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Category Archives: MENTAL HEALTH

Categories GENERAL HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH

The 28 Day ‘Forget the number campaign’

“I’m working so hard BUT… I’m hardly losing any weight.”

STOP. Did we just take the words out of your mouth? These are the words we hear over and over again. Here’s a little secret. It doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t matter. We are soooo conditioned to measure our progress based on our weight but….. it’s just a number! The problem with focusing on the scales is you quickly become frustrated and disillusioned, then you give up, and then you’re right back at the start looking for a miracle plan once again. In case you hadn’t noticed, we stand for ‘balance’ and long term, sustainable, consistent habit changes. So for February, we’ve got the perfect solution for YOU to ensure you MAINTAIN the healthy changes you have made and start to cement those habits long term… we’re launching a ‘28 day forget the numbers campaign’ and you can follow along with us from home, wherever you are in the world! The ultimate goal of the challenge is for you to reach the end of the month and realize that there are literally hundreds of far bigger reasons to choose a healthier lifestyle than simply the number on the scales. We believe a BIGGER reason will help with long term change. We also know that the numbers on the scale will move slowly if you are embarking on a sustainable health program, and we want you to be ok with this. Forget the 4, 6, or 8 weeks ‘smash yourself’ programs that promise the inches or kgs will fall off. We want sustainable change so you can live a happier life and eventually reach and maintain a healthy weight range. Here’s how you join in on the challenge:

 

  1. Hide your scales. And if you don’t trust yourself just to throw them in a cupboard, get a family member to hide them for you so you literally will not be able to fold and pull them out to weigh yourself at any point in February.
  2. Do NOT weigh yourself at all during the month of February.
  3. Continue on your current healthier lifestyle; the one you promised you would work on in January. If you want more structure or guidance around living a healthier life then check out our online course Back 2 Basics. You could EASILY follow the Back 2 Basics protocol in conjunction with this challenge for February and beyond!
  4. Follow along on social media with us for daily tips and updates and actively ponder what we post. 
  5. Delete any social media accounts that promote unrealistic weight-loss OR that make you feel insufficient in any way. In a similar way, be mindful of who you spend time with over the next month (and beyond). Ensure they are people who lift you up and not pull you down. 
  6. Share this with a friend so you have an accountability buddy (optional).

 

We’d love to hear what you think of our 28 days ‘forget the number challenge’ and especially would love to hear from you at the end! We’ll be here with you so feel free to engage on social media or reach out if you need a consultation. 

 

All the best for a GREAT month sans the scales. 

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 2
Categories HORMONES, MENTAL HEALTH, THYROID, WEIGHT LOSS

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 2

This is a continuation of Alice’s journey on Metabolic Balance®. If you haven’t read part 1 catch up on that first here.

1 week into the program now, it was time for me to touch base with this lovely young lady again today. This second touch point, shortly into the plan is an important one. The first week can be a bit of a harrowing journey for some, especially if they are coming from a high sugar diet. This was not the case for Alice (her diet was fairly good before, just a bit inconsistent… due to life really), but it’s always good to reflect on the first week regardless. It’s also important to look at what symptoms have changed and check on body composition as well – it’s about celebrating the little wins.

Metabolic Balance® kicks off with a 2 day ‘cleanse’ and Alice was kind to herself the first day, mainly resting and doing a bit of computer work at home. The second day was a little bit more brutal with a stubborn headache, a foggy brain and a general feeling of exhaustion. These are typical detoxy type symptoms, which most people experience to some degree.  By dinner time, Alice said she had gotten through it so it did pass quickly.

By Sunday, Alice started on her official food plan. She was a little shocked with her portion of vegetables in particular, thinking that it didn’t look like a lot. However, when married with her protein, she was surprised that it did indeed satisfy her. Monday was back into routine and a full day out of the house, and keeping up with hydration was tough (water intake is individually assigned on Metabolic Balance®). By Tuesday, there was a big turnaround and Alice said she felt a little bit ‘euphoric.’ One of the biggest wins on that day was noting the absence of consistent aches in the fingers and hands – a symptom that had bothered her for some time. This seemed to have disappeared and still today (Friday) had not been noted again at all. This is a good sign that systemic inflammation is beginning to correct itself with the right foods for the individual. Obviously, its not going to happen overnight, but it will slowly dissipate over many months. Symptoms improvement and weight release are signs that this is the case.

Alice had reported consistent bloating in her first consult and this came good pretty quickly into the plan. Usually, chickpeas are a major trigger for this, but even following a chickpea meal, the bloating wasn’t near as severe as usual. Alice thinks a big part of this comes down to meeting her actual hydration requirements. I believe as a practitioner a big reason for digestion improving is  ‘uncomplicated food’ and simple protein choices for the body.

Despite feeling less ‘fluidy’ and less ‘blah’ (we can all relate to those feelings can’t we), Alice said she had no expectations when it came to measuring. She knew things were going to take time and didn’t expect a huge change. A nice surprise when the scales reflected a weight loss of 2.0kg and a scan confirmed a loss of 1.63kg in body fat (the remainder was water weight). Her waist measurement was 2.5cm lower, directly over the belly button. Think about what this might mean to someone who has felt out of control of their body and their health for some time, not knowing what to do or how to help themselves, yet trying to do ‘all of the right things.’

One of the most significant and rewarding changes at this point would be quite a fast turnaround in Alice’s mood. Over the previous month she’d had some time off and she realised she’d stayed at home almost the entire time. Really hadn’t wanted to see anyone and had avoided doing anything…. Just felt blue. She said that she was feeling more like herself already and wished she had the time off all over again – to catch up with some loved ones and do some fun things. It’s so nice that some zest for life is coming back and obviously such an important aspect of health to monitor. Another clinical example of why nutrition is such an important consideration for mental health.

The foods Alice stuck with were really basic this week. Having to juggle this program, alongside a large family and full time study commitments, she didn’t get too adventurous. Creating some new meals and bringing in some other proteins will be the focus for week 2.

A good start to a journey. Everyone’s being unique.

Categories MENTAL HEALTH

WALKING THE LINE

It’s a new year, which means that most people have new goals. Personal, financial, business or health, goal setting is a wonderful way to create intentions and move to the next level. BUT, there’s a catch and it’s something that shows up in clinic time and time again.

It’s the dark side of pushing over the line to get to that next level. Suddenly you’ve lost your balance and you no longer have all your ducks in a row. And I’ve seen some pretty horrendous cases of it in the last 6 months and a couple in this new year alone. Maybe you don’t agree, but I am convinced that our body’s weren’t designed to be ‘on’ all of the time. However, we now live in a world where its almost an expectation. If you truly want to maintain your health then you need to push back on this expectation and learn to find the balance among the chaos.

True burnout is like a big, black hole. Usually, it takes years, maybe even decades to get to that point… and it will therefore take many months, possibly years to truly come out of it.

So, what does this look like? What kind of signs and symptoms might show up if someone’s crossed the line and is starting to get lost in the big, black hole….

Each of us is individual, so it can show up in different ways. This can make it challenging to recognize, particularly for the person going through it. In my experience, anyone who is truly close to burning out really needs permission to feel that way…. I don’t mean this in a nasty way, but someone close to burn out has likely pushed themselves incredibly hard for a long, long time. Typically they are high achievers and have a ‘never give up’ attitude. In some ways it can be a massive relief to hear from a professional that hey, its truly time to put the brakes on and take some time out.

Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate its time to re-evaluate:

  1. Recurring sickness: constantly getting every cold, sore throat or virus that’s going around is a signal that the immune system is completely exhausted and depleted. Sure, you can pump yourself full of medications or vitamins, but ultimately you need to address the underlying cause – not enough down time. This doesn’t mean taking a few days off… it means having a good hard look at your life and putting the pieces back together with genuinely more down time. Long term. NOT just until you recover from your current bout of illness.
  2. Sleep: sleep onset (time to fall asleep) may be greatly compromised as well as the duration of each sleep cycle. Think about this…. if you’ve been demanding your brain and body to be ‘on’ all the time eventually, it’s going to hit back and forget the mechanisms to ‘switch off.’ The biochemical explanation of this is too much cortisol (stress hormone) and a subsequent inability to produce melatonin (sleep hormone).
  3. Constant niggles and injuries: this one applies to athletes…. how often does an athlete (recreational or professional) truly have an off season? Pretty much never. Ongoing issues are indicators of generalized inflammation in the body and a sign to stop. Perhaps consider some more restorative exercise like resistance work, yoga or Pilates to build a base and then return to the sport rested and rejuvenated.
  4. Overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks or simply having a lot less patience with others: you’re at the end. You’re done. Everything is completely overwhelming. It’s ok. Maybe its time to put yourself first? Putting yourself first is actually not selfish – if you’re not in peak condition, how can you take care of those around you that rely on you? The biochemical reason for this can come back to a serious depletion of gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) in the body and brain, as this is our main inhibitory (relaxing) neurotransmitter.
  5. Irregular bowel motions: quite simply, stress plays with your poop. The lining of the gastrointestinal system is covered in nerve endings so the brain can literally talk to the gut. Changes in serotonin (the ‘happiness’ hormone) alters bowel function as it assists with peristalsis of the bowel wall (i.e. helps you poop!). Therefore, long term stress, the kind that eventually leads to burnout may present as IBS like symptoms.
  6. Never ending bloats: got the bloats? Like all the time? Long term stress and burn out may mean the body redirects its resources to ‘necessary’ processes. Digestion isn’t at the very top of the list unlike ‘breathing’ because theoretically you can live for a while even if your digestion isn’t crash hot. So if you are completely out of your mind stressed and run down, food might just be hanging around in that gut of yours and not being properly absorbed so you may feel 6 month’s pregnant by lunchtime each day.
  7. Weight changes: looking after what you eat, but just can’t manage your weight? Long term exposure to high cortisol (stress levels) and not enough sleep will drive triglycerides up (fat) and increase tissue storage around the middle. Although this can depend on your genetics because some people close to burn out may go the other way, losing too much weight to maintain normal hormonal function as a result of an overactive metabolism or complete loss of appetite.
  8. Absolute exhaustion no matter how much you sleep: this is a common presentation in the clinic and a sure sign that you are pretty far down the big, black hole. Not only is it time for a  holiday, its time for a major lifestyle change as well as a patient, ‘take every day as it comes’ kind of attitude because its a long journey back to health.

These are just some of the red flags that may mean burn is around the corner. Never before have we asked so much of our bodies and minds and yet given it so little time to recover… don’t you think? Thankfully, the evolution that is mindfulness serves as a constant reminder to us that we must counteract the stress we place on ourselves by making time to look inwards. Make sure you adopt some of these habits before its too late. If you don’t make time for them now, you will have to make 10 times as much space for the recovery journey you’ll be faced with beyond burn out.

Wanting help to regain energy or something in this article struck a cord with you? Drop me a message or give me a call 07 3343 1602. Always happy to chat and arrange a consultation if I feel I can assist.

Categories MENTAL HEALTH

Nutrition, Mental Health And Functional Pathology Testing

Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be an ‘expert’ in mental health by sharing the below article with you. I do however, have a strong interest in the nutritional biochemistry concerning neurotransmitters and neurochemicals that relate directly with mental health. Nutrition plays a very significant role in the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain and the gut and this needs to be integrated into treatment. This is a perrsonal story and if it benefits 1 person, its worth sharing. Mental health is a topic we can’t talk about enough – we need to keep the conversation alive. Please share this with anyone whom you think may benefit or relate to the discussion below.

For over 2 years now, I haven’t been feeling ‘quite right.’ Without going into too much detail I have been struggling with periods of extreme tiredness (I mean, I could seriously nap under the table by 10am in the morning!), struggling to find my usual motivation, experiencing really anxious tendencies and not always in a positive headspace. The fatigue thing was particularly concerning as it was having quite an impact. I had FULL blood tests done including comprehensive thyroid studies, iron and hormones and had spoken to a couple of GPs but nothing was coming up – all the more frustrating. I was having some success in recent months using nutritional support for neurotransmitter levels – but I was still leaving a lot of it to chance and ‘guessing’ what I needed so I bit the bullet and had a full neurotransmitter analysis done. The results came in yesterday and they’ve definitely provided a way forward. You can see the results below and I have provided a brief interpretation as well.

IMPORTANT POINTS:

-My serotonin levels are HIGH. With my symptoms, you would assume they would be low, however abnormally high serotonin can also induce many symptoms I can relate too: fatigue, anxiety, even susceptibility to cold. Standard treatment would have me on an SSRI however this would only exacerbate my symptoms. In addition, high serotonin can affect the GUT and digestion as the majority of serotonin is in the digestive system. It can lead to diarrhoea and even IBS (one of the reasons SSRIs can affect digestion).

-Dopamine: LOW. The neurotransmitter associated with MOTIVATION and reward and also the precursor to adrenalin.
-Adrenaline: LOW. Truth – I currently have no fight or flight response. I swear a bear could be chasing me in a forest and I wouldn’t react; I can’t remember getting that ‘surge’ for a long time. Further confirmation of this is very low serum cortisol levels that did show up in my bloods.
-Glutamate: LOW. Probably where you want it to be.
-The power of having results that validate how one feels is PRICELESS.

So, what now? Treating the cause and not just the symptoms means looking at rebalancing neurotransmitters and guess what? Nutrition provides the building blocks here. The inclusion of some foods can assist, but concentrated nutritional supplementation is indicated and extremely effective. Now I know exactly what I need and how much.

If your energy levels are extremely low or your mood is just not right, and you want options, ask your psychologist, integrated GP, Nutritionist or Naturopath if integrated Neurotransmitter testing may be right for you. This is science based testing conducted through specialised pathology labs and it enables personalised and tailored treatment for conditions that can be completely debilitating. Personally, I think this type of testing is GOLD considering the prevalence of mental health conditions in the country and the world today. Again, start the conversation and share this with people you think may need it. Always consult a psychologist or General Practitioner if your symptoms are severe and surround yourself with a team of practitioners that can tackle your health from all angles in an integrated manner for best results.