Sigh. If only it was just a splash of blood every month...

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Over the years I’ve read your messages and listened to everything you’ve had to say – what you’re struggling with, what you want to learn and how I can truly help.  It is my mission in life to help you translate the language your body is speaking. Because I believe you and your lady parts are simply not broken. Yes, you’re dealing with a health challenge right now, but this challenge is your body communicating to you that she needs some assistance.  That’s it! I know it sounds simple but if you’ve ever tried to learn a new language, you know that it ain’t that easy! ;-) Trust me, I’ve been there. I spent years in and out of doctor’s offices, being mis-diagnosed with pretty serious conditions and ultimately getting nothing! I hear that from women like you all the time, “no one can figure out what is wrong with me and I have no idea what to do!!” So where do you begin? And how do you start learning the words and phrases of your body’s language?   For starters, you can check out my newest 8-week program that I’ve just launched, the Fix Your Period: PMS program!

In this program I use a step-by-step process in which I focus on FIVE crucial pillars of your hormonal health that are all based on the latest research. 

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AND I’ve got FOUR really good reasons for you to snap this program up immediately:

  • There are only 50 spots available in this course - the reason it’s so limited is because our support team just isn’t big enough to handle more that 50 people at a time.
  • You’re getting $97 off the total cost of the course if you buy it by July 28th. Yeah girl that’s right, a 30% discount! I’m good like that.
  • I am giving you THREE live group calls with me during this 8-week course, for free! Our first one will be on August 4th.
  • AND finally, the program registration closes on Thursday July 31st or when it fills up! Eeeks!

I’ve even got a kick-ass video for you to check out too!! If you think PMS doesn’t affect you, you might be surprised by what I have to share. It’s only two minutes so it won’t take up too much of your time :-) http://youtu.be/MagwtPIQ_Yw The best part is I’m going to support you on your journey and guide you along the way in our group calls and the private Facebook community. I’ll be there with you showing you everything you need to know and answering all your questions. Look, I don’t know if there’s ever a “right” time to make an important life change. But I do know it’s worth you watching this and deciding to take the next step now versus later.  Every day with the status quo is a day you’ll never get back. It’s your time [First Name]! See you there! Love,

Hit me with your best questions below about the program so I can help you get the answers you need and get started. 

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Why we sleep in separate beds sometimes

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I know, I’ve gone all June and Ward Cleaver on you!  You’re likely wondering why on earth two people in their 30′s, who are in a relatively new relationship and are childless (that’s a biggie!) wouldn’t be spending as much time in the same bed as possible.

Well, the answer is our sleep patterns are very different!

I am a bit of a night owl, I like to go to bed around 11:30ish whereas my man is pretty much passed out by 9:30pm. I have no idea how that is even humanly possible! I am also a super light sleeper and the slightest noise wakes me up. And guess what? He’s a big time snorer! The minute I even begin to hear heavy breathing it’s over.

He also moves around a lot in his sleep. I prefer a colder room whereas he’s fine to sweat it out. And he’s an early riser – like 5:30am – whereas I love getting out of bed around 8ish. Basically I am in awe of any woman who can sleep through all of that! LOL

Woman Who Can Not Sleep Because Her Husband Snores

As you can see, this creates quite an inconvenient sleeping environment. I’d venture to say that many of you are in a similar position too? Clients tell me all the time that their partners’ different work schedules or sleeping habits are continuously interrupting their snooze time.

In my opinion, there are far too many stressed out, hormonally imbalanced women who feel like they’ve done a triathlon each day not getting a good night’s sleep. And it has created a population of us running around with a serious sleep deficit! Here are the joys of that:

  • High cortisol levels – I talk about that here
  • Accelerated aging
  • Weight gain
  • Depression and other mood issues including anxiety

Hey, they don’t use sleep deprivation as a torture technique for nothin’ right?

Here’s the hormone real talk

Lack of sleep has a snowball effect on all your hormones and eventually they all come tumbling down that hill. If you sleep well and wake up restored, your cortisol reaches a peak within 30 minutes of waking up. This sets off all your other hormones, thyroid, estrogen etc. If you don’t sleep well, cortisol is high in the morning and  this can disrupt the conversation between estrogen and progesterone, it can cause your thyroid to slow down, which slows down your metabolism and causes weight gain! Ugh, quite a cumulative effect.

What about sleeping pills?

Trouble with sleep is so common that American’s are popping sleeping pills in record numbers. In 2011, an estimated 40 MILLION sleeping pill prescriptions were dispensed and MOST OF THEM WERE FOR WOMEN [1].

Did you know that sleeping pills generally only increase the amount of time you sleep by a matter of minutes (a measly 20-30)??

Yet they can significantly impair your ability to function like a normal human the next day and they can also have a rebound effect – once you stop taking them, you may suffer “withdrawal” symptoms worse than the initial insomnia. What’s even more frightening is there are now actual studies that show how sleeping pills are linked to these issues [2]:

  • Higher risk for certain cancers (35% higher)
  • Increased risk of death, including from accidents (four times more likely to die as people who don’t take them)
  • Increased insulin resistance, food cravings, weight gain and diabetes – very bad for women who are already hormonally imbalanced
  • Amnesia, even from events that occurred during the day – whoa!!!
  • Depression, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations

All of this can occur even in people only taking them less than 20 times a year. Oh dear, is this you?

If you’re not willing to risk this madness then read on…here’s what you can do now.

  1. Get a comfortable bed and luxurious bedding. No seriously, if your bed isn’t the best bed for you and your partner you will suffer the consequences. I’ve noticed that when my guy is on an uncomfortable mattress he tosses and turns and snores a lot more. This is years of experience in hotels – ah, long distance love. Buy the best mattress and bedding you can afford and try to get one that is organic/eco-friendly. Conventional mattresses are full of chemicals including flame retardants that are extremely hazardous to your health. Ikea makes great natural mattresses and they are reasonably priced.
  2. Sleep in another room! I know society paints a bleak picture of couples who sleep separately – “they sleep in separate beds, OMG they must be on the verge of divorce!” While sleeping together can be intimate, soothing and comforting, I believe there are times when sleeping apart can increase these feelings and totally save your sanity and thus your relationship. Right now, this is our best option because our bed isn’t comfortable but we’re moving soon and it doesn’t make sense to buy a new one. Practicality rules this household! :) All jokes aside though, how much is your health worth to you? Apparently it’s worth a lot to the 25% of Americans and 10% of Brits who are opting to sleep in separate rooms.
  3. Keep your room cold. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that temperatures above 75 and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit can disrupt sleep for most people. Studies suggest that women sleep best at about 64 degrees F. Of course everyone is different, so the ideal is to keep your room cool (to you) so that you’re most comfortable. It’s hard to sleep if you’re too hot or too cold so find what works…and hope your partner agrees! If not, see #2 above! :)

Remember, when your circadian rhythm is off, you create a bad neighborhood for your hormones.

Therefore, the goal is to get that restful and restorative sleep every night. As in, you fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, you sleep through the night without waking up, you wake up in the morning feeling energetic and ready to take on the day and you are able to get through the day without feeling the need for a nap. Lemme know below! Happy dreamtime to you! xoxo

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A New Cycle - Book Review

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Are you ready for a book that will forever change how your view your cycle?

Yes?

Great! Because A New Cycle: Your Guide to A Better Period Naturally is here and it’s available for you to buy now :) This gorgeous book was manifested and created by Tracy Puhl, the owner of Glad Rags, a company that makes high quality sustainable menstrual products and empowers women by positively transforming the experience of menstruation.

IScreen Shot 2014-06-10 at 6.03.16 PM feel honored to be a contributor to this groundbreaking book in which various experts come together to break down the inner workings of the female menstrual cycle. A true collaborative effort, this book is a compilation of essays by renowned women’s health experts that explores natural birth control, ovulation and the menstrual cycle, pelvic floor health, Chinese medicine, herbalism, Ayurveda, detoxification and much more.

Additionally, it includes resources and action plans at the end of each chapter to help you get your derailed menstrual health back on track. What stood out for me while reading A New Cycle was each writer’s dedication to their craft and the women they serve. Many of them have transformed painful stories into powerful expertise which they have masterfully woven into the fabric of their essays.

This is a quick and easy read – I literally read it on a 2 hour flight last week – and you’ll want to highlight and refer back to a whole bunch of gems so make sure to grab your copy today.

Of course I wouldn’t go on and on about a book that I love and not give you the chance to win a copy. So go ahead and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win an e-book copy of A New Cycle: Your Guide to A Better Period Naturally. In one week on June 18th I’ll choose 3 lucky winners!! We’ll send you a copy of the e-book via the email that you use to enter the giveaway. Good luck!! :-)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What happened to my life & my period when I surrendered control & chose happiness

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Hi lovelies,

My name is Caroline Zwick and I am a life coach who focuses on women who want to create amazing lives, but don’t quite know how. I am also the creator of The Busy Girl’s 6-Week Plan To Balance & Fulfillment, which is a course packed with amazing lectures, exercises, and interviews with top experts that will strategically guide you towards taking charge of your life from the inside out. In other words, it’s my baby :)

FYI: I am offering a super special discount to all of you just for reading this post! If you enroll in the program by Monday June 9th, you will get $100 off the price! Just enter coupon code busygirllove for your exclusive savings.

The other -very important- thing you should know about me is that I am one of Nicole’s lucky apprentices, which means that she is teaching me all about our lovely and highly complex female bodies and how I too, can help women like you get their cycles back on track naturally. Needless to say, I feel like I am in wonderful hands with Nicole – & so are you :)

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Why would a life coach suddenly want to learn about periods?

Good question and there are 3 reasons:

1. My original plan was to go to medical school, because I have always been fascinated with the human body and its ability to give birth to another human.

2. I see imbalances (hormonally, emotionally, spiritually) in my clients all the time and want to make sure I am the best possible resource for them by understanding them on all levels.

3. My personal experience: When I stopped taking birth control on my 29th birthday, I didn’t get my period back and was told (again) to go back on the pill. Every single little hair in my body stood up and I just knew in my heart that this was not the solution for me. I began doing research on my own because I had this pulsating desire to be in touch with my body and heal it back to optimal health naturally. Fast forward almost 2 years and I am on a much better track. Even though I am not fully back to monthly cycles quite yet, I feel very much in tune with my body and have no doubt that I will give birth to beautiful babies in the coming years.

Over the course of my apprenticeship and friendship with Nicole, we continually come across the fact that my work as a life coach and Nicole’s work as a health coach drastically overlap all the time, especially when it comes to healing the emotional side of our lacking, sporadic, painful, crazy, out-of-sync _____ (insert your personal description) monthly cycles.

Here is the deal:

Research from the field of Positive Psychology has found that –opposite to what most people believe- happiness creates success. Not the other way around. Research by Shawn Achor, a scholar of Positive Psychology, shows that when we are in a state of happiness and positivity, our productivity, creativity, and endurance sky-rocket.

The reason is because happiness and positivity are related to the amount of dopamine our bodies release. Dopamine, which is produced in the adrenals, in turn is the hormone that fires up the learning centers in our brain and makes us more adaptable to changes and more resilient to new challenges.

In essence, when we are happy and positive, we can handle stressful events more successfully. At this point you probably are well aware of how stress and out of control cortisol levels affects our sex hormones and therefore our menstrual well-being. Not good news.

However, creating and sustaining happiness and positivity sounds easier said than done…. I know that from my own experience.

Personally, I spent my 20s having to learn how to stop making my happiness contingent on other people’s approval or external validation and figure out how I can create a life I love based on my own authenticity.

This journey of coming home to myself wasn’t always easy, but it was the only way that allowed me to overcome the physical and emotional hardships of a back-injury I suffered in 2008, tons of career confusion, and crumbling faith in true love after years of dating frustration.

I had to learn how to trust myself, release the need to control, and be playful with myself. I had to surrender my perfectionism and change my relationship with myself. As a result, my life started to flourish from the inside out: I created a career I love, I am engaged to the man of my dreams, and my back pain finally subsided.

This pattern of perfectionism and feeling out of control is something I see in my clients very often and it affects theirs lives on multiple levels: work, love, health, and play.

Similarly again -when it comes to the reclaiming of a healthy, regular menstrual cycle- I had to learn how to integrate Nicole’s wisdom of blood sugar balancing foods, proper supplementation, and avoiding environmental toxins, with my ability to truly let myself play, have fun, and treat my body with the utmost kindness and love. After all, I believe that the best mom is one who is connected to herself on all fronts: physically, mentally, emotionally.

The most amazing things have happened in the last couple of months once I made the commitment to control less and play more: The last two times I ovulated happened right after

1. I began talking to my ovaries and sending them love by rubbing lotion on my belly (an area of my body I used to hate and scold for not being flatter), and

2. I spent a weekend far away from my desk and reconnecting with nature: hiking, walking in grass, swimming, playing.

My message to you is this: If you want to get into true harmony with your body, the emotional aspects must be addressed as much as the physical ones. We are mind AND body and I truly believe that having smooth, pain-free, fertile cycles require a happy, free, and joyful mind.

The best place to start is with the quality of your inner dialogue. Here are 3 steps to get started:

1)  Become aware of how you speak to yourself. Are you mean, derogatory, sarcastic? Do you say things to yourself you would never say to a friend or a loved one?

2)  Formulate 3-5 sentences for how you really want to talk to yourself?

3)  Read one of these sentences to yourself every morning when you wake up and before you go to sleep. The more you can get used to hearing nice things about yourself from yourself, the better your relationship with yourself will be. It’s all about breaking the cycle of negative self-talk and re-conditioning the way you treat yourself.

If you want to dive deeper into these topics and really create a loving and fun relationship with yourself – which is key if you want to create a menstrual cycle and life you love- I’d love to invite you to stay in touch with me and check out The Busy Girl’s 6-Week Plan To Balance & Fulfillment.

Don’t forget I am offering a super special discount to all of you just for reading this post! If you enroll in the program by Monday June 9th, you will get $100! Just enter coupon code busygirllove for your exclusive savings.

With love,

Caroline

Caroline Zwick photoCaroline Zwick, M.A. is a life coach for women who want to create lives they love but don’t know how. She has helped hundreds of women from all around the world who are struggling with issues around their identity, job, relationship, & body. Caroline has a M.A. in Counseling Psychology and graduated as a published author for her work on women and the mind-body connection. She uses a combination of mindfulness, depth psychology and positive psychology to help her clients find unique solutions and get the results they want in a way that is highly effective yet fun and insightful. Caroline runs a successful 1-on-1 coaching business and is the creator of The Busy Girl’s 6-Week Plan To Balance & Fulfillment. Her work has been featured by The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Your Bella Life, The Beauty Bean and Cafe Truth. She has spoken at companies such as Martha Stewart Living, Yelp, AMEX, Twitter, and Charity Water. Download her video step-by-step guide to kick-start your dream life today– it’s free! Get your free 30-min phone consultation here.

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Is Sugar Destroying Our Children's Future Fertility?

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I’m a little fired up this week after watching the documentary Fed Up this past weekend. I’m not going to sugar-coat (no pun intended) this week’s post because I consider the discussion on food and our children’s health to be of utmost importance. I take it very seriously and my hope is to inspire you to take action for yourself, your children or children that you know.

What if I told you that the sugar-laden foods you are feeding your daughter today could be ruining her chances of conceiving a child naturally later on. Would you stop?

Too much sugar!

This is a question every parent should be thinking about and it is also one of my many takeaways from “Fed Up”, a new documentary on the abysmal state of health in the US.

You might be thinking, “ugh, yet another movie on how bad things are,” and you’d be right. Things are REALLY bad and this film does a pretty bang-up job of highlighting our biggest issues. Like these:

  • Children as young as SEVEN years old are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the fastest growing population of diabetics are young adults
  • Many young children (the youngest is two!) are having bariatric surgery to combat their obesity

And you know what the culprit is behind most of this? The mighty food industry and it’s darling sugar. The sugar industry has worked tirelessly to become a staple in everyone’s diet and they don’t show any signs of stopping.

What got me really pissed while watching the movie was learning that when the World Health Organization came out with revised guidelines on sugar consumption in 2003, the sugar lobby in the US demanded that Congress withhold the 408 million dollars in funding the WHO receives from the US each year. Their strong-arm tactics were worse than any tactics employed by the tobacco industry and they worked.

The guidelines simply stated that our diets should consist of no more than 10% daily added sugar. We’re not even talking about natural sugars in fruit; this is additional sugar from sodas, fruit juices, cakes, cookies etc.

That was unacceptable to the sugar industry who claimed that sugar production in developing nations would slow down and devastate economies. Really?! Please. They essentially blackmailed the WHO into changing their guidelines from 10% added sugar to 25% added sugar. Of course our diets don’t need any added sugar so this is a ludicrous recommendation. Honestly I don’t know how these people sleep at night, much less live with themselves. Goes to show how much power these companies have over our governments and ultimately our buying choices though.

Ever wonder why food labels show the daily percentage of carbohydrates, fat and protein but not the sugar percentage. It’s the sugar lobbyists’ job to keep that vital information hidden so that the unassuming customer doesn’t see what the heck they are actually eating. If you’re eating more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day, then you’re eating too much.

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Eighty percent of the food-like substances (I refuse to call them foods) in grocery stores have added sugar. Everything from bread to spaghetti sauce. Make sure to do your homework and read your labels. Look for “no added sugar” on the products you buy and check the ingredients list for any of the names below. This is how food companies hide sugar in our food.

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Let’s get back to what I said earlier about sugar and fertility. I’ve spoken about this before but after seeing this movie I think it’s very important to continue highlighting it. Our modern industrial diet is literally rendering us infertile and I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to limit our sugar intake or eliminate it completely.

I’m especially talking to women who are dealing with insulin dysregulation, insulin resistance and/or PCOS but this message is for everyone, especially children. PCOS affects 1 in 1o women and it is the number one cause of infertility in the US and possibly worldwide. If you have stats on that let me know! About 50% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and 30% (a third of us!) of all women have symptoms of PCOS but are not diagnosed as having it.

Why am I talking about this? Because in many cases, PCOS comes down to sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption. While there is a genetic predisposition to PCOS, please understand that our genes are not our destiny and our food choices can turn this on or off. If we can reduce or eliminate these harmful foods, we can begin the healing process.

PCOS and our sugar addiction

Addiction begins very early in life – birthday cakes, ice-creams, cookies, processed junk like potato chips and fries – all quite difficult to avoid because they are everywhere!  In Fed Up, they reference a study in which cocaine-addicted mice were offered sugar or cocaine and across the board they opted for sugar nearly every time.

Every time a child is given food like this, her blood sugar and ultimately her insulin spike up and then crash again. FYI: Girls as young as 11 are being diagnosed with PCOS. No coincidence that we are in the midst of an obesity and diabetes epidemic. To be clear though, even if children aren’t overweight they can still be pre-diabetic and at risk of PCOS later on.

Note: There is now scientific evidence linking the over-consumption of sugary refined foods in childhood and the mother’s insulin resistance with the incidence of PCOS and PCOS symptoms in children and teens. 

This cycle goes on for years, usually peaking around puberty when we typically eat a lot of fast food, sugar and soda. Coincidentally this is when girls get their periods and symptoms start to show up. Our pancreas isn’t designed to be in over-drive all the time, constantly having to secrete insulin to clean up all the excess sugar in our blood. The real problem is insulin – a powerful storage hormone that is not to be messed with.

Over time, high levels of insulin do a number on our ovaries – too much can actually cause our ovaries to produce more testosterone than they are supposed to. When we produce too much testosterone our brains don’t send the right amounts of FSH and LH to our ovaries (the hormones that stimulate our ovaries to ovulate) and our ovaries get confused.

Confused ovaries don’t properly ovulate, instead their eggs make it halfway through the process and just sit on the ovary waiting for their cue that never comes. These unreleased eggs are what’s known as ovarian cysts. When we don’t ovulate properly we cannot get pregnant. We also won’t have normal periods. In addition, unfortunate symptoms such as facial hair, acne, oily skin, pelvic pain, male pattern hair loss, weight gain and severe PMS can occur. It makes sense then that Metformin, the diabetes drug used to regulate blood sugar is also used to treat women with PCOS.

The good news is that this is all within our control. Don’t buy the story that you have no control over your PCOS or insulin resistance/diabetes or that of your children. Start by seeing Fed Up or going to their site and taking their 10-day sugar challenge. Also read my post on my recommended PCOS Protocol here. When you get your’s and your children’s insulin under control, you are giving them a huge gift – long-term health and the preservation of their future fertility. Knowledge is power and it’s all yours babe!

There was a time not too long ago when a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette was accepted. Watch Mad Men lately? :-) I sincerely hope that the vision of a young child drinking a Coca Cola in the not-too-distant future will be as off-putting as the image of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette is to us now.

***In March the WHO released new guidelines stating that the recommended amount of daily added sugar should be 5 percent. This time they have done their homework and they plan not to back down to any pressure they face! Whoo hoo for standing your ground!***

 

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Reliable Childcare Makes for a Well Balanced Family

Lindsay Bell is the co-founder of Lucky Lil’ Darlings, an elite family care solutions company providing corporate and family focused babysitting, parent-centric events and inspiring commentary on child care, kids and family focused products.  Childcare is an investment on so many levels: Time, Financial & Emotional; however the payoff is worth the commitment. There are […]

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