Living the Good Life with Dr. Becky Wright

Dr. Becky Wright, 64, is reaping the benefits of a lifetime of good habits. She’s a petite, dynamic anesthesiologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Studying medicine has given her an understanding of how the human body works. She says, “If I’m going to preach it, I’m going to live it!”

Dr. Becky grew up in a rural area. Riding her pony, biking, and walking everywhere kept her active. By the time she was 28, she was juggling marriage, medical school, and raising her first child. She was a mother of three when she completed her residency for anesthesiology.

“Even when I was in medical school, I’d go to the gym to clear my mind after studying for hours. Then I’d ride my bike to pick up my child from daycare. I was very busy, but I made time to exercise because it was essential for my mental and physical well-being.”

Dr. Becky’s workouts have evolved over the years. “I ran for a long time, but after three kids, I took up cycling.” Five years ago, she tried an Ashtanga yoga class at Yoga on the Square and she’s been consistent with it since.

“As I aged, I needed several things: maintain stamina, increase my ability to calm my mind, develop core strength, and improve my balance since fractures become a risk as people get older.”

The Workout

On a good day, she practices yoga for 30 minutes at home, and she attends several yoga classes per week. She augments this by lifting weights at the St. Jude gym, climbing five flights of stairs to her office, and biking and gardening on the weekends.

“I love being outdoors and digging in the dirt. For me, it’s a meditative thing,” she says. “This year I planted tuberose. In the evening the fragrance is wonderful.”

Discipline doesn’t pose much of a problem for Dr. Becky. “There may be days when I make myself go to the gym, but I do it because I know I’ll feel better.” She doesn’t formally track her workouts, instead taking advantage of the smaller moments like breathing deeply and keeping her posture straight in the car.

All these activities are punctuated by an occasional adventure. “I learned to ski in Aspen when I was 54. When my son went to dental school in Australia. Our family took lessons locally at a dive shop so we could see the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Diet

Dr. Becky’s diet is part of her casual-yet-conscientious lifestyle. “I have been blessed to stay in the same weight range for years by eating what I feel like eating and doing the exercises I feel like doing.”

She enjoys a fresh smoothie made from organic apple juice, fresh kale, spinach, strawberries, and blueberries in the morning. A little cup of yogurt is a typical mid-morning snack. It’s salad for lunch, and then she cooks something light for dinner.

When it comes to supplements, she takes vitamin D, B complex, and magnesium. “I drink a lot of water,” she adds. She also believes portion control is key. “I like sweets, but not too often or too much. If I eat ice cream, I have one scoop and that’s it for me.”

The Beauty Go-Round

Even with radiant skin and lustrous hair, Dr. Becky is humble. She blushes and says, “I wish I hadn’t sunned myself when I was young, but I’m glad I never smoked. Smoking coarsens your skin terrifically.”

She doesn’t do anything special or expensive to maintain her complexion. “We’re all suckers for the products that advertise anti-aging. There usually isn’t much difference between the product I paid $7 for versus $70.’”

The Mindset

As fulfilling as her career has been, Dr. Becky says she’s looking forward to retirement next year. “My three grown children are spread out. I have one in Atlanta, one in Charlotte, and one in Australia, plus five grandkids under the age of four. I want to spend time with them.”

She also likes being with her beau. “We both enjoy cycling, as well as driving our Corvettes, his 2015 and my restored 1981 model.”

Every day, Dr. Becky works on her mental health. “When I get up in the morning, I’m prayerful. That time is mine to meditate, to pray, and to think of all the things in my life that I’m grateful for, and consider how I plan to go through this day in a way that gives something to others.”

That thought, of course, brings her back to her job at St. Jude. “I go to that hospital and the children are so precious. If I can do anything in my power to ease what they go through and make them more comfortable, that’s all that matters.”

She pauses once more and then concludes, “The most important thing of all is that you have love to give to other people and that you are able to receive love for yourself.”

By Caroline Sposto.

Photo by Tindall Stephens.

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