Faith

Healing Adrenal Fatigue {A FRESH Look}

Introducing our guest blogger from the archives, Laura Williams, one of our beautiful alum of the FRESH Start Coaching Academy!

Laura is sharing her personal journey with how she is healing Adrenal Fatigue naturally. She resides in Alaska with her family and LOTS of natural beauty all around her. Please enjoy a little of her story today and then pass on the article...this story is going to help someone suffering from adrenal fatigue today!

Here's what she writes:

Even though she resides in Alaska, Laura and Coach Bess got to meet in person a few years ago! 

Even though she resides in Alaska, Laura and Coach Bess got to meet in person a few years ago! 

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”                                                           - Matthew 11:28 (NASV)

With everything that is going on in the world around us today, it is hard to keep up.  We put so many unrealistic expectations on ourselves and our time.  By the time we get through the day we are exhausted from working, taking care of kids, preparing meals, laundry, cleaning the house, carpool, after school activities, homework, and church activities. 

This doesn’t even include the time we take for ourselves in prayer, meditation, bible reading, and exercise.  If you are like I used to be, most nights you fall into bed so weary that you don’t know how you will get up the next morning.  And then you can’t sleep…

A little about adrenal fatigue…

The adrenal glands sit at the top of your kidneys and are responsible for releasing hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline) in response to stress.  Cortisol influences many functions in our body such as regulation of blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and immune response.

During normal function our adrenals have their own “circadian rhythm” which gives us the highest cortisol levels at around 8am and the lowest at 4am. In times of increased stress our cortisol levels are at their highest and should return to normal once the stress has passed. With today’s current lifestyle many times this doesn’t happen and eventually the adrenal function is disrupted.

I was diagnosed with adrenal disruption almost three years ago and then adrenal fatigue two years ago. 

Some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

Feeling tired all day, not wanting to wake up in the morning even when you got a good night’s sleep, being wide awake after 6pm and not being able to fall asleep, craving salty and sweet snacks, crashing in the afternoon (mine was at 3pm) and not being able to function without a nap or high amounts of caffeine. 

I was demonstrating all of the above symptoms. 

Barely making it thru the day, I would come home and take a nap before I could make dinner. After dinner it was all I could do to sit on the couch and watch TV with my family. 

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I remember being so hard on myself that I didn’t have the energy to get up and play with my children. 

I would often go up in my room and cry because I felt like I was such a bad mom to them. This made my resolve even stronger to get better so that I could be the mom my children deserved.

My journey to get healthy has not been easy.

God really had to get a hold of me about some things in my life. I feel like I was battling for my health on two fronts, both spiritual and physical. I had to learn to control myself and my eating habits as well as give God complete control of my life.

Before this time I would get up with a start in the morning and immediately be organizing my day in my mind. I would rush through my shower and spend my perfunctory time with God so I could check that off my to-do list each day. I realized this had to change. I started taking my thyroid medication (I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) first thing in the morning while I was still in bed and then I would then lay in bed meditate on God’s Word. 

I would speak scriptures in to my life about health.

One of my favorites was Isaiah 40: 29-31 which says,

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

This 10-15 minutes of time has become the most important time in my day.  God also spoke to me about how I had been dealing with things. 

I tend to be one of those people who wants to control everything in my life. (Can anyone relate?) I make lists, organize, and structured my day in hour by hour increments. The problem is, if things don’t go according to that plan, I would stress so badly and it would throw me completely off. 

Even though I thought I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do I realized that I left no time for Him to lead me during the day. There was no time to just sit and ponder a beautiful sunset or to help someone He put in my path. Once I learned to give God complete control I realized that I didn’t have to react when things didn’t happen as planned. This one concept has freed me more than any other that I have learned. By not being in a constant state of stress I was finally able to begin to heal.

The other thing I learned during this time was how important diet was in adrenal health.

To help correct this condition as naturally as possible, I began starting the day by taking a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Some people put it in a glass of water and add honey and cinnamon. I personally like the taste of vinegar and can drink it straight. ACV helps regulated blood sugar and helps restore premium stomach acid levels for proper digestion. 

My circadian rhythm was way off so I needed to help get my body back on track. I cut way down on my caffeine intake. I started taking methyl-B12 in the morning to “perk” myself up naturally. This really helped me during the day.

Falling asleep in the evening was difficult too, so I started taking “Natural Calm”, which is a magnesium drink, about an hour before bedtime.  Magnesium is such an important mineral that many people are deficient in.

It helps regulate blood sugar, bowel movements, and decreases our anxiety towards stress. It also calms us so we can sleep better. Natural ways to increase magnesium are by eating seaweed, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and almond butter. In addition to these supplements I started eating better and decreased my intake of sugar, which can inhibit proper adrenal function.

I found that it is important when trying to heal adrenals is to not overdo it with the exercise. 

High intensity exercise is a problem because this puts even more stress on your adrenals. Taking the time to go for a nice easy walk and enjoy the scenery does wonders for your outlook on life. During my year-long healing I stopped making exercise another thing on my to-do list and started enjoying the beauty that God has placed around me.

I want to warn and reassure you that healing from adrenal fatigue is a lengthy process. I did not see big changes in how I was feeling overnight. It took me a full year to begin to feel normal again. But during that year God did an amazing work on me and my heart.

Since joining the FRESH Start Community I have been able to heal even more. Doing the FRESH Start 14-Day and 28-Day Challenges have really helped me stay on track in my eating, thinking, and get back in to more faithful exercise. 

Renewing Our Minds to Renew Our Bodies

Have you ever noticed that when you "change your mind" about something limiting or negative in your life, that it paves the way for your body and health to reflect that?

That's what I'm going to be sharing with you over the next couple of upcoming weeks here on the FRESH Start principle of Renewing Our Minds to Renew Our Bodies!

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So many of us have discovered {just as many authorities and professionals in the medical field have proven recently} that the roots of our healthy or unhealthy habits truly begin in the mind.

Is renewing our minds really important?

This month I’m sharing what has worked for me and for dozens of readers who’ve taken my workbook Fresh Start for Health to heart. Small groups across the United States are meeting together, some in Churches, some in community groups, working through each page and forming new healthy lifestyles as a result.

These principles may be ones you’ve heard in other places before but so many of you have shared that you hadn’t thought of applying them to your health!

The truth is that the power of the Holy Spirit combined with the promises of God’s Word in our lives is tremendous! We have the need for God to transform our lives right from the heart and then outward into the rest of our lives and habits.

This principle is the way to unleash the power of God in our lives & minds and as a result, see real change take place in our habits!
— Coach Bess

Watch this short video, where I’m sharing from my heart on this principle, as well as about my own experience of breaking free from old ways of thinking. 

Today…STEP ONE on the pathway to Renewing our Minds

As we delve into this topic it’s important to me that we recognize the basis for our ever renewing pathway to change. After a twisting-turning journey through recovering from a rough past including childhood abuse, healing from a limiting fundamentalist religious perspective, and then through serious health conditions, I’ve found that pure truth based on God’s Word is the only effective foundation.

Step One is to start here, with Ephesians 4:22-24. The entire passage is powerful. But the key point is this: “Strip yourselves of your former nature …be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind! Put on the NEW nature, the regenerated self!”

And Psalm 51:10 expands on that when David asks God for a new heart! Think of that! The ability of the God of the Universe to implant in us a new, pure, right-thinking-and-feeling heart!

We should start renewing our minds in our brokenness!

The bottom line is that God can begin to renew our mind when we come to him aware of our brokenness, lack of balance and great need for His power! Even after we’ve been walking in freedom and healing, sometimes we still find ourselves calling on Him to heal us.

This renewing process is a lifelong process of giving over our own thinking and accepting His Scriptural truth in its place.

My heart for you is that you’ll find renewed hope and deep healing in a new way.

And a boost on your own individual path to an ever-deeper walk with Christ…one in which you are free from past hurtful and harmful thinking patterns. Join us here on the blog in the upcoming weeks for new installments in our RENEWING YOUR MIND vlogging series! 

It is only as we allow our thinking and feeling to be totally transformed that the changes we make in our behavior—our eating, moving and other healthy habits—will begin to stick and become true lifestyle changes!
— Coach Bess

I’m so excited that you’re here… and hungry for deeper, long-lasting change. Come share your journey with me on my FRESH Start for Health FB Page or in our free Fresh Start Online Community group. It's a warm, loving group and we'd love to have you share about your own victories and struggles with renewing your mind. I’d love to share encouragement and hope with you personally!

Resources & Healthy Living Tools

As I share deeply this month on renewing our minds from my experience & research shared in the Fresh Start for Health workbook, I wanted to be sure that you knew how to get your own copy. Get your very own copy of the workbook on our Fresh Start STORE page…where you can purchase an e-book version for instant access or order a printed version to be mailed to your home! There are worksheets in each chapter that are perfect for individual study or small group discussion as well!

Please Contact us here at Fresh Start if you have any questions about the workbook, our coaching services or bringing these powerful principles to a church or community group near you!

When Someone You Know is Grieving

Lately, so many precious hearts in my circle have been dealt painful, hard blows from life.

Whether it be fate, God's will, or pure chance matters not. The hardship, the loss exists. The grief, the heartache over it... the questions of why or how could this happen...the recovery (ooohhh how HARD is that word?!) as life must go on...yes, life does go on.

Whether it be death, illness, tremendous loss, betrayal, or heartbreak that has occurred...these precious hearts have to keep living.

And then, due to the intimacy that Facebook and other social media has created...due to the inevitable "touching" of our souls through the internet's waves...we are faced with the choice of reaching out, of saying something (but what to say? are words even GOOD enough?) and the choice of shrinking back behind the screen, in shock and horror of the levity of the blow they have been dealt! We are faced with the terrible situation of observing their experience from across the miles … and now, touching their pain.

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What have you done when this has happened? Do you find yourself in the same dilemma I have over and over?

Do I reach out and say something (though it could sound horribly trite!) and express the tears welling up in my eyes even as I read of their painful event? Do I quickly scroll past their post...reading on again to help avoid it and soften it and cover the initial shock with cute cat pics and funny FB memes?

This post is NOT a condemnation if you have scrolled past, neither a how-to for those of us still struggling over how to be a "friend" to those in hurt...

This is merely a post of my heart's grieving whisper out loud. I was pondering on this as a dear friend expressed earlier that today was her son's one-year anniversary of his passing...her beloved, adult, ONLY son. And as she expressed herself so authentically, so honestly she exposed her pain and grief, I was moved to tears - shaking, cleansing tears.

Because I cannot even imagine loss like that.

Then, I was moved to post a "hopefully comforting comment"  on her post...but that same, negative, nagging voice whispered...but what if you say the "wrong thing" to her...what if you comment and it only causes more pain? Or you sound stupid? Yada yada...the doubts went on.

Then I remembered a day in late June of 2000 - a hot and sticky summer day, when Juan and I were trembling and tears were streaming down our faces...we kissed her soft, fuzzy head and nuzzled her cheeks for the first and the last time...we tried to memorize the way her hands looked, so tiny yet so perfectly formed....we held her, even after her first squeak and last breath...and then, with gently nudging from the wise nurses, we reluctantly passed her wrapped, still body to them to be taken away.

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I had just birthed, and then we held her while she died, our first daughter, Sela. And then we went home. Home alone. The still, too quiet house where we laid in bed and I sobbed while he held me and stroked my hair. Home, where I was supposed to bring her. Home, to cook and clean and live like my baby, my daughter wasn't lying still and cold in the morgue. Home, where my milk came in and my breasts swelled and I couldn't suckle the baby my body was trying to feed.

And people said things.

Some said kind, thoughtful things. Some just cried with me and couldn't find "words" but spoke anyway. Some said thoughtless, sharp things better left unsaid, no matter the good intentions.

But I remember feeling that those who "said something" were still welcomed by my grieving heart...and that it made us human together. That they were trying (feebly though it may have been at times!) to feel with Juan and I...to be there.

They were sharing in our grief by entering it with us.

So this post is to encourage you...that when someone in your life is hurting, grieving, in pain...enter their space. Yes, it may feel awful or be awkward (especially at first!) and you may have nagging doubts about whether or not your "words" are helpful or comforting. But, from a mom who experienced loss and grief all those years ago...I am assuring you, that when you say something from a heart of kindness and a place of grace, your words will matter. Your heart will matter.

Juan and Bess in happier moments in 2010 - a Testimony of Healing Through Loss

Juan and Bess in happier moments in 2010 - a Testimony of Healing Through Loss

If you have been struggling through something hard or have experienced loss, we want you to know that you are not alone. We support, love on and pray for each other in our FRESH Start community group (it's free) and we'd love to welcome you there. 

Books for Healthy Living (Coach Bess' Top Recommendations)

Sometimes digging into a good book resource on healthy living can be exactly what the doctor ordered!

Looking for natural answers to a chronic illness or condition? Open up ANY of Dr Mark Hyman's books, like The UltraSimple Diet or Ultraprevention or Ultrametabolism!

Need meal planning help to get the whole family on board with your healthy eating? Pick up a copy of Amy Hendel's book, The 4 Habits of Healthy Families.

Trying to break out of an eating disorder, food addiction, or shame around your weight? Grab a copy of Lose It For Life by Dr Linda Mintle & Stephen Arterburn or pick up Lysa Terkeurst's Made to Crave or Lisa Bevere's You Are Not Your Weight.

With all there is to learn on this healthy living journey, ONE book is not enough! 

Choose from the multiple books out there and available to help you add healthy living tools and strategies to your toolbox! Or to help you overcome a mental block that may be holding you back from transformation.

books for healthy living

Some more of my personal favorites are:

NUTRITION

ANY books by Joy Bauer - like...

Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition
Food Cures

Food Bible by Judith Wills

Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman

FAITH/HEALTH CONNECTION

Your Whole Life by Carole Showalter

What the Bible Says About Healthy Living
by Rex Russel

And of course, our book, the FRESH Start for Health Workbook, by yours truly, Bess Blanco, is a fabulous combination of lifestyle change help on faith, beginning fitness, food and our mindset! You can find it here on this website or by clicking HERE.

Now, remember you can add these resources to your personal library little by little or even with a visit to your local library! I've found MANY of my awesome books (and this is only the smallest sampling) at yard sales, thrift stores and on discount websites online, gently used! 

What are YOUR favorite books on healthy living? We'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments below, or share them with us in our FRESH Start Online Community on Facebook! 

Every other Tuesday, we have a LIVE chat called #LetsTalkAboutitTuesday in our free healthy living support group on Facebook, and this video above was today's chat! You should join us to catch the next one!

Enjoy this helpful video, and be sure to subscribe to the FRESH Start for Health channel on Youtube to continue getting our healthy living tips and encouragement! 

Healthy hugs and belief in YOU ~ Coach Bess

”BooksForHealthyLiving”

Encouragement for ROUGH Days

This post is from my personal archives...I'm sharing it as an encouragement for rough days - for those days when you JUST DO NOT feel good! Here's what I posted...

So many times, when we wake up feeling ugh, it can be a major factor in how our day goes…even though we KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE that the day is fluid and our feelings are fluid and we can SO MANY TIMES change the way we feel. Or just change the way we handle how we feel! We have to find encouragement for those rough days, even when it means encouraging ourselves!

Today was one of those days for me. I woke up in utter and complete full-body pain, and I didn’t want to climb out of bed – this is day 5 in a string of really super-painful days. So I laid there, talking to myself like I so often do {giggle} and I told myself, “Bess – get up, get dressed and get going – but just move a little slower and have patience with yourself. You can do this, girl!”

Then I prayed and asked God to bring relief, to bring healing to my poor little hurtin’ body.

And then I got up.

And I got dressed.

And I’m moving a little slower and *trying* to have patience with myself {and my kiddos!}

Then I realized, ok that wasn’t a bad start, but this day has a looooonnnggg way to go!

I realized that I have to speak positive, life-breathing words to myself all day to get through…
— Coach Bess

...so these are the conversations I will be having and I’m sharing them in case you know exactly what I’m talking about and could use some good comebacks to say to yourself on those days you just don’t feel good…

When you want to say, “I feel like total crap today.” Say instead “Yes, but it is only gonna get better as the day goes on – God says I am healed and whole and I WILL FEEL GREAT TODAY!”

When your mind tells you “I am STILL. SO. DANG. TIRED.” Tell it, “After I have that smoothie and get moving a little, I will wake up more and begin to FEEL REALLY GREAT TODAY!”

On the days you just feel “The pain is out of hand and I just want to cry and give up,” tell your tricky but powerful mind, “Yes, but God gives me supernatural strength JUST FOR DAYS LIKE THIS! And I can, and I will, get through it, thanks to Him and His FRESH dose of can-do! And by the time I am up and around, this will all look a little different and I will begin to FEEL REALLY GREAT TODAY!”

And for those days that are JUST. TOO. MUCH {like my day today!} and you want to believe that you just can’t do it anymore, tell yourself, “I can DO ALL THINGS through Christ Who strengthens me!” and then SHOW YOURSELF that you and God TOGETHER have got what it takes – by getting up, getting dressed and getting moving {even if it IS a little slower than normal!}

These are NOT THE DAYS to overachieve, stretch yourself or run, run, run. These are the days to maybe work a LITTLE, but REST A LOT. These are the days to linger over your coffee or tea and Scriptures that LIFT YOU UP (not the day for 1 Kings or Genesis studies ok?! LOL} and cuddles with your loves. It’s a day to do a little less laundry and a lot more giggling in bed or on the couch. It’s a day to play soft “coffeehouse style” music and watch sappy movies that leave you dreaming.

Our “ugghh” days are a sometimes-normal for many of us, living in these broken bodies that are attached to a healed promise, yet often in a “yet-to-manifest” current reality.
— Coach Bess

BUT that isn’t the end of our story! This isn’t the final chapter!

THIS IS JUST OUR “NOW.” And God’s strength is enough. Even if it doesn’t always “feel” that way! But we’ve got to remind our narrow minds that He is there, His strength is enough, and this is not the end.

I would love to hear your heart, your experience! What have you found helps you get out of bed and turn the day around on your tough days?

”ENCOURAGEMENT