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Make It Work

“As a person and as a physician, I’ve always felt that exercise is extremely important and part of pursuing that fountain of youth that we’re all looking for.” – Dr. Cherice Conley-Harvey

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Cherice Conley-Harvey, MD: Internal Medicine, Pearland Clinic

July 2023

Dr. Conley-Harvey started making her health a priority in 1997 when she began her residency. Even as a busy physician and mom, she takes every chance to move, eat healthy, and focus on her wellness. One thing she knows for sure, and always tells her patients, is that it’s far easier to make time for exercise than it is to make time to manage chronic disease.

How do you make time for exercise?

Ideally, I would exercise after work, but after having children I had to switch to the morning before work. You have to keep adjusting according to your life. Even sometimes at my desk if I’ve been sitting all day, I’ll do some push-ups on the floor, some triceps dips with my chair, or I’ll do a few bicep curls with weights I bring to the office. Then I’ll do major strength training on Saturday and Sunday with a virtual trainer. On Monday mornings, I do yoga. I’ve realized that yoga and stretching are things that feel really good but are also something I need now that I’m older.

What advice do you have for others who can’t seem to find time for exercise?

People always feel like they don’t have time, but I’m a big believer that you’d rather make time for exercise than have to make time for managing diabetes and hypertension and having to take a lot of medications. That’s why you want to make time for this, and you always have to pivot and figure out how it’s going to work for you. It’s very important to move every day, even if it’s just a little bit. You make work what you want to make work.

What are your recommendations when it comes to diet and nutrition?

I always recommend a whole-foods diet instead of processed. Specifically, I recommend the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. Some people benefit from intermittent fasting, but I don’t believe it’s for everyone. I believe in eating breakfast and incorporating vegetables or fruit into most, if not all, meals. I’m also a proponent of portion control. I do think some carbs are better than others, so not necessarily going low carb, but staying away from simple carbs and finding out how many carbs you should have each day. The more you restrict, the more you want it. So, if you want a burger and fries, you can have them, but keep in mind portion size and don’t do it every day. I’m also a big proponent of cooking and eating at home.

What other advice do you have for those on a wellness journey?

When you fall off the wagon, you have to get right back on. It’s never too late and small changes are better than no changes. There’s always a new rut to get into, so you have to think of ways to pull yourself out and focus on yourself. Try something new.

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