Healthy Habits: Dr. Peggy Smith balances fitness and relaxation

Taking care of your health is a priority and nobody knows that more than physicians and healthcare providers. Dr. Peggy Smith

It can sometimes be difficult to find ways to stay healthy, so we’ve asked members of our Baylor College of Medicine community to share what they do in their daily lives to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Peggy Smith, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinic and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, shares some of her healthy habits with us.

Q: What healthy decisions start your day?
A: I first look at my schedule the night before. If I do not have an early morning meeting, I lay out my exercise clothes and when the coffee is brewing I put them on. This cue gets me to the gym.

Q: What is your go-to healthy breakfast?
A: Speed is the key for me. I buy a big bag of corn tortillas, slice some great cheese and zap two ‘tacos’ in the microwave. I like having a carb and a protein that gets me to lunch and if I am in a hurry, I can eat them while I dress or drive without too much mess.

Q: What is your favorite type of exercise?
A: I come from a long family of runners as my dad was a runner and tried out for the Olympics when he was in college. I started as a long distance runner but now I run “for time.”

Q: What keeps you motivated during your workout? (music, TV, phone call, etc.)
A: I love running outdoors in Memorial Park, and watching the sunrise is inspiring to me. However, when I cannot run outdoors, I run on a treadmill and watch the news.

Q: What activities do you do when you can’t fit in a full workout?
A: I love the repetition of rowing so I do a shorter work out and work a different set of muscles.

Q: What is your favorite healthy snack?
A: Plain yogurt and unsalted peanuts with a little Sweet and Low. The crunch with the protein is very satisfying and gets me to dinner.

Q: Do you take vitamins and if so, which ones?
A: No, I try to eat a balanced diet.

Q: How do you make an unhealthy recipe healthy (healthy substitutions?)
A: Some of my substitutions are:

  • Use mustard instead of mayo.
  • Unsweetened applesauce mixed with pears instead of whipped cream or ice cream for dessert.
  • Use olive oil for cooking.
  • Reduce table salt and use ‘no salt’ spices as I love salt.
  • This is not a recipe change but I have started bringing my lunch to work so I can control what is in the meal as I cook it. I cook a little more at dinner and then put it in an insulated sack.
  • To reduce alcohol consumption and the calories, I drink a class of water. Then, I add ice to my wine to reduce absorption and the calorie count.

Q: What is your nighttime skincare regimen?
A: Soap and water. What has really worked is to use a buff puff to gently exfoliate with liquid soap. I splurge on fragranced liquid soap.

Q: What hobbies do you have to help you relax?
A: I love the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles, which I started doing on planes after 9/11 to relax. Will Shortz is my generation so I know the lyrics of 60 songs.

Q: What is your go-to Houston restaurant for a healthy meal?
A: I like Collina’s eggplant parmesan (if you avoid the bread).

Q: Do you use a pedometer or Fitbit and what is your daily step goal?
A: I am a Nike Fuel girl, which I really like as it looks like a bangle bracelet and it can double as a watch. I am walking to New York, so at least 8,000 steps per day.

Q: What is your favorite health tip that you live by?
A: I believe that exercise provides adults an opportunity to play, laugh and have fun. It also provides a vehicle for social support to have friends to help me be healthy. I think the College Vitality program is a great way to do this. Go Teen Health Clinic teams!!

Additional Resources

How Dr. Alexander Pastuszak finds time for daily exercise

What a cardiologist does to stay healthy

See how Baylor stays fit with more healthy habits from members of our community

See how Baylor promotes a culture of healthy living and wellness

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