Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – How Lost Tons of Weight

I didn’t just lose 15 lbs in February. I probably lost 300+ lbs! I didn’t just release extra weight during my month of detox. I donated bags of things that I no longer needed that were taking up space in my home and practice. I started releasing emotional baggage that was weighing on me more the physical weight or the clutter combined. So why was this detox so successful for me? Here’s a summary of the things to which I attribute the success.

Mindset – Meditation, Momentum, Visualization & Gratitude

  1. 1. Strengthen the mind/body connection through meditation

While I technically didn’t start the strict dietary changes until February, the process started back in September when I started meditating regularly. Meditating consistently has strengthened my mind/body connection. Previously when it came to food, my brain was making all the calls. It had lots of reasons for why I should eat whatever I wanted – I’ve had a hard day, I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, I’m celebrating. After I had been meditating consistently for some time, it was easier to “hear” what my body needed.

In January, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. and started to declutter. As part of her process, you have to physically touch everything you own and ask yourself whether it sparks joy. That exercise further strengthened my intuition and mind/body connection and the process spilled over to other areas of my life including diet and exercise. I started noticing what foods and movements sparked joy in my body – and what had the opposite effect. 

2. Start with one small change to gain momentum

I am a recovering perfectionist. My friends had been urging me to start intermittent fasting, but I kept putting off starting, saying that I need to clean up my diet first. Finally one of my friends got fed up of the same excuses and demanded that I start within two days. She insisted I start narrowing the timeframe that I eat during the day without making any dietary changes. She got me in action. I started to notice that my clothes were looser and I had more energy. The small successes I was seeing inspired me to make more changes.

3. Visualization

In the fall, another friend reminded me of the importance of visualization in achieving your health goals. I started imagining how I will feel when I achieve my health goals. I imagine how energetic and invigorated I will feel during the day. I imagine the excitement and pride I will feel when I do my first pull up. I imagine the joy of being able to go for a run with my son without knee pain. I imagine how strong, independent and happy I will feel to be able to do CrossFit with my kids when I’m in my 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. I imagine how it will feel to be able to wear the jeans I purchased in Italy years ago. I imagine myself as a person who enjoys eating lots of vegetables, being active and taking care of my mental health.  I imagine myself knowing that I AM ENOUGH the way I am right now.

4. Gratitude

I also spent time appreciating my body and health as they were today. Every morning before I get out of bed and night before I go to sleep, I review the things for which I’m grateful. That often includes my health, that I haven’t gotten minor or major illnesses, my strength, the areas of my body that have no pain, etc. It’s important to balance being happy and grateful for what you have while striving for more.

Addressing My Insulin Resistance

I haven’t been diagnosed with insulin resistance, but I’m sure I was.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

By practicing intermittent fasting, I was able to address the insulin resistance which would’ve sabotaged any attempts to change my diet. I started by narrowing my eating window to 8 hours/day. Because I am not a coffee drinker, I drank water with a few drops of doTERRA Slim & Sassy to manage my appetite until it was time to eat. I learned that feelings of hunger are caused by a hormone, and will go away within 10-15 minutes even if I don’t eat. Check out this post from CrossFit Impact for other fasting tips. For more info about the benefits of fasting, I recommend the books The Obesity Code by Jason Fung and Delay Not Deny by Gin Stephens.

2. Acupuncture

I started having regular acupuncture treatments to address my digestive system.

February Detox

After all this preparation, I officially started my detox on Monday, 2/5.

  1. Eliminate processed foods

I eliminated sugar/artificial sweeteners, gluten, dairy and soy from my diet completely to significantly address any inflammation in my body. Initially I committed to doing it for two weeks with the intention of doing it for at least 30 days. My brain felt too overwhelmed by 30 days, so I tricked it by saying I would just do it for 14 days and re-evaluate.

2. Eat a variety of veggies

I also committed to eating at least 5 servings of vegetables per day and at was least 3 different colors. I felt like I had some issues with my gut health that was causing brain fog, anxiety and mild depression. Eliminating sugar and gluten and increasing the variety and types of vegetables helped me starve the bad bacteria that was causing the issues and feed the good bacteria that help keep me healthy.

3. Increase movement

I strive to go for a walk outside everyday even when I’ve worked out to get more energy and Vitamin D. I also have incorporated movement “snacks” through out my day. Every time I go by the washer/dryer, I do 25 jumping jacks. When I’m heating water for tea, I march in place. I do yoga stretches every few hours. I try to walk more instead of driving. When I do drive, I try to park farther away from the entrance.

4. Manage withdrawal

I used acupuncture and essential oils to minimize withdrawal symptoms. When I was very tempted to eat something processed, I used my meditation skills to unpack why I was feeling that way and other actions I could take instead. I started taking Epsom salt baths, going for a walk or reading a good back when I was tired, stressed, celebrating – instead of relying on food. I continued to take my supplements – multivitamin, omega 3s, Vitamin D, probiotic. I added the doTERRA detox blends – Zendocrine softgels and Zendocrine Detoxification Complex  to support the heatlhy cleansing and filtering fuctions of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs and skin.

The results? I have lost about 20 lbs – 15 lbs in February and am wearing clothes that are 2 1/2 sizes smaller. I have more energy and require less sleep to feel invigorated. I don’t have brain fog, and am experiencing less anxiety.

5. Support

I started a Facebook group with a small number of friends who also wanted to focus on up leveling their health and used that for accountability and support. I also continued to go to CrossFit 3-4 times/week for the support that community provides for my overall goals.


Maintenance is usually the hardest part. I’m not there yet, but I will be setting myself up for success by continuing my daily morning and evening routines. My daily routines include:

  1. Gratitude practice
  2. Meditation
  3. Reading inspirational content
  4. Listening to personal development speakers
  5. Practicing Lisa’s mirror exercise – see minute 2:45
  6. Breathing exercises
  7. “I am enough” affirmations
  8. Making my bed
  9. Forgiveness practice

If you would like to work with me on up leveling your health, you can schedule an appointment online or by calling 815.814.1319.

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Five Acupuncture Points for Spring

Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity and new beginnings. During the season of spring, people experience many changes. Allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain and congestion, anger, irritation and tendon problems are just some of the issues common to the spring months. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external wind, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates. continue reading »

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Putting My Oxygen Mask On First – Powerful Self Talk

My reading today has brought me to tears multiple times already. I am reading Lisa Nichols’ No Matter What during my morning ritual, and today’s chapter was about self talk. I’ve heard Lisa and her team talk about this topic many times – each time I take away something different.

Manage self talk before it derails progress.

Today I needed it as a reminder to make sure that my negative self talk doesn’t derail the progress I’m making with my physical and mental health and my relationships with my kids. I’ve noticed that when people acknowledge the changes in me, I have been deflecting by making comments that I’m sure I’ll fall back into my old habits – instead of receiving what they’ve said. Words are powerful – if I’m constantly saying that I’m a sugar addict or that I won’t keep up with my meditation or tidying my space – then of course I’ll be right!

Want to change something in your life? Look at your self talk.

The reading also made me reflect on what areas of my life are going great and where I would like things to change, and what self talk is constantly playing in my head about each of these areas. Where things are going well, my self talk is mainly positive. And in areas where things are stalled – like my love life – my self talk is not very nice.

Crossfit is an area of my life that has consistently been positive for me – and is a good example of how to structure other areas of my life. I have my moments of negative self talk – when I say I don’t feel strong enough to lift a heavier weight or to do regular push ups and as predicted I fail – but then I borrow my coach’s or fellow athlete’s view of my ability, and not only lift the heavier weight or do regular push ups…I often will be able to add on even more weight or do more reps. I’ve had these experiences enough that it has changed my self talk, and when I’m having a bad day, can borrow other people’s view of me without their having to say a word.

How am I influencing others self talk?

Crossfit is so positive for me because of the supportive, positive, affirming environment. I know my part for contributing to that environment, but how am I doing in other areas of my life? How much am I supporting my kids’ powerful self talk in our day to day interactions and how much am I feeding and adding to their negative self talk? That’s where the tears come – I know there are times when I’ve been feeding their negative self talk over the last few weeks. And then I cried some more because I don’t have the same compassion for the hurt I’m causing myself.

And so I am going to take action to change things. My kids participated in Lisa’s Motivating the Teen Spirit, so they understand the importance of powerful self talk. I’m going to ask them where they are struggling the most with negative self talk – and what I can stop doing/saying and start doing to best support them. I will text them powerful truths, and leave notes in their books or on their mirrors. I won’t let them forget how amazing, brilliant, strong, loving and wonderful they are.

I will revisit the following exercise to up level my self talk.

Changing your self talk

We are going to begin transforming your self talk from negative chatter to powerful supportive thoughts using a modification of a technique I learned from Lisa Nichols’ Motivating the Masses. Notice that I did NOT say we would get rid of the negative self talk – you’ve probably had those a while (the pathway in your brain is well-tread), and if you think you can eliminate those thoughts, you are setting yourself up for failure. Our goal is to “turn down the volume” on those thoughts and replace them with powerful self talk that we “turn up the volume” on.

Write down in PENCIL all of your negative self talk, and then to the right of them, in RED INK, write down a powerful self talk that you would like to replace the negative chatter. The powerful self talk should be something you believe.

Everyday, I would like you to read your powerful self talk out loud at least 7 times per day. When you notice negative self talk come up (and it will), you want to think about “turning down the volume” on the negative self talk and “turning up the volume” on the powerful self talk you have replaced it with. Each week, pick 1-2 powerful statements to focus on and leave yourself reminders everywhere. Set alarms on your phone with the statement. Put post it notes of the statement on your laptop, mirror, front door, and/or on the steering wheel of your car. Say it out loud to yourself at stop lights or when brushing your teeth.

Finally, most people are more successful when they add a physical reminder as well. When negative chatter starts, you can hit “pause” on your left temple on your negative self talk, and “play” on your right temple for your POWERFUL self talk. If you want something less noticeable, you could press the center of your left palm to “pause” and your right palm to play – or try tapping your left and right thigh.

If you feel like you need additional help, come in for acupuncture. Many clients share that taking time to care for themselves with acupuncture gives them inner strength and compassion to start seeing themselves in positive light.

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10 Day Restful Sleep Challenge

Are you yawning through the day only to hit the pillow and be wide awake? Do you use sleeping pills to little effect and with fear that it will lead to more severe problems down the road?

You’ve read all of the information on the internet, and have tried the standard recommendations – no electronics an hour before bed, listening to white noise, keeping the temperature in your bedroom under 68 – all to no avail.

Northshore Acupuncture Center is announcing a complimentary 10 day restful sleep challenge starting Monday, April 16th. Each day, challenge participants will receive an email with actions to take to support their sleep. The program was created by combining Chinese medicine knowledge with experience working with people with sleeping issues; it goes beyond the standard recommendations found in a google search about sleep issues.

The activities will help participants fall asleep more quickly, get the rest they are desperately seeking without the side effects, spend less time worrying about sleep, and reclaim their health and happiness.

If you are interested in learning more about the challenge, you can contact Amy at 815.814.1319 or email amy@northshoreacupuncturecenter.com.

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Mental/Emotional Aspects of The Heart

The major responsibility of the heart in TCM is housing the mind and controlling the shen. “Shen” can be seen as the overall healthiness of the mind. When you look at a healthy person in good spirits, you know how you can see that in their eyes? There is a certain bright clarity and sense of health that shines from within. We acupuncturists would say that this person has good shen. continue reading »

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