Date Tags help

There will always be something that doesn't go as it should have. Otherwise, I'd be hungry all the time! It certainly sounded as though Michelle might be suffering from hormonal imbalance. I knew I'd have to test her to be sure, but meanwhile I wanted to rule out other potential conditions she might have, including anemia, thyroid issues, depression, or a viral or bacterial infection. I also wanted to hear more about her diet and lifestyle. Like many mothers of small children, Michelle was constantly on the go, with very little time for herself. She told me she averaged about five hours of sleep each night, and when I asked her about exercise, she just laughed. The only exercise I get is running after my kids, she told me. When do I have time to do anything else? Michelle told me that she had gained 40 pounds since she started having children. Feeling horrible about the way she looked, she skipped meals whenever she could. And it makes me feel curious too. Because the path itself--(pause)--follows through this field. And you are curious where it goes? Charlevoix, Michigan. Charlevoix? Overlooking the lake? Oh yeah. The the the path--I'm not doing a good job of describing it. It's okay, I said.

The size of the path was not any longer once you got on this path at the top of the hill. In those instances, you will have to be creative and flexible to work around them. Great mothers and nannies do this phenomenally. The plan may be to go to the park. Mom or babysitter has the baby backpack chock-full of tools for the day ahead because they planned for it. However, children are bundles of joy and surprises, so when the unthinkable happens, and little Johnny jumps straight into the water fountain, the caretaker has to be creative. Because she planned for the unexpected, she has an extra set of clothes for little Johnny. However, when he then rolls around in the mud in his new set of clothes, mom or babysitter will have to adapt their mindset. Little Johnny might get carted home in a new diaper and not much else. Just like in this example, sometimes the key to creativity and adaptability doesn't require much else than a change of expectation. They engage in physical exercise to stretch themselves (both physically and mentally). She almost never had breakfast, shared a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich on white bread with her toddler for lunch, and usually made a big, starchy family dinner. She wanted to provide good food for her family, but she also needed to stretch the budget as far as possible. After a stressful day, Michelle usually found it impossible to resist joining her husband in eating cake, cookies, and ice cream after dinner. Like most young mothers, Michelle was leading a fairly high-stress life. She worked a few afternoons a week at her local post office, leaving her children with her sister. She was also active in her church. Her husband worked two jobs so she saw very little of him--usually just a rushed dinner and maybe a hectic weekend morning. Michelle felt that she had very little time for anything fun, including sex with her husband--which I used to enjoy! she said with a sigh.

I had a working hypothesis about what might be going on with Michelle's hormones, but of course I couldn't be sure without more information. You got to the top of this hill. Every year, I'd walk by all I could see of the path about ten feet wide. And (pause)--I always wondered where it led to. Grass had grown on both sides of the path. I was trying to show that I was listening with my face, my words, my posture--my whole self. I decided one summer, it was about three summers ago, that I wanted to see how wide it really was. So I got a shovel and a hoe and I started digging. And my brother would walk by about every hour and see how I was doing. So so we had started digging and then one by one some friends joined us. And some people would say, would laugh and say, you are probably never going to find how deep it is. I know what you're thinking: what does achieving mental toughness have to do with how many times a week I go to the gym? Physical exercise is one of the most popular and easiest ways to engage mental toughness. Remember gym class in high school, when your teacher made you run laps around the gym? When your lungs burned, and your legs felt like jello, you kept running, partially because your classmates would all see if you stopped, and partially because you wanted to see if you could. You were training yourself to be mentally tough. Pushing yourself to run to that lamppost, and then the next one. The relationship between pushing your body and pushing your mind is strong. They balance their time between training and resting. Don't mistake mental toughness practice for lack of balance between your goals and rest.

Mental toughness isn't devoting all your time and energy, all the time, to attaining your goals. So I gave her a saliva test that measured the stress hormones produced by her adrenals--a take-home test requiring her to take samples at four points during the day: morning, midday, evening, and bedtime. I also gave Michelle a blood test to evaluate her insulin levels after she had fasted for 12 hours. Then I had her eat a very sweet, starchy meal (I usually suggest pancakes with syrup) and took a second blood test two hours later. Looking at the two levels would give me more information about whether Michelle was insulin resistant. In addition, I checked Michelle's levels of thyroid hormone, which regulates metabolism. I sometimes run a blood test to evaluate sex hormone levels as well, looking at estrogen levels on day 3 of a woman's cycle and at progesterone levels on day 25. Alternatively, I might do a saliva test for sex hormones on day 25. Either way, I also make sure to test for DHEA and testosterone, as well as the levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a carrier protein in the blood that binds to testosterone and estrogen. If your SHBG is high, you don't have access to your testosterone or estrogen even if absolute levels of those hormones are high, so I want to check that out as well. Finally, I gave Michelle a urine test to measure her neurotransmitters, which help determine mood, mental focus, and energy. Was it surprising? When we finally stopped digging, we had to dig all around it. And then start pulling away from from from the main hole. We could see we were never going--(pause)--we can shortcut this by-ssss. And so we got our tractor out and chains and before you know we had enough chain to get around the rock. And the rock was I'll call it the beginning of the hole. And one of our neighbors. I work in the land of metaphor, I said, so I am fascinated. Well, this this this now leads to--why just that hole?

Why don't I start exposing more rocks? It's about being hyper-focused and persistent in the time you've allotted to work toward your goals. Going full-power all the time will lead to burn-out and stress, neither of which is helpful for growing your mental toughness. Do something different. Use the scenario analysis mental model to start your day. Mentally rehearsing for challenges that may come up will ensure that you are more prepared when these situations do occur. Picture yourself achieving your goals and how you will get there. Be honest and realistic in these visualizations. Leave room for setbacks. Write your goals down and track your progress. Few things are more motivating than being able to see tangibly how you're moving closer to where you want to be. Together these tests gave me a snapshot of what was going on with Michelle's stress hormones, thyroid hormone, sex hormones, and neurotransmitters. As I had suspected, they were all significantly out of balance. Imbalanced stress hormones are at the root of just about every type of problem with PMS, periods, and perimenopause, as well as having a significant effect on the hormonal issues of endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, and premature ovarian failure. As I had suspected, Michelle's stress hormones were significantly out of balance. Stress hormones are supposed to be at their highest levels when you wake up in the morning--in fact, they actually wake you up--and then gradually taper off during the day. But Michelle's hormones were low in the morning and high in the evening. Furthermore, these out-of-balance stress hormones were playing havoc with the rest of her hormones. For example, Michelle's thyroid tested on the low end of normal (remember, thyroid function can be disrupted by imbalanced levels of cortisol and adrenaline). Most conventional practitioners might not have considered that score a problem, but I thought that low thyroid might be slowing Michelle's metabolism, contributing to her weight gain and occasional low mood.