My Foray in to the World of Intermittent Fasting (IF)…and Hypnosis!!!! Oh My!

My Foray in to the World of Intermittent Fasting (IF)…and Hypnosis!!!! Oh My!
I’ve been hearing about Intermittent Fasting (IF) for a few years, and to be honest, I thought it was a crazy idea.  Mainly because I had no idea what it really meant, but still, I was sure that was not something I would EVER do.  

Fast forward to now. I don’t know about you, but I have tried pretty much every diet known to woman. The first diet I ever did back in the early days was the Cabbage Soup Diet. Did I lose a few pounds? Yep. Was that sustainable over the long-term? Nope. And like every DIET I have tried since then, once I wasn’t being strict and following the P.L.A.N. I gained all the weight back – and then some!

I’ve done them all. Here’s a recap of the ones I have tried over the years (at least those I can remember):
Cabbage Soup Diet, HcG Drops, Weight Watchers, Isagenix, Diet Power.com, JJ Virgin Elimination Diet, some weird chalky bark like substance that made you have to use the bathroom immediately, with no notice. I tried to find the name of it, but it no longer shows in my Amazon history. I think it has been pulled from the US market. Probably with good reason.
I am sure there are others I’ve tried over the years that I just don’t remember.

So, what about this IF and hypnosis thing? Well, I met someone in my women’s business networking group who is a hypnotist and focuses on weight loss and smoking cessation. I thought, well hypnosis is one thing I haven’t tried yet. Because let’s be honest. One of the main reasons those other options have not worked for me long-term is because I’m great out-of-the-gate, but when the diets are restrictive I just can’t keep to them long-term. So, I met with her and she explained she uses Intermittent Fasting (IF) and hypnosis. I figured I had nothing to lose – except the weight – so I jumped on board.

The first thing I had to do was homework. What? I thought she would just hypnotize me, tell me what I needed to know, and then voila – weight loss. Guess not.

So, here’s what I am going to do. I am going to chronicle my IF and hypnosis journey here in my blog. The deal is, I don’t know how it is going to turn out. But, if you are interested, I’ll be sharing my journey along the way. My research, my wins, my struggles, all of it. Maybe you’ll learn something too.

For now, you can start with the resources I have used so far or have been recommended to me. In future blogs, I’ll try to recap some of the takeaways from the books as well. As of now, I have completely read Delay, Don’t Deny (https://amzn.to/2PfvBxL) , and most of The Obesity Code (https://amzn.to/2PgsaXE) and they are eye-opening.

I will tell you all about my first hypnosis session I just had and my first week of IF (I’m starting Monday, August 3, 2020) in my next blog. Most likely it’ll post a week from the date of this blog. My goal is to post at least weekly, but if anything super exciting happens, it might be more often.

Are you an intermittent faster?  If so, please share with me your tips and tricks.  I am so eager to learn. 

Feel free to leave comments by clicking the word comments at the top. See you next week.


Emotional Pups – No Fun for You or Them

Emotional Pups – No Fun for You or Them
Emotional Pups – No Fun for You or Them
 
It’s almost that time of year.  In fact, it might already be in your area.  You know what I’m talking about right?  Either fireworks or thunderstorms.  The times of the year that can be so very hard on your pets, especially dogs.  Read on to find some great tips I’ve picked up over the years of being a pet owner and helping with pet rescue.  
 
Thunderstorms and Fireworks
Thunderstorms and fireworks can be the bane of dogs everywhere.  Oftentimes, it doesn’t matter if your pup is the best-behaved dog in the world, when the booming of thunder or the bam of fireworks is happening, even the calmest dog can get spooked.  And getting spooked can be dangerous.  Did you know more dogs go missing on the 4th of July (US) and New Year’s Eve than any other time of the year?  

So, what is an owner to do?   
One, don’t ever leave your dogs outside if you know there are going to be thunderstorms or fireworks.   They don’t understand what is happening and they will do anything to get away.  And sometimes, that can be a dangerous proposition if they get out on a road.  Dogs will literally climb or jump 6+ feet fences trying to get away.  

Two, plan ahead.  This means, don’t wait until the event is upon you to figure out what you are going to do to mitigate the fear for your dog.   Get your supplies ready and do some trial runs.  It’ll be less stressful for you both.  

What does planning ahead look like?  
In my house, it means planning a safe space for them, be that a kennel or an interior room.   Yep, I’ve slept in the bathroom many a night with my pups.  It happens less often than before, because now they are used to the items we use and I do my very best to plan ahead and not wait.

Thundershirt
One that I always had on hand for Bryndoll (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge this year) was a Thundershirt.   This Velcro contraption wraps them up tight and helps them feel secure.  The issue most people have is they wait too long to put the shirt on the pup or to get them acclimated to it before there is a need.  If you wait until there is a problem, then the dog will only associate the shirt with being scared, and it is less effective.  So make sure you get the pup used to wearing it, and that you put it on well before it is needed.  I always watched the weather reports and if thunderstorms were projected I’d just go ahead and put Bryndoll in it. Same thing for fireworks.  She went in the Thundershirt at least by late afternoon to ensure it was on before the first firecracker went off in the neighborhood.

Essential Oils
Another thing I use is several Young Living Essential Oils.  And yes, they are the only ones I trust for my family and pets.   Again, the trick is to apply them before there is a problem.  The best way to introduce pets to essential oils is to do it low and slow.  Dogs especially have a very keen sense of smell, so too much oil too fast can make them sneeze and might make them less inclined to want to be around them.  What I have found to work best is to take one drop of oil rub it on my hands, and then pet down the back of the dog.  I try to stay away from the ears so the scent doesn’t overwhelm their nose. 

I also will drop some oil on the Thundershirt as well.  Remember, that just like with people, different oils work better for some dogs than others.   In our house, Bryndoll always loved and was calmed by Frankincense the most.  But Twinkle will come running for our Valor blend.  Seriously, if I open the bottle she comes running to get some.   As you can imagine, that is the first oil I reach for when I know there is going to be fireworks.  Other oils that are helpful to dogs are Lavender, Peace and Calming, and Stress Away.  

I hope this gave you some ideas of things to try to help keep your pups calm during stressful times.   And don’t forget, these work just as well for you, too.  We don’t have Thundershirts for humans, but I hear weighted blankets are great!!!

Remember how I said I only trust Young Living Essential Oils?  That’s because they are the only company with a Seed to Seal promise which means they take the utmost care from the selection of the seed all the way through the planting, growing, harvesting, distilling, bottling, and shipping of the products right to your door.  If you want more information on our process check it out here at www.seedtoseal.com.  And if you want to join me personally in learning more you can contact me HERE and join my community where I teach more about these products, pets, and how to live a bit more naturally HERE.  
 
Let's all do our part ot keep our pets worry-free this summer.  

Keepin' Real, as always ----Cathy
Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to a few select products I use, enjoy, or recommend. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links, and your purchase supports companies and products I believe in. 
 

Natural Ways to Deal with Chaos

Natural Ways to Deal with Chaos
Right now, we all feel a lot of chaos in our lives.  Between what is going on in the world surrounding the pandemic, the working from home, unemployment, becoming the teacher you never wanted to be – and let’s not forget a toilet paper shortage - we’ve all probably felt like we are not in control of our lives.  That feeling is normal under these circumstances.  I know I’ve felt the stress and just wanted to crawl back in bed and forget about it all for a while.  And you know what, that’s okay to do.  But, we can’t live in that realm forever, because we have to still live our best life.  So, what do you do when all you want to do is…nothing?  How do you make sure you stay healthy, while staying home?  

Turn off the news –
The best thing, is to turn off the news and get off the chaos bandwagon.  Not gonna lie.  That is hard to do right now in a time when we crave connection.  Social media helps us easily feel connected to people we miss, but it is so easy to get caught up in that news cycle of gloom and doom.  My recommendation is to set a timer, and when it goes off, you get off the computer or phone, off Facebook or Twitter, and do something else.  Play a game, you know the real kind with cards or that comes in a box with pieces and a gameboard.  Build real connection with your family.  And if you live alone, then at a minimum play a real game with a real live person.  The internet is a great place, when you set limits.   

Get outside –
Take a walk in nature if you can.  If you live in the city and your parks are open, go to a park and get some fresh air.   If you have a dog, they will love exploring a new location, too.  If the weather permits, take off your shoes and socks and feel the grass or dirt beneath your feet.  This is a concept known as “earthing” and it is thought that the connection with the Earth allows free electrons to be taken up into the body which helps your body deal with stress, improves sleep, and can even help reduce pain in just 30 minutes a day. Check out this book on Kindle https://amzn.to/3bO5fwo or in paperback https://amzn.to/3aOSb8P to learn more about earthing.  And then I’d love to hear what you find when you try it.

Do something just for you –
This can be something as simple as just taking a relaxing bath with your favorite essential oils and some Epsom Salts.  Or curling up with your favorite book and your favorite blanket in your favorite comfy chair with your favorite drink.  It doesn’t matter what it is you do, just do something that allows you to relax and unwind.

Find freedom –
Still need to release some tension or stress?  Need to find a way to overcome other things that might be holding you back? Have goals that you want to reach, but are not sure how?  If so, Aroma Freedom Technique might be just the thing you are looking for.  Using the power of essential oils and common psychological techniques an AFT session can help you break through barriers you didn’t even realize were holding you back.  Click HERE to claim your FREE session today. 
 
Like what you learned today and want to learn more about related health and wellness topics in a judgement-free way?  I have a community of real people, learning new tips and tricks to help them on their wellness journey.  Join HERE.  

You can also get my guide on easy ways to reduce toxic fragrances from your life.  Grab it HERE!

Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check

Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check
Dangers of High Cortisol Levels and Tips to Keep It in Check
 
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is made in your adrenal glands.  Most cells of our body have cortisol receptors which serve to uptake the hormone for a variety of functions, including blood sugar and metabolism regulation, reducing inflammation, and memory formulation.   These are all very necessary body processes, but as you can imagine, too much of this hormone can wreak serious havoc on your body and comes with a host of unwanted symptoms.  Read on to learn a bit more about cortisol and learn some simple ways to manage your levels for optimum health.  

Symptoms of High Cortisol

High cortisol can cause many symptoms in your body.  The most common are weight gain, generally around the midsection and upper back, as well as around the face.  Yay! ☹ Just what we all want, right? Acne is another unfortunate side effect that many people suffer from just when we thought for sure we had left that teenage problem far behind!  Added on to the rounder face and that’s just not a look I am going for, to be honest.  

I can usually tell when I am suffering from high cortisol because one of my first signs is difficulty concentrating.  You know, where you hear the same thing over and over and still can’t make sense of what was said?  That could be “old-timers” but it is likely just high cortisol levels messing with you.   Brain Fog is real and it is no fun!!!!

Other common symptoms are thinning skin and a flushed face – to go with that weight gain and acne.   That’s like the quadruple punch in the face, am I right?  Then throw in some severe fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, easy bruising, slowed healing, and irritability and we are a COMPLETE MESS.   And let’s be honest, I’m not sure the irritability is so much a symptom in and of itself so much as the inevitable response to all the other freaking symptoms!!! Geesh!

What Are the Main Contributors to High Cortisol?

Stress

Both your hormones and your nerves send signals when you are stressed.  This causes your adrenal glands to release hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.  Adrenaline and cortisol kick off the flight-or-fight response and increase your heart rate and your energy to get your body ready for a dangerous or harmful situation that needs dealt with.  Cortisol also has the extra job of limiting functions not necessary to fight-or-flight.   Then your hormones will return to their normal levels after the danger has passed.  This is all a good thing, except….
When you are under constant stress and the response doesn’t turn off.  Then the long-term exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones start to create problems for your body.  Problems like obesity, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. 
 

Medication Side Effects

Many medications can increase cortisol levels. Corticosteroid medications used to treat asthma, arthritis, certain cancers, and other conditions can cause high cortisol levels when taken in higher dosages or over long periods of time.   This includes medications likes prednisone and cortisone which are commonly prescribed.  Estrogen replacement therapy and pregnancy are two other causes of increased cortisol levels.   Of course, you should never stop a prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor, but knowing the side effects can be helpful when having the conversation.

Tips to Reduce Cortisol Levels

Get Enough Sleep

Over time, sleep deprivation causes increased cortisol levels.  Night shift workers are at increased risk for high cortisol ([1]).  Insomnia and interruptions to sleep can also increase levels and disrupt daily hormone patterns ([2], [3], [4]).

Moderate Exercise

Intense exercise increases cortisol shortly after exercise in the short-term, but decrease in the nighttime.  Mild or moderate exercise at 40-60% of maximum effort, however, does not increase cortisol in the short-term, like intense exercise, and it still leads to lower levels at night ([5], [6]).

Eat Healthy Foods

It goes without saying, eating healthy foods is good for you.  There doesn’t seem to be an issue out there that a good diet of whole foods won’t help, and cortisol levels is no exception.   A diet full of fruits and vegetables is good for you.  But guess what?  Studies even show that dark chocolate may be helpful ([7], [8]) as well.  And dark chocolate lovers rejoiced!  
Dehydration can also increase cortisol levels, so drink up. I find that I tend to not drink enough water – come on – it’s boring.  I’ve found a great water additive that I love and that is good for you, too.  

Nutritional Supplements

There are several good nutritional supplements that can help with maintaining healthy cortisol levels.   

Fish Oil

A good fish oil supplement can be a great way to reduce cortisol levels in response to stress ([9], [10]).  

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in nutritional supplements.  Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria.   Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol ([11]).  The issue is often the levels in the foods or supplements are not high enough to be measurably helpful.  Choosing a good supplement is therefore very important, otherwise, you are just throwing money down the drain…or toilet if we are honest.  So you have to be able to trust the source.

Specially-formulated Supplements

There are supplements on the market that are specially formulated to work with the body to reduce cortisol levels.  One I trust is a combination of pregnenolone, lipids, black cohosh, DHEA, clary sage, and high-quality essential oils known to help the body manage cortisol levels.   When I am feeling the effects of stress, I add this supplement to my daily supplement regimen for about 8 weeks and the brain fog, bloating, and tiredness melt away.  

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have a positive effect on cortisol levels.  Researchers found that the inhalation of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, and neroli decreased blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels ([12]).  Other oils such as basil, bergamot, rosemary, and orange are also helpful.  The important thing to note in the study linked above is that participants who smelled artificial fragrance had no improvement.  So, trusting your oil source is important, as many oils on the market are actually artificial synthetics!  Read below for a free roller bottle blend.  

Cortisol and Stress Reducing Diffuser Blend

Combine the following oils in a cold-water ultrasonic diffuser for stress relief:
4 drops Lavender
3 drops Ylang Ylang
2 drops Marjoram
1 drop Neroli

Conclusion

As you can see, maintaining healthy cortisol levels is important and there are some simple steps such as getting more sleep, moderate exercise, eating healthy, and nutritional supplementation that can assist you in keeping your cortisol levels in check.   

Remember what I said about trusting the source when we talked about probiotics and essential oils?   It’s true.  Not all supplements are created equal and not all essential oils on the market are even made from plants.  Just like I am sure you would rather get your produce from a local source where you can trust the process as opposed to vegetables that were grown on industrial farms with chemicals and picked too early and shipped too far, right?   Lucky for you, I have a source I trust for oils, supplements, and so much more – one where I can even tour the farm and speak to the workers.  How cool is that?  Want to learn more?  Contact Me.

If you liked this content you are sure to love my FREE GUIDE on Boosting your Immune System.  

I’ve put together a welcoming community for people who are just looking to learn healthy tips together in a real, authentic way.  JOIN US.

Until next time - Keep on Keepin' It Real - I know I will.  ~ Cathryn