Stacking The Deck

“So…what do you DO?”

This question is incredibly annoying to me, and I cringe every time I hear it. I resent the fact that many people are so quick to assess someone on the basis of what they “do” for a living, as if there are no other dimensions which should be taken into account.

I completely resent the demand to pick one career that defines me. To add insult to injury, when people find out that I am a medical doctor, they struggle with the stereotype of what they expect doctors to be like, in other words, very conservative in dress and demeanor, and without any flavor or personality. Well, I’ve got news for you. I will NEVER be a typical doctor. And please don’t doubt my credentials or schooling. I am NOT a nurse (not that there is anything wrong with this highly respected profession). I am a fully licensed and board certified physician.

However, I do not consider myself to be ONLY one thing, “only” a physician. Yes, I am a board certified physician. But I am also a degreed (Bachelor’s) fitness professional, professional athlete (IFBB Pro), certified nutrition coach, writer, model, brand ambassador and contest prep coach. If that’s too much for one to process, too bad. Because I am ALL of those things, and then some. I am just as much about fitness, bodybuilding and wellness as I am about medicine, and I shouldn’t have to choose one over the others. I am damned proud of what I have accomplished in bodybuilding, especially because I was in my forties when I took things to the next level, not when I was a young whipper-snapper, and I was already established in my medical career. I will not apologize to people who are confused by the sampler plate philosophy by which I live and who don’t believe that it’s possible to be more than one thing. Truth is, I live as what Marci Alboher describes in her book One Person Multiple Careers as a Slash, and I am proud of it. I know it’s unusual, but why is that so hard for people to grasp? I mean, here I am, doing all that I do, switching gears constantly, and sending a message to the world that no one should have to be one-dimensional and boring.

I am honest. I have sass, and I speak my mind. I will NOT hide parts of myself which some overly judgmental people may have a problem with. I am NOT going to apologize for having a sense of humor, for using cuss words here and there (though I don’t use them while seeing patients). I am not going to paint a false picture of who I am. If you don’t like what I am doing, no worries. Move on.

Here’s a message to you if you find that you are someone who is compromising your own vision, dreams, or goals, because you perceive a need to choose one thing to define you. Perhaps you need to re-examine why you are allowing that to occur. If you subscribe to a no limits philosophy, then you would never even consider pulling the reins back. I will always encourage driven people to go for whatever they want, and if it doesn’t fit in with the conventions of one of their chosen careers or hobbies, even better. Break stereotypes and show people what you are made of! Don’t hide all the facets which make you who you are!

Of Bikinis And Medical Degrees

In contrast with the illusion that society is prepared to welcome empowered women with open arms, I have met with a tremendous amount of opposition when I am evaluated for my medical expertise. Wanna know why? Because I competed onstage in blingy bikinis, because I continue to model in bikinis, and because I am not afraid to flaunt what I am blessed to still have. And it pisses me off.

You would think that societal influences have relaxed enough to allow a female physician to flaunt her femininity without getting dinged for it, but I continue to encounter resistance. In keeping with this double standard, there aren’t too many female docs who are confident enough to push the envelope and post images which may be considered more alluring. Female doctors are expected to remain covered up, with very little skin showing, in social media posts. I’m not talking about jeans and a t-shirt. I’m talking about professional business attire and a white coat, or scrubs. Evidently women who are physicians aren’t allowed to reveal who they are outside of the clinical setting. That’s ridiculous, and I refuse to give in.

If a client has a narrow-minded view of physicians and expects me to fit the mold of an uber-conservative nerdy person, that client will quickly reject me. I think it’s utter nonsense that my credibility has been questioned, simply because I also happen to be a model. I have a LIFE. I have a certain manner of dressing which includes a certain fashion flair. The way I dress for work is by no means gaudy or slutty, but because of my abhorrence of ultra conservative clothing and the white doctor’s coat, it is obvious that I refuse to play the stereotype game.

Tell me this: how the hell am I supposed to feel empowered when narrow-minded idiots insist on throwing their judgment on me? I admire a strong, intelligent, educated, accomplished person who also happens to beat the aging process and who isn’t afraid of flaunting it. Such people are courageous, not scandalous.
As a fully credentialed, board certified physician who also happens to be deeply involved in fitness, bodybuilding and modeling, I know that I stand out a bit in a sea of medical professionals, and to be honest, I am proud of it. A good portion of the world also seems ready for such empowered career women, but when those women are being considered for an ad campaign or other large scale project, they are quickly criticized and cast aside for their fortitude and boldness.

I don’t see why I should feel a drop of shame for modeling in bikinis. What the &*%@ is wrong with bikinis? Women all over the world wear bikinis, and even dare to go sans suits in some locales. So why should I be made to feel like I am being scandalous if I model in a bikini? I have modeled my entire life, and I have no plans to stop at all, especially if I have a physique which is bikini-worthy.

My life is so varied, full and exciting that I can easily escape the dry and often depressing climate of medicine and enjoy something that has twists and turns. None of my other pursuits diminish what I bring to the table as a healer. If anything, they add a humanness and relatability which I think my patients appreciate. I have said before and will say again that I have never been, nor will I ever be, a “typical” physician (whatever that means). So don’t try to mold me into something I am not.

No Pink Please!

PinkUnlike many women who seem to gravitate towards the color pink, I hate the hue with a passion, regardless of whether it’s baby, bubble gum, rose, magenta, hot, blush, fuschia, or any other shade in the pink portion of the spectrum. It bothers me to no end when people, especially men, assume that every female likes pink and that all females should identify with the color since it is a “girl’s” color. I am not a fan of gender stereotyping, and find myself delighted when I hear a woman say she hates pink, or that she refuses to dress her young daughter in pink. Amen to that!

My mother certainly fell under the gender constraints which dictated that her daughter should wear pink, but thankfully she allowed me to assert my personality and hatred of pink when I dressed in regular day to day clothing. However, I did not win the battle when it came to my yearly portrait sitting. In fact, there were SEVERAL years in which I was made to wear baby pink chiffon dresses to my portrait sitting. This was utter torture for me, because I felt like a poof of pink cotton candy, ultra-girly and completely unlike the tomboyish girl I was. My mom would point out that I would only have to wear a dreaded pink garment for a few hours, and that pink was SUCH a good color on me. Truth be told, many shades of pink flatter my complexion very well, but the mere sight of pink has always turned my stomach.

I also remember one item of clothing which was given to me one Christmas (I believe it was when I was 4 years old). The item was my first bathrobe, a baby pink, polyester quilted number which I wore for many years, until it literally began to fall apart, and of course I was thrilled. When the robe was finally retired, it was no longer a full length garment, but hit my knees. When the time came to pick out a new robe, I selected a vibrant blue robe to erase the memory of having that pink monstrosity.

Some people may regard pink as a happy, calming, comforting color, but to me, it is just plain UGLY. Even purple, which is one of my favorite colors, has to have a strong leaning away from the pink spectrum in order for me to choose it. If it’s too pink, I will opt for red or black. I look at pink and I think of Pepto-Bismol and weakness. It is very safe to assume that I will reject anything (that includes clothing, accessories, decor items, etc.) that is pink. I can guarantee that I will never have logos or merchandise which have the color pink in them. It was difficult for me to pick an image for this blogpost because I knew it had to be pink. My hatred of pink is consistent and pervasive.

Pink is NOT for this girl!

Right Hand Rings


Pictured above is a Diamond Vintage-Inspired Engagement Ring (1/2 ct. t.w.) in 14k White Gold. This is the ring I wear now.

The trend in right hand rings has increased in popularity over the last fifteen years, because women are embracing it as a way to celebrate their independence and honor themselves. Similar to promise rings, which are also often worn on the right ring finger, right hand rings symbolize a dedication to a goal, a celebration of one’s strength, or an expression of one’s personality.

Though most of the women who opt to purchase right hand rings for themselves are single, a growing number of married woman are purchasing right hand rings for themselves. Right hand rings enable women to proudly display their power and freedom. One advertising campaign uses the slogan,

“Your left hand is a symbol of loyalty. Your right hand is a symbol of freedom.”

I’ve been married, and I have been engaged, so I still regard the left ring finger as sacred. As a matter of fact, I RARELY wear rings on my left ring finger out of respect for my strong belief that the left ring finger is reserved for the bond between two people. However, I have no intention of waiting for a left hand ring to alight once again upon that digit, and it turns out that many women feel the same way, and are purchasing right hand rings, even married ladies.

I had bought a right hand ring back in 2012, but I wasn’t in love with the design, and because I was so resentful of the non-committal man I was with at the time, I didn’t really want to wear it. When it was stolen in 2013, I figured it was meant to be.

Then in early February of this year, I was struck with a sudden urge to get a new right hand ring. It was time to honor myself. I wanted a design which reflected my personality, my taste, and was hoping to find something I absolutely loved, something that made me happy every time I looked at it. I selected a ring which did exactly that, the one that is pictured here on my blog. And it was on sale, for a price which could not be beaten, so I bought it. Little did I know I bought the ring on the crest of a huge breakup, so in a very cosmic way, it was perfect timing.

Exactly one month after I bought my right hand ring, I was completely broadsided by a sudden breakup, the third breakup by the same person in the span of six years. He was planning to move back in. He told me that he was finally ready to make an effort. It was all a lie.

To be honest, I was relieved that I didn’t have to explain my purchase to this guy who I am sure would have berated me for it. It was ridiculous of me to be so apprehensive to reveal my new bauble to someone who let me pay for everything (dinners, trips, gifts, etc.), yet felt he had the right to direct me on how to spend MY money. He never, ever took care of me, but expected me to acquiesce to his every need, and also knew that I would always rescue his pathetic ass.

Now I wear my right hand ring proudly, without fear of being ridiculed. I didn’t know it was considered an engagement ring until I wrote this article, but here’s a thought: I’m never going to break up with myself, and this ring symbolizes my lifelong commitment to myself, my dreams and my goals.

That Love Thing

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It’s Valentine’s day, which some people would argue is a completely manufactured, and therefore a completely meaningless day. However, if Cupid’s special day was so meaningless, would it sweep up millions of people in a wave of ultimate expressions of love, and inspire elaborate marriage proposals? It certainly seems peculiar that in the vast majority of cases, or at least the ones I have come across, Valentine naysayers are either bitterly single, or partnered up, but have had such a rotten string of Valentine’s Day celebrations that they have given up any hope of having a lovely day with the object of their affections.

It’s pretty obvious how the obnoxious heart motifs and pressure to purchase roses and jewelry (especially a carbon-based bauble for a lady’s left ring finger) have sullied the perception of this day of love. The fine dining industry is probably the most conspicuous and appalling of all, because it never fails to mark up menu items to ridiculous prices, packaged in tricky “Prix Fixe” menus which sound delightful and romantic until the hefty bill comes to the table.

However, despite the fact that Valentine’s Day is hyped and commercialized, it remains a great reminder of how important expressions of love are to the human race. So even if you hate the idea of heart shaped chocolates, long-stemmed roses, and cute little teddy bears, try to remember that it is a day of love. Don’t write off the entire day and risk hurting the feelings of someone you truly love.

Yes I AM a Doctor!

doctor-bag2It appears to be a lifelong curse for me to have to deal with people who never seem to take the fact that I am a bona fide medical doctor seriously. Most recently, I was challenged by a hater who didn’t bother to check facts and find out WHY I had “board-certified physician” on my main Instagram profile. All she saw was B.A. in Exercise Science and stupidly assumed that I had no other credentials. I purposely left out all my medical certifications and titles because I had to include my fitness background, writing and modeling descriptions in a limited number of characters.

She attacked me by posting a challenging comment on MY Instagram post, so I wrote to her clarifying my background and then blocked her because her comment was rather scathing. She returned through a different IG profile and BLASTED me, hurling profanity at me via another public comment. So I threw all her filthy words back to her and blocked her again. I REFUSE to be bullied by haters, especially those who don’t bother to do some research before hurling false accusations and insults against people they don’t even know.

Even those who know me through social circles will exclaim, “Oh wow, you mean you’re a DOCTOR doctor? That’s amazing!”, as if my medical training and career are somehow not supposed to be taken seriously by those near and dear to me. I want to yell, “YES, I am a doctor! Why didn’t you believe me the first time I told you? Why do I have to somehow prove it to you?” What irks me is that I don’t see these people doubting the abilities of their friends who work in any other industry, be it certified public accounting, law enforcement, or any other respected profession. I honestly resent the insinuation that my credentials somehow don’t count because I don’t wear a white coat all the time (by the way, I can’t STAND wearing those polyester nightmares) or flaunt my professional title like a badge.

For those of you who question what my credentials are, I will be very clear. Several years after I obtained my Bachelor’s degree, I completed four years of medical school which culminated in a medical diploma. After that, I completed my internship year (which was also my first year of family practice residency training) and became licensed as a physician. Two more years of residency training in family practice followed, then I sat for my specialty boards and became board-certified in family practice. Eight years later I had to sit for board recertification, and that process will repeat itself every eight years until I retire from medicine.

I am not a nurse or a physician’s assistant (though those professions are highly respectable, and attract some of the smartest and most compassionate people on the planet). What I AM is:

Degreed.
Licensed.
Board-certified.
Physician…ahem, a.k.a. Medical Doctor.
Yessir.

I may not be conservative or conventional, but I expect the same amount of respect as a physician who chooses to fit the mold and wear conservative attire and a white coat. My patients refer to me as Dr. Naito, not as Dr. Stacey or Stacey. I have worked VERY hard to become a physician, and I also recognize how hard my colleagues work as well. That is why when I am around other physicians, I err on the side of caution and refer to them as DOCTOR and not by their first names unless they specifically ask me to refer to them on a first name basis.

Hot Female Doctors

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Over the past few years, several male physicians, including Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors and Dr. Mike (aka doctor.mike on Instagram), have enjoyed some media attention as a result of their good looks. Never mind that these docs have endured years of medical training (in Dr. Mike’s case, he’s still going through it as a resident). Their followers are more interested in celebrating how hot they are. However, I want to know where all the hot lady doctors are?

As a fully credentialed, board certified physician who also happens to be deeply involved in fitness, bodybuilding and modeling, I know that I stand out a bit in a sea of medical professionals, and to be honest, I am proud of it. Yes, I get plenty of criticism for modeling in bikinis, but I don’t see why I should feel a drop of shame for doing so. Women all over the world wear bikinis, and go sans suits in some locales. It’s not a crime or a scandal to wear a bikini, or to show my legs or midsection. I have modeled my entire life, and I have no plans to stop at all, especially if I have a physique which is bikini-worthy. Because of this, I have become known as a “hot doctor”.

You would think that societal influences have relaxed enough to allow a female physician to flaunt her femininity without getting dinged for it, but I continue to see resistance all over social media. In fact, it recently came to my attention that there aren’t too many female docs who are confident enough to push the envelope and post images which may be considered more alluring. It is still considered “proper” and customary for a female doctor to remain covered up in social media posts. I’m not talking about jeans and a t-shirt. I’m talking about professional business attire and a white coat, or scrubs. So does that mean that women who are physicians aren’t allowed to reveal who they are outside of the clinical setting? That’s ridiculous.

My life is so varied, full and exciting that I can easily escape the dry and often depressing climate of medicine and enjoy something that has twists and turns. None of my other pursuits diminish what I bring to the table as a healer. If anything, they add a humanness and relatability which I think my patients appreciate. I have said before and will say again that I have never been, nor will I ever be, a “typical” physician (whatever that means). I don’t talk about medical cases and read medical tomes when I am away from the office. Many of my colleagues are so unbalanced that they will eat, breathe and live medicine constantly, but that is not my style at all. Some of them are also social misfits and cannot talk about a non-medical topic without stumbling and bumbling. The social awkwardness of some physicians is so painful to witness that I find myself cringing and looking for a quick exit when social hour begins at a conference or medical dinner.

In response to some criticism I received about posting professional swimsuit images on my main Instagram account, I established a medical Instagram profile to appease the haters somewhat, as well as legitimize my medical practice. However, I still post what I WANT to post on my main account, and if my posting habits continue to solidify the “hot doctor” label I have been given, then SO BE IT!

Six Common Misconceptions About Bodybuilding

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In an effort to shed some light on what the sport of bodybuilding is like, I am devoting this blog post to clarifying the most common misconceptions which I hear from people.

Misconception #1: You have to train for many hours every single day to get big. I know very few people who have the time to work out for several hours per day on a daily basis. In addition, if someone lifts heavy for many hours, and does it every single day, that person is overtraining. There are numerous problems with overtraining: 1. gains diminish because the body doesn’t have time to repair itself, 2. injuries tend to occur, and 3. energy levels plummet. If you train with intensity, you should be able to get a GREAT workout which stimulates muscle hypertrophy in as little as 20 minutes.

Misconception #2: Bodybuilders are all meatheads. I know that there are people who assume that bodybuilders are a bunch of angry, dim-witted people. My experience has revealed that such an assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the best and biggest bodybuilders have careers in non-fitness fields like law, medicine, engineering, and law enforcement, and are considered to be leaders in the community. In addition, many are very well-educated, very friendly and approachable, and have big hearts. So before you assume that a pile of muscle equates with a mean and stupid motherf*&$er, try getting to know a bodybuilder.

Misconception #3: Bodybuilders have zero body flexibility. If you have ever gone to a bodybuilding event and watched bodybuilders, women’s physique competitors, or fitness competitors perform their routines, you will often get to see some of the best athleticism and flexibility around. I have seen male bodybuilders easily perform splits onstage, which is something I haven’t been able to do since my gymnastics days when I was a child! As long as weightlifting is performed slowly and with a complete range of motion, flexibility should not diminish at all. If weight training was so detrimental to flexibility, you wouldn’t see athletes from other sports round out their training by lifting weights. As always, a good stretching regimen can keep muscles and tendons supple.

Misconception #4: If you stop weight training, you will get fat. The only thing that happens when someone stops weightlifting is that the muscles will atrophy and exhibit a soft appearance, similar to a deflated balloon. So it really isn’t fair to pin an increase in storage fat on lack of weight training. Food intake is what tends to fatten up a former bodybuilder who has hung up the weights, because the strict meal plan also falls by the wayside, contributing to an increase in storage fat.

Misconception #5: In order to get big, bodybuilders have to take steroids. This is by far the most controversial misconception. Are there bodybuilders who take steroids? I am sure there are. Do they all take steroids? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of people in the bodybuilding world who will staunchly defend the gear-free lifestyle. Haters want to hang onto the ridiculous notion that in order to grow appreciable size, there must be some illicit secret to it all. Perhaps if they stopped flapping their gums and hit the weight hard at the gym, they might harvest some muscle of their own.

Misconception #6: Women who train with weights will become very big and muscular. As a woman who lifts pretty heavy and does it up to six days per week, I speak from experience when I say that this is a big, fat lie. I still have curves and look feminine, and my muscles aren’t bursting out of my clothing like a she-Hulk. I have said this many times before, and I will say it again: lifting heavy weights will NOT make a woman overly muscular!

Uncompromised

Breaking stereotypes!

Breaking stereotypes!

I am always being challenged to pick one career that defines me, and it drives me nuts. When people find out that I am a medical doctor, they struggle with the stereotype of what they expect doctors to be like, in other words, very conservative in dress and demeanor, and without any flavor or personality. Well, I’ve got news for you. I will NEVER be a typical doctor. And please don’t doubt my credentials or schooling. I am NOT a nurse (not that there is anything wrong with this highly respected profession), I am a fully licensed and board certified physician.

A huge project came my way recently, and I was selected for it, only to have the decision-maker flip out over my fitness and modeling images and reverse the decision. I was stunned and dejected, but after reflecting on the whole incident, I began to get angry. Part of the problem was that the decision-maker was a complete hypocrite, pretending to be squeaky clean, but who openly praised one of the dirtiest human beings to ever alight on the entertainment scene. To coin an analogy, at the root of this was a case of the bride being upstaged by another lady wearing white. Mind you, I never intentionally wore white, but hey, my doctor’s coat is white.

I am every bit as much about fitness as I am about medicine, and I shouldn’t have to choose one over the other. I am damned proud of what I have accomplished in fitness, especially because I took things to the next level in my forties, not when I was a young whipper-snapper. If people are confused by the sampler plate philosophy by which I live, too bad. Yes, I am a board certified physician AND a degreed fitness professional, IFBB Pro, certified nutrition coach, writer, sponsored athlete and contest prep coach. I know it’s unusual, but why is that so hard for people to grasp? I mean, here I am, doing all of that, sending a message to the world that no one should have to be one-dimensional and boring.
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I don’t hide from myself. I am honest. I have sass, and I speak my mind. I am proud of what I have achieved in my life, and I will NOT hide parts of myself which some overly judgmental people may have a problem with. I am NOT going to apologize for having a sense of humor, for using cuss words here and there (though I don’t use them while seeing patients). I am not going to paint a false picture of who I am. If you don’t like what I am doing, no worries. Move on.

If you find that you are compromising your own vision, dreams, or goals, perhaps you need to re-examine why you are allowing that to occur. If you subscribe to the no limits philosophy, then you would never even consider pulling the reins back. I will always encourage driven people to go for whatever they want, and if it doesn’t fit in with the conventions of one of their chosen careers or hobbies, even better. Break stereotypes and show people what you are made of! Don’t hide all the facets which make you who you are!

Yes I AM A Doctor!

doctor-bag2It appears to be a lifelong curse for me to have to deal with people who never seem to take the fact that I am a bona fide medical doctor seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard friends exclaim, “Oh wow, you’re like a DOCTOR doctor? I had no idea!”, as if my medical training and career are somehow not supposed to be taken seriously by those near and dear to me. I want to yell, “YES, I am a doctor! Why didn’t you believe me the first time I told you? Why do I have to somehow prove it to you?” What irks me is that I don’t see these people doubting the abilities of their friends who work in any other industry, be it certified public accounting, law enforcement, or any other respected profession. I honestly resent the insinuation that my credentials somehow don’t count because I don’t wear a white coat all the time (by the way, I can’t STAND wearing those polyester nightmares) or flaunt my professional title like a badge.

For those of you in the group which questions what my credentials are, I will be very clear. I completed four years of medical school which culminated in my medical diploma. After that, I completed my internship year (which was also my first year of family practice residency training) and became licensed as a physician. Two more years of residency training in family practice followed, then I sat for my specialty boards and became board-certified in family practice. I am not a nurse or a physician’s assistant (though those professions are highly respectable and draw some of the smartest and most compassionate people on the planet). Degreed. Licensed. Board-certified. Physician a.k.a. Medical Doctor. Yessir.

I may not be conservative or conventional, but I expect the same amount of respect as a physician who chooses to fit the mold and wear conservative attire and a white coat. My patients refer to me as Dr. Naito, not as Dr. Stacey or Stacey. I have worked VERY hard to become a physician, and I also recognize how hard my colleagues work as well. That is why when I am around other physicians, I err on the side of caution and refer to them as DOCTOR and not by their first names unless they specifically ask me to refer to them on a first name basis.