I am deeply thankful for the professionals who have helped to make my kids' life better. One of them was a brilliant doctor. I am saying "was" because this incredibly gifted doctor chose to take his own life, about two years ago. And, sadly. we have not been able to find anyone as gifted or caring to provide the care my kid deserves ever since.
I realize this was a rather "heavy" paragraph as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday. Yet, it is truth, not fiction. The name of the gifted doctor was Daniel DeMerell and you can read more about him here. He was both a incredibly talented doctor and an exceptionally caring human being. And a father of three. According to what is known about his suicide, he took his life because he was concerned people would judge him for the fact that he was suffering from and taking medication for depression.
There is nothing I can do to bring this doctor back. But reading about his story made me wonder about something else: how many of us feel we should be striving for perfection? How many of us think we are "not good enough" whenever someone else (we know or see happy "perfect" pictures of on Facebook) is "just perfect in every way."
How many of you, my dear readers, think that I have MY act perfectly together, as far as nutrition goes (after all, I am a nutrition coach, right)? I mean, I must be perfect or know it all because, if not, why/ how would I be able to help YOU?
Well, I have a couple of confessions for you. 1) I am NOT perfect. In fact, FAR from it. 2) I am THANKFUL to have struggled and to, still, BE IMperfect.
Why? Because having struggled along my personal journey to health is what actually enables me to both help you AND to relate to your struggles.
Here is a good example of something I seem to have a good handle on now but used to struggle with it. CLEAR SKIN. You see, I truly have glowing clear skin. This is something I take for granted now. I only think about my skin when people comment that I have this "incredibly clear skin." I am 43 and I do not use anything to cover my skin. It does actually glow (and, no, I am not pregnant:-)). But it did not use to. In fact, painfully itchy scaly skin on my hands (to the point that I had to wear gloves in the middle of the summer just to protect my hands from getting worse) was my final "wake-up call," a few years ago now. I had to wake up to the fact that my body was breaking down on me, no longer able to conquer the toxins I was feeding it (gluten was a big one for me, among others). Back then, I was in denial. Maybe is was just "dry skin," I thought... Or, maybe, it was the eye cream I was using that was causing those red, incredibly painful, cracks around my eyes. I kept switching creams, determined to find "the culprit." It was not very fun. Did I ever find that magic "good cream?" Nope. In fact, I don't use any these days. I do not have to, . My skin glows naturally. Yes, all over my body. But it took quite some time to get there. No, not through cosmetics or any topical creams. I had to go way deeper. I had to take a closer look at my diet (however hard it was, chasing after two young kids at the time) and to understand where things went "astray" and what was ailing me. It turned out It was my gut that was in trouble. Skin was just a symptom (being the largest outside detoxification organ, it frequently is, specially for women)). Yes, I did struggle. Do I wish I did not have to? I am not sure, to be honest. If it was not for that "wake-up call" my body communicated to me through horrendous, no-longer-possible-to-ignore, skin breakouts, I am not sure where I would be today. Going through this was part of what put me on the bigger journey to help others. And for that, I am truly thankful.
Last week, I had a conversation with a client. Let's call her Mary. Mary is incredibly smart and I am humbled to be helping her. Mary is also super dedicated to taking control of her heath and is doing exceptionally well on her journey. Yet, she was feeling frustrated with her "slow," albeit steady, weight loss. I listened to her and then reminded her how (and why) a slow weight loss is actually preferable to a fast one, and much safer. Mary paused, then looked at me and said: "Well, you never had to lose over 100 pounds!" To which I honestly replied: "That is true but I did lose around 50." And then I saw the look of honest surprise on Mary's face. That is when I realized that Mary, as much as she trusted me, never truly imagined I had been anywhere even close to being "in her shoes" before. I was a nutrition coach who probably just "had it perfect all along." And, no, my friends, that is most certainly NOT the case. I HAD been there. Probably, even worse off: I HAD been pre-diabetic, exhausted and depressed.
I am grateful to have been through those experiences to have come out on the other side. So that now I can help YOU! Now that I AM finally perfect, right:-)? No, not so fast, I am afraid. My most recent personal health "mystery" is dealing with elevated Homocysteine. (What is Homocysteine? It is an amino acid. It is also a blood marker rarely tested and yet believed to be the "new cholesterol" by many functional doctors. Some day, I will dedicate a blog post to it, I promise.)
And finding out that I have some rather interesting genetic mutations that not only predispose me to depression and poor stress tolerance but also make it quite a bit harder to lower my Homocysteine level as I need to do. This is, frankly, a bit discouraging. Or is it? Once I DO figure out how (and I know I WILL), I will be able to share this information with others to help them on a similar journey. So thanks again for my IMperfection there.
Ahh but I did finally GET you: I AM perfect because I don't drink coffee more than once every couple of months at the most. Isn't it amazing that I have such incredible "will power" when so many women have trouble giving up their morning cup of java? Well, two pieces of news here. 1) Coffee may not be bad for you and you may not need to give it up, it really depends on who YOU are and how you metabolize caffeine. And 2) I am that person who is genetically not able to metabolize caffeine from coffee. Not much, anyway. What happens when I do drink coffee? If it is once every couple of months, not much: I have "built up" enough enzyme activity to metabolize it. Otherwise? I get panic attacks and I find I do not handle even the most mundane everyday stressors. Not a very fun place to be for a busy mom of two kids, right? So, no, dear readers, it is my "acute imperfection" and and a vivid memory of how good I do feel when I do NOT drink coffee (be in freshly ground, mold-free, toxin-free, whatever) that keeps me from drinking it. No incredible super powers here, I am afraid...
This was a really long post for me. Sadly, there is nothing I can do to bring back the brilliant doctor who decided to take his life because he thought he was going to be judged by others for his imperfections. Yet, thankfully, there is A LOT I can do to help others to celebrate themselves for who they ARE and for the struggles that may lift them to an even better version of themselves. Please keep on that journey. Remember, it is a journey, not a destination. Please remember that, through your personal struggles and errors, you may even help others some day. This Thanksgiving, be THANKFUL for who you truly are, not for who other people might want you to be.
Give hugs. Don't judge. Together, we can make this world an even better place. No, not perfect. Perfection is.. boring. I mean, even on Facebook, not everything is always perfect. Which is a good thing, right:-)?
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!