Don’t.Give.Up: the crazy stuff I’ve done for health

In my neck of the wood, winter has not given up yet, which means relief from the winter pounds and blahs is not as close as I would like it to be. As I explained in the last newsletter, even if I would like to start detoxing for spring, my body has other plans and still wants to hold on to its “safety” blubber to keep me warm.

So with that in mind, I know it will have to get a lot warmer for a lot longer before I can let go of those extra pounds. You will have the opportunity to join me when I launch my brand new online group reboot this coming April. I am super excited about it as it will be quite different from the ones I have led in the past. Look for information regarding this later on!

Now on to the subject at hand…and the message I carry with me at all time:

Don’t. Give. Up.

I could have given up when my health crashed three years ago. I could have given up when no doctors was coming up with answers. I could have given up when I finally figured out what was wrong and it was overwhelming. I could have given up when I was told I could not change or “fix” myself. I could have given up when the pain was too strong or the despair too loud.

And I almost did…many times. But in the end I kept going, one step at a time, one question at a time, one answer at a time, one failure at a time.

It’s frustrating when THEY can’t fix you, when THEY let you down, when THEY don’t understand what you are going through. You can use that frustration to fuel the fire, your fire.

I have tried all sorts of “therapies” while trying to get better, from acupuncture, colonics and energy medicine, to spiritual healing and Emotional Freedom Technique, with a lot in between. All of them helped to a point, but none of them was THE solution. I still rely on some of them to get me through rough patches, but mostly they taught me one major lesson:

What if I was the only one who could truly know what my body needed?

Most people will balk at that idea, and I hear it in my practice a lot. Fix me. Tell me what’s wrong with me or what I’m doing wrong.

But it worked. I did what I was drawn to, what felt totally foreign to me yet incredibly luring: I went on a raw food diet and overhauled my lifestyle completely. And although not all health issues have successfully disappeared, two major ones (Hashimoto and thyroid disease) are no longer picked up on my regular tests.

This is NOT to say that you should jump on a raw food adventure or any other drastic “diet”. What I mean is that if you would be open and willing to drop into your body long enough to “feel” what it needs, you could be amazed at the answers you get. This is true for health and weight issues alike.
If you have struggled with resistant weight for a long time, don’t give up, you can crack the code!

Here are tools to help you out in this process:

  • Start asking questions. Your body has an awareness that is different than yours. And most of the time, you are not paying attention to vitamin deficiencies, you are only concerned with how fat you look, what others think of you, and if it is late enough in the day to start drinking! Ask your body what it wants to eat, how it wants to move, what message it is trying to convey. It can be frustrating at first but you will eventually get it.
  • Stop forcing change. How often do you see people at the gym or at a vegan cafe looking utterly miserable? If your body wants to spit out the food, this food probably has no benefits for you. If your body hates running and manifests its dislike with constant knee pain and injuries, try Zumba!
  • Stop labeling yourself. I have acid reflux. I have IBS. I have depression. Do you? Or is your body telling you that the foods you eat don’t work, that your gut needs some loving, or that it’s time to leave that job?
  • Appreciate the feedback and allow for change. Trying to see the lesson in the challenge helps take consistent action and teaches you that your needs are evolving as you age. What worked once may no longer work. Stop trying to do the same darn thing!

I really hope you will consider trying a different approach to your struggles, be it with weight or health. And yes, you still need support on this journey, but ultimately, you know best.

Bottom line: never give up…gather up your determination and keep on searching, doing, asking. The breakthrough is just on the other side!

How I ended my run with Hashimoto and thyroid disease

On paper (through tests run by my functional doctor), I no longer have the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s, which is the number one cause of hypothyroid disease in women. And all my thyroid levels (especially T3) are now in normal range.

After years of struggling with it, partly because it was missed at many of my physicals, I have a clean bill of health on that front. If you have been reading my posts you know that I still have genetic mutation-related issues to take on but if my success with my thyroid and immune system are any indication, it is just a matter of time!

Although it does not constitute medical advice in any way, I want to mention that I never took any thyroid medication. I have a very sensitive body who does not tolerate medication very well, so however desperate I was to get rid of my symptoms (weight gain, low body temperature, hair loss, extreme fatigue), I just knew it would not be in my best interest. That being said, it is a personal decision between you and your doctor.

In any case, I had to take this on differently, rebuilding from the ground up, and un-doing some of the damage done by years of overexercising, low-fat-low-carb diets, binging, chaotic lifestyle, and low self-esteem.

Every one has a different path back to health, but mine looked like this:

  • A complete overhall of my diet: gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, organic, mostly raw, green juices.
  • Detoxification: of body, house (chemicals, water, air), mindset, and lifestyle.
  • Rejuvenation: adding probiotics, fermented foods, and enzymes to heal my gut, intense vitamins and mineral supplementation, practicing meditation and other spiritual practices, adopting a no-whinning, no-victim attitude, and taking responsibility for all that is happening to me. Lots of ME time!
  •  Adaptogens.

All of the above are responsible for the complete turnaround from how I was feeling 3 years ago, and all are equally important, but for the purpose of this post, and to help you move forward with one single step, I am focusing here on the adaptogens, because I believe that most of us can really benefit from them on all levels.

They are quite inexpensive and their magic lies in the fact that they increase your body’s resistance to physical, biological, and emotional stressors. All adaptogens help regulate the Hypothalamic-Pituary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, meaning they can adjust imbalances related to immunity, hormones, and stress, ultimately giving you more energy. And let’s be honest, the HPA is where most of the mess is!

Adaptogens are derived from plants and plant parts and each one offers unique benefits. One might calm your mind while another gives you energy and increase endurance. They work with and for your body, adapting to your needs, hence the name “adaptogen”.

Here are a few of my favorites and what their benefits are:

  • Ashwagandha: the one I credit for having the most benefit on my health. The mother herb for thyroid and adrenal support. I still take it regularly.
  • Eleuthero: also known as Siberian ginseng, known for improving endurance and mental health, and strengthening the immune system. A study in Psychological Medecine also showed it reduced the severity and duration of chronic fatigue.
  • Reishi: Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use this herb to calm the mind and restore emotional balance. This mushroom contains polysaccharides, phytochemicals that boost the immune system.
  • Asian Ginseng: One of the more stimulating adaptogens, it improves cognitive function, restore energy, and strengthen the body and depleted immune systems. Also great if you feel cold easily.
  • Tulsi (Holy Basil): great herb for adrenal burnout, and to manage chronic stress. You can enjoy tulsi in teas as well.

 Note: Don’t go guzzle them all at once! Start with one and build from there. Better yet, find a practitioner who can muscle test them on you so you know which one your body needs most. And find the best quality you can afford. Adaptogens work differently for different people, so you might need to try a few out to find which one benefits you the most.