"You’re not ready"

"You’re not ready."

This is what my figure competition coach told me just shy of 2 weeks before my competition. I was 26 years old, which feels like a lifetime ago. I began training for the show several months prior. Which included a regimen of lifting weights and doing cardio every day to the point that something I once loved became a chore. I lost my period. I only pooped a couple times per week. I was grumpy and depressed. Worst of all, I ate the same weighed, measured and pre-portioned food every, single day.

This was when my disordered eating really hit hard.

For months, even years to follow I would find myself trapped in this restrict - binge cycle. Always promising to myself I’d do better tomorrow. That, one day I’d look like the girl on the cover of Muscle & Fitness HERS. I was trapped, and completely miserable.

For me, this “sport” was a way to find myself back to the athlete I’d always been. You see, I began playing sports just about as early as I could walk. I began lifting weights when I was 14 years old, and I genuinely fell in love with it! I continued my athletic career through my second year of college and then decided to give it up to “just be a student”.

It was right around this time that I felt like I lost a huge part of who I was, and how I identified myself in this big world.

I’m grateful for being told I wasn’t ready to get on stage. Because to be truthful, no part of my heart or soul felt good about placing my mostly naked, spray tanned body up on stage for random people to critique. I knew even then that this wasn’t for me, but it was the closest thing to competition that I’d found in many years. And it felt like I could identify myself as an athlete again.

A few months later, I started a new job as a corporate dietitian at the Kellogg Company. Growing up in Battle Creek, home of Kellogg; this was the career that I was enamored by, the kind of job that literally gave me goosebumps when I walked into work. I knew I’d always wanted an unconventional career in nutrition. I knew nutrition counseling wasn’t for me. But after experiencing such depressive disordered eating, my soul couldn’t bear telling another woman how to eat for fear that I’d push her in the very same direction that I’d found myself. And I was the expert!

So, I continued on in my career in the corporate world, largely working a business role and even forgetting a lot of the nutrition I once knew. This was a great step in healing my relationship with food.

A few years later we were blessed with our first baby, Iris. It was then that I began to realize how amazingly, beautiful God designs each of our bodies. This was a huge step in my recovery process around my body perception.

After 6 years, I left my corporate job for a part time job that provided greater work/life balance. I began working as the counseling nutritionist at a functional medicine clinic. Functional nutrition is truly a science I find completely and utterly fascinating, one I believe has real legs for healing such a sick nation. But in my experience, I worked with a lot of clients who were stuck in the same rat race of restricting and binging. But instead, these diets were masked as health and healing, rather than thinness. A very sticky differentiation.

I share this story with you because it’s not new, it is not untold. Millions of women struggle with disordered eating, body dissatisfaction and lack of trust in themselves around food. If they enjoy their food, they feel guilty. If they follow their diet, their miserable.

Today, I carry a few extra pounds than I used to. But I have my period. I poop every day and best of all I can enjoy a spontaneous life filled with cookouts, dinner dates and overnight adventures without being preoccupied with food.

Life isn’t meant to be so complicated. If you’re struggling with a life of disordered eating and wish to find food freedom & body positivity. Please get in touch with me and I will gladly connect you with a qualified colleague.

Let’s kick off 2021 the right way, let go of your food fears!

Die Healthy

I heard that term a few years back. At first I thought, well that is stupid! But, the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Isn’t that what we all want to do, healthy, healthy, healthy…….dead. Think about it - you’re active enjoying life one day and the next day you’re gone. No suffering, no burden to others, and no waiting around for the inevitable. The goal should be to live a long life and then die healthy.

Is that even possible? I think it is but you have to start now. To do so you have to be well, not just healthy. Think about what you are currently doing in the following areas, if you are not doing them now, what makes you think you are going to do them when you are older? The areas I think are important to prepare for are:

  • Physical-are you going to be able to move thought space to enjoy the things you like to do?
  • Financial- are you putting money away for the future to enjoy the things you like to do.
  • Social- are you able to make new friends in a variety of situations, do you have someone to do the things you like to do, with?
  • Mental-are you challenging yourself to learn new things, maybe you will find more things you like to do?
  • Emotional- are you developing a support system to help you?
  • Spiritual-So many times we don’t want to include Spirituality in being healthy. Spiritualty can be many things to many people. I my mind it is more than a belief in a supreme being, it is about faith in others and purpose. Do you have faith in others and purpose?

To Die Healthy is a hell of a goal! Most of us will struggle either physically or mentally. I want to remind everyone of the words of the great Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi “We are going to chase perfection and in the process catch excellent!”

Chase perfection……Die Healthy

Nutrition and Hypothyroid

What group of hormones affects your weight, energy, digestion, and mood?

You guessed it: it’s your thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control your metabolism which affects every system in your body. When your thyroid hormone levels are too low things slow down and you feel sluggish.

Your thyroid needs nutrients to function and make its hormones. Improving your diet can help you feel better (along with any medications you might need).

Thyroid problems can cause several seemingly unrelated issues throughout the body. These include changes to your weight, energy, digestion, and mood. These are all linked to the thyroid because it directs important processes that happen throughout the body.

Thyroid hormones help control your metabolism. When the levels are too low, metabolism slows down. Symptoms can include feeling chilly, fatigued, getting constipated, feeling down, and gaining weight. Low levels of thyroid hormone is called hypothyroidism.

There are some important foods and nutrients that can help you feel better. By providing your body with proper nutrition—along with prescribed medications—you can help reduce your symptoms.

Before we dive into my nutrition tips for you, let’s start by understanding the thyroid and why it’s so important for your body and mind.

What does your thyroid do?

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck that secretes thyroid hormones. These hormones control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy). These affect several processes throughout the body, including your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and brain. When thyroid hormones are high, many systems speed up. When hormone levels are low, they slow down.

Thyroid hormones are very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Not only for the health of the mother but also the developing baby. Thyroid hormones help with proper development of babies’ bones, brains, and nervous systems.

Low thyroid (hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s)

Low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) is common. Nearly 1 in 20 Americans aged 12 or older experience underactive thyroid. Overactive thyroids, or hyperthyroidism, is much less common—affecting just 1 in 100 Americans. Thyroid problems occur most often in women, people over 60 years old, and those with a family history of thyroid issues.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune condition. It happens when the body’s immune system—designed to fight off germs and infections—mistakenly attacks and destroys the body’s own cells. People with other autoimmune disorders (celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, etc.) are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease than those who do not have an autoimmune disease.

Other less common causes of hypothyroidism are inflammation, iodine deficiency, other diseases, medications, or it can be present at birth.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

There are many symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some common ones include:

  • Fatigue and weakness (feeling unusually tired, having less energy)
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble tolerating cold (feeling chilly when others around you feel fine)
  • Depression, difficulty concentrating, memory problems
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Puffy face
  • Dry or thinning skin, hair, and nails
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual problems or fertility problems
  • Slow heart rate

These symptoms can vary from person to person, and may have causes other than low thyroid. Hypothyroidism develops gradually over time, so it’s possible not to notice symptoms for months or even years.

Fall Back into Strength Training

Each year at this time I write the pretty much the same blog!!! For the last 40 years or so I have said and done the same thing, strength train during the time change hours. I go back to the gym in October strength train until March, and then enjoy the spring and summer time activities.

This year is not exception I have started my strength training program this week. Each year I start out slow and build thought out the year allowing my muscles to adapt along the way. What I find is that I maintain my strength from year to year, I don’t get bored with my program, and I enjoy all the outdoor activities in the summer.

I feel like over the year I have been able to maintain my overall strength. I follow good lifting principles:(for more about strength training principles visited the “get Fit” page on the PPW website-www.properwell.com)

  • Total body
  • Push/pull
  • Lift to near fatigue
  • Work/rest ratio
  • Progression and adaption

Each year by March I am as strong as I was the year before. This is great thing for someone who is just trying to maintain strength as you age!

So now is the time to get back to the gym and work on developing strength.

The Art and Science Of Food Preservation

WEB salageFood preservation is not a new idea. Our ancestors were forced to be creative in order to survive around the year. They used a variety of methods, from drying food in the sun, to submerging food in salt for salt curing, to buying and burying ice in the summer to create makeshift refrigerators. Humans have worked very hard over the last years to perfect those ways and create new ones to keep food tasty and edible all year round!

While this innovation means that many of the options are now available at the store, preserving your own food can save you money and often be even healthier, since you control what goes in your food. You don’t have to be an expert in order to make your own preserved food either! Thanks to the internet, learning how to preserve food is a Google search away.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation https://nchfp.uga.edu/ is an especially great source for learning preservation techniques. They go over how to can, freeze, dry, pickle, etc. nearly any food you can think of! Need to know how long to blanch a cauliflower? How to make fruit leather? The perfect pickle recipe? They’ve got it all! Check them out today!