Dr. Michelle McElroy: Doing More of What Makes It BetterMay 03, 2021 07:00PM ● By Michelle Mc Elroy
Dr. Michelle McElroy, the founder of Aging Gracefully, in Jenks, knew she wanted to be a doctor from the time she was 8 years old. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with an option in Biomedical Engineering. From there, she attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Kirksville, Missouri, to receive her DO. Once finished, she returned home to Michigan to complete her residency in OB/GYN.
But shortly after starting to practice medicine, she realized that what she had been taught in medical school and residency wasn't helping her patients with chronic conditions. After nearly two decades as a practicing OB/GYN, McElroy knew that she needed a change. Her patients needed something more, as well. Chronically ill patients were not getting better, and she did not want to give them medicines for the rest of their lives. “I felt that I wasn't truly helping my patients as an OB/GYN in the insurance model. After 18 years of practicing, I was burned out. This is when I started looking for something else and found functional medicine.”
McElroy was certified in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Even though it helped her patients, it still wasn’t enough. Another physician, Anna Cabeca, DO, told her about the Institute of Functional Medicine. McElroy was interviewing to join the practice when she discovered that Cabeca was already transitioning to functional medicine. “After talking with her, that was where my interest was also. I signed up for my first course shortly after meeting with her. I knew right away that I had finally found the medicine I had always wanted to practice.”
Functional medicine is sometimes called root cause or lifestyle medicine. It stresses finding the causes of disease and treating those causes, not just treating symptoms. It also focuses on empowering patients to make positive, healthy lifestyle changes. Currently certified in both BHRT and functional medicine, McElroy’s goal is, “Always to get you to be the healthiest version of you that is possible.”
Now, McElroy finds that her practice puts a smile on her face. “I am truly helping people make long-term changes in their health and their life. I can see the difference in them each time when they come into the office. I have my patients fill out a medical symptom questionnaire prior to each visit. I follow their progress and see the improvement.” She has a personal and professional mission to help as many people as possible. She does this for patients in the office and through the public talks she does on her professional Facebook page.
Starting her own functional medicine practice, Aging Gracefully, has been the personal highlight of her career. McElroy believes that her inner strengths shine through when she works with patients to get them to their optimum health. Honesty, empathy, persistence and being an excellent listener are the tools she uses at each appointment. At Aging Gracefully, she mainly works with patients who are struggling with male and female hormonal issues, Hashimoto's or gastrointestinal issues.
The number one health problem she sees in her practice is linked to diet. “Poor food choices are definitely one of the biggest problems I see. We have been told for years to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. Based on poor information, Americans followed that advice and got fatter and sicker. The food companies have been making food that is designed to keep people hooked on sugar. Science has proven that fat is not bad for us and that it is sugar that is making us sick. Because the government misled us for so long, people don't know who to believe or what to eat.”
McElroy has a philosophy in her life and for her patients; it is focused on the 90 percent rule. She says that perfection is not the goal in living a healthy lifestyle and making positive changes. “It is unrealistic to expect anyone to eat clean 100 percent of the time, or exercise seven days a week, or sleep eight hours every night or whatever else their goal is. We all need to accept 90 percent as good enough.”
Now she focuses on empowering patients to reach the 90 percent goal. She also has great advice for them about awareness. She listens intently to patients and encourages them to listen, too. She tells them to listen to their gut and their intuition. “Pay attention to whatever symptoms you are having. Take note of what makes it better and worse. Avoid those things that make it worse and do more of what makes it better. Find a provider who you like and trust to help you with what you cannot figure out on your own.”
“Doing more of what makes it better” is Dr. Michelle McElroy’s theme at Aging Gracefully. Her wish is for everyone to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. And she says, “I will continue to grow my practice so I can help as many people as possible reach that goal.”
Follow Aging Gracefully on Facebook.com/DrMichelleMMcelroy. Location: 715 W. Main St., Ste. K, Jenks. For more information and to schedule a free Discovery Call with Dr. McElroy CLICK HERE