Mind, Body, Soul
May 17, 2020 - Episode #19 - Mind, Body, Soul – My personal Story of Feeling like my Health was out of Control
You would think, from a health perspective, I have it all figured out! I’ve been trained and educated. I’ve got experience and lots of it.
* Dietitian by profession
*Masters Degree in Human Nutrition
* 24 years of experience
* Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach
You know what that means?? It means that I feel really guilty and ashamed when I’ve gotten off track with my health!!
But, I’ll tell you this….I’ve learned more from my struggles, shortcomings and failures. I’ve learned more by falling down and getting back up! I, too, have felt like my health and my life was spiraling out of control. I have struggled with weight issues, no energy, Gi issues, poor stress management, depression and anxiety. As a wife and a mom, I’ve definitely been guilty of burning the candle at both ends and neglecting self care. Forgetting that when I feel well I’m better able to love well. And I, too, have gotten so frustrated and wondered….What am I missing?
Hear my personal health struggles which lead me to identifying barriers that were holding me back from living life to the fullest. By addressing those obstacles, I started to see the beauty of harmony between body, mind, and soul. If you are tired of feeling like your health is out of control and looking for peace and fulfillment; this podcast is for you!
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I'm Jennifer Pickett, your host, your health coach and your friend. If you are done with feeling tired and uninspired. Frustrated because your health and your life feels out of control. Defeated from the diet culture. Resentful from the unrealistic expectations. If you are limited on time, resources and overwhelmed with an already too full schedule; then you have come to the right place!
As a Dietitian turned Functional Medicine Health Coach, I provide women with a strategic framework to transform their health….body, mind and soul! Are you ready for something different? Armor up, warrior!! Your health and happiness is on the line. It’s time to live confidently in intentional harmony! Check out www.inspirehealthyharmony.com
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May 17, 2020 - Episode #19 - Mind, Body, Soul – My personal Story of Feeling like my Health was out of Control
Body, Mind, Soul…….honestly it sounds cliche. Does it really all work together and how? Listen to a good discussion about finding whole body, holistic harmony today on Healthy Harmony.
Welcome to Healthy Harmony where we help you clarify and discuss health tactics to harmonize your life. I am your host and health coach Jennifer Pickett and today I want you to walk away from this podcast empowered to take control of your entire health and well-being.
I’ve been in health and wellness for over 23 years. I honestly love helping others. I always have. This year, as we have launched this podcast, I have enjoyed telling other’s stories. Knowing that you will be encouraged and inspired. However, when it comes to my personal health story or my own personal health struggles, I hesitate. Okay, hesitate isn’t even the right word, I mean I literally slam on the brakes. Vulnerability is something that I’m honestly just now coming to terms with. You see, for years, I’ve gotten so skilled at putting on a mask. I know what to do and what to say. It’s simply a habit to smile and put on a good face and act like everything is okay. Even when I’m crumbling inside.
Add to that tendency, the self-imposed pressure of having it all together when it comes to being healthy. I’m a health professional, for the love!! I should have it all together, have it all figured out and then guide others to do the same.
So looking back over the past few years, I see a woman who was intent on growing a business and being a good wife and good mom. I see someone who is burning the candle at both ends, not dealing with stress. I see someone who knows what to do but has a hard time doing it. This person is someone who practices pretty good nutrition, exercises and takes supplements yet struggles with feeling out of control, sluggish, burned out and overwhelmed. Someone who struggles with weight and doesn’t know why! A girl who just knows something is off yet cannot pinpoint it. That someone is me.
Here’s the deal…. I know what to do. Lord knows I’ve studied, done research. I’ve been trained in health sciences. I’m a Dietitian with a Master’s degree and almost completed my training as a Functional Medicine Health Coach. I know what to do. Or at least I thought I did.
As I reached a point of total frustration in my health journey. Feeling toxic and sluggish, not having enough energy, feeling bloated after meals, fighting the urge to take afternoon naps and just feeling that depression and anxiety pressing in. Yeah, I reached a point of complete and total frustration! The frustration was not just physical. The impact that this had on me emotionally, mentally and spiritually was all consuming. You see, in my mind, if I was struggling with my health then that meant I was a fake! A big ole phony!! So I kept up this big smiling persona so no one would see the struggle within. And let me tell you, it’s so exhausting wearing a mask, feeling like a phony and being consumed with thoughts like you will never be enough!!
I honestly didn’t know what to do. Out of sheer desperation, I started seeking God and just crying out to Him. Spending time with in His presence studying His word. Seeing how relevant and life giving these words were that are contained in scripture. And Lord knows I prayed. But honestly, it was mostly me talking and telling God everything I needed Him to do for me. I had a laundry list of problems that I wanted God to just solve. Heal my marriage, make me a more patient mom, grow my business, give me some energy with a good body to go with it!! Yep, that is what my prayer life consisted of!!
God started to change my heart. I continued to get nourishment through spending time with Him. At the end of 2018, I started praying about the New Year. And thinking about a word that would be my word for the year 2019. In years past, I have selected powerful words like Determination, Empowered, Focus. As I thought and prayed about my word, it became very clear to me. My word needed to be REVEAL. God was speaking to my heart and letting me know that He needed to reveal some things to me. That if I truly wanted to help others deal with the crap in their life, I first needed to deal with the crap in mine.
Here’s another thing about me. I don’t deal. I’m what you call a shover downer. Difficult feelings, emotions…..instead of addressing those and dealing with those, I just shove deep down. Maybe my thinking is that if I shove it down deep enough it will just eventually disappear?? Let me tell you something my friends, that line of thinking is incorrect.
So as I started to take a really close look at my life and my physical health, mental/emotional health and my spiritual health; I just started to see some really big obstacles emerge. Barriers that I kept running into yet refusing to do anything different. God gently started to reveal some areas in my life that needed work. Some areas that I needed to address. And some areas that I needed to give to Him. I also started on this path to see how body, mind and soul works together. I mean it is such a good sounding cliche…..body, mind and soul. But I really wondered how it all came together. So let’s dig into this. I’m going to pause my story here and let’s look together at Physical health, Mental and Emotional Health and Spiritual Health.
When you think of the word “health”, most of us just think of physical health. I really like the definition of Health by WHO, the World Health Organization. It defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
That being said, we can further define physical health as the overall physical condition of the body. The state where this beautiful living organism is functioning the way it was designed to function. It is working the way God designed it to work! The dictionary describes health as the state of being free from illness or injury. But I think you will agree that there is so much more to it than just being free from disease.
Physical health is absolutely crucial for overall well being. It is the most visible of the other aspects of health. The ancient Roman poet Virgil said, “The greatest wealth is health”. Your physical health determines how you live your life. It determines how you look and how you feel. It also determines what you are able to do or not do with your life. Don’t you want to live life to the fullest and not have anything hold you back? I know I do!!
Mental/ Emotional Health
YOUR LIFE, YOUR EMOJIS
What does emojis have to do with anything?!? Well…how are we feeling today? If we could describe how we feel using emojis, which emojis would you use? The angry face? The sick face? The sleepy face? I will tell you after working with cancer patients for years that life is too short to be feeling bad! To just get by barely surviving when we are truly meant to thrive.
It’s surprising but both Mental and Emotional Health are often overlooked when someone is seeking to gain better overall health. However, if our goal is to achieve harmony, we first have to realize , it all works together! And that Body, mind and soul are intricately connected. Can we utilize a harmonic approach to achieve optimal health and happiness? Yes we can! In fact, it’s absolutely essential for success!
Digging in a bit more, Let’s talk about the power of your mind. I recently saw two quotes….. ”The body achieves what the mind believes.” and “To change your body you must change your mind.”
I love both of these quotes. They are compelling reminders of the power of the mind! And it is absolutely fascinating that there is now clear scientific evidence of how the mind and body are interconnected. Think of your brain as this personal computer control center. It is powerful. It is capable of doing what you tell it to do. So you must look at the info, the directions, the words and the programming that you are putting into your “control center.” Are you providing yourself with positive programming or negative programming? Did you know that research is showing that 75-98% of mental, physical, and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life. That’s crazy. But it is true! It is described by doctors as neuroplasticity. This can be defined as the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual’s life.
Change. Is it possible for the brain to change? Is it possible that your thoughts can control those changes? Science tells us yes! So what are those thoughts that you are having? What words are we saying to ourselves? In order to turn our health around, we have to turn our words, thoughts and then actions around. Then we can truly start to make a difference in our mental health.
I think that we used to think of emotional health as the “card that was dealt to us.” That there wasn’t anything we could do about our emotional health. Well, I will tell you that we simply know more now than we used to know. We are learning more and more about the gut and brain connection. Yes, the health of your gut determines more than you imagine! Let’s think of this as a tale of two cities. The brain houses the central nervous system and the gut houses the enteric nervous system. Between these two very important “cities” runs an information super highway. It is home to trillions of microorganisms (bacteria). The balance of those microorganisms affects specific chemical messengers that travel up and down that information super highway. By the way, the official name of the highway is the vagus nerve. And this give us an indication of how closely connected and interdependent the brain and gut are! Basically, if the gut isn’t healthy then the brain won’t be healthy! Let me give you an example..did you know that 95% of your serotonin, that feel good hormone comes from your gut?!?! Crazy, right?
So if we want to feel good, to improve our mental and emotional wellbeing, we need to get to the root of the problem and really address what is happening with body and we must improve the health of our gut! Now this is a big humongous topic that we will not have time to fully address in this podcast. But yes, it is so much more than just the foods you eat and the supplements you take.
Spiritual Health. The health of your very soul. There is something we don’t talk about very much in the healthcare field. It is often ignored. I’m not going to make assumptions here about the state of your spiritual health. Nor am I going to preach at you. I’m simply going to encourage you. Let’s start with some introspection. What is your faith? For me personally, I have faith in a Living God. One who sent His son to die on the cross for me so that I can have eternal life. You see, I realize that this life is not all there is. This life, filled with its hard aches, heartaches, trials and difficult times, is not the only life we have. If we believe in Him, confess that He is the only way; a beautiful life awaits us after this life on earth has ended.
I lost my mom way too soon. My sweet, slightly crazy, funny mom. The one who cheered me on and listened to me was taken from this earth at the early age of 66. It was not just me that lost a mom. My sister lost a mom. My dad lost a wife. My kids and niece and nephews lost an amazing grandmother. This was honestly the hardest thing that I have ever been through in my life. Quite frankly, this tested my faith. Did I really believe what I said I believed? I found that this strengthened my faith. This awful loss strengthened my faith in a God who sometimes heals by taking someone to their eternal home. I found that His promises hold true.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
I became overwhelmingly grateful for the Hope that we have in Him. The fact that although my mom’s life on earth was complete, her body was fully restored and she was in the glorious presence of her Lord and Savior. Eternal life in a beautiful heavenly home. In fact, I was so confident of this fact that I was able to get up and speak at my mother’s funeral. To let others know of this HOPE!
Spiritual health is truly the cornerstone of overall health. If your spiritual health is poor, if your soul is unsettled and searching; you will continue to struggle in every other aspect of health. Science shows this to be the case as well. For those who focus on spiritual health, they have a sense of belonging and well being that has a huge impact across all aspects of health. I have found this to be the most pivotal in my health. When my soul is not being nourished, I flounder. I turn to everything else to numb the pain and nothing works. My health is impacted across the board.
I like this quote from Thomas Merton…..”If a man is to live, he must be all alive; body, soul, mind, heart and spirit. End quote.
Spiritual health is the core. The health of our soul and spirit drives other decisions we make.
Body, Mind and Soul. Physical Health, Mental/Emotional Health and Spiritual Health…….it makes sense that it all goes together. God certainly created it to work in beautiful harmony. But how in the world do you find that harmony??
Getting back to my personal story….For me, it started with recognizing that everything was all out of balance, out of whack. There was no body, mind and soul harmony. I had really been taking what I call a lopsided approach or a one sided approach. Just focusing on one thing, like taking great supplements or eating right, but neglecting to recognize the impact of unhealthy habits. Not thinking of these habits as barriers or obstacles in my health journey. I was too wrapped up in this feeling of “I’m doing everything right, why won’t my body respond?” So I made a decision. To dig in, to self reflect and identify my obstacles. I firmly believe that you cannot move forward until you identify what has been holding you back. It was time.
I identified 3 key areas, 3 barriers that were affecting my whole body, mind and soul health.
1). My spiritual health was lacking. My soul wasn’t nourished. Yes, I’ve been in church my whole entire life. I know what to say and what to do. How to put on the Christian mask. But I knew God had so much more for me than that. I knew that I could find total fulfillment in Him if I would stop treating my relationship with God like a freaking checklist! Go to church, check! Read a devotion, check! Listen to some Christian music, check! Serve in church, check! That’s not a relationship. There is nothing fulfilling about a checklist! Remember I told you that my word for 2019 was REVEAL, well, as I continued to ask God to reveal those areas of my life that needed work. He did so. And that was tough. He opened my eyes. I saw how my priorities were all out of whack. How things in my life had become idols. More of a priority than Him. I saw how my quiet time with Him was more about what I wanted and asking God to grant me my wishes than it was about truly seeking a deeper relationship with Him and what He had for my life. Not gonna lie. These things are tough to see! But honestly, it made sense. I had just gotten used to living this unfulfilled life, with a soul that was desperately searching for more. I had accepted that it was normal and acceptable to live a life where you are just surviving. But that small inner voice inside of me kept reminding me that I was meant to THRIVE and live life to the fullest.
2) Poor stress management and Numbing the pain. When times got tough and I was stressed, what would I turn to to numb the pain? Was it mindless scrolling on social media, comparing myself to others. Drinking too much wine to escape? Emotional eating? Watching Netflix. In my self reflection, I quickly realized that although I internalized much of my stress, that didn’t make it disappear. And I had definitely fallen into some bad habits just to numb the pain and chill out. I wasn’t turning to God for peace, comfort, wisdom, guidance. I was turning to everything else. And you know what?? It wasn’t working. Poor stress management is a whole other podcast but let me tell you that it absolutely wrecks havoc on your body and it definitely wrecked havoc on mine!! When we don’t manage our stress, it will manage us. It creates such a strong degree of inflammation in our body and affects every single aspect of body, mind and soul wellness.
3) Emotional issues. It’s funny to me to even use that term. But let’s call it what it is!! And yes, it is emotional issues when you are a shover downer like me and push all of those tough feelings and emotions deep inside hoping they will disappear. I firmly believe that these unresolved emotional issues were truly affecting my health. The best example I can give her is after I lost my mom. 7 years ago in January. 7 years ago. It was devastating. It was awful. Yes, I grieved. Kinda. But honestly only briefly. I wanted to be strong for my kids. They had lost their grandmother. I was working at a church at the time and just felt like I needed to put on a good face. After all, what kinda Faith did I have if I knew my mom was in heaven. So all of that grief, depression, anger, frustration…….I just pushed deep down inside refusing to address the pain and turned to just numbing the pain. This is just one big example. Doing some emotional health workshops just over the past few weeks has really shown me this very strong pattern of not facing my feelings, shoving all that stuff down and neglecting to realize how it truly affects my mental/emotional health and how that impacts my physical health and spiritual health.
There you have it. Those are my 3 biggest obstacles. Self reflection can be tough. But I realized that self reflection without action meant nothing. Recognizing where you are and where you need to start is step 1. And I had gotten stuck at step 1 before! So, I knew it was time to do something different and truly take a holistic, whole body approach!!
As I started to address these obstacles and take action to overcome these obstacles. I ran into another one. OVERWHELM. I’m a Type A personality and I want to just get it all done. But let’s get real…..you can’t change everything at once. You cannot take these repeated poor habits and tendencies that have developed over years and just change it all in a few days. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. So I found myself doing that several times. Shut down. And then feeling guilty and ashamed that I could not tackle my own health obstacles. I mean I’m trained for the love!! So again, time to pivot and use a different strategy. One that I now refer to as small and sticky changes. It’s involves making small changes and trying to get some momentum going instead of trying to change everything at once. Small meaning the changes are so little that almost seem insignificant and sticky meaning…. those changes are so small they are easy to stick with! As I started implementing these small and sticky changes in my life, I started to gain a little momentum and see this harmony across my physical health, mental/emotional health and spiritual health. Harmony! There’s a word. I love that word. By definition, harmony is a pleasing arrangement of parts; it is the quality of forming a satisfying and consistent whole. Another way to define harmony is an internal calm or tranquility.
YES!! This is what I had been looking for! HEALTHY HARMONY!! It just feels good. It feels right.
Now I would just love to end here and wrap up this story with a nice big bow and tell you that I conquered my obstacles, found that healthy harmony in my body, mind and soul and everything was just peachy for ever more.
But life doesn’t work that way, we all have a tendency to go back to bad habits, we all get off track and that has certainly been the case with me. Some days are great. I’m kicking it! Managing stress, eating healthy, exercising, ensuring that my soul is nourished. Good days! Other days, I swear I forget what I’ve learned. I’m a anxious mess making unhealthy choices and then feeling all the guilt and all the shame that goes with that.
It’s a journey. Our health is truly a journey. It’s not a destination. We will fall down and then we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again.
Thank you for allowing me to just be real and open and honest with you in telling my story and how I’m working on body, mind and soul harmony in my life. It all works together, right. I hope that this has inspired and encouraged you today.
Please remember to follow us on your favorite platform of choice, @inspirehealthyharmony on FB and Instagram. You can join in on the discussion on our FB group and as always, you can learn more about coaching, additional podcasts, cooking videos at www.inspirehealthyharmony.com. Until we meet again, my heart is with you as we navigate these tough times and I hope you have a healthy and happy day.