Tag Archives: healthy living

So, You’ve Lost The Weight – Now What? (Part 2)

It can be incredibly hard to maintain weight loss. Most ‘dieters’ end up gaining the weight they lose back in a year or two, but it is most certainly possible to maintain weight loss if you take the right measures. There are many things you can do to take to ensure healthy living for life. We took a look at a few good tips for maintaining weight loss in our last post, and now for a few more:

Stress is Setting Me Back

Stress has been directly linked to weight gain and obesity, in more ways than one. If your body is in a perpetual state of stress, your cortisol and adrenaline levels are constantly surging out of whack. Elevated cortisol levels raise the insulin in the body, causing blood sugar to drop which makes you crave fatty, sugary foods. Another way stress can pile the pounds back on specifically relates to those who are emotional eaters. If you find yourself backsliding and eating a row of Oreos every time you are stressed about work or a family conflict arises, stress can certainly be your enemy when it comes to maintaining weight loss. If this is the case, it may be helpful to talk to a psychologist about how to help curb that habit.

My Skin Has Lost Some of Its Elasticity – What Can I Do?

This is a common and often distressing issue that occurs when a person loses a significant amount of weight (such as after pregnancy or undergoing gastric bypass surgery). While surgery is one of the best way to get rid of loose skin, there are measures you can take to minimize stretchmarks and tighten the skin, as well as preventative measures that may be taken. Some helpful tips include:

  1. Pace yourself – losing weight too quickly will often lead to more excess skin. The aim is to lose weight while building muscle, slow and steady (try for 1-2 pounds a week).
  2. Moisturize (with the right stuff) – there are many types of moisturizer on the market today that contain ingredients that claim to help tighten skin. You can also use a combination of extra virgin olive oil and rosemary oil to help moisturize and replenish the stretched, sagging skin.
  3. Mix cardio with strength training – Cardiovascular exercise is really what will help burn fat (sometimes sagging skin is also made of fat deposits that haven’t burned off yet). Strength training exercises will also help to build muscle under the skin which can help tighten it again.
  4. Guzzle water like fuel – If your skin is dehydrated it will be dryer, and overall less healthy and less able to bounce back to a more firm and natural elasticity after losing weight. Try to drink plenty of water to help hydrate your skin.

I Need Support!

One of the greatest things about a weight loss (and maintenance) journey is the vast wealth of support and encouragement that exists in our modern world. If you try to do it alone, things will be much more difficult, so be sure to reach out when you need it. If you are having trouble with the fitness side of things, reach out to a buddy who will workout with you and keep you motivated, or hire a personal trainer to keep you on track. Finding it hard to keep eating well? You can check in with a dietitian, or get help from one of the many healthy eating Apps out there. Having trouble with self esteem? There is no shame in seeking advice from a therapist who will help you get to the root of your self esteem issues and work to fix them. There are also numerous weight loss communities out there via apps, the internet or weekly in-person meetings that may also help keep you motivated as well.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay happy and healthy.


So, You’ve Lost The Weight – Now What? (Part 1)

It can be a tremendous struggle to shed stubborn extra pounds, but sometimes even when that goal is finally accomplished, it is a bittersweet victory. There are other obstacles that may arise post-weight loss such as maintenance, staying motivated when it comes to fitness, or dealing with temporary re-gains. Even though these can all be challenging obstacles, it is important to continue working to keep your BMI in a healthy range if you are concerned about leading a healthier life. Losing extra weight (and keeping it off) significantly lowers your risk of developing such prevalent weight-related conditions as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. So, what are some tips to help you surmount potential post-weight loss problems? Let’s take a look:

It is So Hard to Stay On Track

It can be tricky to stay motivated and excited about fitness and healthy eating daily, but luckily, you don’t need to look any further than your phone for ideas to keep things fun. There are countless exciting fitness activities and delicious healthy recipes out there that can keep you pumped about living healthier. After all, it is pretty hard to argue that the average human feels better after eating greasy chips and donuts all day than eating a well balanced, body-fueling meals. That in itself is great motivator to keep up your good work.

I’ve Gained a Little Back And Feel Like Throwing In the Towel

Everyone has set backs from time to time, but the trick is not to let them define your path going forward. Okay, so you had a cheat-weekend of junk-food, Netflix and too much chill, so what? Just get right back on track come Monday and you’ll be rocking your progress again in no time. The problem arises when people have a defeatist attitude toward set backs and just give up instead of refocusing and continuing on their path of health. Just recognize that we are all human, it is only natural to fall off the healthy living wagon every once in a while. The important thing is to quickly pick yourself up again, dust yourself off and get back to what matters (trying not to be too hard on yourself in the process).

I Don’t Want to Feel Like I’m Always “On a Diet”

Well, don’t! It’s all in the outlook. If you look at healthy living like a chore that you have to trudge through, the going will likely get pretty tough. However, if you look at it as a fun daily challenge to try different fitness activities or make eating healthy exciting, life will be better. Actual “diets” are notorious for setting people up to fail. Fad diets have earned the name “yo-yo diets” for a reason. They often lure people in with the promise of quick weight loss, only for the person to gain it all back very quickly (plus more). The plan that has been time-tested to get weight off and keep it off is simply to make healthier eating choices and workout 5-7 times weekly. So, banish the word “diet” from your vocabulary today for a better shot at lifelong success.

Check back next for more tips on how to maintain weight loss, thanks for visiting DocChat!



Tips For A Healthier Heart (Part 2)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 610,000 lives annually. It is important that we all do everything we can to help lower our individual risks of developing heart disease. We looked at some heart-healthy tips in our last post, now let’s take a look at the rest:

Put Out That Cigarette For Good!

You’re well aware of how damaging smoking can be to the lungs, but did you know it can be just as bad for your heart? Smoking damages the walls of your arteries which can lead to a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis). This can lead to heart disease or stroke. You should also note that second-hand smoke also raises your risk of heart disease.

Apple-shaped? Beware!

Those who tend to carry most of their weight around their midsection are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications, as the abdomen is the worst place for excess fat to reside. This fat is closer to all the major organs and it also increases a person’s risk of having higher triglyceride and blood sugar levels. If you have a bit of an ‘apple thing’ going on, it may be in your best interest to start shedding some of those extra pounds today!

Try HIIT to Get Fit

So, we’ve established that anyone carrying extra weight should do their best to get down to a healthier BMI. There are endless ways to do this, but if you’re looking for a great way to work out that heart while you work off those calories, high intensity interval training (HIIT) may be just the thing for you. Studies have found that stopping and starting exercise in short intervals may be one of the most efficient ways to burn calories fast.

Watch All Of Your Numbers!

We all know it is important to watch the scale, especially if you are concerned about extra weight putting you at higher risk for disease, but you should also keep an eye on what the blood pressure cuff may be trying to tell you. If you have high (or drastically low) blood pressure, or even borderline high, you should be keeping an eye on that and trying to calibrate it. Also, you should get your cholesterol checked regularly and have your doctor show you your numbers so you know if you should start watching it. Another number to keep an eye on? Your age. Even though you can’t prevent getting older, as you age your risk of developing heart disease increases as well. Because of this, you should start being even more vigilant and living healthier as you climb in years.

Healthy Mouth, Healthier Heart!

Numerous studies have pointed out the link between gum disease and heart disease. If you strive to take good care of your teeth and gums, you may lower your risk of heart disease in the process!

There you have some tips to set you on a better path to heart health! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Tips For A Healthier Heart (Part 1)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 610,000 lives annually. Because of the alarming statistics, it is important that we all do everything we can to help lower our individual risks of developing heart disease. Some factors cannot be prevented or changed, but some of the things you can do to lower your risk include:

Trim The Fat

We are all a little guilty of having too much fat in our diets from time to time, but if you notice a large portion of foods you eat contain saturated fats, you should re-evaluate your diet. The USDA advises people to consume no more than 7% of their daily caloric intake in saturated fat.

Feed Your Heart Right

The type of foods you choose to fuel your body can have a big impact on your heart. By choosing lots of produce, whole grains and low fat dairy and limiting red meat, junk food and refined carbs, you’re doing your heart a better service. Try to include foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids as well, such as nuts, seeds and fish.

Nip Cortisol in the Bud

Stress can be a killer, especially when the heart is involved. While the link between type-A personalities and heart disease is still being debated, it is clear that too much stress isn’t great for the heart. According to the World Heart Federation, acute stress can raise blood pressure, alter the way the heart beats and lead to reduced blood flow to the heart which can cause (or worsen) blood clotting. So, if you tend to get very stressed easily, you should try to curb those tendencies to do your heart a favor in the long run.

Nab A New Hobby

A great way to chronically destress is to take up something that keeps the hands and mind busy like wood working, coloring, painting, playing an instrument or knitting. When you find yourself frustrated or stressed, pick up your hobby where you left off last to help chill out.

Pump it Up

Getting your heart rate higher than its norm each day will help get your blood circulating more efficiently, and in turn help condition your whole system. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly will help put you in a better position to stave off heart disease or other chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay tuned for the rest of our heart healthy tips next!


Tips for Managing Asthma in Winter

Winter can be a tumultuous time for asthmatics. Between the cold air, Christmas trees and backed-up dust, many asthmatics experience a noticeable spike in symptoms this time of year. So, what can be done?

Have Your Puffer Handy

This one sounds obvious, but many moderate-to-severe asthmatics let themselves become a little forgetful sometimes about medications and that is not ideal. Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, claiming over 4,000 American lives annually, so the condition is not one to trifle with. Just the same as an anaphylactic person would always carry their EpiPen, an asthmatic should never go anywhere without their puffer. A good rule of thumb is to put a rescue inhaler in each purse or bag you use regularly, another in your car, as well as having a few around the house.

Avoid Sub-Zero Workouts

The cold, dry air of winter can wreak havoc on hypersensitive lungs. Cold air acts as a trigger for asthma or COPD by causing the airways to narrow (bronchial constriction), which makes it much more difficult to breathe. Exercising outdoors in cold temperatures increases this risk twofold by adding the already-present dangers of physical exertion on asthmatic lungs to the constriction caused by the cold. It is not a good idea for asthmatics to exercise in cold weather, but if you must, wear a scarf over your face and take your puffer beforehand (and take it along with you while you exercise, in case of an attack).

Avoid Winter Triggers

It goes without saying that you’ll have an easier season if you do your best to avoid triggers that usually cause attacks for you. While summer poses more dangers for many asthmatics such as pollen and humidity, winter carries its own respiratory risks. Aside from cold air, some common winter asthmatic triggers include:

  • Wood burning stoves – Not all asthmatics react to smoke, but many do. Wood smoke is thick and can be a major trigger for an asthmatic enclosed in a home with a wood-burning stove going.
  • Christmas trees – it usually isn’t the tree itself that causes any problems, but the types of mold growing on them. Mold is a common trigger for those with asthma or allergies.
  • Forced air heating – forced air heating can cause problems for asthmatics because it can create issues with mold as well as constantly stir up dust mites.

Rework Your Management Plan

Sometimes attempting to avoid potential triggers isn’t enough to keep your asthma under control in the winter. If you are finding more wheeziness, coughing or chest tightness than usual, talk to your doctor (or one of ours!) today to look at readjusting your asthma management plan for the season.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay happy and healthy.

How to Reach Your Fitness #Goals (Part 2)

It is no secret that carrying extra weight can be damaging to your health but it can be difficult to stay motivated while trying to shift those extra pounds. In Part 1, we looked at some tips and tricks to help make your fitness journey a success in, now for a few more:

Choose a Healthy Lifestyle Over a “Diet”

Those who participate in the latest weight loss trends and diet programs to no avail may be looking at weight loss from the wrong angle. It shouldn’t be all about shedding weight fast for bikini season or an  for an event. Set your sights on the long-term and aim for a healthier overall lifestyle that involves nutritious eating and regular exercise. By thinking in the “diet mindset”, you will likely continue to struggle with losing weight only to put it back on (the phenomenon known as ‘yo-yo dieting’). However, by thinking “healthy living”, you will continue down a path to better health only to keep seeing positive results along the way.

Redefine Your Reward System

If you usually go to junk food as a reward, that might be a problem as you continue toward your fitness goals. It is one thing to reward yourself occasionally with a tasty treat but for day-to-day rewards, it may help if you start allotting yourself other enjoyable things such as a new movie, a relaxing drive in your car, some time for art or adult coloring or a massage.

Be Your Own Cheerleader Instead of Your Own Critic

Most of us are our own worst critics, ready to harp on all our little missteps instead of celebrating our successes. You can turn yourself off of fitness by being too hard on yourself and associating exercise with self-reprimanding thoughts. If you miss a workout day or fall off the cookie-free wagon, don’t be so quick to berate yourself. Instead, simply get back on track as soon as you can and continue toward your goals. If you lose even a pound or two at your weigh-ins, pat yourself on the back. This stuff is hard work, so give yourself props when due! By believing you will reach your goals, you are much more likely to do so than if you convince yourself that you can’t.

Surround Yourself With Supporters, Not Haters 

Some people work out better with a pal, so if you have a friend who supports or shares your desire to shape up, try for a routine of exercising together. Adversely, if there are people who bring you down or hinder your health goals with negative comments, try to avoid or block them out. No one needs flack from the peanut gallery! By learning to focus on compliments people give you while filtering out negative comments, you’ll be in a better head space to continue your weight loss journey for you.

Health Should Be a Prime Motivator  

Forget about the mirror for a second. Being obese or overweight can directly contribute to such life-threatening illnesses as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. So, if you are overweight, give yourself the gift of a healthier future by shedding those extra pounds. If you lose weight just to look good for others, it likely won’t stay off. Make your fitness goals for the right reasons. Intrinsic motivating factors such as wanting to be healthier and live a longer life or look better for yourself, will give you a much better shot at success than if you are only losing weight to impress or please other people. Remember, it’s not about looking good to others, it’s about feeling good for you!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope our tips can help you reach your fitness #goals!





40 Foods That Are Rich in Insoluble Fiber

Fiber is an integral part of healthy digestion, particularly insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber dissolves in water, helping slow and relax the digestion process, insoluble fiber passes straight through the digestive tract, pushing things along. It helps combats constipation by getting the digestive system moving. Insoluble fiber is responsible for lowering the risk for such digestive complications as hemorrhoids or inflammation. The recommended daily intake of fiber for a healthy adult is about 25-30 grams, three-quarters of which should be the insoluble kind.

The Best Sources of Insoluble Fiber

  1. Artichoke
  2. Dried figs
  3. Psyllium seed husks
  4. Lentils
  5. Kidney beans
  6. Blueberries
  7. Strawberries
  8. Almonds
  9. Walnuts
  10. Split peas
  11. Sunflower seeds
  12. Applesauce
  13. Turnip
  14. Sweet potato
  15. Brussels sprouts
  16. Wheat bran
  17. Whole grains
  18. Popcorn
  19. Prunes
  20. Spinach
  21. Bell peppers
  22. Cabbage
  23. Lettuce
  24. Kale
  25. Collards
  26. Scallions
  27. Peas
  28. Green beans
  29. Black, white and red beans
  30. Flaxseeds
  31. Kernel corn
  32. Eggplants
  33. Potatoes (with skin)
  34. Sesame seeds
  35. Quinoa
  36. Celery
  37. Onions
  38. Apples
  39. Oat bran
  40. Oatmeal

Not Everyone Should Overdo Insoluble Fiber

Increasing insoluble fiber is a great idea for those who are constipated or have trouble with regular bowel movements. While it can be pretty hard to ‘overdo’ fiber, people with certain stomach conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be careful not to consume too much of it as it may further aggravate their digestive symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your diet if you have IBS or another stomach problem before making changes to your diet.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Keep an eye out for other helpful food lists!



Get in Shape This Season with These 7 Fall Fitness Activities

If you can stand to lose a few pounds for your health or simply love to find new ways to exercise, give these autumn activities a shot:

  1. Rake those leaves – Raking leaves can be a surprisingly decent cardiovascular exercise. Did you know you can burn up to 400 calories an hour by raking and bagging leaves? So get those garbage bags ready and round up your family for some great fall exercise (and a cleaner yard)!
  2. Go geocaching ­– A cool trending activity as of late is geocaching, a large-scale scavenger hunt where participants hunt for hidden trinkets and objects using GPS coordinates on their cell phones. These items may be hidden near mountains, on hiking trails, in provincial parks or around cities. You may be walking for a while or even have to hike to collect the trinkets. People can also get to these items by cycling or snowshoeing in winter (both of which burn over 400 calories an hour).

  3. Take an autumn hike or stroll – With the leaves changing vibrant colors, fall is arguably the most beautiful time of year. So why not take advantage of autumn’s scenic wonders by taking regular walks or hikes before the cold of winter hits. You can choose a new location each time! You’ll burn around 300 calories per hour hiking, and between 65-100 per mile if you’re walking.

  4. Try barre workouts – If you’re not a fan of the nip in the air and would prefer an indoors fall workout, try barre exercises. A hot fitness activity this year, performing different stretches and ballet moves on your own barre (or one in an exercise facility) can help strengthen muscles as well as greatly increase flexibility.

  5. Do some circuit training – circuit training doesn’t have to take place at a gym with special equipment, you can set up your own circuit activities at home or in your own backyard using walls, household items for resistance, and jumping ropes and a yoga mat! Use your imagination and have fun with it.
  6. Do mini commercial workouts – Let’s face it, most of us start spending more time inside watching TV as summer ends and the cooler fall months set in, but this doesn’t have to mean our fitness levels take a plunge. Look at commercial breaks as mini fitness opportunities. Each time you find yourself in front of the TV, make a habit of doing squats, sit ups, push ups or running on the spot during every commercial break. You’ll start seeing a difference in your fitness level in no time!
  7. Check out Jukari exercise classes – A new trending exercise called Jukari has emerged to whip us into shape! And it sounds ridiculously fun. It combines yoga, pilates, resistance bands and circus-like exercise techniques to create a whole-body fitness experience. Jukari can help tone and define muscle, increase balance and flexibility, strengthen connective tissues and burn fat. Sounds too good not to try!

Woo! There you have some fun fall-centric activities to help you lose or maintain target weight or just start you on a healthier path! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

These Vitamin-Rich Foods Can Replace Supplements

Most of us believe we don’t get enough of key vitamins like C or D, so we turn to dietary supplements to bolster our vitamin values, however, this isn’t always the best plan of action. Many people don’t realize that dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA the same as medications are, and therefor often contain unwanted and unlisted filler ingredients, or can interfere with health conditions or medications a person is taking (check out our Dietary Supplements Under the Microscope feature for more reading on the topic). But there is a way around this!

A Safer Way to Boost Vitamin Intake

The small percentage of people who have physician-diagnosed vitamin deficiencies may have to take supplements if they have problems absorbing the vitamins organically, however for most of the population, supplements simply aren’t necessary. If you wish to avoid or discontinue taking vitamin supplements, there is a simple and healthier alternative: make sure to include certain vitamin-rich foods in your daily diet.

Recommended Vitamin Daily Values

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the respective recommended daily values (DVs) of various vitamins for healthy people (who are over 4 years of age and not pregnant) are as follows:

Vitamin C: 60 mg
Vitamin B6:
2 mg
Vitamin B12: 6 µg
Vitamin K: 80 µg
Vitamin A
: 5,000 IU
Vitamin D: 400 IU
Vitamin E: 30 IU

Eat These Foods Daily to Replace Supplements

It is easy to reach your recommended daily value (DV) by routinely including these healthy foods in your diet: 

Vitamin C
* 1 orange contains 116% of your recommended DV of vitamin C
* 1 yellow bell pepper contains over 500% of your vitamin C DV!
* 1 cup of broccoli contains over 130% of your DV of vitamin C

Vitamin B6* 3 oz of tuna contains 44% of your DV
*3 oz of turkey contains 34% of your DV
* 1 banana contains %21 of your DV

Vitamin B12
3 oz of clams contain over 1000% of your vitamin B12 DV
1 cup of fortified breakfast cereal contains 100% of your B12 DV
* 3 oz of rainbow trout contains 90% of your DV

Vitamin K
1/2 cup of kale or other leafy green veggies contains 100% of your DV
1/2 cup Brussels sprouts contain 98% of your DV
1/2 cup of prunes contain 65% of your vitamin K DV

Vitamin A
A serving of sweet potato contains over 200% of your vitamin A DV
A serving of carrots contains over %100 of your DV

Vitamin D
Salmon contains over 200% of your DV (as well as lots of omega-3 fatty acids)!
100 g of sardines contain over 120% of your DV
Shiitake mushrooms contain 39% of your DV of vitamin D 

Vitamin E
100 g of almonds contain 127% of your DV of vitamin E
100 g of sunflower seeds contain 176% of your DV

So there you have it! Plenty of foods you can eat daily to avoid taking unnecessary supplements. Simply click on the vitamin headings to see more foods that are rich in each vitamin. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any health-related questions, our exceptional board certified DocChat physicians are on standby 24/7/365!

15 Of The Best Foods To Eat Daily (Part 1)

Diet has such a bearing on our overall health and well-being. Making the right food choices could help prevent the development of major illness such as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. For this reason, we wanted to share our top 15 favorite nutritious food choices to introduce to your daily menu. The first 7 are:

  1. Dark greens – Spinach, kale or broccoli are great daily food choices. Dark green veggies are among the best foods you can consume, and you can’t overdo it because they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron, carotenoids and antioxidants. So try some raw broccoli for a snack, or cooked greens any chance you can get (you can sneak these veggies into all kinds of recipes).
  2. Beans and lentils – Rich in fiber and protein (even acting as a good stand-in for meat), beans and lentils enjoy a great reputation for good reason. They are low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients. Some studies have even illustrated a link between eating plenty of lentils and a lower risk for certain types of cancer.
  3. Oats – Not only are they versatile and delicious, but oats are also a good heart-healthy food choice, as they have been linked with helping control blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. So add them to your breakfast (or baking) menu today to reap the benefits.
  4. Nuts – We’re sure you’re wise to the perks of eating nuts: they are high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutrients, so don’t forget them when it comes time for a snack. You should be especially inclined to munch on macadamias, brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds. Just be sure to utilize strict portion control as many nuts are high in calories and fat, so stick to a handful a day.
  5. Seeds – Many seeds (like flaxseed) contain high levels of fiber and protein. They are also known to be good for the skin, brain, bones and immune system. They also contain thiamin which helps stabilize and control the heart.
  6. Cherries – These little red fruits have been used to help control conditions like gouty arthritis for centuries because of their natural anti-inflammatory properties. So anyone who suffers from inflammation (or simply wants to keep it at bay) should start routinely adding cherries to your dessert menu. However, you may want to stick to just 10-12 cherries daily if you are concerned about too many additional calories.
  7. Greek yogurt – This may be one of the healthiest dairy choices around. It contains less lactose than most other yogurts, double the protein as well as a plethora of vitamins and nutrients. So the next time you’re craving a creamy dairy-based treat, try some low-fat Greek yogurt and some fruit!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay tuned for the next 8 of our 15 best daily foods next time!