Viewing entries tagged
burnout

How my pursuit of "perfection" led me to burnout

The question frequently asked of me: How does one become an expert in stress and adrenal fatigue? My answer: go through burnout twice and get mentored by the leading expert in Adrenal Fatigue, Dr. James L. Wilson.

Did you catch that? Twice. I suffered through a burnout TWICE.

You would think I would figure out what went wrong in my health and not do that again, right? That seems reasonable for sure; however, my burnouts were a result of two completely different circumstances.

Something to note: it’s not unusual to hear from my clients suffering through burnout for a second time; they slowly slid back into a lifestyle that resulted in the first burnout and leads to a second episode.

That isn’t necessarily my story, but I do find my story to be the same story of most women. I was striving for perfection.

My first burnout (and the focus of this blog post) was a result of over-exercising and under-eating. After going on birth control in 1999, I struggled with maintaining a healthy weight. I decided to stop taking the pill in 2000 after suffering debilitating migraines. I had never experienced headaches of this magnitude before and the pill was really the only thing that had changed in my life that could be leading to severe headaches. After I stopped the pill, the weight continued to be difficult to manage.

Add in getting pregnant and birthing three children in 5 years and weight loss seemed elusive. I tried everything under the sun to lose weight: fasting, Weight Watchers, juice cleanses, Isagenix, South Beach, Atkins, low fat- low calorie, Nutrisystem, diet pills. Everything.

In 2012, I went all in. Whatever it took, I would do. I sought coaching from a former physique competitor and began heavy weight training. I also added in a ton of cardio. I woke up at 2:30 AM to get to the gym at 3. I trained with weights for an hour and then did an hour of cardio.

I would go to work, come home and go for a 3-5 mile run. Sometimes I would play an exercise video on my laptop during my lunch hour and workout in the warehouse at my office.

I kept my calories around 1,200 most days and focused on consuming all the protein. I had two protein shakes a day. I was severely under-eating for the amount of activity I had each day. I became orthorexic. I measured and journaled each morsel. If I ate something that wasn’t “clean”, I added in extra exercise. I felt shame and guilt for not being “perfect”.

This went on for 1 ½ years. During this time, I went through a divorce, became a single mom, switched from a part-time photographer to a full-time business development manager that traveled, got into another relationship that was unhealthy, and now had this obsessive “fitlife”.

I had lost 40 pounds and was the leanest I had ever been since high school. To society, I looked perfect. I never saw it. I was so critical of myself. I was addicted to the creation of my “perfect” body. I yearned for better and continued to drive myself until I hit the wall. In 2014, I got so sick that I was out of work for close to three weeks.

Almost every infection possible had hit me at once (sinus, double ear, upper respiratory, urinary tract, and eye). I went through multiple rounds of antibiotics to recover. I was left weak, fatigued, and lethargic.

The ironic part? I was working with THE leading stress and Adrenal Fatigue expert, Dr. James L. Wilson. In fact, my job was to train and educate practitioners that were treating their patients for symptoms of stress that led to Adrenal Fatigue. I knew what led to Adrenal Fatigue and burnout. I taught medical practitioners how to treat their patients. I had the tools and education. But I didn’t live it. I thought I was living the healthy life!

I exercised. I ate clean. I took my supplements. But it was excessive. There was no rest. No grace for myself. No room to be gentle. Rest days were only for those who didn’t want it enough.

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The Road to Recovery

This incident of burnout led me to an entire new life and perspective of wellness. Dr. Wilson helped guide me back to a path to healing and health. I found out my hormones were a mess, my cortisol levels were completely opposite of what they should be, and I had some severe vitamin deficiencies. As I researched my way to recovery, I took my mentoring and education to heart. It lit a fire deep within me to teach other women how to avoid burnout and pursue recovery.

I had already begun coaching women on a weight loss journey, but I changed the way I coached my clients after my burnout because I realized I was leading women toward the same disaster I had just gone through myself. And so many other coaches have been doing the same!

We have women chasing this “ideal” and compromising their health in doing so. I have made it my personal mission to offer a comprehensive and holistic approach to prevent and recover from burnout. It’s not enough to give a client a meal and exercise plan; we must address the emotional, lifestyle, and nutritional changes that need to take place for sustainable results.

The effects of stress on the body are of enormous proportion. When a stress response is kicked on (and stays on in times of chronic stress), EVERYTHING is affected: hormones, blood sugar, digestive system, brain cognition, immune system, tissue health.

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Adrenal Fatigue doesn't have to be permanent.

Adrenal Fatigue is completely preventable when you are intentional towards a holistic approach to health. Stress is a choice, burnout is a result.

If you think you may be suffering from burnout, click the button to download “5 SIGNS OF BURNOUT” to understand the symptoms and steps needed to promote recovery.

What questions do YOU have about adrenal fatigue? Let me know in the comments!

How burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating

How burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating

Today I'm going to share how burnout can be caused by over exercising and under eating. I'm going to be sharing my personal story of how I experienced my first burnout and that's right, I said my first burn out because there were actually two separate instances, both completely different circumstances of me burning out. But today we're going to focus on over-exercising and under-eating and what that looks like to your health.

As a certified wellness coach, I help high achieving women increase their network, both financially and relationally by beating burnout and revitalizing their health and I having a personal experience of burning out by going after that “ideal body”, you know, that slim perfect figure where there are no bumps, nothing's poking out. Everything is exactly where it should be. You are perky and you are tight and you are super fit and lean, right? There is no wiggle and no jiggle. Is that what we're all going for is? Does that sound a little familiar to you?

I was going after that ideal body and after years and years of fighting with my weight, and it actually all started when I went on the birth control pill in 1999. After that my body was just no longer my own. I had no control, or so I thought, of what my body was doing, and I basically played the weight game from then until 2012. In 2012 I had had enough, I had had three kids, I was not planning to have any more kids. And I said this is the time for me to just basically reinvent myself, and I am taking charge of me and my health by focusing in on my weight, and I'm going after that very ideal, fit, Barbie-esque type shape. So, what did that look like? I threw everything of who I was into working out. I was working out morning and night. I was waking up at two thirty in the morning to get to the gym by three o'clock in the morning. I was doing a little bit of cardio before weights, an hour of weight training and then another hour of cardio when I was done weight training. And then in the evening, I was doing more. Sometimes I went for a 3-5 mile run and sometimes I did a cardio type of workout video.

But often times it was more weight training with a run. That can only be sustained for so long. Basically, I started hitting a wall. I was definitely losing weight. My shape was definitely changing. I had gotten to the leanest that I had ever been. But here's the thing, I technically “looked the best” according to society but I felt the worst that I ever had, and it was awful.

I had also gone through a separation and divorce in 2012-2013. I had gone from being a stay at home mom with a successful photography business that I had on the side to being a single mom and being thrust into the workforce. I got a job working full time for a nutritional supplement company and I had also dove right into a terrible relationship. I don't recommend that by the way. Going through a divorce, becoming a single mom, going to work full time, having a terrible relationship, and then coupling that with insane exercise and under eating led to my first burnout.

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Recipe for disaster

I was so hyper-focused on what I was eating. I was eating a high protein, low carb, zero fat diet, and that just does not allow for any energy to be produced whatsoever. I was getting sick all the time. I was irritable, I was cranky, I wasn't sleeping well, and I wasn't performing well at work. I was struggling with mental fogginess, I wasn't thinking straight, I was forgetting things, and that's just not who I was. It was kind of freaking me out a little bit about what I was becoming. Then what I was also dealing with was sickness, chronic sickness; I was getting colds over and over and over, it was taking so long to get over them, and then finally in 2014 I had a prolonged sickness that kept me home for nearly three weeks!! At that time I had to pause and ask myself “what am I doing in my life that's causing all of this sickness and this fatigue in this overall exhaustion?”. I realized that I was not the mom that I want to be at all, I was not the employee that I want to be. I was still trying to run a coaching business on the side while still doing some photography, that was just a recipe for disaster. I was juggling everything and striving to do more.

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So, I had to literally take a step back, look at my schedule and see what needs to go, what needed to be removed. The very first thing that I let go of was the exercise and the under-eating. I also happened to be working for the foremost expert in adrenal fatigue. And so through my education and my training and working with Dr. Wilson, the reality hit me- I was basically burnt out. I had adrenal fatigue, I had run a cortisol panel to check my hormones to see where they were; and let me tell you, that was a hot mess. What is considered normal was nowhere near where I was at all. So, I took a six month break from any exercise whatsoever, basically, the only exercise that I was doing was pretty much walking the dog. Once in awhile I did some yoga, but other than that there was nothing else. I definitely got rid of the terrible relationship because that wasn't serving me well at all. I decided to just focus in on myself and being the best me that I could be and that started with eating properly.

There is currently an overabundance of people that are scared of carbs right now. When you are burnt out it is essential that you have carbs and fat along with protein in your diet for energy production and healthy hormone conversion.

Your body simply can not create energy if you are missing key nutrients that come from carbohydrates and fats and proteins. So, if you're omitting any of that let me just warn you right now to maybe consider taking a look at your diet. If you are struggling with burnout, chances are that your diet could have a huge impact on your recovery.

So, in time, between working with Dr. Wilson, working with some other practitioners to help me get back on track, and really becoming okay with the way that my body looks (and I won't lie that was a huge work), I began working towards my recovery. I had to work on my mindset, leaving behind the thoughts telling me I was failing because everything in society is saying, if you don't look a certain way then you are not worthy. That's a hard thing to change when you've been hearing, believing, or thinking that for so many years.

What I realized is that my overall outlook on my health will impact my future generations. I have a daughter, what was the example that I was setting for her by being hyper-focused on an ideal body image for me? I don’t want her to have a distorted image of health and think her worth is tied to her appearance.

For the past four years I zeroed in on what healthy looks like for me and learned what I need to do to avoid burnout. That's been trial and error. It's a practice, you never “arrive”. Some days are better than others. I pay attention to what is going on during my current season.

But what I do know is this… as we search for an ideal body and we do things that are more detrimental to get to it, it's not going to pay off in the long run. I'm going to be sharing my story in another post with the details of my second burnout that was totally different; you'll see why when when I share that with you. Today I really just wanted to focus on burn out that is a result of over-exercising and under-eating; you can recover, but it does take some intention in how you treat your body and how you feed your body.

Do you want to learn more? Check out my interview for the FitFluential Radio Podcast : https://fitfluential.com/from-adrenal-burnout-to-stress-expert/

Think you might be experiencing burnout? Download the “5 Signs Of Burnout” information guide to find out if you are burning out and what your next steps should be.




5 Ways to Prevent Burnout

5 Ways to Prevent Burnout

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Work-related stress is at an all time high and progressing steadily. It has been estimated that 75-90% of patient visits to primary care practitioners are due to stress-related illness.* Stress and busy have become synonymous; while being touted as a badge of honor.

We have become a society that is always connected to technology, never taking a break for fear of missing out on something (FOMO anyone?). We have businesses to build, sales to make and connections to create. Who has time to stop and relax? The ironic part is that without the rest, our best efforts are ineffectual.

Stress causes fatigue, sleeplessness or over-sleeping, feelings of lethargy and depression, weight gain, headaches, muscle pain, digestive issues, low libido, increasing symptoms of PMS and menopause, irritability, poor skin and tissue health, hormone imbalance, chronic sickness, and the list goes on and on.

So if a person is suffering from these symptoms and has an inability to manage stress, how effective can they be in their daily work? We simply can’t do the great work we are passionate about when we feel terrible every single day. The question then becomes, how do we manage stress and prevent ourselves from burnout so that we can continue to build business and increase success?

Here are five strategies that will get you on the right track:

1. Have a plan

Most people that struggle with feelings of overwhelm and stress don’t necessarily have a plan of action on how they will tackle the day. We may stroll into the office and get sucked into the email matrix for hours on end, responding to email, sending email, reading more email, responding and sending a bit more. Instead of doing the deep work that moves the needle in their business, we become daily email managers. When working without a plan of action, it’s easy at the end of the day to wonder what in the world we accomplished. The best sales reps have a distinct plan each day. They know who they are talking to and the purpose of the conversation. There are outcomes from each activity that will lead to achieving goals. To manage your day, use these tips to create a plan that will have you working with purpose.

  • Work with intention

  • Use a calendar or planner to stay on target for the day, week, month, and year

  • Work with an objective in mind

  • Plan each quarter backwards from your goals.

2. Prioritize your to-do list

It’s very easy (and normal) to brain dump all of the things we need to do each day and week on a list and hope for the best when it comes to accomplishing the tasks we listed. When the list is arbitrary and without focus, it’s hard to feel productive and easy to feel pressured. In order to conquer the overwhelm, start with three tasks on the list that you feel will push your business and success forward, rather than simply “busy work”.  Getting caught in the paperwork matrix distracts us from the deep work that generates revenue. While I could organize my desk over and over or arrange files and pens (ROYGBIV is how I roll), it doesn’t replace the activity of actually getting on the phone to talk to prospects or creating content for my programs. After I prioritize my to-do list, I use these prompts to move forward:

  • How much time is needed (realistically) to complete the task?

  • Add the task with the given time to my daily schedule to make sure that I have the dedicated time per task.

  • Focus on one task at a time (no multitasking) to maximize my attention and effort. The best work comes when the distractions are minimal.

3. Delegate

As a first-born, I have held onto my responsibilities in a very serious way. Because let’s be honest, nobody can do things the way I can do them. I take pride in my work, I am very detailed and thorough. It just never occurred to me that someone else could help ease my burden. At the same time, I have felt resentful that I am doing all of the work. While in college, being assigned to a group was a nightmare for me. I loved being in charge and I took on way too much because I couldn’t leave my grade in the hands of a stranger. Then I would be stressed out because I had so much to do. Change the scenario to marriage & family. I relish the systems I have in place and border insanity if someone in my family veers off from the way I do things. I want my kids to put the clean sheets on their beds; yet, when the bed covers aren’t as taught as I like them, I have to fight the urge to re-make the bed! Friends, if you are nodding your head right now in understanding, here is some sage advice. STOP IT. Seriously, save yourself from unnecessary anguish. There are people who love you and want to see you succeed; they want to help you in any way they can. Let them help and feel the burden of your tasks lighten.

  • Ask for help (and let out a sigh of relief)

  • Work in your strengths- these are things you should hang on to! This is your voice and your addition to your work

  • Pass things on which don’t require you personally to be accomplished-these are things that aren’t necessarily your strengths and can be better handled by someone else.

4. Manage your health

This is the part that most business people push to the back burner, especially if you are pretty healthy to begin with. When we get busy and put our heads down in our work, the last thing we think about is how much exercise we can get in and how many whole food meals we can consume. Yet, this is the part of our life that we should take the MOST serious. I have seen way too many executives that are on the verge of burnout because health has just not been the priority. Success is on the rise, so we continue to push harder towards greater success. Or maybe the numbers are not in alignment with the goals, so we drive ourselves to do more. We start work earlier and stop later. We start losing sleep, become dependent on caffeine and sugar to keep ourselves awake, eat food on the go and at our desk or in our cars. It doesn’t take long to feel the energy drain and the chronic fatigue to kick into high gear. What you may not be considering when you tell your health to please hold, is that your health is what drives success. If you feel terrible, you can’t possibly do quality work. You don't think clearly, you don’t have the extra drive to give when it matters, you miss details, you aren’t prepared or organized. You allow the competitor to have an edge because you are not at your best. To prevent the burnout, health must take priority. The good news is that wellness doesn’t have to be complicated:

  • Plan exercise at least three times a week (do anything you enjoy)

  • Plan your meals ahead of time-minimize sugar and processed foods

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night

  • Schedule your wellness exams each year

  • Write in a gratitude journal each day, highlight things from your day that you are thankful for or which brought you joy.

5. Rest and Restore

Rest is necessary to recover and revitalize. Planning rest time is just as important as planning your time to prospect. Make time in your calendar each week to do absolutely nothing that resembles “work”.  How each of us experiences rest will differ so try out new things and see how you feel. Some people love tackling home projects while others like to be outdoors to experience nature. Try these on for size to recover during your week:

  • Read a book

  • Work on your hobby

  • Take a walk, a nap or a bath

  • Have lunch with a mentor

  • Take a day trip or plan a long weekend

Grasping these five points will give you stronger business acumen and push burnout to the outer edges. Let’s take charge of our success by managing our stress and letting go of the standards that society says we must have in order to gain success.

If you want to take your business to the next level, then you need to join the waitlist for my program Revitalized Wellness. I give you the roadmap to avoid burnout, increase energy, feel revitalized and increase your productivity. Join the waitlist here



 

How Exercise Caused My Burnout

How Exercise Caused My Burnout

Exercise is a good thing, right? It's supposed to make you healthier, no? Doesn't it build muscle and strong bones? It improves cardiovascular health, right? The obvious answer to those questions is a resounding YES! But...

There is a "But" in there? Yep.