It's All Connected
I was chatting with a friend yesterday about how the pandemic has forced me to stay home and stop compartmentalizing my life. I can't get away from the kids by escaping to work everyday. Work, home, health, obligations, chores, and even my dogs... are now all connected. And what a perfect metaphor for our health.
When it comes to "owning your wellness".... There is no separate!
What you choose to eat is connected to where you are and who you're with. Your mood is affected by the events of the day, the foods you chose, and the exercise you did (or didn't) do. The tightness of your waistband is a result of so many decisions for so many years.
There is no separate!
Own your wellness.
When I start working with a new client and they tell me their main complaint. My first thought isn't: "What can I do to make this better?"
My first move to try to figure out WHY!? What is this symptom connected to? Where is the origin? What other factors are contributing? What is this symptom causing to happen in return? Instead of focusing on labeling the issue, I like to find all the puzzle pieces that are connected.
Here are a few examples of ways I've helped clients own their wellness by finding the connections and origin of their issues:
What a catchall and cop-out phrase. A woman came to me saying that she suffered from "chronic fatigue", and just wants to have a little more energy and less pain. Doctors had told her there is nothing wrong with her blood panel or thyroid, and she just needed to exercise more and eat better. After eating Paleo for years, working out 5 days a week, and trying to run a start-up, she only felt worse.
After many discussions and reviewing the "normal" lab results she had, it appeared that she may not have been digesting her protein very well. Guess what, if you can't digest proteins and fats, you don't have the amino acids you need for good brain function (they are building blocks for neurotransmitters). When you are functioning in a "fight-or-flight" state all the time (as managing your own company will do), at some point you just can't pump out enough cortisol to keep going. Her adrenals needed some support- some good minerals (which also need to be assimilated with good digestion) and electrolytes to keep her body able to pump out much needed cortisol.
Working to increase her digestive juices (with strategic supplements and nutrition), dialing in her workouts to be less endurance and more energizing, and focusing on a little alone time is all this poor super-woman needed!
Another term I detest. If the doctor throws this one at you, you know you are already in a bad place. One whiff of donut in the air, and your blood sugar is going to skyrocket.
This gentleman was also in a high-powered tech exec job. A lot of years of putting work before health were starting to take their toll. With a midsection growing daily, and heart palpitations coming more regularly, exercise and healthy eating were becoming a necessity- not an option.
The dietician on staff at his concierge doctor's office suggested he eat some grains with each meal and try to choose more plant-based options from the menu. So basically, eat more carbs. When a few weeks of eating a not-so-yummy diet only made him gain more weight, we started working together.
Switching him to a low carb, moderate protein, and lots of veggies diet, he started to lose weight. This only brought him down a few pounds however, and we realized we had a lot more work to do. I asked him to start using a continuous glucose monitor and we watched how his blood sugar was reacting to each meal. These numbers were helpful for him to see how his multi-scotch evenings and snack choices on the golf course were not helping anything. But more importantly, the monitor showed him huge spikes in blood sugar related to stressful work meetings and late-night (into the morning) strategy sessions. Conversely, the blood sugar numbers started to drop significantly after his evening walks with the dog.
As we worked on dialing in food and exercise, we also worked on helping him add some meditation into his midday routine. 10 minutes of his favorite meditation app seemed to bring his afternoon blood sugar spikes well into the healthy range.
Many inches off his waist later, he is no longer pre-diabetic, and his dog is much healthier too for all those lovely evening walks.
Maybe my least favorite diagnosis ever. "Irritable bowel syndrome" is defined by the Mayo Clinic as: "A common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you'll need to manage long term."
After decades (yes, decades) of distention, alternating loose stools and constipation, and painful hemorrhoids, this woman came to me as a last resort. Stool testing and countless endoscopies had shown "nothing." Diet changes seemed helpful, but only in the short-term. She had tried being vegan, tried no spicy food, tried no fried food, tried no alcohol, no caffeine, and definitely no fun diets. Exercise was hard because she was always nauseous or gassy. She was becoming miserable and desperate.
I knew that there was no way she was digesting anything very well, and put her on digestive enzymes immediately. Then we put her on a strict regime of no gluten or dairy while we waited for the results of a food sensitivity test. In the short-term, I worked on sealing and healing her gut with daily bone broth, healing herbs, and easily digested meals.
During our first few sessions, I learned that she had been on antibiotics no less than yearly since her mid-twenties for repeated sinus infections and UTI's. What?! These infections happened so frequently, that they weren't even her "main complaint." I quickly asked her to start working on drinking a lot more water (with electrolytes), start working with a specialist on pelvic floor exercises, and added in some natural supplements to help manage seasonal allergies. In addition, she started doing a daily sinus rinse and continued with the gut healing regimen I'd put together in conjunction with eliminating all the foods her testing showed she was reacting too.
Yes, our work consisted of a lot of diet and lifestyle changes, but low and behold: no more UTIs, and no sinus infections. And after a whole year of no antibiotics her gut started working a lot better. Gas was almost nonexistent, and BMs were regular. Her IBS was way less irritable!
It's ALL connected. There is no separate!!
To own your wellness is to own all of it:
the food, the movement, the stress, the sadness, the history, the sleep, the love and the loneliness.
When we pull back to the mile high view of your wellness, what will we finally see?
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