This case study is about a very active, self employed 50 year lady who demands a great deal of herself and of others both mentally and physically due to the nature of the business. She runs a business that has several divisions, employing approximately 20 full time team members across all divisions and reporting into a board of directors. In addition to the full time staff she also has an apprenticeship scheme with at any point in time supports 10-12 students.
Mrs Y came to me about 1.5 years ago with several complaints, including being overweight by approximately 10 kg, difficult menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, high blood pressure and severe pain in one of her knees. Often constipated, or had difficulty passing the stool. Describing her health as “poor”, the main goals for treatment were to:
- Find “me” again
- Find a natural way to go through the menopause to decrease the hot flushes and stop taking HRT
- Treat the pain in her knee caused by an accident when in her teens
- Weight loss
She openly admits that work-related things are what cause her stress affecting her sleep, probably causing the high blood pressure, as well as the intensity of the hot flushes.
Her diet consisted of shakes in the morning (a specific brand for weight loss that was full of chemicals), meat or egg sandwich for lunch with a piece of fruit and a full dinner such as a roast with vegetables or pasta bake with salad. She knows that her portion control is poor and that she enjoys dairy products and therefore overindulges, especially in butter, cream and milk.
With Mrs Y it was not possible to address all symptoms at the same time, and when identifying the root cause, the likelihood will reduce and perhaps eliminate some of the symptoms without direct treatment. It was agreed therefore that it would take time and regular treatments to bring the body and mind back to a homeostatic balance. Therefore, we agreed on the general steps and approach for each stage, starting with the obvious aspects of her diet to reduce weight. Addressing the hot flushes that were causing her great discomfort and improve her digestion, which being wheat oriented may have been having an impact on the severity of menopausal symptoms as well as her gut. After regulation of these to then move forward to the next stage and address high blood pressure.
Immediate things put in place to address some of the key goals:
1. Diet – Mrs Y was advised to reduce dairy through changing her breakfast, and was recommended to start the day with a protein breakfast such as 2-egg omelet, or with porridge (oat, buckwheat, rice) with stewed fruit and cinnamon, or banana and honey if sweetening was required.
Removal of wheat from the diet (linked to breakfast, lunch and dinner – toast, sandwich, pasta. Replace with rice cakes, seed bread and other non-wheat crackers and pasta.
Increase vegetables – eat a salad lunch or have soup rather than a sandwich. Replace simple carbohydrates - potatoes and pasta in the evening with a greater variety of vegetables, lentils or beans depending on what protein is on the menu.
2. Increase metabolism and improve digestion to build overall energy levels, nutrient absorption and ensure regular daily passing of a stool.
This was achieved by addressing these issues through a herbal tincture taken twice or three times daily depending on the dose. Adaptogens to provide adrenal support and assist in managing stressful situations more in her stride. Nervines to calm the digestive tract, increase focus and also improve sleep. Bitters to aid digestion together with Alterative herbs to clear toxins.
She was also prescribed a simple herb to regulate and lessen the hot flushes to complement HRT treatment, which was not working well for her.
3. Recommended Pilates or Yoga to increase movement, invest in herself through “me” time, and stretch gently.
4. To re-introduce meditation to her life on a daily basis.
After five weeks Mrs Y attended a follow up treatment. Results were as follows:
Hot flushes were seldom and if they occurred were barely noticeable.
Dietary changes had been made by increasing vegetables, limiting dairy and lessening wheat through substituting salads and in some cases soup at lunch time. Wheat was not completely removed from her diet.
Digestive system was much improved and she was enjoying a regular daily bowel movement with vastly reduced bloating and discomfort.
Inroads into “me” time through meditation, Yoga and or Pilates had not been started. Whilst Mrs Y has many physical symptoms, I believe the “me” time is very important to her bringing her health, both mental and physical into balance. It will aid her in seeing the work load, daily issues and problems that surround any business as manageable, but more importantly some issues may not need her attention at all, rather giving out responsibility to her more senior team members.
Once again, we discussed the importance of cutting out time for herself to do whatever she wants to do that focuses on her rather than pressing issues and others. On the next follow up appointment Mrs Y had joined a gym with pool and was swimming several times per week. She reported several positive impacts of this activity, including more energy, less pain in her knee, personal enjoyment and space to think without interruption.
Consultations with Mrs Y continued every six weeks for approximately 1.5 years. There has been no return to hot flushes since completing the prescribed tincture. Blood pressure has been regulated and with support of her medical doctor the dose of Losartan reduced to the minimum dose. After being scheduled for a knee operation in the middle of last year, I prescribed Solgar 7, which she has continued to take on a daily basis since that time. The result – pain is minimal, she is more mobile and the knee operation has been postponed. Increased mobility is also helping with weight loss as well as her taking a more active role in the parts of the business that she enjoys most and cannot be addressed in an office.
Digestion overall was much improved and only when she lets her nutritional choices and intake suffer does the whole system slow down with the return of constipation and bloating. She now knows what are the triggers and therefore is able to make conscious choices. In the first six months she lost almost three kilos and felt very good about herself. However, weight loss has not continued and in fact she has regained some of the weight.
This case is not all positives. However it does demonstrate the importance of commitment from the client to follow recommendations and therefore the readiness to embrace lifestyle changes to bring about a permanent and sustainable change leading to better health management and holistic wellbeing. I am still of the opinion that if she reduces the workload and therefore stress, it will have a great impact on her overall wellbeing including weight loss, movement, sleep and blood pressure management.