CBD for Entrepreneurs - Boost Your Productivity and Confidence While Lowering Stress

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Most entrepreneurs know just how important their own personal well-being is when it comes to running a successful business. Your personal health becomes a direct reflection of the health and success of your business and vice versa. This can quickly become a dangerous game to play for the long-term since it can quickly result in burnout. However, there is a solution and it could be a simpler answer then you would think: CBD oil.

CBD oil is helping numerous entrepreneurs with a few key things. It can help busy people overcome stress and anxiety, which can result in higher focus and productivity. It can also help you remain grounded when things get hectic. In addition, CBD oil can help with things that you would not necessarily expect. For example, it can help you be more at ease in social situations like networking events and with public speaking. In this article, we dive deeper into how CBD can help support you in those critical moments.

CBD for Stress and Anxiety

The lifestyle of an entrepreneur can often be glamoured on social media. However, most of you know that entrepreneurship can come with a whole bunch of additional stress over a corporate 9-5 job and is not necessarily as fun as influencers make it look. For example, the lack of a solid routine can also mean that you are working 60-80 hour weeks and are finding less time for yourself and for your family. When you don’t find the time to take care of the things that matter most, you can quickly start running on empty and begin experiencing fatigue. 

When schedules get crazy and hectic, CBD oil can help bring things back into balance, not just within your body but also within your mind. CBD oil can help you with stress and anxiety which are so closely linked. Chronic stress can even contribute to anxiety over a longer period of time. The great thing about CBD is that it can help to bring balance back into the system by regulating the stress hormone cortisol and preventing it from getting too high which can result in burnout. 

CBD oil can also help to promote a more restful sleep, thus boosting energy levels, by regulating the sleep hormone melatonin. Therefore, by proactively managing the stress response, you can prevent stress from getting the best of you. In addition, by promoting relaxation, you can also manage your energy levels to prevent fatigue, and jump out of bed in the morning ready to start the day on a full tank.


CBD for Productivity and Focus

You are your greatest asset and when it comes to the well-being of your business, it depends solely on you and your ability to work effectively. We know that productivity, focus, and concentration are problems that are increasingly common in our distracted society. These can also contribute to a decrease in performance, thus negatively affecting your business. Luckily, CBD oil can help!

CBD oil has been shown to boost brain function, memory, processing, attention, and cognitive abilities by activating certain regions of the brain. In addition, CBD oil has been shown to possess neuro-protective properties by stimulating neurogenesis. This means that damaged neurons become more quickly replaced by healthy new ones. Neurons can become damaged from chronic stress, emotional trauma, and head injuries.

Also, like we mentioned previously, chronic stress can be a major factor in the inability to focus or concentrate on work. By lowering stress and anxiety and boosting energy levels, CBD can help bring balance back into the body. Therefore, you can get into the zone and do the things that need to get done in order to move forward in your business and reach your goals.

CBD for Networking and Public Speaking

A major component of being an entrepreneur involves attending events or hosting talks with the intention of networking to grow your business. However, the very thought of doing this can quickly bring up feelings of anxiety in some people. The good news is that CBD oil can help without any psychoactive effects. This can be even more helpful for those entrepreneurs who are more introverted since it can help put you at ease when it comes to socializing.

CBD oil has been shown to lower the symptoms of social anxiety by increasing the blood flow and activity in certain regions of the brain. Not only does this help people feel better in the moment, but it also changes the way the brain responds to anxiety by regenerating neurons in a specific portion of the brain. Further, the longer you take CBD oil the greater the effects can be. Therefore, this can be applied to social situations like networking events and public speaking which are sometimes necessary. 

Conclusion

We covered a wide range of different topics in this article, but what they really come down to is that we need to prioritize our own health and well-being first and foremost so that we can function at our very best. When we carve time out for ourselves we can lower our stress levels. CBD oil can be a great tool for helping us do just that with a number of other health benefits. We also suggest putting routines into place and scheduling time for yourself to eat healthy, work-out, spend time with friends, and allow your mind to take a break. 

Interested to give CBD oil a try for yourself?

We suggest getting started with our flagship Aphrodite product in the 10 mL size. We love this product since it comes in a smaller bottle size making it super convenient to take with you throughout the day. It also comes with a pleasant nutty hemp taste that we are confident you will enjoy!

Nadya is a wellness entrepreneur and holistic nutritionist. She loves supporting busy female professionals by motivating them to put themselves first for optimal health and well-being. Nadya is also the founder of the local community in Vancouver called Entrepreneurs in Health and Fitness. Her latest venture is CBD oil under the brand  ICARIA . Once she discovered the numerous health benefits that CBD oil offered she quickly fell in love with it and knew that she simply had to share this secret weapon with other women!

Nadya is a wellness entrepreneur and holistic nutritionist. She loves supporting busy female professionals by motivating them to put themselves first for optimal health and well-being. Nadya is also the founder of the local community in Vancouver called Entrepreneurs in Health and Fitness. Her latest venture is CBD oil under the brand ICARIA. Once she discovered the numerous health benefits that CBD oil offered she quickly fell in love with it and knew that she simply had to share this secret weapon with other women!

Heartbroken - How to move from heartbroken to deep and lasting love

I can remember being sixteen and yearning for a love like the ones I saw in the Romantic

Comedies I watched with my girlfriends. I wanted to be the Prom Queen and have the football

captains love and adoration. I went from one bad relationship to the next until I found the man

that I would marry. He was so cute but to get him to talk, I would have to buy him two beer

first. If only I could talk to that twenty-year-old self, I would tell her she was worth so much

more even though I doubt, at the time, she would have agreed with me.

Nine years later, after the birth of my children, I left my then husband because I couldn’t teach

the same pain to my children. This was my first step to the life I now live; a life of confidence,

love and abundance.

The journey here was not easy, I messed up a lot. For the first five years, I didn’t see that I had

patterns. I would repeat the same bad relationships and beat myself up mentally for failing again

and again. I knew there had to be a better way but I had no idea where to start, I felt stupid,

frustrated and trapped in the life I was living.

What I see now is the life I was searching for outside of me always had to start first from inside

of me. I was heartbroken from the lack of love I had for myself. I did not love myself or enjoy

being around me. I would never sit alone and I would accept any scrap of love that was handed

to me from others.  

Healing myself and loving myself has led me to a lasting and loving relationship, both inwardly

and out. These are the steps to get there.

  1. Awareness

Until you are aware of the thoughts going through your mind you are walking blind in the

fog with no direction. Awareness is where everything starts. How do you find awareness? Stop

and listen. Sit quietly and write whatever comes into your mind. There is no need for it to make

logical sense, just bring it out and into the physical world.

2. Self-Knowledge

How do you fall in love with someone you don’t know? You have to get to know a person

to be in love. Just like a romantic relationship, you must get to know all of yourself. What do you

value? What makes you happy? What areas of yourself do you judge or fear? Describe yourself

without labels, what characteristics do you have? When we don’t question who we are it is easy

to believe the truths that our mind creates for us. Be authentic in your discovery. Like searching

for a buried treasure, you are on a quest to find your truest self.

3. Acceptance

You are a Human and you are not perfect, no one is. You have been wounded, loved,

taken advantage of and cherished. All of your experiences to this moment have been for you to

learn from. Some of them may have been difficult and you may wish for the outcomes to have

been different but they are over, there is no way to change the past. Accept all of it, your roles

and the roles of others. Learn from them and move forward with the lesson. Do something

different in the future.

4. Self Compassion

Be real, to be flawed, to be raw creates a platform from which you can lift yourself. Self-

compassion is giving yourself the love you freely give to others, giving yourself a break when

you are tired or when you mess up because you will mess up. Compassion takes you down off

the pedestal of perfection and creates space for you to build a loving relationship with yourself.

5. Self Love

Have you ever taken yourself out on a date? Or bought yourself flowers with an attached

love note? Self-love is more than just doing your nails or having a bubble bath. Self-love is

nourishing yourself, mind, body, and soul. Doing things from a place of love instead of self-hate,

and being aware of the self-talk and speaking back with compassion instead of judgment. We

forget how important it is to love ourselves completely, looking to outside sources to give us the

love we deserve; yet those relationships will come and go, you will still be there at the end.

6. Self Celebration

I used to create a goal, crush it and move on to the next without a blink. There was no

celebration, no acknowledgment for a job well done; my mind was never satisfied. Celebrating

the little things as well as the big things brings joy into your life! Life is a celebration! We are

here to learn and experience all that life has to offer and to do that we must celebrate!

These steps are the beginning to your next marathon run, they are a life long practice and

relationship with yourself. Creating life from the love of yourself radiates outward and creates a

physical life of love. The lasting love that you are searching for begins with the love you give

yourself and learning this changed my life forever and was just the beginning of creating the life

of my dreams.

Never again will I give myself to those who treat me with disrespect, who abuse me or feed me

with lies. I know I am worth more than what they can give me. You are worth more too, you are

always worthy of the life and love you dream of. Start with yourself and the rest will follow.

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Mollie Sommer is a Life Coach, Healer, Yoga Teacher, and the owner of Mollie Sommer Wellness in Kamloops, BC. Her life’s work is helping women move from feeling stress, depressed, helpless and full of anxiety into feeling empowered, positive and joyful. Mollie intuitively guides & teaches women by creating an open and safe space to learn and heal. She believes that life is extraordinary and that each of us are 100% worthy and capable of achieving anything we focus on.

Mollie can be contacted by email, molliesommerwellness@gmail.com

Facebook @molliesommer or @molliesommerwellness, Cell 250-574-5683
Website www.molliesommer.com


5 Tips for Building Genuine Connection with your Audience as a Fitness Professional

It's really common in the health and wellness space for fitness professionals and marketing gurus to talk about building connections with an audience through various social media platforms, a perfect website/sales funnel, or an email list. And, although these are great tools to get your audience’s attention, they don’t necessarily guarantee that your audience will connect with your offering. You need to learn how to create genuine connection with your audience first, as this will increase the chances your audience will love your product and invest their time and money. If you don't take the time to build this connection, your marketing efforts could potentially fall flat because your audience may see you as “the sleazy salesperson” trying to force a product on them, rather than your product being the perfect solution to a specific problem that they have!  

In this post I'm going to give you the 5 Most Effective Tips for Building Genuine Connection with your Audience as a Fitness Professional. These tips will teach you how to:  treat each member of your audience as an individual, speak to their pain points and struggles, and most importantly how to position yourself and your product/service as the perfect solution to your audience’s problem. Let’s face it, at the end of the day if your audience doesn’t know, like, and trust you and feel like your service solves their problems they won’t buy!  So, if you’re ready let’s dive right into the 5 tips that will set you apart from other fitness professionals by showing your audience that you truly care and have their best interests at heart.

Tip #1: Always Make Your Audience Feel Appreciated, Respected, and Heard 

Whether you are connecting with your audience in person or online it is key to create an environment where they feel appreciated, respected, and heard. A great way to get some ideas about how to create this type of environment is to think about what the experience is like for you when you interact with your favorite business. What is the client experience like? What sets this business apart from others that are offering the same service? Really visualize going through each step of your interaction with your favorite business: What is happening? How do you feel? As a personal trainer/group fitness instructor focused on building connection with individuals, here are 3 things I do in my business to create an environment that shows my audience just how important they are: 

  1. Client Appreciation Events 2x/year

    • Every year in the spring and at the end of summer I host health/wellness centered events catered to my current clients' needs, and invite them to bring their family and friends. This gives me an opportunity to connect with my clients in a less formal setting, which allows me to get to know them on a deeper level. Moreover, I get to connect with their friends and family and network to potential clients.

  1. Quarterly Coffee Check-in’s

    • Unlike the Client Appreciation events, this setting allows the client 1-1 time with me. This is where they can express what is working for them and where they may need more support/guidance. This opportunity is pure gold because not only does the client feel appreciated and heard, but you can use their feedback as a glowing testimonial on your website/social media platform! (With their permission of course.)

  1. Provide Access to My expertise Online

    • To connect with my audience (aka potential clients) in the online space, I do monthly meetups and Q and A’s, so people who want to get to know more about me and my services/products can ask me questions without feeling the pressure to buy. I don’t do a sales pitch during these meetups/Q & A’s, as they are all about answering as many questions and giving as much value to my audience as possible. I do this through IG lives, but you can also use Facebook or Zoom to set up video meetings to connect with your audience, as well.

Now, that you have a few ideas to use as inspiration, really think about what you can do in your own business to make your audience feel more appreciated, respected and heard. What sorts of unique offerings can you give them that will set you apart from other fitness professionals? It’s all about creating an environment that your audience will want to come back to again and again.

Tip #2: Become Genuinely Interested in Your Audience’s Triumphs and Struggles. 

As I mentioned above, your audience will never buy your product/service if it doesn’t solve a specific problem that they have. So, it’s extremely important to start to understand their struggles so you can create offerings that provide solutions. Here are 2 extremely effective ways of finding out what struggles your audience is having:

  1. DM Your Audience on Instagram or Facebook

    • Now before you tell me you’ve tried this already, let me give you a tip that made DM’s 10x more effective for me. Let’s say you message 5 people in your audience about what they struggle with most, and you get 5 responses back that are all variations on “I can’t lose weight.” This is not very helpful, as every fitness trainer/professional has an offering that targets weightloss. So, here is where the magic happens, take the question a step further and ask, “What does weight loss look like for you?” and “What would it mean to you if you could be at your ideal weight?” I guarantee that very few people have reached out and taken the time or shown the interest to get to know the reasons behind their audience’s goals. Now, not only are you building a deeper connection with a potential client, you are gathering information that you can use to market your offering and make it that much more appealing.

  1. Use Answerthepublic.com to Find the Most Popular Topics in your Niche

    • This turns things up a notch, and rather than just connecting with people 1-1 you can survey the entire internet and see what topics are popular in your niche. This has been an invaluable tool for me, because when I come up with an idea for a piece of content, I want to make sure it is relevant by seeing how many people are searching for it. Answerthepublic.com allows you to do just that. You type in a keyword and it shows you every question connected to the topic that people are searching for, and also how many people are searching for it. It’s an invaluable tool to ensure you are creating content your audience is actually interested in! https://answerthepublic.com/

Tip #3: Be an Active Listener and Encourage Your Audience to Talk About Themselves

By the time you get to this tip, it’s very likely that your audience is starting to open up to you about their personal health and wellness struggles. Now, it is incredibly important to actively listen to what they are saying and not to jump in to answer their problems too quickly. As a fitness professional it's really common to spring forth with a solution because we want to show them how knowledgeable we are. 

But remember, this process isn’t about you showing off your certifications or how much you know, so much as it is about allowing your audience to share their story and feel heard and respected. By just allowing them to fully expand on their struggles, you will not only gain more information about them, but you will demonstrate to them you truly care about them as individuals. This once again helps to create deeper connection with potential clients and allows you to gain specific information that you can then use to create customized content geared toward their specific struggles. (Creating customized content again. Are you sensing a theme? ;P) 

Tip #4: Always Remember a Person's Name.  

For fitness professionals this can be incredibly challenging because if you teach multiple one-on-one clients, different fitness classes with different people attending each week, or are talking to multiple people online, the amount of names to remember can start to become overwhelming.  However, all of the work you've been doing up until this point in Tips 1-3, will be far less impactful if you don’t address each member of your audience by their name. Think about all of the businesses your audience interacts with in the run of a day, and how many actually go the extra mile to learn their names and use them on a regular basis. There probably aren’t many. You doing this signals to your audience that they are important enough for you to remember details about them. This is a simple tip, but one that will set you apart from other fitness professionals who may say “Hi,” but never go that extra mile and address that individual by their name.

A great resource to help you remember people's names is this YouTube video by Jim Kwik:  Remember Everyone’s Names. He is a memory expert, and his method for remembering names has helped me on countless occasions to remember the names of people that I had only met once or twice in passing. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at how many names you will actually remember!

Tip #5: Speak in terms of Your Audience’s Interests and Create Content that Solves Their Problems

Now that you’ve put all that time and effort into treating each member of your audience as an individual, learning about their pain points and struggles, and creating rapport, it’s time to position yourself as the perfect solution to their problems. This is where you take everything that you’ve learned about your audience and create content that speaks specifically to them. After following tips 1-4, not only will you have ideas for content because you’ve  asked questions of your audience, but you have lots of people to market to who will listen because you took the time to connect and get to know them on a deeper level. It is only now that you have taken the time to build genuine connection with your audience that you start to start to focus more on building your website, social media platform, and SEO funnels. All the work you’ve put in in tips 1-5, will make these tools work so much harder for you!

You can see that using the strategies these five steps, can take a lot of time, energy, and commitment. But the results will be well worth your efforts. You will actually save yourself time, money, and effort in the long run because you won’t be spending 100’s or 1,000’s of dollars on marketing campaigns that fall on deaf ears. You will be the fitness professional who succeeds in this saturated health and wellness space because you genuinely connect with your audience, and treat them as individuals with appreciation and respect. I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely the type of health and wellness business I want to build and grow!  

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My name is Marliese McGee founder of Holistic Happy Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching. I create welcoming fitness communities that bring mindfulness to movement, and teach you how to maximize your results and minimize your risk of injury/burnout.

Instagram: @holistic.happy.training

Website: https://www.holistichappy.ca/

Linkedin: Marliese McGee

Healing PCOS Naturally

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine and metabolic disorder affecting up to 20% of women of childbearing age making it the most common hormonal disorder and cause of infertility in women of reproductive age.

PCOS involves hyperandrogenism (high androgen production from the ovaries or adrenals) and chronic anovulation (meaning fewer than 10 periods in one year or cycles of over 35 days).

This syndrome requires a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning doctors need to rule out other possibilities such as hypothalamic amenorrhea, hypothyroidism, and hyperprolactinemia in order to properly diagnose PCOS in a patient. 

In order to receive a proper diagnosis, you need to exhibit 2 of the following:

  1. Irregular or missing periods (fewer than 10 periods in one year or cycles of over 35 days)

  2. Excess androgen levels on blood test or symptoms of excess androgens

  3. Polycystic cysts on ultrasound 

 PCOS is characterized by:

  • High androgens

  • Irregular or missing ovulation

  • Insulin resistance

  • Increased LH to FSH on blood test

  • Decreased SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin)

  • Hyperlipidemia

  • Hair loss or thinning of hair

  • Hirsutism (excess hair growth on facial area, chest, belly, back..)

  • Polycystic ovaries (they look like a string of pearls on ultrasound)

To receive a diagnosis you need to assess:

  • Symptoms

  • Blood tests (FSH, LH, total testosterone,estradiol, progesterone, DHEA-S, SHBG, prolactin, thyroid panel, fasting insulin, glucose, lipid profile)

  • Transvaginal ultrasound

Commonly, with a diagnosis, patients are given pharmaceuticals such as the birth control pill, metformin, spironolactone, or clomiphene citrate.

However, they are not taught about how nutrition and lifestyle habits make a significant impact on the development and severity of PCOS. 

Though PCOS is a complex disorder with no known causes, genetic and environmental influences have been studied and noted as potential triggers for PCOS.

When it comes to understanding PCOS and reversing symptoms, we need to address the core underlying imbalances, not just apply a band-aid.

Underlying foundations to address 

Inflammation

Chronic low grade inflammation is a central factor to PCOS and plays a key role in symptoms such as acne, weight gain, hirsutism, irregular cycles, and cardiovascular risk.

Inflammation can stem from intestinal permeability, insulin resistance, toxin exposure, obesity, chronic stress, poor diet, and medications.

Inflammatory chemicals can damage our own cells while also disrupting hormones, damaging egg quality, worsening mental health, damaging the intestinal barrier, and promoting androgen production from the ovaries. Inflammation can be seen as a byproduct but also a trigger for PCOS, which is why it’s so important to address in any PCOS plan.

How do we calm inflammation?

Common allergenic foods such as corn, wheat, gluten, dairy, sugar, and soy can worsen intestinal permeability, but these foods will differ from person to person. A good way to identify which foods are problematic for you is to do an elimination diet. You may need to find a nutritionist or dietitian to follow this properly. Foods to avoid at all costs are trans fats, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, and refined carbs and sugars. These contribute to inflammation in everyone and should be avoided with PCOS. 

I love using anti-inflammatories such as a good quality omega 3 supplement, quercetin, or curucmin for PCOS, however supplements are useless unless we address where the inflammation is coming from. This is where a diet and lifestyle analysis comes into play. 

In cases of intestinal permeability, healing foods such as bone broth, turmeric, leafy greens, and fermented foods are recommended along with the elimination of inflammatory foods listed above. Intestinal healing supplements include probiotics, digestive enzymes, and L-glutamine. 

Gut Microbiome

The scientific evidence is becoming overwhelming in terms of how the microbiome influences our overall health. In addition, PCOS women have been shown to have a lower amount of bacterial diversity than women without the syndrome regardless of them being overweight or not.

The gut microbiome has a real influence on how PCOS can manifest as dysbiosis can worsen factors such as insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity.

Studies are increasingly pointing towards targeting the gut microbiota to achieve results with PCOS and see shifts with inflammatory, cardiovascular, and metabolic markers.

Foods rich in fiber such as beans, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, oats, etc as well as prebiotics such as onions, garlic, asparagus, dandelion greens, artichoke, etc are an important part of a PCOS diet in order to provide the fuel for the beneficial microbes, alongside fermented foods or a good quality probiotic supplement.

Adrenal stress

Stress is a significant factor for PCOS. Not only do PCOS symptoms cause stress but the underlying imbalances are also worsened by stress and create further stress on the body. It is a vicious cycle. Most women with PCOS produce androgens from the ovaries and to a lesser extent, the adrenals. Regardless whether you make up one camp or the other, women with PCOS are much more affected by stress and high cortisol levels then non PCOS women. When we are under chronic stress we see higher cortisol levels which result in hormonal imbalances like low progesterone, excess estrogen, and high androgens. 

Another factor to consider is that women with PCOS are actually more prone to producing higher levels of stress hormones than women without while also have more difficulty coping with stressors. This is why stress management is a central strategy to managing PCOS.  

How do we manage stress with PCOS?

  • If you are practicing intense workouts with lots of cardio… bring it down a notch. Take up yoga or pilates, include walking into your daily routine, and give yourself some rest days!

  • Adopt a bedtime routine. Sleep is such an important component of a healthy PCOS lifestyle in order to bring down cortisol levels and regulate the circadian rhythm. Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Avoid electronics 1 hour before bed and create a relaxed environment before bedtime.

  • Practice meditation. This practice has been shown to lower stress hormones, improve mood, bring down inflammation and support the immune system.

  • Avoid or reduce coffee. Caffeine has a stimulatory effect on the adrenals and can worsen hormonal imbalances like PCOS. If you find yourself depending on your coffee to start your day or get through the afternoon slump, this is a sign you are relying on it. Find alternatives like dandelion, chicory root, or herbal blends like Four Sigmatic.

Alongside lifestyle changes, supplements such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, and magnesium bisglycinate can all help bring down cortisol and stress levels in the body.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is present in about 50-70% of women diagnosed with PCOS. Though it is more common in obese and overweight individuals it can also be present in lean PCOS women who do not have problems with their weight.

This is important to note when assessing the core imbalances for PCOS and explains why testing is so important. Women with PCOS are more prone to insulin resistance due to genetic factors and the underlying chronic low grade inflammatory state. 

Insulin resistance happens when cells do not respond properly to the hormone insulin to let glucose enter the cells to be used as energy. Also known as prediabetes, insulin resistance is mainly caused by lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise and poor diet consisting of refined carbs, hydrogenated oils, and excess sugars. 

With PCOS the overproduction of insulin in the bloodstream triggers androgen production in the ovaries which can stall ovulation and promote symptoms like hirsutism, acne, and hair loss.

Signs and symptoms of blood sugar and insulin problems include abdominal adiposity, stubborn weight loss, dark pigmentation of skin folds, increased hunger and cravings, and skin tags.

One of the first things to do when it comes to balancing blood glucose and insulin with PCOS is to eliminate refined carbs and sugars which are void of nutrients and cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. 

In addition, many of us don’t know that there are foods that spike insulin specifically, but not blood sugar, such as dairy and red meat. So it’s important to be aware that carbohydrates are not the only macronutrients to pay attention to.

Always aim for a balanced plate of protein, carbs, non starchy vegetables, and a healthy fat to ensure blood sugar and insulin remain balanced.

Strength training has been shown to benefit women with insulin resistant PCOS tremendously by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose levels.

I love inositol, chromium, and cinnamon as natural supplements to use alongside a healthy diet that support the regulation of insulin and may help increase sensitivity of receptors while balancing out blood sugar levels.  

Environmental toxins

Environmental toxins have been shown to play a role in the development of PCOS. Exposure to toxins such as BPA in utero increases the risk of PCOS which means that if the mother was exposed to toxins during pregnancy, there is a greater chance of her daughter showing signs of PCOS later in life. 

Research has confirmed elevated levels of BPA in patients with PCOS in comparison with healthy controls. 

BPA and other endocrine disrupting chemicals contain estrogen-mimicking compounds (xenoestrogens) that increase our body’s supply of the hormone. This worsens PCOS symptoms and can contribute to obesity by altering fat storage, energy balance and promoting leptin and insulin resistance.

Though we don’t have much control over our mother’s health as an unborn child, we can support our detoxification pathways and limit our exposure to these chemicals.

Fibre is especially important in order to bind to and eliminate excess hormones via bile and the colon. So eat your vegetables at every meal!

Though we can’t control every toxin that we come into contact with, there are many ways to reduce exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals at home. Switch out conventional beauty and body care products for organic brands or make your own, use ceramic, stainless steel or glass containers and water bottles, open the windows everyday to filtrate the air inside your home, keep shoes at the door to avoid toxins being brought into the home, and clean your clothes and sheets with cleaner brands.

I always recommend my clients use ewg.org to verify their current products and find alternative clean brands. 

Some supplements that can support PCOS and detoxification include NAC, turmeric, and ALA. 

My favourite foods for PCOS

Fermented foods 

Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that nourish our gut and provide many positive body wide effects. As women with PCOS are more prone to dysbiosis and have a lack of bacterial diversity in the gut, it is so important to include probiotics through the diet or with supplementation. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha can all be beneficial additions to a PCOS diet. 

Green tea

Green tea is a great substitute to coffee for PCOS women as it contains less caffeine but also the amino acid L-theanine, which is calming to the nervous system. You can find the compound, Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, that acts as a potent antioxidant and has been shown to decrease testosterone levels which triggers symptoms of androgen excess. It also has great results as an alternative to metformin in reducing fasting glucose levels and improving metabolic markers. 

Flaxseeds

Flax seeds not only contain omega 3 fatty acids, they also provide fiber and lignans which have been shown to reduce androgen levels and thus reduce symptoms like hirsutism. Flaxseeds are a great addition to the diet to increase fiber status which can help with weight loss efforts and detoxification of toxins via the colon. Make sure you eat ground flax seeds if you also want to receive the omega 3 benefits and store in the fridge to avoid rancidity. 

Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, collard, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy, dandelion greens, and cabbage are definitely missing in the SAD diet. High in folate, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and fibre, they provide important nutrients that are needed for healthy ovaries and the female cycle. Green vegetables are highly alkaline and anti-inflammatory while also being lower glycemic which make them an ideal addition to a healthy PCOS diet.

Wild fatty fish

Wild fatty fish, like salmon, are a potent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Not only do they lower inflammation, they also can improve the androgenic profile in PCOS women by decreasing testosterone levels. Omega 3 foods and supplementation improves menstrual regularity, mood and brain function, insulin regulation, and the stress response by the adrenal glands. 

Berries

Berries are my favorite fruit for PCOS! Low glycemic, anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, berries are also high in flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. This is especially beneficial for PCOS to lower the chronic low grade inflammatory state. 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) which has been shown to actually helps us lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve diabetic conditions and reduce the risk of heart disease. For those who have trouble digesting fats, coconut is a great option as the body can utilize these fats immediately for energy, bypassing the liver and gallbladder. It also contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties, great for immunity and gut health, as well as helps increase metabolic rate.

Avocado

Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that protect heart health, reduce inflammation, and increase nutrient absorption such as fat soluble vitamins. It also contains a good amount of fiber to stabilize blood sugar and support the removal of toxins and weight loss.

What about soy?

Soy is a very controversial food especially when it comes to female hormones and PCOS, however research has shown promising results when it comes to PCOS. Studies show that soy isoflavones intake can be associated with lowered insulin levels, androgens, and triglycerides while improving markers of oxidative stress and BMI in PCOS women. Overall these phytoestrogens seem to produce protective effects on metabolic and hormonal abnormalities of women with polycystic ovary syndrome. 


That being said, quality and quantity are important. Soy protein isolate and processed and GMO soy should be avoided, so choose instead organic and fermented soy products like tempeh, natto, tamari soy sauce, and miso. Soy is a common allergen and there is talk that excess consumption of soy products may interfere with thyroid hormone, therefore you may want to assess whether you do well with soy or not and stick to moderate consumption.

The bottom line? If you are going to eat soy opt for fermented and organic products in moderate quantities and avoid the processed soy products at all costs. 

What about problem foods for PCOS?

Though diet is specific to each person, the following foods are commonly eliminated in a PCOS diet to improve symptoms and phenotypes:

Dairy

Dairy can be problematic with PCOS due to its inflammatory effects. Many people have trouble digesting lactose in dairy products but also the protein casein. A1 casein is particularly problematic  because it promotes inflammation and can interfere with metabolic function. Milk naturally contains small amounts of hormones (even more so in conventional products) including testosterone, progesterone, insulin, and the growth hormone called IGF-1, or insulin growth factor. IG-F is problematic as it stimulates insulin and causes the ovaries to over produce testosterone. For these reasons, I usually recommend clients avoid dairy as much as possible and I see a lot of success going dairy free. Goat’s milk is a good alternative to cow’s milk in moderation as it contains less lactose and contains A2 casein, which doesn’t trigger inflammation like A1 does.

Gluten

The gluten-free movement is becoming a real health trend but this protein can actually cause a lot of problems with PCOS. Though celiac disease is rare, gluten sensitivity and intolerance is on the rise with the increased use of pesticides like glyphosate and the over processing of grains such as wheat. Not to mention, gluten has been shown to trigger intestinal permeability in the intestines which can lead to autoimmunity, malabsorption, decreased nutrient status, but also increase insulin and leptin resistance. Opt for naturally gluten free grains and starches like quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, and yams.

Sugar

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are usually the first foods I recommend ditching with PCOS. As up to 70% of PCOS women struggle with insulin resistance, their ability to process glucose is impaired. Which means they can’t handle processed sugars. This kind of sugar causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin, drives up inflammation, depletes important micronutrients, and feeds the pathogenic bacteria in the gut. This is a disaster for PCOS and only worsens symptoms like energy crashes, brain fog, weight gain, and acne. 

Laurence Annez is a certified nutritional practitioner and health coach.  She is passionate about teaching women with PCOS how to ditch the belly fat, cystic acne, irregular cycles, and victim mindset by showing them how to nourish their bodies and free themselves of pain.  She does this through guided nutritional coaching, personalized and sustainable diet and lifestyle recommendations, and mindfulness. She believes that the key to a healthy life is sustainable change that feels good and is different to each person. She herself suffered from chronic cystic acne, digestive problems, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction & disordered eating. She managed to reverse her PCOS symptoms through nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset work.  It was through her own healing journey that bred her passion to helping others heal as well. Today she coaches women all over the world through her coaching programs.  PCOS Facebook Group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/183220068951436/?ref=bookmarks   Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/laurence.annez/   website  https://www.laurence-annez.com/

Laurence Annez is a certified nutritional practitioner and health coach.

She is passionate about teaching women with PCOS how to ditch the belly fat, cystic acne, irregular cycles, and victim mindset by showing them how to nourish their bodies and free themselves of pain.

She does this through guided nutritional coaching, personalized and sustainable diet and lifestyle recommendations, and mindfulness. She believes that the key to a healthy life is sustainable change that feels good and is different to each person. She herself suffered from chronic cystic acne, digestive problems, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction & disordered eating. She managed to reverse her PCOS symptoms through nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset work.

It was through her own healing journey that bred her passion to helping others heal as well. Today she coaches women all over the world through her coaching programs.

PCOS Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/183220068951436/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/laurence.annez/

website https://www.laurence-annez.com/

The Interconnection of the Mind and Body: Benefits of Personal Training for Therapy Clients

The mind and the body really are one and the same. They are part of the same interconnected system, and the state of one always affects the other at a fundamental level. The brain is an organ, just like the heart or the lungs, and all are intertwined via the same neurological, respiratory and circulatory systems.

Because of this, it is impossible to fully address the health of the mind without also taking into account the factors affecting the health of the rest of the body (and vice versa). People seeking advice from therapists for issues such as anxiety and depression can benefit tremendously if they also have the support of a good personal trainer. Tackling complex mental and emotional issues can be much more manageable with good diet and nutrition as a foundation.

Here are some reasons why therapists and personal trainers should create partnerships to treat clients in a holistic fashion, providing them with the happiest, healthiest life possible:

  1. Exercise Helps Alleviate Mood, and is a Great Outlet for Stress

Feeling happier and finding healthy ways to manage negative feelings are things any therapist would want for their clients, and exercise has a reputation for being one of the best forms of stress release. Not only does it flood the brain with lots of “happy chemicals” (ie. neutrotransmitters such as endorphins), it also has the incredible ability to actually stimulate the production of new brain cells!

This predominantly happens in the hippocampus, an area involved with mood regulation. This is huge, because having a larger area of the brain devoted to regulating mood often leads to a greater sense of internal control, feeling more capable of handling the stressors of daily life, and decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.

Additionally, unlike some other common forms of stress release, exercise stands out as being actually healthy for you. This contributes to feeling happy afterwards (instead of guilty), and makes it a much better candidate for a frequent coping strategy.

Working Out Regularly Increases Feelings of Confidence


Feeling more confident is a common goal in therapy, and a good workout routine can make this attainable much faster! 

One of the obvious ways it does this is through improved body image. No one can deny that losing fat, gaining muscle, and obtaining a leaner/more toned physique feels amazing. Even if you don’t completely transform your body, making small steps can have an enormous impact on how you feel about yourself (especially when this is done in a healthy way).

Doing the right exercises also has an enormous impact on posture - and studies have shown that simply standing up straighter helps significantly with feeling more confident and at ease with others! This is a great example of the interconnectedness of the mind and body. The brain is frequently looking to the body for cues about how to feel and why it should feel this way, so if the body is behaving confidently, the brain will follow suit. 


Finally, something has to be said about the simple act of getting stronger (or faster, or more powerful, or gaining better endurance). Being able to accomplish feats with your body that previously seemed impossible is something that will make anyone gain a new appreciation for themselves! 

Succeeding in Achieving Your Fitness Goals is Extremely Motivating

Lack of motivation is a common symptom of many issues one might reach out to a therapist for (such as depression), and exercise is actually great at combating this as well.

Success is one of the greatest motivators out there; and a proper workout program (especially when coached by a capable trainer) is full of little successes every step of the way. Lifting more weight, beating a best time, losing a few pounds, gaining a few pounds, drinking more water - all these are celebrated along the way to make the client feel proud and capable. Clients are encouraged to focus on the positive, be persistent, and not let missteps or plateaus discourage them into giving up.

After weeks and months of hard work, nothing quite beats the feeling of finally achieving your initial fitness goal (especially if it felt daunting at first). You feel on top of the world, like you can achieve the impossible. It’s an incredible ego boost, and you’re left looking at a world of new opportunities. This is an excellent mindset to be in during a therapy session! 

Adopting a Workout Routine Affects Choices Made in Other Areas of Life

A final reason a therapist might want to turn to a personal trainer for help in working with their clients is due to the fact that making healthy, positive choices in one area of your life (ie. fitness) has a tendency to make you want to behave similarly in other areas. 

People generally don’t like to feel like they’re contradicting themselves. Therefore, if they spend several hours a week devoting time to making their bodies healthier, they will feel less inclined to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or eat junk food. They start to see themselves as a healthy person, and as a healthy person, they make healthier decisions. 

If someone feels energetic and confident, is less frequently overwhelmed by stress, rarely gets sick, and feels motivated to take action towards bettering their life - this is a perfect opportunity for counselling to have its full therapeutic effects.

It’s clear that personal trainers can help therapists’ clients excel in many different ways; however, in order for this to work, open communication and collaboration is a must. Therapist and trainer must ensure that their beliefs, ideologies and methods align. They must be in tune with each other in administering treatment and support, to make sure the client stays on track and doesn’t have to deal with conflicting strategies. When a fitting partnership is formed, then many clients will reap the benefits in excelling towards a holistically fulfilling life!

Kat earned her BA in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, before carrying on to complete her Certified Fitness Trainer certificate with the International Sports Sciences Association. She believes the two specializations complement each other beautifully in providing people with both the knowledge and drive needed to achieve a happier, healthier life. Currently working out of a beautiful studio in Vancouver, B.C., she also offers mobile training to help integrate fitness as seamlessly as possible into her clients’ lives.    Social Links:    Website -    www.katslaterfitness.com     Facebook - Kat Slater Fitness    Instagram - katslaterfitness

Kat earned her BA in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, before carrying on to complete her Certified Fitness Trainer certificate with the International Sports Sciences Association. She believes the two specializations complement each other beautifully in providing people with both the knowledge and drive needed to achieve a happier, healthier life. Currently working out of a beautiful studio in Vancouver, B.C., she also offers mobile training to help integrate fitness as seamlessly as possible into her clients’ lives.

Social Links:

Website - www.katslaterfitness.com

Facebook - Kat Slater Fitness

Instagram - katslaterfitness



Why your very first injury is probably still affecting your body

In my practice during my intake I ask every client ‘What was the very first injury in your life?’ After getting a quizzical look, I get a range of answers from ‘oh I remember falling off my bike and hitting my forehead. You can still see the scar’ to ‘I can’t remember. It was probably in my early 20s maybe?’ 

For many reasons our first injuries are either an event we can readily recount, like a family legend, or our memories have somehow erased them from our awareness. 

It is both of these responses that intrigue me. 

But regardless of whether or not the injury was memorable, your body still remembers. And if you see a practitioner skilled at reading the subtle signs the body is saying we can see them loud and clear. 

As an Anatomy in Motion practitioner I am trained to see what many other practitioners are not trained to see. The fingerprint of every experience in your life on your body. Injuries, surgeries, emotional experiences, anxiety, daily habits, and even tattoos and piercings. They all present as changes to how we manage our mass and deal with gravity. 

Anything that disrupts or acts on your muscles, joints, and fascia by asking your nervous system to find a work-around for pain or emotion you’re experiencing will result in an alteration in how you move and manage your mass. The tricky thing is your body will incorporate that new work-around and master it so that when pain or emotion subsides your strategy remains.

So you’re probably asking, “how does my first injury affect me even today?” Imagine spraining your ankle as a child. Mom and dad probably took you to a medical professional. You were told to wrap it up, ice it, stay off your injured ankle til it felt better. And so you did. Your body signalled to you whenever you put weight on it ‘DANGER DANGER AVOID AT ALL COSTS’. And so you did. You favoured the other leg. That caused a cascading chain of events throughout your body and many tens of thousands of steps later you have a new way of moving. The good news is your ankle healed. The bad news for ‘future you’ is the pattern remained. 

Decades later your knee or hip or back or shoulder hurts and you can’t figure out why. It turns out that your childhood ankle injury and the compensations your clever body came up with at the time to work around it are still there! Even if you have no memory of the injury. Unless you have worked to retrain yourself to bear weight on that sprained ankle and restore the harmony of all the working parts above and below that joint, the compensation will remain. There’s no reason it needs to go back to the way it was before. You’re still getting around just fine.

Until you’re not.

What I find in my practice is the very first injury someone gets as a child sets up their posture and movement patterns for the rest of their life. A bop on the head as a toddler moved the skull and neck slightly out of alignment as a protective response to that blow to the head. Then everything below it has to counterbalance to both keep you upright and keep your eyes level to the horizon. I can still see the effect of the bop on your head in your posture decades later.

Just like that sprained ankle, the body compensates and has no reason to restore itself to factory settings once things are good to go.

You may be asking how these compensations are influencing the injuries you’re getting today. Well, the body is meant to move at its peak efficiency. You move each part with the least amount of effort required and the nervous system sorts out how to make that movement given all the options of moving each joint in all the range of motion it has access to. When we restrict the range of motion we’re willing to access because part of that range is painful then we’ve taken away some options. Those next-best options may work great for the time being. You get on with moving about. 

But that particular next-best option might ask a certain muscle or muscle group to do more work than it was meant to do. Or the joint that has to move more now (or less) is creating more wear and tear in part of the joint. Now years or decades later the next-best option means that parts have been overworking and parts have been underworking. That overwork and wear and tear is starting to run out of patience and your body starts complaining. It will also leave you vulnerable to new injuries as instabilities in your joints and the firing of your muscles means you’re susceptible to new injuries.

Making Alignments

Making Alignments

So what can we do? Prevention and restoration. When we are injured we usually see a medical professional who gets us to the point of healing but doesn’t restore our movement to our factory settings. The compensations remain. My hope for the healing industry is that we start to embrace the importance of restoring movement in the often overlooked post-rehab stage of healing. If we focused on completing the healing process by restoring movement then a great number of future aches and pains and injuries could be prevented.


Holly Middleton is a movement coach based in Vancouver and owner of Flow Movement Therapy. She specializes in Anatomy in Motion which assesses and restores lost joint range of motion. A life-long dancer with a PhD in biology, Holly has over 3 decades worth of experience in movement, training, competition, injury prevention and self-improvement.    Photos care of BJ Clayden Photography

Holly Middleton is a movement coach based in Vancouver and owner of Flow Movement Therapy. She specializes in Anatomy in Motion which assesses and restores lost joint range of motion. A life-long dancer with a PhD in biology, Holly has over 3 decades worth of experience in movement, training, competition, injury prevention and self-improvement.

Photos care of BJ Clayden Photography