even has great recommendations on how you can improve your health that can be tailored to any health issue you might currently be experiencing. After all, someone with heart disease might need to follow a slightly different health and wellness plan than someone with diabetes. 

Your doctor can help you set up realistic goals and provide you with the info you need to achieve them. All you have to do is ask! 

If you don’t have a primary caregiver and are looking for guidance on how to best take care of your body, I encourage you to set up a virtual visit with me online. Together we can walk through your health history and set up a plan that WILL work for you! 

Schedule a FREE 15-min Discovery Session to discuss your health and weight loss goals.

Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year! 

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