By: Dr. Richelle Galay ND
So this past long weekend the kids and I took a road trip to see my husband. Mountains here we come!
We decided to rent a vehicle to do this because although my old stick shift jeep still has some life left in it, I wasn't sure it was up for such a trip.
So this new fancy vehicle we rent has all sorts of "driver assist" features. And while I'm sure there is a way to turn them off I didn't take the time to do that.
One of the features is geared to help you "stay in your lane" while on the highway. If it senses you are getting close to either the middle line or the shoulder line it shows all these reddish coloured notices on your dash and gently nudges your wheel back to centre. Which to be honest threw me off a few times! There were a few instances when it was wrong. I was perfectly fine and just merging lanes but it was sensing that I was "crossing a line" I shouldn't have been.
Now the rebel that I am decided well what would happen if I just let go of the wheel all together? (sorry to all those squeamish rule followers).
You know what it did? This fancy "driver assist" vehicle dinged a bunch of noises and sent a giant notification on the dash reading "PLEASE KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL".
Well duh car!
I'm the driver! I am the one with the full view of the road ahead in all directions. I'm the one who is able to decipher the nuances that you are not.
So dear reader, please remember that you are the driver. Any practitioner (including myself), expert, support person you engage with is just there to "assist" you on the journey. You are the one in control as you have the greatest vantage point.
You got this; own it.
Keep your hands on the wheel.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. There are varying substitutions for this acronym. For example, you could swap attainable for achievable, but the end result is the same. The main reason people cannot stick with resolutions comes down to these five attributes.
Take the first one as an example, specific. Often, we make goals that are too general: ‘this is the year I start going to the gym’ or ‘this year I will eat more fruit”. A better, more specific and measurable approach would be to say ‘My SMART goal is to exercise 20 minutes, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the month of January’.
Only making goals we can realistically work it into our lives will help us stick to the program. If the goal feels unrealistic the goal should be modified. The feeling of success after the goal has been reached will encourage more positive choices, where as feelings of failure do not.
One of the most popular resolutions is weight-loss. It’s not surprising since society has promoted health through a “thin-lens”. Although weight loss may be an appropriate side effect of living a healthy life, I would recommend not making a weight-loss resolution this year. Focusing too much on the scale and body image can derail our health efforts, making us think that nothing is happening.
All healthy choices are worth making, no matter what.
Learn more about setting SMART goals and other helpful lifestyle changes.
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On the other hand, being calm has shown to upregulate those same genes. How quickly we
can recover from a stressful situation can also affect other health outcomes. Constantly being in fight-or-flight mode means cells are using all their energy to deal with the present “emergency”. They cannot devote energy to digestion, circulation and other essential functions that keep our bodies balanced, like they do in rest and digest mode, the other division of our autonomic nervous system.
Some amount of acute stress is unavoidable and necessary. The good news is, we can use techniques for stress management as a way of bringing our selves back to baseline. Exercise, nourishment, meditation, breathing, self-hypnosis, guided imagery and visualization, to name a few! People that use these and other methods of managing anxiety and stressors, even for a few minutes a day, have reported better focus and time management skills. These options are cost and time effective strategies for our long-term health.
Learn more about how nutrition affects our ability to deal with daily ups and downs.
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So, what is really important in nutritional counselling?
In my opinion; the relationship with the counsellor. A positive client-counsellor exchange is
paramount for success. The counsellor’s main job is to understand your perspective, to build a trusting relationship and cultivate positive regard, even when things do not go as planned. Nutritional counselling is different because non-food nutrition, sleep quality, stress levels, fulfilment, general moods and beliefs about one’s self, are also considered. The goal is not a diet. The goal is fuel for life. Ask your self “What is my life like now? What do I want my life to look like a year from now?” Really visualizing the future can make meaningful changes last. A great way to start is to set the stage for your day to play out the way you want it to. If we set up life to make healthy habits the easiest thing to do, our chances of meeting our goals are greatly enhanced. Things like having your breakfast table set the night before or bringing runners to work for a quick lunchtime power walk. Setting up your environment for small successes can make a big difference for your health.
Learn about que management and other techniques to promote overall well-being and nutrition.
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Answer this: when you look in the mirror, what do you say to yourself? Do you feel worthy enough to take time for your interests, hobbies, friends, rest and relaxation or enjoyable exercise?
A perfectly personalized meal plan and supplement regime will fall flat if uniqueness and worthiness are not in the picture. Looking at food and physical activity is only part of the whole and I can safely assume that even the best laid plans will ultimately be abandoned without
compassion for the self.
In other words, be kind to yourself because we all fall down.
Nutritional counselling includes personal, cultural and ethical sensitivities and makes use of skills that empower you to choose your own path. Non-food nutrition includes stress levels, how we think and feel about our selves and how much purpose we feel.
All of these have an impact on what we choose to put into our bodies. Learn how to incorporate mindfulness into your day and set some small, meaningful and realistic goals.
Love your self to feed your self.
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But do you want to know who I think the real authority is? I'm sure you've already guessed ; )
You are the actual authority on your health, your condition, your life. I can tell you what the latest research or best course of treatment is for your condition until I am BLUE IN THE FACE, but I don't have power over you, I don't have the right to give you orders on what to do with your time or your diet or your lifestyle. Only you do.
My job then? My job is to provide my knowledge about the condition, which yes may include the best known research for treatment, and to provide you a strategy we can deploy to get you feeling well, but I have no real power.
It's always been yours.
I am just your guide, your cheerleader and your greatest advocate.
You are the power; you have the power.
This isn't a post about exercise, but about support.
The last few days I have been in excruciating pain. And that's saying a lot since I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance.
Pain to the point of keeping me up at night and not being able to do regular daily activities.
For those that deal with chronic, daily pain, I can not even imagine.
So here's what happened.
I did a strength training workout late last week, with these nice, fairly heavy 15 lb weights. We're talking, overhead presses, you name it.
It was tough, but nothing I hadn't done before or knew that I couldn't handle.
Until Sunday came around.
Either the combination of how I slept, my cleaning frenzy or god knows what, but my arm became almost numb, achy and extremely painful and unusable.
Now being educated as I am, I knew it was likely my previous workout had landed me in "pinched nerve" territory and I needed to stretch asap, get some heat on it and rest it the remainder of the day.
But then night came and none of my tricks had worked, and who wants to guess where my head went?
"Oh my god I'm having some kind of cardiovascular event!"
"What if I have to call 911, who will come be with me kids?"
"What will happen if I end up in the hospital?"
And so on and so forth, as only the 2 am, lack of sleep brain can.
Morning came, I was still in pain, my mind was still going to worst case scenarios and my first calls of the day were to my husband, my mom and my chiropractor.
No it wasn't 911, it was to my support network. My husband to let him know what was going on, for advice on what to do next and just general emotional support.
My mom because she is also my emotional support, but also my back up when I need someone to take care of my kids.
And my chiropractor. Why are they part of my support network? Because I knew, despite my overthinking brain, that what I really needed was physical support, not an ECG. (If you didn't know that arm pain can be a sign of early cardiovascular events in women, this is your PSA.)
Today, things are already feeling so much better! I am thankful for my own knowledge of how the body functions and what can go wrong, as well as the support network I was able to lean into to get back on track.
If you are struggling with any aspect of your health and feel as though a better support network is in order, then please reach out, there are different options for finding that support.
Booking a 15 minute meet and greet with me over at vibrantclinic.janeapp.com is a great place to start or clicking on the link below to find out about the upcoming women's community health program - The Braided Table - where the focus is on knowledge and support!
Don't suffer alone, you don't have to.
When I started my clinician practice 8 years ago, community programming wasn't anywhere on my radar. All I wanted to do was see patients one on one, educate them, provide them with guidelines on how to get better, and do it all over again with another patient.
What was becoming apparent over the years however, was the fact that I spent a lot of time on what I considered foundational pieces with patients, before we could really dive into the nitty gritty of what was making them feel ill.
A classic example was women coming in looking for support for their hormones. When I would start to ask more detailed questions about their menstrual cycles (which helps me get to the nitty gritty ; ), many times it wasn't stuff they could answer, because they didn't know the importance of tracking those pieces. So then we'd spend some time with me educating them, sending them out with homework (tracking their cycle), and them feeling like we didn't get to the bottom of what they were there for. Not the best use of our one on one visit!
On the flip side of that is the financial investment they make to work with me one on one, to only get a reminder on high school biology with a little naturopathic spin to it! Not a great use of their financial investment!
Hence the need for a more cost effective, time efficient, knowledge driven, way to get started.
Enter The Braided Table.
The Braided Table is the culmination of working with patients for 8 years in a one on one setting and learning from them the foundational pieces that I find necessary to move forward with a health care journey.
It is an 8 module course that takes the participants through these foundations in a cost effective, time efficient, knowledge driven way. Plus the access to the knowledge, insight and support of the other women engaging in the program.
Every woman should have access to this knowledge because I think its the key to opening up the potential for them to amplify their life.
Want to learn more? Check out the link below!
So what exactly does Naturopathic Fertility Care mean?
It means that no matter the reason for coming in, maybe its difficulty achieving a pregnancy, or perhaps you have had miscarriage after miscarriage; you will be heard.
Your questions will be answered.
You will have a clear plan moving forward.
In the above example, perhaps you are having difficulty getting pregnant so you come in for your initial visit.
After your initial visit, we are quite clear that your cycles are irregular based on tracking and understanding the phases. With this knowledge we are then better able to tell that you are not actually ovulating during many cycles.
This would lead us to more investigation as to why you are not ovulating. A working diagnosis could be made (or another practitioner could help us with the investigation) of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which has a high incidence of anovulatory cycles.
We can then work on establishing what could be exacerbating your PCOS, such as stress, which can wreck havoc on our blood sugar response.
As you can see it is not just one area that we will focus on. In the example we could replace "stress" with "poor diet", or any other factor that could be leading to negative or positive outcomes.
It is a whole person approach.
One of the strengths of Naturopathic Medicine is the time that practitioners have with their patients to really dig deep into all the facets of health to help the patient get the results they desire.
If you are experiencing difficulties, even if you are currently working with a specialist, the evidence is there that Naturopathic Medicine can improve your chances of conception and maintaining a pregnancy.
Give yourself the time, the space and the support you need to build the family you've always dreamed off.
Help is here.
My name is Dr. Richelle Galay, and I am the owner of Vibrant Naturopathic Clinic. I wanted to jump back into the blogging sphere, re-introduce myself, and give you some insight on what's happening over at the clinic.
Vibrant Naturopathic Clinic is located in Moose Jaw, Sk, and has been running since 2016, and I have been in clinical practice since 2014. I love what I do and blessed to offer my services to the community and surrounding area.
My clinical focus, and where my passion lies, is working with women who feel as though they have been dismissed about what they are experiencing. I want to help them feel empowered to take care of themselves and in turn their families. The empowerment piece comes from allowing them to feel heard, helping them understand what is going on, and reminding them they are powerful as they are.
I help women do this by either working with them 1:1 in my clinical practice, or with my new and exciting Women's Community Health Program! This is a great starting point for anyone who isn't sure they are ready for the commitment that comes with 1:1 consults or is just looking to get started in the naturopathic realm.
If you want to know more about the upcoming program head over the the Community tab on the website or simply click the button below to get on the list.
Thanks for being here and I look forward to hanging out more.
Richelle and Chris. Empowering people to live positive, vibrant lives.