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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.

Christmas Melodies

on Tuesday, 24 December 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…” Christmas marks a special time of the year for many of us, a time for peace, joy, family, and a whole bunch of catchy Christmas music. See if this list of Christmas favorites strikes a chord with you.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly…” Christmas decorations bring a smile to everyone’s face. The twinkling lights, a fragrant tree, and that ornament you made in first grade; what’s not to love? Take the kids out on a late night tour of holiday lights. Dress your house to the nines. Choose a tree (fake’s good too), and feel free to leave it up well into the New Year.

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” While a partridge in a pear tree might not be on anyone’s wish list right now, it is delightful to give and receive at this time of year. Cherish a thoughtful gift from a loved one, and find just the right thing to bless another person. 

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” Winter’s chilly temperatures showcase the appeal of a cozy evening spent at home with a tasty holiday treat. Break out the blankets, and snuggle up with a warm drink and your favorite holiday foods.

“Joy to the world!” Whether you celebrate Christmas as the birth of a Savior, or as a holiday of generosity and peace, Christmas is a joyful time of year. Relax, remember your reason for the season, and enjoy this Christmas.

Now that you’re in the Christmas spirit, pass it around by whistling while you work or singing while you shop. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; soon the bells will start, and the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing right within your heart.” Merry Christmas!  

Less Stress for the Holidays

on Tuesday, 17 December 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Do the holidays just make you want to scream? It’s so stressful! So commercial! Are we having fun yet? If you would like to find more meaning in your holiday celebrations, you are not alone. Here are a few suggestions for slowing down and simplifying your holiday routine.

Take the time to make a plan.

Everyday life is busy enough. Add in parties, pageants, and loads of gifts to buy, and it’s just too much. Carve out a time before things kick into high gear to plan the essentials of your holiday strategy. Make shopping lists. Schedule a meal plan. Reserve time for special events. Life’s little emergencies and the decisions we make on the fly raise our stress levels the most. By committing to your priorities in advance, you won’t risk getting off course as the pace of life picks up.

Get your ZZZ's.

You might gain a few more hours of productivity for one night, but sacrificing sleep will catch up with you in the long run. Research shows that tired people perform noticeably worse on tasks requiring concentration and reason than well-rested people. Reducing your sleep also negatively impacts your emotional state and suppresses your immune system. Trying for seven or more hours of sleep nightly will help you function at your best throughout the day.

Learn to say NO.

Sometimes you simply have to say no. You can’t be everywhere at once, so quit spreading yourself too thin. Decide what really matters to you and your family this holiday season. Any last minute requests that don’t measure up, need to go. Graciously decline and move on. You can relax more fully as your schedule frees up, and you’ll have the time and energy to be present when it matters.

It’s time to deck the halls, not climb the walls. You will get a valuable boost to your health and productivity by getting the rest you need. Sticking with a game plan reduces stressful surprises and pares down an overly full calendar. Savor the best of the holidays this year instead of letting the holidays get the best of you.

Holiday Parties

on Tuesday, 10 December 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s party time! The holidays are upon us. Dinner here, a party there, the calories are everywhere. In the words of the great Dr. Seuss, "It is fun to have fun but you have to know how." Here are some ideas for handling holiday parties without overeating.

Lead off with a healthy starter.

Fill up on low calorie options, so that you can feel satisfied by smaller portions of high calorie items. Order a vegetable soup or a salad with dressing on the side before your meal. If you’re at a buffet, nosh on fruits and vegetables first. Another tip for buffets: check out all the offerings before filling your plate with just a few favorites.

Liquid calories count too!

With delicious desserts and savory snacks, it’s easy to forget calories come in liquid form as well. Be cautious of drink options with too many calories. A rich hot chocolate, a frothy eggnog, even an adult beverage will add calories quickly without doing much to fill your belly. Sip water in addition to other drinks. You’ll save calories and feel more full.

If possible, stay on the move.

Don’t worry; it’s not a workout. By circulating and socializing, you can move away from food selections and interact with everyone. You will feel engaged and enjoy the festivities more. Eating doesn’t need to be the entertainment.

A holiday party could be a healthy eating disaster, but it doesn’t have to be. Remain mindful of what you’re eating, and recognize when you feel satisfied. You can celebrate the season with friends and food, but without diet regrets.

Holiday Health

on Tuesday, 03 December 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Putting on weight during the holiday season seems inevitable. Cookies, pies, and other delicious high-calorie treats appear everywhere this time of year. Exercise these simple strategies to indulge, without piling on the pounds.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables provide a huge nutritional boost of vitamins and fiber without adding tons of calories. Try incorporating five or more fruit and vegetable servings into your daily diet during the holidays. To make a satisfying snack, pair a fruit or a vegetable with a small amount of protein and fat. You can try carrots with ranch dressing, apple slices with cheddar cheese, or a banana with peanut butter.

Plan ahead for party time.

Holiday parties and family get-togethers tend to disrupt healthy eating habits. Don’t get caught off guard at these special events; make a plan before you go. A calorie is a calorie, so decide which foods are worth the splurge. Cut back on calories the day of the event to accommodate your favorite foods. You can still enjoy a reasonable portion without blowing your diet.

Schedule your workout time.

You’re incredibly busy these days, but don’t forget to fit in your workout. Beyond the calories burned by exercise, working out can help you stay in control of your appetite. Aerobic exercise suppresses the release of key hormones that trigger feelings of hunger. Getting active can reduce stress levels, and who couldn’t use a little less stress (and stress related snacking)?

Staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be an impossible feat. Fill up on healthy veggies and fruits, but leave room for a few indulgences in your plan. Fit in exercise where you can. You’ll stay in great shape through the holidays, and you can forget about that New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

Giving Thanks

on Tuesday, 26 November 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Your kids might already be thinking about how much they want (and telling Santa all about it), but November is a good time to contemplate the blessings that you already have. Taking the time to pause and reflect can bring more joy into your celebrations this year. 

Look for the good in daily life.

It’s easy to get swept away by negative thoughts and complaining. Put the focus back on the positive. Find ways to express gratitude each day. Celebrate small things like beautiful weather or green lights on the way to work. Give thanks for big ones too: your family, friends, and a place to call home.

Help someone in need.

Volunteering is a powerful way to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Find a cause you feel passionate about and find out how you can help. Your contribution is important, and you’ll have a way to connect meaningfully with others who share your values.

Draw close to your loved ones.

Unplug from the holiday hubbub to enjoy simple pleasures with family and dear friends. An evening of laughter and catching up will recharge your spirits. There’s no need to do anything big or fancy; these are the people who love you as you are.

Sometimes we get so busy celebrating the holidays that we forget why we’re celebrating. Strengthen your relationships, and rejoice in their loving comforts. Lend a hand to someone in need. Remember to appreciate the good in your life, and you just might find more of it. These simple ideas can enrich your life throughout the year.

Holiday Shopping

on Tuesday, 19 November 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

To shop or not to shop? That is the question. Is it smarter to suffer crowds and craziness for outrageous deals at the mall, or to sit safely in your cozy home, racking up bargains from the Internet? As soon as Thanksgiving is over, holiday shopping season kicks off in full force with Black Friday, followed quickly by Cyber Monday. Here are some ideas that will let you complete your holiday shopping for less this year.

Look for price matching guarantees.

Savvy shoppers know the deals they want to buy before they ever leave home. Make a list of holiday gifts you plan to give. Check your list against sales advertisements to find the lowest price. Double check the ad for a price matching policy, or even better, a lowest price policy. These policies can condense your shopping to one or two stores, saving you both money and time.

Take advantage of special prices online.

Don’t forget to look online for must-have presents. Many online retailers offer spectacular sales on Cyber Monday. Free shipping deals abound during the holidays, and promotional codes offer extra savings. Use a search engine to check for promo codes before you check out. Many stores open their online sales as early as Thanksgiving Day, so while everyone else sleeps off the turkey, you can start checking items off your list.

Get an early start.

Keep an eye on the sales happening in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. The prices may be as good or better, and you won’t have to dodge crazy drivers in the mall parking lot. If you do find a better price on Black Friday, ask for a price adjustment. Many stores will refund the difference to a new lower sales price within 1-2 weeks of your original purchase.

Black Friday got its name from generating huge profits for retailers, pulling them back “into the black.” Keep your own finances in the black by shopping wisely this holiday season. Whether you shop in store or online, you can use these strategies to score great prices on the gifts you want to buy.

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