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Practice What You Preach

“You can do it. You just have to take baby steps first. You can either find excuses or you’ll find a way to get it done.” – Dr. Marjorie Broussard

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Marjorie Broussard, MD: Family Medicine, West Grand Parkway Clinic

September 2023

Dr. Broussard’s philosophy is that if physicians are going to encourage patients to live a healthy lifestyle, they should be doing the same. Although she’s a busy doctor and mother of two, Dr. Broussard makes no excuses and firmly believes that if something is important enough to you, you’ll make time for it. And make time for it she does, spending up to two hours a day at the gym training for her first full Ironman triathlon.

How did your wellness journey begin and where are you now?

I started running after I had my second child to lose the baby weight, but that turned into signing up for a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon. Then, a friend of mine organized a fitness competition for doctors that I won. It was a different kind of training, and it was out of my comfort zone, but it pushed me to start doing triathlons. So, I’ve done four half Ironman triathlons and I’m training for my first full Ironman.

What does the training entail?

I train six or seven days a week, one-and-a-half to two hours each session. When you’re a triathlete, you have to train in swimming, biking, and running. I also do strength training at least three days a week. I was just running, running, running, but when I started lifting weights, my body composition changed so much. My metabolism is faster. I don’t have as much localized fat as I had when I was just running.

Do you feel, as a doctor, that you’re leading by example?

We doctors are supposed to lead by example. If you’re going to tell patients to have an active lifestyle, you should do the same. I feel like it’s so important for doctors to have an active lifestyle. And we need to talk to our patients about what they’re doing for physical activity, what their diet looks like, not just focus on adding medications. Sometimes you don’t realize how just a simple conversation about lifestyle changes – two extra minutes that you spend with the patient – can make such a big impact.

What advice do you have for people who think they can’t fit exercise into their schedule?

It’s not easy to balance when you’re already busy, but when my patients tell me they don’t have time to exercise I tell them, “If something is important to you, you will make time.” Start with baby steps. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym for an hour. You can find a way, or you can find excuses. It’s all about mindset. There’s almost always a way to do it, it’s just a matter of what works for you and your schedule. Even if you can only find 30 minutes a day, would you rather spend that time on improving yourself or on doctor visits and filling prescriptions?

As a busy professional and mother, how do you fit exercise into your schedule?

I try to go to bed early so I can wake up early in the morning and do my workouts before I go to work. I do it while my family is still sleeping so I can really have that “me” time to take care of my physical health and my mental health. That way, when I’m done with my workout, I can make family and work my top priority.

What healthy eating tips do you give your patients?

When we talk about nutrition, I give them my tips, what I do. On the weekends, I plan my menu for the week and prep my meals by cooking a large amount of lean protein, veggies, and complex carbs. I also stay away from the refined sugars and processed food we all know are not good for you. I tell my patients it’s all about balance and finding something you can sustain for the rest of your life. The best value is something you can do consistently and that can become a realistic lifestyle change.

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