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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.

How Healthy is Your Holiday Budget?

on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

We all know the importance of good health. That’s why we try to eat right, exercise and lead healthy lifestyles. As the holiday season reaches its peak, are our wallets in as good a shape as we are? To make it through we’ll need a budget that can handle the holiday rush.

The best way to make sure things go according to plan is to first make a plan. Take a look at your budget ahead of time and do your best to anticipate what you’ll need and how much you can spend. Make sure to leave enough flex in your budget to handle unexpected emergencies, such as when your brother-in-law and his large family announce they’re going to be in town for the holidays.

Once you have a budget in mind, you’ll want to use your money carefully. One of the best ways to do that is by taking advantage of the multitude of holiday sales. To get the best deal on the sales be sure to read the fine print and don’t forget take the cost of shipping into account.

Speaking of smart shopping, one of the best ways to save some money is to grab up last year’s technological gizmos. Companies often introduce brand new models during the holidays, complete with all the newest bells and whistles. However, if you’re not concerned about being on the cutting edge of technology, you can often get an older model that’s almost as good at a great discount.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to break your budget the same way it threatens to break your waistline. Make a plan beforehand, shop smartly and take advantage of sales and you’ll come out of the holiday season in tip-top financial shape.

Healthy Holiday Party Eating

on Tuesday, 03 December 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The holidays have many things going for them, not the least of which is the food. Whether it’s Grandma’s special holiday fudge, coworker Sally’s double chocolate Christmas cake or neighbor Ed’s surf and turf extravaganza, there are some good eats to be had. The only real downside is the damage that holiday goodness may do to the waistline you've worked so hard to maintain all year.. Here are some ways to keep on track during the holiday rush:

It may seem like a great time saver to just eat at the party since you’re going anyway. However, try to eat at least a little something before you arrive. That way you can think with a clear head rather than an empty stomach

Another great way to avoid holiday calories is to bring along a healthy dish. It gives you some degree of control over what you’ll be eating. You may even be able to set a good example for future parties, so don’t be stingy with the recipe.

Take your time when you’re eating. According to research it takes about 20 minutes after we take a bite before our stomach lets us know it’s full. Without a good early warning system in place it’s easy to overeat, especially when we’re gobbling down everything in sight as fast as we can.

Food isn’t the only thing to watch out for. There are usually plenty of options of delicious drinks to wash down all those rich foods with. It might be decadent hot chocolate or Cousin Gerda’s legendary eggnog, but the calories can rack up pretty quickly.

You don’t have to starve yourself, of course. Holiday food is part of the fun. Just keep these tips in mind so you can stop the pounds before they start.

Say Goodbye to Pumpkin Pie!

on Tuesday, 26 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It wouldn’t be fall without pumpkin spice. Right after Labor Day, we’re inundated with the stuff. There are pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice clothing, pumpkin spice candy bars and more. If you’re suffering from pumpkin spice overload this Thanksgiving, why not try some alternatives to the traditional pumpkin pie?

Butternut-Squash and Coconut Pie. When it comes to traditional thanksgiving foods, squash ranks right up there with those pumpkins. This recipe not only gives the squash its due, but gives it some tropical flair as well.

Classic Sweet Potato Pie. Prefer an old-school Thanksgiving? Well, it doesn’t get any more Thanksgiving than this.

Old-fashioned Apple Pie. Fall is apple season in many parts of the country, so celebrate that apple goodness with this time-honored recipe.

Cheesecake Apple Pie. Should you have a go at that great-looking cheesecake or go the traditional route with a trusty apple pie? Enjoy the best of both worlds with this crowd pleaser.

S’mores Pie. Sure, it may be too cold to go camping, but don’t let the cold ruin the fun. Recapture some of that summer campfire magic with this chocolate and marshmallow masterpiece.

Crustless Cranberry Pie. Does that can-shaped serving of cranberry sauce just sit untouched during your Thanksgiving meal? Put those cranberries to good use in a pie!

Pumpkin spice isn’t the only flavor fall has going for it! There are apple, squash and sweet potato to name just a few. Give these recipes a try. Who knows? You might just start a new trend.

Sweet potato spice latte, anyone?

Are You Ready for Those Holiday Sales?

on Tuesday, 19 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You know they’re coming. First it’ll be a friendly text or email. Then before you know it your mailbox is overflowing with sale papers. It wouldn’t be the holidays without turkey and dressing. It also wouldn’t be the holidays without the sales.

There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday— and those are just for starters! The deals are out there. How do you take advantage of them?

First, you need a plan, and just as importantly you need a budget. Just because that vintage phonograph is on sale doesn’t mean you need it in your living room. Think through your wants and needs and pare it down to those things you really want.

Next, do your homework. Compare different sales and be sure to read the fine print so you aren’t surprised later. Many sales have hidden conditions, such as you have to buy three or more of something before you can relish in that 30 percent discount. Be sure to carefully read the item descriptions as well. Does the sale price for that Roomba really include all the cool attachments? Check for consumer reviews of the product to make sure it’s really what you want. Sometimes an off-brand may be a hidden gem; other times it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Finally, don’t forget about shipping. Online shopping is great, but shipping, particularly for large and bulky items, can quickly eat up that discount you thought you were getting. To help mitigate the shipping expenses, try teaming up with a friend or family member to split the cost. Many online companies will provide free shipping for larger orders.

Don’t let the autumn sales rush overwhelm you. Come up with a plan of attack. You’ll save both yourself and your wallet a lot of holiday stress.

Using Up Your Dental Benefits

on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Whether it’s an extended illness that catches you off guard or a nasty sprain from stepping awkwardly off the curb, we all know the benefits of having good health insurance. However we often get so caught up in hacking coughs and broken bones that we forget about our dental insurance.

Yes, teeth are important too. Are you making the best use of the money you’re paying to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape?

Dental benefits in many insurance plans don’t roll over into the next year, so it’s essentially a use-or-lose situation. You wouldn’t leave vacation hours on the table at work, so why let those hard-earned dental benefits go to waste?

There are plenty of good reasons to use them. You’ve heard lots of horror stories about root canals or abscessed teeth. Well, this is one horror story that can have a happy ending because many of these problems can be detected long before they reach that stage. Regular dental check-ups are your best defense. The best part of it is that preventative care check-ups are free under many dental plans. That’s right. They cost you nothing except an hour or two of your day.

If your choppers do need more extensive treatment, the end of the year is a good time to schedule it. By this point you’re likely to have met your deductible, but are still under your annual maximum. That means you’re not only helping your teeth out, but helping your wallet out too.

Your teeth put in a hard day’s work. Give them the appreciation they deserve by maximizing your plan’s dental benefits.

Thank You for Our Freedom

on Tuesday, 05 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

After four years of horror, World War I finally came to an end on November 11th. That day, then called Armistice Day, would later become known as Veterans Day. World War I was hoped to be the ‘war that ends all wars”, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

In the years to come, American soldiers would be called upon again, first in World War II, and later in many other conflicts across the globe. The price of freedom is always high, and our country’s veterans have always stepped forth to pay it.

Thoughts of pumpkin pie and turkey legs may be dancing through our heads during the month of November, but it’s also a month to say thank you to those veterans. Without their sacrifice we may not even have a Turkey Day to enjoy. How can you say thank you to a veteran? Here are some ways:

You can make a donation. There are plenty of veteran’s groups such as Wounded Warriors that could use a helping hand. It doesn’t have to be cash either. Groups like Hero Miles can make good use of donated frequent flyer miles.

If money is a little tight this holiday season, you can also offer up your expertise. Sometimes the most valuable asset you have is the wisdom and skills you’ve accumulated over the years.

If you’re a business owner, why not consider hiring a veteran? The skills and expertise learned in the armed forces often translate very well to civilian service.

If none of these options seem appropriate, you can always do the simplest thing of all. Just say ‘Thank You.’ It takes a few seconds of your time and lets veterans know you appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made.

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