As a dental student and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast, I grapple face-to face with new techniques, drills, and people. The plethora of information thrown at me can seem overwhelming. But performing in these situations becomes second nature with enough repetition and practice. Both disciplines helped me become more intuitive of my surroundings and the people with whom I interact on a daily basis.
During the second semester of my first year, my classmates and I realized that the pace of school was picking up. There was even less time to eat and sleep, let alone meal prep or exercise. Dental school was a constant gas pedal and I saw how drained other students got as each week passed. That was when my Health & Wellness Committee put together a breakfast event. I brainstormed recipes that were a quick, simple and healthier alternative to what we, as machines with no time, would normally scarf down in a hot minute. Someone suggested that I just make muffins and call it a day. I shook my head because to me, muffins are basically cake for breakfast. But since I do indeed love muffins, I decided to find a way to make myself feel less guilty.
My wife and I knew it was time for a change. We were a six months away from our wedding date and we wanted to get in shape. The lifestyle of dental school and working life had made unflattering changes to our bodies. Essentially, we wanted to get in shape before we said ‘I do.’ We joined a gym to begin our fitness journey. After a month we were seeing some results, but not as rapidly as we needed. Gym leaders discussed the opportunity to participate in an ‘elimination style’ diet. I had never heard of an elimination diet before, but we were both intrigued. Our decision to participate in the diet provided us the results we desired in time for our special day. But what is an elimination diet?
Look up the statistics and it’ll be apparent how big of a problem addiction is. Not just with drugs or alcohol, either. Every day, people face addictions related to drugs, sex, gambling and even food. Odds are, you know or will know one of these people. You may even be one.
Addiction is a serious disease, one that can consume a person. It’s a prison. And before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you are locked up.
This is where you, the friend, can help.
Live, laugh, love. How many times have you heard that phrase? It encompasses the core components of “wellness,” but at times we find difficulty achieving it. In dental school, we can become so busy that we forget to eat. How can we balance life, work and happiness? One easy answer is pets or animals in general, especially the cute and furry ones.
Dental school can be incredibly stressful. Even the healthiest and most confident student can succumb to hard days, external pressures and self-doubt. Depression and burnout are real concerns. In spring of 2014, ASDA lost our past president, Jiwon Lee, to suicide. Later that year, then-president Dr. Kris Mendoza wrote, “We wished we would have known that she was suffering. Everyone wishes they could have helped her. But she kept her troubles to herself.”
In high school, I started going to the gym every day and avoiding junk food because I wanted to be healthier. I couldn’t run 400 meters without getting winded. I spent hours in front of my computer. My favorite Saturday lunchtime tradition was getting a pizza from Pizza Hut and eating it all myself. At first, exercising more and eating less junk food did make me feel healthier. I felt more alert. I could finally run a mile without stopping. I became more confident in myself and less clumsy when I walked.
But with my aspiring-dentist Type-A personality, exercise and eating became parts of my life that I liked to work on obsessively. When I moved away to college in Boston, hundreds of miles away from home, I was excited to make my own decisions.
Jab! Cross! Hook! Uppercut!
I am no Muhammad Ali, but you can typically find me at a local boxing gym after a long day of clinic and classes pounding away at a heavy bag with my hot pink Everest ® gloves.
At a towering 5 foot 2 inches, I am not your typical image of an Ultimate Fighting Champion. Not to mention with pieces of plaster and alginate stuck in my hair from doing lab work, I certainly do not look the part. However, looks are deceiving. I pack a mean uppercut and one-two punch.