Live Your Healthiest Life Real-life success stories with lasting rewards.

January 27, 2007

As a new year begins, many people are planning to make healthy changes to their daily lives. Some are planning to join a gym, while others will start new diets. For many of us, putting those “healthier living” plans into action and sticking to them proves too difficult, and we end up back where we started. Living a healthier lifestyle is within anyone’s reach

Professor Rapee Sagarik - A healthy state of mind

Now in his 80s, Professor Rapee Sagarik isn’t slowing down. He stays busy writing books, teaching, doing research, and observing people and society. He still manages to find time to nurture his creative side through photography, drawing and playing music.

Prof. Rapee was honest and blunt when asked for advice on achieving lifelong good health. “I have no health tips!” he said. “I’ve come to realize that our way of thinking and our ‘state of mind’ influence everything in life, including health. To live a healthier life, I first had to develop a much deeper understanding of myself and my way of thinking.”


He has maintained a healthy lifestyle through the years by sticking to good short term health habits while staying mindful of important long term health goals. “One way I stay healthy in the short term is to see my doctor regularly,” he said. ”I never miss a doctor’s appointment.”

“To stay healthy over the long term,” he explained, “you need to achieve peace of mind. That creates a kind of positive energy that affects your health.”

When it comes to food and nutrition, Prof. Rapee follows a common sense strategy: He enjoys a wide variety of food and is careful to limit the amount he eats. “I burn all the calories I eat,” he said, “so my weight has never been a problem. I don’t worry so much about what to eat and what not to eat. But I make sure I don’t over-eat.”


The aging process can take its toll on one’s mental abilities. Prof. Rapee’s healthy living has kept his mind and memory sharp.
“I think it’s because I’ve always paid attention to what’s going on around me,” he said, “and I never stop learning.”

Mr. Andrew McBean - Good health on the schedule

With a high pressure career in the ever-changing telecommunications industry, finding time for exercise can be a challenge for Andrew McBean. As senior vice president of Total Access Communication (DTAC), Andrew begins most days around 6 a.m. with an exercise and fitness session with a professional trainer. It’s a habit he’s been hooked on for nearly 20 years.


“Exercise is what keeps me healthy,” Andrew told Better Health. “Most people think that they don’t have enough time. But if you make exercise part of your schedule, then you just have to follow the schedule.”

“For some people,” he explained, “getting started on a healthy exercise routine is challenging, but making sure the commitment becomes long-lasting is even harder. You need discipline. Beyond that, you must convince yourself that your workout session can’t be missed or cancelled. You need to treat it just like your work meetings. I give working out the same priority as a business meeting, so when I’m arranging my schedule, working out always gets included.


Not everyone has the self-discipline to stay fully committed to a healthy fitness routine. For Andrew, scheduling workouts at the beginning of the day has made it easier for him to keep exercise in his schedule. “I make working out the first activity of the day,” he said, “because I don’t want to give myself an excuse to miss a workout. If I scheduled it any other time, I might have important work meetings and then postpone the
exercise class. By exercising before work, I can keep my other commitments without worrying about missing my workout.”

Besides scheduling exercise, working out with a professional trainer has yielded tangible benefits for Andrew. “It’s another way to make it easier for me to keep to my schedule,” he explained. “My trainer, Daniel Remon from Fitcorp Asia, keeps me focused on specific improvements, especially strengthening my abdomen, spine and back muscles. He makes sure I do the exercises correctly, and he helps me set and achieve my fitness goals.” Over the years, Andrew has noticed some important health benefits. “I have a lot less back pain,” he said, “and, believe it or not, I’m actually one centimeter taller now. My posture has improved a lot, and it’s easy to see how strengthening my trunk
area made that possible.”


As a committed goal-setter, Andrew has his sights set on “The Impossible Race,” DTAC’s first 10-kilometer mini-marathon for company managers and staff in early 2008. “Everyone at the company has become very enthusiastic about the race,” said Andrew. “We decided to do the race as a way to get the whole company thinking not just about living healthier, but also to build a stronger sense of teamwork. Most staff first reacted to the idea with a sense of dread at trying to do the impossible. But as people began training, they could see how the impossible was actually possible.” At age 42, Andrew feels healthier now than he did 20 years ago. And that’s a reward he gets to enjoy every single day.

Khun Vikrom Kromadit - Listen to your body

For businessman Khun Vikrom Kromadit, CEO of Amata Corporation, good health depends on many factors, but none more important than paying attention to what his body tells him.


One example of how Khun Vikrom puts his healthy living strategy to practical, everyday use involved reducing his workload. “I decided to cut back on my working hours,” he explained. “I had been working more than usual, and I could feel my body and my energy weren't the same. I didn’t feel as strong as before. Though I still have a desire to work hard and I need to work I couldn’t ignore how I was feeling, both physically and mentally.

”Running a successful company requires Khun Vikrom to spend much of his time traveling. Sticking to a healthy daily routine while on a business trip requires some adjustments to his typical routine at home. “When I’m in Bangkok, my schedule is more predictable and I usually stick to it,” he said. “But when I’m traveling, I try to be more flexible and plan my schedule around how I’m feeling and what my body is telling me at the time. I’ll take a nap if I’m feeling tired, even if it’s the middle of the day. A good nap gives me a lot of energy, and that’s one reason why I can be up past midnight writing a book.”


Good health over the long term, Khun Vikrom explained, includes being honest about whether you’re truly committed to staying healthy, or just fooling yourself into thinking you’re living in a healthy way. “If we take care of our health properly eating healthy and exercising, living in a healthy environment, getting good medical care we stand a very good chance of achieving lifelong good health,” he said.

“Some people think ‘healthy living’ means doing healthy things a week before their next doctor’s appointment! If you’re doing that, you’re just fooling yourself.” 

Dr. Chankanok Kuagoolwongse - A doctor’s take on healthy

If your mental picture of a typical doctor includes days spent reading medical textbooks, a serious look and few smiles, you may change your mind after meeting Dr. Chankanok Kuagoolwongse, a specialist in Pulmonology (lungs), Sleep Medicine and Critical Care at Bumrungrad International hospital.


No matter how busy her day gets, there’s one activity she almost never misses. “After work, I usually go to the gym for a workout,” Dr. Chankanok told Better Health. “Otherwise I have trouble sleeping. Some days can be exhausting, but I know it’s not only my body that’s tired, it’s my mind. And nothing relaxes me more than exercise. Just a few minutes into my workout, I start feeling refreshed and my energy returns,” she explained. “It makes me feel happy again!”


In choosing what to eat, Dr. Chankanok sticks to a strategy that may seem unconventional. “I don’t eat everything that’s offered to me,” she explained. “I only eat foods that taste good, unless they’re especially unhealthy. After all, why fill up on food that doesn’t taste good? I do eat some candy and sweets, but in small amounts. I save room only for my favorites!”

She also follows some simple but important principles of good nutrition. “I don’t skip meals,” she said, “because that’s not healthy. If I focus on what’s good to eat and stick to my exercise routine every day, I know I’m taking care of two key factors for staying healthy.”


Besides helping patients, Dr. Chankanok’s other passion is traveling- the more adventurous, the better! She spoke with great excitement about her latest adventure; she and three other Bumrungrad doctors volunteered to travel to Nepal to be the medical support team for nine Thai mountain climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest. “Though technically it was considered work,” she said, “it was a fantastic experience. And it definitely was an adventure!”

Dr. Chankanok stressed the importance of having a healthy life attitude. “When we work hard,” she explained, “we need to reward ourselves. I put my full energies into my work, and the same goes for my free time - it gets my full effort. After the trip to Mt. Everest, I went scuba diving, jungle walking and mountain biking three things I really enjoy! And I’m still enjoying the memories months later." 

Khun Kanyarat Paladisai - Keeping a healthy life balance

She’s easily recognized thanks to the many magazine covers she’s adorned, though these days she’s more likely to be seen taking care of her young son or spending time at ‘Sorbet,’ her new clothing shop. Khun Kanyarat Paladisai shared some vivid memories of dealing with health problems, and what she did to get back to living a healthier life.


She began to notice health problem as a teenager. “I didn't pay much attention to my health back then,” she recalled. “I didn’t eat any vegetables. I didn't drink much water. My overall health seemed okay until I started having digestion problems. So I had no choice but to change my habits, especially my nutrition habits common sense things like eating more vegetables and drinking more water.” But other health problems were to follow. “I didn’t realize that I had hemolytic anemia,” Khun Kanyarat explained, “until I went for a health check-up around the time I was trying to have my second child. My doctor prescribed vitamins and nutritional supplements. He explained what I was doing wrong and made sure I understood how to take better care of my health.”


Khun Kanyarat has noticed many physical changes over the years, especially after becoming a mother. “Now that I’m older,” she said, “my body feels a lot different compared to years ago. I really notice the difference when I have to stay up late and don’t go to sleep at the usual time. I try to sleep longer the next night, but I realize you can't fully make up for lost sleep. My challenge these days is to find a balance between my work and the other things that matter to me my son, friends and family, taking care of my health without feeling like life is too restricted or beyond my control.” When asked if she eats healthier now than she did during her teenage years, Khun Kanyarat admitted that she still hasn't broken all her bad habits. “French fries are still my favorite,” she confessed. “I know they’re bad for me, so I only eat them once in a while. At least I’ve developed a great passion for vegetables. Every time I go out to eat, my friends always give me the veggies that they don’t like!" end.gif

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