The Day I Became A Doctor

Despite the fact that I had wanted to become a doctor from the time I was eight years old, the idea of going through grueling training intimidated me, so I kept putting off that goal. It was actually quite rewarding and fulfilling for me to zigzag through a number of different jobs (the most prominent were personal trainer, personal assistant to a famous stand-up comic, and optometric technician) after I graduated from college. Because I allowed myself some wiggle room, I finally came full circle and realized that the most fulfilling career choice for me would be in medicine. After prepping, taking the MCAT, and applying to medical school, I was accepted and spent the next four years studying the discipline which had attracted me so much as a child.

The day of my graduation from medical school was quite special, partly because my mother was beaming from ear to ear, my then-husband was excited for me, and my father actually made a point of attending the event. I will never forget my mom placing the Kelly green and white graduation hood (the color combo for medicine) over my head and across my back, signifying my graduation from medical school, It was indeed one of the most meaningful and special moments in my entire life.

A Queen and a Princess

With my mom a couple of months after being selected as SFVJACC Queen.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me that one of her dreams was for me to be in a Japanese American beauty pageant which was closely tied to a week-long festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week. The first Nisei Week celebration took place in 1934, and a year later, the queen pageant was added. With the exception of the years during which World War II took place, the Nisei Week Festival has taken place yearly. I knew how much my mother wanted me to participate in Nisei Week, but since I wasn’t that interested in vying for a queen title and being in a pageant, I tucked the idea of pursuing such a goal in the back of my mind and kind of forgot about it.

Shortly after I turned 18, I decided to contact the Japanese-American community center close to where I lived and inquired about the pageant, only to be told that the age requirements for queen candidates were changed to 19 to 25. The following year, I inquired again, but the area’s queen selection had already been made at that time. After that, I simply forgot about the Nisei Week queen selection. Then the year that I turned 25, I figured that I had one final chance to see if I could win a queen title and advance to the Nisei Week pageant. So I submitted my candidate profile and waited for the queen selection day to approach, while also keeping my plans completely hidden from my mom. I thought that if I wasn’t selected as the San Fernando Valley queen, I wouldn’t say anything to my mother, so as to spare her any disappointment.

While at the queen selection event, I noticed that I was up against only one other candidate, but that candidate had competed for the queen title for two consecutive years previously, and since she was also 25 years old, the event was her final chance at being selected as queen. I made an assumption that since the judges were familiar with the other candidate, she would most likely be chosen as their queen.

We were assessed on our physical appearance and poise, were asked impromptu questions while standing on a small stage, and were interviewed individually by every single judge. When it was time to announce the 1991 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center Queen, who would then go on to compete at the Nisei Week pageant with 8 other regional queens, I prepared myself to hear the other candidate’s name, so it was a complete surprise when I heard my name called. Next thing I knew, the judges and guests were congratulating me, and the former queen placed a bouquet of tulips in my arms. When I arrived home, I called my mom to tell her the news, and she was incredibly proud and thrilled.

At Mayor Tom Bradley’s office with fellow Nisei Week Princess and WLAJACC Queen Alice Akahoshi

Over the next three months, I went to pageant practice 3 days per week, attended events with the rest of the court, and was primed and polished for business visitations and parades. It was like attending Japanese-American charm school, and I was grateful for the experience. I wore a tiara to many events, and also wore a sash whenever clad in kimono or in the matching outfits the court was expected to wear during events and visitations. We performed in front of 1,200 guests during the pageant, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was a Nisei Week Princess, still held the Queen title for my region, and became part of an incredible community.

Yosemite Stars

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During my final year at Occidental College, I was invited by my academic advisor to go camping in Yosemite with a group of other Exercise Science classmates. Since I had never gone camping before, I was a bit nervous about the prospect of answering the call of certain excretory processes by squatting in the woods, as well as the idea of sleeping in a sleeping bag on the cold forest floor in a tent. It turned out that my concerns were unfounded, because my advisor chose a campsite at Upper Pines, very close to restrooms and showers, and the sleeping bag which I borrowed was incredibly cozy, comfortable and warm.

We went on our camping trip in April of 1992, and though we were rewarded with relatively sunny but brisk days, the evenings were quite chilly, and we also experienced sudden torrential downpours during a couple of very random points during our trip. The landscape was ostensibly breathtaking, and the hikes we went on were strenuous and fun. We also had a great time cracking jokes while eating breakfasts and dinners back at the campsite. On one particular morning, we were all eating our breakfasts, when a sudden heavy downpour of rain befell us. Instead of us running for cover, every single one of us remained seated at the picnic table and continued to eat, allowing the raindrops to fall upon us.

The shower abated quickly, so we were able to go hiking that day, albeit on more level terrain so as to avoid slipping down any embankments. We returned to the campsite shortly before dusk, and prepared dinner. Once we finished dinner, a classmate and I decided to take a walk around the nearby area. We became so engrossed in chatter that at one point, we found ourselves on a paved road, but it was completely empty. My classmate said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we just decided to lie right on the asphalt and look up at the stars?”, to which I replied, “Let’s go for it.” She and I then proceeded to lie down on the asphalt, which wasn’t too uncomfortable since we were wearing parkas, and we turned our attention to the sky.

In all my years on the planet, there have only been a handful of times during which I was able to see such a shocking display of stars, and that night was one of those times. We were absolutely blown away by the massive collection of stars in that inky black sky, and saw constellations we had only learned about in textbooks. It was mesmerizing and magical. We enjoyed the moment, which lasted a good ten minutes, until the headlights of a pickup truck startled us and made us rise from the pavement!

Aegean Sea

During the summer of 1980, I spent 30 days in Europe with a group of girls from my high school, along with our ancient history teacher, her husband, and a German foreign exchange student named Jorg Eichhorn. There were countries which I absolutely loved (Italy, Greece), countries which were impressive in certain ways but which didn’t capture my heart (England, Switzerland, Austria, Germany), and two countries which I did not enjoy one bit (France, Turkey). Despite the fact that I wasn’t enamored with every country we visited, I truly enjoyed the entire experience immensely.

Copyright: muamero

One major highlight we experienced was a cruise we took on the M/V Aphrodite, a cruise ship which we boarded in Ancona, Italy. We spent a week on the M/V Aprhrodite, which docked in Santorini, Athens, and Istanbul. Our first night on the ship, I remember sitting out on the deck, looking up at the sky, and being dazzled by a glorious display of stars, completely unobstructed by pollution, the distraction of electric lighting, or ominous storm clouds. The next day, when we docked in Santorini, I was even more awestruck by the gorgeous turquoise water of the Aegean Sea. Once I set foot on the rocky shore, I saw the waves lap against the rocks and realized that I could see fish swimming in the water. I had never seen such a shade of water, and for that matter, I had never seen any major body of water except for the Pacific Ocean until I went on that cruise. It was an experience which left an indelible impression on my 14 year old self.

My Top Ten Favorite Moments

I recently thought about what my ten favorite moments in my life have been, and I decided to compile a list. I was astonished to see that eight of the ten moments occurred while I was traveling, and six of them involved water. Every single one of these moments is special and sacred to me, and full of meaning. I’ve made sure to list them in chronological order. I will add ten blog posts in the future which will discuss each of these magic moments.

Aegean Sea

The night I gazed at stars in Yosemite

Japanese-American beauty pageant win

Medical School graduation

Swimming with dolphins in Kihei, Maui

Winning IFBB Pro status at Team Universe

Budapest at 7 pm

Mornings in Maldives

My last night in Porto

Chaweng Noi Beach

The Acu-Hump Massage Tool

I was recently given the opportunity to try a self-massage tool called the Acu-Hump, which is designed for home use by individuals who are suffering from back, hip and buttock issues. Generally speaking, I am definitely a fan of at-home self-massage devices, and am happy to promote any such products which not only are effective, but also easy to use. The Acu-Hump fits the bill on both counts. Now that I have used the device, I am now able to write a review here so that you can learn more about it and decide whether you might want to purchase one for your own use.

Let’s start with the general design of the Acu-Hump. The Acu-Hump is made of a slightly flexible polyurethane, and is rigid enough to support one’s body weight if someone sits on the device or lies on top of it during therapy. Granted, I’m only 126 pounds, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the Acu-Hump is in any danger of caving in on itself when I use it. There are 14 humps on the treatment surface which work like shiatsu or pressure point nubs, and they are extremely effective at causing a release of tight, tense muscles, just like a deep tissue massage from a professional masseuse. In addition, the gentle curved design of the Acu-Hump gently stretches the muscles which are being treated, whether you place the unit under your upper back, your hip, or your buttocks. Simply stated, if you like deep tissue massage like I do, you will LOVE the Acu-Hump.

I am very impressed by how effectively the Acu-Hump causes a myofascial release in any area it is used on, whether it is in the upper back (latissimus dorsi, trapezius), hips (piriformis, sacroiliac joints), or the buttocks (glutes, muscles which surround sciatic nerve). You can use the Acu-Hump daily if you want, since it will cause a wonderful reset of overused or tight postural back muscles and muscles in the buttocks. It’s great for everyone from those who sit at desk jobs all day, to people who stand or move around a lot, and it’s fantastic for athletes who pretty much live with muscle aches and pains.

The Acu-Hump is well designed, and the pressure points sit in excellent positions for just about anyone who uses it. It is also surprisingly lightweight for how durable it is, so it can be taken to the office, to sporting events, you name it. My favorite use for the device is to sit on it, because I always have pain in the muscles of my buttocks, but I also love using this on my upper back right below my shoulder blades, and I also love using it at my sacroiliac joints in my lower back to soften the tendons and to get some relief from stiffness and pain which I experience on occasion. It’s so versatile that you can use it on numerous areas to get a great stretch while also benefitting from the self-massage properties of the device.

The Acu-Hump is available on Amazon. For more information on the Acu-Hump, and to visit their website, please go to  https://www.acuhump.com

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given free product and compensation for my time to put together this informative blog post, but the opinions expressed here are truly my own.

6 Ways You Can Be Your Own Health Advocate

Check out this fantastic article by  Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org which will motivate you to take charge of your own health!

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The word healthy is a broad term that covers a variety of topics. To ensure you are at your best, you have to be your own health advocate, and that means knowing what is going on with your health at all times. Start by considering these ways you can be your best and fight for your health.

1. Research Your Doctors

Think about the role your doctor plays and how important that is for your health. Use the weight of that role when researching new doctors. Research shows you should look into their educational background, their level of expertise, and what other patients say about them. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. That is a great place to start before you dig in deeper to learn more about the doctor’s experience.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

A great way to take charge of your health is to start living a proactively healthy lifestyle. Start with eating better and getting physical exercise. If you are new on the health journey, try not to overdo it too quickly. Start by making small changes, such as eating more vegetables with every meal and going for walks. If you spend most of your time at work, get some physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can find small ways to incorporate activities that will keep your blood flowing.

3. Stay Organized

Keep your medical records organized by maintaining them yourself. You can use an online tool to quickly combine videos and keep all medical images in a single file by uploading them to your computer and merging them into one pdf. Then download the new file to keep on your laptop. Be sure to back the information up to a cloud-based server so you can access it from anywhere.

4. Speak Up at Appointments

Don’t be afraid to ask doctors questions, and don’t worry about whether your questions are silly. Doctors are paid to provide you with information that will benefit your health. The only way to access that information is to ask questions. This can also be a great way to vet doctors. A good doctor is happy to answer your questions and will go out of their way to provide you with answers. You don’t want a doctor that seems irritated or uncooperative when you have questions.

5. Be Vigilant About Your Medications

Take your medications exactly as prescribed. Some medicines are ineffective if you fail to finish the prescription, and some can take weeks to start working effectively. If you skip days or leave a few pills in the bottle, your medications may not work as they should.

6. Prioritize Your Mental Health

Keep in mind that mental health is just as important as physical health. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are struggling or have questions about your mental health. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral if you need to see a mental health professional, and remember there is no shame in having mental health issues. The majority of people struggle with them at some point in life.

Part of you being your own health advocate is doing things that make you uncomfortable, such as speaking up for yourself. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Remember how important your health is and you will always want to fight for it.

Entrepreneurs: The Outdoors Might Be Your Best Teacher

By Camille Johnson of Bereaver.com

There are few things more relaxing than spending time in the open air. Being outside, whether you are hiking, biking, camping, or gardening, is great for your health and can improve your mental well-being. Surprisingly, your time in nature can also teach you a lot about yourself and the world so that you can be a better entrepreneur, whether you’ve been in business for many years or are just getting started. Today, StaceyNaito.com covers a few of these lessons and offers insight on how to get the most out of your outside excursions.

Planning Ahead

Before you set out for an adventure, get your business prepared to run without you. Tips here include:

  • Hire the right staff. If you’re just planning a night or two over the weekend, you can probably skip this step. However, to get the most out of your time, you’ll want to be immersed in a natural environment for at least a week. Find the right staff to keep your business running even when you are unavailable. This begins by determining what functions need to be filled and thoroughly reviewing applicants. While most experts will recommend choosing only the most qualified applicant, don’t count out those eager to learn your industry.
  • Streamline your invoicing processes. Don’t leave town without making sure that you can send invoices and get paid on time. If you have not already, invest in a cloud-based invoicing tool that lets you send bills from anywhere. This is helpful if you do not yet trust your employees with sensitive information, such as customer credit card numbers. If you have recurrent invoices, look for software that will let you schedule your billing ahead of time and will also ping you when payments are made. Utilizing cloud technology also allows you to stay involved as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Make sure you’re available at least some of the time. Speaking of staying involved, set aside a couple of hours each day to field questions or handle tasks that your employees cannot. For this, you want to make sure to pack your laptop (Quantum Technologies recommends traveling with a locked case), a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an additional battery backup as you may not be able to charge your phone or devices.

You’ll also need to prioritize safety, especially if you’ve never been much of an outdoorsman before. Things you can do to keep yourself and your travel party safe are:

  • Let someone else know where you are going. Even if you’re planning to travel with a group, let somebody know where you are and when you are expected back.
  • Pack appropriately. While you do need to pack some of your professional essentials, make sure that you have room for all of the equipment you’ll need to stay safe and healthy while you travel. If you’re camping, for example, REI suggests making sure that you have a tent, pillows, sleeping pads, and a camp table if no picnic facilities are available. Further, pay close attention to the weather and dress in layers if significant temperature spikes are expected.
  • Know your destination. Even if you already know where you are going, spend some time really getting to know the area before you go. While this isn’t so important if you plan to stay close to home, when you’re traveling outside of your comfort zone, you’ll want to know everything from the location of the local police station to exit routes on your hiking excursion if you need to turn back.

What The Outdoors Can Do For You

Now that you are prepared to go, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of being outdoors. Obviously, it’s great exercise and a fun way to vacation. But, spending time in nature can also equip you to be a better business owner by teaching:

  • Patience. If you’ve ever talked to a child that went to summer camp, you know that a nature-centric experience can teach patience as these kids have to learn how to wait for the bathroom or to help with younger peers. As an adult, you will learn patience by having to wait out the weather, wildlife, or slower members of your party.
  • Team-building. There are plenty of outdoor team-building activities that can help you be a better boss and team player. Activities like swimming relays, target practice, and sailing are great ways to get your team to learn how to work together more effectively. Two other significant benefits of team building outdoors are learning to identify stronger potential leaders and establishing trust between your employees.
  • Preparedness. Anytime you’re outdoors, you have to be prepared for everything from rain to wild animals. As such, your adventures can also teach you how to prepare for all situations and to adapt if you’re not prepared. Things, like knowing which medical supplies to pack or having an additional set of oars available if you’re kayaking, might seem like insignificant touches, but if you need them, they can be lifesavers. You can apply the same set of principles at the office by having a plan in place in case an employee leaves, a vendor is late, or a high-value customer pulls their business.
  • Conservation. When you first step out into the big wide world, it’s easy to believe that the resources you see are infinite. They are not, and it is up to us to preserve the world around us for future generations. Air, soil, and water pollution, all of which are the direct result of human activity, take a toll on the natural world. As you get deeper into your adventures, you may notice things that you did not before, such as plastic bottles along the lake shore or animals looking for a home as deforestation drives them out of their natural environment. This can help you be a more responsible business owner by reminding you to preserve what you have and to be less wasteful every day.
  • Your own backyard. You don’t have to travel to take in the outdoors – just look out the window of your home. Consider creating an outdoor getaway in your own backyard. Remove tired landscaping and dead trees, install a deck or patio if you don’t already have one, and make a paradise of your very own. Some projects are best left to the pros, however, so bring them on to get the job done right. For instance, removal of a tree stump is no easy task, so go online and search service directories to find local contractors. The typical cost for such work ranges from $170 to $522, a worthy investment for hiring a company with the right equipment and experience.

There are many benefits of being outside, whether you’re planting a garden, spending a month-long sabbatical hiking the Appalachian Trail, or enjoying a week-long camping vacation. But, don’t forget to pay attention to the lessons that you learn that can help you as a business owner. You also want to make sure that you plan ahead by hiring the right staff and making sure that you can continue to get paid so that you can enjoy and make the most of your time outdoors.

Image via Unsplash


Dr. Stacey Naito of StaceyNaito.com offers customized meal plans, exercise regimens, and natural hormone balance to people who don’t want to compete but just want to lose weight, gain weight, or get toned. Contact Stacey today for more info!

The Best Ways to Boost Your Confidence Today



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Here is another outstanding and motivating article from Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net which you will enjoy reading!

Are you struggling with your confidence? Signs of low self-esteem include being overly sensitive to criticism, having anxiety, lashing out, and being socially withdrawn. These tips, courtesy of Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog, can help you boost your confidence.

Start Exercising

Exercise helps boost your confidence in different ways. Your improved health, strength, and appearance make you feel good about yourself. Working out gets your endorphins going, which boosts your mood. Feeling happier and improving your mental health can help you feel confident. Plan to fit in the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of exercise weekly.

Improve Your Nutrition

What you eat can affect your attitude and how you feel about yourself. Pay attention to how different foods impact your mood and enjoy more of the healthy foods that improve your outlook. Filling your diet with nutritious, whole foods also helps you stay healthier and either lose or maintain your weight, which can boost your confidence in your physical appearance.

Change Your Career and Update Your Resume

Millennials held an average of six different jobs by reaching the age of 26, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether you’re on track to reach that number or you’ve been in your current job your entire career, looking for something new can help with your confidence if your job is stressful or you deal with difficult coworkers. 

Before seeking a new position, you can create a slick and professional-looking resume by utilizing an online resume creator. You can choose from a library of professionally designed resume templates, and then add your own copy, photos, colors, and images. What’s more, this tool is free to use and a resume can be created in minutes.

Master Positive Self-Talk

Negative self-talk about the things that make you different chips away at your confidence. You might tell yourself that you’re too nerdy, aren’t worthy, or don’t fit in. You may not even realize you’re saying these things to yourself. Realizing you’re using negative self-talk and switching to a positive internal voice can boost your confidence. It might seem awkward at first, but keep saying positive things about yourself to change your thoughts and grow your confidence.

Learn to Relax

A survey from the American Psychological Association shows that 49% of people surveyed had negative effects on their behavior due to stress, including tension, getting angry, and yelling. Feeling constantly stressed can interfere with your confidence. Make time for self-care, try yoga, do breathing techniques, or meditate to relax. 

Volunteer

One of the benefits of volunteering is enhanced self-confidence. Feeling good about helping others can improve how you see yourself. You might also discover new skills and talents as you volunteer. Look for a cause that speaks to you and find ways to help. 

Improve Your Circle

Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel better about yourself can help your confidence. If your friend circle constantly breaks you down, it’s difficult to overcome your insecurities. Find a group that accepts you as you are and has a positive attitude to uplift you. If you want to meet new people, check Meetup for groups in your area that match your interests.

Boost Your Confidence

Little changes add up to increased confidence. With the tips above – including sticking to an exercise regimen, eating nutritiously, switching up your career and updating your resume, and learning to relax – you’ll be able to improve your self-esteem. 

Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is as varied as the blogger herself, who works as a physician, certified nutrition coach, body transformation coach, fitness trainer, model, writer, researcher, and sponsored athlete. Read more informative articles today!