By Dr. Leone F. Elliott Jr., MD, MBA
Everyone has a story…
And mine is one of experiences and struggles that have shaped me into becoming the wellness advocate I am today. My life has been filled with situations where aligning body, mind, and spirit meant that I knew one day I would choose the path of becoming a doctor.
I grew up in a home just down the street from a large cemetery. I recall watching the many funerals that would make their way past my home; each carrying someone to their final resting place. I became fascinated then with how to prolong the lives of people as my young mind tried to process that eventually people die. Like every young boy my age, I wanted to be a superhero, so I worked to become the greatest superhero I could think of – a doctor.
I was an avid learner and invested much interest in my learning, and much time in seeing my passions turn to ideas with tangible results. The first of those was my graduating from medical school and opening my own practice. The first few years were emotionally taxing. It’s difficult to see people in pain. It’s hard to see them in discomfort from illness. The trauma my patients were presenting, had me feeling quite emotional while practicing both primary and urgent care.
I began paying more attention to why certain things didn’t benefit certain people. I came to realize that the medical system is not always designed to provide proper prevention from disease. It instead relies heavily on caring for the patient once they’re already ill in an effort for them to be well enough to send into the world again. But where were the physicians educating patients on how to avoid illness in the first place? Wouldn’t that be of a greater benefit for longer and healthier lives?
Poor sleep, poor stress management and poor nutrition have the propensity of leading one down a path of serious illness. Fatigue, high blood pressure, migraines, stress eating issues, depression, and more, mean that the duty of a doctor is no longer the writing of a prescription in the hopes of curing what ails you, but making every attempt for the ailment never to have transpired. A good physician must be able to educate patients with knowledge that will lead them toward a healthy lifestyle.
“I believe that health and well-being are the rights of all humankind; that everyone deserves access to being as healthy as they can possibly be.”
Photo taken in 1997: Dr. Elliott as a 3rd-year medical student
Life is a lot like sports in that the end game is to perform well. We train athletes for that very thing, yet we cease to continue our own training. What a waste when that very training would lead more people down a road to the optimization of their bodies, souls, and minds. And I didn’t want people to waste any more time.
By taking all of this into consideration, my team and I have observed how much healthier patients feel after adopting changes in their lifestyles. They no longer feel the same levels of chronic fatigue and exhaustion. They feel better and healthier because they’re living better and healthier lives.
Change is hard, and life is hard. I know that, and I’ll never diminish anyone’s struggle on their own personal journey. But minor lifestyle changes can be simple, and they can be rewarding. A healthier lifestyle may seem a lofty goal, but I promise you that it is attainable. And I promise you that we’ll make the transition one of great benefit to you.