Dr. Andrews has been a family physician for more than 25 years, she practices preventive medicine at the Medisys clinic in Toronto. Dr. Andrews joined the Medisys team in 2007 because of her passion for preventative health and strong belief in the importance of mind and body wellness. Dr. Andrews studied nutrition before entering medical school, at both the University of Guelph and the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has professional training in interpersonal and cognitive behavioural therapy and is a designated general practice psychotherapist. Dr. Andrews also has a special interest in women’s health issues and is a leading menopause practitioner, certified by the North American Menopause Society. Dr. Andrews is also President of the Toronto Branch of The Federation Of Medical Women Of Canada.
What was your first job?
My first job was teaching ballet to 3-6 year olds. I still love the ballet to this day, I’m often blown away by the grace and sheer athleticism of the performers. My first job as a physician was in a very traditional two person family practice.
What made you decide to become a doctor?
My first degree was in biochemistry and nutrition. I’ve also always been intrigued by the nature of human behaviour and so I studied psychology too. I saw becoming a doctor as an opportunity to combine all of those interests and do something worthwhile. I love being a doctor because it grants me the opportunity to try to make a lasting positive difference in people’s lives, particularly as it relates to preventative and emotional health. That is why working at Medisys is such a great fit, it allows me to practice preventative medicine and what I call “complete“ mind and body wellness in an unhurried setting.
What do you do to unwind?
After a long or stressful day you’ll often find me in the kitchen baking cookies late at night – it’s very relaxing for me.
What is your single most important piece of preventive health advice?
Well, the first is DON’T smoke. Even one cigarette a day can lead to a host of health problems – when it comes to smoking there is no safe amount. The second most important piece of advice is KEEP MOVING!! It doesn’t mean you have to go to a gym. Walk, run, dance, swim, golf, move around your office, home, or nursing home – whatever the movement, just keep doing more of it! The health benefits of regular exercise are endless – aiding in the prevention of everything from heart disease, to breast cancer, to dementia, to depression and anything in between.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Never go to bed angry.”
What is something that has held you back in your life and how did you overcome it?
It’s not easy to talk about, but several years ago I battled a brain tumour followed by many complications and surgeries. It was tough being on the “other side’ of the operating table and desk. I had excellent surgeons and a supportive family, but the experience was emotionally and physically demanding. I pushed through and faced each obstacle as it came. I learned a lot about patience and self-acceptance… difficult for most “type A” personalities.
What is the secret to lifelong happiness?
Learn to frequently take stock of your life and have gratitude – especially for your health. Some people have more financial means than others and some people are rich with family and friends. I think that when we can reflect on our lives and find true gratitude we have found the key to happiness.
What keeps you inspired?
My husband and my daughters.
What is the one health lesson you have learned that you want everyone to know?
Be patient with yourself. Whether you are trying to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier or are recovering from a physical or emotional health issue such as depression, a chronic or acute illness, or even an injury. Take baby steps to make small, steady changes toward your goals and be kind to yourself. Changing your lifestyle or any aspect of your health takes time. The first step is always the hardest.