Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2014

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Page 8 of 41 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 I am a Hudson Valley Parent Dr. Padma Garvey: Good health starts at home By KATHLEEN WILLCOX W ho has time for a healthy lifestyle? Very few of us, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (and busy parents everywhere). The CDC's latest statistics claim more than 78.6 million American adults — more than one in three — are obese. It's enough to scare anyone away from that second Twinkie. One Hudson Valley parent, Dr. Padma Garvey, an OB-GYN at Mt. Kisco Medical Group, noticed the chronic battle her patients face as they attempt to manage their weight while working and raising children. But before she felt like she could weigh in on her patients' weights, she had to tackle her own ballooning waistline first. "Ten years ago, I had an epipha- ny about my own personal struggle with weight," Dr. Garvey says. "Like most other Americans, I was putting on a few pounds a year just by work- ing full-time and raising two kids." Busy lifestyle Dr. Garvey lives in Hopewell Junction with her husband, Dr. Jo- seph Garvey, the president and CEO of the Mid-Hudson Medical Group, and their two children, Joseph, 18, a biomedical engineering student at Carnegie Mellon University and Radha, 16, a junior at Arlington High School. Like most of us, Dr. Garvey hardly fit the stereotype of the overweight mommy sitting around and cram- ming Twinkies into her mouth while watching TV. She was an active working mother who cooked veg- etarian meals from scratch for her family almost every day. The catch? No time at the gym and an over-re- liance on oil and dairy, two ingredi- ents that increase flavor — but also saturated fat. "I scheduled literally everything in my life, except time to work out," Dr. Garvey explains. "I de- layed thinking about it. And while I thought I was cooking healthy stir fries, in reality when I measured it out, I was using far too much oil and dairy. I may have only gained 1-2 pounds a year, but after 15 years of that, I was about 30 pounds over- weight. I think a lot of other typical, hard-working, well-meaning Ameri- cans fall into the same category." Small changes Instead of throwing herself into one of the extreme cleanses, diet plans or rigorous plyometric drill programs, Dr. Garvey started read- ing labels more closely and learning more about nutrition. She says the more she learned, the more she realized that small changes incorporated into her life- style were the only way she could make a significant impact on her health without revamping her eating and recreation habits. Caring for her patients Dr. Garvey's holistic approach to patient care is similar to her approach to weight management. "It is so much easier to give a pa- tient pills or recommend a procedure or a battery of tests when they come to you with a problem," Dr. Garvey admits. "But I find that spending 15-20 minutes with a patient, sitting down and talking to them about their issues and concerns, often helps resolve not just their immediate concern, but also the larger issues of health and weight management." Online help To help introduce a wider variety of plant-based meals into her pa- tients' repertoire, she launched her own online veggie cooking school, with video recipes, podcasts, in-depth nutritional information and advice for dining out. She also started going to Arlington High School a few times a year to speak to the students about creating healthier eating habits when they're young. The most important nutritional tip Dr. Garvey says she tries to impart to patients and the students at Arlington is to cut out as much processed food as they can "without going insane." Just as importantly, she wants par- ents and children to get outside and enjoy the Hudson Valley. The Garvey family can often be found strolling or running the rail trail together, hiking Mohonk or taking advantage of one of the many completely free tennis courts at Arlington High School. For the full scoop on Dr. Garvey's recipes, tips and advice, visit her web- site at "Like most other Americans, I was putting on a few pounds a year just by working full-time and raising two kids."

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