28 Days Later

On my fridge, there it is. Typed in black bold letters and highlighted in yellow.

It’s held in place by a bright purple clip, magnetized to the larger door, in plain sight for me to see. Maybe I had hoped the color would detract from the subject, and the creator of this document,

My doctor.

I’m doing something I’ve never done before and something I never thought I would…

A 28 Day Cleanse.

And to give you just a peek, I’m not allowed to eat dairy, sugar, nuts, coconut, eggs, or nightshades.

What does that leave?

Not much.

 

Last July I received back the blood test that changed everything with a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. It was right before my 41st birthday and you could have picked me up off the floor.

While my father was the first one in our family to have diabetes, he wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his mid 50’s.

All my life, I’ve had the dancer mentality of carb-loading for energy, and suddenly I was facing having to eliminate so many foods that had been everyday habit:

Fruit
Chips
Popcorn
Chocolate
Cookies

While I did eat organic, I had no idea that my habits of starting the day with sugar, whether it was a chocolate protein drink, or a banana or cereal, were actually the worst thing possible for me.

My body just wants to turn everything into sugar.

And I didn’t know this until I was 41.

I was clear I didn’t want to get diabetes, so I started working with a nutritionist and eliminated most of what I had been eating and replaced it with meat, vegetables and healthy fats.

The avocado became my best friend.

And my body started doing something remarkable and something I didn’t know was possible when I was a professional performer,

I began to burn fat for energy.

In three and a half months I was able to reverse my numbers and went from having 5.8 H1c to 5.5 (pre-diabetes is measured from 5.6 – 5.9, with 6.0 being diabetes). I was officially no longer pre-diabetic…..

But I was still very close.

So I continued the diet, and got another blood test in February only to see my H1c had not moved an inch.

I was frustrated and my nutritionist assured me this was a victory that I had maintained, but I wanted to be out of the danger zone, as my sugar metabolism was still way too high.

So, I was referred to a integrative medicine doctor who took just about every test possible on me to gain a full picture, and he agreed.

My numbers still needed to come down, and this wasn’t just about my sugar metabolism, it was also about my hormones.

I thought of what I want for my life moving forward…of the next 41 years…and that doesn’t include a dialysis machine.

I thought of my vision for my work, for the family I want to have, for the adventures I want to experience, and looked at my doctor and asked the question,

What’s next?

 

What is your vision?
What is it you truly want in your Art?

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you have?
Who would you be?

I remember moving to New York City with stars in my eyes. And what got me out of bed morning after morning for every audition, even in the face of rejection, disappointment, and fatigue was my vision,

To be on Broadway.

Do you remember why you picked up your brush?
Do you remember why you picked up your instrument, pen, camera, or dance shoes?

As Creatives we have a natural ability to visualize. We see in pictures, and step into our inner Dreamer with abandon.

So, what is driving you?

Or, the better question may be….what are you allowing to stop you?

 

I woke up this past Monday morning so nervous. I had loaded up my pantry and fridge with the FEW things I could eat, and knew this was it. I was about to enter into 28 Days of a very strict regiment, and my mind really wanted to race,

Will I be hungry?
Will I have enough to eat?
Will this even make a difference?

And I took a breath, and gave myself an enormous hug.

I made a promise to myself last July that I was going to turn this around. At the time, I honestly had no idea it would take so long, nor did I have any idea that this is actually HOW I eat now.

I’m sugar and dairy free.

The dancer who loved her daily banana and Greek yogurt….has changed.

And I continue to change every day.

That’s the real gift. You and I are the same in this. You are also changing every day.

Yes, I was nervous and feeling very squeezed as I looked at the intense amount of supplements I was going to be taking for the next three months…

..as I looked at the huge protein powder container…

..as I looked at the purple magnetic clip with the whole plan laid out, including a week and half where I can only have the powder in water and vegetables…

And what came back was my vision. The vision I have for my life. The vision I have for ZenRedNYC, for my art, and for the life I am building moving forward.

So, I took a breath, opened up my freezer and measured a cup of ice for my first smoothie.

Dear God…

 

So often we can feel squeezed in what is necessary to achieve the acclaim we desire. We can look at the plan, at truly attaining our dreams, and feel it’s too much.

But, what if this is just the next step?

This is why it is crucial to be connected daily to your vision.

And it needs to be real.

If you are not seeing the results you want in your Art, what did you decide was “too intense”?

I honestly used to look at fellow performers who were doing cleanses, and going paleo or full vegan, and think they were nuts.

Most of all, I never saw myself in them.

I didn’t think these choices applied to me.

And that may be part of the reason why I didn’t make it to Broadway. I had the strong vision, but wasn’t clear on what I really needed to do to make it happen.

Or probably more accurate, wasn’t willing to do what it took.

In truth I needed to claim my ability, and try a new approach.

Just like I am now.

Just like you can starting today.

Come back to your vision and step into your dreamer. The nerves and fear are a PART OF the process. They aren’t the reason to stop.

What’s something you’ve never done before and never thought you would?

This may be the change that actually brings you the results you’ve been waiting for.

And it could turn around in as little as 28 Days.

Diagnosis

NikiCity_132

I got the phone call last week from the lab.

Even as the words were coming out of the nurse’s mouth, I was having trouble processing.

“We got your blood results back, and you’re pre-diabetic”

But..I eat healthy, I dance and do yoga, I have good energy…I sleep well and am thin.

“You’re Vitamin D deficient”

I knew that already, but wait…what did you say before?

“You will want to avoid white carbs…watch your sugars…”

I expressed shock and thanked her for calling. I had an appointment coming up with a bio-chemist nutritionist who had ordered a full blood panel, and part of me thought:

They don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll wait for my nutritionist.
Denial was setting in.

Days later, I sat across from my test results, printed out on white paper, red marker circling several numbers as my nutritionist pointed out the full picture:
Pre-Diabetes
Estrogen and Progesterone imbalance
Hormonal Acne
Adrenal imbalance and fatigue w/ symptoms of low thyroid function

And this was all just before my 41st birthday.

And now I had a choice.
What did I want for my life moving forward?
What did it mean to be pre-diabetic with hormonal imbalance?
How was I going to celebrate my 41st year?

I could feel a label forming in my mind, loaded with judgement and fear, and the constriction was rising in my throat. I cried sharing the news with my mother, and stood in the open door of my fridge, realizing this was a big change.

And I asked myself, have I been here before? Something felt familiar.

What have been the diagnoses on your Creative Life?  Those outside voices that say:

This work is horrible
I don’t want to buy this!
You have to start from scratch
Your submission has been rejected

And in the face of the diagnosis, what did you believe?

Did you believe:
My work is horrible
My work has no value
I can’t finish anything
My work is not worthy

And did this translate into:
I am not worthy

I found myself wanting to put a label and definition on being pre-diabetic.  And it felt deeply disempowering.  I could feel the door closing and a sense of hopelessness seeping in, as I walked the grocery aisles and passed so many things I used to buy.

Can you relate?

But there was something else happening, and that was the sense of familiarity, an actual reminder of my past actions.

I had been here before.  When I was eight years old, I actually had debilitating migraines and was put on a special diet for a year.  I wasn’t allowed to eat what every third grader at the time was living on….no more pizza, soda, or frozen foods.  It was challenging, but I did it.

And at the end of the year, my migraines were gone.  And I was healthier.

This isn’t all….I can think of several times I was given a “diagnosis” in my life and had to make big changes.  The biggest being my diagnosis of divorce.

And if it wasn’t for my divorce, I would have never found grounding in my performance or decided to launch my own company.  I literally would not be writing you right now.

In the face of each one, I was standing on the place of CHOICE.  Would I use this diagnosis to allow me to step forward and create anew, or would I attach to it and turn it into an identity, into a fixed and unchanging part of who I am?

So, what if you took a step back and asked the same questions:
Have I been here before?
What do I want for my Creative Life moving forward?

Could I have created a fear-based label around being “Pre-diabetic?”
Absolutely.
Would it have made me feel even more trapped?
Absolutely.

So, instead, I bought a small journal to hold all the new information I was about to take in, and got out my P Touch Label maker and typed in this:
Food Fun

I remembered I am very resourceful.  I have made my way through childhood migraines, divorce, loss of loved ones, rejection, heartbreak, robbery, and career disappointments. And I reminded myself of a simple truth:

Change is constant.

It’s what we do in the face of it that shapes our future.

I remembered I actually love to learn, and this could be an opportunity to try new recipes, and taste new foods. And the truth behind change, applies to my body.  Today, I have this diagnosis, but it is not fixed.  As I change my diet, my numbers will also change, and my body will come into balance.

Thank goodness for the diagnosis, otherwise I wouldn’t have known things were so critical.

So, take a moment to look at what you have decided to make fixed in your Creativity.  How can the diagnoses you’ve received open you to a new way of expressing yourself?

How can your Diagnoses feed your ability to Create anew?

You are full of resources.  Turn within, and remember who you are.
And come join me in the kitchen for a yummy balanced treat.