*Disclaimer: The following post explains issues I personally experienced with doctors. The signs and examples used are taken from my actual encounters with medical professionals as well as an article listed under the RESOURCES section.*
If you read my post Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story, then you will remember the brief mention of the terrible doctor I visited after my first panic attack. I’ve had a few bad doctor visits in my life, but this one takes the cake.
This doctor told me I had a temporary condition as a result of stress from finals. He prescribed me medication to take for a week to help “calm me down”. He also went through everything very quickly and barely gave me any time to talk. Then, he proceeded to tell me a story about his childhood where he experienced worse circumstances than my present ones. This was all after I explained the predisposition for anxiety in my family history and how I’ve been feeling anxiety for years.
At the time, I felt very vulnerable and drained after my attack. I decided to go with the doctor’s instructions because I didn’t know any better. I had seen this doctor before for other ailments, so I thought I could trust him.
After I gained my sanity back, I realized his behavior was wrong and unacceptable. It’s very important to know when your doctor isn’t right. Here are some signs and examples of how to know when you should change doctors.
SIGNS YOU SHOULD CHANGE DOCTORS
Your doctor barely examines your symptoms.
Normally before you see the doctor, there’s a nurse who comes in and records your symptoms and takes your vitals. Then, the nurse puts you in a room and you wait for the doctor to step in and examine your symptoms further. If your doctor examines you without going over every symptom in detail, then you need to get out of there. Chances are the doctor quickly glanced over your chart and prematurely made a diagnosis. This can be very harmful for you in the long run because you might be prescribed medication you don’t need plus the original problem still exists.
Your doctor “sympathizes” with you.
When you recant your story to your doctor, he or she should actively listen and sympathize with your problem. This is how the doctor concludes a proper solution and successfully treats you and other patients. If you suspect your doctor isn’t listening or obviously doesn’t care then you should change doctors. You don’t need a doctor who cuts you off, continues to tell their own story of hardship, and finishes with how your problems are small in comparison. This is downright rude and offensive. (Can you believe that actually happened to me?!)
You and your doctor have a formal relationship.
This might not make sense at first, but here me out. When you first visit your doctor, you will most likely have a very formal relationship because you don’t know each other yet. As time progresses and your visits become frequent, you will get to know one another on a very personal level. If your doctor still keeps the same amount of formalness in your tenth visit as your first, then you should change doctors. Your doctor should always stay professional, but also personal as well. This shows they care about you and (more importantly) your health.
Your doctor doesn’t check in with you after your visit.
I don’t believe doctors are required to check in with patients after visits, but they should out of courtesy. If this is the only problem you have with your doctor, then you probably shouldn’t change doctors. If you notice your doctor shows other signs including this one, definitely change doctors. Checking in with patients demonstrates care and concern. It also shows you’re worth their time, especially if they check in while they’re off the clock.
You’re nervous or uneasy around your doctor.
This is an immediate red flag. It’s understandable to be uneasy or uncomfortable with why you’re seeing a doctor. It’s not okay if you’re uneasy or uncomfortable because of your doctor. You need a doctor who will make you feel safe and calm no matter what circumstances. If you feel nervous or anxious around your doctor, then you should absolutely change doctors.
WHY I LOVE MY CURRENT DOCTOR
After my horrible doctor’s visit, I changed doctors. A few weeks later, I had another panic attack. Imagine that. I went to a completely different clinic and happened to see a doctor who turned out to be amazing. She exhibited the opposite of every sign mentioned in this post.
She listened to me, sympathized with my anxiety issues, and made me feel extremely comfortable. Then, she diagnosed me with Anxiety induced Depression and prescribed long term medication. Lastly, she called me later that night to check and see how I was doing. So thoughtful and sweet!
It’s not fun going to see a doctor, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Hopefully this helped you think a little more about your situation with your doctor. Remember to always keep in mind what’s best for you and your health!
- Tales of a Recovering Junk Food Junkie
- The Second Step to Becoming Healthier: Substituting!
- The First Step to Becoming Healthier: WATER?!
- As mentioned above, Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story
- Some of the information provided came from U.S. News’s article When to Fire Your Doctor by Angela Haupt.
I’m a recovering junk food junkie.
Struggling with anxiety and depression leaves me feeling stressed a majority of the time. Whenever I get too overwhelmed, I eat. Basically, I eat my feelings. I don’t just eat any kind of food though. I eat junk food.
Before I started my journey towards a healthier lifestyle, I used to binge eat junk food very frequently. How was this possible? Growing up, I stayed very thin. This was probably due to high metabolism, so it never really impacted me (or so I thought).
It also didn’t help that I was a little bit of a picky eater. Okay, I was a major picky eater. Seriously, my daily diet consisted of chicken fingers, mac n cheese, pizza, and french fries; however, the most important food group in my diet was chocolate.
I fell in love with chocolate at an early age. My mom still insists my first word was chocolate. True story. That’s how much I LOVE chocolate. I begged for any kind of chocolate treat whenever my mom went grocery shopping. I craved it every time I finished a meal. If the saying “you are what you eat” is true, then I was a delicious, rich piece of chocolate cake. It completely consumed me.
In addition to chocolate, I consumed lots of candy in my childhood. My favorites were Starbursts, Fun Dip, Mike & Ike’s, Necco Wafers, Pez, etc. I could go on listing at least ten or so more options. I think you get the point.
Eventually, I ate whatever junk food I could get my hands on. Donuts, cookies, cupcakes, cake, pastries, pies, ice cream. The list just goes on and on.
I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t want to. I didn’t care if I got a tummy ache later. In the moment, it gave me a sense of security through it’s decadent taste, and there was no way I was going to end that feeling.
I stated earlier how I eat my feelings whenever I’m stressed. Well, college was definitely the most stressful part of my life up to that point.
After I started college, I began working in retail. If I wasn’t in class, I was at work and vice versa. I didn’t have too much of a social life outside of work and school. I barely had enough time for myself and the person I was dating.
Somehow I balanced it all and finally graduated in four and a half years! Yay! But one significant factor I didn’t balance was my diet. What a shock, right?
Why would I do any better in my early adulthood during college? It was my first time away from home making my own decisions, but my mindset on food didn’t change. I still wanted to eat the sugary food I craved because it didn’t have much of an impact on my body. I didn’t gain the so-called “freshman fifteen” or any weight for that matter. Tums alleviated my upset stomach on the rare occasion I needed it.
Additionally, I ate lots of fast food on and off campus. I tried grabbing a few healthier alternatives when I went grocery shopping every now and again, but it wasn’t enough. I continued blinding myself to the reality of the awfulness of what I consumed because I didn’t care about my health back then.
After I graduated college, I remained working part-time in the retail store where I worked during college. I persisted in my full-time job search, but nothing happened for several months, so I needed a second source of income. Then, I started a second part-time job at a bank.
Sometimes I had to work very long days at both jobs. My stress levels were very high, and I resorted to my biggest vice: junk food. During this time, fast food reigned over all other foods. I ate McDonald’s, Lil’ Caesar’s, or Subway almost every day for lunch and dinner. Some days I didn’t have enough time to even eat fast food for dinner, so I ate candy (mostly Reese’s cups) on my fifteen minute break. This was my life every day for six months.
My life changed quite a bit in the year after I initially started working at the bank. I left both part-time jobs; began a full-time job; raised a puppy; started a new relationship; and left the full-time job. In this span of time, I noticed different changes to my body I hadn’t previously paid attention to before. I gained weight, and my head and stomach seemed to always hurt. The worst part was my moods. I felt down and irritable a lot and almost on edge of breaking down entirely.
Then, I finally broke. My unhappiness was my breaking point. I knew something had to give, but I still wasn’t sure where the root of the problem was coming from, let alone how to fix it.
One day, I was sitting on the couch at home cruising through Netflix. I saw a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and decided to watch it. It’s about a man who is very unhealthy and decides enough is enough. He goes on a journey to improve his health by partaking in a juice fast for 60 days. It was such an eye opening experience.
It became clear after I watched it that my problem was my health and eating habits. Now I didn’t go as extreme as he did with the juice fast. Instead I started my own healthier journey through different steps, and now I’m here.
Final question: Do I eat junk food anymore?
- Answer: Yes, I occasionally indulge in junk food, but in moderation. I’m careful by trying not to overindulge and taking control over my mind, body, and emotions. I’m a vegetarian, and every day I research more healthy and natural alternatives to food I eat and products I use. I rarely have stomachaches or headaches anymore. Most importantly, I feel happy very often and thankful to share my experiences in the hopes other people will learn and grow from them.
Check out my other posts related to this:
- Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story
- The First Step to Becoming Healthier: WATER?!
- The Second Step to Becoming Healthier: Substituting!
Feel free to check out the link provided here for more information about the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
The second step to becoming healthier starts by substituting. What the heck does that mean?
Substitute healthy foods in your diet for unhealthy foods. Integrate more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients.
I’m imagining some groans and eye rolls being ushered as you’re reading this. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ll flat out admit this part of the process is annoying at times, but can be fun and exciting if you open yourself up to trying it out. It’s also absolutely necessary if you want to continue on a healthier path.
HOW I STARTED SUBSTITUTING
There’s a huge misconception that eating healthy means eating unhappily. I really fooled myself into maintaining this belief. It’s not true though.
It’s possible to eat both healthy and happy, and I’ll prove it right here and now in this post. To do this, I need to explain my past eating habits.
I’m a recovering junk food junkie. Junk food has always been my biggest weakness with food. It tastes so yummy. I think about eating cookies, brownies, or candy and instantly salivate. Believe me when I say this: junk food malnourishes your body. There’s no nutrients or vitamins in junk food to sustain a long term healthy diet. Even foods you perceive to be healthy often mislead you. After I deduced this conclusion, I realized I needed to change my bad eating habits and start learning what’s actually good for me.
I love fruit, so I decided to incorporate more fruits into my diet. From there I looked up more healthy alternatives and one thing led to another. Eventually, I ended up substituting healthy meals for unhealthy meals.
Here’s the three main steps on how I did it all.
HOW TO SUBSTITUTE
Step 1 Before you achieve the meal swapping level, start small by swapping out snacks. It’s the best and easiest way to begin the substituting process. Here are a few snack substitute suggestions:
- An apple or banana for a granola bar
- Various types of berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries instead of cookies
- Dipping carrots and celery sticks into peanut or almond butter rather than chips and dip
- A bowl of mixed nuts including almonds and cashews over a bowl of popcorn
Step 2 Once you master snacks, move onto basic food swaps such as the following:
- Almond milk for regular dairy milk
- Sweet potatoes instead of other starchier types of potatoes
- Mashed cauliflower rather than mashed potatoes
- Natural sweeteners such as raw honey or maple syrup over white granulated or confectioner’s sugar
- Quinoa or brown rices such as whole grain rice for white or fried rice
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread instead of white bread
Step 3 Now you can advance to the big leagues, substituting meals. This part of the process proves quite enjoyable and creative. I’m only going to list a few meals because I want you to use your imagination and come up with your own meal ideas with your new substituting mentality. When you do, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post to let me know what you’ve tried. Anyways here’s a couple of meal alternatives:
- Spaghetti squash with your choice of toppings over regular spaghetti pasta
You can find spaghetti squash in the produce section of the grocery store. The easiest way to make it is to cut it in half and bake it. I’m not sure what the temperature and baking time need to be, but you can look up a recipe on whatever search engine you use. After it’s done baking, scoop out the insides with a fork and you’ll notice it comes apart like spaghetti noodles. It’s weird getting used to the crunchy texture, but add some spaghetti sauce or toppings of your choosing. You’ll be surprised by the delicious end result.
- Pita bread pizzas also with your choice of toppings rather than frozen or delivery bought pizza
Pita bread is a wonderful alternative to normal pizza dough. Also, you can find it in packs at the grocery store, and it’s cheaper. I buy the oat bran kind because it has more fiber than white pita bread. Then add pizza sauce and toppings (I like spinach and mushrooms) and pop it in the oven on 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes. This is so easy. I make them every week, so definitely try it!
How does this process affect your body? Hopefully you’ll start to notice positive changes.
I experienced better digestion, improved mood, and increased energy levels.
*An important factor to note in this process is how your taste buds change. At first these foods might taste really bland or unappetizing, but over time your taste buds adapt to the different flavors.
Comment below and let me know how these healthy substitutions transformed you!
- See related article The First Step to Becoming Healthier: WATER?!
I choose to live on a vegetarian diet. Whenever I say this, I end up explaining what this means and how it affects my life.
I enjoy and welcome the curiosity; however, most of the time I am met with concern and even annoyance.
I understand why people react this way because I used to react similarly before I converted. Now I want to answer the top five questions with the hope of promoting knowledge and peace on this subject.
I’ll start with the most basic question:
WHAT IS THE VEGETARIAN DIET?
A vegetarian diet is based around consuming fruits and vegetables also known as a plant-based diet.
There are different types of vegetarian diets including lacto, lacto-ovo, pesco, semi, and vegan. A lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy products. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian consumes eggs and dairy products. A pesco-vegetarian consumes fish, eggs, and dairy products. Semi-vegetarians usually consume some form of meat including chicken or fish, but normally do not consume red meats. Vegans are the strictest form avoiding all animal-based food products including dairy, eggs, fish, chicken (poultry), and meat.
*Disclaimer: Keep in mind labelled diets such as the ones above can be subjective and don’t have to follow specific guidelines.*
WHAT VEGETARIAN DIET DO YOU FOLLOW?
I consider myself a lacto-ovo-vegetarian with a few limitations. I do not actively drink dairy-based milk or eat eggs on their own anymore. I drink and use milk produced from nuts (Almond milk) and only consume dairy and egg products when they are already cooked into food.
I do not eat fish, poultry, or meat anymore. Now I center my diet around fruits and vegetables.
My main goal is to balance my diet with nutrient-rich foods. I feel confident knowing I’m on a journey to a healthier lifestyle. 🙂
WHY DID YOU BECOME A VEGETARIAN?
Simple answer: I am a vegetarian because I want to rescue animals, my body, and the environment from suffering. That might sound a bit exaggerated, but I wholeheartedly mean it.
Complex answer: I was unhealthy and unhappy every single day. My diet was based primarily on the consumption of meat and junk food. Almost every night I had issues with my stomach hurting, and I felt constipated. I started gaining more weight, which turned mostly into fat. As a result, I felt depressed and irritable.
I didn’t understand why this was happening to me.
Then, I discovered a few documentaries on diet, health, and nutrition. Suddenly a lightbulb went off in my head. That’s it!
I’m unhealthy and unhappy because of what I’m putting into my body.
But there was another issue as well. Deep down I always had issues with eating animals. I continued eating them because I thought it was important to health and survival.
I began researching nutritious ways to improve my eating habits while helping animals and the environment too. I found humans can live healthy, happy lives on vegetarian diets.
Also, there are ways of getting the same nutrients provided in animal meats (protein, B12) from alternative plant-based food sources and vitamins.
I felt relieved. This was exactly what I wanted and needed. Now I can look at a cow or a pig in the eye and genuinely smile because I’m making a difference.
DO YOU MISS OR CRAVE MEAT?
To be completely honest, at this point my answer is not really, but I’m still fairly new to vegetarianism.
Before I fully converted, my favorite meal included salmon. Yes, sometimes I think about how much I used to enjoy eating salmon. No, I don’t crave salmon anymore.
I see a lot of advertisements on TV about different meat-related products. I watch the Food Network channel almost every day which also features meat-related products. There’s some form of meat in my fridge and freezer right now because my boyfriend, Slade, still eats meat.
I’m surrounded by it all of the time. It doesn’t bother me. My body doesn’t involuntarily twitch when I see it. I don’t want to vomit at the sight or smell of it. It’s just there, and I know I’m not going to eat it.
My mind and stomach no longer process meat as appetizing. I crave other foods now in place of meat.
I think people expect it to be lot harder than it is. I weaned off of meat for about a month until one day I decided I wanted to completely stop all meat consumption. It’s really that simple.
HOW DO YOU GROCERY SHOP OR GO OUT TO EAT ON A VEGETARIAN DIET?
Grocery shopping for a vegetarian is easy. Going out to eat is a little bit more difficult depending on the situation.
The community I live in provides numerous grocery stores. The one I shop at most of the time is Kroger. Kroger has a large organic section and a decent selection of fruits and vegetables. They also provide a weekly circular with deals, which almost always includes discounts on produce.
*Disclaimer: Kroger did not compensate me or sponsor this post. I wrote the above description only for the purpose of honestly describing where I grocery shop.*
Most of the time I stay home and cook with Slade. We don’t really want to go out to eat very often because we buy and cook with delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Occasionally we decide to be lazy and go out for dinner. When that happens, we look up restaurants with vegetarian options beforehand. If both of us want two different types of food then we’ll either compromise on one or get what we each want from two places.
Going out to eat with family or friends is another situation entirely. I’m the only vegetarian (that I know of) in my family and group of friends, so normally I’m the odd one out at meal times. I don’t really mind because I understand it’s my choice.
Sometimes awkward situations arise, and I feel like I inconvenience people. In the end, I know it’s a small hassle because they support and love me for who I am.
- Information about the types of vegetarian diets provided from Ask Dr. Sears.
- For additional information regarding vegetarianism and the vegetarian diet, check out North American Vegetarian Society.
- If you have more questions about my personal experiences with vegetarianism or just general questions, you can go to my Contact page and leave a message or email me.
I live in a house divided. Not in the same context as sports, but rather food.
My boyfriend, Slade, eats meat, but I’m a vegetarian. How do we live in peace? Almost seamlessly.
When I made the immense decision to no longer eat meat, he completely supported me. As long as I didn’t chastise him for continuing to eat meat of course.
Now we shop mostly in the organic section of the grocery store. I occasionally buy meatless food alternatives, and he tries them. He even buys organic food products he normally eats non-organic.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle sometimes. It may or may not surprise you it’s more of an issue from my side than his.
I became a vegetarian to save animals, the environment, and my body in terms of nutrition. Those are the most common reasons people convert, and it is no exception for me.
I researched and found there were other ways humans could live without eating animal meat to survive. I knew in my heart I couldn’t let more animals suffer just to feed my appetite.
A lot of people don’t share this same philosophy, and Slade is one of them.
Slade was born and raised in a family of hunters, so his concept of killing animals is desensitized. He still loves and appreciates certain animals. He uses all of the animal carcass as a way of honoring it’s sacrifice.
But he knows I don’t believe there’s a humane way of hunting animals. It’s all inhumane slaughter in my eyes.
In the end, we agree to disagree on the issue, but we still support each other for our choices. He understands why I chose this path, and I accept he will probably always eat meat.
I value my relationship and the love we share. I don’t believe this disagreement is enough to ever separate us.
There will be times when problems arise as a result of differences in ethics and morals. As long as respect remains, we will solve them together.