How to: Achieve Optimal Health through the Four Pillars of WBKMay 26, 2021
I’m really passionate about talking about the four pillars of WBK. They are nourishment, movement, mediation, and purpose. Because as I’ve continued on this personal journey of growth and wellness and health and I teach different ideas and philosophies on balancing hormones and living with vitality, it has become so clear to me how we need to take a more holistic approach to feel our very best from the inside out. It’s not about going deeper and deeper into just one area, it’s about focusing on all of them with balance. I often find when a client is only asking me about food and diet, that’s when it’s the most important to talk about mental health and discovering that through meditation and self-reflection. I know this very well because I was personally so obsessed with food for so many years. So through that journey, I learned how important it is to bring in more balance so no one area becomes obsessive, and perhaps you can create a better understanding of some of yourself and your behaviors. So today we’re going to learn how to tap into all of the beautiful areas that go along with your well-being through some questions I have gotten in my DMs so that you can live your best life.
1. For so long, I have focused on eating clean. I now realize I’ve been dealing with some disordered eating for the better part of a decade, but even if I’m eating clean, I still don’t feel good. What can I do?
This is absolutely what happened to me. Food is tangible, so a lot of times, we focus there because we can count it, measure it, and see it. But there is also the downside of the fact that a lot of times, we focus on it because we can control our bodies, which is often hindering HOW we feel. We have to eat every day so what we eat obviously is a great starting point on the path of wellness, but what we eat is not everything, and it absolutely isn’t the only thing that dictates how we feel in our bodies. So when it comes to the rest of the pillars, let’s start with movement - how can you move in a way where you’re connecting with your body? I personally think yoga and connecting to the breath is a great way to connect with the body. It’s so important to have good digestion to feel good, and moving your body is absolutely one way that you can do that. Moving into mental health through meditation, a lot of times when we don’t feel good in our day-to-day, it’s because we have unresolved mental health issues. Anger, pain, resentment, shame, and guilt — all these emotions we hold on to — are things we should sit within meditation. When you notice where you’re feeling it and breathe into it rather than pushing it down or trying to defend yourself or losing yourself in racing thoughts, you’re able to process it and move through it. Finally, fulfillment plays such a big role in how you feel each day. When you know you’re serving others with what you’re doing (whether it’s a hobby or a full-time job), the notion that what you’re doing is necessary, helpful, and beautiful is what makes each day rewarding.
2. I have been really struggling with the health of my hair... I know that you need adequate protein for healthy hair, but what can I do beyond that? Is there anything more than why I’m eating that goes into it?
I know this is something SO many women worry about. It can really be something that affects your self-confidence, so I totally understand why that is, and I’ve absolutely been there myself. And you’re right; the first thing to look at is your diet and ensuring that you’re getting enough quality protein and fat. But on a deeper level, it has a lot to do with your internal state as you transition into different periods of life, like from prenatal through postpartum for example, hair loss is normal. But other instances like periods of anxiety or unnecessary hormonal shifts from stress can also cause unwanted hair loss, and that’s definitely not normal. There is a lot we can do through the pillars of WBK. So like I said above, from the nourishment and nutrition perspective, yes, protein is important, but it’s really important to have QUALITY protein that's easily assimilated. Not clogging your intestines with things like a diary but eating things that are more easily digested by your body, so if you’re going to eat meats having grass-fed or wild-caught fish. More plant proteins are less likely to clog your body because of the fiber that they’re attached to. Beans, quinoa, greens are all good sources of protein. Another nutritional component necessary for hair health is B vitamins, so supplementing is a good way to do that, and you can’t overdose on B vitamins. You can also take collagen, which I’m a big fan of, so that your body has what it needs to make healthy hair from the inside out. From a movement perspective, you can do more headstands like in yoga. It’s also important to stick to doing low impact gentle movement through times of hair loss because anything else could be causing undue stress on the body. Or when you’re sitting in your meditation practice doing a scalp massage. Both of these things will bring more blood flow to the scalp. Then through your meditation practice and examining your work through your purpose, it’s important to check in with your mental health and stress levels. Is this hair loss being caused by the extra stress you’re going through right now? Even if you love your purpose, sometimes there are seasons of life that are overwhelming. Or maybe it’s a challenging circumstance you’re going through. How can you take some stuff off of your plate? Take some time to process how you’ve been feeling through a journal and keep things more structured and organized in your calendar to get on the front end of stress. Taking steps to create an environment where hair has the opportunity to grow. When we take a holistic approach, things really work better.
3. How does spirituality affect my overall health?
My idea of spirituality is connecting with the soul inside of you. What makes you, YOU. My biggest tip on connecting back within is.. you guessed it... meditation. Finding a self-reflection practice that works for you to really be authentically is the truest path to feeling good and loving yourself. Food and movement can take you so far, but if you're disconnected from your true self, you’ll find one thing and then need to chase another, and you’ll meet one goal and still need more and more to get that sense of fulfillment. Our health is affected when we connect inward because it changes the way we do life. It’s a source of joy and energy. When I started to really connect in, my intense food cravings and need for sweets really started to melt away. Of course, I still enjoy food, but it doesn’t occupy so many of my thoughts. I started to really heal this lifelong relationship I knew I would have with food on a really profound level because I didn’t need food to make me feel something. Through meditation, I also started getting more out of my movement because the meditations reduced inflammation in my body and improved my cardiovascular health. I learned to connect my breath to my movements and make them more effective. I knew through my practice it was time to change careers - for me to get more out of life, and I would never have known that before. Its effect on my mental health, confidence, and happiness is beyond words. Studies have shown that meditation has had a huge impact on all of our internal systems because stress creates this acid in our bodies that create all of the systems. But when we’re calmer and at peace, our bodies have the chance to work for us. They’re not in chaos. The calmer you are, the better your health and the slower you’ll age. Getting to know your beautiful whole self will help end that eternal search for something else and give you optimal health.
4. I feel like my anxiety is really affecting my health. I wake up with this racing heart and negativity. I’ve tried journaling, but it’s not helping. Can you give any anxiety tips?
Anxiety tends to build and build. It’s one of those things that when we avoid going out and meeting friends or watching tv, it may feel ok at the moment, but it continues to grow, and we never really get to the root of it. Instagram, Netflix, online shopping, and even calling a friend is a temporary way to soothe yourself. It’s important to be self-aware, and you can really do that through a self-reflection practice like journaling as a part of your meditation. It is important, though, to do this when you’re not feeling negative so that you can self-reflect and understand what your triggers are or notice when the anxiety flare-ups come up. Then you can focus on working through those triggers and behaving differently next time one comes up. Movement is always a practice that helps me move through anxiety. When I feel triggered and notice anxiety coming up in a specific space, first I sit with it but then as a response rather than being reactive and maybe online shopping or losing myself in negative thoughts, I love to go for a walk in nature or do some gentle yoga to allow the feeling to move through me. I also can say without a doubt that since I changed my career to doing something, I feel more fulfilled by that I absolutely feel far less anxious in my day-to-day. Getting up and knowing that I get to do something I love rather than dreading another day of meetings and spreadsheets gives me a sense of grounding and calm because I know I’m using my gift to help others. Remember that you are in complete control of your life—finally, something really tangible, food. When you have good gut health, the connection to your brain is much more likely to be good too. There is something called the gut-brain axis, where your microbiome really affects the hormones that make you feel calm and happy. Starting by taking probiotics and eating probiotic-rich food will definitely help. As will keeping your blood sugar nice and balanced by eating regular meals with protein, fat, carbs, and fiber throughout the day to avoid those spikes and crashes that make your energy dip and your anxiety rise.