Healer Heal Thyself: My Journey Back to Health

Healer Heal Thyself: My Journey to Hormonal Health- Registered Dietitian Womens Health.001.jpeg

Hey there. So it's been awhile since I've shared tidbits about my own health journey. When I first started blogging I wrote about my long-standing battle with acne and the steps I was taking to clear up my skin. You can check out the first and second post about that here and here. Once I reached my goal of clearer skin, unfortunately, I stopped tracking my progress and stopped sticking to my healthier habits. Hence the lack of updates...

Seriously, why do we do that? We reach a goal and fail to do the work to sustain it. Anywho...

Over the last few months, the combo of less than healthy habits and stress have started taking a toll on my health. My body has been giving me signs it's not too happy with the lack of activity, poor eating habits, and stress. Breakouts, insomnia, irritability, tummy upset, spotting before my period, super cold feet and hands during the early parts of my luteal phase, and menstrual cycles that keep shrinking in length are letting me know all is not well. And I'm no fool. When my body talks, I listen.

It's frighteningly clear I need to make some changes. I've been to the doctor and there aren't any underlying diseases or conditions. It's just plain old poor lifestyle and bad habits kicking my butt. My doctor pretty much told me to quit my job and find a way to be happy, so... I left my job and moved to Virginia! Still working on the rest.

To hold myself accountable I'll be sharing my plan, my progress, and writing posts about the science behind and my experience with the changes I'll be making. This is a bit of a shift from what I usually share here. Things are about to get personal.

Warning, over sharing and long-windedness ahead. 

I've always been pretty healthy. No broken bones, hospitalizations, or chronic disease. And I rarely catch a cold or the flu. Overall, I can say, I've always been in good health. That is if you don't consider PMS and Acne health concerns. And you know, many people don't. We often see acne as purely cosmetic (it's not) and PMS as just a normal part of being a woman (it's not.) Both of them point to an imbalance of some sort.

I've had moments of reprieve from both, but only when I've taken good care of myself. When I don't make self-care, movement, spiritual health, and healthful eating a priority, bubble guts, cysts, and the nastiest mood swings ever rear their ugly heads. And in a way, I'm grateful for them. They let me know I need to get back on track. They're like my check engine light. They let me know to take a peek under the hood before things get further out of control.

How exactly did I get off track to begin with? It wasn't one thing or a single moment. It was a number of life stressors that slowly, almost imperceptibly, snuck up and dismantled all of the practices I had put in place to keep myself well. There was the stress at work and living in a loud crazy city that just wasn't the right place for my quiet introspective personality. My spiritual community and family imploded. Plus my mom was temporarily working in a war-torn country, then my Nana passed away. Oh! And I turned 30.

All of those things should have led me to spend more time building up and nurturing myself. Instead, I self-medicated with Dominican food (give me all the arroz con habichuelas y maduros!), candy, and entertainment. Rather than doing aerial, dance, or yoga, I stayed in my house and watched YouTube and Netflix ad nauseam.  

Finally, I realized I couldn't go on living in NYC anymore and decided to move to Northern Virginia. While the environment was better, I now had to contend with my loss of community, figuring out how to make money in a new city (still working on that one), and overcoming my fear of driving since public transportation here isn't quite as connected as NYC's system. Let's not forget, I still hadn't changed my eating habits, if anything they got worse and I became even less active.

Last week, I finally had to own up to how much my habits were affecting me. My period was the worst it had been in over a year and I was incredibly self-conscious at two job interviews because my skin was all broken out. How can I promote a healthy lifestyle, a fertile lifestyle, when I'm not living it and my skin is clearly screaming to me and everyone around me that all's not well with my own health? With the camel's back completely broken, I finally decided to dismount.

One of the things I really want for this blog is for it to be a place of complete transparency. I refuse to pretend I have all the answers. I refuse to pretend I'm living out my recommendations and the benefits of them, while secretly gorging myself on chicharrones and looking and feeling like crap ran over by a dump truck. This is a no judgment, no faking the funk, own your mess place. 'Cause that's where healing starts. 

Alright, time to share my plan to practice what I preach and truly Live Fertile.

Week 1

  • Feed your mind and soul/ Mini mind makeover

    • Master the morning- get back to my morning prayer, bible reading, meditation (especially guided meditation and visualization), and journaling practice. Oh, and make myself a cup of tea. I deserve it.
    • Read inspiring books, listen to uplifting music, and subscribe to motivational and informational podcasts
    • Step away for the election drama on facebook. It hurts my soul to see so many people attacking one another for having different political views. We don't have to agree, but that's not permission to tear each other down. Not cool.
    • Practice self-love, compassion, and acceptance (this one is huge!)

Week 2

  • Nourish Yourself

    • Drink 64 oz of water a day and take my vitamin D consistently, bonus points for remembering my multi
    • Apply the Live Fertile Meal Formula to all meals and snacks- Protein, fat, fiber, slow carbs, and herbs/spices all day, all the time.
    • Focus on healthy fats, fermented foods, and supporting proper detox
    • Drink herbal infusions daily

Week 3

  • Shake it, Don't break it

    •  Move that rump! Seriously, take a walk, do yoga, ugly dance to JT and Beyonce like no one is watching, just move. And do it EVERYDAY.
    • Try one new fitness class

Week 4

  • Girl, rest ya nerves (my Nana's southern colloquial way of saying, "Sit down somewhere!" when I would get too hyper... Hehehehe)

    • Go to bed by 10:30, phone down, laptop shut, kindle stowed away.
    • Read for leisure at least 15 minutes/ day
    • Practice self-care daily. Make it a part of your daily routine
      • Give yourself a facial (1-2x/ wk)
      • Take your time massaging in your body oil blend
      • Diffuse cinnamon, ginger, and mandarin in the morning and chamomile, lavender, and ylang ylang at night
      • Take breathing breaks throughout the day
      • Dry brush before shower
      • Wear cozy socks

 Week 5

  • Connect

    • Find my tribe here in Alexandria and online
      • Go to church
      • Go to an integrative or functional medicine meetup
      • Consistently go to a yoga, aerial, belly dance, or salsa class and say hello to people
      • Introduce myself in Facebook groups
    • Call old friends
    • Visit NYC, Pittsburgh, and maybe even Cali to see old friends
    • Write mom a letter

Week 6

  • Celebrate

    • Find a way to treat myself to something nice and find joy in the good things around me
      • Ideas
        • Try a new restaurant
        • Try a new recipe
        • Go for a massage or mani/pedi
        • Gratitude journal
        • Buy myself a lipstick I never thought I could pull off but always wanted to try. You are feminine, you don't look like a little boy. Stop bullying yourself.

Wooo! That's a lot. This should be fun.

Stay tuned!

Kendra TolbertComment