Updated: Jan 27
This picture is not easy for me to share...
Finding this picture made me want to put it right back where it was, shoved in a drawer with a bunch of other papers and stuff I haven't gone through in years. I took a few moments to look at it though, to remember where I was then and where I am now.
<<< Flashback to June of 2010. This is me in a taxicab in NYC on my way to see the construction happening at Ground Zero. Nothing was hiding my cystic acne, not only was it embarrassing but it was painful.
When I was a teenager, I barely had acne. My Mom always warned me about its impending appearance, but it just never happened. It was like a rite of passage , something that happened to everyone... except me.
I figured I had been spared and that I would never have to deal with it. Flash forward about 5 years ( when that above picture was taken) in my early twenties I developed horrible cystic acne. I didn't make it any better because I would constantly pick at it till it would bleed. I would spend hours at a magnified mirror before and after work thinking if I could just get my skin clean enough, or burn the bacteria out of my skin with the hottest water or exfoliate harder it would get better.
I had been working as a Makeup Artist alongside my retail jobs and I felt like a total fraud teaching people about natural and cruelty free skin care yet, I had severe skin issues of my own. The people I worked with had results, why didn't my own advice work for me???
My skin is very fair and very sensitive. I had a horrible habit of picking at my skin. I don't claim this disorder now but there is something called dermotillamania ( yikes! Mania???) that sounds pretty close to what I had going on then. It was a vicious cycle. I would get an outbreak, I would pick, squeeze, scratch the spot, it would bleed, scab over or get infected because I was constantly messing with my face...
I was sure I would have horrible scarring that I would have to somehow figure out how to cover it up because it just never went away. I did all of the right things (on the outside). I stayed out of the sun or wore sunscreen, I used the gentlest, non toxic products. I cleansed, moisturized, exfoliated you name it... I tried everything. Again nothing worked.
What I didn't know at the time was my skin woes were due to a severely overburdened liver. The medication I had been prescribed for a condition I didn't even have ( another story for another time) were taxing my system terribly, this is how it was manifesting. Through Cystic Acne.
Okay let's Flash forward another couple of years. After a lifelong interest in natural healing and holistic methods I began researching and going to school to become a Holistic Nutritionist. I had gotten off all of my medications, improved my diet and very slowly the breakouts stopped and the scars healed. It. Was. Amazing.
There was no magic product I used either. As a matter of fact the products I used never changed, but my health and my skin did.
No lotion or cream was fixing that cystic acne problem you see up above. I had to support my body's systems from the inside out to heal this problem. If you were to look at me today, you might even think I never had acne problems, there is no redness, no scarring. The picture above is proof though that I did and it was bad and it was everywhere, not just my face but my back, my neck, my arms. My body was desperately trying to get rid of toxins.
So what did I do to achieve this transformation?
Let me begin this by saying this was absolutely not an overnight process. It took about 3 years for my skin to completely heal. I actually realize now how much I take my clear skin for granted.
Of course I still manage to find things about my face that I don't love but when I see that picture, I remember how bad it was. Trying to cover up scabs and open wounds, being frustrated with nothing working. It was a nightmare. but I am proof that skin issues can heal. You have to be willing to put in the effort though, and at times it is hard.
I had done all of the "on the surface" things I could do. I had to start focusing on the inside. In all aspects, not just eating better, but nurturing my soul and mind.
I am sharing this with you so you can see the basic steps I took using a Holistic approach.
The difference with what I did was seeing myself as an individual with individual needs. I took that helped my problems on an individual level. No two people are biologically the same so a solution for you, or someone else may look different.
Holistic Nutrition teaches that the body, mind and spirit work together for optimum health, that they are now separate parts and require support in all areas to achieve balance.
First... I started drinking more water. You hear it all of the time but I promise you it is true. Your body is made up of mostly water so wouldn't it make sense that you need to replenish it often?
How much you drink varies with activity level. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces. I know that sounds like a lot but you can increase your water intake slowly each day.
(*Some medical conditions require smaller amounts of fluid intake , consult with a health professional about how much your body requires.)
Switching out even one drink a day ( soda, tea etc. ) with quality water will help your body. If you drink coffee, try to drink a glass of water for each cup of coffee as it has diuretic effects.
Water is not only vital to for the body to function it helps your skin and supports your detox organs ( Liver).
Second … I continued taking care of my skin on the outside but found ways to aid all of the functions going on under my skin. I cut out everything processed and found healthier substitutes for when I had a sugary/salty craving. I cut out most dairy items that had been wreaking havoc on my digestive system for years.
I came to find out that years of not taking care of myself on top of prescription medications had seriously overburdened my Liver. With the Liver being a very important filtering organ in our body, when it is compromised it can manifest in different ways. My body was toxic and it was manifesting through digestive issues and skin issues.
Third... I got off medications for disorders that I didn't have, that were taxing my Liver. Instead of trying to find a solution or root cause of my MY symptoms, MY problems, and MY pain as an individual, most doctors opted to "treat" my issues with medications. If I fell under the umbrella of a popular disorder then, that was what I was going to be "treated" for.
I strove to find ways to support my body through food, herbs and specific nutrients.
I am NOT saying for you to stop taking your medications. However, I do want you to be informed about your medications. If you have the desire to get off a certain medication, you feel like your current medication is not helping your condition, or making your condition worse please consult a health professional ( preferably Integrative/Holistic) before attempting to stop.
It took me over a decade to realize the medications I had been prescribed were doing absolutely nothing for the real underlying cause of my symptoms. They actually made things worse. This took years of research and trial and error.
There is a place for prescription medication but more often than not we are seeing prescriptions written for medications that may not help an underlying problem and over time can make conditions worse. In mainstream healthcare the focus is put more on "treating" symptoms instead of figuring out why the symptoms are there in the first place. My wish is that proper nutrition would be a part of the "prescription" too.
Sadly, another flaw in the current healthcare model is, more often than not, proper nutrition isn't even a part of the equation to managing a health condition, even though it should be one of the main methods.
**** Let me reiterate, this is NOT suggesting you get off your medication. It is a recommendation that you reevaluate the medications you currently take if you have been unsuccessful managing a health condition or have unresolved symptoms even though you are on a certain medication. Take a look at your diet, clean it up along with using your prescribed medications and track any changes in your symptoms.
Each case is different and while it is a great goal to desire to get off your medications, there are some cases where you will not be able to eliminate your prescriptions entirely. You must have a plan tailored to your individual needs and work with a health professional ( preferably Integrative/Holistic) in order to achieve this.*****
Fourth... I took a really hard look at myself and realized that for years I was not honoring my true self. In the past I had kept myself so busy working non stop that was my way of handling things, not handling them at all! When I stopped working though before pursuing Holistic Nutrition, I was just left with... me. There was a major overhaul needed not just physically but mentally, and spiritually.
Through research, education and lots of trial and error. I realized my overburdened Liver needed support and was the root cause of a lot of my issues.
Wait... What did my Liver have to do with me not honoring my true self?
The attention my Liver needed encompassed nurturing not only my body, but my mind and soul.
Again, what did my Liver have to do with anything other than my physical body?
I learned that the Liver is the site of suppressed anger… but I'm not angry I thought... at least I didn't think I was.
The key word here is suppressed. Remember all that not stop working I was talking about. That was my way of suppressing, not facing things. I hate to admit it but looking back now, there was a lot of suppression going on. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly Frustrations, stress, unmet expectations, aggravation, uncertainty etc...
These are all things people face all day every day, and we all handle things differently. While I may have not acted out in anger, I was suppressing a lot that may have been the product of anger.
Suppressing things... sure sounds a whole lot like Not honoring my true self.
My overburdened Liver, overburdened not just with toxins from medications and not taking care of myself but suppressed feelings which manifested as cystic acne and other symptoms.
Supporting my Liver by eating better was only part of the equation. I started nurturing my mind with taking things as they came one day at a time. I allowed myself to process some very impactful events that happened in a short period of time and start working towards new goals.
Let me elaborate on some of those events that occurred. After almost 8 years of studying for a Theology degree I had found myself questioning things more than I ever. My perception had been clouded with what I knew to be true and it took time to restore my faith. I completed the course because I wanted to make my parents happy, but I was upset that I had put so much time and effort into something that had no end goal from the beginning.
What did I do with those feelings? Nothing, I just went back to work and kept moving forward.
Within a 2 year span of time I had lost my 14 year old family dog ( animals are like people to me) that had been around since I was 11, I received great job promotions at both of my jobs, I began a relationship with my now husband, I quit both jobs, my Dad was diagnosed with Cancer for the second time, right after I had moved for the first time ever two states away out of a house I had lived in for nearly 20 years. That was a lot in a short amount of time, happy and sad events.
I think perhaps I had just not given myself time to process many of these experiences which put my mind/soul areas out of balance. I am just like anyone else, who is navigating life the best they can, I was gifted the resources to learn more in depth about how to find the root cause of symptoms. Through research and education I learned the importance of being informed and supporting not just the physical body but the mind and soul. They work together as one unit. When one part is out of alignment it can have a cascade effect.
The events that transpired brought me an opportunity to have that beautiful period of time where I could focus. Thanks to my husband I was allowed time to heal and learn. I was graciously given the time I needed for that overhaul Give yourself time and listen to your body if something doesn't feel balanced.
Take Care of you!
Figuring out where to start can be so daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Every day I work to help people find their starting point. I can help you develop a plan, set a goal and coach you as you work to achieve that goal. Sometimes, all we need is a facilitator, someone in our corner, someone who simplifies things and keeps us on track. That is what I am here for! Let's talk about your health goals. Get started here.