My Journey Into Functional Medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor of the Future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease~ Thomas Edison

 

Earlier on in my career as an internal medicine physician, I began to feel dissatisfied with the status quo. I sensed there was something wrong in the delivery of medical care. The 15 minute double booked office appointments only added to my angst and dissatisfaction. Questions plagued me such as:

  • How come my patients kept coming back time after time with the same complaints?
  • How come I was only resorting to pills to help them feel better?
  • How come I didn’t have enough time to educate them about lifestyle modifications?
  • How come those patients diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease suddenly had these ailments become the forefront of their existence spending time going from one doctor to another, filling one prescription after the other?
  • How come as time went on I saw the light in the eyes of a lot of my patients dim; there was almost a sense of resignation. Their lives had become, one doctor visit after the other, after the other.

In 2005, I left the sizeable multispecialty group I was working for in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago and went into private practice with two other business partners. Perhaps I could create a better model of healthcare delivery.

I saw my mission as not only treating acute illness but teaching my patients living with chronic diseases about taking simple small steps toward healthier living.

 

In my time in private practice, I decided to pursue training as a professional coach. I found there was power in guiding people toward possibility, so they see the answers for themselves while holding them accountable for the results they produce. Writing about the power of coaching still lights me up and gives me goosebumps.

I wanted to promote lifestyle interventions, but could not find a model I could incorporate that entirely resonated with the kind of care I was looking to deliver to my patients. Unfortunately, the practice was not going well. There was high overhead while insurance reimbursements were low.

Finally in 2010, after paying back the business loan we had taken out to start the practice, I made a decision to leave. I have been working in hospital medicine since then. Over the last eight years, I have continued to provide health information on my blog and have published and uodated a book for patients on  how to live with type 2 diabetes. But those questions have continued to plague me.

I’ve contemplated going back into private practice, but I wanted to make sure that I created a structure that would support not only my patients but also me.

As a cancer survivor, it is my responsibility to create a space that promotes my healing; where I can thrive and continue to serve my patients.

Well, I am happy to share that I have found that structure in functional medicine. So this is the beginning of my journey into functional medicine, and I am excited to share this  with you.

  • In this video blog, I share what I understand functional medicine to be

 

 

As always I welcome your comments as well as suggestions for topics you may be interested in learning more about.
To your health and wellbeing,

Health Awareness Topic- Women and Mental Health

 

 

 

This month is Mental Health Awareness month. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are 1 in 6 Americans (44 million Americans over the age of 18 years)  living with a mental illness. Mental illness covers a broad spectrum ranging from mild to severe and tends to affect women more than men. Depression is the most common mental illness. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.

There are certain kinds of depression unique to women. These include premenstrual dysphoric disorder (commonly known as PMS), perinatal depression (widely known as postpartum depression) and perimenopausal depression.

Living with a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes can be very overwhelming, and some people may experience depressive symptoms but do not have significant clinical depression.

Examples of depressive symptoms

-feelings of sadness or overwhelm nearly every day
-thoughts of worthlessness almost every day
-lack of motivation or feeling agitated almost every day
-loss of interest in everyday activities almost every day
-the inability of sleep or excessive sleep almost every day
-loss of appetite and/or a significant change in weight
-decreased ability to concentrate
-thoughts of harming oneself such as suicide

So how do you know if you are just having depressive symptoms or if you have a diagnosis of major depression?  Depressive symptoms do not last a long time. A person with major depression experiences at least three of the symptoms listed plus feeling depressed on and off for a prolonged period up- to two years.

What to do if you feel you have a mental illness

If you or someone you know is facing a mental illness, please seek help immediately. Not all depression is mental illness, and not all mental illness is depression.
There are some medical conditions especially in women that may cause a change in the mood and appear to be depression.

Some examples:
Thyroid disorder particularly hypothyroidism
-hormonal imbalances such as menopause
-food intolerances such as gluten sensitivity
-disrupted sleep patterns in conditions like sleep apnea
-vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency
-low blood count (anemia)

Your healthcare provider may perform some blood-work to make sure you do not have a treatable medical condition.
If treatable medical conditions have been ruled out, then your healthcare provider most likely will recommend you to a mental health specialist.

Treating Mental illness

When it comes to treating mental illness, there are several options. It depends on the nature of the mental illness. Seeking treatment with a licensed mental healthcare professional is essential.  ‘Talk therapy’ may be a starting point. There are many types of talk therapy such as counseling, psychotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy. But some types of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or severe depression may also require the use of medications right from the start.

Nutrition is also important. Pay attention to what you are eating. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods which contain a healthy ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as phytonutrients (plant sourced micronutrients).

Suicide risk and mental illness

Mental health illness triggers a lot of stigmas. People with mental health issues may go through a lot of emotional pain and feel isolated. They may be afraid to seek help. Some people dealing with a mental illness may begin to have suicidal thoughts or even resort to suicide.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 90% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or alcoholism. Most people who commit suicide may have attempted suicide in the past. They may do so because they want the physical and emotional pain they have been going through to stop and ending their lives may seem to be the only resort.

In summary, it is essential that as women we pay particular attention to our mental health as well as that of our loved ones. If you or someone you love is living with an untreated mental illness, please get help immediately. It is possible to prevent suicide Suicide is preventable with the right intervention.

Some mental health resources:

Depression in women- Five things you should know

National suicide prevention line

Department of Health and Human Services

 

To your health and wellbeing,

Using the internet for online medical advice

 

 

 

 

 

People turn to the internet for online medical advice for a variety of reasons. Some people to help them try to diagnose an illness. Others to get a better understanding of health and wellness issues to improve the quality of their lives.

Numerous websites provide medical information. Some of the well known reputable websites include  WebMD,  the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic. You can learn a lot on topics such as nutrition, exercise, common symptoms of diseases, drugs, holistic medicine to name a few.

There are more and more independent doctors and health care experts- such as myself- who share their expertise in a particular area such as type 2 diabetes or other chronic illnesses. This is called information marketing and is geared toward empowering people to make healthier lifestyle choices as well as directing people to a healthcare professional who may be able to help with their medical issues.

I love the fact that as healthcare providers and experts in our various fields, we can provide all this information on this global platform.   It is clear based on internet searches that people want this knowledge.

There are also a lot of not so reputable health information websites. Some of the information that may be downright wrong or misleading.

Because of this, it is crucial to verify the credentials of the source you are getting your information. One of the ways you can do this is, to find out if a healthcare professional who is board-certified wrote the info on the website.

A board-certified physician has completed a residency program in their chosen specialty and also has gone a step further to pass a standardized examination. Depending on the specialty, board-certified physicians are required to undergo  ‘continuing medical education’ (CME). Most insurance providers and also hospitals mandate that a physician is board certified. To confirm whether your healthcare provider is board certified click here.

 

Cyberchondria – the danger of online medical advice

A lot of people search the internet for the answers to common health concerns. It is not unusual for patients to come to see their healthcare provider, armed with information from a web search. I experience patients referring to the results of their internet searches on a reasonably regular basis.

There are some dangers with seeking online medical advice. The most common is getting wrong information. Some websites show up high on search engines, but they provide the worse case scenarios. You could be getting the wrong advice–with severe consequences.

Some people become so obsessed with the advice they get on the internet. They may continuously feel that something terrible is happening to them. They are always thinking the worst and use the internet to validate this feeling.

This constant obsession with the ‘worst-case scenario’ for what may be standard medical conditions is called cyberchondria. Cyberchondria can become very serious and disabling. Someone suffering from cyberchondria may not even realize how this is affecting their ability to function.

Cyberchondriacs spend a lot of time and resources going back and forth to see their healthcare provider armed with their latest findings from their internet research. They may end up demanding medical tests and procedures. And they may move from one healthcare provider to another if they do not get the answers to validate how sick they feel.

How to deal with cyberchondria

So let’s say you are that person (or you know a person 🙂 I’ve described in this article, what can you do? Just like a hypochondriac, cyberchondriacs believe that what they are suffering from is real. Dismissing someone with cyberchondria and telling them it’s “all in their head” is not going to work. In fact, it may cause them to isolate themselves and not open up to their loved ones or worse still their healthcare providers.

The best advice I can give anyone obsessed with continually searching the internet for medical illness is to stop searching the web. Just as I would advise an alcoholic not to just ‘drink a little.’  Take an internet and social media holiday.

The next step is to seek the advice of a competent and compassionate therapist. Talk therapy can be very therapeutic. It can help to ease the anxiety associated with cyberchondria. Talk therapy can also provide coping skills and tools.

In summary, the best approach to using the internet for online medical advice is to be curious yet cautious. Use reputable sites. Do not go to the Internet looking for worst-case scenarios. And finally, know when to stop and seek the timely help of a qualified healthcare professional.

To your health and wellbeing,

Health Awareness Topic- What every woman needs to know about fatty liver disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a routine request for a preoperative consultation in the hospital.
I cheerfully introduced myself to my 33-year-old female patient. She had presented to the emergency room with upper abdominal pain. She had an ultrasound of her abdomen performed which revealed inflammation of her gallbladder. She was scheduled to have surgery the following day.

I briefly read the ultrasound report I noticed an additional abnormality. I asked her to tell me about herself. She had a history of high blood pressure otherwise considered herself healthy. She did not drink alcohol but consumed several cans of soda a day. She had a twin sister recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Her mother who was present in the room, also had type 2 diabetes. It seemed to be coming together in my mind.

I assured her that I thought she would do well with the surgery, however, that I had found a slight concern on the ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that she had fat in her liver. I explained to her what this meant and some of the things in her history that had put her at risk for this happening. I shared with her that because she was obese with a history of high blood pressure as well as having a family history type 2 diabetes mellitus she was at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes herself.

So what is fatty liver disease?

My patient had is a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, commonly called fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is becoming more common with some studies showing that up it affects up to 46% of adult Americans. It is more common in women. It usually develops between 40 and 50 years of age, although there are some young people in their teens being diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Many people do not know that they have fatty liver disease. Up to 2-3% of people have a more condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can progress to advanced liver disease called cirrhosis.

Some Conditions associated with fatty liver disease

  • Obesity– more than 70% of people with fatty liver disease are obese. Of more concern is abdominal obesity. The waist circumference is a measure of fat in the abdominal cavity. Measuring the waist circumference helps to determine abdominal obesity. A waist circumference (over 31.5 inches in women and 37 inches in men). Fat can accumulate around organs as well as inside organs such as the liver. Fat cells produce harmful substances increase inflammation in the body and can lead to chronic illness. In the liver the fat cells can cause inflammation called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and can eventually lead to a condition called cirrhosis.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Up to 75% of people with fatty liver disease have type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome– Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but a collection of symptoms. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Click here to read more about an article I wrote about metabolic syndrome and the link between type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
  • High triglycerides– Between 20-80% of people with fatty liver disease have high triglycerides.
  • Exposure to certain toxins and drugs– some medications that are used to treat medical conditions can cause fatty liver disease. These include steroids (prednisone and hydrocortisone, methyl prednisolone) amiodarone, tamoxifen

What are the signs or symptoms of fatty liver disease?

Unfortunately most people with fatty liver disease do not have any symptoms. At other times a routine blood test performed by your healthcare provider might show abnormal liver enzymes which may be a clue that there may be some inflammation in the liver .

How do you to treat fatty liver disease?

The good news is that if addressed early, fatty liver disease is reversible. Here are some things you can do:

  • Weight loss- If you have been informed by your healthcare provider that you have fatty liver disease, please take this seriously. Lose weight. Lose weight gradually. Rapid weight loss has been found to worsen fatty liver disease. Do not just look at this as a ‘weight loss plan’, rather look at ways to improve your lifestyle. Work with your healthcare provider to create a lifestyle plan that works for you and allows you to thrive.
  • Eliminate high fructose corn syrup- High fructose corn syrup is a manufactured chemical sweeter that is present in a lot of foods. It is very common in soda as well as several other processed foods including salad dressing and even ketchup. There are some studies that show a relationship between high fructose corn syrup and liver disease.
  • Reduce processed foods. Increase fruits and vegetables- processed foods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates. These simple carbohydrates get turned into sugar. Excess sugar gets taken up into the liver and converted to fat. Reduce simple sugars and increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This way you are getting more fiber, vitamins, minerals and powerful nutrients that have healing properties.
  • Treat diabetes – If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes get this treated.

This is the time to focus on making healthy lifestyle changes. If left untreated, fatty liver disease could progress and cause severe damage to the liver. Be proactive. This is your life. I want to see more women thrive into their older years rather than suffer from the effects of chronic illness. If you would like more information about working with me click here.

To your health and wellbeing,

Five tips on how to live with a chronic illness and still thrive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello and welcome back,

In my last blog post I highlighted there are about 117 million people in the United States living with one or more chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, obesity, arthritis, etc.

Do not isolate yourself. I thrived through a diagnosis of cancer. As a practicing primary care specialist and professional life coach, I know what it felt like to be on the other side facing my mortality head on.

I opted for the support of my life coach, my support network and tapped into my innate wisdom to become my best teacher through this journey.

Through my experience, having been a patient as well as a practicing physician, I have chosen to be a stand for other people living with a chronic illness or life-threatening diagnosis.

Below, are five tips  I learned from my journey. I share them with the hope that they can help others.

Tip number one- pay close attention to your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing

Know that you will experience a myriad of emotions when facing a chronic illness. Your mind and body have just received some life-altering news. Be kind to yourself. Try to make healthy adjustments to your diet and exercise regimen. When considering making a change, consider making simple, small steps Your body is in a state of heightened alert right now. This heightened state causes a rise in the stress hormone called cortisol. If cortisol is released continuously into the body due to prolonged stress, it can have harmful effects. Your body is doing its best to heal. It needs your help. Seek out ways to support your overall wellbeing.

For example, explore practices that allow you to become more centered such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi, diaphragmatic breathing, etc. Look for ways to support or cultivate a spiritual practice. Consider taking on a mindfulness practice. Current research suggests a benefit when it comes to healing that the mind-body connection is essential. For more information on how your mindset affects living with chronic illness click here

Tip number two- choose a healthcare provider that is the right fit for you

You should have confidence in your healthcare provider. I recall when I casually shared my cancer diagnosis with another physician over lunch. He seemed to think that the treatment option being offered me was a little too extreme and that perhaps I should get a second opinion.
But I had confidence in my surgeon. He had taken the time to outline the plan of care, and so I did not feel I needed to get a second opinion.

If you have any doubts or questions, you may want to get a second opinion. Having the right healthcare provider is vital your overall wellbeing.

You need to be proactive in searching for a healthcare provider who is the right fit for you.

For some tips on how to choose the right healthcare provider click here.

Tip number three- take regular social media and internet fasts

One of the first things people do when they are experiencing an illness is to turn to the internet and social media. Remember not everything on the internet is right! Remember that people posting their experiences on social media are just that-their experiences!

You can use the internet and social media to network with other people going through a similar experience as yours.There are many reputable websites. But be careful about information overload. Do not spend countless hours online reading up symptoms. Try not to stay connected 24/7. Consider taking some downtime so that you do not suffer from information overload.

Tip number four- ask for the support of friends and family

People react differently to being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Some people may choose to isolate themselves from friends and family as a coping mechanism. This kind of behavior is not healthy. Isolation can lead to high levels of stress. As humans, we thrive on being connected. People want to know if they can help. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need.

One way you can do this is to create a support system rather than depending on one person. So you have different people who you can call on for different things. For more information on how to build a support system click here.

Tip number five- Learn to define a new normal

You cannot ignore being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition or living with a chronic illness. Too often we spend a lot of idle time and energy pining for the way things used to be, rather than focus on where we are right this moment. Learning to define a new normal is perhaps one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

So how do you know what your new normal is?

A new normal differs from one person to the next. Defining a new normal is a journey of self-discovery. I think it is important that people living with a chronic illness should not give up and sit around waiting for the worst to happen.  It is easy to become the person living with diabetes, or cancer or hypertension. Do not allow yourself to be defined by your illness.

Today I call myself a THRIVOR, not just a survivor. In my opinion, a survivor is someone who has just made it through a challenging circumstance.

THRIVOR is a word I coined to mean someone who has taken the lessons learned, is better for it and is choosing to thrive in their lives.

My mission is to create a global online platform providing women living with a chronic illness with tools and support in order to THRIVE.

I invite you to join me in creating this empowering tribe.

To your health and wellbeing,

 

The ABCs of living with any chronic illness

 

 

 

 

A chronic illness is a prolonged illness that is not communicable and which is not expected to resolve.

Some examples of chronic illnesses are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and arthritis.

According to the CDC, there are currently about 117 million adult American living a chronic illness.

In addition to this number, about 1 in 2 adult Americans live with one chronic illness and 1 in 4 live with at least two conditions.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is a life-altering experience. I know this first hand. I still remember the shock and disbelief reading my results stating the words ‘invasive cancer’.

A lot of people may have a hard time coping with the diagnosis, and they may begin to experience feelings of overwhelm, despair and even depression.

Some people may even feel they are no longer healthy.

But as with everything else in life, you choose differently by your mindset.

That is why I chose to address the mindset in the first three chapters of my recently published Amazon bestseller book ”Dr. Eno’s Guide to Thriving with Type 2 Diabetes”

Your mindset is made up of three essential aspects. I call them the ‘ABCs of living with any chronic illness.’

I not only write about these, but I used these concepts to help me thrive through my diagnosis of cancer.

So what are the ABCs?

A stands for Acceptance
B stands for Belief
C stands for commit to change

To learn more about the ABCs, download my free ebook which highlights the first three chapters of my Amazon bestseller book.

To obtain a copy of the book from Amazon, click here.

 

To your health and wellbeing,

 

 

 

 

Here are some other articles from our archives you may also like:

Five simple strategies to cope with diabetes distress

Five symptoms women should never ignore

Today’s health awareness topic: The relationship between your emotions and diabetes symptoms

 

Today’s Health Awareness Topic: How mindset affects our health when living with a chronic illness

mindset-and-chronic-illnessIn my over 20 years as a primary care physician, I have noticed a lot of patients living with a chronic illness feel that they have lost their good health. I am here to share with you that does not have to be the case.

As I highlight in my free e-book, it all starts with your mindset. This starts with the following:

  • Acceptance
  • Belief
  • Commitment

Armed with these three attributes, you can make the choice to achieve optimal health despite living with a chronic illness.

What is optimal health?  

Optimal Health is a state of harmony in the body. It is the balance and inner resilience that allows us to meet the demands of living no matter what life throws our way without being overwhelmed.

Our health is never static. Our health is always evolving. Moment by moment and day by day. Our health is the collection of our emotional, physical and spiritual states.

We are learning more and more in the medical field how interconnected our physical state and our mental and emotional states are. This is called the ‘mind-body connection.

This mind-body awareness can also help us to choose how we live with a chronic illness. 

Our body is born with the natural urge to heal itself. When we are in a balanced state this healing can happens easily. For instance, we accidentally cut our hand with a knife whilst cooking. In time the cut heals naturally.

When we disrupt the body’s natural balance, we experience disease (Dis-ease). Only a small proportion of diseases actually have a genetic basis.

Majority of the causes for disease are the result of the lifestyle choices that we make over time. I like to work off the premise that if we know better, we can do better.

Our thoughts impact our overall state of health. How we perceive living with a chronic illness determines the choices that we make. 

Caroline Myss in her best seller book Anatomy of the Spirit writes about the fact that our biography becomes our biology.

We are all living history books. Every thought that you have ever had has traveled through your body and produced a physical response- good or bad. As our lives unfold, our physical health becomes a living, breathing biography. It conveys our strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears.

A fearful thought such as losing our job, or being diagnosed with cancer stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It causes the release of stress hormones- adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are responsible for fright, flight or fight. The same fright, flight or fight response occurs if we come face to face with a big grizzly bear whilst on an outdoor camping trip. The sad news is our body does not know the difference between the fear thought and the real fear of being in an endangered situation. They both produce stress in our bodies.

Research shows that sustained stress day in and day out can affect our chromosomes. Stress affects the telomeres that are located at the tip of the chromosomes. When the telomeres break off, they speed up the aging process.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness elicits a fear response in most people. But it takes a concerted effort to create a mind shift in order to achieve optimal health

This is your responsibility not that of your healthcare provider. 

I am passionate about motivating and inspiring both patients and clients to take an active role in their overall health. It starts with their mindset.

Accept that you are responsible for every part of your life. Your physical history, relationships, every attitude and opinion that you hold or belief that you carry inside yourself, affects your biological makeup.

You may have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes. Being sad and resigned may seem like natural emotions. But does it make it any easier.

If dealing with a chronic medical condition and your whole mindset is that of hopelessness then this only leads to further dis-ease.

Negative emotions around illness only serve to promote self-suffering

It’s time to make a choice to adapt the ‘ABCs’ of living with a chronic illness so that we can start on the way to optimal health. Accept. Believe. Commit.

If you have not already downloaded a free copy of the first three chapters of my upcoming book “Dr. Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes” click here.

Until next week, here’s to your health and wellbeing,

511952242dd5056a22054e09-2

How stress can cause a ‘broken heart’

Hello there and welcome back,

February is heart disease awareness month. In my last article, I promised that I would share how stress can cause heart disease.

I recall the first time I met a patient diagnosed with this condition more than seven years ago:

She was close to 80 years old. She came in ‘feeling poorly’ for the last few months. Her husband had died from a chronic illness almost 15 years ago, and she never remarried. Despite being afflicted with constant back pain, she still tried to remain active. She attended regular outings of her red hat society and other senior activities. She was a delight to interview. I admitted her to the hospital, and we began running a battery of tests to find out what was the problem.

By the next day, her test results started to come in. Her heart enzyme levels were dangerously high. But she had never complained of chest pain to explain this. A cardiologist (a heart specialist) was asked to see her. She had a heart test called an echocardiogram. The results of the analysis showed that she had a heart condition called Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.

OK before your eyes glaze over, I know this sounds like a mouthful. But let me gently break the news to you- it is also called ‘Broken Heart Syndrome.’ This particular heart condition could be caused by-you guessed right if you said STRESS!

It was first described in Japan and is more common amongst women. The kicker is that either intense emotional or physical stress causes it. Anything from a medical illness, to domestic abuse, heated arguments, devastating financial loss, the death of a close relative. The list goes on. The word ‘Takotsubo’ in Japanese means ‘octopus pot.’ It describes the unique way it causes the bottom part of the heart to balloon up.

It is not sure how precisely takotsubo cardiomyopathy damages the heart. It is thought to be related to the release of a significant amount of the stress hormone called epinephrine released into the bloodstream. Unlike the more common type of heart disease-coronary artery disease- that is caused by blockage of the arteries.

The use of over the counter cold medication called phenylephrine, as well as illicit drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, can also cause takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

It can cause the same symptoms as a heart attack like chest pain. Some patients may have shortness of breath (like my patient) or have a fainting spell.

The good news is that takotsubo cardiomyopathy if discovered and treated early is reversible. The sad story is that if left untreated eventually the heart muscle becomes too weak and can eventually lead to heart failure. Unfortunately, this was the case for my lovely elderly patient.

I share this information with you because it became clear to me that just as stress is insidious in our lives, so can it’s effects be in our hearts.

Who would believe that a heart could break from our life experiences?

The truth is that there are far too many women out there just like my patient. They are going through life oblivious to the effects that stress has on them.

They are our sisters, our neighbors, mothers, co-workers, and yes- even ourselves.

How many times have you felt a twinge of chest pain and chalked it down to ‘just stress’? Now I’m not saying to you that every twinge that you feel is a heart attack about to happen. What I am saying is that as women we have been given an ‘innate knowingness’ about our bodies. It is called a woman’s intuition. It is that intuition that signals that heart pain (ache). Then we dismiss it as ‘only stress.’ It is our body’s inner knowingness signaling us to stop and pay attention, to search within.

I know from firsthand experience as a primary care provider that being diagnosed with a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes adds another layer of stress. But I am also here to assure you it does not have to be this way.

I do not want to see one more woman suffer from a broken heart.

It is my vision to form a TRIBE of likeminded women who want to THRIVE and experience ‘stress less’ lives.

Here are some things you can start doing today:

  • Pay attention to the signals that your body sends to you. Be still, take notice, and check within.
  • If these symptoms persist, please schedule an appointment to see your healthcare provider.
  • If you are not satisfied with the answer that your healthcare provider gives you, please be persistent. Don’t get blown off.
  • Make it a priority to learn how to handle stress
  • If you are a woman living with chronic illness find ways to create a network that supports you.

As always I look forward to your comments.

To your Health and Wellbeing,

 

Health awareness topic: February is heart disease awareness month for women

February is heart disease awareness month for women. A lot of women do not know the facts when it comes to heart disease.

Case in point, there used to be a time when it was thought that women under the age of 50 could not suffer a heart attack. So you can imagine what happened if you were a woman and you went to see your doctor with a complaint of chest pain. Your doctor would probably reassure you that it was not your heart and perhaps you had indigestion or were under a lot of stress and prescribe something for that.

The truth is that there are still some doctors out there that treat their female patients that way. 

And so, it is extremely important if you are a woman that you arm yourself with the facts.

Here are some other facts that you need to be aware of-

  • Women may not have the same symptoms of crushing chest pain as their male counterparts. In fact a significant number of women experience the early signs of a heart attack as a sudden onset of weakness, and not chest pain as our male counterparts do. Now let’s face it, if you were to go to an emergency department complaining that you are feeling weak, more than likely you’ll be sent home with an ‘off work slip’ and admonished to get some rest!! At the same time, not all complaints of weakness indicate a heart attack!!
  • Women who smoke increase the risk of having a heart attack up to two to four times.
  • Under the age of 50 women’s heart attacks are twice as fatal as men. This is all the more reason to be persistent when something just does not seem right.
  • Heart disease will kill six times more women this year than breast cancer.

What happens when you suffer a heart attack?

When you suffer a heart attack, the blood supply to an area of the heart muscle gets blocked off. Sometimes the blockage may not be a complete blockage and blood can still get by to the heart muscle. This is called ischemia or angina. The classic symptoms are chest pains, chest discomfort, and chest heaviness. Sometimes the pain may go down the left arm.

Or as women we may have what is called ‘atypical symptoms’ like unusual weakness, heartburn, dizziness, etc. 

But remember just as I pointed out, some women may not have the classic presentation of ischemia. The good news is that if the blood supply is restored at this point, then no permanent damage occurs to the heart muscle.

When the blood vessel to a particular are of the heart remains blocked for a period of time, eventually the heart muscle begins to die off. This is when a heart attack happens; the damage cannot be reversed and the heart muscle dies and it is replaced by scar tissue. Scar tissue reduces the functioning of the heart and eventually causes heart failure and death.

What you can do today:

  • Become knowledgeable about your risk for heart disease.Schedule your annual physical and get to know your numbers! These numbers include- your blood pressure, fasting lipid profile (cholesterol), and blood sugar.  If any of these numbers are outside of normal range then take action and work on getting them back to normal. For more information on knowing your numbers click here
  • Even if you do not have a family history of heart disease you can still be at risk!
  • If you smoke then quit. No more excuses! It’s still early in the year and you know you can do it.
  • If you are obese or even over 10% of your ideal body weight, then commit to losing weight.
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, then make sure that you are being treated by a licensed healthcare professional. Do not ignore this part of your care. Denial only worsens things in the long run.
  • Find ways to cope with stress in your life. Stress is so prevalent that we as humans do not believe they can live a stress free life. It is our perception of stress that matters and what we do to modulate its effects. Stress can lead to a particular type of heart disease in women called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. I will be writing more about this in a follow up article later this month as this is something I think women need to be educated about.

Now more than ever we as women need to become more pro-active in our overall health and wellbeing. We need to stop making excuses for poor lifestyle choices. More importantly we need to accept that these lifestyle choices not only shorten our lives, but also the quality of the life that we have left. I’m not sure about you but I want to be healthy, vibrant and THRIVE well into my 90s and beyond! And I’m looking for my TRIBE of like-minded women to join me.

For more information about my working with me {click here}

Here’s to your health and wellbeing,

How This Simple Strategy is Helping Me Tiptoe Past Overwhelm

personal developmentRecently I’ve had a lot on my plate. Between going to several work locations as a travel physician, building my online wellness platform; working on marketing and publicity; preparing for the release of my upcoming book, plus training for a fall marathon, it’s little wonder I’m beginning to experience some overwhelm.

In an earlier article I wrote about a strategy to get past overwhelm and get back into action.

But when we try to get back into action, we tend to set big goals and we get overwhelmed again.

Let’s say your goal at the beginning of  the year was to be a svelte size 6 by the start of the summer season. But somewhere around February, you stopped exercising, stopped watching your diet. Now you are 10 lbs heavier than you were at the beginning of the year!

You’re wondering if it’s worth even trying to lose all that weight. Perhaps you’re feeling so defeated that you’ve decided you’ll wait until 2018 to set another new year resolution.

In my upcoming book, I write about ‘the stages of change’. Too often we go straight into action without too much preparation. And when we do get into action we tend to go all out. You know the slogan ‘Go BIG or go home!’  Then we find we’re having a hard time keeping up the momentum. Next we become overwhelmed!

What if there was a way to tiptoe past overwhelm so that we stay in action and on the road to producing the results we desire?

Well, there is a way, I’ve learned about. It is called the Kaizen method. It teaches how to take simple small steps. When starting out with the kaizen method, the steps are so ridiculously small, that it may seem impossible they could create longlasting change. That’s the beauty of the kaizen method. The steps seem so small initially that we may not even feel we are making any change. The key is to success in the kaizen method is to consistently build on these small steps.

You see when we set BIG goals, we trigger an alarm in an area of our brain called the amygdala.
The amygdala is part of our primitive brain and was developed in pre-historic times to protect us from harm. So if the primitive man ventured into unfamiliar surroundings, it was the amygdala that fired off alarm signals warning him to retreat back to familiar surroundings.

The amygdala fires off the same way when we venture into the unfamiliar territory of making changes. Even when we know those changes could make us healthier and happier.

No wonder we never quite seem able to sustain a weight loss goal, exercise regimen, better diabetes numbers etc. because to our brains these all represent change. And our amygdala thinks change could be bad.

By learning to take simple small steps, consistently, we can make the needed change and not alarm our amygdala!

So what could this look like?

Let’s go back to the weight loss goal example and see how we can apply the kaizen method.

Rather than focus on the short-term goal of weight loss, focus on the long-term benefits losing weight will give you.

If you are living with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes, perhaps you may focus on the fact that in the long-term, losing weight has been proven to help with better blood sugar control and in the case of borderline diabetes can possibly reverse it.

Think of something really small that you can start with. This is the time to get really creative. Then commit to taking a simple small step.

For instance if you want to start a walking program, don’t rush to the fitness store and spend hundreds of dollars getting geared up in the ‘latest and the greatest gadgetry’. Rather, start with something as small as walking in place at home or at work for 1 minute a day. Or maybe you want to cut down on your food intake. Rather than look for ways to immediately cut out 500 calories per day, as most nutritionists may recommend, start with simply leaving a spoonful of food on your plate.

As these simple actions become easy, add on to with more small steps. For instance walk in place for 2 minutes a day. Leave two spoonfuls on your plate.

Be consistent. Make it a habit. Celebrate your wins.

Using the kaizen method can create a snowball effect. You will notice yourself wanting to take on more as your newfound habit becomes fun.

Can you think of other aspects of your life that could benefit from using the kaizen method?

Too often we tend to focus on what needs to be fixed. This is a very narrow way of looking at our lives. Every aspect of our lives are interconnected. You spiritual health affects your emotional health as well as your physical health. How you eat, sense and feel, relate to others as well as your perception of the world affects your whole person, and ultimately your health.

Whether you are living with a chronic illness or just looking to be healthier, it is always best to take a whole person approach to wellness.  The kaizen method is just one way that allows us to focus on the small things that ultimately affect the whole.

In my upcoming coaching programs, I’ll be sharing several strategies that help to focus on the whole person when it comes to improving our overall health and wellbeing.

I’m also excited that the second edition of my book “Dr. Eno’s Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes’ will soon be released.  If you would like to download a free copy of the ebook that highlights the first three chapters of my upcoming book, click here.

To your health and wellbeing,

May 2017 Awareness Topic: The Difference Between Overweight and Obesity

In the May 2017 Health Awareness Topic, I’ll discuss the difference between what it is to be obese and how this differs from being overweight. In my years of clinical practice, I have found that people do not like to describe themselves as obese. Somehow the word obese has become ‘politically incorrect’ and offensive. So people, even healthcare professionals, choose to use the word ‘overweight’ even when they really mean that a person is obese.

I recall once when I was educating a patient about the fact that her CT scan showed that she had fat in her liver and this put her at a higher risk of diabetes. She later reported me that I said she was fat!

My assertion is that if we continue to tiptoe around this issue and not address obesity for what it is we will never be able to take control of the rising obesity or type 2 diabetes and borderline diabetes epidemic. Our patients look to us to tell them the truth. Being told the truth does not have to be offensive, but it may require an uncomfortable conversation that more healthcare professionals need to get comfortable having.

The similar statistics between obesity and type 2 diabetes

If you look closely at the statistics that I started this article with you will notice that they are similar over 100 million of adult Americans are either obese or overweight. Over 100 million adult Americans have either type 2 or borderline diabetes

Body Mass Index- BMI

The body mass index (BMI) is used to define normal weight, underweight, overweight and obese conditions. For the most part, BMI correlates with the amount of fat a person has. So a higher BMI correlates with a higher risk for obesity. There are some exceptions to using the BMI exclusively. For instance a person who is muscular may have a high BMI but they are not obese.

The BMI is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the height. There are many BMI calculators online. All you need to know is your height and your weight (in kilograms) and then you can plug those numbers in. For an example of a BMI calculator, click here.

Categories of BMI:

Underweight -BMI less than 18.5

Normal weight- BMI 18.5- 24.9

Overweight- BMI 25-29.9

Obesity class I 30-34.9

Obesity class II 35- 39.9

Obesity class III greater than 40

Over two-thirds of the adult population in America is either overweight or obese. Currently there are over 29 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes. There are an additional 86 million are living with borderline diabetes. The common denominator for both of these conditions is the rising obesity epidemic.

Consider this, if you have been diagnosed with borderline diabetes and commit to losing just 10% of your body weight, you can reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

The goal is to maintain a healthy and normal BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9

For people who are overweight or obese I usually get a lot of rebuttal telling me they have not had BMI in that range since they were in high school or middle school.

That’s OK. Just as it took some time to gain weight, it will also take some time to lose weight. So let’s start with that statement. You are OK.  Accept that you are overweight or obese. This statement should not be seen as  someone making a derogatory statement about you. It simply means that if you want to live a long and healthy life there is work to do. You are not alone in this obesity epidemic.  There are close to 200 million people in the United States alone. Start by developing a support system. Work closely with your healthcare professional.

Changing old habits is never easy. There are several stages to change. One thing you can start today is to start taking simple small steps every day. Taking simple small steps helps to reduce the sense of overwhelm that making big changes can cause. And because the changes seem so small in the beginning you are more likely to stick with them.

Here’s an example of a simple small step you can take on. Purchase a fitness tracker. What is the common step goal everyone says when you start counting steps? 10,000 steps! Look at that number, doesn’t ten thousand sound like a whole lot to start with? Consider this. Set a goal to walk 1000 steps on your first day. And then when you reach that goal (or exceed it) slowly increase your daily goal. Eventually you’ll reach your goal without feeling overwhelmed and along the way you’ll discover ways to increase the amount of steps you take every day.

It all starts with what I call the ABCs – Acceptance, Belief and Commitment.

For more information about the ABCs and how you can use these to start making changes in your life, you can download a free copy of the first three chapters of my upcoming book, ‘Dr Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes’ by clicking here.

To your health and wellbeing,

 

Is the story you tell yourself stopping you from reaching your full potential?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since my last blog post. But I’m excited. I want to share that despite my silence , I’ve been working behind the scenes with an amazing team of people, including my virtual manager who has been instrumental in helping migrate my online business to a more robust platform.

You see for the last ten years I have kept ‘planning to plan’ to transition from clinical medicine into more of a wellness based business that focuses more community outreach programs as well as online group coaching.

I’m being transparent in sharing that this has been a process for me to get past ‘my story’. And don’t get me wrong, this is something I am still working through.

Do you have a story that you keep telling yourself? Do you know this story may be holding you back from reaching your full potential?
So now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, you might be wondering what do you mean by ‘ a story’?

A story is a tale that you repeat over and over again. In the beginning, the story may have been told to you by an authority figure in your life such as your parent(s), a teacher, a pastor.

The important thing about a story is that is that someone initially TOLD this story about you. And you believed it. It became your reality. Your story now becomes the lens through which you see your life.  Every aspect of your life. A story can limit you from reaching your full potential.
So let me share the story that has been limiting me for a good deal of my life:

I was born a premature baby in London, UK. In the 1960s the odds of a premature birth under or close to 7 months surviving were a lot less than they are in the 21st century. My mother was a nurse. She understood the odds of me surviving with no permanent deficits. She promised herself that if I did survive, I would become a doctor in order to ‘give back’. From my traditional roots-in Nigeria-the career path a child takes is largely determined by their parents.

Over the last 20 years I have enjoyed a successful medical career in the United States as a primary care physician. Over the course of my career, I have also seen the impact lifestyle choices have on overall health. I have treated the effects of those lifestyle choices when people get ill or develop chronic medical illnesses.

As time went on, I became passionate  about helping people become aware that they could change certain behaviors before they got seriously ill. It starts with not only their mindset, but the lifestyle choices they make. The body and the mind are related.

I also saw the impact my talks had when I went out to speak at community outreach programs. The general feedback was that people were able to grasp the information I offered and were eager to take action.

Do you know that patients do not understand more than half of what a healthcare provider especially a physician tells them?

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to the field of professional life coaching. It lit me up. For me, this was a model that went beyond the examining room could  impact people at the root cause.

But I have been allowing my story to limit me from transitioning into a career as a full time speaker, consultant and coach.

Do you know that we even have stories about everyday stuff? For instance when someone cuts you off in traffic, what do you think? Or when you are in the grocery line that just seems to go very slowly what’s your story? Or think about where you are now in your diabetes journey-what story are you telling yourself?

Own Your Story

It was not about the person cut you off in the traffic, for all we know they may have been rushing to see a dying relative in the hospital!  The grocery store line just goes slowly because that’s what grocery store lines do; not because you happen to be in the store. And how you get decide to relate to living with  diabetes or any other chronic illness is also a story you tell yourself.

So here are some of the things that I have been taking on to help me dismantle my story and keep me moving forward in my plan to transition out of clinical medicine. I invite you to take them on also:

  • Notice everywhere you are tell a story. Usually you’ll notice yourself going back and forth or making a judgment. Or it may be that you spend time  justifying why you can’t achieve a goal.
  • Next notice where you tell stories about other people or other things.
  • Now work on taking simple small steps to start dismantling your story. Start by telling yourself a story that leaves you feeling empowered. For instance, tell yourself  YES- it is possible to live a full and productive life despite being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

So here is the story that I am committed to telling myself moving forward-Yes, I am a great coach. It’s what has made me a good physician. I believe that patients should be actively engaged in their medical care. As a physician, I provide patients with resources and information which allows them make informed decisions in their healthcare.  Some of those conversations are not easy to have. But that truly is what coaching is all about.

There are lots of  things being planned for this platform over the next few months. In summer 2017, I  will be releasing the updated version of my book, “Dr. Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes”. If you have not already had a chance to preview the first three chapters in my free e-book, click here.

I would also love to hear your feedback on how you think a story has been running your life and preventing you from reaching your full potential.
Until next time,

To your Health & Wellbeing,

Seven Tips People Living With Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Can Use to Make the Most of an Office Appointment with Their Healthcare Provider

Diabetes MellitusFor some people living with diabetes mellitus type 2, an appointment with their healthcare provider, particularly a doctor, can be overwhelming.

When I was in a primary care practice, I often told my patients that for the most part they had an average of four to six office appointments a year. The typical primary care visit is limited to only 15 minutes. So you need to prepare ahead of time to make the most of the appointment.
Here are seven tips you can use to make the most of your office appointment. If you use all these tips, you will get the most out of every visit to the doctor.

Tip Number 1: Take a Long Record of Your Blood Sugars

Make a habit of keeping a record of your blood sugars. Keep it simple. You do not need fancy computer software. All you need is a small notebook. You can get this at any office supply or drug store. Divide each page of the notebook into at least two columns.

The first column is for the date and time that you check your blood sugars. The second column is to a record of your blood sugar levels.

Some people do not like to prick their fingers to check their blood sugars. I’ve shared in an article some tips on how to check your sugars once a day. Over the period of a week you be able to trend of how your blood sugars are running.

By keeping a log of your blood sugars, it helps provide important feedback for you as well as your healthcare provider. For instance if your blood sugars suddenly begin to run high or low, you can pinpoint the exact time this happened. Perhaps you were sick, had started an exercise program or went on vacation and over-indulged in food. All this information can help you and your healthcare provider to make important decisions regarding your diabetes management.

Tip Number 2: Take Along Your Glucometer

When I was in an office based practice, I liked to look over the blood sugar readings on my patients’ glucometers. A number of the new generation glucometers provide a lot of valuable information. For instance some machines average the sugars over say a 14-30 day period. Others may average the blood sugars before and after meals. This is a great teaching tool for diabetic patients. It allows them to see how their blood sugars affects their overall health and wellbeing.

Tip Number 3: If Your appointment is First Thing in the Morning Do Not Eat Breakfast

Take advantage of an early morning appointment with your healthcare provider and arrive ‘fasting’. Nowadays, a lot of healthcare providers perform blood tests in their offices to check blood sugar, A1C and lipid profile. For more information on the importance of knowing your numbers, click here.

Tip Number 4: Always Carry a Snack

Has this ever happened to you? You are at the doctor’s office and the wait time is longer than you planned. But you had taken your medications earlier on in the day. Next you begin to experience the ‘bottoming out’ sensation as your sugars take a nose-dive.

Next thing you know it you’re being carted into a waiting ambulance to the emergency room!

I advise people living with diabetes to always carry around a piece of ‘hard candy’. I also recommend meal replacement bars such as glucerna. So always be sure to take a snack along with you wherever you go.

Tip Number 5: Keep a Journal and Take This Along to Your Visit

Living powerfully with diabetes requires that you do things a little differently than the crowd. Keeping a journal or a diary is one of those things. A lot of times, a journal is for your personal use. However at times it may help your healthcare provider to detect why your sugars may be running high or low.

There are several ways you can choose to journal. For instance, you can keep a food journal. If you keep a record of what you eat, you may notice there are certain foods that make your blood sugars go up.

This gives you a good idea of knowing what foods to reduce or what to take out of your diet completely.
You may find out that stress affects your blood sugars. Some people may prefer to journal and record their blood sugars in the same book. Decide what works for you and just do it.

Tip Number 6: Be Prepared to Take Off Your Shoes and Socks

Foot care is a very important aspect of diabetes care. Inspecting the feet helps to prevent or detect early foot infections, which could lead to other complications. I always insisted on looking at the feet of all my diabetic patients at least every 2-3 months.

It is also important to make sure that you have sensation on the bottom of your feet.

Your physician can perform a very simple test called a fine filament test on your feet. This is a simple instrument and as there name suggests a thin filament. If you do not feel the filament being pressed on the bottom of your feet, you may be developing a complication called diabetic neuropathy. This is when the nerves are damaged and you can no longer feel your feet. The danger is that you could step on a nail for instance and not know because you could not feel it.

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the leading causes of amputations in people living with diabetes mellitus. So make sure that your doctor performs this test on your feet every three months.

Tip Number 7: Be Prepared for Change

In diabetes type 2 is a disease that has the potential to change over time. Regimens that worked earlier on may not work so well as the disease advances. As time goes on it may get harder to control your blood sugars. So be prepared for change.

For example you may have been on a medication for a long time and your blood sugars had been well controlled. All of a sudden your blood sugars start running high. Your doctor may decide to add another medication or even insulin. Always believe that your healthcare provider has your best interest at heart.

I know that there are a lot of skeptics out there about the pharmaceutical industry. Research is being conducted to develop new drugs, which may help preserve the function of the pancreas.
To reduce the potential complications of type 2 diabetes follow your doctor’s advice. In the first three chapters of my upcoming book, “Dr Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes” I address three strategies that are important in order to embrace change. To download a free copy of my e-book that covers this, click here.

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions about more topics you would like to learn about.
To your health & wellbeing,

Five Simple Strategies To Cope with Diabetes Distress

diabetes distress

A lot of people living with diabetes may sometimes become overwhelmed and stressed out. From checking blood sugars, watching your diet, making time for exercise, taking medications, appointments with healthcare providers, the fear of complications, or simply whether you are doing the right thing. The list of things to know and do may seem unending. It may seem that diabetes is taking over who you are. You can’t take a break from being a diabetic. All this can place a huge emotional toll on people living with diabetes.

These mixture of emotions was first described by two psychologists and is called diabetes distress. Diabetes distress is not just depression, although research has shown that there is a higher incidence of depression in people living with diabetes. And these feelings may not be the same thing for everybody. Every person living with a chronic illness- such as type 2 diabetes-experiences it a different way.

The important thing is to pay attention to your feelings. If you are feeling overwhelmed then it may be time to speak with your healthcare provider. It is important that you have a healthcare provider who has empathy and is able to validate your feelings. Your healthcare provider should not brush off your feelings or simply suggest that you start taking medications for depression.

Not all sad feelings associated with living with a chronic illness such as diabetes is because someone is depressed.

In addition to speaking with your healthcare provider it is also a good idea to learn some ways to cope with these feelings.

Here are five simple strategies that you can learn to overcome some the feelings related to diabetes distress. You may also find that you can apply these to any area of your life.

Identify the breakdown

What is a breakdown? I’m not describing a nervous breakdown here, although to some people it may feel that way. A breakdown is an emotional response that happens when things do not go as planned. For instance let’s just say that your goal was to get your A1C less than 7% at the next visit to your healthcare provider. But this did not happen.

So, you have not reached the goal you set for yourself. State in one simple sentence what it is that you say should have happened.

For instance you could simply say, “My A1C is not less than 7%’. In this example, not getting your A1c less than 7% is the breakdown.

Identify the upset

Write out your thoughts, feelings and emotions. For some people this may be a good time to journal. Even if journaling is not your thing, simply take out a sheet of paper and write. Try not to be judgmental about what it is that you are writing down. Just take the time to write these all down.

So going back to our example, about the A1C you could write something like “I feel upset, and discouraged, because I did not get my A1C to less than 7% as I promised myself”

Upsets can keep us stuck. This is because we become judgmental about ourselves. We let this judgement mean something about us that may not be true. I suggest you keep writing your feelings down until you feel like you are no longer judging yourself. Some people may begin to feel more compassion toward themselves. This is not the same thing as making excuses.

Write out the facts surrounding this breakdown

How would a news reporter describe this breakdown? Try doing this in one sentence. So back to the situation here, “I did not get my A1C to my goal of less than 7%”

If you cannot summarize the facts of the situation in one sentence then you may still be feeling upset. If that’s the case then circle back to the upset and continue writing until you begin to feel compassion for yourself.

What you are committed to next?

Now it is time to commit to reaching your goal. It is okay to commit over and over again. Don’t feel that because you failed to reach your goal before, that you will never reach your goal. If Thomas Edison had felt that way, we would not have had the lightbulb.

When we commit to something we have the power to create something better. What are you committed to? It may be time to look at a bigger picture than simply getting your A1C less than 7%. It may be living a powerful life and thriving despite having type 2 diabetes!

Write whatever you are committed to out as a statement. For instance our goal of achieving an A1C of less than 7% may be transformed into a statement that says “I am committed to getting my A1C to less than 7% so that I can experience vibrant health and serve to inspire other people living with diabetes to reach their goals!”

Ready, set ACTION!

After completing these steps you will be inspired to get into action. There is no time like NOW to get into action. Remember what you are committed to. Do not be discouraged.

You may notice that you can use these strategies to not only deal with setbacks when it comes to living with diabetes but all aspects of your life.

So get curious and see how many other areas of your life you can get past overwhelm, feeling stuck and back into action.

To your health and wellbeing,

Today’s Health Awareness Topic – Women and Heart Disease

 

heart healthFebruary is heart health month. I am committed to helping women, especially women living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, learn all they can to enhance their health and wellbeing.

But I have found that a lot of women do not know the facts when it comes to heart disease. Only 54% of women know that heart disease kills more women than breast or lung cancer.
According to the most recent statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States in women over the age of 35 years.

Although the rate of death from heart disease for men has dropped in the last thirty years, they have not done so for women. In 2013, heart disease was responsible for killing close to 290,000 women. This translates to 1 in every 4 women dying due to heart disease.

There used to be a time when there was a general belief in the medical community that women under the age of 50 could not suffer a heart attack. So you can imagine what happened if you were a woman and you went to see your doctor with a complaint of chest pain. Your doctor would usually reassure you that it was not your heart and perhaps you had indigestion or were under a lot of stress and prescribe something for that.

As a woman it is extremely important to arm yourself with facts about your heart health.

Some other heart health facts that you need to be aware of:

  • Heart disease will kill six times more women this year than breast cancer.
  • 71% of women do not experience the early signs of a heart attack as chest pain as do men. They may experience a sudden onset of weakness. Almost 2/3rds of women who die suddenly of heart disease did not have any symptoms.
  • Women who smoke are twice as likely to have a heart attack as men who smoke. The risk of a heart attack is 19 years earlier than women who do not smoke. So think about it, if you are a woman and you have been smoking since you were in your teens (which by my experience is the time that most people start a bad habit like smoking ☺), then your risk of having a heart attack begins to rise toward your forties.
  • Type 2 Diabetes increases a woman’s risk of developing heart disease. Women living with diabetes who have had a heart attack have double the risk of having a repeat heart attack in their lifetime or developing heart failure.
  • Women with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of developing heart disease, especially at a younger age.
  • Women under the age of 50 have twice the risk of dying from a heart attack as men in the same age range. This is all the more reason to be persistent when something does not seem right. I have often shared that as women we have an inner knowingness about ourselves and/or situations. This is called intuition and you can learn to use it to guide you in all aspects of your life.
  • Marital stress worsens the outcome of a heart attack.

What happens to you when you have a heart attack?

When you develop a heart attack, the blood supply to an area of the heart muscle gets blocked off. Sometimes the blockage may not be a complete blockage and blood can still get by to the heart muscle. This is called ischemia or angina. The classic symptoms of angina are chest pain, chest discomfort, and chest heaviness. Sometimes the pain or discomfort may go down the left arm or into the jaw.

As women we may have what is called ‘atypical symptoms’ like unusual weakness, heartburn, dizziness, etc.

But remember just as I pointed out, some women may not have the classic presentation of a heart attack or angina.

The good news is that if the blood supply is restored at this point, then no permanent damage occurs to the heart muscle.

When the blood vessel to a particular are of the heart remains blocked for a period of time, eventually the heart muscle begins to die off. Sometimes the damage cannot be reversed and the heart muscle dies and it is replaced by scar tissue. Scar tissue reduces the functioning of the heart and eventually causes heart failure and death.

It is important to get to an emergency room as soon as possible if you develop any symptoms suspicious for a heart attack. This is because the sooner you get intervention by a heart specialist to open up the blocked vessels the less the risk of permanent damage to your heart.

What you can start doing today:

  • Become knowledgeable about your risk for heart disease. Even if you do not have a family history of heart disease you can still be at risk!
  • If you smoke then quit. No more excuses! It’s still early in the year and you know you can do it.
    If you are obese or even over 10% of your ideal body weight, then commit to losing weight.
  • Schedule your annual physical and know your numbers! These numbers include- your blood pressure, fasting lipid profile (cholesterol), and blood sugar. If any of these numbers are outside of normal range then take action and work on getting them back to normal.
  • If you have high blood pressure or borderline diabetes or type 2 diabetes, then make sure that you are being treated by the appropriate healthcare professional. Do not ignore this part of your care. Denial only worsens things in the long run.
  • Find ways to cope with stress in your life. Stress is so prevalent that we as humans do not believe they can live a stress free life. It is our perception of stress that matters and what we do to modulate its effects.

Now more than ever we as women need to become more pro-active in our overall health and wellbeing. We need to stop making excuses for poor lifestyle choices. More importantly we need to accept that these lifestyle choices not only shorten our lives, but also the quality of the life that we have left. I’m not sure about you but I want to be health and vibrant into my 90s and beyond!

My mission in creating this blog is to provide a whole person approach to living with type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Along those lines, over the next few months, in addition to the release of my updated book, Dr. Eno’s A-Z Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes’, I will  be rolling out several programs. I look forward to working closely with those who are willing to invest the time and effort to enhance their health and wellbeing.

 

 

How Type 2 Diabetes Can Affect The Skin

diabetesType 2 diabetes affects many organs in the body. The skin is one of the largest organs in the body. There are several skin conditions that can happen just because of diabetes. For the most part very few of these skin conditions are life threatening. More importantly, a lot of these conditions may show up when the blood sugars are not well controlled.

These skin conditions can be very frustrating, especially for women living with diabetes. By knowing about these conditions will allow you to become a more vigilant. It also helps to hasten healing if you should get any one of these.

Acanthosis Nigricans

This skin condition gives the skin the appearance of soft velvety wart like growth. It is usually seen at the back of the neck, the armpits, beneath the breasts, the flexure surface of the elbow.

It is typically seen in those who are  overweight or obese.

There are other conditions that can cause this skin condition, but usually acanthosis nigricans is a warning sign of  insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can eventually lead to diabetes.

I take the time to point this out to my patients. Especially patients who do not have diabetes. This is a great time to start making lifestyle changes.

Scleroderma diabeticorum

This is a skin condition that causes the skin of the back and the upper neck to become very thick.

The treatment for this is to get the blood sugars well controlled.

Lotions can be applied that will help to soften the skin.

Vitiligo

In vitiligo, the skin loses it’s pigment and causes white patches. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease. Vitiligo is more common in type 1 diabetes. It is very important to use a sunscreen, to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

Vitiligo is treated with skin lightening creams to try to even out the appearance. Some people even attempt to tattoo back in pigment into the white areas.

Eruptive Xanthomatosis

These are lumpy yellow deposits of fat beneath the skin. It is usually an indication that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are high.

Once blood sugars and the cholesterol are better controlled then these may disappear.

Digital Sclerosis

Tight waxy skin on the back of hands, the toes and also the forehead. This condition happens more commonly in people with type 1 diabetes and can cause the hands to become stiff.

Just as in most of the other skin conditions we have discussed thus far, the treatment is to normalize the blood sugars.

Disseminated Granuloma Annulare

Raised oval patches that are either skin colored or red or brown. They usually occur on parts of the body away from the trunk such as the legs or the ears.

In addition to controlling the blood sugars, there are several ways to treat this condition. So please be sure to see your healthcare provider.

Diabetic Blisters (Bullosis Diabeticorum)

These blisters may be large but are usually large and look like burns. They are not painful. They can occur on the fingers, feet, and hands and even sometimes on the forearms.

The treatment is to get the blood sugars within control. They heal by themselves within a few weeks. It’s important to keep them clean.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum

This is caused by fat and collagen accumulating beneath the skin. Most times these lesions happen on the legs. The overlying skin then gets thin and can break down easily especially when exposed to injury. It can also get itchy.

It is important to see your primary care physician especially if the lesions break open as it may take a longer time to heal.

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions that can cause rashes and bumps can also occur in type 2 diabetes. It is even possible to develop an allergic reaction to a particular type of insulin. So be very observant and if this happens inform your physician.

Bacterial infections

These can happen especially when blood sugars are not well controlled. The common culprit is staphylococcus aureus. This can cause boils, folliculitis or impetigo. There is a particular strain of Staphylococcus called MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

It is very important to treat MRSA early and promptly. So be sure to bring any boils to the attention of your physician.

Fungal Infections

These are usually caused by candida (yeast) organisms. Women with borderline or full-blown diabetes may also be at risk of vaginal candidiasis. Fungi can affect various body parts. For instance between the toes it can cause athlete’s foot. It is very important to make sure that the webs between the toes are kept dry to prevent athlete’s foot, as this could become an entry point for bacterial infections. Fungi can also infect the toenails causing the nails to become dark and discolored. This is called onychomycosis. In the groin it can cause a jock itch.

There is a potentially fatal fungal infection that is very common in diabetes called Mucormycosis. This fungus invades the nasal passage and then can spread to the eye and brain.

If you have a ‘sinus infection’ that does not seem to be getting better, especially associated with eye pain, and fever should be evaluated immediately by a physician.

It is important to get evaluated and treated for these skin conditions. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a dermatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in skin diseases.

As you can see from this article, in addition to treating these skin diseases, it is also important to get the sugars under good control.

As with any other complication associated with diabetes, I like to emphasize the importance of prevention rather than treatment.

You may be experiencing difficulty getting your blood sugars under control. Do not despair. It starts with your mindset. You have control over how you choose to live with a chronic illness.

To learn more about this click here to download a free copy of the first three chapters of my upcoming book.

Be persistent. Stay the course.

To your Health and Wellbeing,

Today’s Health Awareness Topic: The relationship between your emotions and diabetes symptoms

 

 

 

 

People living with diabetes  may experience a wide range of emotions on a day-to-day basis. These emotions may range from initial anger, resentment, disbelief, and even denial. At times these emotions can be very intense. Sometimes these negative emotions are inappropriately directed at the healthcare provider who gave the bad news of the diagnosis.

Being diagnosed and living with type 2 diabetes does not have to be a stressful experience. Consider that contrary to popular opinion, being ‘stressed out’ does not have to be part of living with any chronic illness including type 2 diabetes.

It is predictable that over time, your emotions will wax and wane. Some days you may feel more upbeat than other days. Rest assured that you are OK. One of the first things that I do with my patients and clients is to work on getting those emotions out in the open so that we can deal with them at the outset.

You have the power to choose how your emotions impact your overall health and well being.

This is especially important if these emotions are not empowering. We all have the power to choose how our emotions impact us. I know this may sound so cliché. But really and truly this is one of the times that you get to choose and that choice directly impacts your blood sugar control. Living with diabetes is a prime example where having the power of choice impacts your overall health and blood sugar levels.

If you are constantly stressed out and angry then it’s predictable that it may be more challenging to get your blood sugars within normal range.

Stress causes the release of hormones in the body. The stress hormones are called adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help to prepare the body for ‘fight or flight’. One way that they prepare us for ‘fight or flight’ is by increasing the production of glucose from the liver stores. This is a normal stress response.

However, when you have diabetes, the last thing that you need is more sugar in your blood stream. Your body is already not able to handle the glucose that it has already!

Research has been performed on the effects of a positive mood on our overall health and well-being. On a chemical level, being happy helps to reduce stress hormones. It enhances the release of endorphins and natural serotonin both of which enhances our emotional state and enhances our well-being. If you have a positive and optimistic mindset, then you will feel more empowered in finding ways to better control your blood sugars.

The first step to living an empowered life with diabetes is to get those emotions out in the open. The next step is to deal with these emotions.

It can be challenging for healthcare providers to be able to address all the emotional concerns of our patients  living with a chronic illness. There is no  doubt the 15-minute ‘double-booked’ appointment slot may not help us to connect with our patients and understand how they are actually experiencing their disease but this discussion is important. Be certain to speak to your healthcare provider if you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

Over time some people living with diabetes may begin to experience what is known as diabetes distress.  Diabetes distress is not true depression. Some patients may need the support of talk therapy. It may be helpful to work with a health coach or a psychologist.

As a professional life coach and a physician my stand is for patients and clients living with type 2 diabetes or any chronic illness to experience a vibrant wholesome life.

It is what motivated me create this platform as a way to empower women living with diabetes.

By empowering women, we empower our communities and eventually the planet.

One of the most important things to do is to deal with your mindset and your perception of living with diabetes.

In the first three chapters of the soon to be released updated version of my  book, ‘Dr. Eno’s A-Z  Guide to Living Powerfully with Diabetes’ I write about what I can best describe as the ‘ABCs of a positive mindset’.

They are:

  • A-Acceptance
  • B-Belief
  • C- Commitment to change

Yes you have the power to choose whichever way it goes. Remain committed to how your health and well-being even on days that you may not feel your best.

To take a FREE peek of the first three chapters my upcoming book, click here.

To your Health & Well-being,

How fiber can help reach healthy blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

type 2 diabetesA friend of mine was recently sharing me how frustrated her husband was with his blood sugar levels. They seemed to fluctuate widely from high blood sugar levels to low blood sugar levels. He did not know how to react to this and had decided that he was not going to take his medications any longer. Naturally she was at her wits end when she reached out to me. How could she convince her husband that stopping his medications was not the way to deal with fluctuating blood sugars?

Fluctuating blood sugars are not unusual in type 2 diabetes. Whether you are a woman living with diabetes or you know someone living with diabetes, this can be very frustrating .

Let me start by normalizing this for you. You are not alone. There are many reasons why the blood sugars fluctuate. I will cover this topic in more detail in an upcoming article.  In addition to scheduling an appointment to see your healthcare provider, you may also need to make sensible lifestyle changes- to your diet and exercise regimen.

One of the ways things to tweak in diet to increase the amount of fiber. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate. Contrary to popular belief, not all carbohydrates are bad for you!

There are two kinds of fiber-soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not get absorbed from the intestinal tract. This kind of fiber helps to reduce constipation. Soluble fiber has many proven benefits. Soluble fiber gets absorbed into the bloodstream and so can help regulate blood sugars. It also helps to control cholesterol levels.

Soluble fiber can help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease by up to 50%. This is especially important for someone living with type 2 diabetes, where the risk of stroke and heart attacks is increased.

Another benefit of soluble fiber is that it help reduce hunger by maintaining a sense of fullness. This can be useful in weight management. When you feel full you tend to eat less. 

Research has proven that simply losing 10% of your body weight helps to prevent borderline diabetes from becoming full blown type 2 diabetes. Some examples of soluble fiber include psyllium, pectin and wheat dextrin and oat products.

So exactly how much fiber is enough?

 Women should eat about 25 g of fiber and men up to 38 g of fiber a day. With the ‘standard American diet’ we consume an average of 17 g fiber per day.   A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that by increasing daily fiber up to 50 g, a person living with diabetes was able to achieve healthier blood sugar and cholesterol control.

Some ways that you can start to increase your fiber intake? 

 I usually recommend gradually increasing fiber in your diet. Remember this is a long-term change you are making to your lifestyle.  If you rapidly increase fiber, it may cause gas and abdominal bloating. Too much fiber could also cause constipation if you do not drink enough water.

 So here are some suggestions on ways to increase your fiber intake: 

  1. Create a list of fiber rich foods.  You can do research this online. Click on this link to research a variety of food sources that have high fiber content.
  2. Try experimenting with some new sources of fiber every day.
  3. Gradually increase your fiber intake by 5 g per day until you reach the goal.
  4. As you increase fiber intake also make sure to increase your water intake to reduce bloating and constipation.

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. There is no quick fix to diabetes. Your goal is to achieve healthy blood sugars so that you reduce the complications associated with diabetes. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can be one of your most powerful tools in achieving healthy blood sugars. So start today to take simple small steps each and every day and don’t give up.

To your health and wellbeing,

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Seven Tips On How to Maintain Healthy Blood Sugars During The Holiday Season

holiday-feast

I recall a number of years ago, when a patient left my office based practice and sent me a very nasty note three months later. She expressed how disappointed she was that I was not a person of my word. I had assured her that due to the fact that her blood sugars were well controlled and her A1C was less than 7% that I would attempt to wean her off some, if not all her medications.

The catch was that at the time that this discussion was going on, the holiday season was also upon us. I had made a mental note to address this in the New Year, as I hate to see anyone fail due to no fault of his or her own.
I should have educated my patient on what it was that I intended to accomplish and my reasoning.

For people living with type 2 diabetes, this is one of the more challenging times of the year. Blood sugar levels may gradually begin to rise with each holiday party. And with that, the A1C rises.

By following these seven simple steps, you can survive the holiday season and come out a winner ready to embrace 2017 as you live powerfully!

Tip number 1- Plan your meals

In order to keep blood sugars within a normal range, planning your meals is very important at this time of the year.

Here’s a simple tip-If you know that you are going to be out at a holiday party later on in the day, consider having a light snack just before leaving home. That way you are less hungry and less likely to go for the sweets that will cause your sugars to rise.

Also consider cutting down on the portion sizes of your earlier meals. Be careful if you are on insulin or an oral hypoglycemic agent not to cut down too low so that you do not experience hypoglycemia.

Tip number 2- Increase your amount of fiber intake

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. The average American diet contains a low level of fiber. Most nutritionists recommend a daily fiber intake of up to 35G.

Studies have shown that by increasing the amount of fiber in the diet can help control blood glucose levels. This is especially if it is soluble fiber. An example of soluble fiber is oatmeal.

Fruits and vegetables are all good sources of fiber. By making a conscious choice to increase the amount of fiber rich foods in your diet will get you to your goal of maintaining a normal blood sugar range throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Tip number three- Plan to incorporate physical activity

The Winter & Holiday season is traditionally the time when the average American gains between 7-10 lbs. Studies have shown that people living with type 2 diabetes can achieve normal blood sugar range by increasing physical activity. During the winter months make an effort to maintain some form of physical activity. Choose an exercise regimen that is easy to follow.  As always be sure to see your physician before starting out on an exercise program. So if you have not already scheduled your annual physical, now is a great time to go ahead and do so.

Tip number four- Drink enough water

There are a myriad of benefits to drinking water. The important thing in a type 2 diabetic is to maintain good kidney function. Drinking water may also keeps you feeling full and so help with weight loss. The traditional recommendation has always been 8 glasses of water a day. However something else to consider is drinking half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 170 lbs. that equals 85 ounces of water a day.

Tip number five- be consistent with monitoring your blood sugars

This is not the time of the year to slack off testing your blood sugar levels.  It is not the time to stick your head in the sand and rationalize that your blood sugar levels are going to be high and there’s nothing you can  do about it anyway. Your mindset is very important. If you have not been checking your blood sugar levels regularly, this is the time to start. By regularly checking your blood sugar levels,  you get instant feedback. Living powerfully with diabetes, requires that you have an awareness attached to action. High blood sugar levels just do not happen to you. You can make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle in order to control your blood sugars.

Tip number six- Keep all scheduled appointments with your healthcare providers

This is the time to make your healthcare provider aware of any challenges that you may be encountering during the holiday season. That way you both can explore ways to better control your blood sugar levels.

Depending on your A1C, your healthcare provider may decide to adjust your medications. This is a much better option than starting out the New Year with high A1c levels and blood sugar levels out of control. Sometimes it can take more than 6 months to normalize the blood sugars.

Tip number seven- Enlist the support of family and friends

I have written in a previous article about the importance of a support network. Now more than ever is the time of the year to enlist the support of family and friends. Want to get started in an exercise program? Call up a workout buddy. Not sure how to handle ‘Aunt Martha’s’ three layer chocolate cake? Have a family member share a portion with you. It takes teamwork to make the dream work. Do not be afraid to ask for support. Sometimes just knowing there is someone else looking out for you is what makes the world of difference.

I’d love to read your comments and any other strategies that you may have in place to ensure that you keep your diabetes type 2 sugar levels normal this holiday season and beyond.

Until next week,

Here’s to your Health & Wellbeing,

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Five strategies to help relieve stress this holiday season

holiday-stress

The 2016 Holiday season is upon us. No matter your religion or creed, for the most part the end of the calendar year is always filled with lots of activity.

The holiday season is filled with lots of activities such as shopping, family gatherings, holiday parties, gift giving , etc. For some the holidays can be perceived as stressful. At times the stress can leave us feeling depleted, overwhelmed to the point that it may even rob us of experiencing the joy of the season.

I invite you to consider that it does not have to be that way. Consider that just as any other thing in your life, our default is to make up ‘a story’ about our experience of the holiday season.

In this article, I highlight five strategies to help relieve stress this holiday season. The great news about these strategies is that you can use them year round in any situation you may find yourself.

So consider the holiday season to be a playground to practice, so that you are ready to embrace challenges in 2017 with less sense of overwhelm.

Strategy number one -Schedule regular downtime

Allot times during the day when you have some ‘me time.’ I suggest a time-frame no shorter than 10 minutes and no longer than 30 minutes.

During this time, your goal is to decompress, declutter your mind, and check in with your emotions. Your downtime should be about sourcing your inner self, allowing you to refocus.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with endless activity, consider downtime as a time to ‘correct the course’. Your downtime is NOT the time to catch up on chores, get on social media, or make phone calls. This is the time to disconnect from the outside world and focus on the inside.

Come up with a list of things that source you. Here are some suggestions of things you could consider doing during your downtime

  • Read inspirational material
  • Walk in nature
  • Say affirmations
  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Journaling

Enlist the support of family members and friends in honoring your downtime. Remember it is not a long period of time that you are taking off. You could even enroll them in taking some downtime for themselves as steps to support their own wellbeing and reduce stress.

Strategy number two-Express gratitude every day

The Holiday season is a great time to express and recognize gratitude.

When we express gratitude in our lives, we train our subconscious mind to focus more on the positives in life that comes our way. What we  focus on, we tend to attract more of the same into our lives.  So rather than focus on the things that cause us stress, we can choose to focus on things we are grateful for.

Start a gratitude moment first thing in the morning or at the end of your day. Take on creating a list at least five things that you are grateful for every day.

Rather than repeating the same things each day, try to come up with at different things each day.  This will train your mind to begin to notice things more. The practice of expressing and writing down things you are grateful for helps you become more mindful. This is because  you will learn to actively notice things that are going on in your life.

Another twist to the gratitude practice is to try to see if you can frame things that you initially felt were a negative experience into something positive you can be grateful for.

For instance let’s say that you in the grocery store in the check out line and it’s crowded, rather than get stressed out about the long line, consider striking up a conversation with a fellow shopper. You never know you might learn something new.

Strategy number three-Keep physically active

If you are not already physically active, there is no time like the holidays to start an exercise program. Walking is a great form of exercise. Fitness trackers are a great way to track your progress. Plus fitness trackers make great gifts. Aim for 10,000 steps or more a day as a way to keep the calories and stress away. There are other forms of exercise like resistance training, balance training. Research the different types. Perhaps you could drop in on an exercise class you’ve been wanting to attend. Get curious, get active.

Strategy number four-Boost your energy with power foods

The holiday season can get fast paced to the point that we may skip on healthy meals and binge on dessert filled calories.

One health and wellbeing strategy is to boost your energy with foods rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B complex.

To read more about power foods to boost your emotional health click here.

Strategy number five-Do not forget the reason for the season.

Finally do not forget the reason for the season. Whatever your denomination, the end of the year is a time for celebration. It is a time to strengthen our relationships to one another. To celebrate our victories, without dwelling on our past mistakes.

The holidays are a time for forgiveness and letting go of past hurts. A time for being love in action. I firmly believe that’s why we have family. Consider that our relatives are our greatest teachers. And rather than be stressed at the prospect of yet another Holiday gathering with your relatives that you embrace it as a place to practice being love.

That my friends is the reason for the season. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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