Doctor makes effort to live, eat healthy

Dr. Joel Miller of the Craig Medical Center watches what he eats. He has to as a competitive distance runner.

For the last few years, the family physician has become accustomed to a rigorous exercise regimen and a healthy diet.

Miller, who has worked in Craig for a year now, started running in medical school to relieve stress but the part-time hobby has since turned into a way of life.

Miller soon plans to run a 50-mile race and work toward entering triathlons, which include running, swimming and biking. Someday, he hopes to qualify for the ultra-endurance, Ironman triathlon competition.

Though not pre-disposed to health problems, the exercise makes Miller feel at the top of his game, he said.

"It's hard to feel good if you're not putting in the effort," he said.

The effort to get in shape and lose weight is not easy.

Burning 10 pounds of fat requires 49 miles of running, maintaining eight minute-miles, he said.

Or in a different comparison, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Burning that many calories takes time, maybe weeks of exercise and dieting he said.

"On the flip side, it only takes about 20 minutes to sit down and eat that many calories in one meal from fast food," Miller said.

Maintaining lifelong healthy habits of exercise and proper nutrition is the number one way for many to stay out of a doctor's office, he said.

Miller feels it is important as a member in the medical field to practice a healthy lifestyle as an example to his patients.

Some employees from The Memorial Hospital are engaged in a wellness competition that pits teams against one another to lose weight and exercise more. Many of the hospital's doctors aren't included in the effort because they're not considered hospital staff.

Maintaining healthy habits requires a mental, as well as physical, shift in lifestyle, Miller said.

"If we want a healthy community we have to work at it," he said. "We have to change our thinking that being healthy is valuable to us."

--Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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