Desiree Thomas, MD
Move in the right direction
Dr. Desirée Thomas finds moderation is the key to a healthier lifestyle.
For years, Dr. Desirée Thomas was a yo-yo dieter, losing weight then gaining it back. But when her mother passed away last year with pancreatic cancer, she wanted to commit to a healthier lifestyle. So, she decided to pay more attention to what she eats and to practice what she preaches to patients. Although it means getting up at 4:45 a.m., she exercises 4-5 days a week.
As a busy doctor who’s also a mom of three, how do you find the time to exercise?
The only time I can’t find an excuse is early in the morning. I get up at 4:45 and wake up by the time I get to class. When I get back home, I have 10 to 15 minutes before the kids get up, which gives me a little “me time.” Parents don’t get much of that.
What is your fitness regimen?
I do something called Camp Gladiator every day. Every class is different, and we do things like running, weights, relays, and games. I like the people, and that helps motivate me. I also go to a gym and work with a trainer. I’m not trying to be in muscle competitions, but I wanted to learn how to use the weights properly. And I’d like to build a little more muscle mass.
How have you changed your diet?
I try to look at what I’m eating, but I’m not starving myself. I’m eating more veggies and drinking more water. I believe in moderation and wouldn’t want to do a crazy diet, like only eating bananas one day.
What are you biggest diet challenges?
I still have to have my Mexican food! My kids are 15, 12 and 7, and it’s challenging to cook something healthy and quick that everyone likes.
How do you handle cooking?
I get home about 5:30 most days. I cook easy things, and I use the crockpot a lot. I try to cook things we can all eat, like grilled chicken. If we do go out, I try to make healthier choices about where we go.
What do you want to model to your kids?
I try to be a good example of healthy eating. When I was growing up, we ate for every special occasion. I try to show them they can do this in moderation.
Are you happy with the progress you’ve made so far?
The scale can be disappointing, so I think it’s better to pay attention to inches. I’ve lost some inches, and my BMI (body mass index) is better. I have more confidence.
How do your patients influence your fitness quest?
I want to practice what I preach to my patients and show them moderation and eating healthier are key to healthy living. I try to help them see it’s possible to keep it real, to not do anything outrageous.
What are your fitness goals?
I want to lose five to 10 more pounds and maintain it. I don’t want to fall by the wayside.
What motivates you?
My mom and my kids. I want to be a better version of myself. And I’m inspired by my patients.
What is your advice?
Ignore the excuses. The longer you think about it, the harder it is to do. I’ve heard a saying before that I try to remember: “Sometimes you have to get out of your own way.”