10 Tips to Overcome Fear & Self Doubt

Fear and self-doubt can be crippling. It’s not easy to enjoy your life or to achieve great things when you’re afraid or doubt your capabilities. Many people stay away from situations that trigger these mental states, but that’s a severely limited way to approach life.

Most of the best things in life lie on the other side of fear and doubt!

Banish fear and self-doubt from your life with these strategies:

  1. Tackle smaller fears first. The way to become good at handling big fears is to tackle small fears first. Look at the things that make you just a little bit uncomfortable and force yourself to do them. You’ll notice that they become a little easier to do the next time. Then move on to more moderate fears and force yourself to do those too.
    • Prove to yourself that you can overcome your fears. You’ll start to believe that you can do almost anything.
  1. Examine the source of your self-doubt. Why do you have self-doubt? What is the source of your doubt? Is this source reliable?  Perhaps you’ll realize that you don’t have a reason to doubt yourself at all.
  2. Stay present with your thoughts. When we allow ourselves to look into the future, we are burning with worry. When you look ahead, you’re likely to assume the worst. Keep your mind in the present, and you’ll find that your fear diminishes.
  3. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Think about the worst possible reasonable outcome. How bad would that be? How would you respond to that?
    • Creating a plan that you can put into place for dealing with that worst possible outcome will lessen your fear.
  1. Breathe.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is just breathe. Slow, deep breaths help to calm down your physiology and reduce the fight or flight response. Deep breathing can be an effective way to reduce the fear and self-doubt you’re feeling.
  2. Skip being perfect. Perfection is unattainable. The pursuit of perfection creates anxiety. Certainly, you’ll feel self-doubt if perfection is your goal. Be realistic and your fear and self-doubt will be minimized.
    • You don’t have to be right or successful very often to have an amazing life!
  1. Realize that everyone has fears. You’re not alone. In fact, fear can be an advantage. When you’re able to overcome your fears, and others are not, you have a great advantage over all of your competition.
  2. Pretend you’re courageous. Imagine how you would stand, think, and breathe if you were the bravest person on the face of the Earth. Allow yourself to have that posture and those thoughts. Notice how much more courageous you feel.
  3. Visualize success. Visualize yourself being successful. The more times you can see yourself being successful, the less fear you’ll feel, and your confidence will grow.
  4. Take action. Taking action is one of the best ways to overcome fear. Even if you’re afraid at the beginning, your fear will shrink in the face of your activity. Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part.

How much do fear and self-doubt control your decisions? How much more could you accomplish if you were able to overcome these mental states? Avoid the urge to give in to these emotions. You can be and experience more! Overcome your fears and refuse to allow self-doubt to limit your life.

 

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How Functional Neurology Helped Improve My Quality of Life After Brain injury

As we begin the New Year, I am reflecting on all for which I have to be grateful. Towards the top of that list is finding a functional neurologist who has been instrumental in helping me rehab my brain injury.

I started this journey in February of 2014 after slipping on a patch of ice…and I can still hear the sound of my skull hitting the ice-covered concrete.

I immediately found a chiropractic neurologist who helped me with my whiplash, torn muscles, and dislocated sternum. He diagnosed me as having a severe concussion and told me I should start feeling better in about 4–6 weeks.

I kept complaining that I felt my eyes weren’t quite right, and that I was experiencing a lot of short-term memory problems and aphasia, as well as major dizzy and balance issues. He eventually sent me to a neurologist who didn’t seem to believe my issues were a problem (even though I couldn’t touch my nose with my pointer finger). When I later read her reports I had to laugh. She had stated that I was dressed nicely and was well-groomed, where in fact I hadn’t showered in days and was wearing the same yoga pants and sweatshirt I had been wearing for about 3 days — had she inquired, I would have outright admitted this to her!!

She eventually sent me for a neuropsychological exam to measure my deficits. After a grueling four-hour test designed to make you face your weaknesses, I scheduled a meeting with the neuro psychologist the following week. She very kindly explained to me the nature of the test, how it measures deficits, and how it is essentially “fake proof.” She then implied that I must have been faking because I scored too poorly in memory, that my scores were lower than a patient with dementia. After spending about 70 minutes with me, she assessed that I should be put on Ritalin, anti depressants, and sleep medication. I refused all three because I knew they wouldn’t actually “heal” me, and would be only a temporary crutch.

I had been begging every neuro doctor I saw for help. I didn’t know what type of therapy I needed, but I knew I needed something — cognitive, occupational, vision, anything that would help me get back to the person I used to be. The dizziness was sucking all the life out of me, and the short-term memory problems were causing quite a challenge to function in every-day settings.
I was incredibly frustrated as I went back to my neurologist about a year later. After a brief assessment, she told me because it was over a year since my injury that none of the therapies would likely help me. WHAT?? Then why on earth didn’t she send me earlier? I was confused, frustrated, and felt hopeless.

As a last resort the neurologist did eventually send me to a cranial sacral therapist who was the first person to help me find any sort of relief. His gentle treatment helped realign the skull plates that had been causing pressure inside my head. After several treatments, I felt a lot of relief from the “brain fog” that had been a 24/7 nuisance.

After two and a half years of struggling through life with a brain injury, my eyes were finally opened to the practice of Functional Neurology.

To be honest, I was skeptical. Every doctor I had seen up to this point had discouraged me, and my neurologist told me there was basically no hope for further recovery (even though I had learned that recovery can happen at ANY point after your injury).

My initial exam took almost two hours — TWO HOURS!! No doctor had spent more than a half hour with me up to this point.

My exam consisted of checking my:

  • balance
  • gait
  • heart rate & blood pressure
  • visual eye tracking (VNG)
  • quick eye movements (saccades)
  • optokinetic reflexes (OPK)
  • Vestibular Ocular Reflexes (VOR)
  • Chiropractic structural examinationzMy testing showed the following results:
  • My autonomic nervous system was too sympathetic (startle response).
  • My resting heart rate was too high.
  • My gaze holding ability was questionable.
  • All planes of my smooth pursuit eye movements were impaired.
  • I was unsteady standing on flat surfaces, and would fall backwards when I closed my eyes.
  • Spatial awareness and depth perception were impaired.
  • My walking gait was impaired
  • I had diminished sensation on the left side of my face and body.
  • My visual and auditory reaction times were off.This doctor validated every single thing that I had been feeling. He said that we needed to work on all of the systems together and get them working properly again. He told me that the majority of my issues was coming from my eyes, and that we needed to retrain my eyes how to work properly. It was so comforting to know that I wasn’t crazy at all — it was just that those other doctors had been ignoring all of my issues because they weren’t trained in what to look for related to traumatic brain injuries and concussions (which is widely misunderstood by medical professionals).

Functional neurology is a way of thinking and assessing the nervous system by looking at what’s working well, what isn’t working, and what might be working too much. It’s about developing strategies to build better plasticity in how your nervous system is working. Dr. Schmoe believes that functional neurology should be a basic requirement in all medical and healthcare fields – but unfortunately it is not.

My doctor gained his knowledge by attending the Carrick Institute for those who have already graduated from the chiropractic program. The Carrick Institute program is an additional three years of training beyond chiropractic school. It is designed to give a deeper education and understanding of how the nervous system works and how to treat problems that arise as the result of a brain injury or disease. They offer courses to providers of al disciplines, including medical doctors, physical therapists, naturopaths, etc.

The doctor gave me treatment plans for each of my systems that weren’t working, which included:

  • Gaze-stability exercises and vestibular rehab
  • tilt table with electric stimulation to calm my startle reflex
  • sensory stimulation on the left side of my body
  • finger-to-nose cerebellum training on the left side
  • ARP wave simulation on my neck (whiplash)
  • Doctor applied FNOR techniques on my shoulder and scapula
  • FNOR physical rehabilitation exercises to strengthen neck, core, and lower extremities
  • Prologel to lessen inflammation in my neck from my whiplash that hadn’t healed
  • D2 exercises to increase my hand-eye reaction times
  • interactive metronome exercises to increase my auditory reaction times
  • blood chemistry workup to check for anemia, infections, inflammation, auto immune disorders, thyroid and blood sugar levels
  • dietary and nutrition supplements

Within just two weeks of working on gaze-stabilization and eye-tracking exercises, I was no longer feeling dizzy and off-balance. Dealing with dizziness 24/7 was a major energy suck, and I was starting to notice I now had more energy to get things done during the day than I had had since my accident.

I was starting to gain back feeling in the left side of my body, and my startle response was settling down. As a result of all of this, my anxiety levels were diminishing. It’s amazing how your body responds when you are no longer constantly living in a high pain threshold. I was finally able to go several weeks without a headache (which was great since I had been having headaches on an all-too-regular basis).

Now this isn’t to say that I am “fixed” …. I still have a long way to go. But I am finally feeling better than I have since February 2014. I wish I had found Functional Neurology a year earlier; then who knows where I would be in my recovery right now!

It astounds me how one doctor could improve so many of my symptoms with “simple” techniques, yet a plethora of trained neurological doctors didn’t do ANYTHING for me. This is why I am so passionate about the advocacy work that I do. Millions of brain injury survivors have not had proper treatment and were basically disregarded by the medical community — and written off by the psychologists as having “mental” issues rather than “physical” issues.

Some professionals have gone so far as to say that universally “everyone as a brain injury” now as a result of the media talking about concussions and sports. The reality is that we are just now beginning to understand the severity of concussions … and people who were injured decades ago are just now beginning to understand why they’ve felt and acted the way they have for so many years — as their brain injury went undiagnosed.

With proper treatment, the brain and neurological system has an amazing way of rewiring itself. The key is early detection and diagnosis, in combination with a trained doctor who understand how to best treat you … and NOT brush you off or disregard your concerns.

For help finding a Functional Neurologist who can help you, please fill out this online form: https://forms.gle/U8n8BX96nnBHNDsw9

Originally published on Huffington Post 1/11/2017

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A New Year’s Gift For You | Brain Yoga Practice


As we near the end of 2020 I always reflect on all that I have accomplished the past year. I am grateful for all that I have been able to do, learn, and see. 2020 has been an incredible year of growth for me … as I continued my yoga studies, became a Reiki practitioner, and dove deeper into mindfulness and EFT.

I believe it is these tools that allowed me to become more resilient and not let things (like this dumpster fire year) affect me in the same way they would have 5 years ago. I am no longer that person, and I am grateful for the new person I have become.

I hope that you can see all of the blessings in your 2020, and I encourage you to make a list of everything you were able to do, learn, or accomplish. Nothing is too small to not matter!!

I have created a New Year’s GIFT for you …
to thank you for being here, to celebrate you, and just for fun!

In this 20 minute ‘brain yoga’ practice, I guide you through gentle poses to help you wake up your body and mind, as well as increase balance and stability.
I really hope you enjoy it!

With much gratitude for you, cheers to an amazing 2021.
~ Amy

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Balance Your Blood Sugar and Enjoy a Multitude of Health Benefits

It’s important to control your blood sugar, even if you aren’t diabetic. Balancing blood sugar and insulin levels lowers the risk of many serious health conditions, like heart disease and cancer.

Blood sugar is glucose that your body absorbs every time you eat. It’s essential fuel for your body and brain. The levels fluctuate all the time depending on how you eat, exercise, and manage stress.

You can lose weight more easily, increase your energy levels, boost your mood, sleep better, strengthen your memory, and even see more clearly by keeping your blood sugar in balance. 

Try these tips to keep your blood sugar at beneficial levels.

Diet Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar

  1. Drink more water. Your body flushes out excess glucose through urination. By drinking more water, you make the whole process more efficient.
  2. Pick the right carbohydrates. All foods stimulate your blood sugar, but simple carbohydrates like white bread or cookies cause the most extreme spikes. Opt for brown rice and fruits and vegetables instead.
  3. Indulge in healthy fats. Getting about 30 percent of your daily calories from fat is a good rule of thumb. Choose olive oil, nuts, and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon.
  4. Use vinegar & eat fermented foods. Acidic substances help to stabilize your blood sugar. Dress your salads with vinegar. You can even use it as a dip with French fries. Citrus juices, like lemon and lime, have similar effects. Eat sauerkraut and pickles, drink kombucha.
  5. 12/3 Fasting. You should fast 12 hours between the end of dinner and breakfast, with your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime. This helps you maintain your blood sugar level as you sleep. 
  6. Eat a high protein breakfast first thing in the morning. Your body needs protein for energy, and starting the day off right with protein will help your metabolism kick in right away. Stay away from simple carbs in the morning, if possible.

Exercise Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar

  1. Aim for 30 minutes a day. A half hour of exercise several days a week will help keep you in shape and lower your blood sugar. Try a full hour if you’re trying to lose weight.
  2. Pick activities you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick to a routine if you can have fun doing it. Sign up for a yoga class with a friend. Go biking with your children. Hiking or snowshoeing.
  3. Diversify your workouts. Develop a variety of activities to choose from. Then you’ll have some type of exercise to do regardless of the weather. Alternating between tennis and basketball also challenges your body more by targeting different muscles.

Stress Management Solutions for Managing Blood Sugar

  1. Get adequate sleep. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends. Invent your own rituals that will make you feel drowsy, such as drinking a cup of chamomile tea or taking a warm bath. Try napping if you need to supplement your overnight hours.
  2. Practice relaxation methods. Stress raises blood sugar. Find techniques that put you at ease and help you cope with events at home and work. Follow a daily meditation practice, get a massage, or listen to instrumental music.
  3. Think positive. Lift your spirits and become more resilient through positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and your talents. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.
  4. See a functional doctor. The only way to know your blood sugar levels is to get tested. Protect your peace of mind, as well as your health, by visiting your doctor and finding out for sure. Normal ranges for blood sugar are about 60 to 90 milligrams of glucose per 100 milliliters of blood. For accuracy, it’s important to get tested in the morning and after fasting.

Experts believe that more than 15 million Americans have high blood sugar. Get tested and follow your doctor’s recommendations to prevent diabetes, feel healthier, and live better.

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Guided Meditations for YOU

Hello and Seasons Greetings!!

I wish I could come over there and hug you and then cheers a glass of sparkling juice with you.

No matter what kind of year it’s been for you, no matter what got shaken up, lost, or unfettered, I know it was a year, and we made it through.

And while we have work to do to emerge from the ashes of 2020, I wanted to give you a moment of pause.

Here’s a holiday gift to you to enjoy amidst the chaos to thank you for being here, to celebrate you, and just for fun:  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR GIFTS

I have recorded TWO guided meditations for you:
Body Gratitude” and “Breath Away Anxiousness

Additionally, I have also given you my Gratitude Worksheet.
I really hope you enjoy them!

I’m looking forward to bringing you more resources and educational materials in the coming year, and having a new reason to raise a glass of sparkling juice besides
just making it through the year!

What are you going to be raising a glass for in 2021?

With much gratitude for you, happy holidays and a VERY happy New Year.
~ Amy

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6 Tips For Surviving the Holidays & Overstimulation With a TBI

With the holidays upon us, many traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors will find themselves facing more overstimulation than normal, which can cause additional brain fatigue and stress — as well as causing fear and panic to set it in in some situations.

Overstimulation is one of the most common symptoms amongst concussion and TBI patients, and can come in any combination of sounds, images, light, smell, taste, and touch.

Because overstimulation can’t be “seen” it can be a mystery to those who have never experienced it; and cause frustration between someone going through it and their loved ones who don’t understand it.

Myself personally, I have a hard time dealing with a crowded restaurant or mall this time of year because there is too much noise combined with lights and lots of scents. I will have a hard time focusing when there is a lot of background noise, and find myself unable to carry on a conversation or make sense of what I am trying to do. I will leave feeling completely exhausted and often acquire a headache to go with it. I usually tire out before my 78 year old mother, who can shop circles around me.

I have compiled a list of six simple things you can do to make the holidays easier on yourself, or a loved one who is dealing with overstimulation.

  1. Keep Hydrated. The brain functions best when it is fully hydrated. When you are out shopping it is easy to become dehydrated rather quickly. You can combat this by always having a water bottle with you and refilling it often. As tempting as it is, drinking alcohol and caffeine will also cause you to get dehydrated, so it is best to avoid those types of drinks when you know you are going to be faced with overstimulation.
  2. Keep additional stimulation to a minimum. Decrease the amount of stimulation in places that you have control of it. If you know you’re headed to the mall or crowded restaurant, don’t watch television before heading out or listen to the radio on the way there. If you’re going with a friend or loved one, explain to them that you might not be able to have a conversation while you’re there. Bring your sunglasses and earplugs with and use them if you need them.
  3. Get additional rest. While this one seems obvious, it is sometimes hard to do with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Rest is critical to helping our brain recover from overstimulation. Take a nap before or after your big outings, and do your best to get a good night’s sleep each night. Give yourself a designated bed time and stick with that schedule throughout the holidays.
  4. Take shorter trips. If you have a lot to get done you may want to consider breaking it up into smaller trips. I find it easier to do one errand each day, rather than trying to cram five things into one outing. It may take longer, but your brain will thank you.
  5. Write Lists. I am the queen of sticky notes and shopping lists. Why add additional stress to the situation by going shopping without a clear list of where you need to go and what you need to get?! Even with a list, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and out of sorts. Having a plan of exactly where you need to go, and what you need to purchase at each location will help keep your stress levels done and keep you organized.
  6. Ask for help. It can be hard to do, but sometimes you need to ask for help. Whether it’s asking for someone to drive you somewhere, carry your bags for you, or even run an errand for you. Know when you’ve reached your limits (or, preferably BEFORE you’ve reached your limits) and ask for help. If you’re a friend or loved one, offer help before it’s asked for – or better yet, go ahead and do something off of their list before you see they need assistance!

If you are a caregiver, family member, or friend of a TBI survivor – please understand that overstimulation is very real. Allow us to take the steps needed to ensure our health and sanity this holiday season (and all year round.)

To all my fellow TBI survivors I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with peace, joy, and love. Take care of yourself, and give yourself grace when needed. It is easy to push ourselves because we feel like we have so much to get done, however, it is important to know when to step back …. and take a nap!

Join me in Amy’s TBI Tribe to connect with other survivors, caregivers, and loved ones!

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10 Daily Habits To Help You Live Your Best Life

We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of habits that were planted into our minds through years and years of learned behaviors from others.

There have been studies done that 45% of everything we do in a day are based on habits.

So, why not create good habits to help you live your best life?

Do you feel like you’re struggling to reach your goals? Maybe you feel like you just can’t get everything done or there’s just not enough time in the day. Are you unsure how to reach your goals? Or maybe you’re like a lot of people who start off really strong when you’re working toward your goals, but then you fall off the bandwagon because your old habits end up taking over.

What can you do on a daily basis to create new habits to live your best life?

Here are 10 daily habits for you to live your best life and finally reach your goals:

  1. Prepare for the next day– get your things ready for the next day the night before. This habit is great for productivity and making extra time for yourself.  Before you go to bed, think of everything you will need for the next day. Pick out your clothes and put everything you need in the same area. This will help you save time in the morning, but also help you start the day on the right foot because you’re not starting off first thing in the morning stressed because you’re running around trying to pack your lunch and find that shirt that you really wanted to wear, but turns out it’s wrinkly and you don’t have time to iron.2. Exercise / Move Your Body Everyday– If you only have time to workout for 10 minutes out of your day then do it. You don’t have to do a serious workout. Just do something to get your blood pumping. You will start to notice that endorphin rush and energy boost and you will want to keep exercising and start squeezing in more time to make it a longer workout.3. Listen to a motivational podcast– when you listen to the news or talks shows, they tend to stress us out. Use your time while you’re working out or driving, to listen to something uplifting and encouraging and watch how your mood immediately changes along with it.

    4. Track your day– take a few days to journal everything you do. Look for patterns and find out how much time you’re wasting on social media or other things that you don’t need in your life. Determine how you want to spend your time and make changes accordingly.

    5. Keep a gratitude journal– write down 3-5 things that you’re thankful for everyday. If you’re alive and listening to this right now that means you have access to electricity and the internet, you can always find something that you’re grateful for. When you start a gratitude practice, watch how your perspective on your day changes.

    6. Meditate everyday– even if it’s just taking 3 minutes to clear and calm your mind, it will help relieve stress and anxiety.

    7. Drink plenty of water. Water has several health benefits and if you’re not drinking enough water, you will feel tired and bloated. Make sure that you’re keeping your body hydrated by drinking a minimum of half your body weight in water everyday.

    8. Turn off all electronics 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. There have been several studies done that show that computers and phones interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin, a natural hormone released in the evening to help you feel tired and ready for sleep. Turning off all electronics before you go to bed will help you relax and get a better night’s rest.

    9. Focus on the positive– it’s easy to go the entire day complaining, saying negative things, or griping about things other people do. Instead of complaining, try to turn your words into positive words or say something positive to yourself to get your mind off the negatives. Notice how you feel when you’re always complaining versus when you change your mindset to focus on the positive. It will completely change your day.

    10. Write down 3 goals everyday- seeing your goals written will make you want to complete them. There’s just something satisfying about being able to check off something on your list that pushes you to work hard and keep going. It’s also a constant reminder when you see them written right in front of you.

    I’m curious, do you already do any of these daily habits? Let us know in the comments which ones you already do or which ones you’re going to start doing today so that we can keep each other accountable!

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How to Beat Sugar Cravings

I hear from people all the time that one of the hardest habits to break is their sugar cravings. We all know that sugar isn’t good for us and once you eat it, you crave more. And those of us with brain injuries know that sugar is an inflammatory food that is harmful to our brains. But why is it so hard to just stop??

The most important thing to keep in mind is that hunger and cravings are 2 very different things.
If you’re craving sugar there’s 2 reasons: 

  • It’s your brain craving the release of dopamine. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for your happiness. For most of us, eating cake or ice cream, makes us happy. It’s your brain’s need for a “reward”. Usually related to a habit, or stress or you associate sugar with “treats/rewards” growing up.
  • You could have a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

So first let’s talk about the simple craving. This is when you’re hungry and then you say I’m really craving something sweet. Eat a healthy, filling meal with lots of protein. This will usually kick the craving because what you really need is energy. 

It gets a little more tricky when you’ve been craving it and you’re not hungry at all. You just really want it.

Here’s are 8 tips to beat those sugar cravings:

  1. Are you taking a high quality multi-vitamin? Are you eating healthy at least 80% of the time. It’s very possible that you have a vitamin deficiency that’s causing the cravings so check into that first. Make sure you either eat some fermented food or are taking a quality probiotic too.
  2. Start your day with lean protein. If you start your day with all carbs, you will just keep craving sugar and carbs all day.

3. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Trying to substitute your sugar craving for something that’s actually not healthier, it’s just chemicals that will just make you crave more.

4. Substitute Fruit- berries, cantaloupe, and peanut butter

5. Stop cold turkey– this is the only thing that works for me. The first 48-72 hours can be tough, but once it’s out of your system, it’s not hard at all. So when I’m truly craving something. Give an example of your favorite sweet treat. I let myself have it, but then the next day when I’m craving sugar again, I know that it’s because it’s still in my system so the best thing I can do is get past that first day and then it gets easy.

5. Check in with why you’re craving it– so many people rely on food for emotional support if their stressed, anxious or upset and we all know that food doesn’t actually fix anything. It will just leave you feeling mad at yourself for binging on the entire gallon of ice cream so instead of reaching for the food, reach for support. Talk to someone that you know will be supportive or try reading a book. Something to actually help you with the stress.

6. Don’t keep it in the house because out of sight out of mind. Distract yourself, tell yourself that you’re not going to have it for 10 minutes, then go on a walk, take a bath or shower, read a book, dance. I don’t care what you do. But just keep distracting yourself. 

7. If you’re TRULY craving something. You’ve been thinking about that piece of chocolate for 3 days and you’ve been so good, but you just can’t stop thinking about it. Eat the damn chocolate. Just go for quality over quantity. Instead of getting a huge bag of milk chocolate, go for the quality stuff that actually has less calories and a smaller amount but will still totally satisfy your craving.

8. SLEEP. If you don’t have a good night’s sleep you are much more likely to reach for the junk food. It took me a long time to put 2 and 2 together and realize that I crave crappy food when I’m tired. It’s my body’s way of telling me something is off, but I was just reading the signal wrong. So go for that lean protein that’s going to give you energy and actually make you feel better.

Let us know in the comments which one of these is your biggest takeaway and you’re going to put into action right now so that we can keep you accountable.

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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that your body uses for several systems. It’s also essential to help your body absorb calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood.

So how do you know if you need more vitamin D in your diet and how can you do it?

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that your body uses for several systems. It’s also essential to help your body absorb calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood.

So how do you know if you need more vitamin D in your diet and how can you do it?

Vitamin D is actually different than other vitamins your body needs. It functions like a hormone and every single cell in your body has receptors for it.

Most people don’t realize that they’re deficient because the symptoms are usually subtle.

Some common risk factors for a Vitamin D deficiency are:

  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not eating much fish or dairy.
  • Limited sun exposure by either living far away from the equator where there is little sun year-round or staying indoors all of the time.
  • Always using sunscreen when you go outside
  • Eating a strict vegan diet since most dietary vitamin d comes from fish oils, egg yolk and milk.

If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D, it can lead to serious health complications like cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in kids, high blood pressure and cognitive impairment in older adults.

Now that you know the causes of a Vitamin D deficiency, what are the symptoms?

  1. Feeling tired. Of course, there can be several causes for fatigue, but vitamin d deficiency is often an overlooked cause of it.
  1. Lower back and bone pain. According to healthline, one study showed that people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range.
  1. Hair loss. Again, like all of these symptoms, they could be caused by other things and one of the main causes of hair loss is stress. But there have been studies that show a link between low vitamin d and hair loss.
  1. Slow wound healing. Inadequate vitamin D levels may lead to poor wound healing following surgery, injury or infection.
  1. Depression. There have been a few studies done that showed that increasing vitamin d levels helped to improve mood.

As always, the only way to know that you have a vitamin d deficiency is to see your healthcare provider to have labs done, but if you have a vitamin d deficiency, here’s some ways that you can naturally increase your vitamin D.

  1. Eat wild caught salmon. 3.5 oz of wild caught salmon has 125% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin d and it’s full of healthy fats.2. Eat mushrooms. Mushrooms are actually the only good plant source of vitamin d.

    3. Eat egg yolk. Vitamin D levels in egg yolk depend on sun exposure and the vitamin D content of chicken feed. Eggs from chickens that are given a vitamin-D-enriched feed may have up to 7 times the recommended daily intake.4. Eat canned tuna. Of course, you have to watch how much you eat to ensure you’re not eating too much mercury, but in appropriate amounts, tuna is a great source of niacin, vitamin K and vitamin D.

    5. Unfortunately, natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or don’t like fish. it’s important you take a high quality supplement of at least 5,000 – 10,000 IU daily. You can not get too much vitamin D and this is one supplement you will want to take for LIFE!

Do you think you’re getting enough vitamin D in your diet? If not, how are you going to start adding more into your diet today? Let us know in the comments!

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Simple Life Hacks to Help You Fight Fatigue

Nobody likes feeling exhausted. You’ve got a lot to get done and people relying on you and it’s hard to show up for yourself and for everyone else if you’re in a constant brain fog or exhausted all the time, so how can you fight fatigue? How can you show up as your best self everyday?

First, you need to know that there can be serious short term and long term side effects of fatigue. Fatigue can cause weariness, irritability, reduced alertness, impaired decision making, and lack of motivation, concentration and memory. Also, studies have shown that fatigue is linked to health problems like heart disease and stomach and digestive problems.

Moral of the story: we need to fight fatigue and fight it now so that you feel better daily, but also to avoid some serious health risks!

First,  you need to find the cause of your fatigue. So if you’re tired all of the time, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you taking a daily multivitamin?
  • Are you getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night?
  • Are you drinking enough water (MINIMUM half your body weight in oz)?
  • Are you eating enough lean protein AND complex carbs?
  • Do you have any extra stress in your life right now?
  • Are you taking time for self care?

Next, here’s my top hacks to naturally fight fatigue:

  • Start your day with lean protein and complex carbs.
  • Drink 16oz when you wake up in the morning BEFORE eating anything.
  • Stay away from processed food.
  • Keep Track of your energy level 1-2 hours after eating each meal. This will help you figure out if specific foods are contributing to your fatigue.
  • Decrease your caffeine intake. Although it may give you an initial burst of energy, you will start to crash when it wears off. Rather than quitting cold turkey, slowly reduce your caffeine intake.
  • Peppermint essential oil! Inhale it, diffuse it, or even put a drop under your tongue for a burst of fresh energy.

Next, are you taking any supplements to help you fight fatigue?

  • Magnesium
  • B12 (especially if vegan)
  • Iron
  • Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng)
  • CoQ10
  • Creatanine
  • Fish Oil

Last, but definitely not least. Are you eating food that will give you energy and fight fatigue. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite foods to help you:

  • Chia Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Lean Protein (Tuna, Salmon, Chicken)
  • Green Tea or Matcha
  • Eggs
  • Whole Grains (Whole grain pasta or brown rice)
  • Oats
  • Spinach and Kale
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Flax Seeds
  • Beans

Let us know in the comments which one of these you’re going to try today so that you can fight fatigue and start living to your fullest potential and show up as your best self!

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