health

HOW TO START THE DAY RIGHT

It all ends well when it all starts well. Or something like that. Or at least we should try and aim for a good start even when we don’t feel like it. When I was younger, I’d think that all we needed to do was fix things as they come– tackle and go. The older I got, I realized that this is taking up so much of our energy. And no energy eventually leads to stress. If you don’t have the energy for doing much, how are you going to get that cortisol down? How are you going to focus and relax? That’s when I realized I needed a morning routine. We need rituals that would allow us to get in a state of flow early in the day. I find a morning routine to be more important than any evening ritual of self-care. Although I do have an evening self-care guide, it doesn’t go that bad when I don’t fol...

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 ...

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...

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...

I’M BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER

Over the past few years, my health really deteriorated. I was in a constant battle of feeling depressed, lost and tired. I would gain 15 pounds one month, and two or three months later loose it all in a matter of two weeks. All this happened every year for about four years straight. I was stressed, depressed and far from healthy.  This year was the worst for me so far. I gained over 20 pounds in one month, and felt like I wanted to quit my dream. I had absolutely no desire to keep on going in every part of life. Failing over and over again is something we all have to get used to; it’s going to happen a lot. I felt like I was failing at home, at school, at work and at life.  I guess it’s true when they say that you have to hit rock bottom to bounce back. I was looking at pictures and ...

DEAR ‘FITNESS TRACKER’ WATCH, WE’RE BREAKING UP

Dear Watch, We need to talk. This thing we’ve been doing for a while now? It’s just not working out any more. At first it was exciting, and I thought you were so good for me… but lately, I’ve been seeing things differently… I’ve become obsessed with you, and it’s NOT good for me. I know you wanted the best for me, I know your intentions were positive and that all you wanted to do was to help me be healthy… but it’s gone too far. You’ve overstepped, big time. And now I’m paying the price. I used to enjoy going for runs, but now I’m just chasing a calorie burn. What used to be good now is never enough. I used to enjoy food. Now I’m consumed in the thoughts of “how many calories am I eating?” “How many hours will I have to exercise to work it off and make you happy, watch?” You constantly mak...

YOUR WORST FEARS HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED

It happened again, I realize as I scan the room and take in the aftermath of my latest binge. Numerous bags, wrappers, cans of diet soda, remnants of microwave low-carb meals, what I can assume was once a bowl of popcorn based on the grease and salt dusting the bowl, combined with marks from my fingers swiping against the plastic, in an attempt to devour every last morsel. During these moments I found myself reflecting on a seemingly bleak future, wondering into the vastness if I would ever feel hope, attempting to imagine a reality in which I could make eye contact with myself in the mirror instead of the flitting glances I allowed myself at the time. That reality seemed to fall from my imagination as quickly as the box of Oreos to my left had been devoured. This feeling of loneliness and...

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