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5 Ways to De-stress, When Meditation's Not Enough

Tis the season of holiday events, family commitments, end of year deadlines, more spending and less rest. So, how do we cope with the craziness? Ideally, we’d all take time each day to meditate and mentally reset. Realistically, we can all use the extra help we can get.

Here are 5 tips to help you de-stress when your mind simply is not enough.

1. Up Your Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies out there - since it is one of the first to deplete when we become stressed. This “stress” could be anything from emotional to lack of sleep, to rushing around, to physical exertion (i.e. exercise). 

So, what’s the big deal? Magnesium is important in liver detox, it helps your body flush excess hormones (think PMS symptoms), it assists the breakdown of fats, and for the purposes of today’s discussion - it is the “calming” mineral (see image below for common Mg deficiency symptoms).

Image via  Organic Olivia

Image via Organic Olivia

While we can eat allll the magnesium rich foods, our bodies still struggle to absorb enough to function optimally. So, if you’re feeling extra stressed, try a Magnesium spray. When applied topically, the Mg oil will absorb into your blood stream within 24 seconds. Aim to use before bed for a more restful sleep and/or post workout for quicker recovery.

2. Head off, Headphones In

If your thoughts are spinning on repeat, one of the easiest ways to get out of your own head is by listening to someone else talk. Whether that means an inspiring podcast, motivational speaker, religious figure or your favorite musician - plug in your headphones and fall asleep to someone else’s positive thoughts, rather than your own stressed ones. My favorite is Pastor Steven Furtick (a mix of religious and motivational speaking).

3. Get a Massage

The benefits of massage therapy run deeper than just feeling great. Massage therapy can help release tension in the body, increase circulation, boost the immune system and flush out toxins. What does this mean for you? A less stressed body = a less stressed mind.

My favorites -

  1. Deep Tissue Massage - Deep tissue therapy is used to break up knots, adhesions and scar tissue that can cause pain/tightness/limited range of motion and/or inflammation in the body. While its often painful during the treatment - your body will feel significantly less stressed and tight afterwards.

  2. Lymphatic Drainage Massage - The lymphatic system is our bodies natural flushing/detox network, which can actually slow or stall due to various types of stress. A lymph drainage massage gently assists the lymphatic system to improve circulation and jump start your body’s natural “flushing” process. This treatment is great for anyone with inflammatory conditions, lowered immune systems, slow circulation, fluid retention and/or those in recovery from surgery. Its also a relaxing one :)

  3. Do it yourself - If a massage isn’t in your budget, simply stretching and releasing whatever muscles feel tight will help put your body at ease. Grab your foam roller/lacrosse ball to release the areas of your body that hold tension (for most of us that means the neck/traps) and be sure to stretch as well. Some of my favorites can be found on my social media - lower body series, upper body series & assisted stretches.


4. Reset Your Breathing

When we’re stressed, rushing, or anxious - we tend to shorten our breathes, which only adds to our stressed feelings.

If this is you - make a habit of consciously resetting your breathing patterns throughout the day. Do this by taking exhales that are twice as long as your inhales. Fully emptying your stomach will allow you to calmly change those short, chest breathes to deep, diaphragm ones.

Not sure if you’re breathing properly?

Try laying with your back pressed flat into the floor. As you inhale, drive the pit of your stomach up toward the ceiling. Slowly exhale, emptying your breath completely. Hold that until your body signals you to take a breath in again. Repeat until this becomes your patterned, relaxed breathing.

5. Go for a Walk

It is no secret that exercise releases feel-good endorphins. However, if you’re extra stressed, intensive workouts can actually work against you (remember, exercise in itself is a form of stress to your body).

Rather than hitting the gym- opt for a walk, preferably in nature. Studies show that a mere 10 minute walk is enough to reduce anxiety symptoms and boost your mood. Additionally, walks have been proven to increase creative output by 60%, due to the “free flow” of thinking that’s triggered during the activity #NoMoreRuts (NBC).

Happy Holidays everyone! ENJOY your down time, your time with your loved ones and your “treat” foods.

XX

Anne

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Interested in one-on-one coaching? Contact me.

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ENDO BLOG 2: Nutritional Healing

Although specific dietary guidelines will be unique to YOU (and should be provided by your doctor, nutritionist, coach etc), there are general rules that apply to all of us. Since my diagnosis with Endometriosis in 2014, I’ve spent every flareup, every cycle, every “setback” and every success taking notes on how to better manage and IMPROVE my condition. Nutrition has been a huge part of that healing process so today we’re looking at ways to improve gut health, minimize inflammation and naturally support balanced hormones through diet. 


HOW TO EAT -

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While there is no specific “Endometriosis Diet” - there are a few questions you should ask yourself when planning your meals. 

#1 - How Nutrient Dense Are My Meals? Ever heard the saying “eat the rainbow?” The variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemical in plants help fight inflammation, free radicals, balance hormones and more. So, incorporate as many different fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. Nutrient dense smoothies and fresh juices are easy ways to get more plants in. Swapping out white breads and pastas for healthier options like Ezekiel bread and lentil/chickpea pastas will also help you up your micronutrient and fiber intakes.

#2 - Am I Eating Enough Healthy Fats? What’s considered “enough” is of course specific to the individual, however many of us tend to eat in the lower-fat range due to societies “fats make us fat” mindset. What many people don’t realize is that the RIGHT fats can be very healing for your metabolism, your gut, and your hormones! As a general rule - aim to incorporate healthy fats in each meal throughout the day. Hormone healthy fats include coconut, grass fed butter, ghee, raw cacao, olive oil (as dressing) and avocado. If your body digests them well - nuts and seeds can also be great. 

#3 - How Is My Gut Health? Not only is over 70% of your immune system is found in the intestinal tract, but estrogen is recycled through the gut and 90% of your serotonin is found there. That means to feel your best, physically and mentally, your gut health has to functioning properly. To optimize gut health - be sure to incorporate as many REAL ingredients as possible AND keep your meals simple. That means you should be able to list what you ate today (all ingredients) without having to look them up. Additionally, your meals should be centered on foods that digest easily for YOUR body, not just what’s trendy. Smoothies and fresh juices, cooked vegetables (as oppose to big salads) and moderate portions are usually easiest on digestion. Also be sure to incorporate plenty of fiber, water and probiotic rich foods.

*It is important to note that food is not the only factor that plays into digestion. See non-food factors that could also be affecting your digestion.


WHAT TO AVOID

Processed Sugar - “Added sugars” are found in processed foods in the form of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, fructose etc. These sugars spike insulin levels, triggering an inflammatory response in the body. Replace processed sugars (table sugar & artificial sweeteners) with natural sweeteners such as raw honey, dates, natural maple syrup.

Refined Carbohydrates - If it comes in a package, put it down. Refined carbohydrates (carbs that have been stripped of their nutrients) are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, spiking insulin levels and triggering inflammation. Swap out white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries and cereals for plant based carbs such as fruits, vegetables, gluten free oats and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans.

Alcohol - Alcohol can increase cortisol levels and again, trigger inflammation. Additionally - with its effect on the liver, it can slow the liver’s very important role in flushing excess hormones. 

Omega-6 Fatty Acids - While our body requires a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, excess omega-6 is bad for Endo and over-all inflammation. Swap out vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, canola oil etc for healthier oils like coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil.

ENDO RELIEF -

Ginger - Gut Health. Ginger is great for bloating, unsettled stomachs, “backed up” digestion and nausea. Try ginger tea, fresh juices with ginger or my favorite - a potent ginger shot.  

Turmeric - Natural Anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is famous for fighting inflammation and is said to be great for circulation as well (think how “slow” we feel during flareups and menstruation). You can cook with it, add to juices/shots or even buy in pill form.

Raw Garlic & Cranberry - Natural Antibiotics. Our immune systems tend to crash during Endo flareups and menstruation. During this time, whatever low-grade infections we are fighting (i.e. yeast infections & UTI’s, which we are prone too with Endometriosis and due to some birth controls) can come back strong. Consistently taking raw garlic (again as a juice/shot or in pill form) and drinking cranberry juice (no sugar added) regularly can help keep your immune system and pH where they should be.

HEALTHY SUPPLEMENTATION - 

Dr. Jess’s “Hormone Master” Supplement - If you are seeking something to feel more balanced and energized, the Hormone Master is a great option. This supplement carries a blend of herbs designed to block “bad estrogen.” Read up on it HERE.

Personalized Supplements - Aside from hormone-specific supplements, there are many supplements we can take (if not already getting through food) to FEEL better and aid the healing process. Magnesium for example plays a major role in flushing excess estrogen and it happens to be one of the first things to deplete when we’re stressed. Zinc is important for immune health. Anti-oxidants help fight off inflammation, infection etc. What I need may not be what YOU need, which is why I recommend IDLife. IDLife offers a free health assessment (backed by a team of doctors) that customizes vitamins/supplements to you based on your diet, health conditions, medications etc. After you complete the assessment, a list of supplements will be provided as well as explanations as to WHY they pertain to YOU. I highly recommend! The free health assessment can be taken HERE.

As always - you should consult your doctor first to see what steps work for you.

For a more customized approach, book your consultation for one-on-one coaching HERE.

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Personal Blog: The Power of Choice

We make probably thousands of choices every day without even thinking about it.

We choose to get up in the morning. Choose to make breakfast. To go to work. To hit the gym. To spend time with our loved ones.

We also choose how we respond to things when they’re not going as planned. We choose to stay with that toxic person. We choose to complain about that job we hate, and also choose to stay there. 

In a sermon from Steven Furtick titled Choosing Your Chains, Furtick states that ‘choices become habits.’ Our habits become our lifestyle.

Im not here to preach anything religious to you all. But when you apply the concept of choice to your everyday thoughts - you can change any aspect of your life that you are struggling with.

Many of you have commented on my “boss lady” mindset. Much of that comes from the fact that I never have and never will choose defeat. 

When I was left to my own devices at a very young age- I chose to do well in school, to care for my younger brother and to be strong on my own. When I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 24 and was told by my doctor, “You cannot get better,” I chose to get better without the help of that doctor. When I reached a toxic point in my job and hit a level of broke that I had never experienced in my life, I left that job and chose to figure it out. Those choices were not based on a plan, they were based simply on the fact that I was not going out like that. I chose. Then I figured it out. 

My suggestion to you is to put YOU first. Give yourself the room to figure it out. Whether “it” is your health, your career, your relationship or your direction - choose to get it right. Choose to not stay stuck. Life will always throw you curveballs but how you respond to them is your CHOICE

XX

Anne Evans Cody

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ENDO BLOG 1: My Story | First Steps to Healing

 

Endometriosis - a condition where tissue that acts like the lining of your uterus—called endometrium—grows outside of the uterus, where it doesn't belong. These out-of-place growths, called lesions or implants, can cause severe pain and inflammation throughout the month. They often grow around the pelvic region but can attach to various organs in the body as well. (Speak Endo)

I could go on for days about how much Endometriosis has sucked, but that wouldn’t be helpful to you ladies. What is helpful however, is that my stubborn ass decided I wasn’t going to stay sick.  

You don’t have to stay sick either.

A little background.

While I did not realize it at the time, I always had abnormally bad periods. I was told they were normal. In 2008 it got to the point where I almost passed out from pain and lightheadedness while on my cycle. I realized then that all of the scattered health issues that had been developing (digestion problems, cramps, dizziness etc) were connected to my cycle. 

Jump to 2014 - my digestion had locked up so badly that I was no longer absorbing nutrients. I became very thin and started losing my hair on top of all of the other pain I was going through. My Gyno suggested we do a diagnostic surgery because she was pretty positive I had Endometriosis. 

She was right.

The surgery.

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During the laparoscopic surgery - my Doctor removed the endometriosis tissue/cysts, untangled my intestines, removed my appendix, put my uterus back in place and sent me on way with Ibuprofen. I kid you not. It was THE MOST painful experience of my life. Learn from my mistakes and check your prescriptions before leaving the hospital :)

Post-op - my Doctor told me there was “no cure” for Endo. An IUD was given to me to “slow” the spread of the condition. Multiple doctors told me there was no “proven diet” that worked for Endo, even when I came to them in tears.

I was 24 years old at the time. The second that my doctor told me there was no cure was also the second that I decided I was NOT going to be sick for the rest of my life.

Since surgery, I’ve spent every single month taking notes on my cycle. Documenting what works and what doesn’t in terms of food, exercise, recovery, supplements, alternative treatments etc

I will offer a series of blogs on the specifics in the future but for the purposes of this blog - I want to provide you with outlets for help.

 

The real treatment. 

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I realize that not all services will be covered by health insurance but if you can swing it, they really can help heal you. Well worth it in the long run and for your immediate sanity. Your health is your best investment!

Who to look for in your city -

  1. A doctor that combines eastern and western medicine - I personally am not a fan of birth control as “treatment.” Nutritional healing and lifestyle management has helped me more than anything. Finding a doctor that can help you on the wellness side of things will be extremely beneficial. If you are in NYC - I highly recommend Dr. Yusuf Mamdani. He’s knowledgable of Endometriosis and takes a holistic approach to healing. Ask him questions! He likes to teach.

  2. A Nutritionist - Due to the stress, medications and hormone fluctuations that come with Endometriosis - accompanying digestive issues are very common. Look for a good nutritionist that focuses on gut health as well as hormone-healthy diets. Your weight should not be the first focus here. Healing your insides should.

  3. A Soft Tissue Specialist - Look for specialists in your area that offer medical massages and/or lymphatic drainage massages. Releasing tight muscles and scar tissue from your cycles/surgeries will offer immediate relief. If you are in NYC, reach out to Fitness360. They have a specific approach to soft tissue treatment for Endometriosis and will show you self-care techniques as well.

  4. Pelvic Floor Therapy - Pelvic floor therapy focuses on relaxation and strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles, which tend to get weak/tight as we “move away” from the pain that Endo causes (think back pain, uncontrollable bladder / bowel movements etc). A good massage therapist may offer this treatment or they can probably refer you to someone who does.

  5. Mental Wellness - Meditation, therapy, Reiki, acupuncture and/or acupressure etc — anything to improve your energy and relax you. One of the biggest triggers for Endo flareups is STRESS. Learning how to manage that is key.

Stay tuned for Endo-specific approaches to diet, exercise and recovery.

 

If you’d like one-on-one coaching or have specific questions about your condition, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact me.

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3 Steps to Healthier Eating, Without Tracking Macros

Today I hit my macros perfectly. Im good, right? 

Not necessarily.

What if you were extra active today? What if you were so stressed that your stomach locked up, and therefore couldn’t digest food properly? What if you filled your carb intake with food sources that don’t sit well with your body, just to hit that number? What if you don’t even need that many carbs?

When focusing on numbers, it is easy to neglect HOW you’re actually feeling. 

I asked many of you why you track macros. The common responses were to make sure you don’t over or under-eat, to avoid eating junk food, for accountability and because you don’t trust yourself to eat “intuitively.”

I want to start by saying it is OKAY to track macros. They can be very effective. But it is not the only way.

Here are 3 easy steps to eat for your goals, without the numbers:  

Step One: Create an ingredients log

Do you feel amazing after getting healthy carbs into your system? Are you tired after having a large portion of meat? Do you have no idea how you feel because you’ve been paying attention to numbers rather than the foods that make up those numbers?

Instead of logging “55g” of post-workout carbs into your My Fitness Pal - write down WHAT you ate, ingredient by ingredient. Keep a note in your phone. Write it in a journal. Ignore those “goal numbers” for a week. 

Logging your ingredients will make you more aware of what you’re putting in your body (i.e. real food vs. "junk") and it will provide a record to look back on when you need to tweak things for your goals AND to feel better.

Step Two: Aim for energy balance

If you eat your post-workout meal and find yourself hungry or tired, you probably need a little more. If you eat and are so stuffed that you want to lay down - you probably need a little bit less or a change of ingredients. 

Meals should leave you feeling satisfied and energized

Not sure where to begin? Start with balanced meals. This means each snack or meal should include a healthy carb, fat and protein. THEN you adjust. If you notice you often crash in the afternoon for example, adjust your intake in the meal prior to “crash time” so that you stay satiated. If you wake up starving every morning, you may need to make your dinners a bit heartier. 

When you aim to FEEL good throughout the day - your body will work optimally and all of those physique goals will fall into place.

Step Three: Tweak your portions

Tracking macros is not the only way to control portions for your weight loss or weight gain goals. In fact, you can hit your numbers “perfectly” and still not achieve them. Why? Because macros don’t account for lazy days, stressful days, hormonal fluctuations, illnesses etc.

If logging numbers becomes overwhelming, tiresome or simply stops working - try planning meals based on portion sizes that your body can digest well

Portioning is as easy as a “palm sized” piece of chicken breast, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a fist size serving of sweet potato etc (see image for examples). 

(Image via  Precision Nutrition )

Know that portioning is a starting point from which you can adjust to your specific needs, digestive limitations and/or goals. Also know that it is completely normal to not need the same intake every single day. That is where listening to your body comes into play.

If you notice your body slipping from your physique goals, your energy dipping, or your digestion suffering - tweaking “macros” is as simple as taking away or doubling that tablespoon of peanut butter. 

Don't over-think it. Your body knows :)

Need one-on-one help? Book your consultation.

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3 Non-Food Factors that Could be Affecting your Digestion

Oftentimes, when we experience digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, pain etc - our immediate reaction is to cut foods out. And while food could very well be an issue, proper digestive function isn’t solely based on what you’re putting IN your body. How you treat your body, how you recover, and how you respond to day-to-day events ALL play a role.

Here are 3 factors that can make or break your digestion-

BREATHING

Ever realized how great digestion feels when you’re on vacation, regardless of what you eat? Or how “backed up” you may feel on a daily basis at work? This is because how we move and feel throughout the day has a huge impact on how our bodies function.

Feeling stressed about a certain task, running late or even heavy summer air can all trigger shallow breathing patterns (think chest or trap breathes versus deep belly breaths). This shallow breathing cuts the oxygen supply to your body, which can lead to tight muscles and “stuck” digestion. 

Make a conscious effort to reset your breathing patterns throughout the day by focusing on deep, diaphragm breaths. Do this buy slowly exhaling all the way out, pausing until your body tells you “I need a breath,” and then slowing taking a deep breathe in through the pit of your abdomen. Try this for 2 minutes every time to you catch yourself tensing up.

SLEEP

 Have you felt “hung over” from a lack of sleep? (i.e. bloating, headaches, cravings) Do your new digestive issues coincide with your new crazy schedule? 

It is common to have irregular bowel movements, slower digestion, and/or changes in appetite when your sleep schedule takes a hit. Why? Our hormones, livers, muscle tissue and digestive systems all reset and repair at night with adequate amounts of GOOD sleep. For most people, 7-8 hours is adequate. However, for those who are consistently stressed, you probably need more. 

* Trouble falling asleep? Put sleep in your calendar and turn off all stimulants prior to bedtime. That means no screens (phone, TV, laptop etc) in the hour or two before bed so that your mind can calm down with your tired body. 

* Trouble staying asleep? Practice the breathing patterns stated above. Listen to calming music. Make sure you’re eating enough before bed so that your body can relax and reset. Going to bed hungry can actually work against you.

* Not enough time? If getting 7 hours of sleep is 100% not doable because of your schedule, try fasting in the morning for better digestion. Fasting (or having just liquids) until your body feels ready for food and bowel movements feel regular will give your digestive system more reset time. Breakfast IS important, however over-stuffing your body with food first thing in the morning will work against you IF your body is not ready for it.

STRESS

We all know stress is unhealthy. In fact, it really deserves its own blog series. For the purposes of digestion however, we will focus on keeping our bodies in the parasympathetic state, also known as “rest and digest.” 

When stressful situations occur, or more commonly- we REACT in a stressed manner, our bodies jump to a sympathetic state known as “fight or flight.” Short term, the rush we get from being in this “fight or flight” mode is okay. Long term, our body prioritizes its energy towards that adrenaline rush (think increased heart rate, tunnel vision, heightened senses) and takes its energy away from our normal bodily functions such as growth, recovery and DIGESTION.

Stress will probably always be there in one way or another. However, learning how to respond to things makes it more manageable AND having different methods of de-stressing is crucial. Actively work to relax yourself (mind and body) DAILY. Repeat breathing exercises (see a pattern?), get up and move, read a good book, pick up a hobby, spend time with people who make you feel GOOD.

For one on one coaching, book your consultation . 

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Let's Do This

Who am I? 

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Anne Evans Cody.

28 years old.

Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach.

I live and work in NYC and am an online trainer and wellness coach

My focus is whole healing. I work with clients to start on the inside and work our way out. 

My goal is not to keep clients forever. It’s not to be a social media celebrity. It's not to “make it” online and have no life in person. It's to use the voice that I have to reach y’all. It's to preach REAL health. Realistic health. Health goals that are attainable - that won’t seem overwhelming or discouraging. I want y’all to see that you can start over any day, any time, and move happily, in your purpose. I want you to see that that is a choice.

Many of my Instagram followers associate me with Gut Health, Endometriosis, and being a Boss B*tch LOL. I won’t argue with any of that :)

I do address gut health with all of my clients and believe that it’s at the forefront of many other health issues. I talk about Endo because we need to talk about it, not because I’m complaining about my particular experience with it. The more we talk about it - the more we learn AND heal from it. And I am a boss. I run my own business and take care of myself. I want all women to live in that same boss lady mindset. We are powerful !

My goal with this blog is to provide tips to better your over-all health. Tips that you can do on your own, in the comfort of your own home. Tips that add up to true healing. We live in a society that pushes medications to band-aid issues, encourages excessive exercise and dieting, and promotes unrealistic expectations of what healthy bodies are. As a result, anxiety, gut issues, hormonal conditions, acne, headaches, weight fluctuations and chronic pain are common and “normal”. 

As someone with a chronic condition (Endometriosis) and years of gut issues under her belt, I am here to tell you that you CAN get better. Don’t fall victim to what’s “normal.” DECIDE to be better and do better. 

Lets do this.

XX

Anne Evans Cody

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