Tag: mindset

Dealing With Chronic Pain or Illness

There is more to chronic pain and chronic illness than just how the illness makes you feel physically.  There is an enormous mental component to it as well.  You are suddenly forced to accept that your life has changed drastically in a negative way and by something you have no control over. That takes a toll.

When my endocrine issue began, I was so focused on how to hack the problem that I don’t think it ever really set in that this could be permanent. Also, it’s an annoyance, but something I am relatively easily able to handle. I was more frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t get help from traditional medicine than anything else.

That is not the case for most people who have a chronic condition. The reality for someone learning they have a chronic illness is that their life changes instantly and completely. Not only are they dealing with a physical condition, but it suddenly becomes about doctor visits, days stuck inside because of pain, family that say they want to help but are busy with their own lives, friends that disappear because they don’t want to make accommodations or just can’t deal with a sick person, health insurance not allowing the treatments you need, and the often insurmountable cost of medical treatment. Life changes, but not in a positive way.

This can be often be worse than dealing the illness itself.

It is easy to say that if you are dealing with a chronic condition, seek therapy to assist with coping.  However, that doesn’t help much when you are laying on a sofa alone, watching everyone you know out enjoying themselves on social media. No matter how many coping skills the therapist gives you, you still know you are missing out.  You feel so alone and isolated. If you are a parent or loved one trying to help someone through this, it’s very hard to watch this play out.  Chances are that no matter what you try to do to help, it will be little more than a short distraction. In this article at themighty.com, the author outlines things that come with chronic illness that you don’t realize – things like sleeplessness, having to ask others to do too much for you, and the need to give up hobbies you love.

When faced with a chronic condition, some will rise up and fight it. Others will retreat and wallow in self-pity. Sometimes the choice to do either isn’t even a choice, it’s just what you have to do. I am continually amazed by the determination and resolve I see from those who face their condition head on and fight it with everything they have (check out @marcusaureliusanderson and @im_taylor_on Instagram; they will inspire you). There are countless people who can barely face a Monday, yet these people soldier on the face of adversities most of us can only imagine.

And while a chronic illness isn’t a death sentence, it is a life sentence that can mean the death of certain things. My daughter was starting to record her first EP when struck with an inflammatory bowel disease (as of the time of writing this we are still waiting on further testing to determine which type). It made singing too painful for to keep going, and for her could mean the loss of her hobby and potential career.  Not wanting to accept that, she hid her symptoms at first, afraid that everyone would be upset that she couldn’t go on and out of fear of being too needy. (Of course when she finally told me I felt awful for pushing her through what I thought was just teenage laziness. Parent guilt is fun too.)

If you are dealing with a chronic condition, find kindred spirits. I found mine online and in targeted groups. It can be extremely helpful to find others who are dealing with your condition, and learn how they handle it.  It is inspiring and gives hope to find people who lead relatively normal lives. You may end up with new friends that “get” you, when all your friends no longer do. There is immense power and comfort in community.

As we embark on this life changing process for my daughter, I am learning about conditions that I had no idea existed and that people I know are living with them – people who I had no idea were suffering. I cannot imagine having to deal with some of the issues I am learning about, and sadly, I wonder how often I have been less than compassionate because I did not know.  I am a very driven, no excuses, get up and do it kind of person, and I fear that I have been intolerant at times with others that aren’t like that, possibly because they can’t be. I can already see a more compassionate being emerging. Hopefully this post will inspire the same in you. Try this – post something on social media to see who is dealing with a chronic condition and watch the responses you get. I bet it will surprise you. It surprised me.

Let me know what happens in the comments or on social media. Together let’s make this a better place for chronic sufferers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Beat Brain Fog

Do you ever find yourself in a room with no idea why you were there? Waking up sluggish? Drinking a third cup of coffee and still not feeling like the brain has turned on? That has been me the last few weeks. I have been experiencing some serious brain fog and even though I am certain it is because I am juggling multiple things right now, I need to take control.

If you are not familiar with the term brain fog, it is loss of focus, inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and memory issues. It’s that feeling you have when your brain is “tired” but not at a time that it should be.

Some of the main things that can cause brain fog are stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes. diet, medications, and medical conditions. I am going to stay away from the latter two, as these are things you should be discussing with your doctor. Aging is another one, which is considered a medical condition, but I will touch on that today.

Chronic stress is a biggie. Not only does it wreak havoc on your brain, but it can cause a number of issues affecting the entire body.  It can also lead to lack of sleep and cause hormonal changes – both of which increase brain fog.

Diet is one of the main factors of brain fog. Allergies, food sensitivities, an overload of carbohydrates or sugar can all trigger that foggy feeling.  Vitamin deficiencies, specifically B-12, will give you brain fog as well. And, unfortunately, if you are past the age of 40, you know all too well that you are just not the same cognitively anymore. Years of stress and dietary miscalculations create the perfect recipe for brain fog.

So what can we do? Fortunately there are several things.

Hands down my favorite, Bulletproof Coffee is one. Your brain needs fat to function optimally, and the combination of grass-fed butter and MCT oil give it exactly what it needs. The caffeine gives you a little boost and gets the neurons firing on all cylinders as well. If you want to skip the caffeine, you can make a sugar-free bulletproof hot cocoa with water, a scoop of cacao, grass fed butter, MCT oil and stevia. (I have a recipe if you want it). It also works well with tea. Fat bombs are also a great way to give your brain a quick hit of the fat it needs.

Another way to quickly banish the fog is with B-12. If you are not able or willing to have B-12 shots on hand, you can get a liquid that goes under the tongue. It isn’t quite as effective, but you will still notice the effect. You will feel the fog melt away pretty quickly with this. You can get B-12 injections over the counter in some countries, but in the USA it is prescription only. You can also get them at the local med spa. Liquids are available online and in most health food stores. Quality is key, and remember that you get what you pay for.  I don’t recommend relying on multi-vitamins for B-12, as you don’t absorb much of what is in them. The exception is a live vitamin like Sport Formula.

If you have read anything I have posted, you probably know what is coming next… exercise. Get up from your desk. Take a walk. Run the stairs a few times. Even doing  some stretching at your desk can help stave off that feeling. A morning workout can rid yourself of brain fog for the entire day, and an after work session will banish the stress and anxiety that builds during the day.

And of course, get some sleep. If sleep doesn’t come easily to you, check my bog post on sleep. My current favorite is California Poppy Seed Extract, followed by Brandon Burchard’s Release Meditation. This combination has finally allowed me to stop falling asleep to old television shows and sleep in the dark like a normal human.

As I wrote this I literally took my own advice. It is too late for coffee so I chose a B-12 shot and a fat bomb. Feeling better already!

 

My Favorite Productivity Hack

OK, no judging…I am sharing my favorite productivity hack with you because I love you and want the best for you. Even if it means sharing something I am slightly ashamed of!

 

 

For more productivity hacks, check out the podcast from BioTrust Radio,

titled 7 Steps to Be More Productive:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/biotrust-radio/id1307215363?mt=2&i=1000417452066

Don’t Skimp on Sleep, No Matter What Your Mentor Says!

I am exhausted today and cannot think straight. I wanted to write a post about good supplements vs. bad ones, but I can’t seem to organize my thoughts. Why am I telling you this? Because sleep is important, and if you are burning the candle at both ends, you are shortchanging yourself!

It is very common for entrepreneurs to be sleep deprived. We work in the business during work hours doing the work itself, and at night, we work on the business. However, it is important to remember to take care of yourself because you are not at your best during the day when you are sleep deprived. You can’t think as quickly, you can’t focus, and you can’t multitask. If you can’t be focused or unfocused at the same time, you have a problem!

You are physically slower when you are tired. You are weaker and less likely to work out. Plus, you look awful. And who wants to do business with someone who looks like the walking dead? You are less efficient, and you can’t remember anything. You snack on sugary foods to stay awake and pour in the coffee with an IV.

If sleep doesn’t come easy to you, there are a few things you can try. A good evening routine will wind down your mind so when you hit the pillow, you are already relaxed and primed for sleep. Turn off your TV and phone, try some chamomile or reishi elixir ( I hear this one is awesome but I haven’t tried it yet), and read a book.  To calm the monkey mind and fall asleep quickly, I like California Poppy Seed extract (click here for the one I use). Trying to go to bed a regular time can also help you fall asleep faster.

A cool, dark room is the ideal environment, so try room darkening shades or a sleep mask. A recent study published in ScienceDaily.com links the small amounts of light at night to sleep interruptions, which can increase insulin resistance. I am experimenting with a sleep mask, and have noticed an increase in quality of sleep when using it. (Its too early to comment on the effects on insulin resistance.)

Sometimes you cannot help the disturbances,  like when your neighbor decides to light fireworks off in the middle of the night. However, keeping pets out of the bed and getting kids on a schedule will help with that too.

You owe it to yourself to get some zzzzz’s. You will be a better person and a better worker for it. So hit the sack, and don;t feel guilty about it!

As for me, I need some more coffee today…

PROMO ALERT!!

Free Kindle downloads this weekend in honor of the audio book release!  You can also get the audio book for free here.

Click on the link under Get the Book to grab your free copy starting tomorrow.

Happy reading!

A Must Listen To Podcast Episode

Short post today because I want to say only one thing:

You must listen to this podcast.

If you are: keto, thinking about keto, curious about keto, just getting into biohacking, have any health issues you want to find a way to get rid of, looking for a way to increase energy, looking for a way to lose weight, want to erase brain fog, want to improve your memory, or human in any way, you MUST listen to this podcast. 

This episode is from BioTrust Radio and it features Shawn Wells (my biohacking mentor, formulator of most of the supplements I use and founder of Zone Halo Research – you can find him on Instagram @zonehalo, or on his website). It is called The ABCs of the Keto Diet: Avocados, Bacon, Coconut oil, and beyond!  You can find it on iTunes as well as here.

I am fired up about this episode because not only is it everything keto, it goes into so much more that we are all struggling with. It may be a long episode (just short of 2 hours) but it is worth every second. Play it in the car while stuck in traffic if you have to, just get through it. It is jam packed with great information. Shawn Wells is a wealth of information and we are fortunate that he shares it with us…and for free! You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage.

So, happy listening! Hope you find something useful.

Favorite Biohack #9 – External Testosterone Cream

Another disclosure on this one:  Consult your physician before using this.  This is my experience based on my particular situation and it may be different for you.

Back when I was trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me, I had a full panel of lab work done and in doing so, discovered that I was not producing anywhere near the acceptable level of testosterone.  Because my health insurer decided I didn’t need the prescribed medication regardless of what my doctor said, I turned to biohacking.

Enter testosterone cream. I tried a few before settling on the one I use now (click here for the details) from BioLabs Pro. I like this one because its not greasy and absorbs well, so it easily fits into my post-shower ritual.

I noticed a huge difference in my attitude using this. For example, I stopped crying over EVERYTHING, which was really annoying. I gained my normal edge back, and a little more bravado as well.  (I did manipulate this when I discovered I don’t like going over obstacles during Spartan training. A little more cream and over I went with no problem. I don’t condone this, fyi. It worked, but probably not the best idea I have ever had.)  I would like to say I put on more muscle using this, but it could also be from increased weight training. I would also like to say I was leaner (before getting sick) but that may also have been due to the increase in workout intensity.

You will deal with some acne while adjusting to this, as it is a hormone, but it went away after a few months. The annoyance factor of that was offset by my skin healing faster.  I also noticed a need for stronger deodorant. That did not go away. Be prepared!

There are also some nasty side effects to testosterone supplementation, such as an increased risk of cancer. and some lesser ones like increased hair growth,  changes in sleep and appetite, and headaches. (For the full list from the Mayo Clinic, click here.) Definitely get your lab work done before taking this on because if you don’t need it, it may not be worth the risks.

Small annoyances aside, I feel better overall when I use this cream. I simply function better.  To me, it is worth trying just for that.

*image from BioLabs Pro site

Favorite Biohack #4 – Exogenous Ketones

Exe-what?? That is what I said when I first heard the term exogenous ketones. Had it not been from someone I trusted (the almighty Tim Ferriss, who you can find here) I probably would have thought it was something made up and overlooked it. However, when Tim says try something, I have learned to try it – with some exceptions, of course – and now it makes my list of top hacks.

Exogenous ketones are BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) salts. Ketones are produced naturally and used for energy by your body when fasting or when carbohydrates are restricted. They are referred to as energy on demand, and in my experience, that is exactly what occurs. Ketones are easily accessible to the brain, more so than glucose, so when in a state of ketosis or taking ketones, the brain also has a ready supply of fuel. This adds to clarity and focus, and often enhances mood as well.

Exogenous ketones are essentially packaged ketones that are ready for you to take when needed. Common uses are before a workout, to extend a fast, to provide instant energy and focus if you are in an afternoon slump, to get back into ketosis after consuming sugar, or added to your morning coffee.

There are powders, liquids, bars, drinks, creamers…whatever tickles your fancy, there is a way to get your ketones. I started with a liquid that tasted like sea water and looked like…well,I probably should not say what it looked like but let’s just say it was not my favorite presentation. I tried disguising the taste in all sorts of concoctions and finally decided to just down it.  The result was worth a moment of sea water and besides, who hasn’t drank sea water on multiple occasions without getting the energy and focus afterward. I tried a few different types of powders, coffees and creams after that and finally settled on my favorite, Keto/OS from Pruvit. It is combined with powdered MCTs and the jolt of energy, mood enhancement and focused mind that I get is worth dealing with its odd taste. (You stop noticing the weird taste after a while, I promise.) I have the caffeinated version for mornings, the non-caffeinated version for any other time of the day, and the Kreme for midday hot cocoa (Keto Hot Cocoa – half a mug of water, half heavy cream, a heaping scoop of cacao, and a packet of Kreme. Tasty and good for you too!).

When I am asked about ketones by someone for the first time, I often recommend KetoForce’s Keto Sports liquid, which you can find by clicking this link. It is a good entry into what exogenous ketones can do for you without some of the interesting side effects of the more powerful ones (also known as disaster pants – see the Bulletproof blog here for an explanation of that.)  It is what I started on as well.

If you are ready to go straight to the top (in my opinion, at least) you can find Keto/OS or other Pruvit products through my affiliate link here or by going to their website.

I am not joking when I say this is energy on demand. I wish I had known about this when my daughter was little, and wish more people knew about it now. We don’t have to be tired all the time, we just need exogenous ketones!

Let me know if you have questions, and if you have tried them,  what your experience has been with exogenous ketones.

Favorite Biohack #3 – Intermittent Fasting

After being a slave to my blood sugar for years, I knew fasting wouldn’t work for me. I tried those juice fasts everyone did back in the day, and I was ready to kill someone on day 2, so that was it for me. I was NOT trying it again, I didn’t care who said what.  Enter a hormonal imbalance and a hefty tire around the middle, and suddenly I was a little more open-minded.

I was all in for the low carb diet and even adding fat back into my diet. My energy skyrocketed when I did that, and the pounds melted off, until that dreaded last ten pounds.  Reluctantly, I agreed to try Intermittent Fasting for a few days, mostly because my mentor promised I would see a benefit and I wanted to prove him wrong so he would stop hounding me about it.

The theory behind intermittent fasting, also known as IF, is that it forces your body to use its stored fat instead of having a steady supply of food to use. By restricting calories to certain intervals, it prompts your body to release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and insulin, both of which are the primary hormones that cause release of fat stores. Insulin also regulates blood sugar, and when properly released into your system, you can use your stored fat for energy instead of crashing.

I decide to go for a 16 hour fast because that apparently has the best benefit. I thought I was going to die at about hour 12. I was used to getting up, having bulletproof coffee and working out, followed by breakfast. But on this morning I watched the sunrise over black coffee, worked out fasted and was then flat on the floor until hour 16. Keep going, my mentor said. I was promised it would be worth it and that it would take a few days to adapt.

It took three days to adapt. Those three days were rough, I have to admit. On day three, I limped through my workout, made it to hour 16 and gulped down a bulletproof coffee, and then it hit me. I had more energy than I knew what to do with. My brain was firing on all cylinders and then some. I was insanely happy. A new day had dawned for me, and I was officially in.

So much for proving my mentor wrong. It was looking like I was going to have to tell him he was right.

I kept it going to for a few weeks, during which time I was so energetic and happy I could barely stand myself. I even had someone tell me I was too happy and needed to be brought down, because no one wants to be around that. (To that I said ‘Fine!’ and walked away. If I am too happy for you, that is your issue, not mine.) My waistline decreased noticeably, and so did my appetite. It all but went away and I would forget to eat. Who forgets to eat!

I still wasn’t entirely convinced for some odd reason, so I let the fasting go when I went away for a weekend. I noticed an immediate change in energy and mood. When I returned I went back to it, and BAM! Back to being happy.

Ok, I said to myself, this is the real deal. I played with timing, anywhere from 12-16 hr fasts, even going as high as 26 hours on a couple of occasions.  I have found 16 hours to be my sweet spot, when I get the most impact on energy, appetite and mood.

Unfortunately, as I write this I am just coming off a lengthy illness, during which time both the keto diet and IF fell off for me. My mid-section can tell, so I am getting back into both again and it feels amazing to be doing so. I graduated into 16 hours of fasting this time, so I didn’t feel like I was ten seconds from a murderous spree. It took about a week and I am back to 16 hour fasts and back to feeling the way I like to.

If you are interested in trying IF, graduating into it is a good way to do it. Start with 12-14 hours, whatever you can handle, and work up from there. Before long you will start to notice changes in your  appetite and it will feel natural to go longer and longer. Once you have experienced the elevation in energy and mood, you will want to keep going. Experiment with different fasting and feeding periods to find what works for you.  A 9am – 5pm feeding period works for me, and fasting overnight. (I do take exogenous ketones pre-workout to give me enough energy to get through a strenuous workout; watch for the blog post on that.) You can vary your fasting/eating times to tailor it to your schedule.

Don’t believe me yet? Here are a few resources for you to do your own research.

Here is a Google search of people who have had success with IF.

Here  is a post on LifeHack, a biohacking website.

Here is an article from Healthline Magazine.

Here is a post from Diet Doctor.

As with anything I post about, I recommend you do your own research. If you decide to try it, let me know what you think. I would love to see you on one of the above searches as a success story!