From making our hair look great, to wearing stylish clothes, to doing our makeup every morning, a lot of time and effort goes into making ourselves look great.
When you take all of those factors it’s easy to forget about what’s really underneath it all: our skin.
Why it’s important to get gorgeous skin?
It’s easy to forget that our skin is an organ, as vital to us as our kidneys or our heart. It is important to know that your skin is the first organ that fights against the intrusion of an infection such as elements or germs. Further, the skin protects the body against the effects of ultra-violet rays of the sun.
The outermost part of the skin, the epidermis, protects the second layer of our skin and is the part of the skin that contains some important structures such as hair follicles and sweat glands. The outer layer of the skin is actually what defines what we are, and if you cannot care for it properly you might start to look so old that people might not recognize you.
It’s important to care for our skin because when we do we are protecting all of the above functions.
I’m sure you’re convinced now, what with the prospect of destroying one of your vital organs, or possibly giving yourself early wrinkles. So what should you do to avoid these horrible fates?
Always read the ingredients.
Your objective should be to find a product made of few ingredients.
Make sure that you are avoided brands containing the following ingredients:
- Propylene glycol.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Paraben and Phthalates.
Make your own.
The best way to avoid dealing with beauty products? Make them yourself.
This will help you avoid harmful ingredients as well as saving other costs.
You can purchase simple recipes and real ingredients and then prepare them in your own kitchen. Simple ingredients like lemon juice, orange, yogurt ,and other ingredients can be purchased from ordinary food stores at your location.
Re-think your need for chemicals!
You need to have a second thought when it comes to beautifying your skin.
Make sure you have avoided chemicals as much as possible. For instance, getting a dry brush costing only $10 can be more effective than going for a $75 bottle of cellulite cream. Use your dry brush for 10-15 minutes per day so as to stimulate the blood circulation in the skin and tone it.
Replace the toxic stuff with natural stuff!
The natural stuff is the way to go, it’s more effective and has no side effects when compared to chemical products. Start replacing your chemical products with more natural and organic products and you won’t regret it. Start this process slowly and after a few months everything will have worked to plan and you won’t dream of going back to those harsh chemical-laden creams!
Remember to watch what you eat!
Knowing the kind of food you eat is very important when it comes to your general body health. When your body is healthy, your skin is guaranteed to shine and maintain a young and youthful appearance.
The following is a list of key foods that you ought to include to your daily diet:
- Kiwis: Eating kiwi will give you vitamin C, which is an essential ingredient in making your skin shiny.
- Avocado: Avocado contains lots of vitamin A, E, and B, as well as biotin. This delicious fruit will help hydrate your skin as well as cleanse and detoxify your body.
- Cucumbers: Cucumbers contain lots of silicon, which is good in fighting wrinkles and elasticity of the skin.
- Eggs: Eggs contain high protein content, which is good in building strong and healthy hair. In addition, they contain vitamin E which hydrates and strengthens the skin.
- Greens (I.e. spinach romaine, swiss chard, kale,and collards): These are good sources of essential minerals and vitamins, most of which act as antioxidants and work great towards protecting the skin against the sun.
- Tomatoes: They are rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative damage to your skin.
- Salmon: This fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This acid is good in creating a strong skin, one that can withstand effects from infection and the sun.
When you decide that you are serious about knowing the best ways of managing your skin then these tips will be the best for you. When you maintain these kind of tips you will be assured that your skin is healthy, meaning that your natural beauty will be a guaranteed without the stress of chemicals. Let your natural beauty shine through!
**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connection’
How would you feel if they cranked up the heat in your gym to 117 degrees fahrenheit?
How would you feel if you had to pay more to go to a gym that boasted Sahara-like temps?
Chances are you’ve already done this. This is the basis behind hot yoga.
The practice of hot yoga has taken off in recent years. People swear by it, they become addicted. But what is hot yoga and is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Hot yoga is a similar concept to traditional yoga. Matt rolled firmly under arm, you enter into a mirrored studio in overpriced lycra-blend attire with a number of other women and men, and begin a series of breathing and stretching exercises.
The difference? Hot yoga is practiced in a studio heated to a temperature range from about 90 to 117 degrees. The classes are typically 90 minutes in length, and consist of around 26 poses and a few breathing exercises depending on the form of yoga. Most hot yoga-doers practice the form of Bikram, or it’s less intense spin-off Moksha.
So why do people choose to leave the comfort of an air-conditioned studio for the sweltering heat? People participate in hot yoga for a wide variety of reasons. Most believe that the heat gives you a better stretch, improving flexibility. Many believe that the sweat works to remove the toxins from your body, and improve the look of your skin. Some even believe it can treat anything and everything from asthma, to digestive disorders, to depression.
In my experience, many women choose hot yoga due to the believed weight loss benefits, advertising a burn of 1,000 calories per session. Whatever the reason for practice, it’s important to look at some of the top myths surrounding hot yoga, and what dangerous truths lay behind them.
The heat is good for you. When we perform muscle contractions, we produce our own internal heat through the release of energy. When this internal heat increases, the body begins to sweat to try and cool down the temperature within. In this process, it’s not the sweat itself that cools the body down, but the evaporation of moisture off of the skin that works to cool. Because the external temperature in hot yoga studios is so high, the moisture fails to evaporate, giving you no actual way to cool down. As a result, you could end up feeling extremely weak, dizzy, and nauseous due to dehydration. This can lead to heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Because of this, the heat is not in fact good for you. During a session, instructors may tell you that these uncomfortable and worrisome symptoms are to be expected, that they show the process is working. Only you can know what the limitations of your body are, and if you feel these symptoms it is important to leave the room to a cooler area.
Hot yoga helps you sweat out toxins. In truth, most of what you sweat out during hot yoga is water with other toxins naturally contained in sweat, such as salt and potassium. This does not mean hot yoga can help you sweat out the toxins of last nights cosmo, or the cigarette you snuck in after a stressful meeting. These types of toxins are eliminated in the kidneys, liver, and colon.
Improved flexibility. It is important to note that there are two types of flexibility; muscular and ligamentous. The type of flexibility that most athletes strive for is the former. The type that hot yoga provides is the latter. Typically ligaments and tendons don’t show much flexibility, or need it for that matter due to their role as stabilizers. Because they don’t need much flexibility, they don’t get much blood flow. In a heated yoga studio all blood flow increases, increasing the flexibility in these joints. In hot yoga, flexibility is an illusion. Unfortunately, the more you continue to stretch your ligaments in this way, the higher risk you could be for injuring a ligament or stretching a joint to the point where it can no longer perform its supportive duties. Furthermore, the illusion of muscular flexibility can cause you to stretch too deep and pull a muscle.
Hot yoga is a “cure all.” On the Bikram website, each pose in the art is outlined with a promise of what it’s specific purpose is, and what it can do for you. While the descriptions outline which muscles and joints are stimulated and improved upon, the site also promises other more obscure symptoms and disorders that can be remedied through practice. These include everything from obesity of the stomach, function of the central nervous system, sexual energies, balance of mood swings, depression and anxiety, constipation, digestive system diseases and issues, menstrual disorders, reproductive issues, diabetes, clearing of the arteries, and strengthening of the heart, lungs, kidneys, spleens, and many many more. While hot yoga truly seems like it could offer something for every ailment, doctors urge the contemplation of the risk involved. Doctors say hot yoga is especially risky for those with high or low blood pressure and heart conditions due to the high levels of heat. It is important to consider the fact that blood pressure and heart problems could be an underlying cause of many and most of these issues. While hot yoga may work to improve upon symptoms, it is important to remember that the heat may not be compatible with your health, and hot yoga should not be used as the sole method of treatment. Always ensure to consult your doctor before practicing hot yoga.
Hot yoga provides a more intense cardio workout than regular aerobic exercise. This idea is thought to be true due to the belief that the practice speeds up your heart rate. In truth, studies have shown that the average heart rate in a heated yoga environment wasn’t that different from a normal thermal environment in which yoga is practiced. The heat from hot yoga and the sweating simply provides the illusion that you are working harder.
Hot yoga is a mass calorie burner. Many forms of hot yoga claim to burn on average 1,000 calories in a single session. While this sounds amazing, most forms of hot yoga actually burn between 3 to 7 calories per minute on average, depending on the individual. This means that a session of hot yoga won’t make up for that McDonalds drive thru binge you made at lunchtime.
Despite these cold hard truths, hot yoga retains an undeniable die hard following. Maybe it’’s the improved levels of flexibility and energy participants report for days after class. Maybe it’s the glowing skin, or improvement after injury.
Yoga of any form can be a great way to continue physical activity for those who have faced injury in the past, or perhaps can no longer participate in joint-harsh activities like running due to the blows of time.
Should you decide to continue to join your weekly hot yoga session, or even try it out for the first time there are some things you should keep in mind.
If you feel weak, dizzy, or nauseous at all don’t be afraid to leave the studio to cool down. While many instructors will encourage you to stay in the room and fight through it, just remember that if you do not cool down it could lead to possible hospitalization.
Always remember to eat a meal 2-3 hours before class to give your body time to digest. Eat something small like a piece of fruit just prior to class to keep blood sugar levels up.
Always remember to bring lots of water into the studio to remain hydrated. Try adding a pinch of salt and lemon- natural electrolytes into your water bottle to maintain the levels that you sweat out.
Avoid caffeinated beverages that will dehydrate you on days that you practice.
Remember, yoga is still exercise which means that you can still hurt yourself. Don’t be fooled by its seemingly gentle form, and never push yourself beyond what you believe is your personal max.
The usual response when you are finding your way around an unfamiliar or confusing topic is to consult experts on the topic.You desire feedback and some sort of validation or resolutions for your concerns. After all, your concerns are legitimate and often any action or inaction on your part has potentially serious consequences.
The problem is that there is a lot of conflicting and downright incorrect information available. Shifting through the cacophony of voices clamouring for your attention can be intimidating. For example, if you’re concerned with the linkage between soy and breast cancer, it’s highly likely you’ve already come across some of these issues.
You’ve probably heard the warnings:
“Soy may increase the risk of breast cancer!”
“Women with breast cancer shouldn’t use soy!”
The first warning was never true. Numerous clinical studies have shown that consumption of soy protein is associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
Furthermore, the science behind the second warning has never been very strong. The concerns that soy might stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells was based primarily on cell culture experiments and one experiment in mice – even though a second experiment in mice came to the exact opposite conclusion.
In fact, the definitive clinical studies have been performed, and it turns out for women who are breast cancer survivors, consumption of soy foods does not increase either the risk of breast cancer recurrence or of dying from breast cancer. The first of these studies was reported in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at Vanderbilt University and Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine (Shu et al, JAMA, 302: 2437-2443, 2009).
The results were clear cut. Breast cancer survivors with the highest soy intake had 25% less chance of breast cancer recurrence and 25% less chance of dying from breast cancer than the women with the lowest soy intake.
The effect was equally strong for women with estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor- negative cancers, for early stage and late stage breast cancer and for pre- and post- menopausal women. In short this was a very robust study.
Other Clinical Studies
If that were the only published clinical study to test the soy-breast cancer hypothesis, I and other experts would be very cautious about making definitive statements. However, at least four more clinical studies have been published since then, both in Chinese and American populations. The studies have either shown no significant effect of soy on breast cancer recurrence or a protective effect. None of them have shown any detrimental effects of soy consumption by breast cancer survivors.
A meta-analysis of all 5 studies was published earlier this year (Chi et al, Asian Pac J Cancer Prev., 14: 2407-2412, 2013). This study combined the data from 11,206 breast cancer survivors in the US and China. Those with the highest soy consumption had a 23% decrease in recurrence and a 15% decrease in mortality from breast cancer.
The Bottom Line:
What does this mean for you if you are a breast cancer survivor?
There are many reasons to include soy protein foods as part of a healthy diet. Soy foods are one of the highest quality vegetable protein sources and provide a great alternative to many of the high fat, high cholesterol animal proteins in the American diet.
I personally feel that the published studies are clear cut enough that breast cancer survivors no longer need to fear soy protein as part of a healthy diet.
The responsible websites agree with this assessment. For example,WebMD and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) both say that breast cancer survivors need no longer worry about eating moderate amounts of soy foods.
The irresponsible websites (I won’t name names, but you know who they are) are still warning breast cancer survivors to avoid soy completely. As a scientist I really have problem with people who are unwilling to change their opinions in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
Finally, I want to emphasize that the published studies merely show that soy does not increase the risk of breast cancer and is safe to use for breast cancer survivors. None of those studies suggest that soy is an effective treatment for breast cancer. The protective effects of soy are modest at best. If you have breast cancer, consult with your physician about the best treatment options for you.
When determining which foods to eat, make sure to consult credible scientific sources. Be aware of the fact that there is lots of misinformation out there, some of it with an agenda to deliberately mislead. Doing your research pays off when eating healthy because you will come across real experts doing real research that you can use to guide you as you do your best to lead a healthy life. Remember, your well-being is much too important and fragile to trust to rumor and hearsay. Informing yourself will prove invaluable as you strive to be the healthiest you can.
**Edited for repurpose by Alex Kvaskov, Content Development Intern at Women Who Run It.
Redefining Success: What Your Body Has to Say An Interview with WWRI Editor-In-Chief Fiona Fine By David Cohen
A new generation of women is maturing who are telling their mothers they will not do things their way.
It makes sense then that David Cohen of The Boomer Business Coach would want to talk to Women Who Run It’s Editor-In-Chief Fiona Fine. At The Boomer Business Coach the main goal is to help baby boomers do a business they love, and do it successfully. Fiona Fine is the pinnacle of this, and so David Cohen invited her to be interviewed on his Lives Lived Well Teleseries.
Author and speaker Fiona Fine has been through a lot in her life. She has a degree in engineering, has been married twice, and has gone through three car accidents plus two major concussions from other accidents over the span of 30 years.
The Accidents At seventeen, a few weeks into studying engineering at university, Fiona experienced her first car accident. It caused her considerable pain, as well as started the damage to her immune system.
“Yet I didn’t change – I just kept pushing and driving myself through it all,” recalls Fiona.
She pushed through her five year engineering program to graduate as a Mechanical Engineer – one of 35 women in a class of almost 1000. Yet this severely impacted her health and collapsed her immune system which just couldn’t keep up to the stress.
Over the next 15 years Fiona worked in her career of engineering, CAD/CAM and then ultimately in IT corporate headhunting – all male dominated industries. In 1995, she had her second car accident. This one left her disabled for a period of time before she figured out how to become the first person in her industry to tele-commute so she could continue to work. “Making money was what I was good at above all else.” she said.
“Yet I still didn’t get the real message,” says Fiona.
Finally, following a third accident, Fiona finally got the message that she needed to reframe how she looked at life, and how she managed her health and personal life. She began to realize that her definition of success was warped and required change in order for her to go on. She began this process by tapping into her body and psyche and figuring out how to harmonize her mind body and spirit. “Up until that time, my ego mind was the largest muscle of my body.” she admits.
Marriage Being a young alpha woman, Fiona had pre-planned her life out in detail. At 17, she already had the vision of herself in her engineering career with two kids and a husband – all before the age of 34 “because that was how society still encouraged us as women to think” but could see no further she admits. Life mostly started out by fitting the plan.
At 28, her first husband fell hard and fast in love with her. She was different than the other women he had dated. “Brains times beauty is a constant and you changed the constant” is what he told her and it was shortly after a trip to Italy and only 6 months of meeting her that he asked her to marry him. All she could say was “Oh, sh#t” – evidently thirteenth times. She couldn’t say yes…
“He asked me, ‘if you love me why wouldn’t you want to marry me?’ And so I got married because I didn’t have a good answer,” she said. “I didn’t understand that you can love and not be ‘in love’. He was a good man yet he was not the man for me.”
The marriage lasted less than two years.
“He wanted out,” she shared succinctly with David Cohen on his show. She dove back into her career and in that timeframe also had a second major car accident. Life was a continuous challenge yet about that time she met another man and went back into a 10 year relationship.
Yet history was repeating itself, and in 2007, Fiona left the relationship. She considered herself “successfully divorced for the last time,” cleaned up her health (again) and felt confident and ready to date. Nevertheless, she found the concept of reentering the dating game difficult to wrap her mind around. This was where she got one of the best pieces of personal advice from one of her male best friends:
“Even if you love pizza, why on earth would you want to eat pizza every day of your life?” he said.
In a nutshell, his advice was to go out and have fun! Explore what made her happy and what she really desired to create in her life and how she wanted to live and love – on her terms!
Thinking back to her first relationship, she remembers the societal expectations that influenced her decision.
“It was society saying: ‘this is a good man’.”
“Yet every year I was putting myself away in a smaller box.”
What the body has to say She found that in the pursuit of success and competition in a male world, she had denied so many aspects of her femininity. All of her time had been spent trying to fit into a mold created by society and it was hurting her – literally. The harder she went after her goals, the bigger an accident or “growing experience” was required to slow her down.
It’s not that there were no warning signs. Fiona is frank about the fact the her intuition and body were sounding the alarm very loudly that she was moving too quickly and pushing too hard/too often.
“I honestly believe that our bodies speak to us – if we listen. Whispers at first, then grumbles, then often full a out assault which is the cause of much ‘dis-ease’”.
But it’s not just about learning to listen to your own body. Fiona emphasizes the need for women to interact with each other and speak using their own voice. According to her, there are three major periods in a woman’s life when women do not seem to communicate well and share what works/what doesn’t in their lives: puberty, child rearing years, and again during menopause.
This idea drove Fiona to create two online publications for women to advocate, support and connect with other women: one on women’s leadership (the one you’re reading right now!) and the other on dating and relationships.
Ultimately, while Fiona figured out the hard yet conscious changes she needed to make in her life, it took her many years filled with pain and difficulty to get there. Her mess has become her message and has also created the spectacular life she leads now. She doesn’t want other women to have to learn things the hard way but to listen to the whispers in their own lives. She wants every woman to be a B.I.T.C.H (a Babe In Total Control of Herself). She wants this so much that she wrote a whole book on the subject (found here). Babe In Total Control of Herself is Fiona’s guidebook for women just like her who want to find the same success she had.
Fiona’s advice is to change the focus in our lives from “doing” to “being”.
“A life that is not one of self-awareness is not worth living,” according to her paraphrase of the Socrates quote. “We need to know ourselves to create our best lives.”
Life is made of choices and changes that mesh with each other in often unpredictable ways, and it is okay (and often mandatory) to step back and say “I don’t know why” or “I don’t know how to…”. Indeed, slowing down to give your body and inner spirit a chance to talk to you will probably do more for your career and personal development than constantly sucking it up and toughing it out. “We push ourselves so hard and it is often in our later years that we realize we never had to- slow is smooth/smooth is fast.”
Our minds and bodies are not machines, and we cannot and should not conform to norms and expectations if they harm us. We rob our lives of authenticity when we forget that our lives are meant to be an expression of our true selves as individuals.
Drawing on Fiona’s inspirational story, there are many nuggets of wisdom to be extracted that can help us reclaim our lives.
1. Are your jobs or goals hurting you? Does your body physically ache from your job? Perhaps the stress is unreasonably high. These are signs that you might need to make some changes.
2. Are you trying to fit in? It’s not a good idea for your self-esteem and self-expression if you’re adjusting your life according to what you see other people doing or find yourself trying to conform to stereotypes.
3. Redefine success It just might be the things you are neglecting most of all- your health and well-being.
4. Do not disregard challenges in your life If overcoming them is coming at too great a price, the difficulties might not be worth your time.
5. Set boundaries. Define your limits. Know what you can or can’t do. Know what you desire to create in your life – how is it you want to live not just what is it you are looking to cross off the list.
There are words that wouldn’t make sense to someone without a degree in science, daily percentages, measurements in milligrams, and a whole lot of information that if ignored could lead to a ballooning of your waistline.
As more and more food items become available in stores, understanding what’s written on the label is becoming more and more challenging. With the addition of media input it can make it near impossible to know what’s actually in the food you and your family are eating.
Don’t fret! I’m here to give you some pointers on reading labels so that you can make the best choices for your needs.
First, let’s start with some basics.
Nutrition Labels Rules state that prepackaged food has to have its ingredients listed and they are written in order of quantity with the greatest being first, and the least being last.
All foods also have to display a “Nutrition Facts” table which has its own laws about what should be found on it. The table has a serving size found at the top. The rest of the information is displayed in a standard order; from top to bottom it is: Calories, Fat, Saturated, Trans, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrate, Fibre, Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.
Calories and Serving Sizes Most people look at the number of calories first, which is totally fine as long as you’re also looking at the portion size. If the label tells you there’s 100 calories, but you eat three times the serving size, then your low calorie snack just took a giant hike that you might not have noticed.
Daily Value % Sometimes the information on the Nutrition Facts table that can be misleading is the Daily Value %. These values are based on a 2000 calorie diet, so if you’re not eating 2000 calories then these percentages aren’t right for you. This is especially true for your children.
The most important percentage to look out for is sodium. The sodium percentage is calculated based on a 2400 mg daily serving. This amount is actually more than should be consumed in a day. For adults the tolerable upper limit (which means the amount that should not be exceeded per day) is 2300 mg. However, the amount that we actually need per day is only 1500 mg. The best way to make sure you’re not going over is to ignore the Daily Value % and to just look at the mg amount found on the table.
Product Claims and Statements Another important tip to keep in mind is to be aware of product claims and statements. The word “nutritious”can be used on a food that contains at least a “source” of one nutrient permitted in the Nutrition Facts table. This can mean that the food isn’t actually as nutritious as you might think it is.
Another thing to be aware of is that even though a food item says ‘low fat’ doesn’t mean that it’s actually the best choice. Sometimes these low fat options have lots of added sugar or sodium to replace the flavour lost from removing the fat. It’s important to be aware of the potential for this. A great way to check is to look at the Nutrition Facts table, because it will tell you the amount of sugar and sodium found within the product.
Allergies and Intolerances Allergies and intolerances are becoming more and more of a concern as time passes. There are some fairly new laws pertaining to allergens. Some products may have a section that lists allergens by their most common name (for example “contains soy and nuts”). Allergens must be listed in either this section or in the ingredients list, but they don’t have to be in both. If allergens are something that you need to look out for, make sure you’re checking both places.
Educating yourself on what nutrition labels mean is an important part of your work to keep yourself healthy. By knowing what’s in your food you’ll always be able to ensure that you’re eating the right fuel for your body. Keep yourself informed and keep those pounds at bay!
There are specific laws that govern what is mandatory for labelling in each country. For more information, check out the website in your country.
**Edited for Repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Women Who Run It.
Six years ago, Alison Stuckey had lost her ability to dream: her husband was a victim of the 2008 financial crisis and she was moving towards depression. She had finally transitioned from working nine-to-five after 5 years and adjusted to being a mother. But there was always something missing in her life.
Alison began to realize that she was caught up in societal expectations and this was not working for her.
“We look at what our parents and their parents did. This just isn’t working anymore. It’s a different time,” Alison confessed.
The most difficult part for Alison was stepping out of her comfort zone. Leaving the world of nine-to-five was a major challenge. Alison’s reason for leaving the corporate world so many people inhabit was that she had to be there for her children, not to mention that she could never find a spot for herself in this environment.
Alison defines herself as “first and foremost, a mom and a wife,” her family is the most important thing. Following the birth of her first child, she felt that she was being forced to make a choice – to sacrifice either her child or her job. She chose her child, then children. Unfortunately a single income is not enough to support a family in a large city and Alison had to consider returning to a job and workforce after 5 years.
Around this time, she was approached by a university friend and jumped at the opportunity to start her own business with Arbonne, a health and wellness networking marketing company. The new opportunity offered the flexibility she needed to focus on the most important aspect of her life – her children.
“I needed to be there for my daughter. She needs her mom around. I can’t even imagine what she would be like as a person if I wasn’t there,” Alison shared.
It wasn’t easy starting over – Alison experienced considerable self-doubt. Confidence came gradually from certain realizations and primarily from personal development.
“I was terrified. Would it work? Could I do it? All my fears surfaced. But I always knew I was capable of so much more than I was doing. There was always this thought in the back of my head that there is more for me out there. More I have to do in life.”
Helping her through this was the way she viewed failures. Alison does not look at failures as standing alone, but at the way someone deals with them.
“I look at them as a positive as opposed to a negative because it’s really the way you deal with them that determines what your future is going to be,” she said.
The best part of leaving a nine-to-five existence, Alison says, was the flexibility that came with it. She could set her own schedule and expectations.
“If somebody’s sick, I don’t have to call my boss and ask for time off. I usually give myself the time off,” she laughs.
She also enjoys being in control of her future.
“No one else is dictating my future. I am in charge of it and it will be whatever I make of it. I am not under somebody else’s control, working to someone else’s expectations,” Alison said.
Regarding expectations, Alison rails against stereotypical societal expectations and norms.
“There are so many things being thrown at us: our kids, our careers, even our physical being; be this way, look this way, weigh this much.”
Her proposed solution is to reclaim our lives.
“We really need to be our own person, especially as women.”
With the flexibility and freedom her business allows, Alison has found time for both her family and an incredible career.
“I set an example for my kids, especially my daughter, that I can be successful, building an amazing business that is going to be a legacy for them, and also have presence in their life, to be there for them when they need me.”
Alison’s advice to women is to connect with successful and positive women to discover the path they took through much the same circumstances. Embodying the entrepreneurial mindset, Alison says that if you can dream it, you can do it.
“The only thing holding us back is ourselves,” she shared.
While she’s not certain of what she will do in the future, Alison has her eyes on the big picture.
“We are all put on this planet for something great. I still haven’t determined exactly what that is, but I know there is something bigger I want to do.”
Speaking about her business, Alison views it as a gateway enabling her to do other things.
Indeed, Alison seems to be continually discovering herself.
“I realized recently that I want to start a charity and it is going to have a women focus.”
In short, it is clear that there is no clear path to success and in fact, no single path to success. A well-paying nine-to-five job may very well be one person’s idea of success, while Alison finds it a compromise disrupting her life.
While the details will vary for everyone, there are a few bigger ideas that we all can apply to our professional lives. Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you pursue success:
1. Don’t let society tell what you should be and how to get there Do what you want and be what you want. Live your dream.
2. Set your own expectations Only you know what you want to be in life. Through self discovery you will figure that out.
3. Move out of your comfort zone Challenge yourself to do better. Always.
4. Keep trying The most successful people in the world have failed many times and kept trying new methods and approaches.
5. Learn from your mistakes Don’t brood over them for weeks on end, instead absorb the lesson and move on. Improving.
6. Decide what’s important And focus on it. Prioritize and devote more time to the activities you truly value.
7. Get help Connect with people who share your concerns and be inspired by their stories.
We are constantly bombarded with new diets, fads and lifestyles that claim they will make us feel our very best. Whether it is sugar-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, or raw, it is difficult to decipher what will actually keep us healthy.
But what if the answer is simple?
What if the key to good health is simply using natural remedies that work with our bodies, not against them?
According to Steven Horne, this is the true key to a healthy lifestyle.
The thing about Horne is that he not only teaches the ideals of herbal medicine and natural remedies, but he lives by them. As a child, Horne suffered many ailments that pharmaceuticals simply were not helping. Then at the age of 15 he realized that everything was put on earth for a reason and turned to natural remedies and he has been healthy ever since
In his new book, co-authored by Thomas Easley, titled Modern Herbal Medicine, Horne and Easley show you multiple paths you can take if you are feeling unwell before turning to pharmaceuticals. It is instinctual when we are not feeling our best to automatically jump to the idea of taking an antibiotic, but sometimes this is not the healthiest or most effective option, as these antibiotics treat the symptom, not the illness.
Modern Herbal Medicine also focuses on the idea of “differentiating the cause” of the problem. Essentially, it is important to know why you are feeling the way that you are so that you can treat the problem accordingly. People experience certain illnesses for specific reasons that span from geographical location, to bodily preferences, and it is important to target your problem from this perspective.
If you are worried that in order to use herbal medicines you are going to have to locate quail eggs, star fruit, or caviar, have no fear! These herbal remedies can all be found at your local health food store so you won’t have to go running around the city or breaking the bank to buy them.
Still not convinced about herbal medications? Here are some more reasons why it could work for you:
They Work Quickly According to Horne, herbal medications actually work at fighting the illness quicker than pharmaceuticals, which tend to focus on fighting the symptoms. This means that although you may experience your symptoms for a bit longer, your overall sickness will be relieved quicker.
Less Adverse Effects Have you ever heard a commercial for a prescription drug that sounds amazing, but then the list of possible side effects is not only incredibly long, but includes horrific outcomes such as heart attack or even death? Well, the chance of adverse affects is much smaller when it comes to herbal remedies because these are natural products that you may actually consume in your everyday life.
Don’t Listen to the Rumors Herbal medications can sometimes get a bad rap. Because some people believe they are ineffective, there is a lot of conflicting information out in the world and some people feel they are dangerous. What you have to keep in mind when it comes to herbal medications is the concept of synergy. Synergy means that just because something may contain an ingredient that is harmful on its own, when it is combined with other ingredients its toxicity is entirely reduced. So you should have no fear when approaching herbal remedies.
It Works With Your Body Unlike regular pharmaceuticals, which use an artificial means to achieve a proper balance in your body, herbal medications work with your body. This means that your body will find this equilibrium in a natural manner that is better for your overall health.
They Can Help with Mental Illness as Well If you think that herbal medications can only improve your physical health, then think again. These natural remedies have proven to be effective in helping mental illnesses such as depression, but of course you have to “differentiate the cause” first!
It’s Natural Duh! This may seem obvious, but a lot of times we put things in our body without even knowing what they are. I mean, does anyone actually know what gluten is? But if you are using herbal medications you are going to know exactly what you are putting in your body and there is a lot of comfort in that.
Use the Strong Stuff If Necessary If you decide to turn to herbal medication but the illness continues to persist, then it is totally okay to turn to pharmaceuticals. The herbal medicine movement is not against pharmaceuticals, it is against using them when there are more effective options. But sometimes a strong antibiotic is necessary and that is okay too.
So next time you aren’t feeling your best remember to differentiate the cause and discover some natural ways you can heal yourself.
Herbal medicine is not some hokey fad like the cabbage soup diet, it is a legitimate, researched way of healing and it could change the way you feel.
Society leads us to believe that happiness arises from sticking with something for a long time, plugging away at that project with passion and determination and above all, never quitting.
Quitting is seen a sign of weakness and we would rather go to extreme lengths sooner than admit that we have quit something.
Another thing that stops us from quitting is the thought of how much time and effort we have put into our work. It seems like so much has gone into the project that it would be an awful waste to throw it all away. This is something known as the sunk costs fallacy. Sunk costs is a term used by economists to describe the time, effort, and money a person has invested into doing something. It can be very difficult to let go of this and announce to the world that you’ve quit.
But is quitting always bad for us?
Having established that quitting is accompanied by stigma and made even more difficult by curious quirks of our brains, let’s look at some people who, by almost any standards were doing well but ended up quitting and their reasons for doing so.
People who quit and loved it The year is 1999: Ali is a software programmer living in Texas. She earns $60,000 a year – especially impressive considering she is 25 years old. She can afford a decent car and place to live and sustain her love for shoes. It seemed like she had the perfect life.
So why on Earth did she quit her stable, well-paying job to become a high-end escort?
Ali says her job involved staring at a computer screen all day, which proved terrible for her sociable personality. In her own words, her choice was right for her at the time and her new job made her happy.
We have already talked about sunk costs, for example, Ali was spending her days at the computer screen. But there is a slightly different concept at work here – the idea of opportunity cost – the value of something that is given up to pursue any given activity. For Ali, her job was depriving her of social interaction, Robert wasn’t seeing his sons as often as he wanted to. Both Ali and Robert came to realize that the sacrifices they were making for their jobs were not worth it and made the choice to quit.
How do I know when to quit? But how do you know “when to quit and when to struggle” as Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University puts it. The appropriate course of action can be really elusive.
Following that comes the actual process of quitting, and this can be long and painful. According to Sudhir Venkatesh, sociology professor at Columbia University, it’s best to “rip the Band-Aid off quickly”. People who are able to act quickly once they decide to quit usually fare better than those who take longer. In fact, it is actually healthier when quitting to quit quickly and move on. Research conducted by Carsten Wrosch, psychology professor at Concordia University indicates that people who are better able to let go experience fewer depressive symptoms and fewer health problems over time.
The process By now, we should be able to pick out and isolate the reasons why somebody would want to quit and the process they ought to follow. Quitters are not unsuccessful or weak people, in fact all the quitters cited in this article are highly successful individuals. Quitting has more in common with realistic goals than giving up. The following is an outline of the process to quitting well and finding greater satisfaction in life.
1. Ask yourself: Am I happy? 2. If not, what is it I’d rather be doing? 3. Identify what you’re missing out on (opportunity cost). 4. Stop doing your current activity. 5. Set realistic goals for your new activity. 6. Accept that it didn’t work out the previous time. 7. Move on – dive right into what you’ve always wanted to be doing.
Looking back, Ali says quitting was easy for her. Since then, she has found a companion and has left the escort industry – she’s quit once again when the couple decided they didn’t want prostitution in their joint life. In this, Ali embodies more than just a willingness and honesty to reassess herself and her goals, she also possesses the ability to rethink her plans on the go.
Rituals support shifts in non-linear and almost instantaneous ways.
If you have a story or loop that’s holding you back – perhaps grief or a grievance, or feeling stuck – a brief ritual can help you break through to a new level.
Years ago I was in a workshop with the great Jean Houston. The culmination of three days was an invitation to cross a threshold between who I had been and who I might become. We could do this by stepping over a line marked out on the floor by a string of tea lights.
Who knew that such a simple exercise could be so powerful?
As I come up to the line, all my fears and resistance concentrate in my chest and throat. I stand at the “edge”, gathering myself. I have the distinct experience of energy moving, as though whole complexes and patterns are coming to the surface and breaking up in the face of my intention to transform. With time I feel a readiness – a clarity that I can and should step over the line – and a quiet shift within that I know is a quantum increase in self-authority and self-acceptance. I step over, and instantly there is more space, and more vulnerability. I don’t yet have sea legs in this new ocean of possibility. In a short time though, I stabilize. I am excited. I’ve passed over into a new world.
If you are dogged by a pattern you’d love to shift, I recommend creating a ritual of transformative change for yourself.
Here are the basic elements:
1. Name what you want to transform and listen for the new you that is seeking to emerge.
2. Create a container for yourself Pick a time and place that has meaning, and ask people from your inner circle to join you in the process, or to bear witness. Decide the format: what will represent your threshold?
3. Prepare yourself. Before a rite of passage there is an energetic need for a “vigil” – a time for reflection and cleansing to support you to be ready for transformation.
4. Honour your truth at the heart of the ritual: do you commit to what is emerging or not? Only cross over your symbolic threshold if you are truly letting go of the old and embracing the new. This is not a mental shift, but one that happens at the level of deep inner knowing.
5. If you cross over, celebrate! There is a reason that marriages and funerals include food. The “nodal” points where we take a different path need to be marked, and celebrating with food is in our DNA.
You can also honour this basic five step architecture any time you do something new or big, since the newness/bigness involves “stepping over a line”.
I recently facilitated a three day planning retreat for a large multi-stakeholder group. In the days before, I allowed myself more quiet time, deepening and gathering myself to hold space for a dynamic group process. Afterwards, I celebrated (a part of the cycle too many of us neglect!).
Creating rituals, and seeing more of what we do through the lens of ritual, are two ways to support transformative change.
Of course you would.
That’s what Michelle King Robson did, but unfortunately, a quick fix isn’t always the answer.
At 42 Michelle was sick and told that she needed a complete hysterectomy. Desperate to feel better and listening to her doctor’s orders, she of course, got the hysterectomy.
Unfortunately the “solution” was only the beginning of Michelle’s problems.
After her hysterectomy Michelle’s health tanked. She became a shell of who she used to be and with no end in sight, she even contemplated taking her own life. She didn’t stop searching, she just began searching in different places until she found her answers. She found her solution in weaning herself off of her medications and taking Estrogel and Magnesium.
Once she got better, she got mad and vowed to never let this happen to another person. So she started EmpowHER, a women’s health website dedicated to bringing women the best information in health to help improve their well-being and their lives.
EmpowHER brings amazing information to women every single day. “We wantEmpowHER to give relevant and meaningful information around women’s health, gender specific to women,” shared Michelle.
Not only that but it connects readers with real doctors who will answer questions within 24 hours. “That’s a huge opportunity for women to get to where they need to go instead of them heading down a rabbit hole, which happens all the time on the web because there’s so much information being thrown at you,” said Michelle. Whether the information is on her own site or somewhere else on the internet, Michelle wants to guide readers to the best information they can find in order to offer them their best shot at a healthy life.
Most important of all is the community that EmpowHER creates, which Michelle didn’t have when she was fighting for her health. “I was searching for someone like me because women are silent sufferers, we don’t like to talk about it so this gives them the ability to be anonymous if they want, to private message each other if they want, and share their name if they want, privately or publicly, but it’s up to them how they connect,” she said. This turned out to be the most celebrated part of EmpowHER. “This is the one area that I can honestly say no one’s ever said to me ‘Why did you create this company?’ This is the one area where women say ‘Thank you for creating this for us.’ I didn’t do it for me, I did it for women,” said Michelle.
Michelle may share the best health advice she can find online, but she also has some personal tips that she has shared exclusively with Women Who Run It.
1. Schedule Everything “Everything needs to be scheduled, especially in my life. You have to make things a priority,” said Michelle.
When you’re a busy woman you can’t sit around and hope that you can find the time to prepare a meal or fit in that workout. Your health is what makes it possible for you to do everything that you do, so schedule some time to nourish yourself and your body, and it won’t let you down.
2. Put Yourself First “You need to advocate for yourself first, for your own health and wellness, or else you can’t take care of anybody else,” Michelle said.
Women are natural caretakers, but they can’t fulfill this role when they are sick in bed. By putting yourself first you’ll be able to do all of those things for others that you love to do. It’s not selfish, it’s just common sense.
3. Know Your Numbers Do you know your cholesterol number? Your estrogen number? Your thyroid number?
If things were ever to go South you should know your baseline numbers so that you can immediately figure out what’s wrong. As Michelle found out, not knowing what’s wrong is worse than finding out the truth.
4. Know Your Body Parts It’s important to know exactly what each piece of your body does for you. Michelle didn’t understand what having a hysterectomy would mean before she got one and it quickly became clear to her how important her uterus was to her body.
“You have to understand what you’re doing and how it’s going to effect the rest of the body because there’s a reason why every body part is there… especially for women, they don’t know their bodies and they don’t really pay attention to all the reproductive parts,” Michelle shared.
5. Find Your Motivation “My biggest motivator to be healthy each day is to set an example for all the women who either are on EmpowHER, or will be coming to EmpowHER, or who I may run into, whether it’s on an airplane, a train, a bus,or if I’m speaking somewhere, so I need to live the brand. I am the brand and I want people to look at me as an example of ‘Hey look, you too can get past this, you too can get well, and you too can live a happy, healthy life,’” Michelle said.
What’s your motivation?
6. Advocate for Yourself Michelle said that if she had advocated for herself that she may never have had to go through such an ordeal. “I didn’t advocate for myself. I didn’t quite care. If they said ‘We want to cut your arm off’ I would have said ‘Okay’ if it would have made me feel better. So, I didn’t advocate for myself and I didn’t push back on doctors because they’d think that I was bitchy or a know-it-all.”
You’re the only one who knows how you feel and what is best for you, be your best and biggest advocate. Ask questions. Push back. Be considered bitchy or a know-it-all. Do everything you have to do to make sure that you’re receiving everything you need.
7. Listen to Your Gut “We were born with this intuition as women and we tend to ignore it and we can’t ignore it because it’s usually right. If there’s something wrong, if you don’t feel well, then there’s something wrong and you need to figure out what it is. If you have to go to ten different doctors until you get to the right answer then so be it. But you can’t let things go. At any age, at any stage, you should feel fabulous,” Michelle explained.
There’s no reason for you to feel anything but amazing, no matter what age you are. Remember that and you’ll be sure to always advocate for yourself, you health, and your body.
Michelle’s perseverance led her on the road to better health and on the path to creating EmpowHER. Not only did she save her own life, but she’s moved on to saving others’ as well. She’s a woman who runs her life, her health, and an amazing company that brings health and wellness to millions of women daily. Today’s your day to “EmpowHER” yourself too!