‘Tis the season for setting new intentions and goals for next year. Health and well-being are usually a part of this grandiose list of things we want to accomplish, however, in many cases that is the first thing to go when life gets going. We recently spoke to Carly Lockman, a board-certified holistic health coach, who shared her story with us and set a few things into perspective when it comes to taking control of our health, including the steps we need to take to start.
Take Control of Your Health Journey
Q: To start, tell us a bit about your journey and why you’ve specifically chosen to work with women on their radical health journeys.
A: It’s no secret that women are drastically underserved in our culture. Society expects women to fulfill the role of caretaker to nearly everyone around them, but simultaneously provides very little support to fuel this herculean effort.
Workplace discrimination is rampant, especially against mothers and mothers-to-be, maternity policy is abhorrent, postpartum care is virtually nonexistent outside of privileged circles, and women are often ignored or told they need psychological intervention when they go to their doctors with pain.
I have experienced every one of the aforementioned affronts (along with most women I know) and I feel strongly that this paradigm MUST shift.
Supporting women is synonymous with supporting humanity. Humanity cannot thrive until women are receiving the care and support they need.…And that’s where practitioners like myself step in.
Q: Your story started in the midst of battling a chronic illness. How did taking control of your own health change/improve other areas of your life?
A: My illness changed everything. I completely missed the warning signs, so it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was debilitated in the course of a day or two. I couldn’t work, or care for my nineteen-month-old daughter. My family had just moved into our first home, only to sell it nine months later to continue paying my exorbitant medical bills. We cashed out our 401(k) and borrowed money from family members.
At some point, in the midst of seeing countless doctors who prescribed narcotics in place of trying to figure out the root cause of my pain and myriad neurological problems, I realized that the only person who could save me was me. Sure, there would be practitioners along the way that would assist in my healing, but the real responsibility was mine. I had to learn to surrender completely to this sudden and dramatic loss of control.
The moment of surrender is when everything shifted. I went on to have another extremely difficult year and a half, but my perspective had changed. I stopped viewing myself as a victim to my circumstances. I recognized, on a fundamental level, how miraculous every moment is. (Cliché, but honest.)
My physical body slowly started to reflect my inner landscape. After months and months of no discernable progress, I began to respond to the therapies I was receiving and administering to myself.
This lesson has stuck with me as I’ve moved into a brighter period in my life. When I find myself trying to control or manipulate situations, I am able to stop and assess the bigger picture. I practice self-care and the art of letting go over and over again. I allow myself to continually redefine what happiness looks like and I operate with a particular gratitude that is the product of having lost everything.
Q: As we’re talking about self-care can you also touch on the importance of acknowledging our body, mind, and spirit as an inseparable unit?
A: The mind-body connection is still somewhat taboo in western culture, however, I can say with certainty that it is often the missing link to healing. There is a fascinating book entitled, “The Biology of Belief,” wherein Ph.D. Bruce Lipton explains the scientific evidence linking state of mind to physical manifestations in the body.
I personally benefited dramatically from incorporating meditation and mindfulness into my healing regimen, and in fact saw little improvement in my condition until I did. My healing required a multilayered approach of physical treatments and therapies, mindfulness, and spiritual practice.
When I meet someone who is “doing all of the right things” where nutrition and concrete lifestyle factors are concerned, yet still struggling, I can almost bet that mindset is the missing link.
Q: What resources do you recommend for women who want to further educate themselves on holistic health care and nutrition?
A: Every woman should be versed in her own fertility whether or not she is choosing to have children, because hormonal balance is fundamental to female health, physically and mentally. To that end, I highly recommend the books, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler and “Woman Code” by Alissa Vitti.
Additionally, I have found that many women thrive in a traditional foods lifestyle, which focuses on quality proteins and fats, and fermented foods of all kinds. The book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon is a great guide.
This may be a slight digression, but I also want to highlight the importance of a community of support as an ongoing resource for women. There have been studies that show that engaging in community (especially engaging regularly with other women) has a hormonal balancing effect, and leads to greater happiness and less depression and anxiety. Our primal design is to operate in community, and doing so is integral to health and well-being.
Q: For the women out there that feel like they have to make nutrition changes but they’re not sure where to start, where would you advise them to start?
A: The easiest and most impactful step a woman can take nutritionally is to just eat real food as much as possible. Without paying attention to macronutrient breakdown, simply consuming LESS packaged foods / simple carbohydrates and incorporating MORE vegetables and quality meats can make a big difference. A great reminder is to try to shop “the perimeter of the grocery store” as much as possible. The perimeter is where you will find more real foods, verses the aisles where more packaged foods reside.
A great way to kick off nutritional changes is to participate in a real food program, like the 21 Day Sugar Detox. During the 21DSD participants are asked to remove excess sugar and simple carbohydrates from their diets for 21 days. This is an excellent way to assess what foods are contributing to your health and what foods aren’t, and provides a foundation for making healthier choices moving forward.
Carly will extend 20% off of her January Women’s 21 Day Sugar Detox to our readers with the code BLUELOTUS . Thank you, Carly!