Chinese Medicine

Putting My Oxygen Mask on First – Trajectory of Health (Healthy Eating)

I recently made changes in my diet to improve my overall health. I questioned whether I should make such significant changes – I know the value of starting with one small change for overall lasting improvement. My weight tends to vary fairly significantly. I’ve struggled with being mindful and present while eating. I tend to eat my emotions to avoid experiencing them.

I also am concerned about the health impacts of “yo yo” dieting. But when I look at my weight journey, I realize that I shouldn’t be focusing on the peaks and valleys. My weight journey as any journey in life, isn’t a straight line….I’m human. And life isn’t that simple. However, the overall trajectory is heading in the right direction.

The bigger struggle with my weight started during fertility treatments. I had always been a runner, and wasn’t able to run for two weeks of the month as my ovaries were the size of grapefruit. I was also experiencing depression…and eating to fill the sadness. I’ve hit “peaks” of wellness with Weight Watchers, Whole30, Whole Life Challenge, and Intermittent Fasting. And I’ve had “valleys” in between where I consumed more processed food and sugar than veggies.

With each attempt to clean up my diet, I have grown. I have learned more about my motivations, my body and my triggers. Each time, I discover new healthy foods that I love – brussel sprouts, beets, kale, green drinks, Kombucha, kimchi…and new recipes to add in our rotation. I’ve also learned new skills each time – like focusing on “choosing to eat healthy food that nourishes and supports my body” versus focusing on what I can’t eat, taking a second to pause, breathe and check in on my emotional state and how my body feels before and after eating, brushing my teeth or having some doTERRA Slim & Sassy instead of indulging in cravings, meditating/going for a walk/taking a bath with essential oils to pamper myself instead of eating some chocolate, or waiting out hunger pangs knowing they are cycle and actually will go away even if you don’t eat.

And this week, I received evidence that my overall trajectory is on point, when I learned my lipid panels and AIC look better than when I was in college.

Will I hit more valleys or plateaus in the future? Very likely..but with compassionate awareness, I will spend less time in the valleys and plateaus and use my previous experience and learnings to continue my journey and keep the overall trajectory on point.

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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. 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 (imagination)

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 

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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Natural hangover remedies

Of course, the best thing you can do for your health is to limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol consumed in moderation (for many people this would be less than one serving) can be medicinal in Chinese medicine for moving the blood and qi. However, when we overindulge, we are literally poisoning our bodies.

Avoid overdoing it by planning the number of drinks you’ll consume in advance of going out, drinking a glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage, and making sure you don’t forget to eat. Avoid drinking if you are experiencing any strong emotions – sadness, fear, anger, stress, or anxiety.  Make sure to have a plan for alternate transportation if you do drink more than planned – have Uber or Lyft downloaded to your phone, bring your Ventra card.

If you experience any of these more severe symptoms that can indicate alcohol poisoning according to the Mayo Clinic, call 911: confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow breathing (less than eight breaths/minute), irregular breathing (gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths), blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, difficulty remaining conscious, and/or passing out.

If you do end up starting the New Year with a hangover, here are some natural ways to recover.

  1. Drink a glass of water with Zendocrine blend or lemon essential oil before heading to bed and apply essential oil on the liver. (You may want to apply the essential oil to your liver before starting the evening.)
  2. Rehydrate the next day with a packet of Natural Calm mixed In a Pedialyte and/or make green juice.
  3. Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in the bottom of the shower, and cover the drain. Turn on the shower to produce a peppermint aromatherapy steam.
  4. If you have a splitting headache, rub PastTense or peppermint essential oil on your temples and the back of your head/neck.
  5. If you are feeling queasy, place a few drops of DigestZen, peppermint or ginger oil onto your stomach. You can also steep a slice of fresh ginger in hot water to make a ginger tea.
  6. If you have time to plan ahead, you may want to order some Curing Pills (Kang Ning Wan). Kang Ning Wan contains herbs for an upset stomach combined with herbs for dehydration, fatigue, sore eyes, body aches and a headache.
  7. Do acupressure on acupuncture point GB8 (located in the slight depression just over 1 inch above the apex of the ear).

If you still aren’t feeling well by January 2nd, call Northshore Acupuncture Center at 815.814.1319 to schedule an appointment. You can purchase doTERRA essential oils at www.mydoterra.com/amylandolt or stopping by Northshore Acupuncture Center.

 

 

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Enroll in our “Get Some Shut Eye” webinar

Are you yawning through the day only to hit the pillow and be wide awake? When you finally fall asleep, do you toss and turn, and wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all?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 – but you still can’t sleep.

Reserve your spot for our complimentary “Get Some Shut Eye” webinar at 7pm CDT on Thursday, May 18th. I’ve combined my Chinese medicine knowledge with my experience working with people with sleeping issues to create a program that goes beyond the standard recommendations found in a google search about sleep issues. I will share some tips that will support your sleep.

If you register, you will receive information about how to get into the webinar via email on the 17th.

Can’t wait until May 18th to get a better night’s sleep? Purchase the Shut Eye kit now or schedule an acupuncture appointment online.

 

Sign up to attend the “Get Some Shut Eye” webinar

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5 tips for surviving morning sickness

Essential oils

Apply lemon, grapefruit or a detoxification blend topically over your liver area daily to help manage morning sickness.

Use ginger or a digestive blend proactively – don’t wait until you feel sick. Diffuse them aromatically, take internally in a glass of warm water or apply topically to wrists.

We suggest using doTERRA essential oils. You can order them at retail prices on www.mydoterra.com/amylandolt or call us at 815.814.1319 to find out how to get wholesale pricing.

Ginger tea

Buy some fresh ginger from the grocery store, and steep a thin slice of ginger in hot water for 5 minutes, and then drink the “ginger tea”.

Guided imagery

Try this guided imagery that was shared in an Oprah magazine article.

“Visualize walking barefoot down a long stone staircase. Inhale slowly through the nose for four counts while focusing on how cool the stones feel. Then exhale for eight to ten counts through pursed lips as you imagine taking a step down. Continue until the queasiness has passed.”

Fennel seeds

Try chewing on fennel seeds whenever you are feeling nauseous or crush the seeds and make a fennel tea.

Acupuncture

Morning sickness responds particularly well to acupuncture, and we can show you specific points that you can massage at home to help restore your appetite. Here is a testimonial from one client who responded very well with acupuncture.

If these tips aren’t enough to get rid of your morning sickness, call us at 815.814.1319 to schedule a consultation.

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