Anne improved her osteoporosis and an autoimmune skin condition using lifestyle-based interventions.
Anne was diagnosed with osteoporosis and lichen sclerosus, an autoimmune condition that causes annoying skin rashes. As someone who had considered herself a healthy person, this was surprising.
With TLC Anne overcame the following challenges:
Before trying TLC’s integrative approach, Anne sought out relief for her different health issues through multiple healing modalities like physical therapy and dry needling, and while they were helpful, she felt there was more she should be doing to improve her health issues.
She turned to her doctor for options, but was offered only band-aid fixes like medication.
“When I tried to get doctors to answer questions like ‘What can I do?’ It was kind of like, ‘Hey, you’re in your 50s. This stuff happens.’ They didn’t really want to address diet. They were just giving me creams.”
Whether it was changing up her exercise routine with more weightlifting, developing more of a meditation habit, or modifying her diet in some way, there had to be something better she could do to slow the progression of her issues.
“I always considered myself pretty healthy. I’ve always exercised. My whole life, my diet has been okay, but I’ve always just eaten whatever I wanted and drank whatever I wanted because I exercised. I think it was just catching up.”
When Anne found out about Total Life Concept’s Health Fundamentals Program she felt the empowerment she had been looking for and finally was heard.
“You guys offered this program that was an alternative but also had a medical component. I felt like you guys really listened.”
Treating Anne’s autoimmune skin condition
The typical treatment for lichen sclerosus is a cortisol cream or ointment, but this felt like a reactive response versus actually fixing the root cause. Anne had a feeling that what she was eating was playing a role.
Cutting out foods has become a popular approach to tackling autoimmune and skin conditions. Anne found that it didn’t help.
“Crowding out was better than doing the elimination diet. My doctors said I could try an elimination diet because I questioned gluten. I tried that, but it didn’t make a significant difference at all. What I did with you guys was include different components to my diet. You all gave me some great ideas for foods I could eat, which made all the difference.”
In the Health Fundamentals program, Anne learned how adding important components like fat, fiber, and living foods to each meal, instead of focusing on what she shouldn’t eat, could support her body’s natural ability to heal.
Anne learned how her food choices could help her manage her lichen sclerosus. She became more intentional about what she was putting into her body by bringing awareness to each meal.
Looking for the important components in each meal was new to her but gave her a mental checklist to go through to ensure she was getting the nutrients she needed.
She didn’t feel deprived because she didn’t have to totally eliminate the unhealthy foods she likes but instead slowly developed healthy food habits.
“I never looked at my plate before TLC. You gave me some choices and you helped educate me. I can’t even tell you, the nutrition piece was so empowering. And it works. I never felt deprived. I always felt satiated.”
Treating Anne’s osteoporosis with lifestyle-based treatments
Anne really didn’t want to use osteoporosis medications, but she also didn’t know that there were options for lifestyle interventions that might slow, manage, or even reverse her diagnosis.
In the Health Fundamentals Program, she learned important lifestyle changes she needed to include in order to support the process of healthy bone regeneration.
She learned specific exercises from Chris, TLC’s master fitness trainer, that she could do besides her typical runs and bike rides that would help her build stronger bones.
Anne started attending Chris’s Full Function class, a 60-minute class that integrates core, balance, and TLC’s famous Primary 9 moves. The added strength training allowed Anne to support her bones instead of worsening her condition by overtraining and overdoing cardio.
“I felt like I needed to do strengthening but I wasn’t a gym rat. I really liked his class. I liked that there was no equipment and it was catered to older people and it wasn’t cardio.”
Anne was able to find a balance between cardio and strength training that improved her condition by helping her build more bone density.
Treating morning stiffness and back pain
Every morning Anne woke up in pain.
The combination of her long commute and years of beating her body up through purely cardio activity, combined now with her osteoporosis diagnosis, left Anne feeling stiff each morning. Her body clearly had enough. She was motivated to find relief.
“Being physical has always been something I valued and has been my stress release so that always had been consistent, but that needed tweaking too. You can’t just be a cardio queen and not have that catch up at some point too.”
“Chris wanted to know where I was hurting and strengthen muscles around other muscles so that my back feels stronger.”
At one point, Anne said that the combination of drinking the TLC smoothies and Chris’s Full Function class were “better than ibuprofen,” proving that daily practices could manage and help the negative symptoms she was experiencing.
The addition of bringing mindfulness to her daily movements helped her move her body in a more gentle and supportive way. She consistently worked on her posture through the Full Function classes and also throughout the day when she became aware of poor posture. As a result, she wasn’t jarring her body around, worsening the issue.
Relieving the frequent feelings of stress and anxiety through daily meditation
Anne had a lot on her plate. She worked full-time, had a long commute every day and had adult children and parents to help out. Before TLC, she was involved with the local Dharma Center and would do one long meditation each week, but she had a hard time integrating a daily practice into her life.
“Even though I was already doing it, I wasn’t really thinking that was part of my health.”
The Health Fundamentals Program taught her strategies for how to integrate mindfulness and meditation throughout her day so that she could practice more regularly to experience the lasting results she was hoping for.
These ideas weren’t enough, though. Integrating the ideas into her life in a way that made sense took some time, support, and experimentation.
With the help of her board-certified health and wellness coach, she was able to put these ideas into action. She uncovered what time of day was most likely to support her consistency and what she needed to do to remind herself during the chaos of the day.
She ran into barriers building this habit, but with the help of the TLC team, she was able to adapt and adjust the action plan, like creating phone reminders and changing the environment so she could have better success.
“Knowing I had to be kind of accountable and try some of the things you said -That was powerful. I told you stuff about the stress in my life, but it wasn’t like you were trying to solve it. It was more like, ‘What can you do every day that’s going to support you?’ You kept breaking it down. And you did that with nutrition, and you did it with exercise, and meditation.”
Building a healthy relationship with food cravings
Anne battled her salt cravings and urge to overeat salty foods.
Anne loved salt and was concerned it was harming her health. She learned through the Health Fundamentals Program that by adding healthy fats to her meals, she would naturally feel fuller leading to less binge eating without feeling deprived.
“If I want to have bread, I get some butter or have some avocado with the chips. And it works! Now I won’t overdo it.”
Additionally, She dove into her chip craving with the TLC team who helped her recognize it was salt her body was craving. From there, she worked with her health coach to create healthier substitutions and solutions to that salt craving.
Lastly, Anne applied mindfulness to her eating. She set an intention to focus on eating her meals which allowed her to slow down and be more conscious about what she was putting into her mouth. This allowed her to enjoy her food and not feel deprived.
“I think the standout for sure is the nutritional piece, because I think I needed that. That education and the tweaks have really worked. You helped me look at my diet differently but also to be aware of it- not just eat mindlessly, but think about it and have fun with it and enjoy it.”
The results of working with TLC
- Anne’s lichen sclerosus became dormant.
- Her osteoporosis reversed to osteopenia.
- She is no longer ruled by anxiety.
- Anne enjoys her favorite activities without fear of breaking her bones.
- Anne has tools to combat binge eating.
Her lichen sclerosus is dormant.
Her skin condition went from an 9/10 on the severity scale to a 4/10 over the course of the Health Fundamentals Program, and after two years of following the TLC framework, it is now dormant (6 months at the time of the interview). This has led to less anxiety around her condition, and she feels equipped with tools to handle flare-ups.
Her osteoporosis reversed to osteopenia.
Her most recent bone density scan showed that she had gone from osteoporosis to osteopenia, meaning she got better.
She enjoys her favorite activities without fear of breaking her bones.
An important factor in the reversal of her osteoporosis has been the addition of consistent strength training. Her new workout routine has given her more results than she expected.
“I think I’m a little more agile and my core is way stronger than it was. I can go for runs, but I don’t go every day. I kind of switch it up with some strength and Pilates and things like that in there. But overall, I think I’m more balanced. I think I’m stronger. I think my body is responding to having different activities.”
While her ailments are still present, she doesn’t feel held back by them.
“I still am stiff for sure. But if I keep at it, I feel good. I can do all the activities I enjoy. I have fallen on a bike, I have fallen skiing, but I haven’t gotten hurt.”
She isn’t haunted by constant anxiety.
As a result of a daily meditation practice, she doesn’t feel caught up in the thoughts and anxiety caused by stressful life experiences anymore. She feels more present, emotionally regulated and anchored throughout the day.
“I’ve stuck with the five minutes a day of meditating. I’m consistent every morning. And that feels great. I don’t feel as anxious. I still have some big stressors in our family for sure. But I think it helps me just allow it and accept it and then try to problem solve.”
“I would say if you’re looking for a way to truly improve your health and you want people to support you in it and not make major changes, but just tweak it, this is your program.” — Anne Webster