Dec. 14, 2023

Revolutionizing Healthcare: A Holistic Approach with Dr. Tomi Mitchell

Revolutionizing Healthcare: A Holistic Approach with Dr. Tomi Mitchell

In this podcast episode, Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a board-certified family physician, discusses her journey from traditional healthcare to embracing holistic wellness. Listen in as Dr. Tomi and Dr. Fitness talk about the need for a paradigm shift in healthcare, moving away from reactive sick care to a proactive approach addressing root causes. And stay tuned as they highlight the challenges in the current system, including issues of power and paradigms that hinder progress.

Their conversation delves into burnout, where Dr. Mitchell offers her unique perspective, advocating for mindfulness, reflection, journaling, and setting meaningful goals as essential tools for preventing burnout.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell is a Board Certified Family Physician and a passionate Wellness and Performance Coach with over a decade of experience in presenting and public speaking. Known for her dynamic and heartfelt communication style, Dr. Mitchell has a remarkable ability to connect with her audience. She is also a speaker, educator, and soon-to-be author. She hosts her own podcast "The Mental Health & Wellness Show".

• [1:47] Dr. Fitness & Dr. Mitchell discuss holistic healthcare and the need for a paradigm shift in the healthcare system.
• [6:03] “Preventing illness is so much better and so much cheaper economically than waiting for a problem.”
• [8:10] Tomi shares her personal experience with social determinants of health and advocates for individualized change.
• [22:54] Dr. Mitchell emphasizes the importance of healthy representation and not tokenism in addressing the education crisis, citing the need for diverse perspectives and faith in something greater than oneself.

For more information on the Your Health Moment podcast, visit:

Connect with Us!
Max Sturdivant, Podcast Host & Health & Wellness Coach -
Podcast Website:

Dr. Tomi MItchell
Dr. Tomi Mitchell’s podcast:

🤝 This podcast episode was brought to you by McGowan Spinal Rehabilitation Center
🎙️ Podcast Production by Dandelion Media
🔊 Audio Produced by Mountain Valley Media


Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  0:04  
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Moment podcast. I'm your host Max Sturdivant better known as Dr. Fitness. On this podcast, I want to give you the tools to start, continue, and never give up on your journey towards health. Now, whether you struggle with your weight, eating the right food, hydration, exercise, or even time management, you're in the right place, and I'm here for you. Now, let's dive right into this episode. 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Your Health Moment. I'm your host, Dr. Fitness. And as always, we'll discuss all things holistic health, and wellness. And it won't be well, I guess it won't be any different than any other time that we're here. We get right into it. And today I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Tomi Mitchell. And we're going to be discussing the importance of a holistic approach to health and being willing to ask oneself, those uncomfortable yet powerful questions. 

This episode with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, is brought to you by McGowan Spinal Rehabilitation centers. If you have been in a car accident, or you've had any challenges, definitely check out Mcgowan's Spinal Rehabilitation centers. 

Now we're gonna get right back into this interview with Dr. Tomi Mitchell. I appreciate you joining us today. Dr. Tomi, why don't we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  1:47  
Thank you so much for having me on the show. So I'm a board certified family physician, and I have been for over a decade. And it was great until I realized that the way we've been doing health isn't quite right. I felt we were constantly just dealing with sick health care instead of being proactive. And a lot of the diagnosis we were coming up with as physicians and care providers were really symptoms rather than a root cause. So we're putting band aids on people, largely because it was quick. And that's the way insurance rolls. And also because some of the conversations might feel uncomfortable either for the patient or the provider themselves, if they're things that they need to work through. So then I embrace this idea of coaching coaching gave me no boundaries, as far as I can coach anyone, anywhere. Right. And that was beautiful. You know, so coaching led to writing led to speaking, led to a lot of great, amazing opportunities where I could share my truth when it comes to holistic wellness. Unfortunately, I found the community who believe similar. So we are a growing movement of change. So that's a little bit about me. That's

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  3:02  
fantastic. I think anyone in holistic, holistic health care in any avenue or way that they're in that area, has reached the same place that you have when it comes to kind of how our health care system is more geared towards six sick care instead of prevention. And that always surprises me, because I think it's so common sense that it almost amazes me that we have not had are taken it upon ourselves to make this change. What do you think has been holding us back from doing what we all can think we can say it's a really common sense kind of transition. What do you believe is holding us back from being able to do that?

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  3:53  
Well, two things and they both begin with p one is paradigms or worldviews. We've been having insurance the way we've had insurance for a long time, where it's a pecking order, with those who have get those who don't have, you know, kick to the streets, so to speak. And then the second piece is power, right? Those who make decisions, hold the purse strings out a piece this morning, and have the power to make choices and lobby for policies that keep them in power or fill their pocketbooks.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  4:30  
Oh, yeah. So it comes down. I mean, I've never heard it quite explained like that. And I like how you used a paradigm because we really just legitimately need an entire paradigm shift. And with the people in power currently that paradigm shift is not likely to happen. If I heard you correctly.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  4:50  
100% too many. Yeah, it's not likely to happen and we need that. We need a complete overhaul. of the healthcare system. And we need leaders in place who get it and leaders in place who are in power for more than a term. Or two. Oh, because this is not a transition that's going to take four years or eight years, this is a transition that will take probably one to two decades, because again, you have to change paradigms, worldviews. So we our best attempt at that might be towards changing our younger voters. Just that's just how it is?

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  5:35  
Well, I mean, just on the surface, as you're, as you're talking about this, it kind of explains a lot on why it's been so difficult to get some type of uniform health care, past universal so that everyone can get some basic level of care that's been really difficult to get done. And even now, it's such a patch

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  6:03  
Raizy. And, you know, it doesn't even make sense, dollars wise, we know that preventing illness is so much better than so much cheaper economically than waiting for a problem. But again, I think part of it is power. Some people just like to keep all their stuff to themselves, it, it helps keeps a class those have and those that don't, right, if you choose not to have and be participate in a system that provides a support a strong safety net that's on you, right. But if you don't even if you want something, you're striving for it, you're working hard, you do everything you're supposed to do, and you're hitting that brick wall. That's the system. And that needs to change.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  6:48  
Nice. I thank you for bringing this up. Because these are really important issues. And if you're at all interested in holistic health, or if you're not happy with the way healthcare is going at the moment, Doc, what do you suggest people do to get involved? Is there.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  7:05  
Yeah. So there are things that we all can do. That seems so cliche seem so basic, but they're powerful. And we can do these things without insurance without lobbying without politicians. And that is starting in our own homes, or on communities or making healthier choices, right? Making the choice for basic things like physical activity, or movement, I call it I like, I'm not a huge gym fan, though, I will go but I lost my music and my house. And dance like that is movement, your body doesn't care whether it's boring treadmill, or your dancing Roomba or salsa or whatever, it doesn't matter, move. Okay? Secondly, what we're eating now food prices are high everywhere. They're crazy. Okay? Whether you're buying donuts Krispy Kremes or whatever or you're buying, you know, some vegetables, the pricing in most of the country is fairly stable, make healthier choices. Have more lean protein balance with some veggies and a small amount of healthy carbs. It's choices eat a rainbow, you know, we're recording this I don't know when this is going to go live. But Thanksgiving just passed we all love to sit down and eat and collard greens and you know, Macaroni and Cheese and Potato this and pie this and Turkey fried chitlins whatever, wherever you are across the country, like good, but make that 10% of your year like 10% of this 9010 world. Okay 90% of time because boys and girls with a halo around your head and eat your vegetables, eat your broccoli each year, you know, lean chicken breasts, etc. Whole grains, quinoa, brown rice, you know that stuff, fun? And then that 10% is called life. Okay, that's the Thanksgiving holidays. That's the Christmas but keep it to that 10% All right, I got gives you a little bit of wiggle room. So you don't go on a bender and binge but honestly, basic things like not smoking, so many illnesses are caused by smoking. And in my practice, my clinical practice as a physician, I recently moved offices and I'm taking on new patients, and I'm getting patients who haven't been doctored for a long time. And it's very different than a practice I had for a decade where I looked after them and they, you know, their chronic illnesses were managed. They were reversing diabetes, improving their mental health, improving relationships as we got into the coaching topics,

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  9:44  
you know, wow, you've done a fantastic job. That's not what I usually hear when I speak to physicians, particularly. You're an internist, then

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  9:54  
Family Medicine, which basically is basically internal medicine because you're dealing with a I'm dealing with many systems. And I this expression, you know, master of all trades and master of none, I like to say master of some master of all trades and a Master of some. Okay, I totally butchered that. But but the point is, is, is that Turkey is the point is, you can be skilled in areas and I am skilled in understanding human emotions, connections, and understanding the connection between what we eat what we see an early childhood experience. And now, that's another topic aren't entirely and how that interview interplays and a plexus now. So it's a journey that I've taken, both professionally. And more importantly, personally, I think we are more authentic, we're able to connect more with our patients, our clients, when we can truly have put ourselves in their shoes, right? Someone who's always had a silver platter, and had everything easy, would probably not relate to somebody who's struggling, right? I've, as childhood in childhood, my parents struggled. So I understand I have not I understand difficulty, I understand how social determinants of health impact us. But I also understand that we each have the individual personal power to make choices. Now. While we lobby while we make a stink while we make a noise while we vote. While we don't quit, why we just just just don't stop because our children's future depends on it. You know, for us who are, you know, a bit older, we might not be a huge benefit from the system change but we can reap the benefit of the individualized personal change.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  11:49  
Yeah, I really appreciate you sharing that. Um, you're you're you're there's so much you just deer, you're in the heart of this whole thing that's happening with us in the country when it comes to health care. This is like the meat I believe. And, and all of that. I noticed another thing that you've really wanted to share about and it's it's about what is burnout? And how does your view of burnout differ from the World Health Organization's definition? Well,

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  12:24  
the World Health Organization characterize burnout as this chronic stress from Workplace like unmitigated prolonged leading to cynicism, you know, like fatigue, just not wanting to be there. And that's great. Yes, burnout is due to chronic stress. I like to use a basic analysis. Equation. Math is not my favorite, but it's very simple. Burnout occurs when energy outputs are greater than energy inputs, right? More out than you're putting in. So that's who burnout and then that's my equation. However, I recognize that life is not in these little boxes is little silos. You can't just extract work stuff from personnel or vice versa, it mingles. And in fact, work is like the melting pot for all your stuff. It's like a stew. It's a concoction of things, childhood stuff, past experiences, stressful relationships, maybe bankruptcy, financial, this, you know, caregiver exhaustion, and then you come to work. And that's sometimes where we start seeing it because you're being evaluated by somebody else. Right? Versus at home, you might not have that self reflecting mirror where someone say, Okay, now, you know, Johnny, I need you to do this or you know, you shouldn't get off the couch and leave that Xbox or Playstation or whatever it is alone. Maybe not smoke that stuff. You know what I mean? Like it's, there's not that person, usually in our personal life, unless you're deliberate about getting that person unless you deliberative get getting accountability because you're determined to have changes. So burnout is not just work because I have been burnt out I reached I'm I am like, supercharged Superwoman. I run circles around most people. I am Energizer Bunny, but I reached my burnout. And it was a combination of factors in what we call the wellness wheel holistically, that were personal environmental, that will work factors, there were financial factors and it entered our global factors because it happened just a few months after that pandemic that we all love so much. So, but that was extra ordinary circumstances. But the fact is, those signs were there before, right. So before we have the big heart attack, those signs were there before. We just ignored them.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  14:56  
So is there a point process that that you've put in place now on how to avoid burnout. Is there something that you could share with listeners? Just one or two tips to help them avoid burnout?

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  15:09  
Okay, so mindfulness, recharge, journaling, okay? So be aware of your body, again, your body is telling you, okay, you need rests, or you need seven to nine hours of sleep, you need to eat, you need to hydrate, you need to have healthy boundaries. So many of us, including myself, my burnout was a result of poor boundaries, where I kept on saying, yes, yes, yes to more work. And that was kind of a product of my upbringing, you know, being told you must work 10 times harder than your peers before they tell you that you're good. Well, I did work pretty hard. But I worked very hard, but you can only sustain so much. And then if exterior factors come in play, like a pandemic, or let's say, in my case, I had to competitions post delivery, that really near death experiences actually for me and my daughter that really wore me down. And then of course, burnout happens. So mindfulness, reflection, journaling. Journaling is so powerful, because so many of us keep everything in our brains. And for me, that's not easy. I have to keep, there are things I must keep in my brain and this other stuff, I don't need to. And that's like a lot like list of things to do in the house, people I need to call like, things that don't directly impact my physical health and safety or my ability to do my job safely. So you write those down. So you write lists in other book, or even your phone that you look at regularly. And in the process of writing lists, you will naturally start making goals. All right, goals are powerful, because goals give you a sense of purpose and direction. And when you have a sense of purpose and direction, it gives you this superhuman energy. And not only that, it gives you bursts of happiness, dopamine hits to the brain feeling good. So you want to feel good, look good, do good. So maybe you will move a little you'll shake a little, maybe you will hydrate with fluids and water. And, you know, maybe you're like, you know what, I don't want, you know, be choking up along, maybe I'm gonna smoke, you know, maybe I will kick the nicotine habit, right? I think naturally, as humans, we want good things. We might not realize how much we want certain things. But we do want those things. And then when I bought, it's like, I like this, it gives you positive feedback, you have energy, you look good. You get that date, you get that job promotion, you feel good. You think good. You laser focus. So it's basic stuff that is free, you can do so evaluate boundaries. And just Just what I said like it's a it's a mental thing. Success health begins in the mind. It's a mind game. Right? It's a mind game. And that's why mental fitness mental health is so important.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  18:04  
And I love the way you're sharing this. And with this, I'd like to add or ask, do you think it's better to cuz you said it's free. But you know, my best change comes when when I have an accountability coach. Yeah. Or we're someone that's there. So as I make the plan, I'm better. You know, I coach people to for living, but I'm when I need a coach to. So it's not something it's not something that I just do as my job. But I don't know any great coach that doesn't have coaches. Exactly. Mentoring thing, right? Accountability

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  18:54  
is key, right? Having your that tribe, those five people that you spend the most of your time with, who encourage you who are on the same wavelength, same energy is powerful. It's human nature to fall off, you know, derail, especially around certain times of the year, or through hard times and adversity of people's passing. There's many reasons. Accountability is key, and having a goal that pushes us forward. It's that beacon in the darkness. That's like, Okay, this storm is wind is howling, but I'm going to press forward to reach that goal. I am going to move right to that goal must be bigger than yourself. Otherwise, when you're lying in bed on a Saturday morning, you're like, Oh, I gotta go podcast or record. You like I have goals. I have a purpose. You know, my children's future depend on a healthier world. And because I have the privilege as a physician, as a female as a black woman with power, I choose my words very carefully. I get up. Right?

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  20:04  
And have gotten up because you would not be in the place you are today, if you have not gotten up. Yes, exactly. I'm really excited about that. And you touched on some of the challenges that you had with childbirth. Yes. Now, the numbers are frightening the amount of women of color that don't get the same care that non women of color get when it they're seeking medical treatment for childbirth. Yeah, and the numbers reflect that. And the amount of unfortunate outcomes when it comes to those deaths. Now, as a physician, you see it kind of different. I mean, you almost have an inside view into kind of what's happening there. And even still, it seems like, you know, what was it a Serena Williams and had a challenge? I mean, so she's very well, you know, that's someone with means it's someone who can, you know, so to get treatment that's substandard in

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  21:22  
her case. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. No, I really kind of surprising. Yeah, it is like, in my case, for my little one, I was begging the nurses to believe me that my child wasn't breathing. And she was dropping her oxygen, like in the 50s and 60s, eight Dunia six or eight times, I got up posi section four days posi session and my child is not breathing. She's seizing. And they're telling me she's fine. She's fine. She's fine. Well, she wasn't fine. She ended up in two different ICUs. But I think by the grace of God, she's fine now. But I tell you, if I didn't know what I know, as a physician, and I wasn't that Mama bear that I am. And if I wasn't at the point where I was just like, I don't care what you do with me afterwards, I just want to protect my child at this point, I don't care, you can reprimand me know, my I would have been gone, my child would have been gone. And this is a reality across the country across the world. Some of it is, again, those social determinants of health like education, background, race, all those things that impact us, but a lot of it is still bias and sheer ignorance. And that's the truth bias insurance rinse. Like I remember the nurse telling me oh, your kid is fine. Her lips aren't pale. I'm just like, Yeah. and pale. No one she's not a white baby. Okay, number two of you waiting for your child to be pale. Honey, you got a problem. So

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  22:51  
we did a little too long.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  22:53  
There's a there's a huge education crisis like, huge, huge, huge, there's so many factors again, but that's the joy of being in the system, being able to understand some of its education factor. So the system approach to that's what I do body system, human system, part of the education is I try to put it whitewashed, where you're not taught the variety of presentation, depending on the skin color. Hello, you know, so it takes a lot for me to go pale. I'm just saying, Oh

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:29  
yeah, that's a metric that you're looking for. That's the problem. That's the Yeah, I see your point. And where you think of change here, do you think in that regard, it comes back down to paradigm and power again,

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  23:47  
paradigms and power so to Okay, so the power piece is important. We need representation, healthy representation, not tokenism. Healthy, recommend, you know, oh,

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  23:59  
you just really said a lot with that.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  24:05  
Oh, healthy representation balance, not tokenism who will speak the truth? Right.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  24:13  
Oh, my gosh. We need that. Yeah. Oh, yeah. You're not sugarcoating nothing. I'm not even. I was asking. I wasn't good that I was. There was a follow up question. I wanted to ask about that. But I just thought

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  24:24  
it would be the follow up question.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  24:28  
Yeah, did you think wow, I'm just really impressed with just how clear and honest you are about sharing your experience and, and, and how committed you are to really make a difference. And I

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  24:51  
never said I'm 100% committed. And life has just reinforced that commitment and what But if let's think about it, if people don't step up, especially those who have the privilege to, you know, I mean, I'm a physician, I have a platform, I have resources now, not the government resources, but I have resources more than the average Joe, to do this. Why not to whom much is given much as expected. And part of the wellness, holistic approach has to do with spiritual wellness, that belief in that which is greater so having that faith, whatever you call it out there, mine happens to be Christianity. But I mean, I have this many similarities between other faiths Islam like oh, yes, many, like just loving each other, that your brothers, your sisters, like, kindness, like basic stuff that is throughout your face.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  25:45  
Exactly. Share that you do, you know, treat others the way you would like to be treated. That's really that goes with Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, it's their Judaism, all of

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  26:00  
all of them. So if we just focus on that, and our similarities instead of being so focused on our differences, or past hurts, that's another story. past hurts, like we have to move on. Right? There are people who are fighting each other and have no idea why they're fighting each other. And if they look back in history, it was something ridiculous. As in you steal my cow, your people steal my people's cow, and they're hurting each other. Like literally, that is a phase. global scale, right.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  26:29  
So duck, we're running out of time. Where can listeners find you online? Yes,

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  26:34  
they can check out my website holistic wellness strategies, holistic with an H wellness strategies. It's a long one or just Google Dr. Tony Mitchell. You will find me on LinkedIn. I'm there every day, Instagram, but holistic wellness strategies. And if you want to have a conversation with me, the first one is on me.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  26:53  
Oh nine well, we'll

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  26:54  
talk about it.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  26:54  
So holistic wellness now that your Instagram as well, listing wellness strategies.

Dr. Tomi Mitchell  27:03  
My social media handles are my name Dr. Tomi Mitchell. Okay, the website is holistic wellness strategies. Gotcha.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  27:09  
Dr. Tomi Mitchell's. So don't worry, if you missed any of it, it's going to be in the show notes. So if you go to the show notes, all of Dr. Tomi's information, Dr. Tomi Tomie Mitchell, that's t o m. I, Mitchell, two L's of Dr. Tomi Mitchell, her all of her information is going to be in the show notes contact information. So definitely I suggest that you follow up with her. And she has a wealth of information. And if you're looking for a coach, someone to help you. And you may have had faced some of the challenges that Dr. Mitchell has mentioned today, definitely reach out. So Dr. Mitchell, I want to thank you for joining us today we're running out of time. And I want to also thank the listeners for tuning in to another episode of Your Health Moment. I look forward to talking to you again next week. So take care, and good bye for now. Thank you for listening to this episode of Your Health Moment podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can visit our website, your for past episodes, show notes, and all the resources that we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me on social media to send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes that you've been listening to. And don't be shy about requesting any other show topics that you might like to explore.

Transcribed by