Period Story Podcast, Episode 48: Dr. Tosin Ajayi-Sotubo, Ask Questions

I’m so pleased to share my conversation with Dr. Tosin Ajayi-Sotubo.

Dr. Tosin is a medical doctor working in London as a NHS & Private General Practitioner with a passion for spreading health awareness. She founded Mind Body Doctor as a friendly and accessible space to educate and inspire as many people as possible to look after their health. She has a huge focus on diversity and representation in health and wellness to reflect people from all backgrounds and walks of life. 

A quick note on today’s show – we recorded this early last year, so please check Dr. Tosin’s website for the most up to date information about what she’s up to!

Dr. Tosin and I had a fantastic conversation about her work as a GP, how to best prepare for an appointment, especially when you only have 10 minutes, the importance of asking questions, diversity and inclusion in health and wellness and of course, the story of her first period. I can’t wait for you to hear this episode – Dr. Tosin is an inspiration!

Thank you, Dr. Tosin!

Get in touch with Dr. Tosin:










Le’Nise: I’m so excited to have Dr. Tosin on the show today, we’re going to talk about periods, I’m going to ask her about being a GP and her practice in London and her focus on diversity and representation. So, let’s get into it. So, can you tell me the story of your first period? 

Dr Tosin: Sure! Such a great question to start off with and thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to dive into this discussion. So, my first period, I remember it was about when I was 13 years old, and I was at school. So, I started well, I was at school, which is always a great and interesting time to start. And I remember just going to the toilet and thinking, oh, OK, my period started. I don’t think it was too much of a shock because I knew it was coming. I have an older sister, so I’d kind of known what was coming. But still, I didn’t have anything on me. I didn’t know what to do, I don’t think I felt comfortable enough to talk to my friends or any teachers about it at the time. So, I remember just getting like loads of toilet paper and stuffing it in my knickers and walking around for the rest of the day, kind of waddling around because I had the toilet paper in there. I think we’ve all done that or been there before. And then I remember just getting home and being like, Mum, I need some help. And then that was my first period when I first started and then kind of just went from there with my mum’s help. I think it was quite an easy transition. I don’t remember it being too daunting. 

Le’Nise: When you got home and you told your mum what had happened, what was her reaction? 

Dr Tosin: My mum’s a very, erm, God bless her heart. She’s absolutely wonderful, but she’s very, you know, straight to the point kind of person, like, OK, so this is what we need to do. Very pragmatic. So, there wasn’t any kind of like, oh, are you OK? How are you feeling? It was just very much like, OK, so let’s get some pads. This is what you need to do and you’re fine. Go off and, you know, take care of yourself. And to me, I think that’s all I really needed because I’d seen my sister go through that transition. You know, I’d seen pads around the house. I’d asked what they were for. So, I really had the idea of what to do and what was coming. So, it wasn’t too much of kind of a daunting task. I don’t think I needed… I don’t think I really needed too much handholding. But it would have been nice to maybe have, you know, more of a sit-down discussion around periods in general and what was to come for, you know, the majority of the rest of my life. 

Le’Nise: When you saw what your sister had experienced with her own period, what did you take out of her experience? when you had you got your period in the loo at school, you were able to say, oh, this is my period. What did you take from your sister’s experience? 

Dr Tosin: I think the normalising of it, and I think if I hadn’t had that older female figure to see actually this is something that comes every month, it’s very normal, is nothing that to be scared of. I think maybe I would have been a bit more worried or maybe a little bit more concerned or a bit more shy around the concept of periods. But because I’d seen my mum and my sister every month getting their pads out. Sometimes, because me and my sister used to share a room at the time, you know, sometimes she’d wake up in the middle of the night when her period started and rush to the toilet. So, I kind of had the idea of what was to come. And, yeah, it was just the normality of it, which I think helped me. 

Le’Nise: When you got your period and then you had the sit down with your mum, how did you then learn about the rest of… beyond just what to do, the nuts and bolts of having a period? How did you learn about, like, menstrual cycle and everything else around having a period? 

Dr Tosin: I would say I didn’t really. I would say mostly through life, and through having a period and just learning along the way. I remember I think we had one session on it in school and I went to an all-girls school, and I think we had one session, which was, you know, they put on a video, we sat down and watched it for maybe 30 minutes, and that was it. There was no discussion about it. There was no, you know, talk to your peers about it, break out into groups. Like that kind of thing would have been nice, but I don’t remember having that at all. So, I think it was just learning along the way and talking to friends at that time as well, because, you know, a lot of girls start their periods around the same time. So, I think just learning along the way and having open conversations with my friends, I think that’s pretty much how I learnt. 

But to be honest, when it comes to the actual menstrual cycle and the complexities of it, I don’t think I learned that, you know, until I became a medical student or a doctor. So, I think I’m fortunate in that position that actually I was able, I was kind of forced to learn it through books. But I think if I hadn’t have gone down that career path, I don’t know if I would actually know all the things that I think women should know, but I do know today because of my job with my career. 

Le’Nise: And this experience at 13, when you did you have any kind of vocabulary to describe the way you felt about your period? Was it kind of… you said your mom was very matter of fact about it? Did you take that matter of factness into your experience and your feelings of having a period? 

Dr Tosin: I probably did. in fact, I probably took that into a lot of my day-to-day life. I probably did, in fact. And I think, again, until I became a doctor or started studying it and started to, you know, know how to talk about it and how to talk to other women about it, I think for me it was just, you know, something that happens every month, something that women or girls have to go through. And there was nothing more to it. You know, I didn’t know about it possibly affecting moods. I didn’t know that, you know, people could have different periods. I didn’t know you could possibly have missed periods – I didn’t know all of this. I think it was just, you know, you bleed once a month and that’s it. You get on with it. 

Le’Nise: And how would you say that your experience was going through your teenage years of your period? Was it, every month it would come and that would be it? And you’d have to deal with it. Or did you have anything else that you had to deal with regarding your period? 

Dr Tosin: I think I was quite fortunate in the fact that my periods weren’t too troublesome. So, it was really just dealing with them once a month and they were never unusually heavy and I never had terrible period pains. However, on the flip side, my sister did. So, I did experience a lot of that through her. And I always felt bad and guilty in a sense, sometimes because she would be in excruciating pain once a month. And I would be, you know, just continuing my day-to-day life. And she would have to miss out on things at school. She sometimes when we were on a family holiday, I remember one family holiday, she was just locked in her room for three to four days because her period pains were that bad, whereas I was out frolicking in the sun. So, although I didn’t experience the difficulties during my teenage years, my sister definitely did. She did grow out of that, luckily, but I think it was a difficult time for her. 

Le’Nise: Did that change the way that you thought about periods at all, seeing what your sister was going through? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, definitely. I think it did open my eyes up to the fact that actually, you know, our periods are different. We’re not all the same when it comes to this aspect of being a girl or being a woman. And I think that did open up my eyes to that, and I think if my sister didn’t have, if I didn’t see my sister go through that, I would have just assumed everyone had periods like me that were quite easy to handle and, you know, didn’t really affect your life at all. So, yeah, I think I was fortunate. I would say fortunate although she wasn’t, I was fortunate to see that side of things vicariously through my sister. 

Le’Nise: Right, OK. And then you say you have relatively easy periods. And did that continue as you went through your 20s and your 30s? I’m guessing, I don’t know how old you are, but I’m guessing 30s? 

Dr Tosin: you’re guessing, right! 

Yes and no. I would say there’s definitely been changes in my period itself, but also just my cycles and the things that surround your period, being that your mood or how you’re feeling in the run up to your cycle and how your body’s feeling as well. So, I’ve definitely noticed changes that come and go. I say definitely into my late 20s and early 30s, which I am in now, there have been some changes. I would still say my periods are manageable, but it’s more about the surrounding symptoms, I would say, and kind of the lead up to my period that I get some of those mood changes.

Le’Nise: So that’s come as you’ve gotten older. What do you think has contributed to those mood changes? 

Dr Tosin: I think hormones, I think as we get older, our bodies change and with that, our hormones change. So, I definitely think hormones plays a big role in it and I think possibly also being more aware. So, it’s possibly that actually my mood maybe didn’t even change, but I’m just becoming more aware of it, and before, you know, I was probably just a moody teenager those times. So, I think, you know, as you get older, you become more aware of these symptoms and actually attributing them to your periods and your mental cycle. 

Le’Nise: What do you do to manage your mood changes before you get your period? 

Dr Tosin: I think for me, it’s just the being aware that actually this is coming. And I think it’s been helpful for my partner as well because I think it’s difficult sometimes for partners when you’re in a relationship to not understand when your mood changes if it does change. So, I think having those open discussions and conversations with your partner, I think that’s really helpful in a relationship, from a relationship point of view. So, I think just being aware that actually, you know, this is the time of the month, my mood might be changing and actually I find I can cope with it much better. 

Le’Nise: Before you were having these conversations with him, did you find that he would kind of walk on eggshells or kind of tiptoe around you before you had your period? 

Dr Tosin: No, not at all. Because to him it wasn’t a monthly thing. It was just, you know, sometimes I have mood swings. It wasn’t, he didn’t really recognise the pattern because most men don’t understand that there’s a pattern to the symptoms. And I think when I had that conversation, he was like, OK, makes sense. And I think, you know, now he’s more aware, but he’s like, ‘oh OK, it’s that time of the month, maybe I’ll go easy on her’. 

Le’Nise: But what’s really interesting about this is that, you know, we do attribute a lot of mood changes to hormonal changes, which, you know, they’re definitely connected. But as I go into deeper into this space, I do kind of also always want to say that, you know, having moods is something that makes us human. And if we attribute all of our mood changes, especially right before a period to, you know, oh, I’m moody, I’m about to get my period, I’m premenstrual, then that kind of also takes some of the humanity out of it. Like, you know, we’re not allowed not to be happy all the time. We’re allowed to be upset or just a bit blah. And that’s OK, I personally think.

Dr Tosin: I think one hundred percent. You’ve picked up on something like completely important that I think, you know, moods are normal. That’s what I always say – emotions are completely normal is what makes us human. So definitely, I think, you know, attributing mood changes and emotions that we experience, men experience, people experience to just hormones. I think that is a dangerous, dangerous trap to fall into. So definitely, I think there is a distinction. And, you know, we’re human. We have emotions that’s completely normal. So yeah, 100%. 

Le’Nise: You said that you learnt more about the nuts and bolts of your cycle when you were in medical school. Can you tell us, firstly, what inspired you to study to become a doctor? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, sure. And I think when people ask this question, they expect some significant moment in life when you’re like, oh, my gosh, I’m going to be a doctor – this is it, this is my career, this is the rest of my life. Whereas for me, it was more of a gradual progression. I think I was whilst I was in school, I was absolutely fascinated by biology. I was a bit of a geek and absolutely loved it. And I think when you good at the sciences, a teacher mentioned, oh, how about medicine? I was like, OK, I’ve never thought of it, but why not? So, I think I went on some work experiences. So, I went into hospitals and followed doctors around for about a week or two and I absolutely fell in love with it. I think it was the fast-paced nature of it, but also the fact that you were changing lives, you were having an impact in people’s lives and you were able to help people. And then, you know, the rest is history. I applied to medicine. And that, for me was really the point where I decided that I wanted to be a doctor. 

Le’Nise: And what made you decide to specialise in general medicine rather than going down a specific, a more specific route? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t always that way. So, I did I started off wanting to do obstetrics and gynaecology, funnily enough. So, I went into what we call our junior doctor training and thinking that was what I was going to do, and it just so happened. So, when you’re a junior doctor you do rotations in the hospital, so it just so happens that my first rotation was in obstetrics and gynaecology and I very quickly realised that I didn’t like surgery, which is a big part of it, delivering babies. And I was like, OK, maybe this isn’t for me, but I love the gynaecology part of it. Still, I found that really fascinating, being able to help women. I found that really, really fascinating. So, I kind of trundled along not knowing what I was going to do. And then very similarly to how I realised I wanted to be a doctor, I did a placement in a general in a GPs, general practitioners, and just absolutely fell in love with meeting different people, being able to go on a journey with people, and being able to help people from loads of different aspects, from children to elderly people to men to women. And so, I was just like, OK, this is it. This makes sense. And I can also focus on the gynaecology or the women’s health part, which I did do. I did a diploma in family planning and sexual health, which allows me to focus a little bit more on women’s health as well. 

Le’Nise: So, what would you say if someone asked you the typical day of a GP because most people, their experience of the GP is trying to get an appointment, having difficulty getting an appointment, and only having 10 minutes to speak to their GP, and not really getting the information or support that they want. So, what would you say? What would you, just kind of looking at it from the other side? Can you share a day in the life of a GP or your day in the life as a GP? 

Dr Tosin: Yes, sure. Gosh, I don’t know if I can do this in a minute or so, but I’ll try! So, I do both NHS and private work as a GP. So, I split my time half and half, so I’ll come at it from an NHS GP point of view because that’s what we really know in the UK. So usually, you probably get it in the morning, let’s say 8:00 or even earlier, and you’ll sit down, and you’ll look through your list of people for the day. Now, even usually for me, even before I do that, I’ll get in early and catch up with blood results, consultant notes that come in from the hospital, reading them, prescriptions for my patients I’ll sign and then be sending them to the pharmacy. So, I’ll try and catch up with as much admin as possible because it is never ending. So, I try to get as much of that out of the way. 

And then you go on to your morning clinic or consultations, and this can vary anywhere from, I would say fifteen to twenty-five patients, usually in the twenties range and usually back in the day before the pandemic that we’ve experienced in the past year, its back-to-back base appointments, 10 minutes each for each patient. We don’t get longer than that. Now it’s a bit of a mix of telephone calls, but you’ll be surprised that telephone or video consultations actually adds a lot more workload and take a lot longer because you’re not able to examine that patient, you’re not able to be with them in the same room to actually get more of an understanding of what’s going on. So you have to ask more questions and you have to really dig deeper, so it takes often takes longer. 

And so, you’re back-to-back ten-minute patients. And as you can imagine, not every patient you’re going to be able to deal with in ten minutes. If someone comes in and let’s just say they talk about their mood, they’re having difficulties with their mood, it’s very difficult and you don’t want to cut them off at ten minutes. So, with that patient, you might spend 15 or 20 minutes. That extra five or 10 minutes can add on, and obviously, that’s when you start running late and then that’s when patients start to get angry in the waiting room. It is so, so, so difficult. And then after your morning session, you will then do any what we’d say admin that’s accumulated from that morning session, it’ll be that or doing blood tests, doing referrals to the hospital. Again, looking at blood results that have come through, looking at letters that have come through, writing prescriptions, and then you usually have to go off and do home visits. 

So those patients that can’t come into the clinic but still need to be seen. So, you go to their house, you see them, you come back, you have a quick lunch, then you start the afternoon clinic again. And that’s pretty much a normal GP day. Very hectic.

Le’Nise: Wow. It sounds hectic. And it’s very interesting hearing it from your side, because, as I say, there is… I know from the work that I do, there’s a lot of frustration that I hear from my clients and other women I speak to about their GP, their personal experience with their GP. And I just wondered, you know, knowing that you only have ten minutes with a GP, what would you say or what do you say to patients that helps them maximise their time with you? What can they do to maximise their time with you? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, I think it’s really difficult from a patient point of view. And I’ve definitely been on the other side as well. And I think the frustrations are completely understandable. I mean, as a doctor, most of us wish that we had more time with our patients. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is at the moment. So, I would say for a patient, the best way to manage a ten-minute GP consultation is be prepared. So, I would say go in knowing what you want to say to that doctor. And write down as well, a few bullet points of what you want to get across. Because often I find patients come in and they’ve said what they thought they wanted to say but actually at the end, they remember actually I had xyz to say as well, and I think with the pressure about 10 minutes, sometimes what you want to say just quickly goes out of your head. So, I say, write down what you want to say, the questions you want to ask and the points that you want to get across. 

I will also say you probably hear this a lot, but one problem per appointment, and we say that not to be difficult, but just that if your GPs trying to deal with multiple problems in an appointment and they often will try to do that, if you have more than one problem, that’s when they run the risk of missing something because they’re trying to rush through all your problems, and it doesn’t do any justice to you as a patient because they can’t really tackle one problem properly. So, I would say try to stick to one problem per appointment. It’s not always easy, but I would say if you go into your GP consultation and you have more than one problem, right at the beginning, say, OK, I have more than one problem, maybe you’ve waited a long time for that appointment and they’ve just accumulated up. But be honest, say you have more than one problem and list them all out and then have the conversation with your doctor. Which one is the most important, which one you might tackle today and then make a plan with your doctor going forward, how you’re going to tackle the other problems. That could be a follow up telephone call or follow up video consultation or another actual face-to-face appointment. And I think that’s the best way to handle it if you have more than one problem. 

And then my last point, I would just say ask questions. And I know this isn’t really about managing a ten-minute consultation but ask any question that you want to when it comes to wrapping up the consultation. Obviously, you might feel like you have to rush out, but the worst thing you want to do is to leave that room and then feel like you have so many unanswered questions or feel like you actually didn’t get what you needed or feel like you just had no idea what that doctor told you. So, ask questions – that one-minute extra can make such a difference in the way that you feel when you leave that consultation room. 

Le’Nise: Fantastic. That is so helpful. And, you know, basically what you’re saying is what I will and always share with my clients, because there is this kind of intimidation factor that some people feel regarding their GPs, whether it’s they’re not sure they’re not going to have enough time or there’s this kind of matriarchal or patriarchal feeling about, well, my GP said it so, you know, that’s kind of law or they feel like they can’t question anything. So, what you’re saying is so valuable and I would encourage anyone listening to write this down, and when you have your next GP appointment or if you are working with any health professional, you know, go in there being really prepared and allow yourself to be empowered through that preparation. 

I want to ask you, you know, just thinking about going and seeing doctors there is thinking about the communities that we both come from. There is, you know, the black African, black Caribbean community. There is a known research, you know, hesitancy around dealing with medical professionals. And as a doctor, what is your take on that? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, I think it’s such a good question and something that we definitely need to be having conversations around and something I’ve definitely obviously heard of and seen first-hand. I think it’s just this notion or, I think there’s something within our cultures that you just kind of get on with things. You don’t speak about your problems, you know, you just get on with things. And I think that has trailed down through generations and I think is also, you know, the hard-working nature in us as well. And I think that’s what makes people from our culture, you know, very hard working and very resilient. But I think it can be a detriment when it comes to our health that we just, you know, we keep it inside and we don’t have those conversations. And I think even within families, the conversations aren’t being heard. And I spoke about this on my Instagram the other day, that we don’t really talk about our family history. And I think that’s such a detriment to ourselves, and generations to come. That actually we just don’t talk about health within our communities and within our families. Although I do see it getting better, I really do see it getting better. And I see more patients from certain backgrounds and cultures coming in to seek help that actually wouldn’t have before. And I think mental health is a big one in there. When I see patients from certain cultures, especially the older generation, actually coming to speak about their mental health, I feel so proud because, you know, I know how much it took them to actually take that step to come and speak to me or a doctor. So, yeah, I’m not sure exactly what the reason is, but I do think there is something there and there is a big cultural divide, I would say, or obstacle in stopping some people coming forward to seek help. 

Le’Nise: Do you think it’s helpful when people they go to see a doctor who is of the same cultural background to them? 

Dr Tosin: Yes, that’s a good point. I do. And I do obviously think that might be another barrier, and people not seeking help because there’s so much anecdotal and also research theories in that people just don’t feel heard by health care professionals. And there’s been some papers that look at, you know, black women vs. women from a white background being offered pain relief. And actually, black women are offered pain relief lesser than white women. So, it’s difficult to say why these things are. I think that multifactorial, but I think that does add to the barrier because there has been historically people not feeling heard and not feeling like they’ve gotten the right treatment that they needed. So, I do think that adds a barrier to it. And definitely from my own personal experience, I think I worked all over London and also outside of London so I could definitely see the difference when I worked in an area of London that’s very heavily a West African based community. And it was just such a nice feeling to see my patients come in and be like, oh, my gosh, I’m so happy to see a black doctor or I’m so happy to see someone that looks like me. And they would just open up and say things that they said that they’d never spoken about with a health care professional because they felt that I would understand, because we have a certain familiarity or that certain connection. And sometimes actually I, I maybe didn’t understand because we’re from two completely different generations, but it was just that fact that the patients felt they could open up more was absolutely great. So, I think there’s definitely something in that.

Le’Nise: What would you say to maybe a GP from a white background who’s listening to us or a health care professional from a white background, who’s listening to this and thinking, well, how can I, you know, I’m obviously not of the same ethnic or racial or cultural background as one of my patients, some of my patients. What can I do to connect with them? What can I do to make sure that I’m not just listening, but I’m really hearing what they’re saying and not dismissing their concerns? 

Dr Tosin: I think a lot of it is listening and gaining experience and understanding, and I think if you want to learn about something, you will learn about it. And I think taking from your patients experiences and learn from the patients that you’re seeing and asking questions. I think if you ask questions about your patients and their cultures and their backgrounds, what they eat on a day-to-day basis, if you take an interest, the more they’ll feel comfortable in opening up to you. And it’s not always about, you know, a difference in the way we look or a difference in skin colour that patients don’t feel comfortable to open up, it’s just that actually they don’t feel that the other person maybe wants to hear their story. So actually, just that taking an interest in asking questions and listening, I think that definitely helps in allowing patients to feel more comfortable opening up. 

Le’Nise:  That’s really, really valuable information. I mean, you’re just a breath of fresh air. I wish you were my GP!

Dr Tosin: We can make it happen. 

Le’Nise: I wanted to ask just kind of just switching tacks a little bit what you think about patients who come in and they have been working with another health professional. You know, I’m just really interested in it from a professional perspective. When you hear patient and you see patients and they’ve been working with a nutritionist like me, what do you think as a GP? 

Dr Tosin: I think, you know, whatever helps, you know, GPs, we are not the be all and end all, we don’t have all the answers. And, you know, there’s different aspects to health, health is not just a one track for all – I call it a health puzzle. There’s so many different aspects that you have to look at to someone’s health, be that their mental health, their physical health, the nutrition, what they’re eating on a day to day basis, how they’re moving on a day to day basis. So, all of these aspects equal, you know, the entirety of someone’s health, and I think taking a what we call in medicine as a multidisciplinary approach of lots of different professionals, imparting their knowledge and giving patients or people the tools they need to be able to live their healthiest lives, I think it’s absolutely great. And I always say at the end of the day to patients, you know your body the best, so actually, if you feel that you need to see a nutritionist, or you need to see a therapist, or you need to see someone else, then do what works for you. And I think that’s the key thing here. And as much as a doctor, a health care professional can say, oh, well, actually, I think everything’s fine, you don’t need to see this person, you don’t need to do X, Y and Z, I can’t find a specific problem… If you know that something doesn’t feel right in your body, then I would say, listen to that and listen to your body and seek the help within reason that you feel is needed and helpful for you. 

Le’Nise: Yeah. Yeah. OK, that’s really interesting. I want to ask about your focus around diversity and representation in health and wellness. So why is that important to you? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, for me, I think, you know, health is the one thing that should really be inclusive. Everyone should have equal access, equal understanding when it comes to our health, because it is the most important thing, I think. And I think it’s really difficult, especially in the wellness industry, especially with social media. You have people looking online. You have people looking in magazines wanting to learn more about their health and living a healthy lifestyle. But they’re just seeing a certain representation, a one size fits all approach. And even for me as a health professional, sometimes, you know, I find myself getting sucked into that. I’m like, oh, okay, is this the picture of health? And I can’t relate to that. So how can your average everyday person in society relate to that one size fits all picture of health? So, to me, it’s really important that we are representing everyone in society, so people are able to relate and understand to the person that they see talking about health. 

Le’Nise: And so, what do you think that… what do you think needs to be done in order to increase diversity and representation in health and wellness space? 

Dr Tosin: I think the onus is obviously on both sides, I think. So, definitely in terms of, I would say, the health and wellness industry, which is a massive industry that’s blown up, they need to make sure that they’re representing people from different races, different sizes, different skin tones, just all across the board, different genders. And I think that really needs to be put on the forefront. And I’m starting to see changes, I would say definitely in this past year, which is great. And hopefully that just continues to change, and we will get there. I also say on the other side of things, I would say, you know, people like yourself, people like me coming forward and actually taking up that space and actually realising, hold on, you know, there’s no one like me in this sector. There’s no one speaking about the things around health and wellness that looks like me and actually coming forward and creating that space for people. So, I think the onus is on both sides. 

Le’Nise: Yeah, definitely. Onus is on both sides. And I think what you’ve said about taking up space and using the platforms that you’ve had and creating your own platforms is really powerful because, you know, there’s a great I think it’s Maya Angelou quote, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” and I think just seeing someone like yourself as GP, private practise and NHS practice is so, so powerful as that model of, oh, this is something that I can do and you’re not just in and I don’t say just in practice, but you’re not just in practice. You know, you’re out there in the world sharing your experiences, talking about all of this on social media. And I think it’s really powerful, you know, as an example for those coming up to see, to show them what is possible and what they can do if they choose to go into general practice. 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, when I started taking my work kind of outside my day to day work as a GP and going online and social media and doing talks, it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind to be representing or to be talking about diversity and inclusivity, but I think it was just a natural progression, and I think it was when I started getting messages from people that are younger than me or medical students being like, oh, my gosh, thank you so much, you know, you’re such inspiration, seeing someone like you doing what I want to do, I know that it’s possible. And I was like, oh, my gosh, this is so true. And I reflected back to when I was younger and actually not having people in front of me that looked like me to say, actually, you know, that’s possible. I can do that. And I think that would have been so helpful. So, I think now that has become such a driving force for me where it wasn’t before, and, you know, I just think it’s so huge for the next generation coming through that they have examples, and they can see what is achievable. So, yeah, one hundred percent. 

Le’Nise: What would your advice be to someone who is in med school right now or they are kind of a junior doctor and they’re struggling a little bit and they just don’t see a path forward for them. You know, maybe they come from a similar background to you. What would your advice be to them? 

Dr Tosin: I would say don’t give up. And for me, when I got through difficult times, I would always say, OK, well, someone has done it before me, even if it’s just one person that I can see they’ve done it, that means so can I. And I think just using that to push you through the difficult times I think is really important. And also finding people to lean on or finding a mentor. I think mentors are so important and it’s not something that I had when I was coming through medical school. But if you can find someone to reach out to and they don’t have to be someone that mentors you on a regular basis, it could just be someone that you can reach out to when you’re struggling or someone that just gives you advice when you need it. And I think that is so, so important. So, if you can find a mentor and don’t be shy about reaching out to people, because I think so many people would love to be mentors, it’s just that actually no one’s reached out to them or they haven’t taken that step to reach out to people. So don’t be afraid of sending the message on social media. LinkedIn, I would say just reach out to people, if you feel actually you’d benefit from having someone who has been through your process that you can relate to being there for you and supporting you along the journey. 

Le’Nise: I think that is such great advice. I personally love it when, you know, nutritionists coming up, maybe they’ve just graduated or they’re still studying. They email me or they message me. I love it because I love seeing other women come up in the space and I love being able to share what I’ve learnt because I didn’t have that you know. I do remember this one time I did, I had just graduated, and I emailed a nutritionist. She was you know, she just she maybe was five years in, and I thought I would email her just to ask her a few questions. And she just never really responded back to me. And I just thought, I will never do that. And it’s so important to be able to know that you have that connection, and that people are accessible. I know, of course, have your boundaries, but you should be able to know that, you know, you’re not just in it for yourself, that you’re able to help others who are coming up in that space. 

Dr Tosin: I think so, because it also, it gives you more of a purpose as well for what you’re doing. And I think that’s so important to have to know that you can actually help someone else on their journey. I think, you know, just fills me with so much joy. I absolutely love it. So, yeah, I think it’s really important. 

Le’Nise: So just thinking about what you’ve got coming up next, is there anything that you want to share about what you’ve got coming next? Anything interesting that you want to point listeners to? 

Dr Tosin: Yeah, gosh, I would say this past year has been such a whirlwind, hasn’t it? And I think just starting to find our feet again. I’m just starting to find my feet again in terms of normality of life and my work life and my separate Mind, Body, Doctor life, which is my separate platform. So, I would say nothing in particular, but lots and lots of exciting things and lots of partnerships. I think I love working with brands for that exact reason that we were talking about earlier, just that representation factor, you know, being able to speak from a different point of view, from a different perspective, and knowing actually that someone might see me speaking about this issue and be able to relate to me. So, lots of partnerships coming up. So definitely have a look, mostly on my Instagram is where I talk about most of the work that I’m doing, but also on my website as well. 

Le’Nise:  And your Instagram, which we’ll link in the show notes  @mindbodydoctor. 

Dr Tosin: Yes, exactly. 

Le’Nise: OK, great. So, if you wanted to leave listeners with one thought from all the different pearls of wisdom that you’ve shared, what would you want that to be? 

Dr Tosin: I would say that accept your body and your health for what it is and know that we are all different and we are all on our own personal health journey, and I think it can be so difficult with social media and the Internet these days to compare your journey and what you’re experiencing to other peoples. But remember that your health is individual, and you are on your own health journey. 

Le’Nise: I love that you’re on your own health journey. Comparison is the thief of joy, we know that… you should be on your own journey. Walk your, run your own race. I love that so much. So, we’ll link to different ways that listeners can connect with you in the show notes. Thank you so much, Dr. Tosin, it’s been wonderful having you on the show. 

Dr Tosin: Thank you so much. It’s been such a great conversation; I can talk about all of this all day long. So, thank you so much for having me.

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