Why a Salivary Cortisol Test can help you feel better

It seems as though everyone is stressed these days and chronic health conditions are on the rise. Most conventional therapies do not aim to address the fundamental root cause of illness, which in most cases, is stress. In my practice, I help people understand the impact of stress on their body and get them to see it with the use of different testing. I feel that once people see the effects of stress manifesting in their bodies, they are more motivated to change.

Let us have a look at the body‘s stress response. It starts in the adrenal gland. We have two glands that sit on top of the kidneys. These amazing glands are made up of an adrenal medulla and adrenal cortex. The adrenal medulla releases catecholamines such as adrenaline and noradrenaline which help us with our fight or flight response.

The adrenal cortex secretes a lot more hormones. It releases glucocorticoids and cortisol which acts as an anti-inflammatory and also creates sugar for quick energy in the danger of “running from a bear”. It is also responsible for releasing androgens such as testosterone and DHEA. In addition, it releases mineralcorticoids and aldosterone which increases blood pressure and maintains a healthy sodium/potassium ratio in the blood.

Let me now explain the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) as developed by Hans Selye. The GAS has proven useful for many years by providing a model of how stress induced illness arises and by giving clinicians like myself insight into how to manage stress related conditions in the patient. According to Hans Selye, there are three stages of the stress response.

Stage one, alarm phase, which is acute stress.
Stage two, resistance phase, which deals with chronic stress.
Stage three, exhaustion phase, which is synonymous with burn out.

Please remember that stress does not only include psychological stress, but any insult to the body that may put extra pressure on the adrenal glands to function. This may include chronic infections, allergies, chemical toxins, stimulants like nicotine and caffeine, poor nutrition, physical trauma, poor sleep habits, steroid use and pharmaceutical drugs.

Alarm phase
The alarm phase occurs when a stress is first encountered and an alarm sounds in the body. This alarm is sometimes called the “fight or flight” response. It is associated with an increase in sympathetic nervous system response. Hormonally, we see an increase in the release of cortisol and also epinephrine. This phase is meant to last 24-48 hours and is accompanied by a rest period after the initial stressor. Continued stress, as in PTSD and anxiety disorders, can lead to weight loss, ulcers and autoimmune disorders. This highlights the importance of the rest period.

Resistance phase

Due to the challenge of modern life for many people, perceived stressors are not short term but chronic. In the second phase of the GAS, the organism is still reacting to a perceived stressor or stress. Although the person may appear to be functioning normally, this is not the case because immunity and inflammatory responses are lowered thus increasing ones susceptibility to infection‘s, neoplasia, arthritis, allergies and autoimmune conditions. In addition, chronically elevated adrenal hormone levels may lead to depression, hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, insulin resistance, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other general diseases.

Exhaustion phase

Chronic stress can eventually lead to an exhaustion phase characterized by deficient glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid production. Adrenal exhaustion is associated with decreased resistance to stress, premature aging, and even death. Conditions that are common in people in this phase include allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia, multiple chemical sensitivity‘s, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility, hypotension, insomnia, hypothyroid, lack of motivation and anxiety disorders.

Lab testing can be very helpful in diagnosing adrenal insufficiency and in what stage. In my practice, I use salivary cortisol measurement. Salivary cortisol is likely the best single test. Saliva hormones indicate the amount of hormone inside cells and the testing is simple, noninvasive and easy to do. The best way to use a saliva test is to measure cortisol levels at least four times per day- waking, noon, afternoon and evening, which increases the chances of detecting a failure of adrenal reserve. DHEA and Testosterone levels can also be measured with saliva testing and if lowered are considered to be indicators of adrenal exhaustion or if high maybe indicate adrenal resistance phase.

Once the levels are examined and a report is created, I am then able to sit down with my patient and explore in which phase of the GAS they are living in. This insight would give us a great platform to begin treatment.

Treatment may include any of the following:

Exploring emotional and physical stressors. Beginning a mindfulness based practice such as meditation, prayer, yoga, acupuncture and/or Reiki. Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwaghanda, licorice, American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Astragalus and Rhodiola.

Nutrition deficiencies can also lead to adrenal insufficiency. Some of the most important minerals for the adrenal gland are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium and omega 3 fatty acid‘s.

A healthy diet should focus on consumption of a whole foods, natural, preferably organic diet. Meals should combine fats, protein and complex carbs. Non-starchy vegetables should be eaten in 6-8 servings per day. Eating smaller meals more frequently while being aware of the glycemic index in food is necessary. Beverages conducive to adrenal recovery include good quality water, herbal teas, green tea, fresh organic veggies and alternatives to dairy such as nut milks, rice milk’s etc. All stimulants should be avoided including caffeine, ephedra and nicotine. Soft drinks should be avoided due to the high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners or caffeine.

If you are interested in having this test done, reach out. I am happy to help you heal your body and decrease stress so you can live a more youthful life!

Dr. Jennifer Cisternino  Naturopath, Reiki Master
416-301-3477

Are you giving your JOY away?

One of the reasons people are not happy is because they keep giving away their joy.

What does this mean? Example: You are waiting for a parking spot and as soon as the car pulls out, a car comes in from around the corner and takes the spot you were waiting for.  You start yelling and cursing and even get out of your car to scold them and find out why they would do that. Your heart starts to beat faster and your face gets red and your whole body gets tense. Do you think you are feeling joy?  This is an example of someone giving away their joy. The alternative would be this…I will give you my parking spot but I will not give away my joy. You calmly find another spot. Which sounds more like your reaction?

In life, you can’t control what people say or do. You can try but it never works out to be the case. You can only control how you respond.  Whether you find yourself in the same car situations or with someone in the office or family you may be giving away your joy. You need to understand that the person in your office may not change. If you see yourself working there for long, it is in your best health to change your reaction. This is where your power is.

Having your joy dependent on the approval of others is another block to feeling joy.  Unfortunately people will talk and not always talk positively about others. The reality is, the people that are going places are talked about more commonly- not the ones who hide in the background.

I had to deal with this as I became more public and had more eyes looking at me. I didn’t always have people saying positive things about me. It hurt me because I just wanted to be liked by everyone. As I was watching T.V  one Sunday, Joel Olsteen started talking about this topic and here is what he said. I felt like he was talking directly to me:

They can see you are going places. What they say cannot keep you from your destiny. Don’t let them distract you.  Some people can’t handle your success. They will make remarks to put you down- to distract you, but don’t allow it, don’t get involved in battles. Most conflict is a distraction.  Not everyone is supposed to like you. It is said in many religious stories that some people are ordained by God to not be for you- not everyone will accept you. They may be integral to your growth in this life, taking you to the next level of your destiny. Your job is not to make sure everyone likes you, your job is to do what God put you here to do.

Amen to that!

I hope to have inspired you to protect your JOY and your individual journey.

Wishing you love and support!

Dr. Jen

Are you Happy? Try these 7 activities….

Over my years of practicing and helping people, I have come to realize that at the root of every call for help is a deep desire to be happy. You do not need to be diagnosed with “depression” to want to feel happier.

The reality is, most people don’t know how to be happy. Some define happiness as having more money… a nicer car… a new relationship…more children…..a career change etc.  Although these may contribute to happiness, they may not be the true solution. Unfortunately, as a culture, we have been taught from a young age a model for happiness that is completely backwards.

It  looks like this…

GREAT WORK —————– BIG SUCCESS——————–HAPPINESS!

You see, we have been programmed to believe that we have to “achieve” something in order to be happy. Most research today is actually proving that those who end up “achieving” are actually not that happy. Why? Because once one goal is achieved, another goal is set and until that goal is realized, happiness is put on hold. It becomes a never-ending search for happiness. Why not reverse the model? BE HAPPY FIRST! Watch your success soar!

So what can you do to be happy today? Adopted from the book, The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha, there are 7 proven activities that make all people happier. It is an instant happiness that requires “no achieving.”  I would like to share them with you so you can get on the happiness train!

Three Walks
Thank goodness the weather is warming up! Research shows that going outside for a walk for 30 minutes 3 times weekly improves happiness. Movement releases endorphins that make you feel good. Be sure to leave your cell phone at home.

The 20 Minute Replay
Writing for twenty minutes about a positive experience dramatically improves happiness. This is because you are actually reliving the experience and remembering what you like about people and the world.

Random Acts of Kindness
Carrying out 5 random acts of kindness a week dramatically improves your happiness. Buy a stranger coffee. Write a kind letter to a friend or bake cookies for your neighbor.

A Complete Unplug
The richest, happiest and most productive people are able to disengage periodically and seek renewal. Unplug your phone after dinner. Leave your phone at home on vacation.

Hit Flow
This is when you are completely absorbed with what you are doing. It means you are being challenged and demonstrating skill at the same time. Your whole being is involved and you are using your skills to the utmost. This is usually a passion you have. What is yours? Get in the flow….

2 Minute Meditation
Brain scans showed that meditation can “permanently rewire” your brain to raise levels of happiness. After meditating for a period of time, brain scans showed that parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew while parts associated with stress shrank. Awesome! Get meditating!

Five Gratitudes
Get a journal and start noticing all the things that you are grateful for. This is sure to make you happier.

There you have it! Which ones are you going to try this week? Let me know how it goes. Would love to hear from you!

“Happy people don’t have the best of everything. They make the best of everything.

* Please share this email with those you love*

 

Dr. Jennifer Cisternino

Naturopath,  Spiritual Teacher

5 Rules To Help you Achieve Your New Years Resolutions

New year, new you! I am sure you have heard that over and over again. “What is wrong with the old me?”- you wonder. This time of year can elicit anxiety and stress in people, especially if you are wanting to change everything about yourself.  For example- you want to change how much you weigh, what you eat, how often you exercise. You want to have a more positive mind set. You want to attract a new partner or get rid of people that are bringing you down.  You may have career goals or financial goals you wish to achieve…AWESOME! The only downfall is that you maybe adding more stress to your life OR you may be going about achieving your goals the wrong way.  Let me help you achieve your goals by highlighting 5 rules you must follow.

Rule #1: Visualization

Spend some time each morning and night, visualizing yourself reaching success. If weight loss and eating healthy is your goal, then see yourself in as much detail having actualized your goal. What are you wearing? Are you smiling? What are you doing? What are you eating? Imagine it and feel the emotions of having already achieved it. This is the power of the mind. It will keep you focused and it will draw to you that exact experience. Trust it! Have fun with this exercise.

Rule #2: Affirmations 

Say a statement that already affirms you having reached your goals. The statements usually start with “I am”. Example for weight loss.

I am fit

I am healthy

I love the way I look in my jeans

I am eating healthy foods

I am energetic etc…….

I ask that you create your own, specific to your goal(s), and write them down. Repeat saying them each day- morning and night.

Rule #3: Clean up your Diet

Getting rid of sugar and fried foods and increasing vegetables and fruits does something magical to the mind and body. It invigorates the cells in our body and raises our vibration. When you are vibrating high, energetically speaking, you are able to manifest all your desires quicker and with more ease. Try eating better and drinking more water. See how much lighter you feel.

Rule #4: Exercise 

Moving our bodies does something magical to our cells. It sends a message of “I love you and I want you to be strong”. Taking time to exercise, helps release stress and it boosts happy hormones that makes us feel lighter and more motivated to achieve our goals.

Rule #5: Dont’ Give Up. Forgive yourself.

Let go of the idea of “perfection” or “all or nothing”. Each day try to follow rules 1-4. If you happen to fall off track, don’t fret, look at yourself in the mirror and say “I LOVE YOU, I FORGIVE YOU. LET’S DO BETTER TOMORROW”. This act of self love and care will keep you going.

If you wish to further accelerate your healing with myself- In person, or via skype, reach out. It would be my pleasure to help you be your best self.

Much love!

Dr. Jennifer Cisternino

Naturopath

Spiritual Healer

 

 

 

 

Beat That Holiday Stress!

 

The Holiday Season is among us. While it should be a joyous occasion and may be for some, this time of year can bring upon anxiety and stress for many. Often this is accompanied by unwanted weight gain and/or fatigue and a general feeling of mental and physical imbalance. In my opinion, it is not a great way to end the year and start a new one.

It is my aim to help you find a balance of peace, love and gratitude over the holidays. A BONUS may accompany this…WEIGHT LOSS! (or at least no weight gain). I have done it every year and I can help you do the same.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season.

1. Remove all white refined sugars from your daily diet and only indulge when you have a function. Yes you heard me, when you are in the company of others if that is what you choose… guilt free.

2. Do Not Skip Meals. I know it can be easy to skip meals the busier you get, but trust me, this will do you no favours when it comes to weight loss. Balanced meals will help regulate your blood sugar levels which will ward off cravings, overeating and moodiness.

3. Keep a Food Journal. A food journal can help make you more aware of what, when and how much you are eating. Try it yourself and see what happens.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal. This puts you in a positive mindset and focused on all the good things in your life.

5. Stay Active. If you are someone who loves to exercise (yes, there are those who love to exercise..lol) stay with it! Try to stay committed to your routines. If you are someone who thinks that they should start exercising, don’t wait until January. Start the routine NOW. How about a 20 minute walk each day?

6. Daily Meditation. I have devoted a lot of my time to creating meditation recordings for my patients. Meditation can be seen as a “time out” to help you relax and refocus.

7.  Forgive everyone for everything- including yourself. The holidays is a time where families come together. It can bring up feelings of anger or resentment from past hurts, etc. It can also be a good opportunity to put the past in the past and move forward with more love and peace. Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself and others.

8. Donate your time and energy to making a difference in people’s lives. Do not be so fixated on the material aspect of Christmas. It is a time to share in love, peace and joy. Volunteer your time at a food sheltor, give to the less fortunate or host a Food and Toy drive.

9. Follow me on Instagram: dr_jen_cisternino where I share inspirational and positive quotes each day. These are gentle reminders that nudge you in the direction of peace and love.

10. Gift YOURSELF with a healing session with myself. Seek my counsel to help you get healthy in mind, body and spirit. As a Naturopathic Physician, most of my services are covered by extended health care plans. Many will expire in one month, so reach out and find out what can be covered.

 

Much love and light,

Dr. Jen Cisternino

Food Sensitivity Testing- To Do or Not To Do?

I am writing this blog because I am seeing more and more people with digestive issues in my office. Most of the people I see have been experiencing these symptoms for 10 years or more. When asked what took them so long to come in, they report that they saw their doctor first and all tests came back negative. This left them thinking that nothing was wrong and there was nothing that they could do to help themselves.

Do you have long standing concerns about your digestion such as the below symptoms?

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain/cramps
  • Nausea

Some of the lesser known symptoms that can be related to your digestive system are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Skin Conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Stress

It may seem that every issue can be related to your gut health. The truth is, it most likely is!  When you think about the one thing that people do everyday, it is eating and digesting. This process can be easy and helpful, or in most cases, it can be difficult and make one feel sick. We are all responsible for being conscious of our food intake and assessing how we feel after we eat something. Now, I know that it is hard to pinpoint exactly what can be causing your symptoms since most things are eaten together. The remarkable test that can outline each food individually and your body’s reaction to that food is the IgG Food Sensitivity Test.

IgG Food Sensitivity Test

I have been offering this test to my patients for the past 6 years and I have gathered my own conclusions. I do see most people having sensitivities to dairy and wheat. These tend to be the most common. Gluten is not a common sensitivity, as most people assume. The reason why people feel better with gluten free products may have to do with the fact that there is no wheat in those products.

I think the reason for the increase in food reactions is two fold. We all know that the way food is being processed today is very different than years before. A tomatoe is not a tomatoe after it has been chemically altered with pesticides and the like. I believe that our immune system, which has not changed as radically as our food, is becoming reactive to the food particles. I also know that people are experiencing more stress and as a result are eating an abundance of  quick unhealthy foods, refined sugar and alcohol which affects digestive function. Chronic stress and intake of poor quality foods, makes one more susceptible to “leaky gut” and “dysbiosis”- altered gut bacteria.

Would I suggest this test for everyone? ABSOLUTELY! It is a very sensitive and specific test that has helped so many people in my office. It can take you out of “wondering” which foods to eat and place you in a position of “empowerment” to eat how your body best enjoys!

Reach out for more information and to book your appointment.

 

Best Health,

Dr. Jen Cisternino, Naturopath, Intuitive

3-242 Applewood Cresc

Concord, ON

416-301-3477

Heavy Periods? A Calling for Help.

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Why would a woman consciously choose to bleed excessively and lose her vital “Qi” (life fore energy). When we bleed, we lose precious minerals and vitamins from the body.  If  we lose too much this can be very serious and life threatening.

There can be several reasons for it; However, in this article I want to discuss the lesser known reasons. Most women I see in my office are not aware of the impact their thoughts and emotions have on their physical bodies. I help women to become aware of the ones that are causing them to feel sick and we work together to change them for better hormone and weight balance.

Let me remind you that the menstrual cycle is a cycle of intuitive wisdom and emotional processing. How do you feel about your period? Women who see the menstrual cycle as bad or shameful typically have heavy menstrual periods. This often leads them to put in an IUD  (intra-uterine device) so that they are never reminded of the cycle that they “hate and could do without”.

Most women who have “heavy periods” also typically have issues related to chronic stress over “2nd chakra issues” which pertain to creativity, relationships, money and control over others.

Take out a piece of paper and honestly answer the questions I ask you:

Creativity: Are you exerting your creative brain? Are there creative projects inside you wanting to be expressed? Do you spend enough time in playful thought or are you rigid in your routine. The energy in your second chakra would benefit from some coloring, painting, dancing, creating a project, photography, or whatever else you enjoy.

Relationships: Which relationships in your life need some healing? It could be any relationship- from ones in your past to the present moment. Think of all the people in your life that could have caused you hurt and pain. As an aside, there are some people that will depend on you to give your time, love and energy to them. It’s as if you are being “sucked dry”. This type of relationship can also cause blood loss. Remember, what you allow will continue. Your heavy periods may be a sign that you need to learn how to say NO.

Money: How are your finances? How do you feel about money? Are you secure or always looking for more? Financial stress can root itself in your lower chakras which can become imbalanced and cause menstrual issues.

Control: Are you a control freak? Do you need to do things at your pace, in your time and what you say goes? Do you try to exert power over people? Do you feel like you are losing control? This feeling can sometimes manifest as bleeding- loss of control over your reproductive area. Life is a lot easier, and your health is a lot better when you relax and realize that God has control and all is good. There is nothing to worry about but worrying. See where in your life you can lessen control and relax and enjoy a bit more.

For more help about your heavy periods and what to eat for hormonal balance, reach out!

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Dr. Jen Cisternino, Naturopath, Spiritual Healer, Angel Intuitive

416-301-3477

3-242 Applewood Cres, Concord ON, L4K 4E5

 

Why Meditate?

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More than ever before, people today are looking for an alternative way to help them cope with everyday stresses and health concerns. We are awakening to the realization that we have more power over our health than any doctor. Old beliefs have it that a doctor will heal you and you must seek their help when you are not feeling well. New concepts, actually not new to ancient medicines at all, are emerging which challenge that very notion.

What are doctors doing for us? If you ask a doctor, they say they are saving lives. How? Through early detection, diagnosis and treatment. What role then do YOU have in your health? Do you rely on doctors to find what is wrong with you and wait for them to “fix you”? News flash! No one can fix you but YOU. You need to realize that you play a role in your health. You have the most control over your risk of disease, prevention, detection and treatment.  How do you play a role? Through your thoughts, behaviours, lifestyle habits, emotions and overall perspective. 

Most people do not “check in” with themselves on a daily basis to see how their body feels and how their mind is thinking. They do not spend time addressing their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. Instead, this fast paced world has them reaching for more food, cigarettes, medications or marijuana for a quick fix.

What can you do to help yourself? MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. This is a practice of stilling the mind to bring your awareness to the present moment. Why would we need to do this? Because the present moment is the only moment we have control over and it determines our future moments. 

When we still our minds, we gain access to a deeper awareness about our bodies and mind. This information can help us make changes to better our health and lives. When we are still and focusing on our breathing, we are also creating a calming, peaceful place in our body where healing can occur.

You can think of meditation as transforming the mind. Creating a happier perspective and releasing limiting beliefs about one self and others. Research has shown that daily meditation can improve:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Stress and Overwhelm
  • IBS
  • Anger
  • ADD/ADHD
  • among many others conditions

If you have never meditated before or are not sure where to start, simply sit or lye down in a quiet room and start counting your breathes in and out. Do this for 5 minutes. As thoughts come into your mind, simply let them go. You can image them floating away in a balloon. If you get restless, this is normal. It takes practice and commitment. You didn’t learn how to walk in one day! It takes effort to still the mind and develop a greater sense of peace and calm within.

I offer one on one consulting to help you quiet your mind and find inner peace. I help all my patients gain a deeper understanding of their state of health and how their mental and emotional state greatly influences the physical body.

Much love and peace!

profile picDr. Jen Cisternino

Naturopath, Spiritual Healer, Reiki Practitioner

416-301-3477

[email protected]

Learn to Love your “Woman Cycle”

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The menstrual cycle is such a beautiful time for a women if she tunes into her body. This extends to her emotional, mental and spiritual body.  We are all aware that our hormones orchestrate our menstrual cycle. For example; if your hormones are out of balance then you may miss a period or have several symptoms like breast tenderness, mood changes, acne, sleep disturbances etc. Most women will see their medical doctor for these imbalances and most are prescribed the birth control pill. Essentially, the pill is masking the underlying imbalances which are there to get “your attention”. We are not meant to “suppress” symptoms but instead listen to the innate wisdom of our bodies and do something to HEAL ourselves.

Let’s look at a common complaint- dysmenorrhea (cramping and pain with periods). Pain with menses can be quickly remedied with Anaprox or Advil. Have you ever wondered why you have pain and why some months may be more painful? Have you spent the time wondering if stress or poor diet had something to do with it? I do IgG food allergy testing in my office and essentially you can find out which foods cause inflammation in your body, which can translate to menstrual pain. Something else to consider is “blocked pelvic energy” a 2nd chakra issue. This energy centre in our body is affected by our relationships with men, sex, our feminine nature, our needs and wants and how they may be influenced by cultural needs and wants.  Have you assessed these relationships? They might be telling.

Another common complaint are mood changes- anger, irritability, sadness or anxiousness.  If people have told you that you morph into a different person then there is something there to explore.  Are you holding everything in and then using that time to give yourself “permission” to explode. What are you not expressing day to day?

I always urge women to look at the cyclical nature of their moods, and try to figure out what their minds and bodies are telling them.  Maybe you need a diet change, a relationship change, need for more exercise, an emotional release, more yoga, meditation or reiki.

During the week before your menses and even into your period-your body, mind and soul naturally want to relax, renew and recharge. Even though you can’t see how much your reproductive organs are working, you have to believe that putting more stress on your body is not helping.  Do not over exert yourself during this time and be sure to be extra loving and kind to yourself. Each menstrual cycle is designed to help you start new and fresh. Believe it or not, most post menopausal women come into my office saying how much they miss their menses. They didn’t realize how good it felt to be “cleansed”.

I want this blog to relay a simple message to you. Your menstrual symptoms are sending you a message that there is imbalance in your body and most likely your life. You are in control of your hormones and you are being called to make a change to help yourself.

I offer a “wholistic” approach to Balancing your Hormones and getting to the root cause of your pain and suffering so you can have a joyful and lovely period like God intended.

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Much love and hormonal balance,

Dr. Jen Cisternino, ND

416-301-3477

[email protected]

 

 

Do NOT Make These 5 Weight Loss Mistakes

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The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The reason for this is because people are being misguided. Most people who are overweight agree with the following statement. “When I am sad or stressed, I eat a lot. When I am happy, I eat well.” Why then are people so focused on FOOD when it comes to weight loss? It has been my experience and reality that addressing the underlying emotions that influence food choices is most essential.

Let’s discuss some of the reasons why you are not losing weight and keeping it off.

1. You don’t do a good job at nourishing your emotions. It’s not completely your fault. You may have been raised in a family where your emotional needs were not met. From a young age, you might have realized that when you were sad or anxious, no one was there to comfort you or listen to you and so you turned to food. This pattern of emotional eating to help you cope with your emotions stays with you and the habit strengthens as you get older. Unless you make the connection and tend to your emotional needs in other ways, you may always struggle with excess weight.

2. You are too stressed out. Most people I see in my office are overwhelmed with life. They work full time jobs, try to juggle family, friends, relationships, everyday stresses etc. People today fill their days with a “to-do” list that only superwoman can accomplish. What are you accomplishing if you are stressed, unhappy and overweight? When you set out to lose weight and change your habits, you need to make yourself a priority. It involves you freeing up time for yourself and saying “NO” to the things that get in your way.

3. You lack self-love. “How can I love myself when I have a lot of fat on my hips and belly?” says my patient. “Why not? You are more than your flesh”, I say. Once you learn to love yourself unconditionally (that means no matter your size), you can begin the healing process. Here is the reality, only good can come from self-love. It is a process that takes time and some hand holding, but when you have love for yourself, all your decisions reflect that love. For example; a woman who loves herself will not stuff her face with chocolate and ice cream. A woman who loves herself will want to move her body, address her emotions and eat healthier food. Alternatively, a person who hates themselves is more likely to have negative thoughts and negative emotions which lead to poor eating habits. Make sense? Why wouldn’t you choose love?

4. You think FOOD is the problem. Food is part of the problem. More importantly, it is your relationship with food that is the problem. Food is quick, easy and accessible, especially under stressful times. It seems way easier to eat pizza and chips than to express your emotions to a friend. It might be easier in the short run, but very damaging in the long run. You don’t need another fancy diet plan that tells you to avoid gluten and wheat and dairy (unless of course you have an allergy to them). You need to assess the relationship you have with food first and fix it.

5. You keep looking outside yourself for help. So many people are looking for quick fixes, drugs, diet pills, diet plans, personal trainers, nutritionist, doctors, to “fix” them. Asking for help is great, but a lot of people don’t fully understand that they hold all the answers to their problems. I want you to feel empowered in your weight loss journey. I want you to understand that healing starts when you look within yourself to address your feelings, wants and needs. One size does not fit all when it comes to losing weight. You hold the key to your weight loss success. I just help you unlock your potential.

Why am I so passionate about this topic? For many years, I struggled with my weight and was desperately searching for ways to lose it. I tried all sorts of diets and seeked out all kinds of help with no success. When I began to look within, I realized what I needed. It wasn’t pills or strict diets. It was self-love, respect and emotional balance. I started an exploration within myself which involved addressing my emotions, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and poor self-image. Through a process, I ultimately created a healthier environment within myself. My outer reality began to reflect my inner loving self. Weight loss happened almost immediately and effortlessly without much concern about food. It truly was a remarkable experience and I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it is. I wish the same for you.