“Back when I was starting my fellowship, I weighed almost 100 pounds more than I do now,” says Dr. Gregory Harris of Harbin Clinic Medical Oncology.

Several years ago, Dr. Harris was overweight and realized he needed to take care of his health. He started walking — five miles a day, to be exact — toward a better lifestyle.

Join Harris on Saturday for Harbin Clinic’s Walk with a Doc event, where he will share his philosophy on the importance of exercise and diet in one’s life. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at Bridgepoint Plaza in Downtown Rome. Walkers are encouraged to visit the Between the Rivers Farmers Market before or after to shop from various healthy food vendors.

Living a healthy lifestyle was not always easy, he said, but it was something he needed to prioritize.

“When you’re completing a residency in internal medicine, you just eat whenever and whatever you can. Working a hundred hours a week makes exercise a challenge, and meals are hard as well because you don’t know when or what you’re going to be able to eat.”

Despite its challenges, working toward a better eating routine did not mean sacrificing everything he enjoyed.

“I didn’t go on a diet, I just began to monitor and maintain my caloric intake and committed to walking every day,” Harris recalls.

As a self-proclaimed numbers guy, counting and tracking what he was eating was fun. Harris said that if he ate something unhealthy, he just knew he had to trim the numbers somewhere else.

“I never felt that I was giving up anything, but I got into the habit of weighing my food because I had to learn to be honest with myself about what true portions should look like. It took me almost two years to lose the amount of weight I wanted to lose, but it was a safe and maintainable pace.”

While walking every day was an important part of working off his weight, it also helped with building his strength. As his weight loss plateaued, he added core workouts and weight training that served its double purpose.

To this day — nearly 1,800 days after starting his weight-loss journey — Harris still walks four to five miles a day. He also continues to weigh, measure and log his food intake, and he also adds core workouts and other exercise as he likes to his routine.

By starting with habits that were simple and easy to maintain, he eventually arrived at a lifestyle that he feels good about.

“I needed my plan to be something that was doable for me, and a diet or stopping something wasn’t going to work for me. What worked was walking and watching how much I was eating, and I’m happy that I made the decision to start.”

For more information about Harbin Clinic’s Walk with a Doc series, visit harbinclinic.com/docwalk.