Creating healthy habits through lifestyle medicine

Sound Living: episode 3 with Dr Sue Smith
How do our habits influence our ability to change our behaviour? Can our brain be wired to create new habits which can improve our health and wellbeing?

These crucial questions – which are central to the lifestyle medicine approach – are explored in the latest episode of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine’s new podcast: Sound Living.

To get some answers I spoke to Dr Sue Smith a Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician based on the Wirral in North West England.

Sue has more than 30 year’s experience as a GP and health and wellness coach. She is also a Licenced Acupuncturist in Western Medical Acupuncture.

Sue argues that creating meaningful new habits starts with setting a cue. This cue is aimed at encouraging us to engage in a healthy new activity. Then it’s important to set ourselves a reward.

“As human beings we are a bunch of habits,” argues Sue. “Some of those habits can take us towards where we want to be and some can take us away from where we want to be.”

The crucial thing that I hope people will take away from my discussion with Sue is that this whole process is doable. Sue’s approach involves a practical and “doable” system of behaviour change.”

Sue believes our habits really are central to behaviour change – and changing these habits is a crucial part of attaining the healthy lifestyle we all want.

So what are the three key take home messages Sue had for listeners to the podcast?

“It’s important to start with meaningful behaviour change that when done will be significant to you,” says Sue. “Own the change! Become aware of the cues and rewards and you can change the routine. Habit needs a reward! Make all routines of any habit small so you can do it and build over time. Make it doable!

Sue also has some great suggestions for further reading on the subject …

  • Atomic Habits – James Clear
  • The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  • The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson

Dr Helen Lawal
GP, Health Coach, TV Presenter, Group Consultation Associate Trainer

How can you listen to the podcast?
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