Healthy Habits: Dr. Michelle Ludwig sets reasonable goals, prioritizes to stay focused

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

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. Michelle Ludwig, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Baylor, shares some of her healthy habits with us.

Q: What health decisions start your day?hh-Ludwig-image
A: I start my day with reasonable goals and a mental checklist of 1 to 3 daily priorities. This improves my mood and keeps me focused throughout the day.

Q: What is your go-to healthy breakfast?
A: Overnight oats. I put plain Greek yogurt, pecans, oatmeal, and frozen blueberries in a mason jar the night before and easy grab it to go in the morning!

Q: What is your favorite type of exercise?
A: I play on a polo league. The adrenaline rush is a great stress buster!

Q: What keeps you motivated during your workout?
A: Catching up on my Netflix queue on the elliptical! I am currently watching “Genius,” the series about Albert Einstein.

Q: What activities do you do when you can’t fit in a full workout?
A: We take Marguerite, my 11-year-old golden retriever, on a 20-minute walk after dinner.

Q: What is your favorite healthful snack?
A: Unsalted almonds or cashews.

Q: Do you take vitamins and if so, which ones?
A: Most people can meet their nutrient needs with a healthy diet, but I do take Centrum Women’s One a Day multivitamin occasionally.

Q: What do you include in your child’s lunch?
A: I don’t have any children, but Marguerite gets glucosamine and salmon skin or salmon oil with every meal.

Q: How do you make an unhealthy recipe healthy (healthy substitutions)?
A: Instead of salad dressing, I’ll use flavored balsamic vinegar mixed with Dijon mustard and some lemon juice. My favorite is fig balsamic from Vom Foss in Rice Village. I avoid salt completely due to a health condition, so I like to experiment with fresh basil, grated ginger, garlic, or dried spices like cayenne, cumin, or chili powder. The best recipe adjustment, though, is using a proper portion size and taking time to enjoy each bite.

Q: What is your nighttime skin regimen?
A: I use coconut oil to remove makeup and retinol twice a week. It’s important to take care of your skin as part of good healthcare and self-image. I get regular professional facials, annual dermatologist consults, and I do an Origins mud mask once a month.

Q: What hobbies do you have to help you relax?  
A: It’s very important to have a balance. I work very hard, but I make time every day to unplug and spend time with my friends or husband. Once a month, I organize a group of professional women for our Supper Club. We get dressed up and try a new restaurant. Having a support system of friends is vitally important to help me keep perspective and also give support to others. I do activities such as walking, running or visiting with friends at least three times a week.

Q: What is your go-to Houston restaurant for a healthy meal?
A: My husband and I do “Meatless Mondays” and we love going to Pondicheri for their special meatless Monday menu!

Q: Do you use a pedometer or Fitbit and what is your daily step goal?
A: My husband does so when we are on vacation. We challenge ourselves to get at least 15,000 steps, but 10,000 for regular days.

Q: What is your favorite health tip that you live by?
A: My biggest tip is remember that your physical and mental health should be the central focus of your day and goals; don’t put it off or compartmentalize it. I see many patients who would give anything to go back and do things differently. If you don’t have your health, you are not going to be there for your family, friends or achieve your life goals.

Set a weekly or monthly health goal and record your progress. None of us are perfect, and forgive yourself if you slip and keep moving. We can’t have our health as an afterthought, or think “I’ll get around to that sometime.” Every moment you have the opportunity to be well – consciously strive to make the healthy choice.

Additional Resources

Moderate workouts, limiting red meat intake key for Dr. Neal Barshes

Dr. Jenny Despotovic combines exercise, family time and fun

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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