Health

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.

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. continue reading »

Summer Solstice

During the summer solstice your yang energy reaches its peak. It is important to harness the peak of this yang energy, because as summer shifts into fall yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.

According to five element theory, during the summer the organ that receives extra energy is the heart. When the seasons change so do the organs we should focus on in the body. You should focus on the heart during summer. Feed the heart heart-nourishing foods and make sure to remain active so the heart receives positive energy. continue reading »

Fighting Flu Season with Acupuncture

While the flu is actually not a season, we have become programmed to think of it as the months of November through March. On average, the flu hospitalizes thousands every year, especially the young and elderly. There are also a number of deaths related to the flu, mostly due to people already having compromised immune systems.

The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a number of viruses. To date, there are approximately 26 to 30 different known strains of the flu virus. This is one of the reasons the flu vaccine has only mild efficacy. The flu vaccine itself, typically only covers five to seven strains of the flu.  Symptoms of the flu include fever, coughing, a sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, pains, runny nose and watery eyes. continue reading »

Nutrition for Heart Health OM Nutrition & Hypertension

blog-img-nutrition-for-heart-health-om-nutritionOriental medicine (OM) nutrition combines ancient wisdom with modern science. OM nutrition is a holistic approach, which aims to balance all five flavors within most meals with one or two flavors being emphasized for therapeutic purposes. OM nutrition for a hypertension emphasizes bitter flavors, sour flavors and energetically-cooling foods.

OM theory states the bitter flavor benefits the heart in moderation but an excess is harmful as it has a drying effect; for example, coffee is bitter. In moderation coffee acts as vasodilator increasing circulation but in excess it can raise blood pressure and has a diuretic effect. Modern scientific research has discovered while the human genome has 25 bitter taste receptors 12 of these are expressed in the human heart. continue reading »

7 Ways to Communicate Healthy Habits to Your Kids

blogimg_healthyKids_watermelon

As the school year kicks back into gear so should the healthy habits that you and your children have before practiced. Notice how I said “practiced,” because we all know during the summer-vacation months we tend to indulge a little. Maybe you have had one too many backyard barbecues, or three too many trips to the favorite ice cream shop down the street. Whatever your summer vice may be don’t worry about it, you can regain those healthy habits from before and introduce them into your children’s lives! continue reading »

6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

Blog-img - 6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar_640A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 10 truths about the ugly side of sweets. continue reading »

5 Practical Stressbusting Tips

Stress is a normal part of our everyday life. Stress starts impacting our health when we are unable to manage it effectively. Here are five practical tips of actions you can take to manage your stress. continue reading »

Connecting to the Community: Kevin

kevin jaOne key part of your health is your connection to your community. And one way to connect with your community is to get involved and give back. Each Saturday, we feature different ways members of the Northshore Acupuncture Center commuity are rolling up their sleeves and giving back.

One of the many ways that Kevin is involved with his community is serving on the board for the Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse. continue reading »

How to make a natural sunscreen at home

Blog-img - How to make a natural sunscreen at home_640Although sun protection is extremely important to protect against harmful UV-rays and to prevent skin cancer, next time you pick out your sunscreen, consider what you’re buying. Many common sunscreens actually contain chemicals that can be harmful to your body.

Chemicals to avoid in common sunscreens:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Retinol palmitate
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Octinoxate
  • Padimate O/PABA
  • Nano or Micronized mineral particles

There are several and easy ways to make effective and natural homemade sunscreen. continue reading »