To be a trusted influence among his patients, Mark Diamond, MD, knew he had to practice the same health habits he was recommending.
Diamond is a specialist in nonsurgical orthopedics and sports medicine with Avera Orthopedics in Sioux Falls, SD. He works with athletes as well as people of all ability levels to treat and prevent future injuries.
“I understand there’s a lot of confusing health information out there,” he said. “The good news is, making a significant difference in your health is within your control.”
And as a doctor, he understands that caring for yourself doesn’t just affect you; it also affects the people around you.
“Prioritizing your health isn’t selfish,” said Diamond. “It’s difficult to care for others when you don’t care for yourself.”
So when it comes to cultivating a lifestyle that works for you, there’s no one size fits all. Diamond shares more about his health habits that are personal, simple and flexible.
Tip 1: Listen to Your Body and Exercise
Diamond’s day starts well before his workday, waking up before dawn to exercise for one hour. How he feels both mentally and physically determines what he does. Some workouts include walking or jogging, weightlifting or biking. If he’s feeling sore, he’ll incorporate stretching, mobility and low-impact movements.
For him, it’s not about strict regimens, and definitely not forcing himself to do something he dislikes. It’s simply about showing up for his goal for a designated amount of time.
“Moderate movement, especially if you have a desk job, can offer relief for joint stiffness and pain,” he said. Not only that, exercise is an investment for better mental health. Diamond mentioned he doesn’t feel like himself, both physically and mentally, if his day doesn’t involve some purposeful movement.
Tip 2: Make Exercise a Family Value
Diamond’s wife also shares his passion for exercise; she’s a local fitness instructor and health coach.
“I encourage families to create health goals that consider the needs of everyone,” said Diamond. “Having people around you that share your mindset helps you stay on track.”
You don’t need high intensity, high impact exercise to reap the benefits. Maybe it’s going for a family walk, or you simply check in with your partner to talk about your health choices throughout that day.
Tip 3: Make Meal Prep Easy
Diamond’s diet is high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. He feels best with less dairy and meat, but readily enjoys them on occasion, especially during travel or holidays.
To save time and money, Diamond meal preps while making supper by preparing extra food and/or packing leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch in addition to a salad. He and his wife do additional meal prep on the weekend, cutting and roasting trays of veggies, which they then reheat as part of breakfast. This way, all three daily meals are high in fruits and vegetables.
“We have a shared note in our phones about planned meals for the week,” said Diamond. “Thinking ahead and communicating keeps food prep and cleanup contained and effortless.”
Tip 4: Be Flexible Without Guilt
The Diamond family loves traveling, which includes the excitement of new dishes and desserts. They indulge guilt-free.
“Embracing the tastes, smells and activities is what makes experiencing different cultures and cuisines fun,” said Diamond. “We don’t feel bad about indulging while we travel.”
Indulgent vacations don’t involve binge-eating or doing as many sedentary activities as possible, but living in the moment and savoring the experiences in front of you. So, yes, you would like the dessert menu, hike that beautiful trail, try a new activity, or enjoy a favorite activity in a new setting.
Tip 5: Be Consistent in Your Choices
It starts with small, everyday efforts and habits. Daily, consistent decisions go a long way, advised Diamond.
Try not to fall in the mindset that you just don’t have time or try to make extreme, overwhelming changes all at once. Avoid fad diets or living on the scale; those things aren’t sustainable and cultivate a negative mindset toward yourself, exercise and food.
“Your body will change if you focus on your mindset and behaviors,” said Diamond. “Be kind to yourself and keep making healthy decisions every day.”
Team Up With Your Primary Care Provider
Schedule an appointment or your yearly checkup with your primary care provider to talk about how to prioritize your health.