Healthy Habits: Dr. Omar Atassi enjoys resistance training, nutritious food swaps

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. Omar Atassi, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor, shares some of his healthy habits with us.

Q: What is your go-to healthy breakfast?Dr. Omar Atassi-HH
A: Oatmeal with peanut butter, eggs, turkey sausage, a protein shake, water, and a cup of coffee. A meal that will last me!

Q: What is your favorite type of exercise?
A: I enjoy weight and resistance training exercises. I hit every muscle group once a week, usually going to the gym three to four times a week. I never skip leg days. Maintaining muscle bulk requires calories, and thus keeps my metabolism high. Also, I have to keep up with dad strength!

Q: What keeps you motivated during your workout?
A: My family and patients. Going to the gym and taking care of myself is important. If I can’t take care of myself, how can someone trust me to take care of my family and patients? Also, it’s one of the few times in my day in which I am alone and can self-reflect.

Q: What activities do you do when you can’t fit in a full workout?
A: I have truncated my work outs. When I was a resident, I had more time. My workouts were daily, and usually 1.5 hours. Now, they are 30-40 minutes. To my surprise, I haven’t really noticed in a change physically and mentally. At work, I walk to the different hospitals, and use the stairs! If I get home early, I’ll go for a walk with the family.

Q: What is your favorite healthful snack?
A: Toast with peanut butter or Greek yogurt. Filling and nutritious.

Q: How do you make an unhealthy recipe healthy?
A: I use to love chips. I use to be 30 pounds heavier back in college. I gave up chips, fried foods, fast food, and sweets. This was really, really hard.  And I usually had one cheat day.

To help with the transition, I tried different tricks. For chips, I substituted the ‘crunch’ with sugar snap peas and carrots. For fried foods, I breaded my chicken with oatmeal and baked it. My wife bakes some delicious sweet potato fries. Eventually, my habits and taste buds evolved and I don’t crave the junk food anymore. It’s completely sustainable.

Q: What hobbies do you have to help you relax?
A: Exercise. When I don’t exercise for a while, my mood suffers. Even when traveling for a conference or vacation, I make sure I have access to a gym or go on a run.

Q: What is your go-to Houston restaurant for a healthy meal?
A: Local foods for sure.

Q: What is your favorite health tip that you live by?
A: Life is all about moderation. I eat balanced meals throughout the day, and snack to avoid binge eating. If you cut out the junk food and stay active, that will take care most of it. I also avoid eating before going to bed.

Additional Resources

Interval training, portion control key for Dr. Sunjay Devarajan

Dr. Claire Hoppenot practices yoga, listens to audiobooks to stay motivated

Read more healthy habits from members of our community.

Learn how Baylor promotes a culture of healthy living and wellness.

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