Thursday, February 25, 2010
Being a “holistic health counselor” means that I deal with all aspects of my clients’ lives. That means from emotional eating after a hard work week to looking at test results. I’m not a medical practitioner, however. I’m a lifestyle-change-agent.
When people come to me frustrated by their long-term inability to lose weight and keep it off, I dig deeper than the “calories in- calories out” model. Together we looks for signs of hormone imbalance and then lifestyle patterns that are holding that imbalance as the status quo.
Hormone imbalance often looks like this: a woman who is dedicated to her work, yet she also loves to fit in the other elements of what she feels should be in a balanced life: exercise, keeping a garden, volunteering, time with her spouse, time with her children or grandchildren, family gatherings, shopping, meal planning and cooking, care of her pets, vacations. I mean really. Just reading the list is exhausting.
The fact is, most modern American women get regularly adrenally fatigued. That leads to sugar cravings which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin is not just a hormone, it’s THE hormone system upon which the rest of the endocrine system takes its cue.
An over-committed life often leads to use of caffeine and sugar in a way that throws your hormones out of whack. It’s simple as that. You don’t need to be a medical practitioner to see the common sense in that. The problem is, while a doctor can tell you about this connection, our system isn’t set up for your doctor to sort through all the tiny factors that are holding your life in a pattern that supports your use of sugar and caffeine. (What, willpower? You and I both know how well THAT works. Other strategies work much better than willpower for permanent change. )
The factors that hold your life in patterns that encourages hormone imbalance, are not just personal, they are political and social and spiritual. And the only way to free yourself from such patterns is to illuminate them so you can see them and then have the CONSCIOUS choice of participating in them, or not.
Here’s an example; one of my favorite clients has spent years doing well in a job didn’t feel good to her. She was GOOD at it, one of the best in her field in fact, but it sapped her lifeforce. It also required a long commute, so the time she spent in the car to and from her job on the days of her commute became her days to eat the crappiest travel food. We excavated what emotions might compel her to pull into that drive through, how to get aware of the emotional triggers and make room for alternative outcomes. She has made amazing changes!
Now she prepares all her own travel food (whole grain, gluten free and sugar free) and has really settled very confidently into a new lifestyle. Her hormones have stabilized, she was able to go off insulin and she lost 72 pounds, which is GREAT, but it’s not even the best part! The best part is that she created a private practice closer to home that will be more satisfying for her and she is blossoming personally and professionally.
That’s what I’m talking about! I LOVE that! That’s the “holistic” part. Our food tends to act as a mirror for us. What’s not working in our lives shows up in our food. And conversely, when our food is working well for us, our lives open up into new possibilities. You can become the best version of yourself when you eat well! It’s my pleasure to watch this happen over and over.