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Dr. Jaime Hope: “We need to let go of the guilt and shame around healthy living! Oooh, I ate a brownie, I am SOOO bad!!”. Calm down, you didn’t murder someone!”

Let go of the guilt and shame around healthy living! We have these very strange ideas…”Oooh, I ate a brownie, I am SOOO bad!!”. Calm down, you didn’t murder someone! A healthy lifestyle can absolutely include some treats and entertainment food. It is all about the ratio of nourishing food to entertainment food. Aim for […]


Let go of the guilt and shame around healthy living! We have these very strange ideas…”Oooh, I ate a brownie, I am SOOO bad!!”. Calm down, you didn’t murder someone! A healthy lifestyle can absolutely include some treats and entertainment food. It is all about the ratio of nourishing food to entertainment food. Aim for 70% nourishing (or better!), and when you do choose to enjoy some entertainment food, enjoy the full sensory experience of it without the unnecessary burden of guilt and negative self-labels. If you have the mindset “I am a healthy person” and the majority of your habits are in alignment with this, your life will be a happier, healthier, and much more fun shame-free place!


I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jaime Hope, an Attending Physician of Emergency Medicine at one of the busiest Level 1 Trauma Centers in the country! She is also an Assistant Professor at the OUWB School of Medicine where she teaches courses Behavior Change and Motivational Interviewing. In addition to her clinical and academic work, and being a busy mom of 2 wonderful maniac children (and 2 rescue dogs!), Dr. Hope is the author of Habit That, which became an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple categories within the first day of release!


Thank you so much for joining us Jaime! What is your “backstory”?

I was the WORST picky eater growing up! (Sorry Mom!!). I would rather stare down a plate of green beans until bedtime than (gasp!) actually eat a vegetable. But, I knew I wanted to be a doctor more than anything! And as I studied science and nutrition, the evidence was undeniable. So I finally began to understand that if I was going to tell patients to behave and have healthy habits, I should probably wash the Cheetos dust off my hands and do the same! So I started with a few simple habits. I created check lists, connected with my ‘real why’ and created SMARTER goals. It’s been almost 2 decades and I am much healthier now in my 30s than I was in my teens and 20s! It was more simple than I realized, it just takes using human nature for our benefit instead of working against it!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

Working as a physician, especially during those residency training years, can definitely be exhausting! We work for so many hours, I thought I had plenty of practice with sleep deprivation (note, this is NOT something to be proud of!). Little did I know that having a baby would be a whole new level of sleep deprivation! My daughter was underweight at birth so I was nursing her every 2 hours to help her put on weight. One night that I was particularly exhausted, my husband brought her to me for a feeding. I snapped at him, wondering why he was still standing over me while I was nursing her. He calmly pointed out that I was in fact attempting to feed a giraffe pillow pet rather than our infant daughter in fuzzy pajamas! This has inspired me to teach the importance of good sleep as a habit, in addition to diet, exercise, and stress relief!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have been honored to be asked to be on several podcasts, television, and live appearances. I did 45 speaking events last year all over the country. I am creating workshops for companies to help their employees create and sustain healthy habits. Healthy habits substantially improve employee productivity and reduce absenteeism, so it is a win-win! I am doing additional training and education with LEAF certification through the Flourishing Leadership Academy. I am excited to be one of the founding members of the GoBundance Women’s group and have ongoing close relationships with Genius Network and Genius Recovery. I am also in talks to co-author Health Can’t Wait with David Osborn, New York Times Best Selling author of Wealth Can’t Wait, as well as The Miracle Morning for Millionaires.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I am inspired by people who overcame obstacles to make a difference in the lives of others. Despite humble beginnings or seemingly overwhelming circumstances, the ones who see the bigger picture and rise up to serve others are simply amazing. Also, people who were ‘firsts’, which can be a scary and even dangerous place to be in. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female physician to be granted a medical degree in the United States, and she died before women even had the right to vote! Imagine the hardships and discouragement she endured on her journey! It is on her shoulders that the female physicians of my generation stand! Because of pioneers like her, a woman like me, first generation college, can apply to and get into medical school based on my academic and community service merits, not the basis of my gender. And that education has allowed me the opportunity to serve the healthy of my community and save lives, the ultimate honor!

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I LOVE personal development and inspirational books! We all have our own struggles, silent battles, and unique journeys. Yet feeling connected to others with authenticity creates community. Authors of these genres share stories of their own and others so we can learn from the collective wisdom of human experience. I get energized from reading these and love seeing how the lessons can help me create a better world for myself and those around me.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

In this day and age, we crave authenticity. We don’t need another guru from on high telling us to lead perfect lives (insert eye roll!). We are busy and we are hard enough on ourselves already! There is no magical Utopian time during which we will have unlimited time and money to get healthier. I write for REAL people. We are perfectly imperfect and need to embrace reality. We CAN create healthy habits within the realistic context of our messy, busy, imperfect, wonderful lives! It is time to remove guilt and shame from our healthy lifestyle and embrace a whole new mindset! The era of the BS fad diet is over, it is time to get real!

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Do it!! People are sometimes intimidated that there are already successful books in their genre. But no one else has your unique story and voice. You will connect with your audience in a way that no one else can! And worry less about what people think, we want the authentic you to come through. There are many ways to write, you can even voice-to-text your book. If it is inside of you, you must let it out! It doesn’t have to be a bestseller to be successful. The most important outcome is who you become in the process of writing it. You will not regret it!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Let go of the guilt and shame around healthy living! We have these very strange ideas…”Oooh, I ate a brownie, I am SOOO bad!!”. Calm down, you didn’t murder someone! A healthy lifestyle can absolutely include some treats and entertainment food. It is all about the ratio of nourishing food to entertainment food. Aim for 70% nourishing (or better!), and when you do choose to enjoy some entertainment food, enjoy the full sensory experience of it without the unnecessary burden of guilt and negative self-labels. If you have the mindset “I am a healthy person” and the majority of your habits are in alignment with this, your life will be a happier, healthier, and much more fun shame-free place!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Writing is much easier and much harder than you expect. The hard part was the focus, the outline, the plan, and getting started. Once I had a clear vision for what I wanted to write and in what order, the rest poured out with incredible ease! Start with choosing the bones and structure for your writing and then enjoy letting the creativity flow!
  2. Care WAY less about what other people think! I was myself in this book. Although I am a nerdy academic, I am also silly and fun. I shared personal stories and even some of my failures and fears on my journey. After I hit ‘send’ on the final manuscript, I had a moment of (as Brene Brown calls it) ‘vulnerability hangover’. Did I really just share a story about sleepily trying to nurse a giraffe pillow pet with the entire world?! Yikes!! And OH NO, what will the other academics think?? Turns out, people will either like it or they won’t. I would rather flop as my authentic self than succeed temporarily trying to be someone else.
  3. Finish the book! — We procrastinate and postpone because if we never complete something, no one can judge the final product. But it really isn’t about the critics or the acclaim. It isn’t about the numbers sold. It is about who you become in the process. It doesn’t even have to be a book, it can be anything you are holding back from sharing with the world. It is about the people, even if it is only one person, that you can inspire and lift up with your efforts. It will never be perfect, it will never be done, there could always be more edits. Turn it in anyway! Whatever ‘it’ is. Give yourself a high five for finishing and go on to crushing the next goal.
  4. Embrace the “Hell Yes or Hell No’ philosophy. The more successful you become, the more opportunities will be offered to you. I have been privileged to hang out with some of the great authors and entrepreneurs of our day, in masterminds, at dinners, and at conferences. Sometimes I can hardly believe that this is my real life! I’ve been asked to be on committees and give talks, some of which excite me and others that drain me. I have learned to jump wholeheartedly into things that bring me a sense of joy, fulfillment, and purpose. I have also learned (sometimes the hard way!) to say Hell NO to things that are not aligned with my goals and values, regardless of who is asking. I was asked (last minute) to come rub elbows with some people I admire greatly and would LOVE to spend time with, an ask that might only come once. But I had committed to spending the day and giving an inspiration talk to underprivileged high school kids who, like me, wanted to be first generation college students and professionals. It was never even a question in my mind. I had an amazing day with the kids! Integrity and follow through are a Hell YES! There will be other great opportunities when my schedule is open.
  5. Let the haters be your gas pedal, not your brakes! I was told by a high school teacher that I wasn’t ‘college material’. Never mind that I was in calculus and performing well academically. What special brand of jerk discourages an insecure student from fulfilling her dreams?! It can be intimidating to be a first generation college student. WIthout the the financial support and the path to the goal, you have to blaze your own trail. I could have let this stop me. But I was ever-so-quietly defiant. I knew I could. Even if others didn’t. I earned my spot every step of the way, nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. In medical school (I got in on my first try, defying the odds!), an attending physician treated me with open disdain and told me I “was only there to meet a husband”. Seriously!? Who goes into 6-figure debt and spends their 20’s with their nose in a book just to meet a guy?! There are much less financially and labor intensive ways to accomplish this! There was even a classmate in medical school who bullied me and called me ‘white trash’ because I came from a blue collar background and her father was the president of a university. Instead of angry, I hunkered down and became even more determined. Powerful. Resilient. Now, in addition to teaching Healthy Habits, I dedicate much of my academic lecturing time to teaching others how to be confident and resilient. I do it for all of those people like me that need to hear that it is ok to strive, to achieve, to reach for the moon and beyond! The world needs more of us!! The haters need something to complain about, afterall.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Ooooh, I LOVE this question! Were he alive, I would have chosen Zig Ziglar. I have listened to his audios so much, I could recite his works, even with his accent! There are so many amazing luminaries that I would love the opportunity to spend time with, For Business, I would choose Naveen Jain. I heard him speak at a Genius Network Annual Event and I love how he talked about including his children in his professional life. I have taken his words to heart and would love to have a deeper conversation about the lessons he has taught his. For VC, I would love to meet Mary Meeker. If you search VC, there are few women that consistently make the list. To see a powerful woman rated for her remarkable accomplishments is incredibly inspiring and I would love to hear her story. For athletes, Serena Williams. She is incredibly strong and such an amazing woman. Her journey has been perfectly imperfect and I love her all the more for it. For entertainment, I adore Kristen Bell! She is talented and down-to-earth and cares about her community. For overall human awesomeness, my dream would be to meet Oprah. I can hardly begin to to list her accomplishments, but in addition to her accolades, she seems like a genuine human being that would be a great meal companion.

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