Desiree Bobino Thomas, MD: Neurology, Berthelsen Main Campus, Katy Clinic, and Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center
Dr. Thomas committed to a healthier lifestyle a few years ago after her mother passed away, but like many of us, she slipped back into her old habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing that snacking was her downfall, she found that intermittent fasting curbed her urge to snack without being restrictive, and also helped her teach her son how to eat healthier without giving up the food he loves.
How did the pandemic derail your health journey?
In 2018, my mom had passed away, so I got on a health kick thinking I would try to do better with my own eating and exercise habits. But when the pandemic hit, everything kind of got thrown out the window. I was doing Camp Gladiator several days a week, but that disbanded. And working from home, every time I passed the pantry, I was like, “Oh, let’s see what’s in here.” I found myself yo-yo dieting again and gaining the weight back that I had lost.
How did you get back on track?
I didn’t want to go back to the yo-yo dieting I had done in the past, but I also didn’t want to do anything too strict. Another Kelsey-Seybold doctor was telling me about intermittent fasting, so I started doing that a few months ago. When I first started, it wasn’t really working. I was just eating dinner, but I realized I was still consuming as many calories as I was when I was eating all day. So, now I just eat a reasonable dinner and I make sure I don’t snack the rest of the evening. By having this one eating window, it keeps me from snacking because that’s my danger zone. I’ve lost about 15 pounds so far.
What is your fitness routine like now?
I’m still exercising, but not on the boot camp level, a few times a week for 30 to 40 minutes. I get on the elliptical machine and do a little bit of strength training. I just try to keep moving.
How has your renewed focus on wellness affected your son?
Not only did I gain some weight during the pandemic, so did my 12-year-old son. But I wanted him to still feel like he could eat whatever he wanted because he’s a kid. I didn’t want him to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. But, unfortunately, a lot of kids are running into problems with their weight. So, I was just trying to serve as an example. When he saw that I was losing a little weight, he decided he’d drink more water and he’s asking me for healthier options for dinner. He’s learning that the unhealthy stuff isn’t off-limits, but it’s more of a treat than an everyday thing. So, we’re finding a happy medium.
What’s your biggest health challenge?
I feel like my body wants to be bigger than what it should be. I love food and I don’t really enjoy exercising, but I’m trying to live a longer life. So, my struggle is trying to balance what my mind wants me to do, what my education taught me to do, and what my body wants to do.
How does your health journey influence your patients?
As a neurologist, I see that diet plays a big role in a lot of the health problems my patients deal with. But I don’t want to be preachy about it. I share my own struggles with them, so that way I can partner with them. I try to relate to them and show them that we’re in the same boat. Not talking down to them, but really showing them that I understand the struggle. Sometimes I do have to give them a little tough love, but for the most part I think relating to them helps.