Love yourself first

Love yourself first

Self-love. You’ve heard this spouted time and time again. But, to be self-critical is to be human. Practicing self-love is a critical key to happiness and to achieving any goal. So, today we will discuss:

Why it’s important to love yourself first.
How to love yourself truly and deeply.
– Applying self-love to the 4 pillars of health.

(Psst…a have a podcast on this topic. You can listen here.)

Why is self-love so important?

This is a simple concept, but so hard for us to grasp.

If you yourself are not well, you cannot serve others. Period.

If you are running on fumes, you will not be able to accomplish the things that you have set out to do. If you haven’t already, you will eventually run yourself into the ground.

If you’re fortunate enough to have others you want to serve or make happy, such as family, children, and parents, chances are, it’s your default to put their needs before your own.

However, this is going about it the wrong way. These people are your ‘WHY’. The best way to show up for them is to be a healthy example. They want you to be healthy too. Show them what care looks like.


How to self-love

How often do you tell others you love them? Maybe you tell your children when you tuck them in at night. Maybe you tell your parents before you hang up the phone, or your significant other when you leave the house.

How often do you tell yourself?

We’re going to take a few minutes to do an exercise. I want you to follow along.

  • Say to yourself, “(Name), I love you.” Say it and mean it.
  • How does it feel to say that to yourself? (There is no right or wrong answer, just answer truthfully.)
  • How will you show up differently for yourself when you generate that feeling?
  • What results will this create in your life?

With this exercise, you just created an intentional “model” of thinking. This is the same model taught in my weight loss program.

You deliberately told your brain what you are going to think and are taking charge of the results that you will get in your life. You must practice this thought, just like any other intentional thought.

Write it down on a sticky note and post it where you will see it.
Set it as a reminder on your phone.
Email it to yourself.

Don’t stop here.

Love yourself unconditionally. Love yourself when you make mistakes, you are human. Love yourself when you do well by celebrating your successes.


The 4 pillars of health

Love yourself by finding ways to implement the 4 pillars of health into your daily life:

– Mindfulness
– Nutrition
– Sleep
– Exercise

The intentional thought model you created today is an example of practicing mindfulness.

When you are truly loving yourself how will you improve your eating?

When are you truly loving yourself how many hours a night will you sleep?

When you are truly loving yourself how will you incorporate exercise into your lifestyle?

The bottom line is to love yourself as you love others.

Disclaimer: Although I am a medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. So the things I teach are not to be used as medical advice. You should consult your physician to discuss what is best for you personally.

Till next time, stay healthy.

Dr. Kristine LaRocca


Disclaimer: Although I am a medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. So the things I teach are not to be used as medical advice. You should consult your physician to discuss what is best for you personally.

If you would like to become my patient, schedule a free consultation below.

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How Stress Affects your Health and your Weight

How Stress Affects your Health and your Weight

We all know stress in some form or another, but did you know that stress can have a major impact on not just your psychological health, but your physical health as well? Stress can even lead to fat accumulation and weight gain.

In this article, we’ll go over the physical effects that stress takes on the body and some ways to combat the effects, reduce your overall stress and live a happier, healthier lifestyle.

There are two types of stress: acute (abrupt and short-term) and chronic (over a long-term period).

Acute stress activates our “fight or flight” response, leading to increased sympathetic nervous system activity. In other words, everything gets “revved up”, resulting in;

  • a release of Norepinephrine and Epinephrine
  • an increase in blood pressure
  • constriction of blood vessels
  • increased heart rate
  • decreased blood flow to the kidneys
  • increased blood flow to the brain to improve cognitive functioning

In addition, acute stress also affects our metabolism, causing an increase in glucose levels (blood sugar), which can lead to weight gain and our physical pain tolerance.

Chronic stress triggers a “submit and stay” response, which can lead to increased body fat. Some of the effects of chronic stress are;

  •  increased stress hormones
  • high blood pressure
  • preterm labor during pregnancy
  • increased body fat (especially in the abdomen)
  • increased food craving
  • depression
  • decreased memory and reasonable thinking
  • fatigue
  • weakened immune system
  • decreased pain tolerance


So, what can you do?

To be human is to stress. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to remove all forms of stress from your life, but there are things you can do to relieve it.



Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. It lowers your body’s stress hormones and releases endorphins which improve your mood and act as natural painkillers. (I’ll go into this more in my next blog and there’s a podcast episode that really delves into this topic too. You can listen to that here.)

But exercise doesn’t have to be running on a treadmill or lifting weights. There are so many ways to get your body moving and your heart pumping that doesn’t involve a gym at all!



Caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks, when consumed in high doses can increase anxiety.

If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, it’s time to consider cutting back.

Although many studies show that coffee can actually be healthy in moderation, it’s important to note that it’s not for everyone. Try cutting back your caffeine intake and see if you feel less anxiety overall.

*When cutting back caffeine, some people experience headaches. This is because caffeine is an addictive substance. When we cut back, our bodies react. This is normal and the headaches are typically mild, short-lived, and can be combated with over-the-counter headache relief medicine.



You may think it sounds silly, but writing down your feelings, good and bad, can greatly impact your mental health. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a brightly colored sparkly book like you may have had in grade school. There are tons of classy, grown-up versions available now. (I personally use a leather-bound journal.)

Carry it with you. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take it out and write. Write, doodle, however you want to express your feelings. Also, try to write in the journal when you’re feeling particularly happy or grateful. It can help to go back and read those entries when you’re having a bad moment. I do a further deep dive into the mindset work on my podcast. 



This is a big one. While not all stressors are within your control, some are. It starts by taking control of the aspects of your life that you can change and are causing you stress.

One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you often find yourself taking on more than you can handle.

Being selective about what you take on and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load can significantly reduce your stress levels. You don’t have to please everyone. You’re one person. Practice saying no. You’ll be surprised how good it feels.



How many times have we all thought about something we had to do but didn’t really want to do and we waited till the last minute? Procrastination can lead you to act reactively and scrambling to catch up.

Get a calendar or a to-do list that you can hang on the wall or fridge where you can see it. Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time.
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and stick to them.


The bottom line…

Although stress and anxiety affect everyone, there are many ways to reduce the pressure you feel.

Exercise, mindfulness, and improving your eating habits can all work to relieve anxiety and improve your overall work-life balance.


Till next time, stay healthy!

Dr. Kristine LaRocca


*Disclaimer: Although I am a medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. So the things I teach are not to be used as medical advice. You should consult your physician to discuss what is best for you personally.



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Get Moving!

Get Moving!

When most people think of exercise, they imagine things like running on a treadmill, aerobics, and...

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Before we begin: This weekend, I got to meet a few firefighters and work alongside soldiers from all different backgrounds and specialties, including medical personnel and engineers. You are all true heroes. If you guys are reading this, I am so thankful for your service every day. YOU are the reason why I do this.

So let’s jump in…

Have you ever sat down for a meal, started eating and didn’t stop till you were sitting there, pants unbuttoned, wondering why you didn’t stop eating till you felt awful? You’re not alone.

This week, I will teach you why we overeat, the triggers that cause overeating, and how to stop yourself.

Dopamine, it’s what keeps you coming back for more.

Think about your favorite “guilty pleasure” food. A food you love to eat but you know is bad for you.

Now, think about the feeling you get when you know you’re going to eat this food. You probably get excited. You look forward to eating it.

What about when you actually eat that food. Bliss, right?

That blissful feeling is caused by a release of dopamine. That’s the “pleasure, feel good” hormone. When you eat concentrated foods, such as flour and sugar, dopamine is released, giving you a short-term reward. Much like a drug addiction.

Actually, that’s exactly what it is…an addiction.

This is no way intended to minimize the significance of having a drug addiction, but it is meant to highlight the seriousness of food addiction.

When you stop eating flour and sugar, you will go through withdrawal! If you go through withdrawal from eating certain foods, that speaks volumes to the potency and toxicity of these substances.

A recap: Glucose, Fructose and Insulin

I spoke about this in the blog Sugar is Fattening, but to recap:

  • Eating processed carbs and/or sugar leads to an increase in glucose and fructose which causes insulin to spike.
  • Insulin’s job is to open up the cells so our body can use blood sugar for fuel.
  • When we eat concentrated foods we get a huge glucose surge leading to a surge in insulin.
  • This leads to insulin resistance and lets the glucose hang around in the bloodstream, causing a vicious cycle.
  • Too much glucose in the blood wreaks havoc on the body, but so does too much insulin.
  • Too much insulin blocks an important signal from getting to our brain: the message that we are full and have had enough to eat – leading to OVEREATING.

Leptin and Ghrelin, important hormones that control hunger.

Leptin is the hormone that produces satiety, the feeling that we are full.

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells our brain when we are hungry.

Ghrelin is released when the stomach is empty and shuts off when the stomach is stretched or full. When we eat highly concentrated foods, they are absorbed too rapidly which doesn’t trigger that really important ghrelin off switch, so ghrelin continues to be produced by the stomach. You continue to feel hungry.

At the same time, our insulin is spiking in response to the glucose and actually blocking the leptin, the satiety hormone, from reaching our brain, keeping us from feeling full.

Some people have been told that eating smaller frequent meals throughout the day is better. Wrong! Eating small frequent meals keeps the stomach less distended which keeps the ghrelin following. This leads to hunger throughout most of the day which ultimately leads to overeating.

That’s why it’s so unsustainable to eat this way. Not to mention, who has time to be constantly eating throughout the day? Two or three meals a day is more than enough food to keep you energized and full.

Instead, exercise portion control with the few meals you do have during the day and be careful not to trigger the wrong hormones by choosing foods that are not highly concentrated and overly processed, like flour and sugar.

Keep your stress in check, keep your Cortisol in check.

When your body is under stress it can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels. Increased cortisol causes an increase in blood glucose in anticipation of the fight or flight response if your body needs an abundance of energy. Your body revs up to make sure that you have enough energy to “fight or flight” so your hunger signals are stimulated.

So, what can you do?
– Limit or eliminate flour and sugar
– Eat 2-3 meals daily without snacking
– Sleep 7-8 hours per night, this also helps to regulate cortisol levels
– Keep your stress under control by managing your thoughts and managing your situations

You are going to have thoughts holding you back from doing these things, these are called limiting beliefs.

What limiting beliefs are holding you back from getting the results that you want?

What change can you make today towards progress?

You got this, I’m here supporting you and rooting for you!

*I am a physician, but I am not your physician. Be sure to discuss changes in your health and eating habits with your doctor. There are certain medical conditions and medications that will indicate the way you eat.*

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Far From Perfect

Far From Perfect


Hello friends!

This week was slammed for me.  I worked night shifts for 12 or more hours for 6 nights this week. I had to keep up with my patient inbox at work, e-mails, I did coaching calls, went to doctor appointments, worked out twice, and oh yeah – I slept and showered every day.

This Sunday as I transition back to days tomorrow I am wiped.  I did some yoga today and just felt depleted.  I knew I needed a down day.  Just to be honest, my down day usually refers to doing my work on the computer in front of the TV.. But today I actually took some time for myself.  I watched the new Robert Deniro movie, called the Irishman, about Jimmy Hoffa.  It was pretty good if you’re into gangster movies.

Sundays are usually my day to meal plan and grocery shop.  I knew I didn’t have it in me today so I thought outside the box.  I went to Bachetti Bros in Wilmington and bought all premade food while staying on the protocol.  I gave you an example below of what this looks like for my meal plan this week.  Some of the stuff I already had in the freezer, like the tilapia and Angus beef patties.  Bachetti Bros is a catering company and a small Italian grocery store.  I bought a lot of cooked things like sausage mixed with onions/peppers, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, and potato skins.  I was also able to get egg salad, spinach, apples, carrots, asparagus,  romaine lettuce, and meats.  My bill was less than $100.  So this week we will have to cook a few things, but overall most of the food will just be heated up in the oven.  These meals are made in-house at the store and no preservatives or other badness is used.

I don’t think this is ideal, but sometimes it’s what self-care looks like.  Especially this week when I feel like I’m at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

I’m not sharing this with you to show you how busy I am, but to show you that if you WANT results you WILL get them no matter what.  Stick to the protocol and cut out those empty refined carbs and sugars my friends.

What are your tips and tricks to eat healthy on weeks that you are slammed?



Weight is just a number.

Weight is just a number.

Hello my beautiful people! We are going to put in some brain work today.

Step on the scale.

Write down the number.

That’s all it is. A number.

Let me show you…

“The Model” is a way of thinking developed by Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School. It is useful in all aspects of life, but here we’ll talk about how to use it for weight specifically. My intention is to show you how you can achieve your goals by controlling your thinking. So here’s The Model.

You’re welcome.
  1. Circumstance
  2. Thought
  3. Feeling
  4. Action
  5. Result

The “circumstance” is a fact. Something that is known to be true. This includes things like “I have prediabetes.”
The “thought” is your own personal thought about that specific circumstance.
The “feeling” is the emotion you feel when you think that thought.
The “action” is what you DO when you experience that feeling.
The “result” is the end product of your action(s).

Here’s an example:

  1. Circumstance: My weight on the scale is ___lbs.
  2. Thought: I’ll never be able to lose weight
  3. Feeling: Embarrassed
  4. Action: Don’t ask for help.
  5. Result: No weight loss

Get the idea?

This is called an “unintentional model” because it’s the default thought the brain might have about a circumstance. Notice how the end result reinforces the initial thought.

Now, let me show you an “intentional model” where you CHOOSE the thought you are telling your brain to think. You use the same circumstance, but everything else changes.

  1. Circumstance: My weight on the scale is ___lbs.
  2. Thought: I am perfect just the way I am
  3. Feeling: Love
  4. Action: Take care of my body
  5. Result: Healthy choices

You can also use the model more specifically:

  1. Circumstance: My weight on the scale is ___lbs.
  2. Thought: I will do what it takes to lose 20lbs in 4 months.
  3. Feeling: Motivated
  4. Action: Stop eating flour and sugar
  5. Result: Lose 20lbs
Now it’s your turn.

Write the number on the scale in the “Circumstance” line. Then write down your unintentional model. Decide what you want to think on purpose and create your intentional model. This can be used for anything in life to identify your current thinking patterns and train your brain to think intentionally with your prefrontal cortex.

Now let’s go after that result.

Don’t be shy! Share your model in the comment section if you’d like to help each other out!

Sign up to work with me if you’d like more help with intentional thinking to achieve your weight loss goals.

Be well,


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