Hi, I'm Lorna
A story. We all have one, and this is mine.
My journey to wellness was not an easy one, but one I am happy to share; not only to introduce myself to you, but to inspire you to health and wellness; because trust me, if I can do this, anyone can.
I had no answers and was at my wit’s end following 20 years of chronic ill health that started in my late twenties following a diagnosis of severe Endometriosis, multiple surgeries, IVF, and six months after the birth of my son, a radical hysterectomy at 31 years-old. Chronic illness ensued — visits to every kind of specialist resulting in many surgeries and frequent visits to and stays in hospital.
I was on upwards of seven pharmaceutical drugs daily; all doing detrimental damage to my overall health and impacting not just me but my family as well. I was at the end of my rope and I decided I needed to take control of my health and wellbeing.
I started on a long journey to wellness. A consultation with a Naturopath quite literally changed my life. Following an initial blood test, the Naturopath suggested that I may be Coeliac. I was tested by a specialist and low and behold: I tested positive and this condition was probably a major contributing factor to my constant state of illness for the past 20 years. No medical practitioner ever thought to test for this condition. Why is a mystery.
Prior to being diagnosed with Endometriosis, I was 48kg ringing wet. At my heaviest, I was 84kg and had held this weight for 20 years. Notice in the photo prior to my weight loss I wasn’t just carrying a lot of weight, I was carrying a lot of fluid as well. I was riddled with inflammation — inflammation is a silent killer, and my inflammation was caused by years of bad eating habits combined with undiagnosed coeliac disease, which had done severe damage to both my gastrointestinal health and my immune system.
Detoxing my body from sugar, drugs and other toxins for twelve long months prior to attempting a weight loss program was the key. I was desperate to start a weight loss program thinking, ‘why am I wasting this time detoxing?’ I continued to beg my integrated medical specialist to ‘just put me on a diet.” She advised I was not ready and I needed to prepare my body as I would go on one diet, once; remove the weight, and that would be the last diet I would need to go on.
And she was right. I lost 30 kilograms. Seven years later, I am still 30 kilograms lighter.
So I know what it’s like to struggle to find just the right weight loss program. The key is not weight loss, it is life-long wellness. Believe me, I know what if feels like to look in the mirror and barely recognise the person staring back.
Preparation of both body and mind is imperative, ensuring you are in the right space to dedicate yourself to achieving a better you — whatever you perceive that to be.
Preparing your body: for me that consisted of getting rid of my biggest enemy: sugar. Every evening I would consume a family block of chocolate. Remember, excess sugar gets stored as fat, so I wasn’t just feeding my craving, I was feeding the fat cells making them bigger and juicer so I could give them more sugar, creating a vicious cycle. Additionally, I was feeding the inflammation. Sugar is an inflammatory food, so whilst increasing my craving and the size of my fat cells, I was increasing inflammation. Your brain’s number one crave is for sugar, as it requires glucose to survive. So stopping sugar for me was so difficult, but not impossible. With the help of some really good nutraceuticals and herbal formulations, the craving lasted three days — thats all. Three days literally changed my life. I must admit I had three days of headaches and feeling aches and pains, but on the fourth day I felt like I could take on the world. My energy improved, my aches and pains left, and the brain fog departed.
So I stopped sugar. What happened next — I ate good wholesome food, nothing from a packet, green vegetables and protein; no sugar, no gluten and no dairy, as all of these foods create inflammation, and inflammation is pain.
It sounds boring eating this way — trust me it’s not. You learn how to make things taste so good with herbs and spices; you have good fats with butter, cream, and coconut oil and a good protein source. In fact, my whole family eat this way now and our eating habits and health have never been better. When you eat sugar or carbohydrates, your body burns through them really quickly and you require more and more to satisfy you. I’m sure you’ve observed the three p.m slump — that is blood sugar dysregulation caused by an excessive consumption of sugars. Initially, carbohydrates or simple sugars give you a quick lift in energy, but shortly afterward you will notice your energy falls quite dramatically, requiring more and more sugars/carbs to keep you satisfied.
Protein is the best friend of weight loss: it keeps you satiated; in other words, in keeps you fuller for longer; therefore reducing the craving for other foods. If you consume a good protein source every meal and snack you will increase your ability to lose weight. Protein comes in many forms including nuts and seeds which make a wonderful snack.
Exercise is another very important component not just for weight loss but for wellness, but that does not mean going and working out for 2 hours at a gym. I tried that route for a year and all I did was drive my cortisol (stress hormone) through the roof. When cortisol rises, our body retains fat to protect our organs. When cortisol is high, your body is in flight or fight mode (Sympathetic Nervous System dominance). Stress is stress, and when you are in the flight or fight mode your body can not determine the difference between a tiger coming to eat you and your inability to meet a deadline at work. It’s all stress, and your body reacts exactly the same way: increasing your stress hormones. Rising cortisol impairs your body’s ability to rest and digest (Parasympathetic Nervous System dominance). So even though I was eating less, due to high cortisol my body was storing fat to protect me and keep me alive.
So the big take home message is to start slowly, especially when you are reducing calories and detoxing.
In the initial stages of my wellness program I was cutting out sugar and reducing calories therefore I did not have an abundance of energy, so incidental exercise became my best friend: simply moving. Any movement works. My biggest contribution to exercise at this time was walking my dogs for 15 minutes, and every time I went to a shopping centre taking the trolley back to the trolley slot. These incidental movements add up during the course of the day and you would be surprised to learn how much energy and calories are consumed doing this sort of exercise. As we move through this wellness blog I will discuss some of the other wonderful exercise routines you can do that are really fun and don’t seem like exercise.
So eat well, enjoy your food; with every mouthful, chew mindfully and slowly; remembering digestion starts in the mouth with wonderful enzymes that prepare your body for the food that is coming.
Preparing your mind is a difficult task as it will hijack you at every opportunity. Are you an emotional eater? When you have a big win at work, do you eat? We have to change our mindset; reward ourselves with other things that we love, whatever that is. Try some of the wonderful apps that are available like Headspace or Calm. For me, it’s a long soak in a bath, a walk with my dogs, or a catch up with friends. These are all part of changing our habits not just for the next 10 kilograms, but for life.
If you’d like more information or a personal consultation, book an appointment with me now. As part of this consultation I will analyse your diet, which will give you a complete breakdown of your nutrient deficiencies and excesses enabling me to tailor a wellness program specifically for you.
Check back on the blog and stay connected for some wonderful, easy recipes in the next few weeks.
Take advantage of Innovative Naturopathy’s opening special: initial one and a half hour appointment are normally $120, and are $49 until April 3. Nutraceuticals and Herbal formulas additional.