‘Now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been’
Rainer Maria Rilke
In this blogpost:
- Constipation challenges and strategies
- My new plans for 2019 in women’s health education
- My favourite books of the year (well, some of them!!)
- Discount codes and sale!
And somehow here we are, at the end of another year. I hope 2018 has treated you well on every level – which includes bringing you challenges, which, while possibly unpleasant at the time, usually serve to bring clarity on what really matters.
December has been, ironically enough, Constipation Awareness Month. Certainly in my neck of the woods, December is a month filled with eating (and drinking!), parties and busy social schedules, time crunches (too busy to exercise?) and altered sleep, along with some seasonal stressors…all of which can add up to some bowel dysfunction, possibly of the constipation variety.
Normal bowel function is defined as that sweet spot between three bowel movements a day and three bowel movements a week – but of course, there’s always more to the bowel health story! In my clinical experience, the two biggest drivers of constipation are pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, which means the exit route is blocked, or sloooooow transit through the bowel, which means too much water is absorbed, leading to hard, dry, difficult to pass stools. What can alter transit time? Stress, dehydration, alcohol, eating a lot of rich food – especially meat based food, changed routine, time spent away from home (your bowel is a creature of habit, and likes to use the same bathroom at the same time everyday…)
The good news is…we can change a couple of key habits to optimise bowel function:
- Breathe Better – slower, deeper, wider. Add in conscious relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles; as you inhale, feel the pelvic floor muscles between the sit bones get softer and wider, as you exhale, let go of tension in the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles
- Yoga twists – yoga has been shown to be as effective as a low FODMAP approach in dealing with some of the symptoms of IBS. I’ve been doing this lovely sequence from @yogaru to help get things moving – talk to your physio or healthcare professional to see if this might be a good approach for you
3. Eat more fruits and veggies – I’m a big fan of cruciferous veggies at this time of year BUT you can overdo the fibre too – don’t go from no fibre to tons overnight, and remember that cooked is usually easier to digest than raw. Make sure you’re getting fruit in there too as vegetables can provide lots of fibre but fruit can speed up movement through the gut – think berries particularly – blueberries are great from an antioxidant perspective but raspberries and blackberries are fibre powerhouses, and when mixed with some live yoghurt/ kefir/ kombucha, may give your bowel the encouragement it needs to move things along
4. Healthy fats are brilliant from a hormonal health and anti-inflammatory perspective but they can also be beneficial from a gut health perspective too – recent research shows olive oil is anti-inflammatory but adding nuts and seeds (especially my favourite flaxseeds!) can be another great way to add fibre to help get things moving and give you the happy healthy bowel movements we all want!
5. Drink more water and eat less meat
6. Coffee (if you drink it) can be a great bowel stimulant…just don’t overdo it 😉
7. Move! The research shows that exercise like a brisk walk (or possibly some gentle yoga twists) can be a great way to get things moving as well
So what else is happening?
I’ve been taking some time to evaluate and plan for 2019 – I’ll be putting my 2019 speaking dates up on the website tomorrow, but if you look, you may see that there are far fewer of them this year. That’s partly due to the fact that I’ve stepped down as faculty from Herman and Wallace, the Pelvic Rehab Institute after seven great years, and also due to the fact that I’ll be putting most of my existing courses (and some new ones!) online over the course of 2019.
As you may know, I’m a long term collaborator with Jenny Burrell on a number of different online courses (Breathe Better, Pregnancy Wellness, Optimal Health after Hysterectomy and Pelvic Floor and Core Foundations – and coming in 2019, our brand new updated 3rd Age Menopausal Health certification) and of course we have what I think is one of the best women’s health events in the world Woman on Fire (are you joining us in April? Tickets are almost sold out…)
All of these projects, coupled with two or three international courses a month have left me a bit frazzled so in order to model good behaviour (ahem!) I’ll be concentrating more on the online space – I went to a couple of courses this year and while they were great, I found that if I came away with two or three new pieces of information, I was doing well – I know continuing education is expensive, in terms of time and money, not to mention flights. Hotels, food and time away from home and I’ve been enjoying learning in the online space – at home, in my pj’s, where I can pause and rewind, go and try something out and then rewatch it again…so that’s where I want to spend my energy in 2019.
I’ve also signed up for a postgrad cert in Oncology Care AND a certification in Plant Based Nutrition, which I’ll be sharing more info about in upcoming posts…and of course, this will hopefully mean I get to feed my book buying habits in real live bookshops rather than one-clicking on Amazon! (Seriously, how many Ferraris have I bought you Mr Bezos?!)
If you do feel inclined to embark on a course with me, may I just point out that if you buy before midnight tonight, you can use the following discount codes? The Pregnancy Wellness course isn’t discounted BUT if you sign up before midnight Dec 31st, you will get some pretty amazing bonuses, including my module on The Perinatal Athlete, the Pelvic Flow and Freedom course and the Postnatal Nutrition course (you’ll have evergreen access to these if you buy before midnight tonight!)
Its been a great year but I’m excited to see what 2019 brings – my words for the year are ‘Transformation’ and ‘Evolution’ and I’m looking forward to the journey!
Until next time
Onwards and Upwards