The Steps I took to Change my Life

 

Sometimes, my mind starts to wander and I think back to the year that my skin was on fire night and day.  I have tried very hard to block those memories out, so maybe you have no idea why this blog is called “The Burned Hand”.  I remember getting the incurable disease and thinking that my life was completely over at just 23 years old.  I feel like Ygritte whispering that I know nothing at that age.  And I didn’t.

I think back to the years that I had my children, and knew that I was so extremely fatigued it wasn’t normal and that I was not “bouncing back” from childbirth.  Then the second blood test and the news I had one more incurable disease, okay.  Not shocking, I already knew.  And more phlebotomies yearly would be needed.

I think back to the year my career as a teacher really started taking off and I was known as Mrs. Happy.  I had finally done it!  I changed my outlook on life and working with invisible diseases wasn’t going to stop me.  And then I started getting violently ill after eating.  I couldn’t look at food.  I looked pregnant all the time and my stomach was distended.  I started having severe allergy attacks, and I had vertigo for 3 weeks.  I spiraled down into a place of pain.  No one could touch my skin again, only this time was worse.  The base of my neck to the sitting bone was on fire.  I felt every single vertebrae as if it was on fire and begging to be put out like a living, breathing thing.

My shoulder went out.  My hip went out.  I couldn’t walk and I took a leave of absence from teaching, for presumably, a year.  I told everyone that, but I knew I was never going back.  I knew.  I actually thought that I was going to stay in that place of pain for a very long time, if not forever. 

I was diagnosed then with an autoimmune disease (just barely they said) and “fibromyalgia” due to the 18 points of pain that were in my body.  Didn’t I want to take pain meds for the rest of my life?  No.  No, I didn’t because I already had one disease that could mess with my liver and I wasn’t going to chance this.  It was at this point, that I realized I was screwed.  I had two options.  Get better or become something I didn’t recognize anymore…wait!  I already was.

The post will continue, but you can open these in new tabs if you are interested for later:

So life beats you down folks.  It does.  And it will over and over again if you let it.  What you do after this is up to you.  So here’s the point in my story that I don’t share much, but I was sitting on the couch in those early years, which yes, I wrote through the pain in 2013, but it barely scratched the surface, anyway, and I knew that I had a choice to make.  Get up and live.  Other people surely had as many diseases as I did, okay, I didn’t know anyone at the time, but surely they existed.  So I would live and change my life for them and show them that it could really be done.  I could do it.

One more test would come back in this puzzle that explained that on a purely cellular level I was not processing things correctly, but at that point, I didn’t care anymore.  I already knew I was different, and I was going to move forward.  So here comes the point where I tell you the steps I took.

The Steps I took To Change My Life:

  1. I decided I was going to change.  <<< This is the biggest one that you have to learn.  No one, and I do mean no one, can force you to change.  Period.  If you are waiting for your sign and this post is speaking to you, please write down on your calendar “Day I decided to change and live my life.”  <<<  Seriously.  You’ve got this.
  2. Stop making excuses and lying to yourself.  I will get out of the house tomorrow.  I will join the gym in a few months.  I will try yoga next month.  I will eat better after the “holidays”.  I will…yup.  Said them all.  Been there done that.  I made a plan, and then I stuck to it.  I called it 4 Weeks to Wellness and when each week was over, I would start back again.  Slowly and surely repeating the things I needed to change.  Fitness, I had to move.  Nutrition, I learned what was causing all that pain, balance, what was that anyway? and finally, self-care which was really lacking.
  3. I learned to be thankful for what I already had.  This one was hard.  Not that I wasn’t thankful, but I was so angry.  I was mad at the universe for giving me this life…never really thinking I had that much control over it all, but I was so very wrong.  I was wrong.  I woke up and started a gratitude practice even in my darkest hours.  I couldn’t sleep, but I would roll over and pull myself off.  I would not think of the pain, if it came in I shut it down with these words “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”  I almost crawled to the bathroom with my eyes shut tight and said I will not insert the F word, think about this F word pain.  When i opened them on my bathroom mirror was the mantra “I am healing”.  Then I would say that to myself every single day.  Also, side note, my girls started to use dry-erase marker like I taught them and left mama messages to read on the mirror.  I was living for them and my husband and I was going to succeed.
  4. I started back to yoga.  I am thankful that someone took the lead in this and initiated my Yoga Teacher Training.  Can you imagine hardly being to move and going to yoga?  I almost said no a thousand times.  I almost quit a thousand times.  I would soak in the tub and almost cry out from pain at doing it, but I would not give up.  I would walk slowly and I would do the best I could, but I would finish that damn training.  I would and I did in June of 2015.  I went on to become certified as well in yoga for arthritis and pain.
  5. I started helping others.  I already had my FB page, but it just wasn’t enough.  How could I connect with others who could change their lives just by thinking about it, writing about it through my new journal therapy, starting a gratitude practice, and with sheer grit, take control of their heads, hearts and health?  I took some money and invested in a platform to build an online community.  I called it the Head|Heart|Health Club and I was going to make it work.  In January of 2017, I opened my doors to everyone who might want help, and I haven’t really looked back.

So if you are new here to the blog, welcome.  I really wanted you to know who I was before, who I am now, and what I am hoping to accomplish for the future of healing yourself.  I know you can do it.  Please stay in touch with me here <<< and get my monthly updates by newsletter if you’d like.  ~Aimee

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5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years.  Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets.  I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases.  Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.

So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me.  <<< not really, but it almost did.  Chocolate is my weakness.  But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move.  I become that tired.  So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same.  Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:

  1. Go bananas <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas.  So what do these yellow fruits help us with?  Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.  What happens in the body?  You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood.  Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”.  <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that.  At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
  2. Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10.  I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels.  Why is this important?  Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  Boom!  There it was yet again.  That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
  3. Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world.  <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate.  I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me.  The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind.  Yummy.  How does this help me?  Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag.  Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:)  I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.  Yummy.
  4. Pass me my green tea y’all.  <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga.  So why is tea, especially green tea helpful?   Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol.  Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more.  Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood.  I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves.  I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
  5. Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat.  <<< again, I have to be careful.  No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives.  JUST walnuts!  Why are they helpful?  Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.  Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings.  Boom!  Grab you some walnuts friends.  Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts.  I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients!  I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind.  Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course.  You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body.  It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.

Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today!  Stock up for better health!

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Ease Depression with these 5 Steps

This article is not medical advice, but it is intended to help you on your journey.  While I don’t know if anything can actually prevent you from becoming depressed, I believe that my diligence helped me come out of it.  The signs that I personally experienced were from my own combination of invisible diseases.  I was diagnosed with “secondary depression” stemming from pain.

Symptoms you might experience:

  1. Loss of energy or fatigue even after sleeping.
  2. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt that you are to blame.
  3. Weight loss or gain…in my case it was gain.
  4. Thoughts of suicide or just nothingness…as in what would happen if you didn’t exist?
  5. Restlessness, insomnia, or wanting to sleep all day long.
  6. No pleasure in any or all activities, and/or no joy or happiness in other things that used to bring you joy.
  7. “Hermit” behavior and not speaking to anyone.

While there are certainly more symptoms, these are just a few that are warning signs your body is trying to tell you something.  What do you think your body is trying to tell you?  There could be many underlying health problems mimicking depression that can be corrected and/or helped once noted.

5 steps to take if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms:

  1. Have your thyroid checked, your vitamin levels and possibly even your adrenal glands.  If you open the link on thyroid, in the fine print of the article, it says this:  A 2005 study found that subjects with Hashimoto’s disease displayed high frequencies of lifetime Depressive Episodes, Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Social Phobia, and Primary Sleep Disorders.  What had I been trying to tell my doctor for over a year?  That there was a link.  When he refused, seriously, to listen to me I went to a functional medical doctor instead.  The body gives us these warning signs as a way of letting us know that we really are not in balance.  I could see that I was not, and definitely knew something brought it on because never in my life had I felt so empty.
  2. Get more Vitamin D.  I take this one right here, but have your levels checked first.  I started looking into the most pure form of phytotherapy, or plant-based nutrition supplements, and was personally sold by the methods of how this company preserved the nutrients in the most readily available form.  I read that Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.  So I also decided to take a gluten-free multivitamin.
  3. Check and see if you suffer from food intolerance as it a real thing. Like most people, I used to think that food intolerance caused unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, swelling of lips or tongue, etc. I would not have associated my food with what was happening in my brain and gut until I studied the effects of what I was eating.  I journal the questionable items which might have sugar or gluten to see if that is what triggers my response or mood shift now.  When I am away from foods I need to eat, and make do with foods that I should NOT eat, there is a consequence in my body.  My body warns me almost immediately now.
  4. This one is hard, but drink less caffeine.  Anxiety often happens along with depression, and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious.  There is no clear link; however, it is well known that cutting out sodas and sugary drinks that spike your energy and then leave you in a slump and replacing with water will leave your blood sugar levels at a more normal balance, which will, in fact, help you in the long run.  Plus you might just sleep better this breaking the cycle.
  5. Exercise in some way shape or form daily.  People get mad at me for pointing this one out usually, but it brings us back to the endorphins. I wrote about this a while back, but it is true that endorphins help us.   In my own way, I always have dark chocolate here, so I hope you opened my old post up there as it has a funny clip, plus I do yoga and walk, get outside, etc.  Truly is life saving to get exercise.

While these things might seem insignificant to others who do not know what it’s like to be trapped in a world of nothingness, these tips really could help save a friend’s life.  Keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a card as well.

Articles I have written on autoimmune can also help you in your research on gluten intolerance, leaky gut and more.

  • The great puzzle takes you back to my allergy tests.
  • Fog speaks on what it’s like to have brain fog.
  • War on me talks about my inside battle.
  • Motivational Monday on this day talked about tips I used to get by daily in pain.
  • The Thief is one of my faves and talks about old age being a bitch.

sadness

Why You’re Not Moving Forward (and what to do about it)

For many years, I was stuck in the same place in my life.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until I honestly got “unstuck”.  I was not moving forward, not living in the present moment, merely existing.  That was all.  The amount of physical and mental pain I was in was enough to bring a grown man to his knees.  The diseases were spiraling out of control and I knew there were only two options left for me at that point.  As I sat on my couch and cried hot tears, I asked God to help me.  This was the day I started moving forward.  Some people call it rock bottom.  I was there.

So my friends…let’s move forward.  I bet you honestly are thinking “How in the hell does she expect me to do this?”  or “If it were only that easy?”  Let me assure you that after my skin was peeling off, pints of my blood continuously being taken for life, pain radiating from the base of my neck to my spine and all 18 triggers points for fibromyalgia had been activated, and my hip had started giving out so that I couldn’t walk without crying, NO this SHIT is not easy.  There.  I said it.  But here is the kicker.  You have it in you to do this. 

I do not know what your pain or block looks like versus mine, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter.  Pain is pain.  Whether it is physical, mental or spiritual.  Anxiety, depression and more can be dealt with.  But my secret.  Ohhh my secret to dealing with this, is to take tiny baby steps every single day.  I am about to show you how.

Why You Are Not Moving Forward (and what to do about it):

  1. Acknowledge where you are right now.  Some part of me had resisted until that very day when I knew I couldn’t hold on one moment longer where I was.  I was at the end of my rope so to speak, but I had tied a knot.  I was hanging there.  Just dangling.  I am not sure what I was waiting for, but I realized I had nowhere to go but up.
  2. Mobilize forces.  Forces can be the forces within you.  It can be spiritual, or even real people around you.  Many feel alone at this point in their lives no matter who is still around when we take our first shaky breaths and look around to see what’s left.  Don’t forget to look within.  That’s where the real power is.  If you are lucky enough to have family, reach out.  If you need a support group, reach there.  Think of 3 outside resources and jot them down.  Call your therapist, doctor, friend, or partner to help.
  3. Breathe deeply.  Each day is a new beginning.  Start new practices.  I went to yoga, but very slowly at first.  I also tried to sit in stillness and focus on the breath, not the physical pain.  This is the beginning of meditation and it helps focus your thoughts for a few seconds away from the pain body.  It is a huge step even though it looks like all you are doing is sitting.  Focus on the spaces between the pain.  Not the pain itself.
  4. Eat differently.  I had not been taking care of my physical body during this time.  I barely ate as I had autoimmune and was having reactions with food.  I made a plan.  A good plan.  A hard plan, but one with steps to follow.  Each day, I did one task that helped me.  I made sure the right foods were in front of me when I went to the fridge.  My husband made sure there were leftovers in containers that I could eat.  I knew that in order to stop the pain, I had to eliminate my food triggers.  That process was slow, but I made it.
  5. Begin with gratitude.  This part was harder at first, but over time, has gotten easier.  I wake up and say thank you as each foot hits the floor.  Every night, before bed, I journal about the good in my life right now.  I close my eyes, breathe deeply and think about all the things that are wonderful, good and pure in my life.  There are many things to be thankful for.
  6. Make a good plan and be consistent!  I developed steps that were thought driven to build me up and others like me.  I looked at the 4 areas of my life that needed baby steps, and each day I made myself do one thing to propel me up the rope, out of the hole.  I got the hardest thing over with first.  Moving again.  Yup.  Getting up off the couch and moving was the number one hardest thing, so I started there with my fitness.  I moved on to my nutrition because I knew that was key to unlocking the flares I was having and eliminated sugar, which wrecks havoc on your neurotransmitters, from my life as best I could.  Next, I took a look at creating balance in my life and moving away from feeling stressed all the time.  Part of my anxiety was caused by, you guessed it, food.  When I removed the gluten and sugar triggers, my life started to get back on track.  This is a huge key to unlocking autoimmune diseases from trapping you in that cycle of pain.  Lastly, I looked at self-care and how I was handling things.  I had not been doing so well, it was time to devote some time to me.

All of this I made into manageable chunks and then from this, I climbed out.  I completed my yoga teacher training after 200 hours.  Something I would not have thought possible before.  I completed my certification in sports nutrition and understood what I needed to do to help others.  I put my program and steps into an online course.  I call it 4 Weeks to Wellness, and it is the start of moving forward for those of you who need a plan.  I believe in you.  You can do this!

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Blog Talk Radio Interview

Hi friends…today I had a follow-up radio interview to my previous interview that talked about Living with invisible diseases.  Today the talk focused on how I was able to move forward from all that pain, and start getting back to the life I thought I was going to be living.

What is Blog Talk Radio anyway?

BlogTalkRadio is the online radio network that allows users to host live call-in talk shows with unlimited participants using our free podcast recording tool. No software to download or complicated audio equipment.

I would love for you to listen to this quick show!  The Magic Happens “Share the Wealth” with Kellie Fitzgerald as hostess.  The interview went so well again that Kellie has asked me to come back for an even longer talk next time because we both feel that living with invisible diseases does NOT need to be hidden in some dark, dusty corners and spoken of in whispers.  No.  We both understand the pain of inflammatory diseases and what that brings to the table when people think “You look well.”  To be honest with you, I don’t remember what I said last time…but it was painful I know.  Raw.  Real.  And me.  Here it is:  Older Blog Talk Radio Interview  <<< so you can see the difference.

Thank you for always being here with me!  Namaste my friends.

HappinessHere is the link to 4 Weeks to Wellness.  I appreciate those of you who have already signed up and are giving me such great feedback after listening to me this morning!  You can leave a comment on this post if you would like!  Also see the work with me tab at the top of the blog for more!

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Top 4 Biggest Weight Loss Hurdles

What are the 4 biggest weight loss hurdles during the holiday season?

Funny thing…people think that they put on weight during the holidays more so than at any other time; however, it’s not the holidays that really do it.  It’s actually making a plan, having a goal, and sticking to it.  But we will get to that part.

The first one is actually Loss of Motivation and I get that reason from clients well, lots.  At first, it’s like a special thing.  You are super pumped to start this journey, but slowly you let your mind take over and put you back where you started.  Negative Ghost Rider.  Abort.  Abort.  It’s cold.  It’s raining.  I saw a big piece of the best flan ever and had to put it in my mouth.  <<< that one was mine.  Anyway, I have been there.  What has helped me to stay consistent for over 2 years?  I will tell you.

  • I lay out my workout clothes (yoga for me) the night before.
  • I make sure my water bottle is ready to go and clean.
  • I get to wear the pants at the back of the closet.  I remind myself that.
  • I got rid of the pants that I had saved that were the “big” pants.  No lie.
  • I use a dry erase marker and write on my bathroom mirror where I can see it.  Daily.

Number two is “I’m too  busy for that.”  This one really gets on my nerves the most I think.  It’s not that I don’t understand, but I remember how I felt when I was at my worst.  My stomach was bloated, I was suffering from leaky gut, and I had tried everything including a personal trainer who kicked my ass to no avail.  The real reason you say you are too busy, is what if it fails?  That’s right.  I know your secret.  Being scared is part of the process, so please be honest with yourself.  Sometimes, you have to go back to the starting point.  But if you are working with a trainer, wellness coach or anyone else, check in with them and be honest about what you are afraid of.  Be specific.  Put it in words.  I opened up with the person who asked me to come back to yoga and I specifically said “I am worried that I am in so much pain that I won’t be able to do these things.”  And you know what, I wasn’t able to do everything.  And I lived.  I got better, stronger, and then one day, the 5 people closest to me throughout my yoga training saw me do something I couldn’t do before and it was a great feeling.  I didn’t let my excuses get in the way.  Side note:  I also had to come up with my own holistic wellness program in order for it to work since I knew more about autoimmune than who I initially signed up to work with.  I did have to create something that didn’t exist, but I didn’t give up.  Each and every time something didn’t work, I started back at what was working and went from there.

Number three is actually eating out.  I know that you love to go out to eat.  So do I!  Here’s how we can make it work while still maintaining your goals.

  • Research the restaurant menu ahead of time.  Look at the salads, appetizers and small plates and see if there are healthy options.
  • If you can’t find anything healthy, pick a new place.  If that is not an option because a function is scheduled there, call the place and ask about broiling or baking items that are on the menu instead.
  • Split a meal that is huge…they are almost always larger portion sizes!
  • Ask for salad dressing on the side, or better yet, ask for oil and vinegar so you can do it and you know what’s in it.
  • Skip the dessert if at all possible and ask for black coffee.

The last hurdle this season is going to be parties.  Wooo-hoo.  I love me a good party.  Yes, I just said that.  Say it in a southern accent and you might be close to how I sound.  Anyway, just so you know even I have a hard time with this one.  This is difficult.  Hugely difficult, but I have some great friends who are aware of my food sensitivities.  Some non-tacky things you can do to make your life easier at parties include:

  • Make your own snacks to bring and share.  Oh what did you bring to share?  Ohhh, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo pumpkin cookies says me.  No one eats them but me.  Winning!  I get to take them home too.
  • Bring your own rice crackers and humus or veggies, etc.
  • Call your hostess, maybe less tacky, but you can say I am super excited to come to the holiday extravaganza at your beautiful house!  You sure make the best food.  What’s on the menu this year?  <<< sounding tacky no more.  Now you are complimenting and fishing at the same time.  Ask if you can bring something while casually mentioning your lifestyle change.  She will want a lifestyle change too and you won’t feel left out then.

So these are my tips to you this year.  Carry on my gluten-free, paleo, sugar-free, possibly vegan warriors.  Whoever you are, you can do this!!!

 

powerNew ^^^ linked to another blog:)

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The Secret to Success in Every Area of Your Life…

success

Finding Success Took Me Years…Now You Can Benefit.

Two years ago, I was severely depressed from my illnesses.  I was in pain daily, overweight, and couldn’t find a doctor to help me…other than suggest prescriptions for life to manage my pain.  I knew that I didn’t want to do that, and February of 2014 was when I left the doctor’s office more depressed than ever as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia…and no treatment.  None, but medicine.  Nothing to address my diet, my life, how I was going to live since I said no to this medicine that could cause more damage to my liver.

But after the sadness passed, I was determined to continue my research into helping myself, and others like me.

Today I want to share with you the one secret I discovered.

I discovered my mind played a key role in all areas of head, heart and health and I learned the secret of using my mind to become a success in every area of my life. Not just mentally, but physically and emotionally as well. It sounds so simple…but it took me almost 17 years to “wake up” and discover that the true hero of my life had to be me. The key to making this happen was getting mad, and forming a plan.

I lost over 25 pounds on my 5’2 inch frame, started moving more…and finally started feeling better. I had truly lost hope of ever feeling better before I mapped out the series of steps that was crucial in changing my life…and never would have imagined that I would make it through 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training!!

Over the last year, many people in my life have seen this transformation, and have contacted my about my plan.  I do have a line of all-natural supplements that I prefer, but it was so much more than that.  With each step that I took towards wellness, each change that I made, I could feel my spirit lift.  I knew that I was on the right path.

If you have tried everything, or at least you think you have, if you feel like you need a fresh outlook on your life, I am offering coaching packages for the first time online!  I have coached hundreds of people over the last year in my business, but decided to open it up to an online community.  Work with me to help change your life!    <<<<   Click the link there or see the tab at the top of the page!

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Share the Wealth…blog talk radio show

Share the Wealth with Kellie Fitzgerald and her guest…well me!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2015/07/29/share-the-wealth-with-kellie-fitzgerald-and-aimee-barnes-halpin

Hopefully you got a chance to listen to that ^^ as it was actually a really quick show!!  Well, for me anyway.  I glossed over most of the details, but I do want you to know that there is a search button here on the page and if my story resonates with you or you know anyone at all who suffers from any of the diseases I talk about, please feel free to share this post with them.  Lastly, I am doing some more research on one more new gene mutation so look for that soon if you happen to like reading about invisible diseases and possible links as to why you might have what you have!  ~Aimee

Breaking chains

How I beat bloat…

This might seem like a strange title, but I get asked this question all the time.  So the way I navigate my blog, is just like you.  I have written about many topics, so I type in the word I am looking for using the search button.  When I type in “bloat” a bunch of old posts come up, but specifically, the one that most people need to read is My break up with sugar and gluten.

So, I’ll be over here while you catch up.  Now that you know I have thoroughly done my research, I want to tell you about the next steps.  First, go to your pantry.  The one with all the yummies that perhaps the kids eat.  Maybe you eat them too.   But put them way out of sight.  Or buy bins and label them Kids snacks, but don’t go there for yourself.  I know, I know.  But believe me, you will feel better.  Next, make yourself a snack shelf.  Read the label of everything you put there.  Everything.  If the first ingredient is sugar, it goes in the kids bin.  If it includes any sort of wheat, etc.  Click my hidden links on those words if you don’t know how to figure this out.  it takes practice.

I’m sure some clients get mad at me…and I say GOOD.  Get mad at me for telling you that includes diet sodas.  It’s like Hell’s Kitchen up in your pantry.  But for real.  You want to feel better?  Do or do not.  There is no try.  Imagine tiny Yoda up there if it makes you feel better.  Use the force.  Push the food away.  Erm.  I went off on a geek tangent.  But I know this is hard.  I detoxed like I was having withdrawal symptoms…for real.  And you know what?  I lost 25 pounds.  My back was bending, my stomach was bloated, and I was actually shrinking.  I lost an inch in height!!  Can you believe that?  I did.

Me_1_yearWhen my friend took this before photo, and lied like a good friend, and said oh girl, it’s not that bad, I wanted to cry.  I kept saying something was wrong.  Why won’t doctors listen to me.  25 pounds in 6 months was not normal.  I was swollen, and working out.  I wasn’t losing a thing.  I never would have either.  If I hadn’t started researching what happened to my body after eating white bread.  Then the IBS symptoms.  Then the stomach pain.   You get it.  I thought I was doing great with the gluten-free, nope.  Sugar was still causing bloat.  The after photo is after 3 months without sugar as well.

I did start using things to help.  The “skinny” pack.  Why did I buy into it?  Here’s why…the wraps are completely all natural phytonutrients.  I looked up what everything did and saw that it could work to help relieve my bloat.  I needed to be on it for 3 months as well as do the above to really get the harmful effects of sugar and gluten out of my body.  My lymphatic system has slowed down to almost no movement.  I was sore in all 18 trigger points for fibromyalgia.  I knew I had it.  But, quite frankly, I had enough to worry about. If I accidentally ate something to cause bloat, I would take a fat fighter to stop the carbs turning into sugar.  It also helped to balance my blood sugar.  Next, I would take a hot shower and wrap every single Sunday night and leave the wrap on.  I felt amazing on Monday.  I would rub on my defining gel because my veins were doing weird things in my legs too.

I continued to research ingredients and put myself on the greens due to the probiotics I needed to fix my gut lining.  More research into leaky gut…you may use that and search on this blog.  I also took a ThermoFit if my gastroparesis (food just sat there for a million years) was doing it’s thing.  Again, I went to doctors and had tests so I knew what was wrong…they had not one suggestion on how to move forward that didn’t include drugs with horrible side effects.  Being on acid blockers like omeprazole would make me worse over time…so I took myself off based on more research.  I drink apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) now.

As you can tell…it does take hard work and determination to fix your gut.  If any of this sounds like you, I have more tips on my Facebook page Vitalize You, plus the tab at the top of this blog talks about more.  I had an open mind when I started this process because I truly believed I could help myself with all-natural products.  That’s why I started my business.  I believe you can do this!  Hashimoto’s, autoimmune, leaky gut, gastroparesis, IBS whatever you want to name it, it starts in the gut.  Don't quit

Author’s note:  I have now developed a new program, and it does not include any supplements, but will help you learn everything that I researched for years, in the space of 4 Weeks!!!!  <<< click there to learn more.

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Motivational Monday…for the UNbroken

Hey friends…you know how last week on the Facebook fan page for my blog, I asked you a question?  I asked you to tell me what kind of “invisible disease” you had.  Many times, we feel so alone with these diseases, because they are in fact, not visible to people looking in at our lives.  But this statistic came from the link I posted: 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with an illness that is invisible. 

I don’t really think we are alone.  So let’s say you didn’t get your disability and you have 5, maybe 6 illnesses on that list.  Guess what?  It happens.  I decided it meant something different.  I decided it meant that I was supposed to find a flexible job working from home and helping others.  Don’t be discouraged.  You have a few options.  You can continue the fight without a lawyer.  I have been told that’s why I never got anywhere.  You can get a lawyer.  Or you can move on.  Moving on is not giving up.  I just want to give you permission in case you needed to hear that.  I know all the excuses in your head.  I know all the what ifs.  But do not stay in that place of despair.  Make a plan.  Work on it.  Move on.

So now I am in yoga teacher training, and it’s hard.  Very, very hard emotionally and physically.  I doubt my path at times.  I do.  But as my friend said yesterday, okay really paraphrasing, if we didn’t have emotions or feelings we’d be like Data from Star Trek.  He was an android who was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human responses.  We don’t want to live like that.  So acknowledge the feelings you are having, and work the plan.  Whatever the plan is.  If you don’t have plan, write something down.  Just a few things.  It can be as simple as get out of bed, and get dressed.  Get to the store today.  Fibro friends, this is an important plan.  You know this.  Get out of your pajamas…says the blogger still in pajamas.  But you know what I’m talking about!!!  You do.

Next on your list, make a new friend.  Okay, this one is hard.  Why is this hard?  It is hard for people who feel alone, because opening ourselves up and getting vulnerable with new people is like going to a new doctor for us.  We hate having to start at the beginning and tell our story.  I know this.  You know this.  Stop ignoring this one.  So here’s how you can go about doing this.  Re-evaluate who is in your life right now.  Who checks in on you…who checked out on you.  Those people who checked out of your life during your hardest times, they have left you space for new people.  I know it sucks, believe me I do.  But it’s time to be honest.  Those people didn’t understand anyway.

So start a new practice.  Get your list out.  What did you like to do before all the bumps?  For me, I already liked yoga, so I looked into restorative, which was low-key.  I researched other types of exercises for fibromyalgia, and decided I didn’t feel like going to water aerobics, but if you like that, put that down.  if you liked gardening put it down.  Don’t think about the pain, I know you automatically went to “I can’t get down there and bend.” Stop.  So here’s a neat idea, look up community free classes or workshops in your area.  You can also container garden and not have to bend.  See how I did that?  Put it at eye level.  Flower arranging?  Do it.  Whatever it is that old you did, write it down.

So guess what’s going to happen during this process of thinking about other things that you now have room for in your life…you are going to make new friends.  You are going to feel better, and you are going to feel less alone.  Anytime you have a negative thought, push it away and back to the things you are doing that are positive.  That are a step in the right direction.  So when you get that letter in the mail from social security…don’t be afraid to open it.  Make a plan.

broken