As a 31-year-old man who regularly struggles with severe IBS and a mild form of diverticulitis, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and near-suicidal thoughts over the years simply because I didn’t have the answers I wanted, or a general lack of education on what I had.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to learn more about my self-worth and body image, and came across holistic wellness.
And in my research, I came across an incredibly inspiring woman who has also struggled with mental health challenges as a result of her own body’s stage of life. Lucie Mitchell, the CEO and founder of Fierce Beauty and Wellness Coaching, who helps women navigate the inner turmoil they face with perimenopause and other self-image issues.
Mitchell had put everything into raising her four children – but there was one problem. She was also neglecting herself.
“It was hard to admit I had let myself go,” Mitchell told me, adding “that [she] had put herself on the back burner.”
Suffering from depression, anxiety, sudden loss, bloating, a low libido, poor digestion, and low self-esteem, Mitchell didn’t know where to begin or what that missing link was. Trying everything from diet pills and crash/fad diets, to alcohol, starvation, and a general lack of education on what was happening, Mitchell was losing hope, gaining over 40 pounds of weight, vertigo, numbness of hands and feet, and suicidal thoughts.
Refusing to give into the darkness, Mitchell did some research eventually discovering that she was entering the perimenopausal stage of her life. Realizing that everything she thought was the correct solution, wasn’t, she met with a nutritional coach only to discover that her hormones were out of whack.
From there, Mitchell became a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, launching her business Fierce and Beautiful Wellness Coaching to help perimenopausal women during a dark, difficult stage of life, where they recognize they haven’t been putting themselves first.
Balancing Your Self-Image with Your Weight
Over the past year, it has been Mitchell’s mission to help her clients overcome their mental and physical challenges that seek to keep them stagnant. “In my coaching sessions and across my social media platforms, I have been really focusing on mindset and self-love,” she told me.
“It’s important to celebrate and acknowledge your wins in life! This year has done a number of things to our mental well-being, so I try and make it a point to remind my clients and audience that movement of any kind is a blessing for the mind, body, and soul.”
Often, women develop a very unhealthy relationship with food, which ultimately affects their weight and self-image. “It all starts with your mindset,” Mitchell says. “Food can’t make you think or feel a certain way within your mind; many times that pattern has been developed from an early moment in your life.”
In Mitchell’s case, this was a traumatic experience which affected her emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. “We have it pretty tough in today’s society to look a certain way or be a certain size, but once you are able to release those old thought patterns – and replace them with more positive thoughts, the veil is lifted and you can begin to see your real beauty.”
And to Mitchell’s point, she’s right – just ask indie-pop artist Billie Eilish, who just admitted this week that she has a terrible relationship with her body. In an interview with The Guardian, the 19-year-old singer confessed that when she performs on a stage, she has to “disassociate from the ideas I have of my body”, otherwise her performance would be affected by her mental state.
“I wear clothes that are bigger and easier to move in without showing everything — they can be really unflattering,” she explained. “In pictures, they look like I don’t even know what. I just completely separate the two. Because I have such a terrible relationship with my body, like you would not believe, so I just have to disassociate.”
So often we confuse our self-worth with our weight. But why can’t we separate the two?
Both Mitchell and I agreed that mainstream media has everything to do with this unnecessary social pressure put on people like Eilish and women throughout the world. “This pressure has been put on us as women since the very first printed article, in my opinion. I can remember looking at Teen Magazine and wishing I looked like those girls, and then breaking down every single flaw I had – it was pure torture.”
“…but once I truly fell in love with myself, and appreciated all that I am made of – that was the lightbulb moment. Release what is no longer serving you, and your self-worth and self-love will shoot through the roof!”
Debunking Myths Surrounding Holistic Medicine
Ultimately, embracing holistic medicine allowed for Mitchell to feel the best she ever has. “It’s funny, because I always tell people that I was raised by a hippie mom. She has always been a huge support of anything and everything holistic. If it came from Earth, then it will heal you. I embrace that mindset to this day and within my own home – rather than being dependent upon over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. It’s never been my thing.”
Unfortunately, modern medicine today has been a very large band-aid that simply covers the problem, rather than healing it. “Modern medicine is often used to mask the problem, today, whereas holistic medicine is designed to get to the root of the problem,” Mitchell emphasized.
The CEO told me that during the past year of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, she has observed more people looking to all natural remedies to boost their immune systems, as well as their emotional and spiritual systems.
Andrew Rossow: Did these holistic supplements work for you?
Lucie Mitchell: Oh, absolutely! I recently partnered with an amazing health and wellness brand that provides the best all-natural supplements and hemp products on the market, in my opinion. Since that partnership, my entire household has yet to get sick since taking these products, despite the COVID-19 pandemic lingering on.
AR: In your opinion, what are the benefits of holistic medicine, and do you believe they are progressing towards mainstream adoption?
LM: Great question! The primary goal of holistic wellness is to ensure all of these individual elements of a person are in perfect balance. So, when you get sick, your entire system is out of homeostasis, or balance – which includes your mind, body, and spirit. Holistic Medicine and Wellness focuses on treating the person – rather than solely the disease. With more people looking to these all-natural remedies throughout the pandemic, I would definitely agree that holistic wellness is becoming more mainstream – as it should be!
Mitchell and I also dove into some topics that need to be explained for the safety and security of those looking to better understand holistic wellness:
#1 – Is Transformational Nutrition a Thing?
Yes! As a transformational nutrition coach, Mitchell embraces the power of not just physical nutrition, but mental and spiritual nutrition.
“Instead of just looking at food, I help my clients look at the full picture – mind, body, and spirit. For example, if I have a client who has just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, my role as a coach would be to help guide my client to understanding and incorporating the following behaviors:
The goal in understanding physician nutrition is to increase antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E in their diet so they can help combat the damage caused by free radicals.
With mental nutrition, incorporating consistent rituals and routines that help reduce stress which often trigger flare-ups.
Lastly, teaching clients to be at peace with themselves and the world around them. For example, spending time in nature to find meaning and purpose behind your diagnosis.
At the end of the day, Mitchell warns us that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. “That’s what my clients are wanting to avoid, and instead, getting to the root of the problem so they can create a new way of thinking. This helps them feel right and do what is necessary to get them to their desired result that brings long-lasting results.”
#2 – Is Perimenopause Tied to a Specific Age?
According to Mitchell, the idea that there is a set age at which perimenopause sets in a woman’s life is just plain wrong:
“I’m not in menopause yet. I’m in that weird ambiguous stage called perimenopause, which can last anywhere from 6 months to 6 years. Usually, perimenopause is much more disruptive than menopause, because your hormones are fluctuating so wildly, struggling to find a balance. You can’t predict when it will happen and you spend so much of your time praying for it to end and for menopause to actually step in. It is a crazy flux to be caught up in.”
AR: In your observation, what do women most often confuse this stage of life with, and why?
LM: In my experience and research I have heard it confused with stress, obesity, a sense of feeling lost or a lack of being needed or wanted (especially if her children were grown). I have even talked with women who have wondered if they were experiencing early onset dementia due to the brain fog you can start to experience. I think the main reason is again because it can be sudden, random, confusing and even hard to diagnose.
As women, every cause has a reason or every “symptom” has a root cause. We don’t want to get caught in a state of flux or disarray. We have household and management jobs to do, people to take care of. And when we don’t know what exactly is going on with our own bodies and hormones, we are going to be quick to self-diagnose. And usually it is to the extreme or pushed to the wayside.
AR: Why do you think this is a confusing stage to explore?
LM: For me, I genuinely wondered if I was going crazy. There was a roller coaster of emotions and unexplained symptoms going on within my body and the entire time, I was doing everything I could to just keep my head above water. There wasn’t a support system that I could go to.
My poor husband couldn’t help me, my mother couldn’t relate only because she couldn’t remember if she experienced any of the same symptoms. Google is never a good resource…that is a rabbit hole no woman wants to go down. So for me I had to make the choice to either continue to suffer in silence or talk to someone. That someone was a new doctor, one who specializes in menopause and hormone and weight issues. It is important to know that answers and resources are available.
#3 – Is Vertigo a “Disease?”
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding ‘vertigo’, according to Mitchell, is that there is no effective natural relief for it. This is wrong.
“These misconceptions that vertigo is a disease, equivalent to dizziness, or it is related to the fear of heights, are just plain wrong,” she explained.
“One of my favorites is that people think there is no effective natural relief for vertigo. For me, my vertigo was caused by a traumatic experience and an emotional response to the sudden loss of my father. My coping skills were way off and this caused an imbalance within my entire body.”
So, what is vertigo?
“Vertigo is a constant roller coaster in your head and mind. It can be stress induced, trauma induced, caused by crystal deposits within the inner ear. Vertigo can cause imbalance, nauseous feelings, depression, social anxiety, blurred vision and impaired hearing.
For Mitchell, changing her diet cured her vertigo. “I discovered that I am insulin-resistant, so I removed a majority of the ‘bad’ foods I was taking in, such as starchy carbs, gluten, processed sugar and yeast. Not only did I lose that 40 pounds I mentioned earlier, but the vertigo went away.”
Disconnecting from Everyone Else and Re-Connecting With You
At the end of the day, you need to forgive yourself. If there’s anything Mitchell learned along her journey, is that she needed to go through the process of forgiving herself for her father’s passing.
“I spent four years blaming myself, because I wasn’t there when he died, and so that blame turned into self-punishment through guilt and binging on foods that my body couldn’t process.”
Only after meeting with a life coach, did Mitchell find the key in saving her own life, bringing her back to a healthier state of mind.
At the end of the day, Mitchell has three tips for continuing your holistic wellness journey.
#1 – Spend More Time in Nature
Get outside, even if it’s just for 30 minutes! Vitamin D does so many wonders for your immune system.
#2 – Stay Hydrated
Yes, that means taking several water breaks throughout your work day. I aim for a gallon of water a day, but at a minimum of half my body weight in ounces of water each day.
#3 – Learn to Disconnect
Yep! Turn off the laptop and put your phone down. Walk away and do something else that isn’t technology related.
Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine!
Right now, Mitchell is working on launching a podcast with the goal of providing weekly tips and motivational topics in the health and wellness space, while bringing on guests in other professional arenas to speak on topics such as mom guilt, intuitive eating, spiritual guidance, mom hacks, and many more women-oriented topics.
For more information on nutritional wellness, please visit Lucie’s website at http://www.luciemitchell.com/.