How Health Coaching Has Changed My Life

Sometimes I have to pause and just take it in… I’m working in my office, the windows are open, the birds are chirping, breeze blowing, the whole family is home and I’ve had an AHA MOMENT! The stress is not there, at least not the way it used to be.

The most important thing in my world is being able to take care of my family. I went into healthcare thinking the flexibility of shift work would be helpful once I had a family…  That didn’t end up the way I expected.

Now, I really just want to simply be the mom I always hoped I could be. I want to enjoy my family, take in the view, take them on adventures, have time to help my kids discover who they are… that time is short. It may have taken me a while, but I finally figured out a way to make it work for us. Coaching.

So many successful health coaches I know have backgrounds as lawyers, doctors, social workers, finance execs, nurses, nurse practitioners, health care professionals, teachers, social workers, business executives, serious go-getters, people that really care about the world around them, they want to help others and take care of their family too. #winwin

I work alongside some amazing female entrepreneurs, they make me believe in myself more than I ever have in my entire 47 years. It’s truly life-changing.

My children learn so much from what I do, and how I react to the world. When my world is falling apart, their world is unstable, there’s undeniably a HUGE ripple effect. When I was finally able to pull myself together, my family’s life started to get better. We finally started to heal. I finally had time to take care of what we needed. That’s the example I want to show my children. Perseverance. Caring. Faith. Compassion.

I thought I could do it all… be 110% professional, 110% mom, 110% wife… um… there’s no ME in there. I need to show my kids who I am, what I believe in, my authentic me… the me that has always said I have to put my family first. So now I do, by taking care of me, I’m taking care of them. They see it, they see the mom that they have now, and their life reflects those same positive change that mine does. As a mama, that’s the effect I need. I need to know they are feeling the effects of me taking care of me, and it truly has compounded for my family.

Take care of yourself and you can take care of the ones you love… fall apart, and they fall apart. Unfortunate truth. Trust me, it’s real AF! I know, I lived it.

Wanna fresh start? I’m right here waiting to help, just click here and we can chat more about making this opportnity a reality for you and your family. I’ll teach you everything I know.

Wanna know more about what I do as a coach, read on…

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Photo credz: Coty Jones Photography

Why I Believe in My Superfoods

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This is how Superfoods make me feel! And, for a girl w a chronic pain and fatigue disorder, that’s pretty damn special!

Superfoods…  a health term that gets thrown around A LOT these days, huh? So, what are they? Why are some foods super and some not? GOOD QUESTION! It’s taken me a long time to figure it out too. If you want to know the truth, I’m still learning more every day!

My superfoods have changed the way I am able to live. I have multiple chronic illnesses that were being controlled by what I was putting in my body.

I don’t like veggies very much. I’m a very picky eater, my grandmother used to call me “finiky”… it’s a texture thing and an anxiety thing for me. If I think I don’t like it, I don’t like it… I know, grow up, Katie. I’ve tried. I’ve gotten better, but I’m just not one that likes a big variety of foods.

I know I can eat plenty of protein and fiber (kinda) and goods fats. Y’all do know the necessity of good fats, right? The whole fat-free thing is a bunch of milarchy. It’s crucial that our bodies get good fats and if they don’t multiple disease processes can appear. Good fats keep our brain working… our brain controls EVERYTHING!

Did you know you can get TOO MUCH PROTEIN, and it will make you gain weight just like sugar will? Actually, when you eat too much protein, it turns into sugar, and then fat. That’s why I’m not a protein shake kinda girl, I’m a SUPERFOOD shake kinda girl. Sure, I need protein, but I eat protein… eggs, steak, chicken, and bacon aren’t the hard part for me, it’s the veggies. Yes, I was that kid, and still am at 46.

So, how do I get my veggies, I have some that I love and we have them with dinner each night, some days I have Caesar salad w meat on it for lunch, but my Shakeology fills in the missing nutrition. #winning

Why Shakeology?

I took this holistic nutrition class and learned about adaptogenic herbs. Cool things, those adaptogens… they help my body adapt to stress. I didn’t know food did that!!! Did you?? Adaptogenic herbs help my body detox and fight the stress of everyday life and the toxic substances that I breathe in and ingest.

Then, I learned that Shakeology has digestive enzymes and prebiotics and probiotics. Why does that matter? Have you heard of digestion? I know, stupid question… Digestion is the process of absorbing nutrients to fuel our body. Here’s the thing, we need digestive enzymes to help absorb the good stuff and not the bad, we need prebiotics to help feed the probiotics. Those probiotics help digest the food we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. These enzymes and natural organisms used to be in our food.

Ever heard of phytonutrients and antioxidants? These are the super greens and funny sounding plants that provide immune benefits. Did you know with a healthy immune system you can fight off almost any disease there is, including cancer? I know I sound like a nut, trust me, it was new to me when I first heard it too. I am a total believer though, I’ve seen too many people get healthier by committing to holistic nutrition.

Did you know that antioxidants actually are like a detox for your body? Seriously! Isn’t that cool!? They help eliminate free radicals. What are free radicals? There are toxic substances that float around in our bodies from different environmental assaults (foods, stress, organisms, chemicals, etc.). Antioxidants eliminate those free radicals… SWEET, give me some! I’m all for free, but not when it comes to toxins in my body, that’s what weakens my immune system. Not cool!

So, what else do I need to tell you?? Oh, yea, there IS protein in Shakeology. What I found in the past was most protein shakes are whey or soy, both are inflammatory for most people. (More about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to disease here.) Whey, soy, and too much protein are going to cause weight gain, which is not what most people are looking for.

My choice for protein is plant-based proteins: quinoa, oat, rice, flax, chia, and pea. Why? flax and chia have omega 3 fatty acids which are good fats that my body needs. I don’t want whey because dairy is inflammatory. I significantly limit soy because soy is bad for our endocrine health, want to know more -> read this.

You see, Shakeology is my way of getting 70 different anti-inflammatory foods, most of which I don’t know how to source or prepare. That’s A LOT of holistic nutrition in a tasty treat, folks!

Superfoods are super important for the long-term health of your body. If you’d like to know more about the choices I make, reach out, let’s chat. If you want to join my groups, I’m happy to be your health coach, we ALL need a health coach (mine makes my world a much easier place to navigate). If you want to contact me via my coach website or order Shakeolgy, start here, or you can find me on Facebook @ Katie Pink Tolley

I hope you find a way to make your wellness journey enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all get by with a little help from our friends. 😉

If you’d like to hear what’s so special about Shakeology from the developer herself (yes, HER, one of my heroes, Isabelle), click here.

Oh, I should probably add the health issues that I had that are almost non-existent now that I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 90% of the time along with adding in Shakeology: Asthma, Allergies, Thyroid imbalance, Eczema, Restless Leg Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, Constipation, Anxiety, ADHD, Sleep problems, constant stomach pain, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Disorder. Yea, that’s tiring to even think about, so glad I found holistic nutrition and these superfoods. They’ve changed my life, actually, now I can live my life! #golden

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Graphic compliments of Beachbody

As always, Enjoy the Journey & Be Well. ~kp

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

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NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

exceed your limits

 

Dear 17 (that d@~m hip)

Dear 17, (that d@~m right hip)

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You WILL get stronger!

You laugh, but it bothers you. That’s a defense mechanism. You’ll learn more about that during college when you get your psych degree.

You jokingly say, “yea, that’s my birth defect” thinking that it doesn’t have an effect on you, it does. It has more of an effect than you think.

When your friend rides behind you biking when you’re in middle school and says, “Hey, are your legs different sizes?”

OMG, EMBARRASSING!!!!

What do you say, accept, yep, “that’s my birth defect hahaha”… not funny.

You know your legs are different because your hips were twisted at birth, as an OB RN/PED RN/Ped NP, I think it was probably hip dysphasia. Who knows, the documentation was different back then.

You know you had casts from your hips to your toes when you were 1  month old for the next 30 days of your life. Then, braces until we walked. I’m glad we don’t remember. The stories they tell seem like they’re talking about someone else, until we look at our legs… fullsizeoutput_45d2

You think it’s worse because you favor the left one.. gymnastics dominantly left legged, driving a stick shift, etc.

Oh, Sweetheart… it’s not the clutch that makes your leg bigger, it’s not the cartwheels and round offs either. It truly is a birth defect, and you need NOT be embarrassed about it. You hear me?

It will take a lot of pain, emotional and physical… “Mom, it hurts when I vacuum,” scoliosis, muscle spasms, pulled muscles, shoe lifts… oh, the shoe lifts (eye roll) that you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY REFUSE to wear on your shoes.

OH. HELL. NO! What will everyone think? I already can’t keep up. I WILL NOT put that on my shoe for everyone to see. I’ll suffer.

Ah, youth. We suffer either way. We would have suffered with the lift too, so tit for tat.

So, the back pain continues, the hip pain continues, and the stomach pain (whole different letter, and we’ll get to that) continues. Your self-esteem will plummet, you will think it’s your fought and you should do better, you know better but that doesn’t matter. You come from a good family. You have every advantage in the world. But do you? Really? Maybe. Maybe not. Only you know. But you don’t know. That’s the problem.

You are never sure; you just don’t know, you’re afraid to know… it freezes you. Literally. What if what you know is wrong? What if you don’t do the right thing? (Heartbreak of the future: Josh is the same way. It kills me. I feel it for us at 12, 17, 23, 27, 35, and I don’t want it to hold him back too. Maybe I can make a diff. Maybe I can take what I know now and help him.)

We know almost nothing at 17, that’s why I’m writing these letters. I have so much to say, and I’m not sure how to get it out. So, I’m writing… to you.

Back to that hip, it’s gonna get worse… you won’t realize it’s your hip for years. You will pull your groin muscle… oh… duh, you’re 17, you’ve already played most of your high school field hockey career. Wish I could tell you to play at Towson U. To not be afraid. To realize you were just as good as everyone else. Why would you think you weren’t? The leg. Your hip. Your back. Your self esteem. Your anxiety. It always comes back to the damn anxiety… and the anxiety stems from physical issues that aren’t being addressed (the hip is just one of them). That unknown and uncontrolled anxiety will cause decades of pain.

Here’s the good part, you will eventually figure it out… It takes a long f^@%ing time, excuse my French. We suffer long and hard as we figure it out. It takes years. Problems with our health and problems with Joshua’s health, intellect, development, it gets pretty bad. It almost destroys us, the family us. Know you are strong enough to get through it and be better for it. Trust me. Trust us. Trust you. 😉

I guess you realize this isn’t just about that right hip. I’m writing this to help you understand how BIG the LITTLE things can be. In my early adult years, there was a book that was published called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, some of the small stuff/ the emotional small stuff needs to be sweated. (I don’t think that’s really a word, but this is my letter, so it is now.) We need to quit telling people to suck it up. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Sometimes, you need to accept your weaknesses, your challenges, the imperfections that are perfectly normal and who you are.

So, understand, that the hip is gonna get worse, orthopods will say you have a “shallow acetabulum yhada yhada yhada…”. Nobody will really help until you find Dr. D, the osteopath that helps you. And, she helps you figure out it’s not just you, she helps you figure out a little about Josh too, it’s not just you mama. (Insert another eye roll, the mysteries take years to unravel.)

Know that hip will limit you. It will stop you. You will use it as an excuse. You won’t understand the problem for so many years, that “yea, haha, it’s just my birth defect” is really a lot more… the effects compound.

All of the things in our life that stay with us day to day compound. Hence, The Compound Effect. You’ll learn about that one over time too, life compounds in every possible way, count on it, and plan for it.

Stay tuned; I’ll fill you in a little at a time as we go along.

Love,

Me.

P.S. btw- We are all crooked, just in different ways, it’s not just you, my dear. Truth. 😉

I am strong

It could be me, but it’s my girl. Our girl. She’s amazing!

 

 

Digestive Health Lesson #2 – It all Starts with Inflammation

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine (Cleveland), wrote that inflammation is now recognized as the underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.

Inflammation

Inflammation 101

Inflammation defined by the free online medical dictionary: 1. A localized protective response elicited by injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissue.  2.The inflammatory response can be provoked by physical, chemical, and biologic agents, including mechanical trauma, exposure to excessive amounts of sunlight, x-rays and radioactive materials, corrosive chemicals, extremes of heat and cold, or by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms. Although these infectious agents can produce inflammation, infection and inflammation are not synonymous.

Dr. Edwards points out that anti-inflammatory foods have been used to combat Cancer and many other diseases, i.e.: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, many Autoimmune diseases, asthma. Here is the abstract from her article:  Continue reading

I do it ALL for My WHY?

Happy Friday! A friend and fellow Inspirer asked for some insight about WHY we do what we do? What gives us PASSION, what gives us ENERGY to keep moving forward? What is your WHY?? Think about it, write it down, it might be a little more motivating than you realize…

Tell your story

My WHY is My family. I do everything I do for my kids health and well being. I’m working harder now to spend time on the beach later with my Hubby when we are old and our kids are wildly successful and can take care of us (play along, I have faith).  Continue reading

What’s Your Excuse?? Reality Maybe?

Here’s my list of excuses:

  • Congenital Hip Dysplasiaaf8119baa06da42794553e2c664e150c
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • My Kids, time I want to spend with them, and the time they just need me
  • Work
  • Taxiing my kids to/from wherever it is they have to be….
  • Care for my family, aka paying bills, cleaning, pet care, permission slips, troubleshooting printers (and f’n routers every couple months, like right now, ugh), school plays, guitar lessons, horseback riding, groceries that. are. always. gone.!!
  • Then, of course, something unexpected throws the whole game plan off….. Like today’s migraine… UGH!

Excuse vs. Reality? Reality really is what it comes down to when you think about it. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes, we’re usually our own worst enemy. Let me ask you… Continue reading

YOU’RE WRONG!! That’s not it at all….

 

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The kindergartener that knows the right answer, but won’t raise his hand.

The 7th grader that goes to the nurse for a “bandaid” a little too often.

The student with a headache before math class EVERY day.

The kid that just keeps making jokes and disturbing class.

The 2nd grader that STOPPED and put her pencil down on the second problem.

The 8th grader avoiding class because there’s just TOO many people.

The 6th grader with more than occasional stomach ache.

The class clown that’s avoiding what he doesn’t know.

The 3rd grader that’s pretty damn smart, but says, “I can’t do that!” when faced with a more mentally challenging task.

The 1st grader that runs in school even after being told to STOP, not because he’s defiant or has ADHD, but because there is thunder and lightening outside!

The 9th grader who can’t pay attention in class because she can’t fall asleep at night worrying about her grades.

The 1st grader that resists help and completely melts down.

The 8th grader that thinks life is going to end when she gets a C.

The kid that asks to go to the bathroom, but talks to every adult and child along the way to avoid the unknown and awkward feeling of going back to class and NOT fitting in.

Kids don’t have panic attacks…

Kids avoid.  Kids hide.

KIDS DO NOT ASK FOR HELP!!!

Kids repress.

They run away.

They back into a corner with their hands over their ears.

They complain about “nothing.”

They fight back.

They need adults that know the difference.

THEY. NEED. US. TO. UNDERSTAND.

We need to recognize childhood anxiety!

Before it’s too late…..

#think globally

#YOUcanmakeadifferenceforjust1kid

* I know each and every one of these children, they are real, they struggle. Do you know how many children struggle? More than you think. >25% and 1/2 are likely not diagnosed, so you see there is a gross underestimate statistically.

How the hell did that happen? 50 pounds later…

Growing up as an athlete, weight was not a problem… until my teen years. I stayed fit multiple ways; there was soccer, gymnastics, swimming, roller skating and ice skating, field hockey, tennis, weight training and the list goes on. As an adult, I controlled my weight by eating healthy, walking, weight training, waitressing, bartending, nursing, biking, swimming, pilates, yoga. I even taught pilates for a year when Drew Elizabeth was a baby. Best shape I’ve ever been in, and I was 35 and had 2 kids! I love pilates and thought I’d do it forever, but then I started my graduate program, and my exercise habits went to Hell, but it was a slow slide.

I was over 40 when my weight was creeping up, quickly, and I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong… I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! It all started just after my brother’s wedding in April 2012. My goal has been to get back into that dress.

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April 2012, 40 years old and feeling good (before the gain).

So, when I hopped on the scale at the Y in January, I thought it was broken. I know that sounds like a joke, but, I really did. I went to my friend’s house. I told her I needed to use her scale, because I didn’t own one and the one at the Y had to be broken. I came back down the stairs stunned.

The scale wasn’t broken.

I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! WTF!

How the hell did that happen??? 

I had a plan. I joined the 3 month weight loss program at the Y.  I went to kick ass cardio classes at 5:30am, which is almost impossible for me (Fibro is a chronic fatigue disorder), but I did it. I was doing weight training, I was walking. I was working out 6-7 times a week, even won highest attendance in that contest. I lost 4 pounds in 3 months… What. The. Fuck. Excuse my language, there just is NO substitution. I have never had trouble losing weight. It’s never been easy, but I know how to get it done. Well, I thought I did. I was struggling.

Off to the doctors I went, primary doc, endocrine doc, neither of them thought there was a medical problem. Katie was just gaining weight, it happens when women turn 40. WHAT!?! NO! That was not acceptable. But, what was I to do. I kept struggling.

In March 2014, I was heavier than I had been when I was full term pregnant with either of my children. This couldn’t be happening. How was this happening. I was crying almost every day when I got dressed. I didn’t want to get dressed. I was depressed.

I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party and a college roommate’s wedding that month. I was so very happy for them, and I hated how I felt inside and how I looked on the outside.

I hid. These are the only pictures I can find of me at that time.

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Top right, February 2014, before I knew, I was swollen and inflamed. Left and bottom right are about 4 weeks into my purge. You can see my face is a bit less swollen. But, my stomach was so upset in both of these pictures. I can still remember, and it was almost 2 years ago.

I had an epiphany one day reading a Fibro blog, I clicked on a link to yeast allergy because I was somewhat familiar. I was worried I might have some of those symptoms.

O.M.G.!     Did I have some of the symptoms???     I. Had. Every. One. 

Let’s see if I can remember them all…

  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • stomach upset
  • asthma (it got so bad I went back on meds I hadn’t been taking for years!)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • eczema
  • thinning hair
  • yeast infections (yup, those kind of yeast infections!)
  • sleep problems
  • dandruff, with fungal patches on my scalp
  • UTI (never had a UTI except when I was prego)
  • major sugar cravings
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • acne
  • the list seems to go on and on…

It. Sucked.

So, what to do? Fortunately, I’ve got this friend… Thank God I have all kinds of knowledgeable friends. Remember, Kathy, the allergy RN from my allergy posts? Yeah, she got a text real quick. Not only did she agree with me, she thought the same thing when she’d seen me the previous week.

So, how do I fix it?!?!?

No biggie, just avoid the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Vinegar, anything vinegar based
  • Leftovers past 24-36 hours old, they start to grow organisms, a healthy GI tract can tolerate this, mine could not.
  • Yogurt has a ton of sugar, beware.
  • All berries/grapes and other fruits with the S.minor fungal organism, that white mold that shows up after 5-6 days. Our GI system should be able to break that down, unless it’s inflamed and leaky, like mine was!
  • Breads with yeast (flatbread and crackers would be ok on occasion)
  • Wheat is a cross-contaminant, so I should avoid that too
  • Wine (!)(!problem!)(!ALERT!)(!ALERT!)(!problem!) I had to do all this AND avoid wine… it’s fermented. Oh, champagne is even more fermented. (A girl’s gotta have sip on occasion, so I do enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) here and there!)
  • Alcohol is fermented. (Vodka is distilled!!!)
  • Change your cooking oil to coconut and olive, be sure to buy quality items.
  • Balance your Omega 3 oils with your Omega 6 oils. (Fish oil, tuna, coconut, olive are Omega 3 sources.) I get my coconut oil here.
  • I’m sure there were more, but if you take a look, there isn’t much left.

So, that leaves veggies and meats with no marinade. Fun. It was going to have to be fun. But, I did come up with dinners like this one. This was actually last nights, and it was yummy.

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Chicken with fresh lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, italian spices over baby spinach with peas and sweet potatoes. Now that I’ve changed, I think this is scrumptious. Actually, it was!!

I’ve learned more about cooking with dry spices, and now wouldn’t do anything else.

I’ve learned that I prefer to put my meat on a bed of greens, and don’t really need salad dressing if I have it that way. Good luck finding salad dressing without vinegar or soy. Soy is a huge inflammatory. I avoid it at all cost, along with all the other inflammatory foods.

What I’ve learned in my research over the past few years is that inflammation is the root of most health issues, including obesity. Now that I know that, I look back at the struggles I had in my life with my weight, my fibro, my asthma, my skin, my irritable bowel, my anxiety, and it all makes so much sense. It was all because of food intolerances that I knew nothing about. I know I’m not alone… look at the obesity epidemic in this society.

I encourage anyone that has weight challenges to learn about inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this knowledge will change your world.

Besides diet changes, what should you do:

  • Probiotic to help heal the gut; multiple lacto and bifido strains, specifically acidophilus, My family takes 40 billion units minimum and changes brand each month too.
  • Vitamins, I use B-complex, Vit C 1000mg, Vit D 2000-5000 IU each day. Most multis don’t have enough in them unless they are a high dose. In my recent readings, I’m learning more about the CRUCIAL role of Vit D, which is really a hormone, and essential.
  • Purge from the above foods for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, then you can slowly try to reintroduce some things. Still only eat them on occasion. Adding fermented foods back into your diet is helpful for a healthy gut.
  • Exercise, at least 3/x week, but daily activity is important.
  • Find ways to manage your stress, this is crucial! Cortisol changes everything. High cortisol makes is really hard to be healthy in multiple ways.
  • 8 hours sleep should be a minimum. WE HEAL WHEN WE SLEEP!!
  • Change your cookware to avoid non-stick chemicals like teflon. I use solid ceramic Xtrema by Ceramcor.
  • I have found that eating Paleo, or close to Paleo is the way to go for me. I have decreased my grain intake significantly.

Well, there wasn’t a damn thing easy about it. I honestly didn’t think I’d see the day I got back into the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. But I have, comfortably… pictures the next time I have an event! 😉

This was part of my journey that was and continues to be a real struggle. I wanted to share, because I think there are an awful lot of people out there going through what I went through. You don’t have to.

Of all the chapters I’ve lived, I must say, this was a toughy. I have learned an awful lot from this part of my journey, and now I can share some pretty important health information with others.

I knew I needed to write this post 2 years ago. I hoped my journey would bring me here. I can’t tell you how overwhelmingly happy I am that I am writing and telling you all about it. I hope it helps you.

Nothin’ easy about it! We HAVE TO help each other.

Enjoy the Journey!! 😉

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January 2016, 44 years old, 50 pounds lighter than my max weight. BAM! HELL YEAH!

 

Stress…Are we setting a good example?

Stress affects everyone.

Stress interferes with our basic human needs to survive.

Stress interferes with our health and ability to live productive lives.

Stress changes our world.

Young or old, alone or part of a family, stress affects all of us. It changes how we act. It changes how we think. It changes our decision making. It affects how the world perceives us.

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How do you handle stress?   Do you let others see your stress?   Do you let your kids see your stress?  Do you make sure your kids see you dealing with stress in a healthy way? That last one is the hard one.

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When you think you have everything all under control, and it just unravels and falls apart…. Have a plan!

The past few months were pretty stressful in our house. I don’t always handle stress well. I don’t think clearly. I don’t make the best decisions. And, it’s obvious to everyone in my world that something is wrong. I wear my stress just like a new outfit. When it’s bad, it overcomes me. I get stuck. It sucks. And, what also sucks is that my kids don’t get the mom they need. None of us are able to be 100% the person we want to be when we are stressed. Fact.

Many of us don’t deal with our stress well, and the effects are profound. We have a society that is tired, less productive, irritable, gaining weight, depressed, anxious, and generally unhealthy both mentally and physically, all because of stress. Stress changes our bodies in multiple ways, hormonally, gastrointestinally, and cognitively, just to name a few.

When the brain, the gut and the hormones are messed up, guess what? Life is messed up, and things just don’t go so smoothly. Unfortunately, our immune system gets the direct assault. If you want to read more about stress and the immune relationship, I recommend  Paleo Mom’s blog posts about how leaky gut and stress affect our health. The impact of stress on our health is so profound, I encourage you to learn more about it, and hope to write another post about it soon.

Take a look at our society, 1 in 3 are sick, the majority are overweight, many are out of work or incapable of keeping a job, most self medicate with alcohol and cigarettes, and many with illegal drugs. The majority of relationships fall apart, many children don’t live with both mom and dad (some with neither), and respect for one another seems to be at an all time low.

As a society, we are not functioning well. We are not dealing with problems and they are causing stress and it has a domino effect on our society as a whole. So, back to the reason I started this post…

We need to deal with our stress, but HOW? 

Lifestyle choices. Simply put, we need to go Back to Basics:

  1. Safety and love. This is a basic human need, and many people are not loved and do not feel safe. Many things about the basic needs of our society are broken. Lack of respect & broken family systems are a central part of this problem. Everybody needs somebody.
  2. Proper Nutrition. This might be #2, but only because #1 is so primal. This is such a crucial element to one’s health both mentally and physically. Balanced nutrition can cure and prevent many of today’s “modern diseases.” Eating 3 balanced meals a day is a must. Not just our body, but especially our brain needs fuel, and food is that fuel. Too many unnatural foods (I use the word food loosely here) in our diet lead to health issues. If you’ve ever read my blog, you know how I feel about processed vs. natural foods. We will save that discussion for another post.
  3. Adequate Sleep. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body doesn’t have time to replenish. Simple supply and demand here. You can’t keep drinking out of a glass that you don’t refill. For more details about the importance of sleep and how much sleep we each need, check here.
  4. Exercise/Physical Activity. Our body is mechanical, it’s quite amazing actually. Our body needs to be toned and fit to perform how it was meant to, and how we expect it to. Muscles are there to support bones, if muscles are not toned and in shape, they can’t do their job. Think about all the back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and hip pain in this country. Much of it is because we don’t keep our muscles toned. And, exercise has a direct impact on good digestion. Good digestion is the key to good health! Learn yoga or pilates, just 10-15 min before bed will make a lifetime of difference in you physical and digestive health. I promise. 😉

All of the above have a huge effect on how our body functions.

Proper care = proper function, aka, we can deal with life (and it’s stressors) better when we are healthy. Fact.

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Life does this to us from time to time.

So, last month when my stress meter was in the danger zone, and my boss (Who is The Best!) asked what I was doing to take care of me, I knew what I had to do… I told her that I wasn’t doing so well the first few weeks. I even left the house for a couple hours one night because I just couldn’t take it anymore. (I’m not totally nuts though, I just went to my aunt’s house to deflate.)

So, what was I doing to help with my stress? I had been trying to eat pretty healthy (keep in mind that wine is made from grapes 😉 ). I was trying to get adequate sleep (the nights I wasn’t up late researching everything I could find to help my son). And, I was getting ready to start an exercise program (that I should get off of this computer and good do). The exercise program was something I was excited about; the “physical activity” part of my equation had fallen off my radar and I was feeling icky not being in better shape.

Another thing I support wholeheartedly, but was not doing was talking to someone professionally, as in a therapist. I am lucky to have a 2 for 1 in my massage therapist. My massage therapist is one of the best people in my world. We found each other about 12 years ago, and we’ve developed this true friendship/inner psyche kinda love. We share so many of the same philosophies about life. She knows where my muscles are the most stressed and we chat during my massages, it’s better than psychotherapy… Well, better until she gets to the painful parts, but I call that “feel good pain” because it helps decrease the daily muscle aches/pains and gets the stress toxins out of my muscles (and out of my body). She helps me survive. I can’t express the impact massage therapy has on my world. I highly recommend it. I think most alternative therapies deserve more credit than we give them. Alternative medicine works, these therapies haven’t been around for thousands of years for no reason.

We need to fulfill our basic human needs to survive and be productive.

We need to be healthy and happy to live productive lives and be prepared to deal with life’s stressors.

We need to be good role models for the next generation. We need to deal with our stress. We need to address problems, not ignore them. We need to find solutions, not complaints. We need to treat others as we want to be treated.

We need to demonstrate positive alternatives to acting out in negative ways. Our youth need to see adults dealing with life’s stressors in positive ways. This will make a huge difference in our world. This is a job that all adults are responsible for, like it or not.

Learning to deal with stress is a continuous journey for all of us. I’ve been struggling and learning for decades now. I’m still doing research, but I’m also doing a few Sun Salutations (that’s yoga for those of you that still haven’t caught on to how wonderful yoga is) along this journey to help decrease my stressed. I have tried to work through the most recent “worst” stress in my life. It’s much easier to deal with now that we are on the other side of it (well, mostly). I am proud to be able to show my kids how to deal with stress. At times, I set a good example of what not to do, but I most recently set a good example of what to do by making the lifestyle changes that help me deal with my stress. Just 2 weeks into my exercise program, I’m feeling so much better. And, my kids have the mom they need and deserve. Maybe I’ll share a little more about my exercise program in another post soon.

I hope you have outlets for your stress. If not, I hope this post encourages you to create a few. If you want a little help, just let me know. There is nothing easy about life. We all need to stick together. It takes a village, no matter what your age. The support system I had through my most recent stressful issues made all the difference.

Don’t let life dictate what you do; take control of your life and take it where you want it to go.  Learning how to deal with the stressors makes the journey much more successful and enjoyable.

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A nice vista along the way is good for the soul.

So, eat well, sleep well, exercise, surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people and…. Enjoy the Journey! You’ll be glad you did.