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Finding the right diagnosis

Are you always complaining about something bothering you?  Some might say you’re a hypochondriac, but there might be some truth to your complaints.

“According to a survey by the Autoimmune Diseases Association, over 45 percent of patients with autoimmune diseases have been labeled chronic complainers in the earliest stages of their illness. In addition, another AARDA survey found that it takes most autoimmune patients up to 4.6 years and nearly 5 doctors before receiving a proper autoimmune disease diagnosis.

Despite these statistics, autoimmune diseases remain among the most poorly understood and poorly recognized of any category of illness. Individual diseases range from the benign to the severe. To help women live longer and healthier lives, a better understanding of these diseases is needed, as well as better, more effective methods of diagnosis and treatment.”

I am fascinated by how many people go to multiple doctors, searching for a proper diagnosis.  I so relate, because to me vertigo is SO untouched.  It baffles doctors and patients and friends and family close to someone who suffers on the inside.  Anyone with a chronic illness that is internal will agree that it sucks.  Plain sucks to suffer in silence.  I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, “but you don’t look sick.”

Do not give up.  If you have to assemble a team of healers to find the right diagnosis, forge ahead!  At one point in my life, I had an Acupuncturist, Food allergist, Digestive Specialist, Endocrinologist, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Therapist, Neurologist, Oncologist and an OB-GYN collaborating and the result was still inconclusive.  Doctors told me, “it’s nutrition, dehydration, low blood sugar, crystals in the ear, central nervous system, hormones, food allergies, anxiety and depression.”

There were moments that I’d look in the mirror and say, “I don’t want to go on anymore if I have this for the rest of my life.”  Then I’ll have a good cry, talk about it or write it down and keep on keepin’ on.

Finding the right diagnosis takes an average of 5 years!  SO if you’ve reached that point or traveled past it, keep going.  Keep searching.  Never give up.  Join support groups, educate yourself, talk to others, stay interested, don’t pull back and when you’re just about to give up, keep going.

Shape Magazine asked a Celebrity Trainer & I answered

Shape Magazine asked trainer Jen from the Biggest Loser these questions and as I read her answers, I thought, “I want to answer those questions!”  So I copied the q’s and here are my answers!

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If you could convince us to make one shift in our diets for the New Year, you’d say…

Drink more water.  I see people eat a meal.  Then I see people snack immediately after, saying they are still hungry.  I don’t think so.  Have a glass of water and see how you feel.  The goal is to drink 8 glasses, but if you are sweating every day, I’d suggest drinking a gallon of water per day.  Everything gets better with water.  When you drink more water, fatigue decreases, digestion improves and skin begins to glow.  What more could you ask for?

The smartest way we can kick-start our workout plan in the New Year is to…

Start small.  When you go from eating crappy and not working out to extreme diet & exercise, you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment.  Instead, aim for a 10-minute walk a few days a week and increase from there.  You will know when you are ready for more.

The biggest mistake we make in our workouts is… 

Speed over form.  That’s great if you can do 100 squats in 60 seconds, but are you driving your body weight thru your heels and squeezing your butt as you stand up?  Probs not.  Form is SO much more important, especially if you have injuries.  I go a little slower, because of a really stiff, pin ridden ankle and foot.  One wrong step and it’s like sending waves of pain up my spine.  I am able to do different exercises at a slower pace and it has saved me from injuring myself any further.  Train smart, not fast.

When you’re so not feeling up for exercise, your trick is… 

Putting on workout clothes and playing hardcore gangsta rap.  If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I’ll do an at home workout, starting with stretches to get myself jazzed up.  I’ll continue with planks, squats, lunges, leg lifts, pushups, crunches of all sorts, etc.  Even if I squeeze in 15 minutes, I’ll feel better.

Your best strategy for staying motivated is… 

Slow and steady wins the race.  I entered a 30 day Yoga Challenge a few years ago and it made me dread going.  It sucked all the fun out of something I found truly joyful.  I like to switch it up with yoga, booty barre, heavy weights, racquetball, walks and riding the bike.

The one workout move you dislike the most is…

Yoga poses on my belly.  I can’t stand them.  My hips are bony and they always dig into the ground and give me bruises whenever I do belly poses.  I also don’t like any poses where I get lightheaded.  I suffer from chronic vertigo, so getting lightheaded is a recipe for disaster in a hot yoga room.

The key to bouncing back after overeating is to… 

Not eat as much the next day and move more.  I overeat when I’m about to get my period.  Not by much, but I know that I’ll do better tomorrow.  When you binge and restrict is when you get into trouble.  Just do a little better the next day or meal and you are all good!

The best thing we can do for ourselves is… 

Move.  Knock fear on its butt.  Try something that you’ve never done.  Speak to strangers.  Travel.  Love more.  Move on.  Look forward.  Read.  Stay interested.  Welcome change.  Write.  Do yoga.  Those are my favorite best things.

The worst thing we can do for ourselves is…

Let fear make the next move for our future, like not doing anything.  Being scared of change.  It’s inevitable, things change, people change, relationships change, careers change, seasons change.  Staying in something, whether it’s a job, relationship, living situation or friendship where you are no longer happy is like a death sentence.  Detach, move away, and step forward.  The time is now!

Your biggest health regret is…

Struggling with food for so long.  From the age of 16 to 26 I had some pretty serious eating issues that I never got help for until 10 years had passed and the damage was done.  As a woman, it’s this mentality of, “I can get thru anything on my own and don’t need help from anybody.”  When that’s not true at all and no way to live life.  It’s lonely, scary and unhealthy.  I wish I would’ve asked for help sooner.

Do you train yourself or go to trainers? 

Both.  I make up my own routines in the gym and I LOVE going to classes.  I can work out on my own if I have good music and it’s not too crowded.  I read a lot and research a ton.  If you are interested in anything related to health and wellness, it’s not too difficult to find workouts you love.

The one celebrity you secretly wish to train is…

Melissa McCarthy.  She’d be hilarious and we’d have fun.  If you don’t laugh at least once during a workout, it’s not fun.  I like fun.  

If you had time for only one move, you’d make it…

Squats.  Fo’ sure. I love them.  I feel so strong when I do them.  I’m going to add another one.  Plank/forearm plank.  If you hold it long enough you can feel your lower belly start to engage and it’s tough to get that muscle group.  So ya, plank, squats or forearm plank or all 3, the trifecta of sexy.

 

Your turn!

If you could convince us to make one shift in our diets for the New Year, you’d say…

The smartest way we can kick-start our workout plan in the New Year is to…

The biggest mistake we make in our workouts is… 

When you’re so not feeling up for exercise, your trick is… 

Your best strategy for staying motivated is… 

The one workout move you dislike the most is…

The key to bouncing back after overeating is to… 

The best thing we can do for ourselves is… 

The worst thing we can do for ourselves is…

Your biggest health regret is…

Do you train yourself or go to trainers? 

The one celebrity you secretly wish to train is…

If you had time for only one move, you’d make it…

The Truth: We Are Addicted to Sugar

I know this truth down to the core of my former sugar-addicted self.  I was a candy freak.  I consumed thinking of the fat being free.  No fat = no weight gain.  But why was I gaining weight and not able to sleep at night?

My favorite movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  My grandfather was a candy salesman, but had to quit when my grandmother devoured all of his samples.  This sugar addiction was taught from generation to generation.  I remember picking out my favorite candy for special occasions, birthdays, the movies and than it became a daily consumption.

Sour Patch Kids, Sour Gummi’s, ShockTarts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Blow Pops, candy necklaces, Nerds, cookies, ice cream, you name it.  If sugar was an ingredient, it was in my possession.  And don’t even get me started on Mug or Dad’s Root Beer.  A dear girlfriend of mine loved the R.B. as much as I did and we called ourselves, “the Root Beer Buds.”

In 2009 I went to Thailand to teach English.  I was exhausted, overheated and couldn’t stop myself from reaching for sugary foods and treats.  I kept trying to pump myself up, but even the most delicious scoop of ice cream couldn’t tame the sugar beast.

 I came home after 8 months of traveling and have never been sicker.  I also gained 20 pounds while food tasting at every opportunity and from the anxiety of coming back to the USA after traveling for so long.  I was terrified to come home, so I kept on eating.  Banana pancakes called my name from every street cart, so did anything fried, which I don’t even like, I was just nervous eating.  I didn’t know how else to deal with those emotions.  So I ate.  And ate.  And ate.

After logging in a food journal, I began to realize how much sugar I was consuming and how shitty it made me feel.  Even the Luna + Clif Bars I snacked on contained SO MUCH SUGAR!  The skinny peppermint mochas weren’t doing me any favors either.  The soy chai’s were murdering my adrenals and the cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. made me bloat.  I thought I was just full and that a pregnant belly was normal after eating cinnamon roll  bread.

Poor little belly.  There were some issues in my personal life, a roller coaster relationship, no clear life direction and an emptiness in my heart that I kept trying to fill with sugar.  Once I realized the connection between my emotions and cravings for sugar, I was able to stop.

I’ve been free from sugar for a few years now and continue to create/bake concoctions that are diabetic friendly.  I made black bean brownies last year and people loved them until I mentioned they contained black beans.  Or the time I made cookies using coconut flour.  If you’ve ever baked with coconut flour, you know how hard it can be to swallow those cookies (no pun intended).  I felt like I was choking.  It’s safe to say, my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie with no sugar or nut flour remains unsuccessful.  But so many other great quests have been conquered.

Get help with your sugar addiction + don’t let yourself stay locked in your kitchen so you can eat cookies in private, like I did.