“I realised I was practising McDonald’s style medicine, drive-thru style… come in, grab your fast-fix pills, drive out, come back for another fast fix,” Dr Alka Patel tells me. “Except it was no fix at all.” Dr Patel’s father migrated from India with just £5 in his pocket with hopes for a better life and education for his children in the UK. Dr Patel admired the sheer dedication and hard work of her father and his caring and devoted attitude towards his family. Her mother was also nurturing and loved helping others, and these were qualities Dr Patel learnt in her life. Education was highly valued in her family, so entering medicine as a profession seemed like the right fit for her.
Dr Patel became a licensed GP and spent many years in the field with a passion for helping patients. But the nature of her job and the long hours caused her to burn out – and her health took a massive toll. In 2012, Dr Patel was struck with a fever but continued to work due to the pressure and demands of her job. Her body shut down and she was later hospitalised and underwent an operation, nearly losing her life.
“It should have been an ordinary fever that I easily overcame, but instead of listening to my inner signals to go home and rest, I continued to work under the pressure and demands that I had become accustomed to,” Dr Patel said. “Which meant the fever took a grip. It shut down my liver and shut down my kidneys. A few days later I awoke in the hospital on my birthday morning, tubes everywhere, having been opened with knives, and pumped with pills. I didn’t know if I would make it through the day. I still vividly remember my husband bringing my children to see me, and as they wish me happy birthday with their excited little voices, I’m thinking, ‘You’re surrounded by so much love, you’ll be just fine without me.’”
Dr Patel made immense sacrifices for her job and realised she didn’t put her health and her well-being first.” Sometimes you can have everything to live for, yet living can feel like the hardest part,” she said. “You see, being a doctor for me had become synonymous with sacrifice – being everything I needed to be for my patients, meant I had lost sight of what my own body and mind needed.”
As Dr Patel recovered from her burnout, she realised that her recovery was not dependent on pills doctors were pushing on her. It was all down to the changes she made to her lifestyle. Dr Patel focused on her diet, sleep, resting and reconnecting with herself, all of which brought about positive changes to her health and mental well-being. And she wanted to do the same with her patients. Instead of dispensing medication as ‘quick fixes’, Dr Patel wanted to create a holistic way her patients could take control of their health themselves.
“Patients were just becoming more and more dependent on me, the drug pusher doctor,” Dr Patel said. “And what I needed to practice instead was lifestyle medicine, to help patients style their life in a way which put them in control of their health. I’d seen anti-depressants and anti-acids and anti-biotics do more harm than good over my career and I started to feel uneasy about the professional tramlines I’d been sticking to. It was an uneasiness that I couldn’t ignore…”
Dr Patel left her GP practice and launched her own company Lifestyle First, a cutting-edge bio data-driven approach to optimise one’s lifestyle with a personalised approach to health. “My ethos is one of synergy – no system in the body works, alone, hurts alone or heals alone,” Dr Patel said. “With my passion for merging innate intuition with transformative technology, what sets my service apart is that my clients use state-of-the-art devices and cutting-edge bio data to take control of their health. What’s missing in health is fun, and what better time to lighten the load of health, whilst at the same time removing the guesswork and taking a personalised, precise and proactive approach to health, than this incredible digital age that we’re living in!’
Using her savings, Dr Patel launched Lifestyle First and spearheaded the health industry with her new and innovative model. Her revolutionary approach to healthcare wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. As a disruptor in the industry, Dr Patel knew she had a lot to prove. “The hardest part of launching a new business for me was being noticed,” she explained. “When you’re a disruptor, you come across people who are very used to going in one direction, whilst all the while you’re trying to wave at them, saying come over here, there is another way, a better way. I spent the initial few months doing the aesthetic stuff, like getting a logo and a website up and I wasted huge amounts of money on the wrong things, getting advice from the wrong people, who promised me things like, spending 20K on Facebook ads was the way to go!”
Dr Patel is now helping dozens of entrepreneurs and business owners take a holistic and all-rounded approach to their healthcare. She is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in some of the largest news publications including a double-page spread in the Daily Mail. She has since launched her own podcast, Health Hacktivators, which is currently ranked among the top 10% of podcasts in the world.
“I have never doubted that a strategic approach to self-care is what underpins success,” Dr Patel said. “The vast majority of my clients are entrepreneurs and ambitious business owners, and before working with me their business plans consisted of KPIs (key personal indicators) that they keep their eye firmly on. Now they include self-care plans as part of their business plans and monitor their KPPIs (key personal performance indicators) with as much vigilance. Using data and devices has been a game changer for my business and has been a gamechanger for the success of my clients too. When they create a richness in their health, this wealth in their health gets translated into wealth in their business – it’s a powerful formula for success.”
Dr Patel is a mum and a business owner and is on a mission to revolutionise the healthcare industry with her innovative approach to health and lifestyle. In a few words of advice to entrepreneurs, she said: “It’s never a matter of not having the time. We all have the same 1440 minutes in a day. It’s a matter of prioritising time. For women who want to launch a business, prioritise it. The first thing I would suggest is knowing why this business matters to you, fully understanding your values, and knowing how you want to show up in the world. Once you know this, the only thing left to do is to take the next logical step. Not all the steps, just the next one.”
To find out more about Dr Patels innovative approach to reverse ageing and synergise success with self care, click here. To find out how smart you are about your lifestyle find out your LQ – Lifestyle Quotient, click here.
Dr Alka Patel will be appearing at sales and marketing conference ATOMICON for the Elite Business Live 2023 ‘On Tour’ Programme (3) on the 13th June at 1:50pm. If you haven’t already done so, you can register for free to livestream Dr Alka Patel’s session for Elite Business nightmares – Click here to register.