Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Nurse Already Serving a Life Sentence Was Charged With Killing 97 More Patients

(BERLIN) — A German nurse who is already serving a life sentence for two murders has been charged with killing 97 more patients over several years at two hospitals in northwestern Germany, prosecutors said Monday.

The new indictment against Niels Hoegel was expected after officials said in November that he may have killed more than 100 patients in total. He worked at a clinic in Oldenburg from 1999 to 2002 and in nearby Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.

Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders in Delmenhorst and was given a life sentence.

During his trial, Hoegel had said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in about 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.

Those statements prompted investigators to carry out toxicological examinations on dozens of other patients who died at the hospitals, leading to the new charges.

It wasn’t immediately clear when a new trial at the state court in Oldenburg might start. Additional convictions could affect Hoegel’s possibility of parole, but there are no consecutive sentences in Germany. In general, people serving life sentences are considered for parole after 15 years.

Of the new cases, 62 involve patients who died in Delmenhorst and 35 patients in Oldenburg. Prosecutor Martin Koziolek said that, in three further cases investigators viewed as suspicious, tests didn’t produce enough evidence to add them to the charge sheet.

Hoegel used a variety of drugs in his resuscitation attempts, Koziolek said. He added that prosecutors believe Hoegel “in all cases at least accepted the death of the patients as a result of the effect of the drugs.”

As part of a wider investigation involving both hospitals, police and prosecutors reviewed more than 500 patient files and hundreds more hospital records. They also exhumed 134 bodies from 67 cemeteries, and questioned Hoegel six times.

Police have said if local health officials hadn’t hesitated in alerting authorities, Hoegel could have been stopped earlier.

Authorities are already pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the medical facilities.

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Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real-Life Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96

Thursday, January 18, 2018

10 Self-Care Moves You Can Do at Your Desk

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Self care is all about taking care of your mind and body, so you feel less stress and more joy. Considering the hectic pace of the work world, most of us could benefit from more self-care during the workday—to crank up productivity, form stronger relationships with coworkers, and ace performance, says psychotherapist Suzie DeVaughn, owner of Self-Care Specialists in Wichita, Kansas.

If you already have a self-care routine at home or at the gym, then you know how it can make you feel happier and more in tune with yourself and your needs. So try incorporating these expert-backed easy moves into your workday as well. They’ll help you shake off motivation killers like anxiety and stress and give you the tools to thrive from nine to five.

RELATED: If You Struggle to Find Time for Self-Care, These Clever Apps Can Help

Nourish yourself at lunch

With breakfast the most important meal of the day and dinner a time for reconnecting with loved ones, lunch tends to get short shrift. (They don’t call it a sad desk salad for nothing, right?) Instead of wolfing down another on-the-fly veggie bowl or sandwich, make your midday meal more of an opportunity for nourishment. Pack or order foods you love that offer energizing protein and complex carbs, which can put you in a brighter mood and help you power through the afternoon. 

Check out a #funny site

Chase away stress by scrolling through the latest adorable animal viral video at @cutepetclub or watching a Saturday Night Live clip on YouTube you missed over the weekend. Laughing can prompt the release of the feel-good hormones endorphins and in turn make you feel more relaxed and revived. Even a few minutes in the break room with a coworker whose stories always crack you up will do the trick. 

Get up, stretch, and move

Stretch your arms and legs at your desk, do laps around the office, walk up and down the stairs, or take on some other activity that allows you to move your body. “When we start to feel our body signaling that we need a break, stepping out of your workspace for 5 to 10 minutes can help shift perspective and gain mental clarity,” says DeVaughn. “Running quick errands, going to make coffee or tea, or visiting with a co-worker are very helpful for rejuvenation.”

If you can get outside at some point during your workday, go for it: A 2017 study echoed previous research, finding that exposure to sounds found in nature has a soothing effect on the heart and brain.

Calm yourself with essential oils

Lavender, wild orange, and bergamot therapeutic-grade essential oils can relax and uplift you, says Krista-Lynn Landolfi, life coach and self-care specialist. Hiding a small stash of these in your desk drawer and occasionally dousing some on a cotton ball you can sniff will help revive your spirits without disturbing others sitting next to you. (But ask your deskmates if they have a hypersensitivity or allergy to these oils before you use them, just in case.)

Declutter and decorate 

A messy environment can intensify the tension and anxiety you already feel, says DeVaughn. No need to be a super organized neat freak if that’s not your natural style. And yep, today’s open-concept workplaces don’t give even high-up employees much room to personalize. But take some time every week to organize your workspace and decorate it with family or pet photos, artwork that resonates with you, or quotes that inspire you. 

RELATED: 6 Reasons Masturbating Should Be Part of Your Self-Care Routine

Snack smartly

Vending machine runs are convenient, but you know that diet soda and sweet treats aren’t exactly the best snack choices when you’re racing against a deadline or feeling overwhelmed by a report. “When people are filling themselves with caffeine and sugar, it’s going to give them a frenetic energy and create an ultimate crash,” explains Landolfi. Avoid that by opting for high protein nuts, filling air-popped popcorn, or a healthy smoothie.

RELATED: 8 Self-Care Habits That Will Help You Feel Less Stress and More Joy in 2018

Repeat an inspiring mantra

The way we talk to ourselves shapes our performance and attitude. It’s a good reason to come up with a go-to saying or a list of affirmations to recite out loud (or quietly to yourself) when you’re feeling doubtful or need a confidence boost, suggests DeVaughn. “I am the Beyoncé of this office" has a powerful ring to it, as does “I will succeed on this project with ease.“

Take 3 deep breaths

You’ve heard that inhaling deeply can help energize and calm you. But Landolfi is a fan of a breathing exercise called "three to be free" breathing. Three times a day, stop what you’re doing and take three deep breaths to free the tension, stress, and worry that has been build throughout the workday, she says. What makes this self-care move so good for work is that you can do it discreetly while you’re sitting at your desk, and even your closest cubicle neighbor won’t be disturbed.

RELATED: 9 Self-Care Gifts You Can Buy Yourself on Amazon

Speak out in a meeting

Doing something bold—writing a memo outlining your concerns over a new project, for example, or volunteering to take on a client who you know will challenge you—can put you back on your A game at the office. Why’s that? Accomplishing something that you once feared can give you the adrenaline rush that you need to finish the day strong, says Landolfi. You’ll feel more a part of your team and more invested in your work.

To get our best wellness tips delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Pat yourself on the back

Take stock of what you’ve accomplished on the job once a week or so—and congratulate yourself for your efforts and anything you’ve done to boost the bottom line or improve performance. Reminding yourself of your contributions gives you a psychological boost and helps you feel more positive, which is the ultimate goal of self care.

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"This Is Us" Finally Revealed What Causes Jack's Death, and I Am SCREAMING


That’s what I found myself screaming at my television at the end of the latest This Is Us episode, “Clooney” — and be warned, spoilers ahead. The episode is not, in fact, about George Clooney, nor about the late William’s cat, Clooney. Rather, the episode is about a trip to the mall where Rebecca asks Jack to remind her to pick up batteries. They forget to pick up batteries, and guess what? This directly relates to how Jack dies. WHY? Because Rebecca needed the batteries to put them in the smoke detector in the house.

Are you getting that? Rebecca needed batteries for the smoke detector, and soon, in the near future on This Is Us, Jack is going to die in a house fire because the smoke detector doesn’t have batteries. S-C-R-E-A-M-I-N-G.

While we still don’t know how this Pearson house fire comes to be — there’s a good theory surrounding the fact that it might be the Best Washing Machine In the World’s fault — we’ve now got this new piece to the puzzle. The episode begins with Jack doing some woodworking, because he’s building Rebecca an entertainment center (awww). A few episodes ago, we saw Jack fight with some faulty wiring in the basement after a fuse blew. Any of these things could be what starts the fire in the house, and all of them are making me anxious and nervous. We know Jack’s death is coming, and This Is Us is teasing us with the worst clues in the world. Because one way or another, this puzzle leads to Jack’s death.

And, worse yet, we’re inching so close to it. “Clooney” features Kevin in a cast. Randall goes to the mall to ask out the redheaded girl we’ll see him with the night Jack dies. Kate’s got her dog. We are terrifyingly near this horrific event, and I’ve never wanted a show to just STOP, so I can hold onto it in the here and now for as long as possible. If This Is Us would just STOP, then nothing else can happen, and Jack doesn’t die.

But it’s going to continue on, no matter how broken I am right now. If only Jack and Rebecca had remembered to pick up some BATTERIES. I don’t think I will ever be okay ever again.

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Simone Biles Revealed She Was Also Molested By Dr. Larry Nassar in an Open Letter on Twitter

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Exactly What to Do if Your New Year’s Resolution Is Already Slipping

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With each new year comes a new opportunity to better ourselves. We vow to kick our sugar addictions, call our parents more, and check Facebook less. Yet within weeks, most of us are back to snacking, screening parental calls, and mindlessly scrolling through our newsfeeds.

But before you become one more person observing Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day (yep, it’s a real thing; January 17 is the day most people throw in the towel), know this: There’s still time to revamp a resolution that’s losing steam and initiate the lasting change you aimed for back on January 1. “The most important thing is to first figure out the top reasons why resolutions fail, and then use that to get back on track,” says behavioral psychologist Art Markman, PhD.

RELATED: How to Break a Bad Habit in 3 Steps

Markman, the author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others explains the top five reasons New Year’s resolutions fail—and the small tweaks to make to fix each mistake.

Your resolution is framed in a negative way

We often make resolutions around what we want to stop doing instead of what we want to start doing, says Markman. “When you have a behavior you’re trying to change, whether it’s eating less or checking your email fewer times a day, you actually have to put another behavior in its place,” he explains. “The key is to focus on a positive action that you’re going to perform in the situation where you were doing the old behavior.”

So instead of vowing to give up a certain behavior or do without something, frame your resolution around the new positive action you will do in place of it. Let’s say you want to quit mindlessly scrolling through your phone at night. Instead of pledging to turn off your device by 10 p.m., vow to start getting ready for bed at that time instead. This way, you unplug digitally while rewarding yourself with more sleep—a positive action that can motivate real change.

RELATED: These 5 Apps Can Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

Your end goal is too vague

Resolving to exercise twice a week sounds like a solid plan, but it isn’t targeted enough, says Markman. “Your goal has to be so specific that the actions you’re going to take [to accomplish it] can make it onto your calendar,” he says. “‘Twice a week’ isn’t on your calendar, but ‘Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.’ is.”

Getting specific doesn’t just help you realize what you need to do in order to see your resolution through; it also highlights the things that could get in the way of it (think: your weekly manicure also scheduled at 4 p.m. on Thursdays). Start accounting for all possible roadblocks, and add into your planner the steps you’re taking to get them out of the way so you can actually make it to the gym, rather than make excuses.

RELATED: 14 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Mental Health

You don’t address the root cause

In order to carry out a resolution, you need to know the who, what, when, where, and why of the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, if want to stop biting your nails, pay attention to the circumstances under which you engage in the habit.

“I encourage people failing at their resolution to keep a habit diary for a week or two,” says Markman. “Not so they can change their behavior, but just to watch it and see what they’re doing.” Once you realize that you always bite your nails while anxiously finishing a work project, you’ll be better equipped to take actions to stop it—like buying desk toys to busy your hands throughout the day or just being more mindful about keeping your fingers on your keyboard as the deadline ticks away.

RELATED: 10 Nervous Habits That Hurt Your Health

You think it’s all about willpower

Willpower is overrated. According to Markman, people often believe their commitment is enough to prevent them from falling back into their bad habits. Sadly, a pantry full of cheese popcorn isn’t going to magically become less tempting just because you’ve told yourself you’ll stop gobbling it down while you watch Netflix.

“At this point you’re riding the brakes,” says Markman. “Your motivational system is reminding you of the snack in the kitchen and you have to rely on your willpower to keep you from eating it. But just like in a car, if you ride the brakes long enough, they’re going to fail.”

The solution? Rather than relying on willpower, structure your environment so the thing you want or habit you’re trying to break is so difficult to get or do that won’t bother attempting it. Because you can’t eat a pint of ice cream you never bought, right?

WATCH THE VIDEO: 10 Yoga Poses to Do with a Partner

You’re going at it alone

News flash: If you succeed in carrying out your resolution, no one’s going to say Congratulations, but it’s not that big a deal because you had a support system. “If you find yourself ditching your resolution, phone a friend,” suggests Markman. “Find somebody who’s willing to serve as your backup so that when you’re about to slip, you can call or text them for support instead.” Crushing your goals doesn’t count any less if you do it with a little help from your friends.

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The Disturbing Case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Who Murdered Her Munchausen-by-Proxy Mom

Feel your resolve getting weak? A behavioral psychologist explains the most common reasons resolutions fail—and how to make yours stick. 

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I Got Run Over by a Truck—Literally. Here’s What I Learned From Almost Dying

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My parents always told me it wasn’t a good idea to brag about something unless I was really exceptional at it. The advice kept me humble and grounded, and it’s been the way I’ve lived my life ever since. So when I say I this, I hope you’ll believe me: I am an expert at coming back from the deadbecause when I was 24 years old, I got run over by 8 wheels of an 18-wheel truck.

It happened early on a fall morning. I had hopped on my bike for a 10-mile ride, to burn off some calories from an overindulgent weekend. It was a lovely morning, bright and crisp. The leaves on my Brooklyn block were just starting to turn yellow. I was closing out my ride when I saw the sun starting to rise over the low, brick industrial buildings on a busier street near my apartment. I thought that catching that sunrise would make the morning so incredibly perfect.

I was staring straight at it when I stopped at a red light, and didn’t pay too much attention to the truck beside me. The driver hadn’t put his turn signal on, and I had signaled that I was turning. I was sure he was aware of me, and I was safe to chase that morning-maker of a sunrise.

I took my turn wide and easy, and then I noticed that the truck wasn’t going straight. He was also taking the turn, and our paths were going to collide. Before I could register what was happening, I felt like I was tumbling, and found myself pinned beneath the truck’s first four wheels. I heard my bones cracking, and watched as the tires rolled over my body. I kept my eyes open as the next set of wheels came for my already crushed middle. I was too terrified to blink.

RELATED: What It’s Like to Have Your Immune System Attack Your Hair

The mind is a miraculous organ. Mine went into full psychological triage mode. I thought that I couldn’t close my eyes, because if I did, then I would somehow fall into a deep darkness where I had no control. So I kept them wide open. I also amazingly remembered my mom’s cell phone number and my home number, so the bystanders who had witnessed the accident could call my parents.

But the most incredible thing that my mind did was remember something my best friend, who’s a nurse, had told me: that if I ever needed an ambulance and the closest hospital wasn’t very good, I had patient rights and could ask to be taken elsewhere.

When the EMTs arrived, they found themselves talking to a woman with tire tracks on her stomach requesting to not go to the hospital nearby, but instead to the best hospital. I watched as they looked at each other dumbfounded, sure that I would die before I made it to any hospital. But I was insistent. My brain wanted my body to live, and it was willing to be pushy to make it happen.

RELATED: 8 Health Mistakes Nurses Warn Their Friends About

Beating the expectations of the EMTs, I remained conscious during the ambulance ride to the “best” hospital. As I was being wheeled into the ER, I asked the closest doctor if I was going to die. She looked at me sadly and said it didn’t look good, but she was going to try.

I am not sure why my body didn’t just give in at that moment. Or in all the moments that followed during the 10-hour surgery I went through. Amazingly, it didn’t. Although it came incredibly close.

Four hours into the surgery, I had been given about 8 pints of blood, but my blood wouldn’t clot so I kept bleeding out. The doctors told my family that if I didn’t start clotting within the next hour, they were going to have to let me die. Amazingly with 15 minutes left until my literal “deadline,” I began to clot.

When I woke up from surgery, my life was unrecognizable to me. I had broken all of my ribs, fractured my pelvis in five places, punctured my lungs, and torn a hole in my bladder. I couldn’t feel my body from my ribcage down, and my bike’s gearshift had dug itself into my right oblique muscle, creating a hole where the side of my stomach used to be.

RELATED: I Have a Disease That Makes My Thyroid Go Haywire

I spent the next two months in the hospital, working to heal my broken body. When I was released from the hospital into my parents’ care, I lived in the family room of the house I grew up in, sleeping on a rented hospital bed for another four months. I did intensive physical therapy every day. After an unbelievable amount of practice, and thanks to endless patience from my friends and family, I finally walked by myself eight months after the accident.

In the early stages of my recovery, I spent the majority of my time grasping at the person that I had been before the crash, trying so hard to become her again. But at some point, I realized she didn’t exist anymore. I wasn’t that carefree 24-year-old with no understanding of how challenging and precious my life was.

That’s when I stopped focusing on the parts of my life that I had lost, and started to focus on what I had gained: a deep gratitude for a life that I almost didn’t get the chance to live. I began to feel moments of overwhelming joy, like when my mom wheeled me out to the backyard so I could feel the first snowflakes of winter fall on my tongue; or the day my feet touched the floor for the first time in weeks; and whenever I decided to have champagne just because. The beauty of these little moments would have been lost on me only a few months before.

I don’t call myself an expert on surviving just because my body found a way to keep itself alivebut also because I fought to bring my life from a place of brokenness to a place of joy. For me, surviving isn’t just not dying. It’s also giving yourself the gift of truly living.

You can read more of Katie McKenna’s story in her inspiring memoir, How to Get Run Over By a Truck ($16; amazon.com).

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Man Declared Dead by Three Doctors Wakes Up Hours Before Autopsy in Spain

In Spain, a prisoner literally woke up from his death bed. Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, 29, was declared dead by three different doctors, but woke up hours before his scheduled autopsy, several news outlets report. The convict, who was serving time for robbery according to one report, was on the morgue table covered in scalpel lines in preparation for his autopsy when he regained consciousness. His snoring, apparently, tipped doctor’s off to the fact that he was not a corpse.

“I can’t comment on what happened at the Institute of Legal Medicine,” a spokesperson for the Spanish Prison Service told members of the media, “but three doctors saw clinical signs of death so it’s still not clear at the moment exactly why this occurred.”

After Jiménez failed to show up for roll call on Jan. 7, he was found slumped over on a chair in his jail cell. He was pronounced dead at the scene, placed in a body bag and sent to the hospital for an autopsy.

Hospital officials told local newspapers in Spain that the man’s false death could have been the result of catalepsy, a condition in which a body goes rigid and loses consciousness, mimicking death. It’s associated with epilepsy, which Jimenez’s reportedly suffers from.

Although he’s in the intensive care unit at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Oviedo, he’s in stable condition.  According to reports, the once-thought-to-be-dead man spoke about of his wife and daughter when he regained consciousness.

A similar incident occurred during the Ebola breakout in 2014. A victim of the disease was being wrapped in plastic by a burial team when he  suddenly moved his arm. The chilling incident was caught on camera by ABC’s Good Morning America crew.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

You Asked: Do I Really Need an Annual Physical?

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A yearly check-in with a doctor seems undeniably prudent. He or she can listen to your heart, check your blood pressure and help you nip any looming health issues in the bud.

But while annual well visits are a familiar part of the health care system, a growing pile of evidence finds that for healthy people without any symptoms, these yearly physician exams are a waste of time and money—and in some cases may do more harm than good.

One large-scale review, published in 2012, found that annual physical exams do nothing to improve a person’s disease and mortality risks. Another recent study found a little evidence that annual physicals could reassure some people of their good health, and therefore reduce worry. But it did not find that these exams save lives or prevent disease.

As a result of these lackluster findings, some experts have called for an end to annual physicals.

“If you’re healthy, there’s every reason to believe these visits make no difference,” says Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a professor of health care management and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “Doing a bunch of unnecessary tests and taking up valuable time for people who are well—that’s not useful.”

But it is expensive.

Roughly one in five adults gets an annual physical—also known as a preventive health examination, or PHE—and all those check-ups cost insurers and patients more than $5 billion annually, according to a 2007 study from Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. (That figure doesn’t take into account the billions in lost productivity that result from healthy adults taking time off from work to visit their doctors.)

Annual physicals are a big drag on physicians’ office hours and cut into their ability to spend time with sick patients in need, Mehrotra wrote in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“In our [annual physical exam] trials, we have not seen any improvements in what we care about, which is longer and healthier lives,” Mehrotra says. “While older adults”—those 65 and above—“may benefit, younger people don’t need this exam every year.”

Even some doctors who feel less certain that an annual physical is wasteful agree with the research findings to date. “The evidence does not support that an annual physical exam is necessary,” says Dr. Ted Epperly, a physician and president of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho. “Having said that, my sense is that [the annual physical’s] place in American medicine is still felt to be valuable by both physicians and patients.”

Epperly says annual physicals help doctors and patients form closer relationships, which can improve the quality of care. “I think having a relationship with my patients builds trust and allows for better counseling around preventive behaviors and lifestyle factors like diet and exercise,” he says. Also, when people feel they have a good relationship with their doctor, they may be more willing to make appointments when they notice new symptoms, or to request advice when debating a health-related decision, he says.

Mehrotra says he agrees strengthening the doctor-patient relationship could provide some benefits. “But if the goal is to improve that relationship, we should get rid of the head-to-toe exam elements and the tests that get ordered—like annual bloodwork—and spend more time discussing patient lifestyle and concerns.”

Even those who believe the routine physical should stay say changes are needed—and that healthy people probably don’t need to see a doctor every single year.

“It is very well known that having a strong and trusting doctor-patient relationship is essential to getting best outcomes in health care,” says Dr. Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder and harder to have this relationship because of the current system’s focus on procedures and generous payments for procedures, rather than on taking time to get to know someone and establishing a relationship.”

Goroll says annual physicals shouldn’t be so much an exam as an “annual review of health, both going over concerns and coming up with a plan for prevention.” He says that payers—or insurance companies—are starting to recognize the benefits of this sort of visit, and so are reimbursing doctors better for these sorts of wellness consultations, rather than for ordering tests and analyses.

But he says he agrees that much of the current system—physical exams that are “rushed, impersonal, and bureaucratic” affairs that are mostly about ordering tests, as Mehrotra puts it—are not doing patients much good. He also says younger adults (those under 40) without health issues don’t need to see a doctor for an exam every year. As long as you’re going often enough to establish a trusting relationship with your doctor—every few years, or less if you grew up with your doctor—that’s probably good enough.

Even for older adults, many experts say that if you’re following the guidelines laid out by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—guidelines concerning the right age and frequency for cholesterol checks, blood lipid tests, mammograms and other screening services—you don’t need to worry about annual physicals. (To see which tests you need, plug your age and gender into the government’s MyHealthFinder tool.)

But if you have health problems, don’t skip your annual. “All of this discussion about annual physicals is not for people with health problems,” Emanuel says. If you’re sick or symptomatic, or if you have a family history of disease, then “yes, you should be seeing a doctor,” he says.

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5 Mental Tricks to Feeling Amazing, Even if You Miss a Few Workouts

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Your plan was to relaunch your regular gym and clean eating regimen on January 1. More than a week into the new year, that’s mostly fallen by the wayside. Logically, you know that your self-worth doesn't rely on perfect attendance at SoulCycle. So why do so many of us drop into a shame spiral when we skip a few workouts or finish off a sugary treat? 

“We’re in a society that hyper-values fitness and thinness, and we’re taught to be ashamed of feeling like we’re not to living up to expectation,” says Andrew Walen, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders and body image and the founder of The Body Image Therapy Center in Washington, D.C. Not sticking to a routine can also make you feel out of control, and that too tends to fuel anxious or depressive thinking, says Walen.

RELATED:  8 Empowering Life Lessons I Wish Every Woman Knew

Maintaining your healthy food and fitness goals is hard work, and sometimes life gets in the way—or the couch and a Stranger Things binge session are calling you hard. Next time you start to feel guilty for what you view as slipping up, try these simple mental tricks, which will banish negative thoughts and empower you with body positivity.

Recite a mantra

Repeating an affirmation, song lyric, or some other catchy and motivational phrase might sound a little silly. But reciting inspiring words keeps you in the moment and gives your brain something to focus on, crowding out self-criticism while the mantra’s positive message sinks in, says Walen. 

Next time you start to beat yourself up for ditching the treadmill, repeat your mantra out loud or in your head with intention. We like "I’m more than my body" and “I am beautiful” because these phrases are simple and super upbeat. But anything that resonates with you in a personal way will work just fine.

RELATED: 5 Powerful Mantras to Help You Quiet Anxiety, Beat Self-Doubt, Manage Stress, and More

Banish ‘I should' from your brain

Pay attention to key words in your own internal dialogue. “Every time you hear 'I should' or 'I must,' recognize that you’re punishing yourself for no reason,” says Walen. For example, if you’re spending time relaxing on the couch with family and suddenly catch yourself thinking, “I really should put on my gym gear and go for a run,” stop right there. Distract yourself with your social feed, a conversation with your partner, anything to get out of that negative head space.

Put on clothes that make you feel awesome

You should never feel bad about your body, but if you do, there’s no quicker way to start feeling sexy and attractive than changing into an outfit you know you look good in. “Dress in a way that makes you feel adventurous and flirtatious and desirable,” says Walen. “Don’t feel like you need to fit into a mold with what you wear—it’s a time to express yourself.” Whether it’s a revealing bandage dress or comfy jeans and sneakers, your clothes can switch up your mindset.

RELATED: 9 Easy Ways to Practice Self Care This Week

Don’t get sucked into someone else’s body criticism

Body shame is so prevalent in our culture, you might frequently find yourself caught up in other people’s body drama—such as a conversation about your sister’s failing efforts to stay on Whole30 or your coworker's guilt about gaining a few pounds. Before their body negativity triggers your own dissatisfaction, change the subject, suggests Walen.

If redirecting the conversation isn’t your cup of tea, just leave the vicinity. Politely excuse yourself and spend time with people who are talking about something besides diet and exercise.

RELATED: Is Facebook Messing With Your Self-Esteem? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

Be kind and forgiving—to yourself

When we feel guilty for not living up to our own (our society’s) expectations, we tend to punish ourselves for it—vowing to skip a meal to make up for a binge, for example, or overexerting ourselves at the gym to compensate for blowing it off all week. Problem is, doing this treats food and fitness as punishments, when they should be celebrations of your body and mind. So give yourself permission to make mistakes and enjoy life’s indulgences, with no regrets whatsoever.

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Jazz Jennings Is 'Absolutely Horrified' She Might Not Be Able to Get Gender Confirmation Surgery

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Jazz Jennings‘ lifelong dream of undergoing gender confirmation surgery may not be possible for the transgender teen.

The 17-year-old TLC star and LGBTQ rights activist has been mentally readying to undergo the surgery, but now she’s been informed that she must also physically prepare — but it might take longer than she expected.

In a PEOPLE sneak peek at Tuesday night’s episode of I Am Jazz, Jennings and her parents visit her doctor, who delivers some bad news.

“I saw Jazz and her folks about six months ago and that was actually the first time I’ve gotten to examine Jazz, so I called the Jennings today because I’ve been speaking with colleagues and I wanted to get their take on a number of issues,” Jennings’ surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers explains.

“I wanted to follow-up with you in person just because your surgery will be very difficult in terms of what even the most experienced surgeons have encountered,” she tells Jennings. “Not to bring up the bad news first, but you gained in your BMI — which is called body mass index — which basically looks at your weight compared to your height. If we’re going to get a hospital to say, ‘we’re going to allow a surgery at age 17,’ you’re going to have to be at a lower BMI. Literally, they won’t approve it if your BMI is one dot over. When it translates to pounds, it’s about 30 pounds.”

Upon learning that she is required to lose 30 pounds to be approved for surgery, Jennings is fearful that her dream may not become a reality.

“The fact that I might not be able to get the surgery if I don’t lose 30 pounds, I am absolutely horrified,” she share. “I knew that my weight was a problem, but I didn’t realize that it could affect something that I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”

Dr. Bowers continues to explain that a surgery candidate could be denied if their BMI is too high because “if there’s more weight, it makes the surgery longer and it makes it more difficult.”

The surgeon adds: “What we’re finding is that as one new technology emerges, like hormone blockade — nobody thought we could block puberty — it creates another problem elsewhere. Now we don’t have enough tissue to create the adult genitals of the opposite sex.”

In the season 4 supertease of the reality series, Jennings opened up about her battle with overeating.

“My eating habits are beyond my control,” she admitted. “I really feel like a beached whale.”

I Am Jazz airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

How to Survive Weekends When You're Doing Dry January

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Dry January has become a global trend. And we get why: After weeks of stress, parties, rich food, and (for many of us anyway) too much to drink, we all have an urge to hit some sort of reset button. There are health benefits to giving up alcohol too, even for social drinkers—no more empty calories from booze is a big one.

If you’re on the Dry January bandwagon this year, then you already know it can be a challenge. But the real test starts now, as the weekend arrives, and with it office happy hours, a wine list at dinner, Sunday brunch, and other factors you don’t typical encounter during the workweek. These expert tips will help you ride out the next four weekends and make your Dry January a success.

RELATED: Here’s What Can Happen to Your Body When You Cut Out Alcohol

Stick to your usual social plans

Just because you’re giving up drinking doesn’t mean you have to stay home while your social circle is downing shots at a dance club or sampling the vino at a new bistro. In fact, not showing up might just give you a case of FOMO, which could cause you to lose your resolve later in the month.

Instead, “do the same things you would usually do with your friends and loved ones, but just do them without drinking,“ suggests Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, author of Drinking to Distraction. You may even notice that after 10 o’clock, your friends get boring or stupid, and you’ll likely be glad you’re not the one who will waste three-quarters of the next day sleeping off a hangover or regretting a drunk dial.

Detox your social media feeds

Everyone has that one friend (or five) who constantly posts pics of herself at parties with a drink in her hand, looking like she’s having a blast. Don’t torture yourself! Unfollow your harder-drinking buddies for the month, so you don’t start to feel deprived every time you go on Instagram.

Stock up on alcohol-free stand-ins

Sometimes it’s the rituals around drinking—the pop of a cork, the glug-glug sound of booze pouring into a glass—that we crave even more than the taste or effects of the alcohol itself, says Hollenstein. Think about what you like most about about your go-to drink and give yourself nonalcoholic options to indulge in instead. La Croix can stand in for hard cider, a bottled kombucha could fill in for your favorite yeasty beer, and some fancy juices now come in corked bottles.

RELATED: 12 Inspiring Things Celebrities Have Said About Living With Addiction

Play around with mocktails

Most bartenders can make beautiful alcohol-free versions of any drink on their fancy menu. Don’t want to drop $10 on a nonalcoholic drink? Oder a Coke, but ask the bartender to tart it up with a lime wedge, vanilla syrup, or a sugared rim and umbrella. If you’re hosting friends or otherwise staying in, whip up these yummy mocktails, and thank us later.

Count the money you’re saving

If you find yourself feeling really down that you can’t imbibe, try this instant cheer-up idea: Pull out your phone, fire up the calculator, and multiply the average cost of a drink at your favorite watering hole by the number of drinks you’d normally buy in the month of January. Doesn’t that number look good?

Reward yourself with a small splurge

Passing on a good bottle of wine while everyone else is enjoying themselves isn’t easy. So give yourself props for sticking to your goal by indulging in some self-care that will reinforce how good you feel—a leisurely run, a relaxing mani-pedi, or even the quiet luxury of sleeping in and catching up on rest.

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Think about how much better you feel

As you hear the clicking of glasses and see so many people drinking and enjoying themselves, fight the temptation to give in by contemplating what giving up booze has done for you so far. Are you more energized? Less bloated than usual? How’s your skin looking? If you’re not sure you’re seeing any health benefits yet, think about the resolve it took to make the commitment to give up alcohol for an entire month—and know you have the strength to see it through.

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How to Conquer 5 Resolutions You’ve Always Had Once and for All

Take that, bottomless Sunday brunch.

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