Fall has arrived!

So, I wrote about this on my facebook and posted it in my insta story about the joy that comes from the first autumn day. There is literally nothing like it.

You wake up and walk outside, and it’s this smell. It’s the smell of nostalgia from childhood that hits me first. It reminds me of cold soccer games and hot chocolate before I cheered at the high school football playoff games. It’s chickfila fried chicken sandwiches and fries and a coke on the bus ride there.

It’s the fair, and it’s carving pumpkins. It’s pharmacy school “Chili Cookoff” time of year.

It’s most definitely ‘coming out of my apartment complex in New York City on to the hudson for a morning run’. Oh, the emotions and the feels.

We each have our own designations of what those smells and this temperature brings about for us. The feeling of nostalgia, but also the feeling of novelty.

The seasons turn, and we can turn a new page in our book. We can let the past season go, and hold on to the hope of new promises, and new joys in the fall and the winter.

For some this brings great joy, and for others this can bring great sadness. This time of year is very commonly known for seasonal affective disorder. Something that can make people feel even more alone is when they feel that everyone else is loving life around them, and the notion that they are the only ones that can’t get it together. I want to honor those people as well even though I feel I have it in the opposite seasons.

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Life is such a journey.

Last fall, I was going through the intersection in uptown shelby and a lady ran a red light. She was coming full speed ahead at my drivers door, and I swerved. When I swerved, I almost hit another car, but barely missed them. The little old lady that ran the red light looked at me with the most pitiful look in her eyes that just said “I’m sorry” and she covered her face. I did not know what to do other than to continue driving and left.

No one was hurt. Everyone was fine. I was thankful.

Ever since that time, I’ve had a complex with intersections and especially the one that it happened on. It’s only natural, but feels very “PTSD”. I literally have a rush of anxiety at every intersection that I go through thinking that I cannot trust others to do their part.

As I was driving to work this morning, I had the thrill of the fall breeze as I went through the intersection. The rush of anxiety hit, but it also caused me to pause and think about how different those two emotions were that I was feeling. Happiness and anxiety.

It is possible to feel both, and maybe that’s something we need to reference more. Anxiety is not within the absence of happiness. It’s just a manifestation of what our brains do to reconcile our past with our future expectations and how we perceive reality to play out. That does not mean that we can’t also be happy.

I am so infinitely thankful for new seasons and new beginnings. I’m thankful for close calls that give me perspective.

I texted Tanner when I got to work and told him how I was feeling. What if I had been majorly injured that day? What if I had died? All of the worries that we have had would be obsolete. Nothing would matter anymore, and the only thing that we would wish for would be time spent together again. Why does it take the manifestation of a crash or a death or a serious illness like cancer for us to be able to live the kind of life we wish we could live?

That life is ours…right now..in this moment.

The season is new. The weather has changed. We can wake up every single morning knowing that we have so many abundant, beautiful moments around us every single day. And all it took was a chilly breeze in the air. How revolutionary. How simple. How beautiful.

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Gut Health Series Part 1 (Anatomy)

So, I’ve wanted to talk about the gut for quite some time, but it’s such a big topic that I didn’t know how to approach it. I wanted to start a semi series where I talk about different topics pertaining to the gut, and I think it’s important to first understand the process of eating, and the path that it goes throughout your body to be disposed as waste.

The #1 hyped up word is the “microbiome” and that is important, and it impacts everything about our health. You probably have heard that the gut is the second brain, and all of this is true, but I wanted to start earlier in the process. The microbiome bacteria is in the large intestine, but the food must first go through our esophagus, stomach, and then the small intestine. If you are having gastrointestinal distress, it might be in one of these areas as well.

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I made a post on instagram earlier in the year about the issues that I’ve been having with intense bloating, and while I don’t have total healing, I have learned so much about my body and how to heal. I’ve had chronic constipation since I was a child, and it’s just been a long and terrible process of figuring all of this out. I don’t say terrible to be dramatic. It’s legit just terrible. LOL!!

I could tell you all the things that I’m doing, but I genuinely don’t think that it will be all that helpful for your personal GI journey, but it is multifactorial as I’m sure all of ours are. I think when we have severe GI issues, we jump straight to this BIG issues that could be wrong getting colonoscopies and such. I think that we first need to address some low hanging fruit before going that route. Instead of going into all of the things for you to do which I do feel are valuable, I want to talk about the anatomy first, and then the next post I’ll go more into the microbiome, how to make yours healthier, why it might be bad to begin with, and how to work towards normal GI function. There are going to be small parts of this pathway that I’m going to leave out just for keeping it simple.

Ok, so:

When you walk into a room and smell food, you immediately start the process of digesting through salivating. Once you start to eat and begin chewing, you release salivary enzymes. There is an enzyme for each macronutrient that you consume to break it down into smaller particles for digestion. We have lingual lipase for the breakdown of fatty acids, and amylase for the breakdown of carbs.

Tip #1: Chew your food so that it can be easier for smaller particles to go through and digest better

Once the food moves from the esophagus into the stomach, the parietal cells produce hydrochloric acid. This acid is INTENSE. It’s very very acidic, and it’s very important. The lining of the gut wall has bicarb which is alkaline (basic) so that it protects the acid from burning through our GI lining. We need this acid to be able to break down proteins.

The proteins are broken down by combining pepsiogen and the hydrochloric acid to form pepsin.

Tip #2: If you have low protein on a general CBC then this could mean that you do not have enough hydrochloric acid.

Hcl acid can be impacted by things such as excessive antibiotic use, proton pump inhibitors (such as Omeprazole) and Tums. If you are someone that takes Omeprazole, and start presenting with GI disruption (diarrhea or constipation) and possibly anxiety and depression, then it’s worthwhile to look at this medication. It might be worth it to try to reduce the foods that give you acid reflux VS taking the medication to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach that’s vital for other functions.

When you have a low amount of acid, you also can get some different autoimmune disorders, and a lack of absorption of B12 which could lead to anemia. You can quickly see how these things start stacking up, and you might start with Omeprazole, and end up on Citalopram for anxiety which lowers lipido and causes weight gain, Vitamin B12 and iron supplementation due to anemia, lack of energy and disruption of proper GI motility.

From the stomach, the food moves into the small intestine after the creation of gastric juices called chyme moving it forward. There is a valve at this point, and if there is a valve dysfunction then this could be where you get a hiatal hernia or the acid goes back upstream causing discomfort. The small intestine has three components that work to extract nutrients from the food. Those 3 components are:

  • The duodenum

  • Jejunum

  • Ileum

The duodenum extracts fat soluble vitamins (A,E,D,K) and breaks down fat. The jejunum is where we have 90% absorption of the food, and the ileum is where we have the bile salts.

The small intestine is also where you have peristalsis which is just simply the movement that you feel while you’re eating preparing your food to move into your large intestine and then to be excreted.

Tip #3: The more that you chew the less energy your body is having to put forth to do peristalsis to move the food into your small intestine. You want to eat food that soils, but before it’s soiled ;) If the food never soils, then it’s just going to be as you see it on the shelf in your large intestine, which is OBVIOUSLY not ideal for moving it through your colon.

There are hormones that are on the lining of your small intestine and your stomach that tell your body that you are hungry or full (leptin / ghrelin) and there are many different ways to manipulate these hormones (eating enough and eating higher fiber being two keys). These hormones also creates gastric juices to move into stool and if leptin levels are low due to not enough calories, then you will experience gastroparesis (slow motility).

The other organs that work in your small intestine are your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder which are all intrinsically related to the process of digestion, as well as the enteric nervous system which connects your brain stem to your digestive functions. This is your parasympathetic nervous system that you may have learned in school as “rest and digest”.

Tip #4: Allow your body to rest and digest as you are eating. Don’t eat while standing. Chew as much as possible, and of course, try to keep cortisol low and sleep abundant.

As I continue writing this blog, there are many different avenues that I keep wanting to take it and write now would be the pathway of the hormonal functions that occur when your cortisol is elevated. Your cortisol has different amounts throughout the day that are normal. In the mornings it peaks, and is lowest in the middle of the night. Imagine being stressed out late at night and eating a meal high in sugar. LAWD JESUS THE DIGESTIVE TERROR. hahaha! It keeps you wide awake due to that adrenaline and releases even MORE glucose to take care of that fight or flight going on.

Our bodies are very smart (much smarter than we are), and all of this at the end of the day affects disease processes. It’s NOT NOT NOT simply calories in VS calories out for health or weight, and I think it’s important to start learning the intrinsic nature at which our body works.

I feel so empowered after learning so much about the gut over the past year, and I will continue to write about different parts of this system and things to help as we keep strollin through the colon ;) STAY TUNED!

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Being liberal in a small town

Andddddd here we go:

I feel like this is my coming out story or something.

I expect this blog to be popular because it’s polarizing. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I already know that there will be many eyes on this so I want to proceed with love in that respect. I also say “popular” and do not mean that it will be well taken. It’s just something I felt compelled to write, and well, you know how that goes with me. It’s like this burning ember in my soul I can’t let go of until it comes out of my fingers.

Growing up, momma didn’t raise no fool. We just “don’t do” politics in my family. It wasn’t an area of interest and this might be perceived these days as white privilege but I also think culture was just different. My grandfather always told my moms/aunts that politics were meant to be private and so you didn’t discuss which party you affiliated with. This has trickled down into the way my entire family does things….except me. Little lone wolf here. Like actually viscerally visualizing my entire family reading upon this like WHAT THE ACTUAL IS SHE DOING RIGHT NOW?

On top of the fact that I am vocal, I believe essentially the polar opposite of … literally everyone closest to me. ha! Sooooo, when people start throwing insults on my facebook posts, I get WILDLY uncomfortable. While it is “unacceptable” to be on both sides, I just don’t think that anyone could ever understand the dynamic in which I live. I don’t think that anyone could understand the pervasive narratives that are SEEN AS GOOD. They are believed to be good when everyone else I know sees them as disgusting and despicable.

I TRUTHFULLYYYYY don’t classify myself “liberal” but for lack of better titles and inability for anyone to see anything but bipartisan, this is the box that I shall put myself in as everyone else puts me there regardless. I like to think of myself as just “free thinking on every topic” but I’ve found that I end up leaning left on every topic, so LETS CALL A SPADE A SPADE SHALL WE?!

That makes me really uncomfortable though. This brings me to my title…being liberal in a small town.

See, when you’re liberal in a small town, you see things day in and day out that you have to just keep your mouth shut about. Systemic racism, homophobia, misogyny, and bigotry abound but the language of those speaking it are saying them in GENUINELY loving tones. It’s a mind whirl forreallll. No names will be shared in this blog, but I had an old lady very close to me state that her caregiver was great “even though she was black.” Nonchalant. No one flinched. Just normal run of the mill convo. We almost purchased a house and on the deed it stated that the “house could not be sold to African Americans.” This is illegal of course, but it was built before then so it had that written on it.

As I begin to type out stories of things that I have heard, I find myself continually deleting them, because even with sparing names, I can’t possibly let those that read this blog even begin to judge people I love in my life without understanding the full scope of culture.

I’ve noticed what happens is that I have stones thrown at me from all angles. If I understand those that I love, then I obviously don’t stand by these particular topics at hand. Obviously in writing this blog, I am just like straight up walking into it and I’m not stupid to not realize that, so I don’t need a lecture on keeping my opinions to myself. I have CHOSEN to write this knowing full well. (Comments will be turned off on this post because I’m literally simply sharing my thoughts and maybe you’ll connect with them, and then again, maybe you won’t).

What people in areas of mostly liberal minded people don’t understand is the belief systems that are believed to be true are out of good natured people. I have learned SOOOO much this year and about how nothing is as it appears. One example of what I’m referring to is that crimes committed most likely stem from a culture deeply rooted from prior oppression. If we can understand that, then we also must understand that the rich white republican man also comes from a history that while EXTREMELY privileged, it was still his life experience. If he did nothing within his lifetime that has anything to do with what his ancestors did, then he naturally, from human nature, will not feel responsibility for that. Neither will criminals think back to the culture in which they were raised, the lack of education, and how to “rise above”. It goes both ways.

I didn’t grow up liberal. I peeled back layer by layer by layer by layer, and each time found myself no longer in the camp I had previously found myself in. I obsessively research things, from every angle. I read both Fox and CNN and listen to NPR for the most part just day to day. I try really hard to think about what my stepdad would think on an issue (ha), and then what my cousin would think (she’s hella liberal - shoutout bless up). I try really really hard to think about what I know to be true and formulate a solid stance on subject matters.

Being liberal in a small town feels like walking on egg shells all the time.

It feels like constantly disappointing those that would have previously liked me.

It feels like when I’m out, everyone knows I’m “different”

It feels like guilt that I can’t just be “one with them” and that I’m left out

It feels like something I should ignore, but that I hear everywhere I go.

It feels like my brain is on overdrive hearing the pervasive undertones.

It feels like not being able to be fully me in conversations ever even though I’m incredibly open minded (I don’t take that term lightly - I genuinely WANT to hear you out - I DESPERATELY need you to help me understand you so I don’t scream)

It’s like wearing an orange shirt to a football game when everyone is wearing blue and then for everyone to tell you to CHILL OUT because no one even notices you if you’d just shut up.

It’s feeling like you can’t shut up even when you try because you care.

It’s becoming feminist, animal activist vegan (ish), anti capitalist, anti racism, pro LGBTQ with a touch of anarchy #theresistance haha!

It’s being completely confident in these narratives, but completely terrified to admit them out loud because they are dirty words.

It’s actually wishing sometimes I could just go back to not knowing what I know now.

It’s about others posting what they believe without attack but knowing that you can’t ever share the simplest, most docile posts without being attacked.

It’s being silenced while also feeling like you’re obnoxiously screaming for anyone to actually hear you out.

It’s wanting to have deep intellectual conversations on these topics so that we can understand one another, but no one is actually interested in that, and rather just confirming their previously held belief systems.

I have went from FULL BLOWN (dare I say racist, homophobic) REPUBLICAN to the COMPLETE opposite in the full spectrum of just simply believing that we are all one, nothing above the other, inclusive of animals, and that we all just deserve equality - regardless of whether this is “impractical” or “non American” or anything of that nature. From endless hours on end of research, it comes down to the simplicity of “Just be love and light. To everyone. Always. Without Exceptions. Without borders. Without restraints"

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New Life, Updates, Training

Hi friends!

Man, oh man, what a fun few weeks it’s been! I thought I’d share a little about where life is right now as I used to do this a lot more frequently!

TRAINING

AHHHHHH! I am scared to even say that this has been the best training season of my life, but well, it has been. I’ve got a baby tweak in my achilles right now, but I know it’s just a small thing that I’ll get blood circulating to that area :)

I’ve trained smart: building a base slowly, adding in once weekly tempos, then slow long runs, then speed workouts + tempos + slow long runs, then speed + tempo + quicker long run trials + deloads / mesocycles / microcycles / macrocycles. You know - all the fun!

I really did try to go by the book, and not let my training load get over what my body could handle mileage wise. I kept up with stretching, icing, and yoga thus far. I’ve done strength training some, but not anything much with legs because I don’t even care enough to risk that (mostly body weight). I really wanted to do it right this time, and see what I was capable of after a full year since my last marathon (Chicago 2017).

My peak will be right at around 65-70 miles. I have done various tempo workouts and speed workouts each week building from 400’s to 800’s to mile repeats. I have done some race pace efforts here and there, but mostly the miles are around 9-930min/mile just keeping time on my feet but with minimal efforts.

I’ve been very diligent about water to keep everything hydrated and working smoothly as well. I’m not a big water person, so this has taken WORK.

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WORK

I’m working full time with a company called Piedmont Pharmacy Care Network and have been for some time, but thought I’d share some details. I’m a pharmacy care manager and my main focus is diabetes in most of my locations but the majority of my clients are diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, & anxiety/depression.

We work within county and city governments with their wellness programs. I have about 300 clients across Cleveland County, the city of Shelby, Lincolnton and Asheville. All of them are such a blessing to me. I coordinate with their pharmacies and doctors and all that jazz. They call this “ambulatory care pharmacy". My goals are to become board certified in ambulatory care and a certified diabetes educator and I’d love to actually get a masters in functional medicine, but let’s not give you my linkedin! ;) I still have about 75 years kicking in me career wise so I’ve got time, I think! ;)

LIFE

If there was no other word I had for it, I think I would just say thankful. I’m thankful for the change that I manifested and worked so hard for. I won’t be shy about just how hard I worked for it, and I’m proud that I took the initiative to get help when I needed it (should have farrrr sooner but you know how that goes). I’m proud that I wasn’t lying or just feeling placebo effects and that there was truthfully a dramatic shift that allowed me to reset new habits in place and get my life back to normal.

I know that keeping on my guard is best, however, after struggling for two years, and then having 2-3 months of normal, it just feels so much in the rear view. I don’t want to get too arrogant or my brain might get sneaky and attack OUT OF NOWHERE!! ha!

I say it millions of times, but truthfully another part of my thankfulness is my relationship with Tanner. We are best friends, attached at the hip, and each other’s love. I feel it’s important to show him just how valuable he was to me during that season now that I’m back to my normal happy, goofy, laughing (yet not cracked out manic) self.

GOALS

Can we talk about all the times that I’ve listed goals like even so much as January of this year and it’s a list that has like 450 things on it? HA! I think that I have always run very quickly through everything, but my goals right now are to take the things that I love and love them deeply. I want to cultivate them. I want to pay attention to the details. I’ve said this a lot over the past year, and I’ve been able to see a lot of positive change in this area.

I think growth is so important, and one area of growth that I realized I was misplacing this “energy” was in my reading. With cultivating “slowness” in everything else, I let my reading be like wildfire. It was like this way of “getting away with it”. How funny right? It’s truly interesting to me when I peel back layers.

My goal is that web we weave of intangible balance that we all want to cultivate. But, here are my primary goals:

  • Read one book per week at least (I was reading 3 and I’ve realized you can’t truly soak up information that fast so what’s the point - I want to enjoy these beautiful novels)

  • Run my marathon to the best of my ability dependent on how my body feels and the weather on that day. I know based on the science of my training that I am capable of a sub 3 but that does not mean that it will happen, and I’m 100% okay with that. It will happen when it is meant to happen. Total peace on this (and I’m not being fake here lol).

  • Continue educating myself in functional medicine / ambulatory care / diabetes management for my career. This is an age of exploding scientific literature, and I’m just loving learning how all of our systems are interconnected and getting to the root cause

  • Healing my digestion - I have had chronic constipation since I was a child, but more recently with learning more I know I can heal this, and I’m determined to do so. It will take time, but I’m committed to this healing process

  • One meal per week that’s a new, chef inspired recipe! Tanner and I have really gotten into this lately, and the process plus the slow eating together over wine makes for literally the best of the best evenings

  • Start blogging about what I’m learning -

I have been in and out of this blog, so this isn’t some restart. I have realized with my time with work and training and quite frankly motivation, I won’t be here as frequently as I would prefer. But, when I show up, I want to show up well. I’ve said that enough so as I continue to make more informative posts, I hope that you’ll trust that I’ve put the time in for what I’m providing you.

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Keto VS Plant Based

Let's start with that phrase everyone loves to throw around... 'This is not a diet. It's a lifestyle change' which somehow everyone believes to mean that their diet is not a diet when it's really...a diet. lol.

I think lifestyle change is like #duh but also it implicates to the general population that you make some change that you are finally okay with eating in restriction and only chicken and broccoli every night. It has such a bad connotation. Diet has the same rep. It's a gross nasty word to most people, including myself. But yet, I see patients every single day who tell me about the preverbal wagon they have jumped off and the next diet they are planning to do. Where do we meet in the middle? Intuitive eating has so much nuance and cognitive behavioral therapy involved (that I think is very important) but it would take me much more than 30 minute visits to deconstruct a mountain of diet culture to be able to help patients move into this in a healthful manner while also managing their chronic disease. Let me reiterate - it's WORTH IT but we have to work through a lot first (sometimes takes years).

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So the point of that intro was to say: These are typically the two "diet protocols" that I get asked about the most frequently, and what my opinion is. So, I thought I'd shed some opinions here. 

First things first, every thing that you read in some blog post (inclusive of my own) all the way up to the most highly educated and experienced in nutritional science is...opinion. Even the scientific process has many flaws, and as we all know, most of the time has bias. So, everything must be taken with caution. The second thing is that everything is made so reductionist in our world. The newest thing was the Harvard scientist who said coconut oil is poison. Like no, it's not. It's also not meant to be rubbed all over your body and eaten in gobs every day. Like, yall, for the love. It has saturated fat in it which is shown in clinical trials to not be good for you. But there's new evidence to show that saturated fat is NOT all bad for you. Wait, so now we are eating saturated fat again? 

Nutritional studies are like basically impossible because they are so complex to show long term data? Where is this person from? What are their genetic markers? What kind of diets have they done in the past to determine their metabolism? Did they stick to the protocol 100% because we all know how hard that is? So, like, when you read an article or a study, keep all of this in mind. The more you get into it, the more you realize no one has the FOR SURE answers and most of the time, it's in the middle of the extremes. 

The third thing to take into consideration is that none of these things REALLY matter for most of the population because 99.9% of the population is never going to stick with it long term. So, whatever you do, you must must must think about your relationship with food and the psychosocial aspects of changing the way that you do your food intake (I want to use the word diet but I don't mean diet - I mean the way we eat regardless of how many calories when I say 'diet'). But like, if you don't consider this, then you might as well not even waste your time. This information is information that is interesting and intriguing for what our bodies do and how they perform best, but it won't matter if you don't think about your relationship with food. 

MOVING ON to the shortest part because this is NOT really what it's about...nom sayin? The point is that it's confusing. How can these super deeduper physicians tell me to eat plant based to cure all disease and then now all of these scientists are telling me to eat blocks of cheese and grass fed beef? What the actual heck? It's complete opposite. 

There is evidence in both camps. There is evidence upon evidence in both camps. You can take whatever disease state you would like and go on pubmed.org and find all the literature for why plant based reduces the foci (cancer aggregating cells) and then how ketogenic diets starve the cells of sugar therefore causing them to not be able to multiply and grow. If you want to cure hypertension or cholesterol or diabetes or this or that or this or that, EAT PLANT BASED. NO WAIT, EAT KETOGENIC! 

Ketogenic Pros/Cons

I find these two to be so polar opposite ways of nutrition that it's worth discussing. Ketogenic diets produce beta hydroxy buterate and acetate and ketones that have a multitude of different implications for health in a positive way. If you don't get into ketosis, then you are just starved of calories period and feel like trash. It's a very hard diet to follow that's not set up for success in society and is most of the time pretty costly. However, it causes quick weight loss which is why most will do it. That's also highly frustrating because people aren't doing it safely or appropriately. They are just restricting calories, eating high protein and calling it keto and it's dangerous. 

Once adjusted to ACTUAL ketosis, you have great cognitive function and are able to fuel better in grueling endurance events (think ultras). Every person is different on when they will go into ketosis, which is essential for the benefits, and sometimes this becomes absolutely miserable to the point that a patient is not thriving at all in their life so what the heck is the point? 

Plant based Pros and Cons

Obviously, I follow a plant based vegan diet 99% of the time. I do this from a social justice standpoint more than anything. I actually do think that cultures with minimal amounts of protein are very health enriched and it is hard to get all of your essential needs with a strict vegan diet. But then I know what they do to animals and I just refuse to put my dollar towards those establishments. But that's not what today is about ;) Plant based can also be great for some with relationships with food because they are able to eat in abundance and feel very healthy. Portion control isn't really needed because all of the foods are low in calories so you need tons and tons of volume. When you get this much volume, it can also help those with constipation issues (also why I love it). 

Some cons are that it's difficult in social settings and it can be lacking in some various nutrients that you have to supplement (primarily b12) but the funny thing is that most of the time, the b12 that you get from meat is hilariously (not hilarious - I actually mean that like it pisses me off) injected into the cows. B12 is derived from the soil and the soil is not what it used to be which is why humans can't get adequate amounts from fruits and vegetables so they have to be injected with it. Personally, I'd rather take the supplement myself but the point is, I made that decision for myself. That might not be a decision that you make for yourself, and that's okay. 

We all have different convictions in life and the world could not go around without that. 

The truth is: Anything in an extreme fashion is dieting will always work...in the short term. But inevitably, it will not. Humans, as a species, are TERRIBLE at predicting the future and believe with all their little heart and soul that they will stick with some new extreme plan for the rest of their life, but then they fall off some wagon. So, that is why choosing the middle of the road is typically the more reasonable approach. Humans want a plan. They want to be told what's going to work, how many calories to eat, what the meals should look like and the time frame at which they are going to lose XYZ amount of weight, but that is just simply not what is going to happen. And until you ACTUALLY realize that and believe it, you will continue on the perpetual wheel of diet death for the rest of your life and it's a miserable life to live. We MUST figure out what works for us in mind, body, and soul. That's TRUE health. 

Some questions you should ask yourself: 

1. How is this serving me? 

2. Why am I doing this? 

3. Is this out of a spirit of love and compassion for my health or some "punishment"? 

4. Is this something I see to be a quick fix? If so, do I feel that if I fix it quick that it will not just come right back and if so, then what is the point? 

5. Have I done anything in the past that is related to this that has not worked? Why do I think that it would work this time? 

I think that deconstructing the narratives of why we begin something are super important. That's not to say that this doesn't mean that you won't do it because as I've said, I am 99.9% vegan for the animals. But the flippant decision to bounce from diet to diet is just simply messing up your metabolism, and I think that's something we should safe guard. 

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29 Truths for my 29th Birthday

The greatest gifts that I've been given are the ones that I've learned since college. I sat down at 10pm last night and wanted to write out some truths I've learned over this time frame that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life to live the most full life.

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29 Truths to live by: 

Every single day, every single person you meet is just looking for happiness, purpose and love. When interacting with them, remember that. Ask them questions. Learn something from them. Be the light they need in their life that day. 

Don’t let your goals make you selfish. Don’t let your insecurities make you complacent. 

It’s more than okay to pick up the person you used to be and completely walk away and start over - any time, as many times as needed. 

Always remember your privilege in race, gender, socioeconomic class, body shape, education and geographical location. Speak up for those that need you to while also staying quiet when you just need to focus on learning more. 

Expect miracles every day. Remain open. They are abounding all around you. 

Never ever quit something that gives you passion, purpose, creativity and love for the opinions of others. Like really, bump.that. 

You can sleep when you’re dead. SEIZE THE DAY.

Spend money on experiences. Never don’t do the thing or go to the place. You can always make it work. 

Invest in your circle of people in time and finances. 

When someone is talking to you, listen…deeply. What do they need from you? How can you serve them and not talk about yourself? 

We all are dying, every single day. It shouldn’t take a disease state to make us realize this and do what we want to do. 

Never settle for being mediocre. Strive for your best in everything you do every single day. 

Don’t give up in figuring out your health if you feel something is not how it should be. Pay the money. Find the doctors. Seek the therapy. Start the protocol. You can’t fully live in who you are destined to be in that shell. 

When in conflict, try desperately to separate from your position and see it from the others vantage point. Look to their entire life experience, think back to their childhood even, think about all of their experiences that have shaped them into the person they are today. You can begin to identify the roots of why arguments happen and solve them deeply so they don’t happen again. 

If you want to pursue the thing you loved and let go of again, then by all means, don’t ever hesitate. 

Always be a runner. You love that. Don’t let anyone tell you to rest from the thing that you love. 

Never become complacent at attacking life like 2018 again 

At restaurants, always choose the thing you actually want - life's too short

You are what you pay attention to. Don’t “skim read” life. Be focused. 

Always think to the reason of conflict and recognize it can most always be tracked to oppression or ego. Conflict arises from human construct and neural tracts of normality 

Travel with purpose. 

Be a life long learner. Read as much as possible. 

Laugh hard and laugh genuinely. 

Keep mystery in your life from others at appropriate times. Trust your inner circle and don't let vulnerability and transparency allow toxic people in.

Take micro risks to cultivate luck.

Move often in all things.

Never be afraid of change.  

Never allow someone to tell to talk down to you. Period. 

Show up. Every freakin solitary day. Just keep showing up. Eventually magic happens. 

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Also, one of the places that I learned the most about myself as well was my year in New York City, and this video truly touched me and may have made me shed a tear.  love love love New York! 

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MENTAL ILLNESS DRUG THERAPY DIFFICULTIES: BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER

Alright, this is long and intricate, but hopefully explained in a not so hard to understand manner (because as I always say, I'm just a chick who is interested with a background in "has to study harder than all of her friends to keep up" nom sayin? ;))

It’s been known for quite some time that mental health is something that everyone wants to do better with, but how are we bridging the gap in scientific research to be able to do so. I do think that just like everything it’s become a little nuanced. Many are claiming that they have bipolar disorder due to a mood swing, or depressive disorder just from a day of being sad. Suicide is very hard to study due to the patients no longer being able to share their experiences and most of the time don’t come forward when feeling the way that they are. The habit tracts apply pretty much across the board of mental illness as well. I have not mentioned even a tiny portion of the various mental illnesses, but you can see that when approaching this topic, it can get difficult quickly and each situation must be taken individually.

So, how does the brain work for target drug therapy? That’s the topic of today now that I’ve rambled ;) 

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The blood brain barrier is known for being very hard to penetrate unless it’s an extremely small molecular structure (for example: caffeine and alcohol). Many molecular structures of drugs are NOT small molecules therefore this hinders most of the medications that want to come to trial even if they would possibly be effective because they wouldn’t make it through. This is good for protection but hard when we want to treat disease. There are tight junctions and endothelium mumbo jumbo science terms that won’t allow for entry, HOWEVER, they are taking neurological disease states such as MS, Alzheimers, cerebral palsy, and others and studying what is happening to allow for leakage and penetration into the blood brain barrier in those times to hopefully help them see how they can get medications for mental illness and neurological diseases to their target sites. (This is kind of sad but there was a review done and there were 7000 pharmaceutical agents that were shown to not effectively cross).

There are many MANY different routes that they are studying to help with mitigating this issue such as nano technology and using transport/carriers to get drugs in to the brain but it is difficult. There are two parts of the bbb that drugs have to work and diffuse across. The first is from the blood stream to the central nervous system and the other is the extracellular space which is the newest area (especially with brain tumor formation) that disrupts the drug delivery to the brain. The third and final stopping point is the specific issue and which areas that are affected in the brain. This can vary across genetics and it can vary across every single mental disease. Recently, scanning techniques have been able to show that there are specific areas that are inflamed during particular mental disorders, but it soon was shown that it doesn’t just affect ONE area of the brain (termed localization) but multiple areas of the brain. It can affect things in the both the pre synapse and post synapse. It can affect neurotransmitters across the board and there are no tests at this time to determine which ones you have trouble with. 

You can see just how difficult this becomes. For example, when looking at eating disorders, they are still wildly misunderstood as they are a fairly new disease of the western culture primarily and impact many different areas of the brain including the basal ganglia, insular cortex, amygdala, fronto-striato and the limbic system and different neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, cortisol, and adrenaline. I’m sure I missed others, and the point being — it’s a lot. So to be able to give one drug to target all of this is just not something that is even possible at this time. This is true across the board with disease states that involve the brain and every single one of them is different.

It reminds me when people say that they are “holding out cancer treatment to the public for money” and that’s just not how it works. Every single cancer needs to be treated differently, and one area the above is useful is in brain tumors and how can we get through the BBB using nanotechnology. That’s cancer research. They aren’t withholding it. It just takes forever to get these drugs to trial and technology is slowly (while also quickly) advancing to restructure clinical trials to be faster but remain safe. 

There is a GRAVE misnomer that anxiety / depression is a “chemical imbalance.” I’m not saying that it’s not, but there is no testing at this time to test your “chemical imbalance” and most of the time when you go the doctor, they are going to put you on the first recommended drug in the class of SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). But do you know that you have a serotonin issue? Probably not. What if yours is dopamine or both or norepinephrine or GABA or your inability to control your amygdala or your habit loops in your striatum that causes you to always reach for the XYZ addictive habit that then causes anxiety? It’s.so.complex. So, within that, you just need to be self aware when you begin these medications. If you do not feel that they are working for you, then it’s okay to let your physician know that. It might not mean that there is something else for you to take, but it might also mean that you shouldn’t experience possible side effects from a drug that doesn’t work for you. 

I should probably link up some studies so you trust what I say, but bibliographies are for science class, and I'm just not about all that work! LOL! If you have a specific one you'd like to know though, I can totally find it for you! ha! 

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My Journey Out of Madness Part 1

Yesterday, as I've done tons of times over the past year, I told Tanner that I missed blogging and honestly for no other reason than I just love to write. I am finally feeling free enough to begin sharing what's in today's blog .. 

My life has been a whirlwind of sorts the past two years and so much so that I feel like it's just redundant to keep talking about it, but that's just how this situation has been. It's felt completely out of my control, but with seeking help and not being afraid of getting the right medication, I feel like I'm on the up and up. I plan to share about my journey into madness the past two years that has been quite bizarre to say the least, but I have learned a lot about myself and now that I feel like my head is no longer on fire with my new medication, I can see clearly like myself again. 

 this is the real katie - not the pretend smiling katie <3 

this is the real katie - not the pretend smiling katie <3 

This is why I always encourage others and my patients that sometimes if you are started on something and aren't feeling the effects then it might mean that the specific neurotransmitter that that particular drug is working on is not your issue. Most frequently, the anti-anxiety / depression medications work on serotonin or dopamine, but I actually think that I was having an issue with GABA (which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter). I have started taking something that increases GABA and it has literally felt like night and day. 

I'm acting like myself again. I'm passionate like before about just living life. I'm motivated in my home life and in my work life. I'm not waking up saying TODAY IS THE DAY THAT I'M GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, because that's not needed. It's not this back and forth. It's just STABLE. It's not empty promises. It's been the real deal. The only thing that I've been able to really commit to over the past year was the reading I've done. I was able to fill the spaces in my head with something other than what was transpiring..

I've always been pretty open about my journey but all of this has remained very vague because I honestly just have not been able to figure out exactly what was even happening to me. I became very afraid to even be in relationships with people period. It's also weird to share because I think that the brain is plastic and neuroplasticity is real and that people can work themselves out of situations and because I'm such a hard worker, I really just got annoyed at myself. SNAP THE F*** OUT OF THIS KATIE. I also think that once you admit to having gone through something of this nature, there is forever a scarlett letter put on your name and that scared me. It all scared me. 

I kept coming back and forth into this space because I didn't feel that the words I could even put together could convey what my brain was doing day to day and many days I would come home from work and just wander around my house for hours doing nothing. I also don't mean a productive nothing like catching up on Netflix, but rather a toxic sludge of walking from room to room just to fill spaces and time and being super weird then going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 6am in shame of not knowing who this person was and who she had let herself become from the vibrant life I used to live. 

I got myself in the state of negativity and pessimism about the things I couldn't control and wasn't seeing progress even though I was trying very hard, and then being more upset about that even on the days where I did feel like myself because I felt this was something that I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. I questioned if I had become schizophrenic or bipolar on the bad days, but then realized on the good days that I was over exaggerating symptoms and that wasn't the case. 

I sought out therapists and just kept getting more frustrated (not that there aren't really good ones but my specific issues-it just wasn't working out), and then I finally sought out psychiatry which I wish I had done far sooner. My symptoms not only manifested in this mental way but also started manifesting in physical ways (i.e. all of the crazy crazy GI symptoms that led me into the ER and having free fluid in my interstitium that they never did identify through testing). My labs were whacked up, and they sent me to a hematologist who confirmed I did not have a blood disorder or cancer. He took 11 vials of blood on me, testing for everything from copper deficiency to a full in depth hormone panel (yes yall, this was INCREDIBLY expensive, but I was getting desperate). I fully believe that ALL of this has been connected, and also connects to how bad my chronic constipation had become. Which came first-the chicken or the egg? 

The enteric nervous system that runs the entire length of the vagal nerve connects from the brainstem to the intestines, so was my chronic constipation that caused me to slip into this, or was my constipation made worse from all of the mental issues I was having. This doesn't take into account the habits that I had formed that I was now on a circuitry loop that every day I was trying to break in conjunction with food for the most part. There's no specific behaviors I can address here other than just that it was all across the board of dysfunction. It would take another blog to explain. This also didn't take into account my environment, how much I have changed in the "political" space with my geographical location, and also that I had quit Katiesfitscript and felt an extremely low level of passion and creativity towards anything. I've always been a go getter, and all I wanted to do was quit everything. That's why running races was an absolute no-go.

The reasons I left KFS are now actually comical because I would never ever stop running a company due to engagement and what others were saying. Like, wow, I cannot even believe I let people win in that manner. But that was the course that I chose for myself, and so I had to continue reconciling that with myself. I rebranded so that I could start fresh, and I will continue to transition what I'm doing on the side to more professional consulting and wanting to do a program with modules, but all of that just takes time and I want to do it well. I would love to start a podcast, but I know that if I have found it hard to keep up with my blog due to everything that has transpired then I don't want to make another promise that I can't keep.

I would love to tell you about this a-ha moment that I woke up one day and all of this went away. That would be a lie. I would like to tell (with everything in me) that I'm not going to have any more "spells" but I'm so afraid to tell the ones I love (aka Tanner) that he won't ever see me down again because I've made that promise too many times. It's very odd to mean something with every ounce of your being, and then to find yourself there again. That's how I know that this malfunction in my brain was NOT me. I don't know that girl, and I hope to never see her again. 

I'm hopeful today. I'm coming into my 29th birthday on Thursday and I have made the loop. I can continue to show awareness for something that happened to me, while also letting it go. I truly believe that, or I certainly wouldn't be writing this blog. I remember crying on my insta story (ha that's embarrassing) on my 28th birthday and saying that it had been the hardest year of my life, and I realized last night that it took me another full year to figure this out in as much as I have at this point. 

I think that's what gets us all through life - faith, hope, and love - hope that one day, no matter how bad it gets, we will figure it out. Never stop fighting if you experience something of this nature or if you know of someone who has. 

There are a million different micronutrients, neurotransmitters, and processes of the body that could be of. Don't just bury your head in the sand and think that you can't figure yours out. You can. And I haven't fully, but I will never lay down. I will never give up. 

But today I'm Katie, and that's enough for me. 

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Life long deliberate practice

So you guys know that I love to read. 

Well, there are certain books that really touch me and one of those was called "Peak" by K. Anders Ericsson. The gist of the book is this: 

Talent is not a thing. We are all set up to be able to succeed at anything that we want to. Every single person that has ever been a prodigy is someone who had parents that started them young, they became interested, and then they practiced that over and over. Not all practice is created equal, and DELIBERATE practice is what is needed. Deliberate practice is simply doing the things that you aren't necessarily good at. It's all about doing the hard stuff to lead to the changing of the physical body, athletic pursuit, or mental capacity. So, YOU, my friend, can be the next prodigy! :) 

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National Geographic put out a magazine this week called "The Science of Genius" and because it's $13.99, I just read it in line every time I go to the grocery store because I'm a thief, but I digress. I haven't made it all the way through (ha), but they present some different ideas around the cognitive functions of those that have become famous for their brains in all kinds of different areas. Einstein is the #1 known genius for the most part, but he is obviously not the only one, and his specialty was mathematics and theoretical physics. That's not my specialty, nom sayin? ;) But that doesn't mean that you or I can't be geniuses. My husband used to tell me this all the time, and I just always was like "blah blah thanks for the back handed compliment" but I'm starting to see the validity. 

We all have gifts, and those preferences and things that spark our interests started when we were very young. Many times we actually leave those things because that's not what is expected of us as we march through our little "narratives" that we call our lives. That's what I've found so hard the past two years. I started to realize that I felt like I wasn't beating to my own drum, but rather the drum that I had just kinda fell into because I was trying to be this perfect little member of everything that I had been taught. But was that me? Maybe it really was. Maybe it wasn't. Is there even a real me or was it just a collection of experiences even up until yesterday that have come together to form the thoughts that I have? So basically, what should I pursue in terms of deliberate practice? What was my interest? I've realized I'm actually a person who likes to be able to label myself. ha. I'M A VEGAN. I'M A RUNNER. I'M A PHARMACIST. I'M A READER. Like, girl-chill. Just do your thing. LOL! So, apologies in advance for when I know I'll do it over and over again! 

The reason that I say that is because it has been hard for me to figure out where I wanted to put my deliberate practice. When you are working for someone or something, there are many different avenues within that sector that could be your specialty, or it might be that you want to put your deliberate practice into your hobby? I know that it shouldn't be this complicated, but I also think that it would be really cool to look back in 30 years and know that you got down in the muck. You got down into the nitty gritty of something when it was hard and you didn't know, and you were embarrassed by just how little you knew, and THEN you conquered it. That's what deliberate practice is all about.

It's about not becoming complacent with the areas in your life that you can improve, and not getting upset when a coworker or boss calls you out on it. And not being afraid to say that you're sorry but that you can promise that you'll do better. It's not shaming yourself but about showing up. It's about cultivating a life of patience because it's not about having the highest paycheck by next week. It's not about getting through school as fast as you can and cramming it all in just to pay student loans and work the 9-5. It's about figuring out what you love the most, and literally committing your very existence to it. 

Some will say that this is too much. And that's fine also. We all were made for different things. That's those things in the beginning that I meant we all position ourselves even in childhood towards these things, but one thing that I let myself believe is that I needed to be less serious about my career because that wasn't accepted. You have to care about people, and "rest more". It actually became quite toxic for me because it was a narrative I heard constantly. Working hard and deliberate practice and grit are seen as a good thing when we look back at what someone has accomplished, but when you see someone in the every day, they are deemed obsessive, etc etc. You get the point. 

There is nothing that I have loved more than dissolving myself in the deliberate practice of knowledge; taking the things that I did not know and learning about them in in all of their intricacies. I don't know which direction that I want to head right now with my "mastery through deliberate practice" which is just jargon that's used, but that I'm just continually learning every single day. The other thing I couldn't love more is increasing athletic pursuits. This year has been a restful year, and I know that all of that in and of itself is deliberate practice of something that I wasn't good at, and it all comes full circle. 

You ARE capable. Take your weaknesses and work every day until you turn them into your strengths. Never back down. But make sure that you are working on the hard stuff. Do the interval training. Do the long nights after work studying. It WILL pay off, and I don't mean in the ways of a paycheck but in the reward of knowing that you gave something your all because you loved it. And if you don't love it, then you literally should stop tomorrow.

Fun New Reads: 

  • The Longevity Book - Cameron Diaz 
  • Originals - Adam Grant 
  • QxMd - App on phone and online - geeking out over all the new studies that are published (https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29053995/effects-of-a-whey-protein-supplementation-on-oxidative-stress-body-composition-and-glucose-metabolism-among-overweight-people-affected-by-diabetes-mellitus-or-impaired-fasting-glucose-a-pilot-study)
  • Social Science Research Network - I populate to "Date Descending" and read all the newest! Here's a fun one about how to prosecute criminals using neuroscience with mental illness (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3233438)

Newest Fan Girl: 

  • Elizabeth Nance - directs lab at the University of Washington (where she is a professor) on nanotechnology for the development of neurodevelopment and psychiatric disease states. She was named Forbes 30 under 30 in science (she's 29) and is from Charlotte. She might be one of the most inspiring people in science to me period. Here's a podcast she did with STEM Talk. https://www.ihmc.us/stemtalk/episode-71/

Favorite Podcast: 

  • STEM Talk 
  • Model Health Show 
  • Learn True Health 

Hope those are new fun things for you to explore! Let me know your favorites. I'm always looking for new ones! 

 

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Reading Challenge - 100 Books Organized

So, I always get a lot of questions with this challenge. One of those is: HOW? The next of course is: WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND? 

I'd like to go ahead and put it out there that everyone is so different. The books that I enjoy, I'd almost bet that most people might NOT enjoy. I have a total of 14 fiction books of the entire 100 so as you can see, I lend myself towards nonfiction. There were also 7 thrillers (so 20 total fiction). 

I always read in circles, and what I mean by that is that I always keep a good fictional book on reserve for when my brain is like 'okay I need a break' and usually one down and I'm ready for learning some stuff again. I have broken down the non fiction on this list into different categories to hopefully help place things. It's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to give recommendations because it's 100 books, and if I'm going to pick 'top 10' then it almost needs to be like the top ones in the nonfictional categories and then the top of the fiction because otherwise it's just not fair. haha! 

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How do I read so much? Well, it's what I do all the time. I don't reserve reading for down time or leisure. Reading happens on my busiest days. Kindle is on my phone and when I'm in line anywhere I pull it out. When I'm in my car, I actually never listen to the radio anymore, I only listen to educational podcasts. As some know, I read on the treadmill during speed workouts and slow workouts. I really do recommendation giving your eyes a CHANCE. Every single person says "OMG NO WAY!" but how about giving yourself a hot minute to TRY! Let your eyes adjust to the bounce and I promise you, it's not hard. Put your kindle on large print if needed. It's weird at first, but it makes the miles fly by and you're reading. Every day when I get home from work before I make dinner, I read for another hour. I also read before bed. I don't have kids, so I understand not everyone has those luxuries, but just sharing what I do. On the weekends, I read like 3 hours at a time. Most people don't WANT to do that. haha! But I just enjoy it .. alot. I feel like I'm traveling all over the world while I read. It's a blast. haha! I don't really have friends that I hang with on a regular basis..like at all. It really is okay. DO NOT PITY ME. I PREFER THIS. Society is set up where we are like 'aw poor katie' and I'm like 'NO. BUMP.THAT.' I love my friends but I enjoy my reading. IT'S OKKKKKAYYYYY.

Lastly, if I don't like a book, I drop it .. IMMEDIATELY. Aint nobody got time for reading pages that aren't worth it. There are approximately 129,864,880 books in circulation right now accordingly to Google and way too many that I want to read so if I don't like it a lot, I'm not reading it. I'm also really selective because of my habit, I know that I only have so much time in my entire life to read, so I want to read books I enjoy. I've done blogs on how I don't spend tons of money to do this..like at all. My local library is my best friend! I know the lady who orders the books so if I want one, I just ask. Meet that lady at your local lib ;) 

Okay, here goes the categories. I'm going to bold the ones within them that I think are the best. Ugh, this is tough. I'm not giving any explanations of what they are about or reviews and JUST the names this time. This is ONLY inclusive of the 100. I have read 168 since last July and some of those would be in my top 10 period, so I hate that. I'll add those another time haha!

 

FICTION

  • Lilac Girls 
  • The Light We Lost 
  • The Book of Essie
  • Rainbirds
  • The Girl who Smiled Beads
  • The Nightingale
  • The Rules Do Not Apply
  • An American Marriage 
  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • The Great Alone
  • Sing Unburied Sing
  • Reconstructing Amelia 
  • Goldfinch
  • The Alice Network

PHILOSOPHY

  • On the Shortness of Life
  • The Alchemist

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR

  • Harry - Love, Life, and Loss
  • Love Ellen
  • A Lap Around Alaska
  • Walden on Wheels
  • Brave
  • Beautiful Boy
  • Reluctant Hero
  • Why Not Me
  • Dear Ijeawele
  • Girl Boss
  • I know why the caged Bird Sings

POETRY

  • Love Her Wild
  • Sun and her flowers

NONFICTION

RUNNING-

  • What I talk about when I talk about running
  • Once a Runner
  • Why we run

RELIGION-

  • Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion
  • An Appeal to The world 
  • Science in the Soul
  • Grace without God

ANTI DIET ACTIVISM-

  • Letting Go of Leo
  • Health at every size
  • Things no one tells fat girls
  • Body Kindness

SOCIAL SCIENCE/BEHAVIOR

(this is my favorite topic!!-as you'll see by so many bolded ha) 

  • Tipping Point
  • Sway
  • Drive
  • Peak
  • Blindspot
  • Mindshift
  • Headstrong
  • Braving the Wilderness
  • Option B
  • Lean In
  • Quiet
  • Blink
  • What Makes Your Brain Happy
  • Other Side of Normal
  • Sleep Revolution
  • The Brain Has a Mind of It's Own 

THRILLER

 

  • The Woman in the Window

  • What She Knew 

  • The Husbands Secret

  • Room

  • Still Missing

  • Left Neglected

  • All the Missing Girls

 

SPIRITUAL

  • The Unbound Soul
  • Wherever You go there you are
  • Be Low Now
  • The Lost Art of Compassion
  • The Universe Has Your Back
  • The Power of Now
  • Uninvited
  • Troublemaker
  • Year of Yes
  • Talking as fast as I can 
  • I am Malala
  • Wonderlust
  • A River in Darkness
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains 
  • Bringing Adam Home 
 
 

POLITICS - 

  • Renegade
  • Unbelieveable
  • What Happened

HABITS-

  • Habit Blueprint
  • Manage Your Day to Day
  • Better Than Before
  • Happiness Project
  • (Power of Habit-was before this challenge but MUST read before others)

SCIENCE -

(some of these kinda incorrectly in this bucket and didn't know where to put them)

  • Laws of Medicine

  • Sex at Dawn
  • Homo Deus
  • Nutrient Power
  • The Tell-Tale Brain
  • NASM-CPT book 
  • The Sixth Extinction

YOUNG ADULT (love)

  • Matilda
  • Paper Towns
  • Turtles All the Way Down
  • Wrinkle in Time

MISCELLANEOUS 

  • Convicting Avery 
  • Committed
  • Blockchain Revolution
  • Ground Rules (Warren Buffet)

I really hope that this helps you to find some books of your own to enjoy! I will try to do some reviews of each ones and I'm sure the ones that are meaningful to me, I'll keep bringing up. I think I'll also organize the other 68 plus the extra ones that I read the remainder of this year in a similar post because like I said, there are some gems there such as : Grit, Power of Habit, Untethered Soul, The China Study, The Subtle Art of Not giving a F*, The New Jim Crow, The Gene, When Breath Becomes Air, The Glass Castle, Being Mortal, and The Surrender Experiment (READ ALL OF THOSE haha)! 

HAPPY READING YALL!! YOU CAN DO IT. JUST LIKE ANYTHING, YOU MAKE THE TIME!! As I read about in 'On the Shortness of Life', we just all wander around in idle busyness just to be able to say we are 'doing the things'. There's so many things that we volunteer for that we don't have passion for or we commit to when it's not our place and then we wonder why we are all so frazzled. OWN YOUR TIME. OWN YOUR LIFE. <3

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Self determination theory

While the title is a little out there, I want this blog post to be about motivation and how to achieve the goals that you set for yourself. 

The self determination theory is more based around the social aspect of motivation and how that plays such a larger role than we realize. In society at large, we all put ourselves into our perspective boxes and have labels associated with that therefore if you are trying to make a change for your life, you are having to put on a new identity and if that is not something that is easily put into your life, then it's going to be hard to implement those different goals.

For the most part, in every area that I've worked in, the issue is not with the actual nature of the client. It's not about whether a person wants a change or not. They can even recognize that there are hard things that have to be done within that to make that change, however they seem to feel like they are always coming up short and not able to truly implement these changes into their lives.

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I have realized how irresponsible and pointless it is to just "motivate and encourage" someone. It's important to really get to the root of what is going on. There is ALWAYS something going on. What are the triggers in the way of someone making that behavior change? What is the emotions that lead to the self destruction? And why do the things that we think will work to help keep us motivated NOT WORKING?! We lead into self guilt and self shame, and this is SO FLAWED. When has that ever served us? It never does and it never will, and it truly is not always your fault.

There are absolutely the people who are just making excuses, but 99% of the time, I have found that each individual person WANTS to change. The single biggest things for change are:

1. Understanding how habit change works

2. Recognizing your triggers

3. Replacing those triggers with something else

4. Being REALISTIC

5. Making something part of your identity and your social structure

I think that when I say the word "trigger", we automatically put that towards something like health and fitness and most frequently with binge eating, but that's not what I'm referring to at all. I actually would love for this blog to shift away from things being so heavily focused on diet culture. I simply want to help people live better lives in all areas, and there are many things that we do that are self destructive that are introduced through triggers. Triggers are essentially habits, and the habit loop starts with that particular item.

The fifth item that I mentioned can also be used to lead someone to damaging behaviors. I DO NOT mean "lifestyle change" as if your lifestyle needs to suddenly be restriction. That is not a lifestyle change that anyone should have, but if you are someone that truly feels like they are doing something destructive, then it has to become something you say "I am not that person" VS "I'm going to try to restrain myself from that particular activity or thing".

For example, in order for me to become more mindful and live more consciously, which is a goal of mine to be more present vs judging myself on the past, then I have to say "I am someone who is positive and looking at the current moment and the joy in this moment. That is who I am. I am no longer going to obsessively ruminate." I truly am an obsessive ruminator (aka I am too hard on myself-most specifically the things that I say, the things that I do, and the way that I treat people).

I do want to lead this back into wellness changes because the patients that I specifically see are those that are diabetic that struggle with this the most. Shelby is a culture of the land of plenty for palatable foods with no convenience of healthy options anywhere really. The culture is steeped in diet culture specifically in the rejection of diet culture without even realizing it. From a very young age, it is not within culture to eat well therefore any attempt at "getting healthy" is a temporary quick fix as fast as possible VS deconstruction and working towards making a more balanced approach a sustainable part of the self. 

All of this is based on psychosocial things, but then we have to look at the way that these highly palatable foods affect us cognitively and through certain neurotransmitter pathways as well as the way that our microbiome is formed from childhood. Eating is considered the most complex human function, and even harder to study in clinical trials because everyone is so different. 

Virta Health is a company that exploded due to their "ability to reverse diabetes" and they are based on the keto approach. Keto works, and not just because it's low carb, but many other processes that work towards insulin sensitivity. The data is compelling, but the study shown is a 10 week study. That's all well and good, but is this something that these patients are going to do for the rest of their life and if not, then what have we accomplished? That's absolutely not reversal of diabetes. And it's not about making people change their "lifestyle" to the keto diet. That's just insane to ever expect someone to do so. 

So, how do we mesh all this? I don't know. But it's more complex and complicated than we can really piece together right now so I truthfully believe the one approach we should stay away from is "this way or the highway." 

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Abelism, Intersectionality and Fitness

This is something that I've thought on for a good bit as I ponder about the intersectionality and the exclusivity of fitness. Are we being inclusive of those around us that would love to be able to participate in fitness but aren't able to do so? When I first began in the fitness and health space, it was all about extremes and tbh, I still venture into that space. I think how ridiculous that is now just thinking of those that may find it hard to run one mile PERIOD. Marathon runners might post an instagram story of "only 3 miles today" and I just think "NO BE PROUD OF THAT!" We are ALL at different points and I want to celebrate everyone. 

As I stepped away this year and started seeing others who were doing the things that I was doing before, I just started thinking about how I wasn't really able to do those things (albeit because of some seemingly choices of my own doing), but what about those that weren't choosing to have to sit on the sidelines? What about someone who had their entire identity in a sport and then got injured? What about someone who has MS? Or someone who was born with a congenital birth defect and paralyzed from the waist down and doesn't even know what running feels like? 

Do we think about the fact that black women must feel so out of place when they show up to marathons to the sea of white runners? I cannot even fathom what it would feel like as I sync into the start line with everyone that looks exactly like me. 

If someone is not able to physically run, and they would like to take care of their physical health, how can we help them to do so? But while we are helping them to be able to feel like they can participate, how do we make it so that they ACTUALLY feel normal because no one wants to be someone's little 'project'. They simply want a safe space to be able to take care of their body just the same as you or me and for someone to not call them "brave" by doing so. 

When we speak self love and companies reach towards campaigns that are inclusive of everyone, I do think about those in wheel chairs and how it must be so hard to maintain a healthy life (if they so desire to do so). 

My heart breaks for the girls with eating disorders who are rampant in the fitness space while at the same time not allowed there. They most likely WANT to be able to run marathons but yet can't seem to figure out how to fuel their bodies appropriately to be able to do so and when they go through recovery are basically told to be very careful to ever be into hardcore fitness. 

I think that it's important that we think about the ways in which we are privileged to perform different fitness regimens and activities and how those around us might not be able to. I think it's also VITALLY important that we don't afix a moral value to health and fitness and that it is PERFECTLY okay if someone is not interested PERIOD. End of story. There is no slap on the wrist for this.

These are simply thoughts that I ponder and I've never actually met someone who was in a wheelchair that had an interest in fitness, and I have to wonder, is that because of shame or because of actual general interest or simply just a sheltered life? 

I also think about bodies that might be larger but are in the pear shape and how that's more culturally appealing than someone who might be larger with a pear shape or spongebob shape. We see many pages that are body positive but MOST of the time, they still fit the beauty standards and the beauty ideals with an hour glass shape, big booties, and curves. 

I'm learning SO SO much about the areas of oppression and the areas of privilege in our society and watching very carefully and trying to be mindful. I have always been thin, so I have never experienced the things that my clients tell me they have experienced that I work with in Shelby. It makes me sad.

If the word intersectionality means nothing to you, it's just basically the crossing between gender, race, culture, and anything that you identify as and how all of those play on one another for the person that you have become based on the experiences that you have had and the way that you've been treated. For example, a black African American female who is lesbian is going to have an entirely different outlook on health and wellness than I will as a white Caucasian heterosexual female. 

I want everyone to know that they are welcome here on this blog and hopefully I can shed some light in these spaces for anyone and everyone that they can find useful to put into practice in their lives. I truthfully like to open up my eyes if I spoke in the wrong way on this blog post. If you are someone that knows more about this space, then feel free to comment or email me at katiesfitscript@gmail.com. I'm all ears and want to learn how to be more inclusive. Thank you for reading my stream of consciousness today! <3

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Birth Control / Hormones / Amenorrhea

Many of the posts that I want to do, I want to keep simple and to the point. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed with information, but rather have practical take home tips for topics that hopefully are relevant to your life. Here are some common themes that come up in female athletes: 

  • Primary Amenorrhea - not having your period by the age of puberty because of a possible issue whether that's anatomical or medical in nature
  • Secondary amenorrhea - due to some stressor your hypothalamus recognizes this and regulates these hormones and in order to conserve energy, you stop menstrating.
  • Secondary is most commonly seen in athletes where their body fat percentage is too low, or they are exercising too much (female athlete triad). You might be someone without a period, but you feel your body fat is high enough. This could mean that you simply have stressors in other areas.
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Amenorrhea is a state of stress essentially on your body so that it conserves energy in that particular area. Make sure that you are taking care of all of those areas.

Make sure that you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you say that you need less than that personally, then you need to read the book Sleep Revolution. It is your evolutionary design that you do in fact need that many hours.

If you have a high stress job, maybe start meditating, or maybe quit your job (lol-idk maybe not). If you have a high stress life, make sure that you are going on walks and taking time for yourself.

Also work on your exercise and eating habits. Don't just start binge eating. That's also stressful on your body and raises your cortisol level. Make sure that you are eating quality fats (unsaturated- walnuts, avocados, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, almonds, whole fat yogurt), and that your calories are sufficient for you. If you are maintaining weight, then maybe slowly increase your calories each week in a reverse diet fashion if it's psychologically hard for you to increase calories. Typically, women that are in this situation might have a relationship with food. In order to DECREASE stress, you also have to take that into account and not just throwing caution to the wind and eating ad libitum. 

Let's recap: 

  • Sleep 7-9 hours 
  • Meditate / Practice mindfulness / Take care of mental health 
  • Eat sufficient calories increasing slowly if need be 
  • Eat good quality fats for hormonal health 
  • Slowly decrease exercise or quit exercise entirely if possible 

Potential Medical Issues

The issues that arise from not having a period are predominantly these three issues (THIS IS NOT ALL OF THEM - I AM HITTING THE HIGHLIGHTS): 

  • bone mineral density  
  • increased risk of endometrial cancer 
  • infertility 

Humans by psychological nature and the way that our brains work do not predict well into the future and don't prepare well for it. Here is a LONG paper about the 'predictive brain'. The reason that I bring this up is because all of these issues are not symptoms that you will see on the forefront. They are issues that could come up later. It's possible that as an athlete, you've had a set back of a stress fracture, but for the most part, you won't really know about osteoporosis, mutating cells on the lining of your uterus and the possibility of infertility until you are trying for children, so these may not be things that you find to be of issue. It's the same attitude that is seen in diabetic patients that could develop kidney disease. We all make decisions and evaluations about our health every day based on our predictive brain, which humans inherently SUCK AT, so try to not do that! ;) 

I wrote this article about not panicking if you don't have a period and I got a lot of heat about it. I want to revisit that topic and explain what the purpose of that blog was. WE CAN'T BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. We have to take our health seriously, and this is a very important issue, but when you don't know the details, you think that you are going to wake up with cancer tomorrow, and that's not helping anyone. It's important that we ease OUT of stress, and not back into it. That's all I meant by that. WE WANT THOSE PERIODS LADIES! 

Hormone Testing

I personally think that this is a good idea because it can give you a good picture of where you are at. Here is a FANTASTICCCC chart on the testing for secondary that a physician would follow, but the four hormones that you want to get checked out to make sure that everything is lined up is FSH, LSH, estrogen, and progesterone. Depending on where you are in the spectrum of values within those can help you to determine how "off" things might be and where to go from there. I highly recommend going to see your OBGYN for this as she will best be able to guide you through this process. 

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If you want to read this article in full, it's great so here is that about ameorrhea analysis and treatment: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0415/p1374.html

You want to understand the process of how your hormones shift throughout the month and how that affects you, your moods, your digestion, and your performance. It really does all tie together, and so I wrote this article in reference to that.

I did however want to explain what happens with FSH, LSH, estrogen, and progesterone. 

When estrogen starts to increase during your follicular phase, your body will also stop producing as much FSH and switch to LH (lutenizing hormone). When your LH starts to increase, you will have a surge and this is the 48 hour window (ish) of ovulation when it's best to try for pregnancy. You will then produce progesterone, which is helpful for pregnancy. When you do not get pregnant, the lining tissue of your uterus will shed, and then your progesterone will decrease, estrogen increasing, and this will start the process again. You can monitor your temperature and your LH throughout one month to get a picture of when you are ovulating, and also the number of days of your cycle as everyone can be different (typically 28 days).

If you have extreme period cramps or symptoms, this could mean that something is off within those hormones as well so it's important to work towards regulation of that and not just accept that your period weeks are the death of you! ;) It is also of note that even if you are not having a period, you can still have period like symptoms, but your body is still conserving energy to not produce the actual bleeding. It is important to get your anatomy and labs checked by your OBGYN to make sure that there is not a bigger issue at hand, and I recommend reading the book "No Period Now What"  which is so extensive and broken down in language that is easy to understand.

Birth Control 

The biggest take home with birth control, as most know at this point in 2018 is that it's a 'false period'. The pro of birth control if you are not having a period is that it can help with the uterine wall thickening and endometrial cancer, however I believe that it's important to work through the other parameters first and foremost and try to get one naturally.

If you just DO NOT plan on doing that, then it's important that you get on birth control. I will relate this again back to my diabetic patients. I wish like everything that dietary and lifestyle changes could be made and we work towards that, but it might be something that the person is not willing to do at that time and in that case, they might need to go on Metformin or start insulin therapy. So, as a clinician, that needs to be evaluated individually with the patient. 

LETS GET TO MENSTRATING ;)

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NASM-CPT Exam

I wanted to pop on here and tell what the exam studying and the exam itself were like! 

First off, I want to throw in some encouragement for you. No matter how smart or not smart you think you are, you are CAPABLE of passing any exam at any time. I'm not saying this exam is super duper hard. I just want to encourage you that no matter your profession, no matter how hard the test is, if you put the practice in through deliberation, you WILL pass. This podcast by Seth Godin sums up quickly how I feel on this topic in his podcast, Genius. I also recommend reading the book "Peak" by Anders Ericsson for more of the science behind this. 

So, first, is the NASM exam "hard"? Well, how much do you want to learn the material? It's really not that bad if you just learn it. They are very straight forward with what they want you to know. The beginning of the book can seem very overwhelming if you don't have a scientific background but once you get into it, you realize they don't expect you to know all of that science-y stuff for the exam, so don't panic. 

What did I purchase? 

I got it on sale during Christmas, and when I look back, I see that I actually was able to get the guided study for $530 if I'm not mistaken. I'm a little confused because I really thought I just got the self study, but I got a hard copy of the textbook, so I don't really know. I did not get anatomy flash cards though or a live workshop, so I legit think that they accidentally sent me a book. LOL! If you can get the hardcover version of the book then I highly recommend it, because I really like that and there's also research to show that we don't learn as well if just looking at it online. Maybe you could do the self guided study and then purchase the book elsewhere (you can add it for $50 but dang - that's a lot-sorry I'm not help lol). HERE's that link. I also see that they are always having sales and some are even cheaper than what I paid.

What else will you need? 

You want to make sure to know that you will have to get CPR/AED certified. I luckily had this from pharmacy stuff, so I didn't have to get that. I took my passport to the test because you have to have some other form of ID, so just make sure you have one of those. The day of the test, they won't allow you to bring your materials into the exam. Get there early because I had to wait 45 minutes just to get through the line of people signing you in. Those that got there early were able to start before the 10am slot. 

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How did I study? 

I read the book in it's entirety twice. I knew I planned to take the entire 6 months and do things very slow. I read 20 pages per day the first time I read it through back in Jan and it's a 600 page book, so it took me only one month. I didn't take notes then. I just read it. 

After that, I went through all of the online materials little by little each day whenever I got like 15 minutes - I'd just watch one video and slowly worked my way through. After that, I read the book again but this time, I had a little more understanding of what was going on. The second time that I went through the book, I wrote down notes that I felt were both in the book and the videos. 

When I completed each module, I would take the practice quiz with the online materials. If I missed a question, I didn't worry about that ONE question. I just wrote down that particular topic and made sure that I understood it. I created imagery in my head to UNDERSTAND. I did not memorize except for a few topics. 

After I had read through the book twice, went through all of the materials, made notes, and watched the videos-I took the online practice exam. I wanted a raw but real vision of how I would do. I got like an 85% but I knew there were TONS of areas I needed to address. Things started to come full circle of exactly what they WANTED me to know, so I knew what to focus on. 

The things that I memorized: 

I am not a fan of memorization as I have studied a lot about the process of learning throughout the past year, and I memorized a lot in pharmacy school and felt that I didn't do well and didn't learn well. It was all about deliberately working to understand the material. However, I think that memorizing many of the charts can be really helpful. However, while I memorized them, I also though through why they were what they were. 

But I did memorize the Assessment Charts for overhead squat, single leg squat, and gait assessments. For example, if you are doing an overhead squat and your knee goes inward, this is an indication that you might have imbalances in certain areas. I would walk through those imbalances saying "Oh well that makes sense that the adductor would be overactive in this situation", but then each day as the test got closer, I'd go memorization practices for 5-10 minutes each morning. 

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What was the exam like? 

It's 120 questions, and the material was what I expected. To be honest, the only questions that I had on any of the questions were questions that I just thought were terrible questions and could have multiple answers or the answer wasn't there at all. This is not because of not studying the material. This is just my opinions on that material. haha! It took me 45 minutes to complete in full. It was held at a PSI center and I had to wait 45 minutes until they let me back. WHOMP. But they had computer issues and two people out, so that's probably rare to happen on the norm. 

It's a lot of material and I don't want to make it out like it's not. I really enjoy learning and I am very type A on studying material, soooo it's always hard for me to assess just how hard something is because I'm not going to stop studying until it's my second language. But you can do that same thing as well! :) 

What's my plan moving forward? 

I am going to start training locally at the YMCA and also hopefully at the Rock which is a local gym here that has 24 assess. I also am going to do online coaching for whoever wants to hire me (cough cough). I already have such a system going with my other clients that I'll utilize the same systems to a degree that I use with my run coaching and nutrition coaching. I will be doing both run coaching solo, personal training solo, and the combined if someone wants to do hybrid athlete training. 

I also would like to continue my efforts of deliberate study of exercise science and nutrition. I felt this was a good place to start, but I have subscribed to the American Journal of Sports Medicine to watch as new information comes out on the proper way of training. 

Model used by NASM: 

For this test, they will teach you about the OPT model that was developed out of UNC Chapel Hill actually. It focused on stabilization & neuromuscular efficiency moving into hypertrophy into maximal strength and then finally into power. It's a step wise process utilizing warm ups, stretching, flexibility continuums, speed, quickness, agility training and then resistance training followed by the cool down and the reason that you want to do it this way. 

While NASM is very reputable, I want to make sure that as the new science comes out, I'm up to date on the appropriate way to train clients.

I honestly studied really well for this test and not in a bragging way but just that I took it slowwww and steady and did a little bit each day or week throughout the six months making it to where I was never overwhelmed at any time :) 

Hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions and I'm more than happy to help you! 

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Non fiction Book Reviews

I've read some great ones lately, and I wanted to share! Let's get right to the goods! 

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Mindshift

This is a book about "second skilling" and lifelong learning. It was written by the creator of MOOC (massive open online course), and talks about how important it is for us to continually be learning not just for job security but just for overall health and happiness. Learning is such an exploration and adventure, and this book really drives it home just how valuable it is as a society. Here is a link to the MOOC that I've mentioned before. I'm taking a course on Blockchain Technology starting in September. We shall see how that goes. Probably will be a hot mess, but we shall see if I can second skill up in here ;) 

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Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom

Honestly, this book was life changing for me. Man, I've read some good ones lately, and also I've read some bad ones. lol. But this is about a guy who works his a** off to pay off 32,000 in debt of student loans with a $8/hour job because he couldn't get anything else even after going to college. He went back to Duke for his PhD and lived out of his car. It was so so inspiring to 1) pay off debt no matter what it takes 2) live life by YOUR happiness not what the world expects of you. I LOVED THIS BOOK. 

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The Sleep Revolution

This is a book about the importance of sleep. Shocker, I know. But I don't think that ANY of us realize how important it is. We all act like it's okay to sleep less than 7 hours night after night, and it's just NOT. Thankfully, this is an area I've always been adamant about. I'm a huge sleeper, and if you read this, I think you'll want to start being one too. Crazy stuff. Our entire health from childhood into adulthood DEPENDS on every single night getting that 8 hours. It's so important.

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Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Oh, I just loved this one. It's all about how nothing is related to talent. It all goes back to deliberate practice. It was so inspiring because it shows me that no matter what the task at hand- if I want it, I can achieve it even at my age through deliberate practice. It's all about putting in the time and learning / training appropriately. Super inspiring to chase your dreams! 

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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

This is a father's story of his son's addiction to meth and the ins and outs of being the loved one of someone with this kind of disorder. It consumes every aspect of everyone's life and it's just very hard. It also talks a lot about what leads someone to end up doing drugs that might even be part of their genetics. Thinking of those who have someone in their family with addiction. It's a hard road. 

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Things No One will tell Fat Girls

This is another book in the intuitive eating / health at every size / social justice movement sector of dieting. If you have never explored this area, then I highly highly recommend this book. I read a lot of reviews online that said that this was just repetition of those things, but I just think we all need to hear it over and over and OVER again. It breaks down the pervasive diet culture that we live in, the history of beauty, the history of dieting, female / race / abelism within the dieting sector, social justice for overweight people, deconstruction of the word fat, and the patriarchy. I loveeeee books like this. It opens up my eyes always to so so much of what I myself ascribe to in my own narratives.

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Happy Reading! These were all amazing!

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Critically Evaluating Literature

I know that we all know that we can't take blogs at face value sometimes, and that they might misrepresent literature. We almost all know that we should look to medical journals and science, but what about when you get to the medical journals? How should you evaluate things at that point? 

I like to tell all of my clients this when they ask about a medication or a supplement or a new diet fad or a new technology- Everything goes back to the literature for the most part. The reason that you think that this is good or bad technology or a good or bad food is due to whatever some study said at some point. Have you been able to find that study first? If you haven't, that's fine, but is it possible that wherever this is coming from even if it's widely accepted by society is something that was funded by the very people who are trying to make money off of it. 

For example, the idea of "chemical imbalance" came from a marketing campaign done by Paxil. That doesn't mean that there aren't neurotransmitter shifts that occur and that Paxil might be one that will help you with that, but now that term is used by EVERYONE to state that mental illness is a real disease (which it is), and it was started by a marketing campaign. How bizarre right? I think so. 

The other thing that I always say is that if you are implementing this into your life, what is the reason for it? What areas do you think that it will help you? If it's the ketogenic diet or the plant based diet, how specifically will those diets help you? When you think about these specific diets, are you thinking about nutrition as a whole? Have you tried something similar in the past and failed? Is this too extreme for your life? What percentage points is this going to help you in a) living longer b) whatever goal that you have for yourself? If in theory, that percentage point of using the supplement that costs $60/month is only going to change something by 2%, then is it really worth the cost? 

If you are saying that diet coke is worse than regular coke, isn't that like comparing apples to oranges? Are you saying that aspartame is worse for you than sugar? And at what endpoint? Are we talking death? Cancer? Obesity? See what I mean? 

There's so many things to consider, and so when you are thinking of making some big diet haul, it's important to take a step back and say "Is this really going to make a difference? Is this something that I can realistically do? Is this data just a marketing campaign and what experts are recommending this? What are their credentials?" 

Here is an image of the different types of studies that are done in clinical trials, and I think it's really well done and it actually is referencing sports supplements so it's perfect for this article. I got this from: 

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The bottom is basically this blog post (ha). The second to the top is "Controlled trials" and the most reputable within that within looking at a trial is a randomized controlled trial. So for example, here is a RCT (randomized controlled trial) on the consumption of yogurt and liver disease: https://academic.oup.com/jn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jn/nxy088/5040615?redirectedFrom=fulltext

The point of these trials is that they remove bias as best as possible and when it's "double blind", that means that both sides were blinded to what the studies objective was. 

At the very tip top of that graph, you'll see meta analysis. This is where they take a group of alllll the trials that have been done on a topic and can give a more collective consensus on what is actually happening or what we can definitely say that the literature states. 

Here is a great example! Apparently walnuts are very favorable on your lipid values! This study looked at 27 different studies together. That's a meta analysis.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy091/5042152?redirectedFrom=fulltext

At the very bottom, you'll see it says "anecdote". Refeeds are more of an anecdotal science as of right now. There are a few studies showing the increase in leptin after a period of calorie deficit which we can deduce means that leptin is increased with a calculated increase in carbohydrate intake, however there are not studies to prove this. Therefore, the science is weak on that, but this study basically is anecdotal evidence from bodybuilders of 10 +/- 3 years in the industry so they have observed that it works well. I have seen in my coaching that it works really well, and I've noticed in myself that it works. So, just because there is not science there (reverse dieting) does not mean that it can't be beneficial both psychologically and physically and metabolically if you observe that to be true in your life :) 

The field of science is very nuanced and full of shotty data driven by money and greed and everyone wanting their paper to be the one that's published to get ahead in the rat race of life, so I just wanted to hopefully shed some light on how to look at them! :) 

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Public Health and Food Relationships

So I could teach anyone to go on a diet and every detail about that particular style of eating. Keto? Plant based? Weight Watchers? Zone? Diabetes management? Cholesterol lowering? I gotchu. I could teach you the ins and outs of all the sold shake products and dietary supplementations and appetite suppressants.

As a public health sector, especially in the US, we are missing out on a really important piece of the puzzle - the psychological. We are forgetting about culture. We are not teaching about how the hypothalamus regulates our set point weights as much as our genetics determine our heights. We replace all of these pieces of the puzzle with shame. We project the things that we cannot control as something that we feel that we can and wake up each day vowing to do better.

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In an effort to control, we self destruct cycling and then making funny memes about how we eat juice shakes for lunch and then 47 oreos and ice cream after dinner. That's called disordered eating, and unfortunately it's become culturally accepted based on a narrative that we should all take up less space than we are.

We need to sit at the table with those that we love and enjoy the social and cultural aspects of our food. We need to quit pawning off the 'lifestyle' as the acceptance of lifelong restriction. But also focus on the health of the public as a whole making sure the values align with reduction of heart disease / cancer / stroke / Alzheimers. I think that we have become obese mostly because we have become SO obsessed that we have either said SCREW IT ALL or we cycle between binging/restriction causing damaged metabolisms and continue to gain over time. Our RELATIONSHIPS with food is what we need to work on starting from the top down. Everyone knows kale is better than a burger. We have to start somewhere else which can lead to balance.

But I could speak this truth until I'm blue in the face and unfortunately, even for those it directly pertains to, will continue to follow this narrative in their own lives thinking that THEY are different. THEY can fight it. THEY can diet. THIS MONDAY WILL BE DIFFERENT. But it won't be.

Here's to learning the knowledge of what we feel will work best for us while also taking into account the psychological and the mental aspects of dieting and wellness. Knowledge is power so that you are not pandered to by the masses trying to shell out and sale you the latest product but rather recognizing the balancing act between it all. 

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My Promise with KatieRingley.co

I wanted to write a mission statement in full on what my thoughts were surrounding the new change. I didn't want to water it down by putting it into another blog post, but rather making it a blog post in and of itself. 

I think that when we come to the internet or the world of business, we come at it with a heart of pursuing passion but the driving force ends up being status and monetary gain. We stop looking to what matters which is the people that we are serving, including ourselves and instead we look towards what we can do to get ahead. We think that the internet is saturated and instead of relaxing in that, we think that we need to create something that looks like the herd, and fall in line hoping that our material is seen. We launch Kickstarter campaigns hoping that ours will be the one to go viral. We churn out content like it's going out of style thinking that the more the better. We cheapen what we do because it needs to be quick and concise and fast to go along with the level of technology that the world is running. We don't read long books like War and Peace because we can get all of that info in one blog post so why waste the time? 

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We all have a baseline amount of anxiety because instead of human contact, we have fake human connection of the masses, and many of those are not those that align with us. We start to create false (or even validated through trolls) narratives about the people that we are. We sit in that day after day. We might try to fight it, but eventually, it gets to us because we are human. We want popularity and status, and all of that comes down to connectivity. Connectivity then ties into capitalism and you have instagram. Images after images after images every single day of everyone just continuing to churn the wheel of content. GOTTA BEAT THAT ALGORIGTHM? HOW DO WE OPTIMIZE? What strategies do we have in place to make sure that our launching of our e-book is the biggest yet? 

We would not be human if we were not constantly reaching for more. In hunter gatherer socities, they didn't work many hours. Street lamps started something during the industrial revolution that said 'We can now see at night therefore we now work'. It wasn't until 1916 that we established the 40 hour work week and that's been blown to bits and pieces with the advent of the internet where we all have our full times and then our side hustles. 1916 was only 102 years ago. In the span of history, that is a blip in time, and yet it's what we accept as what we MUST do. That's just culture. All of this is just culture. Our culture is evolving and we are falling in line. We become almost cult like, robotic. 

I refuse to fall in line. My promise to you in this blog is that I will show up consistently. I'm not sure how often that means and I'm not sure what content that means, but that I will show up with no agenda but just show up. I don't want to be a perfectionist either. I just want to provide you with what I'm learning. I just think that we have all become this culture of thinking we gotta move fast fast fast to get out on top, and it has overwhelmed me so I want to just be here for you. And also for me. If at any time, there is a topic that you would like for me to research the literature, I'll be more than happy to do that. I've got a running list of topics that others have brought up to me, and I'll slowly work through those. If one person reads this, then I'm happy with that.

I also want to promise that I will try my best to work on my blindspots and my biases recognizing that even some of those are not something that I can fight and I might mess up sometimes, but I will always self evaluate. I do not mean this in a derogatory manner because I'm the most confident version I've ever been of myself while still working on the social construct that have formed neural plasticity in my brain that I need to take up less space, and I will continue to break down those walls as I grow. 

I think that there is space at the table for all literature to be evaluated. If there is something that claims it to be ONE way then typically, that is not the way. There is no ONE way for just about anything. I want to teach others how to evaluate the blogs and all of the information that is spewed at us ESPECIALLY in the fitness industry with a critical eye to know where you stand on how you feel. The scientific method has flaws, and while there are some definite, there is also MUCH to be discovered. The world of science is honestly exploding quicker than any of us can imagine, and it's very very exciting, but also important that we all play devils advocate with ourselves when making life changes based on what we are reading. 

To end, I'll copy and paste what I have in my bio on the front page. It might be a little repetitive to the above, but just so it's here: 

full time ambulatory care pharmacist, wife, dog mom and overthinker who overshares

i like to be genuine, provide some useful content with unedited bad grammar that i type stream of consciousness, with things I find funny. i'm an avid runner and reader. i like to read science and present it in a way that's digestible. i am in no business to sell to you or spam you. i just like sharing. i try to be better, do better, and read more every single day. my hope is that if you want to work with me then you'll have such a great experience, you'll share with your friends. if you don't, then i will do better work.

i used to do this ole thing for a living, and i had to take a break. i'm back with no agenda, a recognition of my prior addiction to social constructs and a work in progress of mental health. my mom always said my life should be a book so maybe this is it. i hope i can come here with room for evolving and a space for honesty.

we all have some credentials right? heres mine:

Doctor of Pharmacy, RRCA Running Coach, NASM-CPT, NAFC Nutrition Coach

interests: chronic disease state management, prevention of disease, mental health and illness, bioindividuality, genetics, neuroscience (molecular & behavioral), sociology, anthropology, philosophy

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Life Update

Hiiii friends! Boy oh boy, life has been whirling, and I have tons to share. I'm hopeful that it will be short, concise, and to the point that you'll enjoy it! :) 

First off, as you might notice, there is a new look to the blog. This is what most would call a rebranding, but I don't want to have some big grand opening or announcement, or anything of that nature. I just simply wanted to be true to myself. I have a mission statement that I wrote to myself about this, and I will share that below, but for now I want to tell about some other things. 

If you're new here, look around. I've been on the internet for about 7 years now, and so there's a lot to catch up on. I'm 29 now. I was about 22 when I started all this, so I've changed aaaaaalot. Does this happen to anyone else in their 20's or am I just crazy? lol.

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so, here is what's been going down in my life: 

  • Tanner got a new position with his same company to open up oncology services in Gastonia (30 minutes from our house) - we thought 'oh well let's move there'-fun new place that's a little bigger city 
  • I saw a friend post that she was looking for a house and I was like 'oh come look at mine' 
  • She came. She saw. They conquered. haha! (aka they wanted to buy our house) 
  • We found a house in an adorableeee neighborhood in Gastonia in an area that's exploding so while it was a little more than we wanted to spend, we were okay with that knowing it was a great investment 
  • THAT ALL FELL APART
  • We found a new loft in uptown shelby 
  • That all fell apart 
  • I could share details but the one thing that I stay true to on this blog is not sharing details of OTHERS lives that they wouldn't like, so I'll just leave it at the short story ;) 

next up on the list, we have FITNESS! 

  • I'm working on some dietary measures. Over the past year and half, some demons from my past cropped up, and I've been working through that. I want to share this whole story, but this is not the blog for that. I'll always be honest though. 

  • Running is still my love and meditation. I don't have any set miles that I run or any set programming, but just doing it about 4X per week and distances that I enjoy. I have now set a gym routine of 5am and have gone every day but my rest day for the past 8 weeks so I know the habit is set. I absolutely love it. It's also made me disconnect my identity from fitness and health. Like, it had become ME which is part of this whole new blog shift. I'm an adult with a career. I have like 487 other interests that have nothing to do with silly fitness, so I go at 5am and I'm done and forget it.

  • I will start training for Savannah Marathon in 1.5 months. See two bullets above. That's my priority, so if I get weird, I will pull out, just like I did with Ironman Texas. 
  • I have officially hung up my tri/biking shoes. I do not enjoy it, and I refuse to spend another ounce of my life on some idea of who I think I'm supposed to be. Nopidity nope. Done-zo. 
  • I'll be a runner forever though <3 And I like to swim still :)
  • I lift 3-4X / week just like before - not much new there! See THIS blog post on how I do both.
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family/friends/life

I joke about this a lot but I say I have no life. I really don't do very much like I used to, and I honestly don't feel bad about it. I have free time on the weekends. I spend it with Tanner how I please and go see my nephew just because. We haven't been traveling much and everything is honestly very low key. I always have some new funny story, but as a whole, things are very calm here in shelby. For far too long, I gave myself the badge of being all that I could be. And I don't mean the badge of busyness. I meant I had to be the best and do it all. I just simply don't have that desire anymore. At all. I want this blog to be slow and methodical and purposeful. That's how I live my life now. I try to do things well vs doing it all. I like my life neat and organized. Remember that organization post? Yes, I still do that. 

The one thing about me now is that I have an INSATIABLE desire for knowledge. I take free courses online on science topics. I read all nonfiction books. I don't know. It's probably just my typical need to fixate on something, but I have learned that through deliberate practice, we ALL have the capacity for any level of knowledge that we so desire. It's not about 'knowing it all' but about the adventure that each new area takes you down helping you discover every facet of life. I just love it. 

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I really enjoy my job which I know is rare. My clients are really wonderful and I'm building their social media platform as well for the clinical trial side of the business. We recruit in the NC area typically trials related to chronic disease state management (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc)

Here's our twitter: https://twitter.com/medmanagegroup and our website: https://www.medicationmanagementgroup.com/ 

coaching? 

This is not a plug for my coaching, but I just get asked all the time. Are you coaching again? And yes, I am. I honestly probably know more now that I have EVER known, and I'm proud of how much research that I've put into the scientific literature this year across the spectrum of running, resistance training, and nutrition across all spectrums from plant based to keto to eating disorders to health at every size and intuitive eating (run on sentence much lol). I also have a place now where you can sign in and make an account on the website so that each time clients renew each session, they will have all of that info saved for ease. I do personalized spreadsheets for every single client. Here are some really reputable websites / podcasts / resources for those looking to learn more about various topics: 

STEM-TALK: The leading experts in science and technology mostly in relation to health and fitness - these are people working at the top of NASA, directors of hospitals, etc. 

Pubmed : This is a place that you find all scientific literature. The search engine is not like google so it can be difficult to locate the topic you wish but it's where you find the actual sources of literature. If you have never studied the scientific method and how to evaluate studies, I advise you to do that as well 

MOOC: Stands for massive open online courses - There are so many free courses on anything from coding to health care administration to language to religion. It's all about life long learning

Akimbo : This is an INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE podcast on social science and culture. A must listen. The Liturgist: An absolutely phenomenal podcast on liberal Christianity and athleism. The things they say absolutely blow my mind that seemingly solve all my life's biggest questions. haha. 

Ben Greenfield: He is like king of content on everything to do with the sciences of health and fitness. He was an endurance athlete so he talks a good bit about information in that realm. Sometimes his amount of content overwhelms me because I can't keep up, but it's great info that's easy to understand. 

Food Psych : I really can't recommend this podcast enough if you have any form of relationship with food. Everyone needs to know about this movement. I have thoughts in many different directions about this area of research, but I highly highly recommend this podcast. It might just change your life.

I'll stop there for now. I have a good bit more. I'm not into the trendy 'fitspo science' people anymore. It's all just too cliche for me, and I don't say that with an ego, but just that I do think that there are certain people within that sector that are doing a great job, but I like the places where their instagram photos are just words and info. I had to break up with my daily cup of joe of comparison every day. It wasn't good for my pscyhe. 

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I hope you'll enjoy the new me. I think that's why I don't blog anymore, because I told someone the other day that I just genuinely didn't think people would be too fond of it. All I really talk about with my husband is new research and ideas. He absolutely loves the new me, but I just don't know how everyone else will feel. haha. But here's to this not being about anything other than honoring myself, and hopefully sharing some helpful tips with you guys in the meantime. 

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Are diet breaks best for overall health?

So, you fell off the wagon? This is some term and phrasing that we use now to distinguish between dieting and non-dieting phases. I could get into my opinion on that but today I’d like to focus more on the aspects of eating not on a “plan” and how that can be beneficial for you.

I’m not sure if you are aware, but if you’re not, let me letcha know that dieting long term is not good for you, in any way, psychologically, physically, or mentally. Our bodies are not designed to be in a state of constant deprivation and this can lead to things such as whacky lab results and thyroid issues. Worst of all, because we all like a high functioning metabolism is that it can keep you at a lower basal metabolic rate. You will burn less NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and you will feel run down in the process.

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So, should you take diet breaks? YES YES YES. I think that when I reference this I’m also discussing someone who might have been on a weight loss journey for a really long time, and not someone that eats a large amount of food and maintains their weight. There’s all of these variables in the type of person that you are and I have many clients that eat amble amounts of food that this might not apply to, but seemingly they are “on a diet” but that simply just meaning, a diet in which “diet” is the foods that we eat. Am I making sense? I’m talking about someone in a calorie deficit.

I have referenced it a lot in many of my blogs, but we have a hypothalamus that regulates everything. That set point range that your body wants to fall within that ranges from 5-20lbs dependent on your relationship with food can change with a weight loss journey as well however when you reach the bottom of that set point range, you will start to crave more foods, get hungrier, and your metabolism will slow down. This is in efforts of the body to restore back to homeostasis. If you hang in there past that plateau without doing anything drastic, then your body will adjust and keep on keepin on.

When you decide to take a diet break, then you get to capitalize on the OTHER end of that set point that not many people take advantage of. When you get to the upper end of the set point in which you become baffled at just how much your body can handle if you keep it consistent then you will get hot more, your metabolism will be burning strong, and you will be bee bopping around life with a much better attitude with great hormonal function (if your weight is appropriate).

When you diet for an extended period of time, you decrease your leptin which is that little hormone (again regulated within the hypothalamus), and when you take a diet break you are restoring that hormone. This hormone is also very transient dependent on the very day that you are eating so it can be restored super quickly and you don’t have to worry about that all that much if you feel that you don’t have appropriate hunger. The problem is that with chronic dieters, the anxiety produced from taking the break is almost too much and so therefore they never do, living in a chronic state of deprivation and never fully utilizing just how many calories their body can burn.

A few years back, reverse dieting became super huge. There wasn’t much research on it, and there still is not, but basically this is just the slow reintroduction of calories for minimal weight gain over time while coming out of a dieting phase. It works, and I’ve watched it work with hundreds of people however you can also skip that phase and go straight to higher calories. Most of the time, this will cause a big amount of water retention but if you hang in there and hold calories high and let your body adjust, you might gain 5lbs (WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE DONE ON YOUR REVERSE) and if you don’t jump ship then you will eventually level out and maintain there.

Some of the reasons that people choose to reverse diet instead is:

·       It’s more exact for their OCDness

·       They are able to find that upper end of their hypothalamic set point range through slow introduction of calories instead of arbitrarily jumping to what they think might be appropriate

·       It’s not as mentally challenging with all of the water fluctuations with the reintroduction of carbs

·       They don’t trust that their weight will eventually level out. They think that they will continue to gain and gain and gain

Believe me, I’ve been there. I prefer reverse dieting, so I totally get it, but I just wanted it to be known that you don’t HAVE to and you CAN jump. Many times you will see that once you figure out your ranges, you can go into a dieting phase, and jump higher out of it the second time because you are more aware of what caloric intake your body will be able to handle post dieting.

From a mental standpoint, dieting long term starts to make you a bit crazy. I think that we can look to the trends of many of the females that were long term competitors on Instagram and see what has happened there. Many of them have rebounded into higher weights than they were to start because they just kept themselves at chronically low calories, and eventually your endocrine system is just not having it anymore. Taking a break from things mentally allows you to have a good time with food, refocus if you so choose and go back to things brand new.

Of course, there is also the camp that states that we should just accept where we are, eat within hunger/fullness cues and intuitive eating principles and this hypothalamic set point will allow us to maintain weight eating whatever we choose. I am well aware of this sector of wellness, but just want people to have the information that they can choose to utilize or not :) 

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