BY DANI WILLIAMSON MSN, FNP
In honor of this month’s Health and Wellness issue, I thought I would share with you the six steps to healing that we teach two times monthly at Integrative Family Medicine. As a functional medicine nurse practitioner, I focus on these six steps to healing daily in my own life and my patient’s lives. I spent twenty-four years seeing doctors before anyone ever addressed my diet and the stress in my life. Below are the six areas of healing that if you follow closely, you will begin to live the life you were intended to live.
Eat Well: The father of medicine Hippocrates is credited with saying “All Disease Begins in the Gut.” What you have at the end of your fork is way more powerful than what is in your pill bottle. Food will either heal you or kill you, it is as simple as that. The top seven inflammatory foods in the country are gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, eggs and peanuts. If you are eating any or all of these foods, you are creating inflammation. Inflammation is the root of chronic disease. I ask my patients to immediately cut out the top seven foods and it is amazing how good they feel within a few weeks of eating real food. If you are eating packaged food with a label on it, you are eating FAKE food. It’s as simple as that.
Sleep Well: Most Americans do not sleep well at night and they sleep with phones in their room, a TV in their bedroom, computers plugged in and don’t practice good sleep hygiene at all. If you are drinking alcohol at night, you are disrupting your sleep. Go to bed early and get up early, your body will thank you. Our bodies heal when we sleep. When you are tired, get up and go to bed; it’s as simple as that.
Move Well: Our bodies are designed to move. We are designed to do more than sit at a desk in front of a computer or a TV most of the day. Do you feel better when you move your body? Most people do. I tell my patients at the very least, walk like you’re forty-five minutes late, four days a week. Sweat and get your heart rate up. I don’t care what exercise you do, just move your body! I love my new weighted hula hoop and I laugh every time I use it. Ballroom dancing is my next adventure. Did you know that research shows that of all the exercise out there, ballroom dancing is the best to help fight off dementia?
Poop Well: If you are not pooping at least two times a day, you are most likely constipated. A healthy gut will poop like your dog does. Your dog will eat and go poop not long afterwards. What you eat today should be 100% eliminated by tomorrow. Increase your water to half your body weight in ounces daily and more if you exercise or drink caffeine. Take a great probiotic and magnesium when you go to bed at night. Magnesium is a smoot muscle relaxer and it helps you sleep, decrease heart palpitations, decrease muscle twitches and helps you poop. 80% of the United States population is deficient in magnesium. Take a good magnesium glycinate chelate to help with regular BMs. Ask your health care provider before starting any supplements.
Decrease Stress: Stress will kill you. In 2014, 77% of Americans reported that they have physical symptoms associated with stress. Work, marriage, financial, physical, family etc. are top reasons for stress. We all have stress, but the way we handle stress is what determines how it affects us. I tell my patients every day to actively decrease the stress. Many stressors are out of our control, but most are controllable. We can set boundaries, stop over committing ourselves and begin to put ourselves first for a change. Do not feel guilty about saying no or setting boundaries. I am a firm believer we teach people how to treat us. Make some changes and begin to step away from the stress that you can step away from. You can thank me later.
Connect with Community: We are lonely. Facebook, Instagram and social media have created a fake world for us and it’s hard to live up to the perfect life that is being portrayed in front of us daily. I decided three years ago to intentionally cultivate my community. My friends and I are busy and do not keep in touch as much as I wanted, so I have a party at Arrington Vineyards every year and invite hundreds of people who have one thing in common: ME! I also began having a girl’s night at my house a few times a year to keep my girl connections strong. Being intentional to cultivate community is imperative. I challenge you to text, phone or email your friends to get together this week! You won’t regret it.
Eat well, sleep well, move well, poop well, decrease stress and connect with community. These are my six steps to healing that I believe are the foundations for health and wellness. I have thousands of patients who can attest to the healing power of following those six steps. You are worth it; start today and begin to live the life you were intended to live.
Find my health and wellness videos on my YouTube channel: Dani Williamson Wellness, or come by for a visit at my office located at 330 Mallory Station Road, Suite B3 in Franklin.
Dani Williamson MSN, FNP
Integrative Family Medicine