Dr. Oz Kicks Off “The Road to Well-Being” Speaker Series

Celebrated surgeon, media personality and D-E parent Dr. Mehmet Oz stopped by on Monday morning for a special assembly in the Large Gym of Modell’s Sports Complex to kick off D-E’s 2014-2015 School Speaker Series, “The Road to Well-Being.” Dr. Oz’s hour-long presentation on “Living the Good Life” urged students in grades 4 through 12, as well as the faculty, staff and parents in the audience, to make a positive impact on their health and outlook.

“The things I talk about today, I want you to tell people tonight,” he began, adding an analogy that only a personable doctor like Dr. Oz would say – that each student is “a pebble falling in a pond that is your community, creating ripples of knowledge.”

His first point was to “start doing good things that are right for you, because then you’ll feel better.” He then brought up three ways to do so:
1. Words: “Go out and talk to people who love you, and ask what they like about you – a one-word answer. For me, it was passion. That word is who you happen to be right now – your natural element. You’ll get good at what you’re good at if you keep doing it. Do what you love doing, and you’ll get pretty darn good at it.”

2. Reinventing your Life Curve: maintain the happiness over time, and keep the parabola at its highest peak, rather than have it curve back down with “What Holds Us Back:” time, money, knowledge and…

3. Fear of Change: “You fear that you won’t be loved if you change, and not being loved is spiritual death. Feelings change minds more than facts; people change based on what they feel. Make it easy to do the right thing – trick your mind to do what your body needs it to do.”

On the same vein, Dr. Oz also admitted that we really can eat or do anything we want – in moderation. “Celebrate life, at any level… just at little bits at a time, and be aware of its connection [to others]… Happiness at its very core is realizing you matter to somebody.”

Gratitude is also something Dr. Oz reminded all to always have: “It is actually appreciating how blessed you are and being grateful for what you have.”

That’s when “America’s Doctor” introduced the Biggest Five Life Adjustments, as we control more than 70% of how well and long we live:

  1. Blood Pressure (ideal 115/75)
  2. Exercise 30 minutes daily
  3. Healthy diet that’s easy-to-love
  4. Stress control & sleep
  5. Curtail addictions

Rather than telling people not to eat poorly or not to smoke, show them what a healthy lung looks like, and then a smokers’ lung, and they’ll soon realize their faults. “Challenge assumptions,” he said. “Care about yourself as much as [your loved ones] do, and then you can stop.”

We should be our own person rather than a part of the group, but it will be “a tug of war throughout your life. If you don’t find ways to support yourself, others could hold you back from being your best you; you’ll leave things behind and let opportunities pass you by.”

That’s one reason why the dad of Daphne ’04Arabella ’08, Zoe ’13 and Oliver ’17 founded HealthCorps a little over a decade ago, after his second talk here at D-E – he realized young adults would be more of an influence on teenagers, so HealthCorps trains recent college graduates to mentor high schoolers in nutrition, physical activity and mental resilience. After all, says Dr. Oz, students need to maintain their mental resilience to know that they can determine their destiny during the “serpentine path” that is their life: “…Know you can do anything. Respect and judge yourself. There will be tales you tell yourself all your life – how you cope with them makes a difference.”

His last words of advice were ones of comfort: “We all make mistakes. It’s not a big deal, just get back on track quickly. It’s not a race sprint, but a marathon. The most dangerous spot to be in is the middle, so pick a lane. Run in that path and be joyous. If you do that, together, we can make it happen.”

Then the floor was open for questions from students – including one from an insightful Middle schooler who asked what goes through Dr. Oz’s mind before surgery (which he still performs on Thursdays at New York-Presbyterian Hospital): “Visualization. When I wash my hands before surgery, I’m looking through the glass into the room and visualizing the operation in my mind, performing it. I do the whole operation in my mind so that when I actually do the operation, I’m doing it a second time.”

And the last question, from a fourth grader: “How do you stop eating sugary foods?”

“Don’t deny yourself anything, but remember that it really tastes good at the beginning and not so much as you keep chewing. Drink water after the first bite to wash it away and see if you want more. Every time the season changes, go without sugars for one day to cleanse your palate. Once you reboot your taste buds, it won’t taste as sweet or quite so nice anymore.”

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