For those who do not know my story, I will share with you briefly. At the age of 16, I started to become interested in how to lose weight and become aesthetically perfect. The lack of a quality male role model, mental head games from my boyfriend and an insecure, yet beautiful mother, can do this to you. My goal was to make my body as perfect as possible so my boyfriend would not want other women and would treat me with respect and love. It was also an aspect of control. When everything else seems out of control in your life, there’s this mental piece deep down inside of you that makes you realize you can eat what you want, when you want. You can exercise as much or as little as you want. You can be as thin or as heavy as you choose- it is your choice- your control.
I started my journey into health and fitness as an obsession to beat my personal best. Instead of fashion magazines and Seventeen, I read every fitness magazine and publication printed by man. I read diet books, took courses and started to obtain fitness certifications for my own working knowledge. Everything I read- led me to focus on less calories, less fat and more activity. I became obsessed with fat grams and daily exercise, but what was wrong with this? According to public health recommendations, it was good and still is good to eat less, move more and watch your overall fat intake. When people would make comments that I was getting too thin, I would brush it off that they were just jealous or they were not used to seeing a fit body so they did not know what too thin was. My mom would tell me she could feel my bones when she would rub my back, but she didn’t realize how obsessed my mind had become or how “RIGHT” I felt about the goals I was hitting. This carried on for about 5 years.
I was taught many lessons about metabolism during this 5 year period, which later turned into the best education I could ever receive. This “perfect” way of life I had studied and was living, was actually slowly killing my body and robbing my well-being.
This regimen of 5-6 days of exercise, 1200-1500 calories and 20-25 fat grams daily, was slowly robbing my cells of their energy and creating stress overload. The visits to the doctor started at about the age of 18 and did not stop until I was led in a direction that pulled me away from my false “health” information. By the time I was 21, I had been put through two colonoscopies searching for answers to my chronic stomach pain and constipation, several visits for stress, skin rashes, skin discoloration, lack of menstruation and I should have been seeing a mental health doctor for my severe bouts of depression and mood swings (looking back- I am glad I never went that route, because I would have been placed on meds that do not address the underlying cause). Who would have thought that at the age of 21, drinking water, eating “healthy” and daily exercise, would have led to such torture? Sickness did not run in my family. My great grandparents lived until their 80’s-90’s, my grandmother is still alive now at 89 and my mother and father are alive in their 60’s.
This is why I refused to believe in my 20’s that I was going to have to live with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, infertility and symptoms of stress overload. I kept searching for the answers. My initial search led me to learn I needed to eat more fat and have higher than 12% body fat in order to make a baby and have proper digestion. So I started making small changes. I started allowing myself to slow down a little, skip a workout and have a whole egg. These changes helped me end my chronic stomach pain and helped my menstruation return to normal. I was still fearful of letting go and had not found all the answers. I continued thinking I was “right” to keep my calories at 1500 or below, to avoid red meat and real fat such as butter, olive oil and coconut oil. I was scared that if I ate these things, I would gain 50lbs and die of heart disease. I also felt maybe I should do more cardio such as run half marathons for fun and do the 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer to help save lives. On top of this, I decided it was time to open my own business to help motivate others to live “healthy’. Teaching them they could run less and still run races, they could eat more fat and still lose weight, I felt I was on the right track. Overall I was. I was learning daily lessons through my life, my clients and my studies. The unfortunate part is, my formal education was misleading me. It was still failing to create optimal health and a phenomenal body.
My small changes corrected some areas, but my additional work load, my avoidance of specific foods and my added cardio, kept creating more and more fatigue. My resting heart rate was at 44 beats per minute (which I used to celebrate because of false education). I started experiencing sporadic numbness in my arms, a dull chest ache, cyclical flu-like symptoms, low white blood cell count, swollen lymph nodes and extreme muscle fatigue after exercise. I went to my doctor seeking help again. Of course she sent me to a cardiologist, a hematologist and an ENT. I had previously met with an oncologist for biopsies on abnormal breast tissue and visited the ER twice on the doctor’s recommendation to get my heart checked. My primary let me know my blood work showed I was continually fighting off the Epstein-Barr Virus, which the clinical diagnosis was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She let me know that some doctors feel it is a crock and others find it very valid, but either way, she had no solution to help me fix it or fight it, other than some meds she said really didn’t offer much support. My ENT said I had nothing pathological in my throat other than a nodule from having to use my voice so much to teach. He also pretty much laughed at me when I told him I wanted to make sure I did not have lymphoma because of my continued fatigue, swollen nodes and low white blood cell count. Epstein-Barr is shown to be directly related to lymphoma according to the published studies, but he thought I was pretty much an idiot to be asking this question. He offered to run a cat scan for the swollen glands in my neck, but made me feel so ignorant for asking that I skipped his cat scan and I avoided paying his $300 bill. No longer will I pay for SHIT service (to be bluntly honest)! I work my butt off to make $50 and he is going to get paid $300 for a 10 minute visit to make me feel stupid for ensuring I do not have something more serious. My visit to the cardiologist led me to wearing a halter monitor while I ate, drank and slept. The monitor came back with the results that my heart was stopping in the middle of the night for up to 5-10 seconds and my resting heart rate would go well into the low 30’s at rest. He then ran a stress test with ultrasound and found I had a leaky heart valve and mitral valve prolapse at the age of 33. With this being said, I got a list of symptoms, but again no solutions as to what do I do other than keep an eye on it. The hematologist said all the blood work looked fine and he had no answers for the swollen nodes, dizziness etc. I asked for a copy of the blood work and noticed my CO2 was low. Of course I went home to start researching and found the symptoms of low CO2 (otherwise known as Respiratory Alkalosis) to be some of the main symptoms I was experiencing. Why did he say my blood work was fine and why did he not address this if the symptoms matched what I was stating? This is why YOU ALWAYS ask for a copy of your records. You may not be a doctor, but you may be the only person who cares enough about YOU or has the time to be a detective and advocate for your own life.
It feels pretty much defeating when you have been doing what the media, textbooks and doctors tell you to do, but your health is failing more than those who are not even paying attention. So who is right? What is the best way to live? I started studying science. The biology of the human cell and studies that are about creating and sustaining life, versus just weight loss and fitness routines.
I found that much of the garbage we are being fed, is just that – GARBAGE. From the food, to the dieting advice, from exercise recommendations and medications- much is absolute GARBAGE setting us all up for failure.
While researching something for one of my clients, I came across my AH-HA moment!
Let me share with you some of the most important scientific definitions you could ever absorb, learn and apply.
Metabolism: The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.
Nutrient: is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism’s metabolism which must be taken in from its environment.They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Methods for nutrient intake vary, with animals and protists consuming foods that are digested by an internal digestive system, but most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil through their roots or from the atmosphere. Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins.
Calories: Are in brief- Units of Energy. Energy that animals (including human beings) derive from their food, through the process of cellular respiration, the process of joining oxygen with the molecules of food (aerobic respiration) or of reorganizing the atoms within the molecules for anaerobic respiration. Animals need a minimum intake of food energy in order to sustain their metabolism and drive their muscles. For humans, food energy typically comes from joining oxygen with carbohydrates, fats, proteins, organic acids, polyols, and ethanol present in the diet. Some diet components that provide little or no food energy, such as water, minerals, vitamins and fiber, may still be necessary to health and survival for other reasons.
Vitamin: is an organic compound required by an organism as a vital nutrient in limited amounts. The value of eating a certain food to maintain health was recognized long before vitamins were identified. Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and, in general, are readily excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of vitamin consumption. Because they are not as readily stored, more consistent intake is important. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats).
Enzyme: A protein (or protein-based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a living organism. An enzyme acts as catalyst for specific chemical reactions, converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates) into specific products. Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist.
Did you have your AH-Ha moment yet? Or are you saying, “What the heck does all of this mean?”
To say it simply- it means everything we have been taught about not eating, moving more, eating low fat, cutting out carbs, cutting out animal protein etc.- is as a whole…. ABSOLUTE GARBAGE if you’re goal is to achieve a healthy, fit mind, body and spirit.
Metabolism, does not mean you are fat or skinny, it means you either have rapid occurring, healthy chemical reactions which maintain life, or you lack efficient nutrients, vitality and vitamins to create and maintain natural processes. If you really cut out all the brainwashing and look at these terms scientifically and logically, you will find the formula to do more, eat less and eat processed man-made foods to sustain health is again absolute GARBAGE if you want lasting success and quality of life!
Now to end this rather long blog (that was meant to be brief, simple and inspiring, yet became a little more deep and hopefully still inspiring), here’s how the story ends and my journey continues. Once I discovered how the body really works and how cells strive to maintain life through the nutrients we consume and how we treat our bodies, I learned how to conquer my most daunting health symptoms.
I can pretty much say I have now eliminated ALL of the health symptoms I was seeking help for or have learned how to stop their negative progression. I maintain 16-18% body fat and an ideal weight with doing half of what I used to and eating real, whole foods that were designed to create LIFE! It took a lot of education, personal self growth, strength and a willingness to make a change. Learning how to balance external and internal stressors, address dietary deficiencies and improper training programs, has helped me and now thousands of others succeed in conquering chronic health problems, pain and unwanted body fat! When one realizes humans were not designed to be suffering this much, especially those with access to clean water and food, one too can have their AH-HA moment. This is the moment in which suffering ends and solutions begin.
In the non-traditional way of citing information in a blog…..
I must pay credit where credit is due.
A special thank you to all of the people who have crossed my path, directly or indirectly, to help me come to these realizations and discoveries. You have been my physical resources for this blog and my personal drive.
Paul Chek Holistic Health Practitioner, Dan Hellman Master Physical Therapist & CHEK Practitioner, Emma Lane CHEK Practitioner and much more, Ray Peat Phd. in Biology, Pete Egoscue Posture Therapist, David Weinstock Neurokinetic Therapist & Creator, Gray Cook Physical Therapist, George Mateljan Nutrition Specialist, Ruben Serrano CHEK Practitioner and Massage Therapist, John The Greek EFT Specialist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Dominic Sessa CHEK Practitioner, Rob Turner Fitness & Wellness Specialist, Antonio Valladares a very bold Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist, Herson Garcia CHEK Practitioner, My husband & Latin Lover, Vivian Atchison My Grandmother, Sharon Martin My Mother, Dr. Mercola, the creators of documentaries such as Food Inc., my amazing clients & the many physicians who gave me copies of my blood work, symptoms and the drive to seek solutions! Above all- God, my inner being and the Universe, have led me to the answers needed to help myself and others do the best we can to thrive in this crazy world! Thank you to all of you, even those I have failed to mention, for being part of this amazing journey.