I've always been a traditional medicine type of girl and thought anything else was kind of woo but recently I attended a local women's retreat and one of the speakers was a naturopathic doctor who introduced me to the functional medicine matrix.
I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to explore more. If you're unfamiliar, the matrix is a tool to help clinicians examine the body systems, symptoms, and risk factors associated with their patient’s health conditions.
It takes into account mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health and lifestyle factors. Whereas traditional medicine aims to assess symptoms, seeking to name a diagnosis and prescribe medication, functional medicine is more focused on finding the root cause(s) of a health condition.
When I heard the doctor speak, I was drawn to her. Her mother stood in the back of the room, walking in and out while bouncing the doctor's baby on her hip while the woman up front shared with us her prepared slides and talked about her work.
One of the case studies the doctor shared was about a patient who she had helped balance her hormones and make lifestyle changes, and by doing so, completely removed her dependence on thyroid medication. This study in particular intrigued me because for years, I have been asking doctors if there was anything I could do to not have to take medicine for hypothyroidism.
You see, following the birth of my twins, 16 years ago, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I had been experiencing severe post-partum depression and it was discovered that my thyroid wasn't producing enough of its hormone. Every day since, I have been taking medication to maintain thyroid function.
So, when the doctor was sharing how she helped a woman get off her thyroid meds, she had my full attention. Plus, in recent years I've read all sorts of books like How to Not Die and Eat to Live. I've watched so many documentaries including Forks Over Knives, What the Health, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and am a total believer in the whole food is medicine concept.
A few years back I was vegan for about a year and a half. Now, we go meatless about 3-4 dinners/week. I already believe that what we eat matters not just for our physical health but especially for our mental health. And exercise! It's a proven fact that exercise does wonders for our health and I'm totally on board with moving my body.
If you've followed me for a while you may know that I struggle with my weight. Back in 2016, I finally reached my goal weight of 145 pounds. That was after 5 years of actively working towards it. At that point I was a Zumba instructor leading at least 3 classes each week, training for half-marathons, and doing Beach Body videos. I had been counting calories and religiously recording every bite of food I put into my body.
Looking back, I definitely was engaged in distorted eating and while it was great that I was moving my body every day, the goal of losing weight had become primary to everything else in my life. It had become a second job, next to being a mom. I put in the time and little by little I got the results I wanted. Then in 2016, my dad passed away and in 2017, I went from being a SAHM to working full time outside of the home.
Fast forward to 2023- I am working full time in two businesses, my counseling practice and my coaching practice, raising four kids still at home, and trying to maintain my marriage. Over the past seven years, I gained all of my lost weight and then some but here's the thing- I don't want to give all my time and energy to the goal of losing weight, even though I know that not losing it is negatively affecting me.
Here's a picture for context:
I want losing weight to come as a by-product of making lifestyle changes. Before, losing weight was the goal and I made the changes for that sole purpose but now I want to get the other parts of my life in check and I know that losing weight will just naturally happen.
This past year, I hired a coach to help with managing my weight. She focuses on boundary setting and because I liked her personality- I had interviewed her on the Moms Without Capes Podcast about boundaries, not about weight- I joined her coaching program. It's helping me on mindset, which as we know, mindset matters!
For our book club, we just read Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. In the book, I learned that the key to completing the stress cycle, meaning getting out of the fight, flight, or freeze response and activating the relaxation response is through exercise and moving our body.
I have a strung hunch that if I can reduce and effectively manage the stress in my life, the excess weight I am carrying can be released. When I think back to all the exercise I was doing at the time to lose weight, I realize that I was unknowingly completing the stress cycle. When I was going to bed early to avoid raiding the fridge or thinking about food, I was giving myself the rest I needed.
When I called to set up an appointment with the doctor, I was told that she does not take insurance and I will have to pay out of pocket. Any labs drawn may be covered but if I wanted to go this route, I was going to have to come up with the money. When it comes down to it, I realize that this is my health we are talking about so I decided not only was it worth it, but I am worth it.
It's not the weight that's killing me, it's the stress! I am holding it in my body and it's keeping me in a fight, flight, or freeze mode, releasing cortisol into my blood stream in crazy amounts.
I want to be more active in this blog to share with you about my journey because my tendency is to keep things in- my feelings, my experiences, my thoughts, my story. But obviously, that's not working! So hopefully writing this blog, keeping up with my "confessions" will be a win-win.
My hope and goal with the "Confessions of a Super-Mom" blog series is to hold myself accountable to being more vulnerable but also to inspire you to make yourself more of a priority in your life. Join me in this adventure we call life!