Featured in the Lakeshore Weekly News
If you are a regular reader of my column you may know that I’ve been making a series of lifestyle changes over the last year in particular. It’s an effort to improve my health, quality of life and my longevity.
I’ve gone through a series of realizations in my 40s where I’ve arrived at a better understanding of what is within my control and what is not within my control. Knowing this has allowed me to work on myself in ways I hadn’t before.
Some years ago I accepted the truth that my life isn’t something that happens to me; it is something I make happen. What I do for a living, whom I spend my time with, how I spend my time is all my decision. If I’m not happy with any of this, there is no one to point a finger at other than myself.
There is something scary but exciting about taking ownership of your own life. Little by little I’ve been changing and tweaking things to create the kind of life I want.
A big part of this involved my health. I’ve struggled for years with two autoimmune disorders called Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease. Both affect major functions within my body because each affects my thyroid function.
My symptoms range from extreme fatigue, joint pain and brain fog to hair loss and sudden weight gain, as well as a host of other symptoms, which interfered with my quality of life.
Three months ago my hair was falling out and I gained 12 pounds over a few weeks. Alcohol was a big contributor to the flare-up of my health issues because of the inflammation it causes. I was a very dedicated social drinker who didn’t drink in moderation.
Per the American Heart Association, moderation would be no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. Anything more increases your risks of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
The first thing I did was I quit drinking alcohol. Then I got serious about being aware of what I was eating and how it affected my health and sought help for my joint pain at Empower Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Excelsior.
Dr. Madalyn Raasch and Dr. Brittany Mulder work to help patients with their whole body health, not just through adjustments but also nutritional counseling and several other services. They educated me on which foods contributed to inflammation thereby worsening my condition and which foods decreased inflammation. Alcohol is a big contributor to inflammation.
I’ve been sober for a little over three months now. My joint pain is no longer a daily occurrence. My energy has increased tremendously. A nice side affect is so far I’ve lost 9 of the 12 pounds I gained. Plus, my dramatic hair loss not only stopped, it has been growing back.
My cooking skills have increased as well. Eating the way I do requires a little more work because I don’t eat processed foods, but it is delicious! I’ve enjoyed learning new recipes and trying foods I wouldn’t have tried before.
Dr. Raasch and Dr. Mulder give me the tools, and I continue to do the work. My partner Tony supported me tremendously by quitting alcohol with me, as well as going along with eating how I was eating. His efforts to support me have resulted in him losing 16 pounds, going from having very high cholesterol and blood pressure for years, to having normal results for both today, all within a few months.
Our lifestyle changes have resulted in us living more of the life we want to live. I don’t feel deprived because I’ve gained so much. I love wine, but I know I’m not the person who can successfully drink in moderation. I’m three months into my sobriety, and though it’s not without effort at times, it is worth the effort.
What changed for me was my desire to live the life I want, to experience joy, to embrace and learn from challenges became more of a priority than my false need for things that contributed to my illness. I’m a work in progress. My lifestyle changes need to be maintained if I’m to be successful.
We live in a world today where our decadence and over indulgence is literally killing us. People in some parts of the world are starving to death, and we live in a country where we are eating ourselves to death.
When we take care of ourselves we can successfully take care of others. I could see how many of my struggles with situations or people were more about my lack of self-care and not anyone else.
Knowledge is incredibly empowering and just what my doctors ordered. Drs. Raasch and Mulder have a mission to educate, elevate and empower individuals to take hold of their health. It’s a mission I’ve come to share.
You have often heard the phrase hindsight is 20/20. Simply it means: It’s easier to know what the right thing to do is after something has already happened. When it comes to making changes in our health, we often do so after something happens, which prompts us to take action and make change.
My adventures in living life perfectly imperfect are featured in the Sun Sailor, The Lakeshore Weekly News and South Lake Neighbors Magazine.