Health and Fitness

THE KETOGENIC DIET – FAD OR FOREVER?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, it is likely you have heard something about the Ketogenic diet. Whether it be a success story, an article headline boasting fast weight loss results, or a new professional athlete that has jumped on the bandwagon. The diet that was once solely used to help treat children with epilepsy has now become one of the most popular and fastest growing diet trends in the US. What exactly is the ketogenic diet? In short, it is a high fat, low carb diet being used to help people lose weight. A little background: fat, carbohydrates, and protein are the three macronutrients. One or more of these macronutrients are present in all of the food that we eat and these are what contribute to the calories in our food. All three are necessary for human ...

ANXIETY DURING THE HOLIDAYS: TAKING BACK THE FUN

With the holidays approaching, many of us should be looking forward to spending time with family and friends. However, for some of us – due to anxiety – we find ourselves more burdened with fear rather than filled with excitement. For several years now, I have been struggling with severe anxiety. While I have been making a great deal of progress with dealing with my anxiety, there are still times when I find myself struggling, and I definitely know what it is like to be both excited for the holidays, and at the same time, extremely fearful. For while many of my fears are irrational, I think anyone who suffers from anxiety knows how scared trembling legs and shallow breathing can make us feel. This is why, I’ve decided to share with you some tips I find helpful in making sure yo...

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DOCTOR MATTERS

After going to so many different specialists in my area, I had grown weary of finding anyone who could tell me what was going on in my body. It wasn’t until I was sitting in a waiting room in Mount Auburn Hospital that I was finally given the gift of an accurate diagnosis so I would know what to expect and how to handle the symptoms and seasons that would come next. I remember the day of my diagnosis. I was in shock, denial, full of anxiety, nervousness and fear. I didn’t understand why or what I had. I would need a whole year to finally accept it, but there was one person who made that day and that year the best experience I could have had during such a crazy time: the right doctor. Kathryn Wang was my superhero in a white lab coat. She was attentive to my every request, thorough in her e...

IDIOPATHIC

I am so…delicate. Twenty-one-year-old women do not often find themselves feeling life leave their bodies. But here I am, feeling somehow thin and dense all at once, sinking into hospital sheets like lead. The grayness of the day stays with me, the silver-scale of all the colors. It is not raining, and I can see Summerville through the fog. I’m so tired. Am I coming, God? Losing blood has a name. It is so long and ominous that hearing its mention tells of the mysteries with it. I cannot even spell what ails my body. All I know is my corporeal being is warring with itself in the most literal of senses. No, my spleen is not moving throughout my body, but it is a destroyer. Senseless with anxiety, it attacks the good and the bad in my blood. But it is unable to cease, so it keeps on going, ins...

I WILL ALWAYS BE FAT

I know what you’re thinking: “Bold title choice, Em.” But here’s the thing. Why is “fat” a bold word? As humans, we casually stray away from using words like “fat” to describe what someone actually is. Being afraid of the word only deepens the stigma that surrounds it– that fat is bad. When one of your girlfriends is getting ready in your bathroom and you hear her say, “This skirt makes me look fat” and you respond with, “No it doesn’t! You’re not fat,” you are only contributing to the notion that fat is bad and we should be afraid of it. Why are we afraid of being fat? Women grow up in this world surrounded by media that idolizes thin bodies over fat ones. It’s the institutional shaming of anyo...

HOW NOT TO SAVE A LIFE

Today I saw another one of those social media that purports to offer alternatives to self-harm. This time the post also claimed that sharing this information would save lives. I’m just going to be completely honest, this bull isn’t saving any lives. These are not credible alternatives to self-harm. They will not stop an ill person from hurting themselves. They don’t solve the problem of why a person might feel the need to hurt themselves; they don’t even address it. In fact, in some cases they reaffirm the idea that hurting yourself is a good coping mechanism (just so long as you do it in a socially acceptable manner). I’ve talked and written about why these suggestions are insulting until i’m blue in the face. I see others giving excellent arguments against such advice, and yet this sort ...

LIFE WITH MRKH SYNDROME

I can’t lie, it’s been a difficult few months.  As a matter of fact, scratch that, it’s been a difficult few years.  I’m almost 25, and I cannot believe it has been nearly 10 years since I sat in a bright pink room at my OB GYN’s office as she told me and my mom that I had this rare syndrome.  To be honest, at first, I just thought she was wrong. She had the wrong clipboard, the wrong tests, the wrong girl. I was fine. At 16, I hadn’t had my period yet, but since I lied to just about everyone in my life about it (including myself), I kind of pegged it as a non-issue. This lady was crazy, I was going to get my period any day and reach full “womanhood.” I already had developed in every other way, the above-average size of my breasts was a weirdly hot topic in my eighth grade science class, s...

DEPRESSION AS AN EXTROVERT

I’m an ENFJ. For those of you not familiar with what that means, it’s a personality code, and I happen to have the same one as Barack Obama. Future President alert? Among the many things that each letter stands for, the one letter I’m focused on for the purpose of this post is the ‘E.’ My ‘E’ stands for Extrovert. Now, as a Gemini and a naturally outgoing person, this diagnosis doesn’t surprise me. For those of you that have known me just for 30 seconds, it shouldn’t surprise you either. I consider myself the life of the party and the leader in professional and personal settings. Being an extrovert comes naturally to me. What this personality code doesn’t tell you, however, is that depression hides in the ‘E’ diagnosis...

HOW I REACTED TO MY DIAGNOSIS

This is what being diagnosed with a chronic illness is like:  First Day: Confused. Never heard of it. What does this mean? Google black hole. What is going to happen to me? Is this information correct? Every day after that for the next few months: Denial, learning in secret and surviving.    It started with falling, losing my balance and I thought if I lost more weight I would fine. I started exercising and it wasn’t working, I started losing feeling in my arm and couldn’t raise it. Went to the Orthopedic doctor who then recommended I see a Neurologist and a series of test ensued. In the meantime, my cousin and I did Weight Watchers, I lost 32 pounds and kept living life. After losing the weight, I began to feel a little better.   At 25 and while in graduate school I was diagnosed wi...

I’M GETTING MARRIED IN 3 MONTHS… AND I’M STILL NOT GOING ON A DIET

Hey there! Remember me? You may have read my other piece about not dieting for my upcoming wedding a few months ago. If ya haven’t, click here to catch up!  I want to be real with ya’ll.  “Meeting” my dress (aka when your dress comes in and you get to try on the actual dress you’ll wear on your wedding day, not a sample) was a blast.   One of my best friends came with me, we sipped champagne, put on all the accessories and basically? I could have stayed in that dress all day, happy as a clam. Yup, I’m that girl.  Heading home from the appointment, however, a nasty thought popped into my head.  “Better still fit that dress in December, Jules. Watch your weight…”  Ahhh… my nasty inner diet critic decided to show its ugly face. Woof, haven’t heard from her in a while…  For a second I fe...

HORMONE HEALTH 101: THE IMPACT OF STRESS

It seems stress has become a norm in everyone’s daily basis. I am always asking myself how I can be more physically and mentally healthy so I feel more relaxed instead of stressed. Working with women in helping them with hormonal issues, I know that we are all trying to tackle this issue. When you are experiencing a stressful time in your life, it’s time to focus on your physical health which will impact your mental health. Research has shown that women are more likely to feel anxiety than men. Also, 18.1% of the American population report times of anxiety. Conventionally treatment has lead physicians to prescribe medication that come with a host of side effects. However, there are many natural ways to alleviate anxiety. Unchecked stress can inhibit you from reaching your goals. There are ...

WALK INTO YOUR PURPOSE

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ― Francis of Assisi For most people signing up for a marathon, 5k, 10k or even popular adventure-themed races can seem like a challenge. Imagine facing that challenge while living with Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Fear, self-doubt and even pain are all reasons to give up. I had so many reasons to gloss over fundraiser invitations, to ignore invites and forget about competing in any type of athletic events all together. That would be too easy. After coming to terms with where I was physically and emotionally, I decided enough was enough. No one wins by shrinking back in the face of a challenge and neither would I. It was time for me to not just endure the process of being diagnosed with MD, bu...

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