• Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dry January, giving up alcohol for the entire month of January, has become a common New Year’s resolution and Dr. Jennifer Ashton of ABC News’ "Good Morning America" is taking on the alcohol-free challenge this month.“It’s just a little experiment I am doing, kicking off 2018,” Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, said. “There’s a saying in medicine: Doctor heal thyself. I give this advice to women every single day, but we’ll see if I can take my advice."Ashton spoke to "GMA" about her reasons for doing Dry January and her comments are lightly edited and transcribed below. Send us your comments and advice with #DryJENuary on Twitter.I have decided to try Dry January and I’m inviting you guys to try it with me. Why did I decide to do it? Good question. I think more curiosity from a medical and wellness standpoint and also psychologically.My baseline alcohol consumption I think meets criteria for “moderate," which as you guys know because I have defined it many times on the air, is seven 5-ounce servings of wine per week, or seven alcoholic servings a week.Now, my drink of choice is clear tequila, which I usually drink on the rocks with a slice of orange. I think it’s a pretty clean drink in terms of, it doesn’t have a lot of excess sugar, I don’t throw margarita mix in there.I would say in a normal week I probably drink once during the week if I go out to dinner, which I normally do Monday through Friday once. And then on the weekends, when I’m at hockey games, or I am out with friends Friday, Saturday or Sunday. So let’s say it is four nights a week.My motto is two and through. I never have more than two drinks, but four times two, I am over that moderate consumption threshold. Not that it was to the excessive amount, but I kind of had a gut feeling that I was teetering around or over that moderate definition. So I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to do a dry month. For the record, the last time I did a “dry” anything, I was pregnant with my second child, who is now 18 years old, so it’s been a while.From a medical standpoint, these are the things I’m curious about:I’m curious if my skin looks better.I’m curious to see if I lose even a pound, which is not my goal, but I’m just curious to see how literally the math kind of falls out.I’m curious behaviorally how it’s going to feel especially in social settings. I feel like I would totally be OK if I kind of went into a cave, didn’t go out with friends, but once I am out…. When you sit down at that table and the waiter or waitress comes around, it’s like automatic, you start looking at the drink menu, everyone else starts ordering and that peer pressure can be really, really powerful.I would love for some people to "suffer" along with me, so I have been trying to recruit some friends. So far I have one who is going to do it with me. You know what they say, misery loves company.I am going to keep track of how it goes, how I feel. And I figure if I did it twice during two pregnancies, I should be able to do it again. (Although granted then, I had kind of a loftier motivation for doing it!)But I think it speaks to this issue that is much more in the scientific and medical spotlight right now, which is women and alcohol consumption, and can it be too much?I speak to my patients every single day about ways to reduce their risk for breast cancer. The easiest thing they could do would be to not drink alcohol or to greatly diminish the amount of alcohol that they consume. And very few women are willing to do that, are interested in doing that or have done it.So it’s just a little experiment I am doing, kicking off 2018. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I would love for you to try it with me and we’ll see how it goes.There’s a saying in medi
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two days into the new year and hopefully your New Year’s resolution is still on track.While most people can make it through the first days, maybe even weeks of January, it is those days and weeks throughout the rest of 2018 that sometimes catch up with even the best of intentions.So how do you make your New Year's resolution stick? Experts say it is important to remember it is a journey, not an overnight fix, especially when it comes to the most common of resolutions, weight loss and exercise."The reason why people make resolutions every year is because it’s really hard," said Maya Feller, a New York-based dietitian. "You first started eating when you were 6 months old, so that’s many years of learned food behavior.""Change is not going to happen overnight," she said.Feller and other experts shared their top tips for making sure your health and wellness resolutions become true lifestyle changes.Solidify your intentionEven just a few days into January is the right time to remind yourself why you chose your resolution, according to Feller."Sometimes after just a few days of changing your diet you feel good and feel like you can let it go," she said. "In the early part of January, reevaluate your motivation and say, 'Why am I doing this again? I'm making this intentional choice again.'"Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, D.C.-based dietitian and certified exercise physiologist, said it's also important to remember your "why" multiple times daily."What’s going to help keep you motivated is continuing to think about the benefits you’re receiving, in both the short term and the long term," she said. "The more you focus on the benefits every time you do it, you’ll see the good earlier."She added, "What you want to say is, 'There’s too much good in this for me to stop.'"'Layer' the changesFeller advises her clients to pick the "low-hanging fruit" when they make a plan for their resolutions."If you’re eating two vegetables a day, make it four," she said. "Once you’ve hit that, reevaluate again and ask yourself, 'Why am I doing this and what do I have to add on?'"Feller compares improving eating habits to building a house. You start by making sure you have a solid foundation and build up from there."You have to put the foundation down and solidify the behavior," she said. "It is behavior change. That’s the thing about nutrition."Say no to the quick fixBoth Feller and Scritchfield stress that going for the quick solution, like a plan promising you'll lose 15 pounds in January, will not be sustainable and may even leave you worse off."You might lose 15 [pounds] but you’re not going to continue it with that approach," she said. "It's better to have the small success so you can continue to step forward."Scritchfield said taking the more moderate, long-lasting approach to healthy eating and exercise demands that you let go of the shame or fear that comes from overindulging in the holiday season."You're going to be so tempted in the new year to fall for an extreme plan because you’re feeling like you want to make a change and you’re also being told there is something wrong with where you are right now," she said. "The more important value is feeling like you have a good life and feeling happy with your habits.""Go down the road of, 'It’s OK to be where I am and what’s the next goal that I think is interesting to me and will also help me create a better life,'" she said. "Walk down that road of kindness as opposed to something that is short term."Live your valuesRecognizing that the changes you are making are part of the person you want to be can help you sustain your resolutions over the long term, according to Scritchfield."A simple way of remembering your values is saying, for example, ‘I want to be the kind of person who enjoys healthy eating. I feel good when I eat at home and I’m saving money and that&rsquo
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  • ABCNews.com(SHERIDAN, Ark.) -- A color-blind teenager in Arkansas got the Secret Santa gift of a lifetime this Christmas, courtesy of his co-workers.Cole Williams, a server at a Sonic Drive-In restaurant, broke down in tears Dec. 23 as he opened a box of Enchroma glasses, which allow him to see colors for the first time.The eyewear "alleviates red-green colorblindness, enhancing colors without the compromise of color accuracy," according to the company's website."It makes it a lot easier for me to match my clothes now when I go to school," he told ABC News. "So, that's a big plus for me."Chris Fisher, an assistant manager at the Sheridan, Arkansas, Sonic who captured Williams’ opening his gift on video, told ABC Little Rock affiliate KATV-TV that when he learned Williams was color-blind, he asked the staffers whether they wanted to pool their money to get Williams the glasses.Williams' co-workers then rigged their Secret Santa tradition, with everyone chipping in for his gift.In the video Fisher posted to Facebook, Williams was so overwhelmed that before he could even try on the glasses, he went around hugging each of his co-workers and thanking them."I was very shocked and I was very overwhelmed by all the joy and love I had from all my co-workers," he told ABC News of the glasses that sell on the Enchroma website for at least $349?Williams said the first thing he noticed when he put the glasses on was "how bright and bold the colors were, especially green.""Before I got these glasses, I thought it was the most disgusting color on the planet," he said. "Now, I want to say it's one of my favorite colors."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  New Year, new you. For 2018, many have thoughts of New Year resolutions, including better health and nutrition.Good Morning America tapped nutritionist Maya Feller for her insights on three areas of health that should be a priority for people in 2018.Good health starts on the inside, according to Feller. Anti-inflammatory foods, hydration and gut health are the top three items on Feller's list for the New Year. Read on for more tips from Feller, in her own words, on how to stay healthy from the inside out.1. Detox from pro-inflammatory foodsThe holidays for many are a time of celebrations. With them often comes extra food and more drinks. People tend to eat more foods with added sugars, added salts, as well as refined and processed carbohydrates.These foods increase systemic inflammation and over time have been linked to increased risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and becoming overweight or obese.Reducing the intake of pro-inflammatory foods reduces systemic inflammation. There is enough solid research that shows a link between diet modification and a reduced risk of having both heart attack and stroke.Focus on having the majority of your meals come from minimally processed whole foods with limited added sugars, salts and fats.What to eat: Anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, both starchy and non-starchy, fruits and nuts.2. Stay hydratedThe general recommendations for daily hydration is about 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 liters per day for men.It's important to note that this is a general recommendation that does not account for medication use, temperature -- both internal and external -- or levels of physical activity. Proper hydration helps with kidney and liver function, as well as regular digestion.What to drink: Water is one of the best choices for staying well-hydrated. Coffee can also provide hydration, however those with caffeine sensitivity should consider not having any after 12 p.m. so it does not disrupt sleep.3. Eat pre-bioticsPre-biotics are "non-digestible parts of food ingredients that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisims in the intestines."Simply put, pre-biotics help probiotcs and together they colonize good gut bacteria. Pre-biotics may help the body absorb calcium, maintain bone health and play an important role in satiety.How to get more: Some pre-biotic foods are garlic, onion, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, leeks, soy beans, whole wheat and banana.Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, CLC is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in nutrition for chronic disease prevention. She shares her approachable, real food based solutions to millions of people through regular speaking engagements and as a nutrition expert on Good Morning America.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Christina Karas(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A Connecticut bride battling an aggressive type of breast cancer died just 18 hours after exchanging vows with her groom.Heather Mosher was diagnosed last December with breast cancer -- the same day her then-boyfriend, Dave Mosher, proposed to her on a horse-and-carriage ride.The two had met at a swing dance group in Hartford, Connecticut, and quickly became friends before dating."I had planned to ask her on Dec. 23, 2016," the groom, Dave Mosher, 35, told ABC News of the proposal. "That morning, we had gone to the doctor after she had found a lump on her breast."A biopsy confirmed that Heather Mosher indeed had breast cancer. But Dave Mosher wasn't deterred."Now more than ever, I needed for her to know that she’s not going to do this alone," he said.While enduring two rounds of chemotherapy and two surgeries, Heather and Dave Mosher planned their nuptials. They were originally set for Dec. 30 -- that is, until Heather Mosher's doctor suggested the couple wed "sooner rather than later," the groom said.The couple exchanged vows in front of family and friends inside St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on Dec. 22. Heather Mosher, who was on life support, lay in bed, wearing a wig, a wedding dress and jewelry.Heather Mosher's friend, Christina Karas, was one of her bridesmaids. The two became close friends after meeting in the same swinging dance group four years ago."She was dying, and it was clear while we were all there that these were the last moments of her life," Karas, 36, told ABC News. "She held on to stay alive for the wedding."Dave Mosher said, "Some of her last words were her vows."On the day the couple had initially planned to marry -- Dec. 30 -- the family is instead holding a funeral for Heather Mosher. The coincidence was not intentional, her husband said."It was just like surreal because I’m supposed to be exchanging vows to her, and here I am saying goodbye," Dave Mosher added.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sweet treats, holiday travel and eggnog spice up the holidays, but it turns out that these things may also take a toll on your heart.Several studies, in fact, have examined the period between the end of Christmas and the first week or so of the New Year, and determined that this period is linked to an increase in deaths. Experts attribute this to fatal heart issues.“There is some substance to this notion that there is an increase in cardiac deaths associated with the holiday season,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, a former president of the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. “People are overextending themselves.”Indeed, heart experts note that the spike in deaths is probably due to a perfect storm of different factors.“The cause is hard to pinpoint,” Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, told ABC News in an email. “My hunch is that it may be due to a combination of difficulty in getting a doctor’s appointment, tendency to deny symptoms during a holiday period, staffing during holidays, and many people being far from home, which may contribute to reluctance to seek care and, when they do, being seen by people who don’t know them.”“But these are just hypotheses,” he added.Counterintuitively, cold weather may not cause an uptick in deaths as we commonly believe. While certain activities like snow shoveling can increase heart risk, recent research on this “Christmas Holiday Effect” in Australia – where many celebrate Christmas basking in the summer sun – revealed an uptick in heart-related deaths during this holiday period similar to that seen in the U.S.“The change in weather cannot be the only explanation,” Yancy said, adding, “Where Christmas is not celebrated you don’t see that increase.”Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. Krumholz advises those indulging in the season to listen to their bodies and respect new symptoms if they crop up – even if they happen to be in a foreign environment or away from familiar doctors.“Get checked out if you have any symptoms like chest pressure, chest pain, shortness of breath – pain or discomfort that may affect your lower jaw or go down your left arm,” Krumholz said. “Time matters for heart disease and, in many cases, getting prompt attention can be lifesaving.”He went on, “It is important not to be shy in conveying how you feel and what concerns you have.”If you have heart disease, he also suggests carrying a copy of a baseline electrocardiogram when traveling to visit family and friends.And with the new year around the corner, Yancy said it may even be a great opportunity for those who require heart screenings or checkups to call for that appointment. “It should be an always annual commitment to revisit one’s cardiovascular health,” he said. “Eighty percent of heart disease can be prevented, and the part that can be prevented is about lifestyle.”
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