Heal Yourself

Open your mind to the possibilities

Think about your last visit to the doctor. Did you leave feeling full of energy and vitality, or did you leave with a new diagnosis and prescription? These days, with the obesity rates rising in our nation, it’s likely you were told to lose a few pounds, maybe got a prescription for a statin to help lower your cholesterol, or told you need to eat less and move more.

Our healthcare system is failing us. They’re treating the disease, not the person. Treating the symptoms, but not searching for the root cause. And not really providing any guidance. I mean, come on — how helpful is “eat less and move more”?

The good news is that things are changing. Insurance companies are starting to work on wellness and prevention, rather than just health care as disease care.

Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal, given the chance. But we focus so much on disease, that it puts us at dis-ease.

Healing so many conditions begins with nutrition and mindset. And so many conditions begin with nutrition and mindset. Stress, negativity, and a poor diet can exacerbate any medical condition, and can greatly impede progress toward achieving your optimal health. Stress and anxiety create chemical reactions in the body and result in hormonal imbalance, which can lead to a variety of conditions.

Improving your nutrition and nourishing your body with the nutrients it craves is just the beginning. A diet rich in nutrients fuels your body for healing. Sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation in the body, so crowding out processed foods and adding in fresh fruits and vegetables will make you feel better, and heal better too. You also need to nourish your mind and spirit as well. Reduce stress, increase movement, and find small ways to work joy into your day. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks for all that you have and the things that make you happy is a transformative process. You’ll find everything changes with just that small mental shift. Visualize yourself as a picture of health. Celebrate what you see.

I fully believe in western medicine, but I have learned throughout my journey to wellness, that medicine will only get you so far. It’s how you live your life that really makes in impact on how you feel and your overall health.

Battling Weight Bias When You are Battling Obesity

Adobe Spark (2)

I call myself an obesity ass-kicker because it’s a battle I’ve fought for more than 30 years. And I’m winning! But the process isn’t easy, and along the way I have experienced weight bias by the very people who are supposed to help us achieve health: doctors!

Look at the state of health in our country. According to a recent New York Times article, one in every three people is obese. I can’t even imagine how much money is spent treating obesity-related diseases. That’s what doctors are trained to do. Treat diseases.

Raise your hand if you’ve been told by a doctor you need to exercise more and eat less. I know I have. Countless times. It took me years to get someone to actually look at me as a whole person and try to connect the dots between obesity, thyroid issues, a pituitary tumor, and the inability to lose weight, in spite of the 1200 calorie a day diet. Just treat the symptom and there’s no need to investigate the root cause.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to empower yourself to be your own advocate through the healthcare system. I’ll have a story on that in the future.

The driver for this post is this article shared by the Obesity Action Coalition, Barriers to Obesity Care and How to Create a Support Team. I react when I read that someone isn’t being offered the best medical options because of their weight. As an overweight person with knee pain, I was told it’s arthritis and there’s nothing to be done and I should stop running. Oh, and lose weight. That’s it. No guidance, no alternatives, nothing. I’ve been there.

However, I have also been lucky to have physicians who advocated for me, helped empower me to make decisions that led me to a healthy weight, helped me work with the insurance company to appeal bariatric surgery denial, and get me to a bariatric surgeon who understands the science of obesity and the challenges for someone who has struggled their entire lives and fighting an uphill battle against their metabolism and co-morbidities.

It takes work to build a support team, to research so you know how to ask the right questions, to understand not just “diet” but nutrition and lifestyle changes needed to be successful, and to navigate the complexities of insurance and the healthcare system.  This gives me hope that the rise of holistic health coaching can be a compliment to medical care for people like me who battled obesity. There’s some great suggestions in this article about how to put together a medical team for support, but kicking obesity’s ass requires so much more support. I was fortunate to have a mentor through my weight loss process — another bariatric patient who could answer questions or tell me what to expect, cheer me on, or kick me in the butt when I needed it. That emotional support really completed the picture for me and launched me on this journey to becoming a health coach.