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Doctor Lee's Blog

Musings from The Doctor of Fitness: Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Expert, & Sports Medicine Physician

The purpose of this blog is to write informally for anyone who is interested in fitness, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports medicine, and breaking fitness and nutrition news. If you'd like to reach me directly, you can contact me here. Feel free to take a look at my professional bio and my not-so-professional bio.

What’s New in Taxes for 2019?

on Tuesday, 22 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Toward the end of most years there’s a lot of talk about the new tax laws and what changes we can expect. For the most part, these changes are usually relatively minor. A tax credit might end or an income bracket might have been tweaked here and there, but frequently that’s about the extent of it. Not so for 2019. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act didn’t just make a few cosmetic changes; it represents the most extensive tax overhaul in over a generation.

So what’s new for 2019? A better question might be what isn’t new for 2019.  Here’s a good summary of what we can expect.

The change most of us will notice is the doubling of the standard deduction and the elimination of personal exemptions. Because of this change, fewer people than ever will be itemizing.

Many common deductions have been eliminated including those for employee business expenses and student loan interest deductions. Moving expenses may now only be deducted by active duty military personnel moving as part of a change in duty station.

Starting in 2019, the penalty for not having health insurance will be reduced to zero.

The loss of personal exemptions may be particularly difficult for large families. To compensate, the child tax credit doubles to $2,000 per qualifying child. In addition, up to $1,400 of the child tax credit can now be received as refundable credit.

These changes are just a few of the many differences the new law will bring to American taxpayers. As always, if you have any questions before you file your return, please consult a qualified tax professional.

Martin Luther King Day: A Call to Service

on Tuesday, 15 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If you’re looking at the calendar for January you‘ve probably noticed that the 21st is Martin Luther King Day.  At the very least it’s a three-day weekend for some of us.

The day is so much more than that. If we’ve studied history at all, we know the words and we’ve heard the speeches. Dr. King’s life and legacy is an important part of why we honor him on his birthday, but the day represents more than the celebration of the life of a great man. It represents a call to service.

King is known for his “I have a Dream” speech. He had many dreams. One of those was that we could live in a community where hunger, homelessness, and poverty didn't exist, because we all helped each other out. He hoped that each of us could become a ray of light in hard times and together build a better world.

If you want to change the world, often the best place to begin is right in your own neighborhood. Not sure what you can do or who needs your help? One place to find out is mlkday.gov.  Just click on “Find a Volunteer Opportunity”, enter your zip code and you can find many volunteer projects in your area.  There are such a wide variety of services needed, and you’re sure to find an opportunity that’s just right for you.

If you’re already part of a volunteer organization, you can still find great information about hosting an event or promoting one.

So don’t let January 21st just be a date on the calendar. Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King by honoring your neighborhood. Get involved and do what you can to make it a better place.

How to Keep Those Pesky New Year Resolutions

on Tuesday, 08 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Did you make a New Years’ Resolution? Most of us have. How long did you keep it? If you’re like most of us, the answer is not very long. It can be tough work sometimes, but if you’re determined to make a resolution this year, here are some ways to be certain you can keep it.

Be realistic. Take some time to examine what you can reasonably expect to accomplish this year. There’s no point in setting yourself up for failure. Pick resolutions you can achieve given your time and resources.

Set goals you really want. Before you put all the time and effort into meeting that New Years’ resolution, make sure you’re doing it for you and not for someone else. Not only will you be more likely to get it done, but you’ll end up a lot happier if you’re successful.

Create bite sized portions. Making major changes can seem so overwhelming that many of us opt not to even start. Don’t be intimidated. Instead, break your goal down into manageable chunks that you can handle.

Be persistent. You’ll have your down days. You’ll have days where you slip back into old habits without even thinking about it. Don’t be discouraged. Remember if it was easy, you’d have probably taken care of it by now.

Even though we may laugh at them sometimes, the idea behind New Years’ resolutions is a good one. It’s a brand new year, so why not start the year off right with a brand new you? Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a great chance to succeed.

Happy New Year!

on Tuesday, 01 January 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“You are never too old to set a new goal. To dream a new dream.”

—     C.S. Lewis

If you didn’t know it was a new year by looking at the calendar would you really notice any difference from the day before?

The weather would probably be about the same (cold in most places). For the most part, the same topics as yesterday would still be trending on your social media. And, of course, your cat would still expect to be fed like always.

A New Year is much more than a date on the calendar though. It’s a time for renewal, a chance to reinvent yourself. It’s an opportunity to start fresh and a way to put the past behind you. These may all sound like clichés, and perhaps they are in a sense, but it doesn’t make them less true. That’s what makes a new year so special.

But why wait until January 1st to reinvent yourself? You have the ability to make every day a new start. There’s an old saying that past performance is the best indicator of future success. Says who? Don’t let past failures cloud your future. Your future is your own, not some prophecy set in stone.

Now, of course, you’ll need a plan. You’ll need to visualize that future and take steps to make it happen. You’ll need to put in the work. All of these things are possible even though they might not seem that way at the time.

So go make those resolutions! Make every day a new start. Go out and reinvent yourself and see where it leads you.

The Joy of Christmas

on Tuesday, 25 December 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas ...perhaps ... means a little bit more!"

Dr. Seuss (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

The holidays are bright and beautiful. There’s nothing quite like going out on a chilly night to see the lights glistening against a backdrop of new fallen snow. You have tinsel sparkling and carolers singing. You might catch the aforementioned Dr. Seuss Christmas special on TV or maybe go old school with the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. There’s the anticipation of the big day, and of course, there’s the wonderful smorgasbord of holiday goodies to munch on, made even more special by the fact that you only get to enjoy them for a short time.

A big thing is the loot. You’re bound to get something you need and (just as importantly) maybe something you’ve been wanting all year. It might even be something you didn’t even know you needed until that magical moment you tear open the package. It’s often better to give than receive though, and the priceless look of joy on a friend or relative’s face when they see what you’ve gotten them makes all the behind the scenes work worth it.

Of course, Christmas isn’t just about the things that come from a store. It’s about family and friends and being with the ones you love. They’re the ones that truly make Christmas a special time. So take a moment to appreciate the joy of Christmas. After all, it only comes around once a year.

Have a Great and Happy Holiday!

5 Healthy Holiday Food Choices

on Tuesday, 18 December 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Your stomach may still be recovering from all that Thanksgiving feasting, but the holiday march continues. Christmas and New Years’ Day are coming, which means more family gatherings, more office parties and more tantalizing things to tempt your tummy.

There’s no harm in indulging yourself a little, but just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean everything you eat has to be bad for you. There are alternatives that are both delicious and easy on the calories.

If there’s no way you’ll make it through the holiday without some quality green-bean casserole, try this slimmed-down version on for size.

Got a holiday party to go to? Get all the great taste of buffalo chicken wings without the associated calories with these spicy sriracha-buffalo cauliflower bites.

You probably won’t survive the holiday rush on carrots and lettuce alone, and with this healthier version of classic meatballs, you won’t have to.

Festive? Yep. Holiday color? Check. If you want a dessert that has all the Christmas pizzazz without all the Christmas calories, these star-mint meringues might be just the thing.

Let’s face it: you could really go for a great crab cake. You just don’t want to feel guilty about it. Problem solved with these light mini-crab cakes.

Use these tasty recipes along with a little moderation and common sense for the holidays. Remember a great Holiday spread doesn’t have to end up on your waistline.

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