Body Image, Mindset & Weight – 1 girl’s story back to health

This story is for all those women who find themselves overly obsessing about their weight, their fat, their cellulite, etc. It is for those women who have become so worried about what they should or shouldn’t eat, what the right way to eat (or not eat) is and obsess about their exercise. It is for all those women that have lost sight of the beautiful person they truly are and have been so focused on the negative that they have forgotten how to see the positive. Weight, Exercise, Nutrition – we are all focused on those topics. They are important. But, often, we forget that what rules over all these is our image of ourselves. The only thing that truly matters is what we think of ourselves – how we see ourselves. I hope this story helps you to remember to stop obsessing and stop worrying. And start looking at yourself from a new perspective. Face, handle and conquer your underlying issues. Take responsibility for you. Remember – with that extra weight, cellulite or not – you are still the same person on the inside. Losing weight or gaining weight doesn’t change that. So – who are you? And who do you want to be?

The Story

There was a girl, many years ago, and every time she looked in the mirror all she felt was disgust and loathing. All she saw was how fat she was, how hideous her hair was, and she felt worthless, lonely and sad. She focused only on what she felt was “wrong” with her and was incapable of seeing anything good about herself. This girl obsessed about her physical appearance and all the hurt, anger & sadness from other areas of her life were all pushed together and integrated into her mind as “self-worth = how she looked”. It was because of what was in her mind and thoughts (hurt, anger, sadness, depression – stemming from issues ignored and pushed deep down), she slowly put on 20, then 30, then 40 pounds all throughout high school and college, and into her adult years –  until it finally topped out at 80 pounds overweight. All issues went undealt with as they had been covered up and buried in her mind & replaced with thoughts of – “why am I so fat”, “why can’t I just be normal”, “what the hell is wrong with me”. All her feelings of “I am not enough, nor am I worthy of love” were wrapped up in her appearance. If she could just lose some weight, she would be loveable. She was of incapable seeing a different perspective.

At thirty, she was married and had just given birth to her first child. But this child had started to change something inside of her. She had been starting to slowly see that she was somebody and with the birth of her daughter she latched on to the love her of her child. A shift occurred. She desperately wanted to be healthy for her daughter. She began a year and a half long journey and lost the 80 pounds. She started gaining some confidence, started feeling as if maybe she wasn’t as hideous as she had always believed. And, because her physical appearance started to be more in-line with what she felt it should to “be somebody”, she continued to ignore all those deep-seated issues and kept them buried deep down. She still obsessed about her body and her appearance. She now switched her obsession so that she was inspecting every “flaw” each time she looked in the mirror and began to be obsessed with being skinny.  Skinny equaled worthy.

The years rolled past and this girl was now in her mid-thirties. She had three beautiful daughters and a job she greatly enjoyed. However, she was severely depressed & miserable. Her marriage was falling apart and she still felt as if she was not yet “perfect enough” to be good, to be worthy of being loved. After her divorce she became even skinnier – skinnier than she had been her whole life. Not an unhealthy looking skinny (as all around her complimented her on how amazing she looked). It was an unhealthy skinny nevertheless. Her body was undernourished & not healthy on the inside. She still focused on how she looked as a measure of her worthiness. She obsessed about staying skinny, wondering how she could lose even more weight – “How skinny was she capable of getting?”. She still ignored all the issues of the past thirty years and she was still miserable and depressed.

Being skinny DID NOT MATTER. It did not fix everything as she has always believed.

Finally, her day of reckoning came. Her boyfriend of one year had broken up with her. This was a relationship that she had clung to for self-worth. In reality, this relationship pushed her deeper into the recesses of losing who she was – but she was incapable of seeing that.  After the break-up this girl had a break-down. She couldn’t stop crying, she couldn’t go to work, she couldn’t sleep. She barely held it together in front of her kids and the remainder of time she spent in bed, in the dark, in complete misery. Her soul felt broken.

And then, her mom forced her up. Got her an appointment with the doctor and made her go to therapy. And the healing and transformation began. This girl built herself back up from seeing herself as nothing to (after lots of therapy and hard work) someone who looks in the mirror and sees beauty in herself. Someone who has battled her body image issues and who finally has a positive and loving relationship with herself. She was able to finally beat her demons. And because she dealt with her underlying issues, her obsession about being a certain weight and looking a certain way is now gone. All the good and positive things she now sees in the mirror were always there the whole time – she was just so mired down in the negative beliefs she had chosen that she couldn’t see them. She now takes care of her body and doesn’t obsess – she sees the whole person and no longer zeros in on parts. And SHE IS HAPPY.  Flaws and all.  Cellulite and all.  She no longer obsesses about gaining or losing 5 lbs. She accepts herself as is and has learned how to maintain a healthy weight and to fix her body from the inside out.

I hope this girl’s story – my story – helps you to remember that the beauty of who you are is always there – waiting to shine through. Please remember to take a step back, a step out of the tunnel vision of seeing that “extra 10 pounds” or the cellulite or whatever it is you are obsessing about currently and really see YOU. You are a whole person and, while nutrition and exercise are important components of a happy and healthy life, they are not the only components.

As always – Be Who YOU are – Because you are AMAZING  

#mindsetmonday – power of meditation

I was reminded this morning how powerful taking even just 10 minutes to meditate can be. I woke up at 5am, tired and grumpy having not slept well. I went downstairs, got my water and chose a guided meditation.

As i turned inward, focused my breath, and concentrated on my meditation (having a peaceful and productive day) something subtle changed.

I emerged with a fresh attitude. I was now looking forward to beginning my day, no longer grumpy. Still tired, but no longer negative.

The scientific studies on the benefits of meditation are pouring out of the medical community. But I think the proof is in the doing. I know it has profoundly changed me for the better.

If you don’t already – give it a try for a couple weeks. You’ll be surprised at the impact.

Have an awesome Monday – be grateful you get to have another one!!

Nutrients 101 – an understandable overview (Part 2)

Nutrients 101

Hello all!!  Today’s training is all about Nutrients – specifically Micro-Nutrients: what they are, why they are important and where to find them. You can look to my previous article on Macro-nutrients for more on that topic.

First off, I want to remind you of the key foundational truth that many people don’t often think about when thinking about their health.

A human’s health is only as good as the health of their cells.  I’ll say it again YOUR HEALTH IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE HEALTH OF YOUR CELLS (yes, that’s yelling).

When your cells are happy you will age well, you will look great and you will feel happy and healthy. If your cells become sickly or aren’t working properly because they aren’t getting what they need, you experience pain, sickness and disease.  It’s that simple.

So, what do your cells need and how can we provide that? 2 of the biggest components that help our cells maintain their happiness are macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.

Macro – fats, carbs, proteins & H20 (see my previous article for more information)

Micro – Vitamins and minerals

Today’s spotlight is on the Micro-Nutrients – micro because our bodies need these in smaller quantities. Small but nevertheless vital – like my niece and nephew – tiny but mighty with great power over you.

First up – Vitamins – there are 13 known types of vitamins and they are either fat or water soluble. These play a role in hundreds of bodily functions.

Vitamins are organic substances (meaning they contain carbon) and are found in animal and plant foods. They help convert the macronutrients into forms easier for the body to use; they act as co-enzymes (helpers) in the hundreds of functions & chemical reactions that take place within the body; they are helpful in digestion and elimination; they help to strengthen the immune system, and are essential for overall vitality and health.  There are 2 groups: fat soluble and water soluble.

Water soluble: Found mostly in plant-based foods and some animal-based foods. The most important thing to note here is that water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body so they are needed every single day! They are also quite sensitive and lose their potency when exposed to air, light or just the passage of time. The heavy hitters here are Vitamins B, C & P.

Fat soluble: found mainly in lipids (fats) both animal and plant based. These are easily stored in the body’s tissues.  The most widely-known here would be Vitamins A, D, E & K.

For more details on each Vitamin, please refer to the Vitamin handout I’ve uploaded to my site.

Next up – Minerals. In opposition to vitamins, minerals are inorganic substances and are made of 1 or more elements (or substances that can’t be broken down any further). These are necessary for hormone synthesis and other functions but are not produced in the body. 

There are 3 Groups or categories of minerals: Macrominerals, Microminerals & Toxic minerals.

Macrominerals are, as the term macro suggests, present in large amounts in the body or are required in larger amounts in the diet. There are 7 of these guys – calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfer, potassium, sodium and chloride. Without going into too much geeky science stuff, these guys help in all sorts of bodily processes.  Anything from helping to regulate your heartbeat, or the transmission of nerve impulses, to helping in the various detoxification processes, supporting healthy bones and teeth, maintaining proper muscle and nerve function, helping to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure – the list goes on.  Though small in necessary quantity, they are huge in our overall health.

Microminerals are trace minerals – meaning they are needed only in small amounts – these would be Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc and Silicon. These little guys enhance and support many of the processes mentioned above as well as aid in insulin and metabolism function, helps in red blood cell formation, have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, support thyroid function and assist in energy production – to name a few.

Toxic minerals are what the name suggests and include heavy metals. Toxic minerals such as boron, fluoride, germanium, lithium, nickel and vanadium are actually helpful in many processes in very small amounts, but can cause issues if the body contains high levels. However, heavy metals are almost always toxic, especially with high exposure – these include aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. It is essential for your overall health to focus on proper detoxification with a reputable or licensed provider when experiencing high-levels of these. For more detail please refer to the handout on Minerals I have on my site.

We’ve just briefly touched on what Micro-Nutrients are and how they function in the body. I love this stuff but, even though you may not geek out on the science aspect as much as I do, it is important to at least have an understanding of what these are and why they are important to your health. A basic knowledge of this is important if you’re serious about taking control of your health! I hope this was helpful and if you want to know more, please, I encourage you to do your own research!  I’m always happy to answer questions or dig deeper if you’re interested in learning how paying attention to the ratios, quality and quantities of nutrients that you are putting into your body will affect your overall health.

Until next time – Be Who YOU are – because it’s pretty amazing!

Nutrients 101 – an understandable overview (Part 1)

Hello all!!  Today’s training is all about Nutrients – what they are, why they are important and where to find them.

First off, I want to lay down a key underlying foundational truth that many people don’t often think about when thinking about their health.

A human’s health is only as good as the health of their cells.  I’ll say it again YOUR HEALTH IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE HEALTH OF YOUR CELLS (yes imagine me yelling).

If you keep your cells happy, you’ll feel great – happy and healthy. If your cells become sickly or break because they aren’t getting what they need, you experience pain, sickness and disease.  It’s as simple as that.

So, what do your cells need and how can we provide that? 2 of the biggest components that help our cells maintain their happiness are macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients.

Macros – fats, carbs, proteins & H20

Micro – Vitamins and minerals

Macros – these will be the focus of today’s training. Micro will follow…

Knowing the job of each macronutrient as well as which ratios help you function optimally, may unlock the door to weight loss, better energy, better sleep and hormone balance & repair.

Central to our cellular health are macronutrients (macros). All foods are made up of macros and contain calories. They are called macro – think big – because your body needs them in large amounts. Macros nourish cells, build & repair tissue, facilitate body processes, provide energy and affect genetic expression. There are four types of macros: carbohydrates, protein, fat and water.

Carbs – Our bodies primary source of energy (notwithstanding ketones which is a whole separate discussion).  These are fibers, starches & sugars. And there are 2 types: simple and complex. 

  • Simple carbs are easily and quickly broken down by your body and used for energy; Simple carbs are things like fruit juice, milk & milk products (lactose), sugar (glucose), cookies, cakes, pasta, chips, honey, sodas & are contained in almost all processed foods.
  • Complex carbs take longer to break down and thus provide longer, more sustainable energy. Complex carbs are found in vegetables, whole grains, oats, brown rice, quinoa, fruits and some beans. Wherever possible, simple carbs should be replaced with complex carbs in your diet. Complex carbs help your body absorb certain minerals, facilitate digestive health, help form fatty acids (important in bodily functions) and support your immune system. Soluble fiber slows down digestion and stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. It also helps to decrease blood cholesterol & blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber helps to keep you regular (woo hoo for that)!

Please remember that carbs themselves are not the enemy! We need them for A LOT of bodily functions, it is the OVER-CONSUMPTION of carbs that is the issue. Excess consumption of carbs leads to high levels of insulin, which contributes to joint pain and swelling, causes us to hold on to abdominal fat & crave sweets, increases blood pressure, and makes us feel fatigued. When insulin is not regulated it’s nearly impossible to lose weight, even if you are following a healthy diet and exercising. The irregular hormone levels caused by excess insulin will make your body hold on to the fat making it impossible to lose it. Additionally, high blood sugar (high insulin) aggravates your system. Your body knows this excess sugar doesn’t belong and works overtime to fight it by creating inflammation. That inflammation makes the body ache, your joints swell, and causes your hands, feet, and eyes to look puffy.

Fats – Fats are AMAZING!! They are fabulous & necessary for our health. They are NOT our enemy. Fats help the body absorb nutrients, form the structure of our cell membranes and our brains run almost exclusively on fats. They are the building blocks of our hormones. They help lubricate our joints; act as a backup energy source after your body depletes its glycogen levels (keto will be a whole other topic for another day); help you to maintain a level core body temperature and protects your organs.  

Fat DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT!!  It’s actually sugar in excess that helps you pack on the pounds. Fats also help to slow down the digestive process (we feel fuller longer), which is also why low-fat diets leave you hungry and craving more carbs. Having fat in almost every meal is important to regulate your hunger and your blood sugar levels.

There are 2 types: saturated & unsaturated and both play different roles in your body. Both are important! There are 3 types of saturated fats & despite what you may have heard about saturated fats – they are not all the same. There are some forms of saturated fat (think medium-chain fatty acids) that are easily digested and are converted right to energy easily in your liver. Some can even pass through the blood/brain barrier where your brain can convert the fat to energy immediately (my favorite – MCT Oil). It’s the trans-fats we need to watch out for. These man-made fats are the true bad guys roaming around inside us causing havoc.

Proteins – Proteins are the building blocks of life. They:

  • help form cellular organelles and enzymes that spark metabolism;
  • play a structural role in joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles;
  • help to synthesize (or process) hormones that regulate body chemistry;
  • are a standby source of energy in the absence of carbs & fat;
  • helps us to feel satisfied longer and have less of a spike in blood sugar;
  • help in the formation of antibodies to fight infection;
  • build & repair tissue;
  • carry oxygen to tissues;
  • regulate water in your cells;
  • help sustain normal electrolyte balance; and
  • help to normalize your bodies acid vs alkaline levels.

There are 23 amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) with 10 being essential – meaning your body can’t make them and we need to get them from outside sources such as the foods we eat or the supplements we take. Additionally, there are 9 different types of proteins, each with its own special set of functions.

Protein comes from lots of different sources, both animal-based & plant-based: animal meat, dairy, quinoa, chia, flaxseeds, lentils, nuts, nut butters, chickpeas, broccoli, beans, seeds and some fruits and other veggies.

One issue with animal-based protein is quality. We ingest what the animals we are eating did. It builds up in our systems and makes us sick. Many industrial-sized farms use low-quality feed, antibiotics and hormones to bulk up the animals. The result is low-quality, nutrient-poor, sickly meat. Another problem with protein today (similar to carbs) is over-consumption. Many people get far too much and the excess is actually converted to sugar, which converts to fat.

Water – yes, water is actually classified as a macro. It helps with the absorption of some nutrients, helps in the detoxification processes and the cells utilize it for many functions. Your body, organs, systems and cells are mainly made up of water – so it is kind of important!

Well – that was A LOT of information! We just briefly touched on what Macro-Nutrients are and how they function in the body. Fascinating stuff – well, at least I think so. But, even though you may not geek out on the science aspect as much as I do it is important to at least have an understanding of what these are and why they are important to your health. If you are going to take your health under your own control, a basic knowledge of this is important! I hope this was helpful and if you want to know more, please, I encourage you to do your own research!  I’m always happy to answer questions or dig deeper if you’re interested in learning how paying attention to the ratios, quality and quantities of nutrients that you are putting into your body will affect your overall health.

Until next time – Be Who YOU are – because it’s pretty amazing!