Joseph D. Pianka, MD, FACP, FACG, has been a board-certified practicing gastroenterologist in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, for over twenty years. A devout husband and father of three, he is also an avid surfer, snowboarder, fly-fisherman, and outdoor enthusiast with an interest in bodybuilding and a zest for life. Combining his expertise pertaining to fitness and nutrition, his unique perspectives regarding psychology, faith, and self-motivation, and his love of athletics and pop culture, Pianka’s ultimate goal is to help as many people as possible who struggle to find motivation in regards to health and fitness.

Medical providers are prone to dark moments, and life can be incredibly overwhelming. Pianka has personally always found ways to rise above his dark moments through his athletic hobbies and focus on family, but early in the COVID-19 pandemic, he fell into a spiral at the the prospect of being unable to care for those who depended on him. With a television announcing early statistics about pandemic mortality playing in the background while he learned that a significant portion of his practice—and ability to care for patients—was being restricted, he had an emotional breakdown. Facing physician burnout and depression, Pianka decided to sit down and write an outline about staying fit and healthy in a seemingly chaotic existence, and he kept writing until the sun came out (literally and metaphorically). What began as a simple reference guide for his patients, conceptualized prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, evolved into an unexpected second career as an inspirational writer.

And, once it seemed possible after publication, he realized he wasn’t done yet: All of his proceeds from the book will be donated to Ukraine relief. This book is entirely about creating meaningful difference for others, and the people in the Ukraine are the most in need of help right now. “Profits that would mean little to me in the grand scheme of things may mean everything to some of them.”


Be honest, did you take up Peloton or sourdough starter kits during the pandemic? Were you incredibly motivated to get a Peloton but then found yourself using it as a clothing rack more than an exercise machine? You’re certainly not alone.

The world is full of sexy advertisements, revolutionary gadgets, and cutting-edge diets which all promise instant results. But these ads, gadgets, and diets target a small subset of young, highly motivated, advanced enthusiasts, and they often don’t address the real health and fitness issues that plague a larger aspect of society: obesity, anxiety and depression, liver disease, substance abuse, poor self-care practices. The vast majority of people often don’t have the time to complete fitness regimens or the personalized motivation to stick with specialized diets.

Joseph D. Pianka wants to start a conversation about every-day concepts that have made an enormous difference for both himself and his patients. He strives to reach as many people as possible who may be overwhelmed, confused, or intimidated by the abundance of diet and fitness regimens available and to educate and motivate them to discover fitness practices which complement their lives and balance among all the regular activities they enjoy. It’s All in Your Head was written directly for everyday individuals with busy lives and varied hobbies. Rather than another “how to” manual, it is a “why to” guide through the complicated space of fitness and nutrition. Incorporating the fundamental principles universal to successful diet and fitness programs and teaching self-motivation skills, It’s All in Your Head unlocks doors to previously unrecognized potential and the ability to maintain fitness dreams.


  • “If an “average Joe” with the demands of my medical career can beat depression and regain a healthy lifestyle, imagine what someone as extraordinary as you can do!”
  • It’s All in Your Head was conceived in Pianka’s dark days of the pandemic; he hopes reading it provides others the same relief writing it brought him
  • 5 concerning trends a practicing physician sees too often with patients 
  • Importance of getting and staying healthy as an individual and a society
  • 3 ways life interests and hobbies inspire healthier life choices and vice-versa (ways a healthier lifestyle enhances enjoyment of various hobbies)
  • Health and Fitness as the ultimate remedy for stress, anxiety, depression and provider burnout
  • Turning so-called failures into learning experiences and building blocks for success
  • 4 underappreciated examples of inspiration all around us all the time
  • The possible relationship between younger individuals’ tendency to be less active and their increased psychological issues



  • Good Nutrition Month
  • National Family Health History Month