All posts tagged: Doctor for Life

Fluor Wellness

“Fluor is one of the world’s largest publicly-traded engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance companies, offering integrated solutions for clients’ complex and challenging capital projects.”​​​ Fluor Enterprises in Greenville, South Carolina is one of the city’s biggest employers. And, thankfully, one of my closest friends happens to work in Human Resources and happened to be coordinating Wellness Lunch and Learns.

So, I had the honor of presenting at Fluor on behalf of Doctor for Life on three occasions. DFL has three service areas. Great fit. The January presentation was on Stress and Self-Care. The February presentation was on Office Life Nutrition. And the March presentation was on Office Life Fitness. I worked with my friend Natalie to tailor Fluor-specific lessons – based on their known health and fitness challenges, subject to an office environment and relentlessly busy schedules.

Sounds pretty straight-forward. But this was my first time presenting a wellness series at a major international corporation. Gulp. The personal enthusiasm… A no-brainer. I could talk about wellness all day. I was terribly worried I’d be boring to this audience for some reason though.

I was actually surprised at the vigor with which I development my topics and tweaked PowerPoints. Having the knowledge is not the hard part. Organizing information thoughtfully and conveying messages in an engaging way is the hard part.

I presented and Doctor for Life provided their Healthy Meals To Go. My favorite moments were interactive… Having participants write goals, share challenges aloud, provide helpful tips for each other and getting physical with self massage and stretches.

Turns out I did a fine job! I was overjoyed to hear that Natalie received a lot of pointedly positive feedback from attendees. Booyah! I feel relieved and proud. I am also now a big fan of Fluor. Any company taking initiative to bring employees Wellness is an innovator in my book.

AarikaFluor Wellness
Read More

Whole Health Nation

Whole Health Nation is a new organization, defined as “ a group of herbalists, farmers, educators and artists bringing a sense of community and joy to cultivating a healthy and nature inspired lifestyle; using food as medicine, your garden as your apothecary, finding sanctuary in the streets of your city. Starting as a seed in the community of Greenville, SC. Spreading as a revolution across the world.”

The group’s founder June Ellen Bradley is captivating – artist, author, educator and naturalist. She reached out to me at Doctor for Life. We met for a long time, since we are both talkers and clearly passionate about offering people resources in health. She toured the facility – medical office, culinary lab and fitness center – and knew for certain that DFL was a special concept that should be shouted from the rooftops.

I attended the Whole Health Nation 2018 Conference Saturday, March 3 at Zen. Doctor for Life decided to sponsor this worthwhile event, and Dr. Cheryl joined as well. We were thrilled to be in such cool company – vendors and guests who already appreciate health and love learning – a little different than our average day at the office of “convincing.” Attendees were happy to meet us too, a medical practice thinking holistically and combining clinical with much-needed nutrition and fitness. The atmosphere felt perfect.

The best part… We had the pleasure of participating in all Discovery Classes during the day: Seed Saving, Culinary Herbs for Healing Meals, Mushrooms for Immunity and more. The keynote was on Emotions, Health and Eating. Dr. Cheryl and I could not have been more ga-ga over the topic, as it was EXACTLY what we preach.

How many like-minded souls! How many new referral resources! I, too, need a health community for sharing and vigilance and and encouragement.

I walked away enlightened. I also walked away with soap nuts from Shecology, a tincture from Wild Earth Botanicals, a sweet potato salve from Red Moon Herbs and a huge desire to plan a weekend stay at Adawehi. After about a week, Doctor for Life walked away with reinvigoration and at least four new patients. Win win.

 

AarikaWhole Health Nation
Read More

Chronic Care Management

An estimated 117 million adults have at least one chronic health condition, and an estimated one in every four adults have two or more chronic health conditions. In a questionable healthcare system, mostly focused on treatment instead of prevention, it is not a wonder. Medical providers actually profit short-term by sick patients visiting often. But, frankly, medical providers are also strained with high-demand patient loads, and time and resources do not allow easy tracking. So care has not been very outcomes based – communication post treatment, assessment of disease reversal, etc.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes Chronic Care Management (CCM) as a critical component of primary care that contributes to better health and care for individuals. Since 2015, Medicare has been reimbursing medical providers for CCM services. Eligible patients are those with two or more chronic conditions expected to last at least 12 months or until death, and that place the patient at significant risk of death, acute decompensation or functional decline.

Examples of chronic conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia
  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid)
  • Asthma
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS

Wow! Now that I’ve caught you up on the background…

I had the pleasure of helping Doctor for Life launch their Chronic Care Management program, enabling us to create individualized, comprehensive care plans including special education, motivation and follow-up efforts to better patient health outcomes. Medicare covered non face-to-face encounters such as the following, with patients only responsible for a small monthly co-pay:

  • At least 20 minutes per month of chronic care management services
  • Personalized help from a health care professional to create a care plan based on your needs and goals
  • Care coordinated between your doctor, pharmacy, specialists, testing centers, hospitals, and other services
  • Phone check-ins between visits to keep you on track
  • Emergency access to a health care professional, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Expert help with setting and meeting your health goals
  • Review of medical records and test results
  • Medication refills and management
  • Scheduling same-day appointments

Doctor for Life also decided to offer free group education classes each month – one in Fitness and one in Nutrition. (Yes, you guessed it, I was leading the classes on Fitness. 😉 ) My lessons included:

  • Exercise for the Prevention of Falls / Balance Testing
  • Exercise for Independence / Activities of Daily Living
  • Habits to Improve Health / Lifestyle & Techniques

Participants definitely learned and laughed. (I mean, making them laugh is like my number one goal.) I enjoyed the process too, getting to dig deeper into the perspective of others. I do not have a chronic disease, but I need to understand as much as possible about what that’s like in order to help people.

Health pros must be knowledgeable and empathize. I’m grateful for this opportunity at DFL, and feel the need to share with everyone what some medical providers are doing to improve care and, working together, get patients to their desired health goals.

The outcomes really are positively improving. Recent statistics show that it is worth CMS paying providers because they are saving by lowering benefit payouts to individuals, meaning patients’ care is being routinely controlled instead of having more emergency and extra inpatient or outpatient needs.

If you or someone you know is interested and eligible, please ask your providers accepting Medicare about this level of concierge care.

Resources:

CMS website >

CMS handout >

Medicare website >

Modern Healthcare article >

AarikaChronic Care Management
Read More

First Week

Like many people, I took advantage of a lot of opportunities to indulge over the holidays. Nearly every event was centered around food. The wine, beer and cocktails runneth over. My rambunctious brother was visiting and stayed at our house for a week. So yeah.

I think we all “give ourselves a break” during the holidays. Normal lives may be filled with order, boundaries, regime. Especially if your routine changes, like you are off work for a week, you are kind of vacationing from reality. You feel entitled to freedom, freedom from standard “proper” actions and freedom from guilt in your own mind. Like I said, I did it. Celebratorily. Gladly.

For the first week in January though, I came up with some “get back on track” rules for myself. (I know this could sound silly to some, but creating these rules on a weekly or monthly basis have been truly crucial to my personal health and fitness, the key to goal-setting.)

The rules for January 1-7 were simple:

  • No candy
  • No soda
  • No fried foods
  • No alcohol

One could certainly set stricter rules, and in the past I have. But in this case, I only wanted a solid week off from the top four offenders in my diet. These were the specific foods and drinks I noted I was consuming too much of in weeks prior. I had to cleanse!

Tuesday, January 2, I came home from work after a hazardous day. Here was my thought process…

  • Gosh, today was tough, and I’m exhausted.
  • I wish I could treat myself, to feel better, as consolation.
  • I really want two mini Milky Way bars that I got in my stocking.
  • I had a good day by the rules, did not have soda, fried food or alcohol.
  • Maybe that’s what I should do instead – just allow myself one thing from the No list each day.
  • Cool! I will have the candies.
  • Chomp. Chomp.

A minute later, I felt terrible. I had just set these rules for my First Week, and I broke one immediately. I thought, what the heck is wrong with me? I realized I wanted to write a blog post about this experience right then. I wanted to document my own journey and failure. If this happens to a health and fitness expert, then it most definitely happens to those unpracticed and unaware. My problem was talking myself into that candy. I rationalized why I could have it, why I deserved it. This thinking was not in line with my goal. The person who lost here was me.

This is what my clients go through every day when trying to be active and eat healthy. They set goals. They make themselves promises. They welch on the deal. Because behavior change is not instant. It takes having “I want the candy” moments followed by “I ate the candy,” “I know eating the candy does not get me to my goal,” and “I resolve to not do that next time” moments.

We are all learning more, all the time. The better we recognize and analyze our behavior, the more likely we will change it and make positive, healthy lifestyle decisions.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaFirst Week
Read More

Resolve to Succeed

It’s that time again. We can’t believe it’s December. Christmas is almost here. We recap our year, taking stock of the best times and worst times. We evaluate, how did 2017 go? We think about a new year and a new beginning. It means something to us, somehow.

Self-improvement is a shared hobby. It is estimated that greater than 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. But only about 8% achieve them.

People have good intentions. The problem lies in goal-setting. Say the first thought is “I want to lose weight.” A person may decide on a goal of losing 30 pounds.

“Losing 30 pounds” is an Outcome Goal. It’s what you accomplish after a series of steps. You have to work to get there. Instead, a person should focus on Behavior Goals – what, when and how you are going to do something in order to lose that 30 pounds.

I found a Forbes article that breaks down how to be successful with New Year’s Resolutions nicely, that is worth re-reading every year. Borrowing the sections…

Keep It Simple

We tend to set a huge goal or create a long list for ourselves. We are daunted from the start, which can lead to failing to launch at all or getting overwhelmed early. Instead, set small, attainable goals… “I am going to walk in my neighborhood.”

Make It Tangible

The more vague your resolution, the more vague your results. We have to be specific with our goals, and we have to measure the method. “I am going to walk in my neighborhood every Sunday for 30 minutes.”

Make It Obvious

Track, track, track! The pure idea that you have to document what you do (and don’t do) will affect your choices. It becomes real then. You have to admit it. Another great tactic is sharing your goals with other people – family, friends, social media. You are then accountable to more than just yourself.

Keep Believing You Can Do It

Simply setting a goal increases your chances of actually achieving something by 10 times (according to Statistic Brain). Yet average people get discouraged easily after a couple weeks or months. They feel defeated and at fault. Yet confidence is key. You have as much willpower as you think you have. So boost that willpower supply with some self-love and positive influences.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaResolve to Succeed
Read More

Low-Fat Foods Making You Fatter

What? Fat is not the Devil? Sugar is the leading cause of weight gain? Check out this video from the host of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything, as posted by CollegeHumor. Very insightful and entertaining presentation about a huge myth – that eating fat makes you fat. Instead, hear how bad science and the sugar industry worked together to dupe Americans, or at least not tell the whole story for many decades.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaLow-Fat Foods Making You Fatter
Read More

Behavior Change Revolution

I was listening to a podcast from Freakonomics Radio entitled “How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution.” It relates entirely to my everyday struggle as a health and fitness professional, and covers an underlying issue for client success in Healthy Weight Lifestyle Programs at Doctor for Life.

Behavior change is a big ask. Experts understanding thinking and decision-making is tough. The average person understanding his or her own influences and patterns is tougher. And that person actively choosing to change and diligently fulfilling that path is the toughest of all. I say to clients all the time, “Knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things.”

The podcast representatives state that human nature is to “repeatedly make decisions that undermine their own wellbeing” and that “people rarely behave as rationally as economic models predict.” They believe that studying and trying to implement behavior change is the most worthwhile pursuit for any scientist, that it is wise to help people make better decisions for themselves and for society. I agree.

With the staggering and growing statistics in obesity and chronic disease, particularly a lifestyle-related disease like Type II Diabetes, I do not doubt that the general public is ignorant to the fact that all these per-day and per-meal unhealthy decisions add up. Of course, it is much more convenient to eat a fast food cheeseburger today than to worry about how that affects many tomorrows and premature death.

This podcast focuses on a group of researchers, a dream team, coming together to work on the Behavior Change for Good Initiative. Their mission is to determine best practices in three realms – number one being Health (smoking cessation, healthy eating, increasing exercise, reducing alcohol consumption). They are partnering with large organizations for participation and funding of real-world experiments, helping scientists discover insights that could address the pressing social problem of self-destructive humans and establish long-lasting behavior change.

The Behavior Change Revolution has been happening for decades – in academia for a while, and creeping into government policy shops and commercial firms more recently. But it is hardly mainstream yet. Institutional and societal change, when it happens at all, usually happens slowly and with a lot of pushback. So this team’s ambition is quite lofty (and time-consuming, and expensive).

Will it take a nudge? Will it take expanding or shrinking choice sets? Will it take redesigning how incentives in given situations are set up, via smart algorithms or old-fashioned human touch? The ultimate goal is to help people get satisfaction they’ll need in the short-term and outcomes they’ll want in the long-term.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaBehavior Change Revolution
Read More

Cancer & Excess Weight

A recent Internal Medicine News article covered an October report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention citing that “being overweight or obese significantly increased the risk of developing at least 13 types of cancer.”

The study compared statistics between 2005 and 2014, showing that obesity-related cancers* increased by 7%. They found that 40% of nearly 1.6 million of all cancer diagnoses were people with overweight- or obesity-related cancers. The rates were more pronounced in older people (50-74 years of age) and women (possibly because of female-specific cancers). Although, during that same time period, incidences of cancers unrelated to body weight decreased by 13%. [*Excluding colorectal cancer.]

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD…

“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern. By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.”

Doctor for Life bridges the gap to fight overweight and obesity and chronic disease. Our Healthy Weight Lifestyle approach helps mitigate these negative statistics with screening and prevention. Our lead physician is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

Dr. Cheryl Sarmiento…

“Even though the effects of unhealthy weight on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mortality and other health outcomes are widely known, there is less awareness that unhealthy weight gain is associated with increased risk of certain cancers. There are opportunities for Clinical Intervention, and at DFL, we have all the available tools with services and programs to fight these dreadful diseases.”

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaCancer & Excess Weight
Read More

Atlanta MANIA

MANIA is an annual fitness convention offered in multiple states by SCW Fitness Education, where professionals go to earn credits, get certifications, network with peers, learn new material and be utterly inspired. This year’s Atlanta conference was held July 28-30, and our Fitness department was in attendance.

One Doctor for Life priority is enlisting the most qualified employees. We take pride in investing in staff, providing Certified Personal Trainers and others with continuing education opportunities. The goal was to have trainers and group exercise instructors return from this conference enthusiastic, knowledgeable and better able to serve clients. Here’s what the team had to say…

AARIKA

“What a fantastic experience to reinvigorate the spirit! I loved going with colleagues because we got to know one another better, shared a lot of laughs and commiserated over being exhausted after multiple hours of exercise. I felt lucky to have picked such a thought-provoking two-day lineup. My favorite session was Barre Trilogy with Leslee Bender. She was charismatic and wise. The class was part lecture and part activity. We covered warm-ups and cool-downs with myofascial release. I was fascinated by the impact these can have on performance and recovery.”   

CHRIS

“MANIA was an overall awesome opportunity. It was a great chance to catch up on what is going on in the fitness industry, what the latest trends are and the current research and application. My favorite class was definitely a tie between Stress and Chronic Disease by Kimberly Garcia and Everything Resistance Training by Dr. Len Kravitz. Both of these lectures were super informative, […] explaining the physiology behind everything we discussed. Dr. Kravitz challenged you to […] take a more scientific approach to training clients. Kimberly Garcia encouraged us to look outside the box at how different factors are stressing the body, and how these stressors may be affecting our clients’ overall health and well-being.”

ANNA

“This past weekend in Atlanta for the SCW Fitness Conference was a wonderful experience, and I certainly think my time was well spent in the classes. Some of the sessions incorporated lectures to refresh already acquired knowledge, and then brought attention to additional information that can be used to further health and fitness for clients and myself. My favorite class was a very challenging workout with SGT Ken, which was as physically taxing as it was mentally exhausting. SGT Ken’s class sparked some ideas of how to workout more efficiently, so that each exercise session presents the rewarding feeling that only comes from the combination of motivation and hard work.”

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaAtlanta MANIA
Read More

Welcome to Doctor for Life

Welcome the newest member of our team – Fitness Director and Development Lead Aarika Johnson!

Doctor for Life is a medical practice specializing in Healthy Weight Lifestyle. With a unique and complex operation, combining Clinical, Nutrition and Fitness services to change lives, the right talent can be hard to find.

Aarika comes to us with diverse experience in communications and health and fitness. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Counselor, formerly the Wellness Director at the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg, and formerly owning her own marketing and advertising agency Brandfarmers. This blending of industries is an excellent fit for the future vision at Doctor for Life, where our main objective for the coming years is to raise awareness about who we are and how we approach holistic patient care.

From Aarika…

I’ve always wanted to help people. I used to say as a child I’d like to be a doctor or a nurse. But school and career took me down a different path in communications. My love for talking and writing was certainly utilized and honed. After many years though, I knew I was not fulfilled. I soul-searched and realized that I wanted to follow my passion for health and fitness, doing something that really matters to me, and to others. I mean, one has to work. Why not let that be work with such purpose? I suppose you could say I quick-started my “second career.” I believe I was so highly motivated and, thankfully, blessed with skills, that I just pushed forward to learn as much as possible, meet countless inspiring professionals and embed myself in a new field. Now, I can say with certainty, I have chosen to be here. Get ready Doctor for Life clients!

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaWelcome to Doctor for Life
Read More