Reduce Stress and Find Your Focus with Functional Nutritionist Sharon Holand, Dina Cataldo, Soul Roadmap Podcast, how to reduce stress at work, Sharon Holand Gelfand, functional nutritionist, breast cancer misdiagnosis, breast cancer at 29, lawyer stress, how to reduce chronic stress, how to reduce stress,

#52: Take Back Your Power: Reduce Stress and Find Your Focus with Functional Nutritionist Sharon Holand Gelfand

Today we're talking about chronic stress and the toll it takes on our bodies and our brains daily.

My guest today is Sharon Holand who's a functional nutritionist and healthcare disruptor. She specializes in helping people understand how their bodies interact with food and medicine because our bodies all respond differently to them. She learned this the hard way as she shares in today's podcast.

Sharon Holand is a healthcare disruptor. As a speaker and certified functional diagnostic nutritionist, Sharon transforms women’s lives by healing their guts. She gets to the root of their most common health complaints by testing – not guessing – and incorporates lifestyle shifts filled with more energy and less stress.

When her son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, instead of accepting the status quo, Sharon decided to tackle his condition head on. This led her to a breakthrough career change, and  sent her to graduate school where she completed a Masters of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition. 

Through functional testing, connecting to your inner guidance system and lifestyle shifts, Sharon shows that us that we can reverse diagnoses and manage conditions naturally, helping us reclaim our health, improve our relationships and transform our lives.

What we're talking about today:

  • Why we MUST listen to our intuition when it comes to our health
  • Where traditional healthcare doesn't always get it right
  • Where chronic stress shows up in our lives daily
  • The common ways we allow stress to control our day
  • The easiest things you can do to reduce stress now
  • Long term strategies to reduce stress and increase focus and energy (there's a BIG stress culprit that I'll bet money on that you do – because I do it too!)



Dina Cataldo: 00:00 You're listening to soul roadmap, episode 52, welcome to soul roadmap podcast. Each week you'll hear strategies and inspiration to take action and live life better. Hi, I'm Dina Cataldo, lawyer, coach and entrepreneur. This podcast is your roadmap to creating more success in your life, business and relationships. Let's get started.

Dina Cataldo: 00:35 Well, hello, how are you doing today? I am doing fabulous. I love that word. I think it's a wonderful word. I think that we don't use it enough and I feel like we minimize how we're feeling sometimes because we want to help others feel better and I get really tired doing that. So whenever I'm asked how I'm doing, I'm great. I'm fantastic. I'm fabulous. So how are you today? What are you going to tell people today? Yeah. All right. So I want to get into this topic today because I'm okay. Really excited to talk to Sharon Holand and she is talking about stress and specifically we're talking about chronic stress and how it wears on our bodies as well as our brains. And it inhibits our highest performance at the office and in our day to day life. Sharon Holland is a functional nutritionist and health care disruptor.

Dina Cataldo: 01:30 Doesn't that sound cool? Who helps people understand how their bodies and food interact with one another? Each of us respond differently to food and medications as she learned the hard way, and I'm going to let her tell her story to you today. We're talking about how stress impacts our bodies, how to recognize the symptoms of those impacts it gives you that are far beyond just feeling tense and she shares some easy tips and long term strategies to reduce stress so you can become more focused and feel more energized daily. You can find all the links that we mentioned in the po*****@di*********.com forward slash 52 that's Dina forward slash 52 and let's get started. Hi Sharon, how are you doing today? I'm great. How about yourself?

Sharon Holand: 02:22 I am doing fantastic. Thank you so much for being here. Can you introduce yourself to our listeners? Sure. First I want to thank you for having me and I want to say hello to all the listeners. My name is Sharon Holand Gelfand. I'm a functional nutritionist, speaker and healthcare disruptor and I transform women's lives by getting to the root of their most common health complaints I testing so they can stop guessing so that you have more energy, less stress, just the clarity to do what you need to do and really can enjoy life. Stop dieting and worrying about all that other stuff. That's it in a nutshell like that.

Dina Cataldo: 03:00 I liked the word health care disruptor. Can you explain what that means?

Sharon Gelfand: 03:05 We had been so conditioned over the course of our lives back from our parents and grandparents to listen to society, listen to advertisements, believe what we hear without really questioning because we assume that these experts know everything. And what I've discovered from my own journey, from my son's diagnosis is that we are unconsciously incompetent because we're not aware and we don't know what we don't know. And my goal is to be able to have people take control of their health because we all have a choice of the health care disruptor is having you think about and ask questions and realize and understand, does this work for me? Just because you say so, or does it work for me because I say so.

Dina Cataldo: 03:55 I so agree with that and I have to say like on my own journey and dealing with the healthcare system, doctors don't know everything and don't proceed. Maybe in your best interest. They base their findings. In my particular case with breast cancer on what past has shown them, what other people have shown them. So at 29 when they saw they had a lump and I had a biopsy, they got a very tiny part of that lump. When they did the biopsy and it said it wasn't cancerous, the tissue said it wasn't cancerous, but the liquid was quote unquote questionable. I found out later when they reexamined the test results, I was never told that.

Sharon Gelfand: 04:37 Hmm.

Dina Cataldo: 04:38 And apparently because of my age and because they base their findings on the tissue sample and they don't do follow-up with the liquid or anything like that, then they will say, you do not have cancer.

Sharon Gelfand: 04:50 Hmm.

Dina Cataldo: 04:50 It's very interesting to me that that's something that is possible. And then it was just a fluke of my vanity and I had the lump removed, you know? Then I realized, wow, I have to be really careful with what I take in from these medical professionals because they don't know everything. So I did want to ask you about how you got into this. You mentioned your son's diagnosis and I, I know a little bit about your story. Can you tell our listeners about how you got into this area?

Sharon Gelfand: 05:21 Sure. My son was diagnosed about 12 years ago with crones ulcerative colitis, which are part of irritable bowel disease, which is an autoimmune condition, which is different than irritable bowel syndrome, which a lot of people tend to confuse the two. And I had no idea what it was to knew nothing about food, nutrition or anything. I had been a former banker, I had a business with my former husband and to me healthy, it was coffee and a bran muffin from Dunkin donuts. And I remember asking the doctor, what should I do about food? She goes, worry about it, the medicine will take care of it. I didn't know any better. Something inside of me though was like, hmm, really? But I was so busy that I put it on the back burner. I really didn't do anything. And within a week of my son's starting this medication, he started complaining that he was getting worse.

Sharon Gelfand: 06:13 And I called the doctor because my son said it's the medicine mommy. And the doctor said, no, it's the disease. And for a few days I was believing the doctor because she's the expert and I wasn't really listening to my son. And one day I said to myself, what are you doing? Why aren't you listening to him? And fortunately I did because he was right. It was the medicine. And we found subsequently another medicine, we found another doctor. But that was my real first Aha of wow, what else don't I know? And it led me on this journey with Dr. Google and hours later Dr. [unintelligible] And calling my sister who is a doctor and saying, I have to go to Grad school. I need to get a master's in nutrition. I need to understand what's going on with my son. And she was so excited and I hated science.

Sharon Gelfand: 07:00 I'm like, what am I doing? Wow, let me down this journey. And he was a blessing in disguise cause I had no intention of starting a business. I did this solely to try to help him. But along the way realized I had compartmentalize my own issues, which I was too busy taking care of everybody else and not paying attention. So everything went into a nice little file thinking, yeah, I'm okay, I'm healthy. So yeah, isn't that interesting how we're so willing to help and then we don't focus on herself, which is the real foundation for helping everybody else. Exactly.

Dina Cataldo: 07:35 So I know that you and I had talked and we were talking specifically what I'm really interested in is stress and how that you really impact our bodies, specifically chronic stress, which we get into this autopilot zone when we're working. I mean, you're a banker, you understand. Recognize that that's not the norm and I know speaking for myself that I was stressed. I had chronic stress prior to my diagnosis and of course a little bit after two until I figured things out and that chronic stress, it was so normal to me that I could not see that I was stressed. Like I ain't knew intellectually. I was tense and stressed out, but I didn't really understand that the norm was so different from how that felt. Can you tell us a little bit about maybe some of your experiences with that and how you help people in that area?

Sharon Gelfand: 08:33 I love that you just said that you thought it was the norm. You didn't realize that it could be different. And that's what's so many symptoms that we have is that we're so used to feeling a certain way that we don't realize that there is another way to feel and stress. It's a biological response to demanding situations. And as you said, the chronic stress given society, given the social media, the technology we're constantly on and the stress causes our body to release hormones, it causes a, its release cortisol and Adrenalin. And that starts to wreak havoc on the rest of our body because it's a domino effects. And you know, it's like you just click on that first domino and it lines up and it just starts rattling the rest of the dominoes down. And these hormones, the cortisol and the adrenaline, if they're not managed and monitored, then the danger of this fast paced society is that our body starts to experience this chronic stress through symptoms. So symptoms are always just like the top layer by cause is that underlying cause behind it. And so a lot of people, they feel the fatigue and the irritability, headaches, they get IBS, you know, digestive issues, difficulty concentrating.

Sharon Gelfand: 09:52 It interferes with their sleep. And because as you said, you feel this way and you don't realize it's another way to feel. You just brush it off. You know, in the old days of the cavemen living in the woods and they see a saber tooth tiger, the cortisol and adrenaline like comes into action to help get them to safety. But then the stress goes back to what's called homeostasis and balance. Well, we don't have that anymore. It's chronic now. And so when our body releases this hormone into the bloodstream, it triggers glucose to be released. And so that throws off our pancreas is ability to produce insulin properly. And over time it starts to break down all of the parts of our body. And it does it slowly that we don't realize it until we reach a certain point in our forties and fifties where we wake up one day and we'd go to a doctor and they give you some sort of a diagnosis or even when you're 29 of you wonder how did I get here?

Sharon Gelfand: 10:55 How did this happen? And it didn't just happen overnight, but it builds up over time. So when I work with clients, there's so many factors that come into play here, including yes, the work environment, the relationships. It's the food that we're eating. It's the air that we're breathing, it's the products we're putting on our skin, the products that we used to clean, all these toxins had people get overwhelmed and they don't know where to start. And so I always start with let's connect to you first. Like I had this gut method get connected. So the g is start paying attention, start journaling, start writing down how all of this is affecting you. And there's a whole process that I do it. But then I also do testing. I check hormones, I check cortisol, let check Melatonin. I checked your gut because it's so connected, the brain in the gut and if you don't have a map for your body, if you don't have your gps, you don't know what's going on. You're going to get from New York to California by just starting your car, right? It's like, okay, let me get on the highway and I'll just keep driving and see where I go.

Dina Cataldo: 12:01 Right. This is great stuff because when we don't take that opportunity and we have an opportunity every single day, guys, just Fyi, but we feel like we don't, we feel like we're rushed. We are always late for something or you know, we're in the car and we feel like we need to hurry. We're running around and you know, the last thing that we're thinking about is how can I care for myself today? How can I meet my needs? I mean, when do you ever think about that? I think about those things, but not even in that language I think, okay, how am I feeling right now? I try to measure myself throughout the day. Like am I feeling tense right now? And I have to say that took years of practice for me to even take that litmus test during the day. So I understand that this is going to be new to a lot of people who are listening and a lot of you wake up starting running as soon as you wake up. So this is going to take some energy from you to generate it, to start to care about yourself and how you're feeling right now so that you can recognize exactly what Sharon was talking about and start to implement some of the things that we're talking about now so that you can start making those shifts. And once you start making those shifts, it's addictive. You start to recognize there's a better way, a better way to live. Really?

Sharon Gelfand: 13:28 Yeah. You're spot on with all of that and especially first thing in the morning because if you have kids, you're rushing, you're kids and you're rushing to get to work, what to do, whatever you have to do, you don't have kids is always something and it's easy then to be on the go and hard to even imagine that there's any other state of being. So I always tell people, give you some, even just five minutes of laying in your bed after the alarm goes off, turn it off and just close your eyes and just breathe and do a body scan. Starting from head to toe and my feeling clear, do I have a headache? Is it foggy? Do I feel my fingers and toes? Like does everything feel loose? Do I feel tight anywhere? And you know, especially as women, especially when you have like your type a personality or a do or you're a driver, you're a goer.

Sharon Gelfand: 14:14 It's hard to just kind of sit back and relax for those few moments. But when you can start making that connection and scanning your body and just taking a few notes, it's baby steps. It's saying, oh, okay, I didn't realize I have a pain, you know, right in the middle of my eyes because I'm just used to that. Or Wow, I have the sniffles today. Let me write it down. And it's not trying to connect all the dots right away right now. It's just the awareness right now. It's just becoming conscious of it and connecting to it because you need to start slowly and like anything else, create a habit out of it so that you can then understand and take action.

Dina Cataldo: 14:52 Exactly, and I know there have it right now. Yeah, this was my habit, so I'm obviously going to project this on a lot of people, but I know for a lot of people, the habit right now is to hear your alarm, pick up your phone because your alarm is probably your phone and immediately start going to social media emails. Oh my gosh. Work emails and do that. If you are using your phone for an alarm, I don't even recommend having it in the room. But if you're going to try this and you're not willing to do that yet. Okay. Just to hear your alarm and just lay there. I love that and doing that scan. I think that goes a long way just to start building on that awareness that we're doing.

Sharon Gelfand: 15:35 Right.

Sharon Gelfand: 15:35 There were some things that we had talked about and I loved that you were specifically talking about things that people can watch out for to recognize if things are just off like things to bring their awareness to throughout their day and one of the things we talked about was sleep. Can you kind of bring up some of those topics and it brings more awareness to those issues.

Sharon Gelfand: 16:00 Sleep is such a big topic. I met with one of my clients yesterday, and this is with all of my clients, but I'm remembering this specifically because this just happened yesterday where she had this event that she was going to last night, that she was part of the committee and so she hadn't been sleeping well for about a week and wasn't even realizing that that was happening because she was just so focused on this event that she had to co-chair and attend, and when I met with her yesterday, I said, how are you feeling today? And she just went, yeah, wow, I'm exhausted. And so we unraveled where that came from. She realized that she hadn't been sleeping well because she was so preoccupied with everything that she had to do. And sleep is really important for our bodies in so many ways because Melatonin, which is produced both in the pineal gland, in your head and in your gut is your sleep hormone.

Sharon Gelfand: 17:02 And if you don't produce enough of it, then it affects sleep. Obviously, as you know, you're saying stress affects sleep, but there are also so many places where there are other hormones like Serotonin, which is actually a neurotransmitter and a hormone that's produced in your gut. So serotonin is a precursor for Melatonin, and about 90% of it is produced in your gut. So if you're distressed and you're not sleeping well, a lot of it is because it's starting in your gut. And seratonin is the happy hormone. So it's all connected. And without realizing how it's all connected, we struggle with trying to figure out how asleep really effecting me and what's it doing and how can I do something about it. Yeah, and when you're not sleeping well, it increases stress, right? So the fatigue, irritability, the weight gain, the anxiety, all of these issues, all of these comments, health complaints are so connected and it's so important to take a look at that in the scope of everything else and realize that you're not have one without the other.

Dina Cataldo: 18:09 Well, wait a minute. What about trying to create more time in your day? I mean, come on. We need to be able to create more time in our day. Right? That's the only time we can get it as the time we're supposed to be sleeping.

Sharon Gelfand: 18:21 Exactly right. Yeah. So you know, time in the day, we all have the same 168 hours in the week and yet we're so busy, but with you, and I encourage all of you who are listening, if you were to write this number down, write down 168 subtract out how many hours you sleep, how many hours you work, the commute, your non-negotiables of laundry kids, whatever your responsibilities are, I can guarantee you you're going to have a good 30 40 hours leftover and you're going to say, what am I doing during that time? So there is always a way to fit things in and not enough time in the day. If you're single and you're on match or Tinder or whatever app you're on and somebody says, you know, that's really cute and you want to connect with them and they ask you to go out at night, you're going to clear your calendar and you're going to go out with them. Right? So do it for yourself. Also find the time, schedule it in, just like put it in your calendar, make it a non negotiable.

Sharon Gelfand: 19:22 Actually have like this little gentle alarm that goes off. It's just like a little, just a little reminder on my phone that says, oh, it's time to get ready for bed. That sounds kind of funny to some people, but if I don't do that, I'll just, you know, whatever I'm doing, I'll be so focused on it that I won't recognize that it's time to go to bed business related or whether, you know, I'm watching game of Thrones and whatever it is. I know that I have committed to allocating a certain amount of time for my prep and I'm not always great at it. And I actually, I was recommitting to it recently because I noticed such a big difference. And if you practice what we're talking about here and you experiment with it, cause this is all an experiment, you will recognize differences in how you feel and then you're not going to want to go back because you're going to, wow, I got eight hours of sleep last night and I feel great and then you back to your old way and you're going to be really sad [unintelligible] Sleep. And you're going to recognize there's a difference and you perform differently, better focus. You have a better ability to create those boundaries and keep those boundaries, especially at the office where you need to focus and get your stuff done. So then you can move on to the next project or so that you can maybe leave early for whatever commitments you need to do, you know, with your family, whatever it might be. So just recognize that this is an experiment and that you're going to want to just compare and contrast. You know, you're going to go back and forth for a little while, but stick with it takes time. Just stick with it. Right. Do you have anything else you wanted to add on the sleep subject?

Sharon Gelfand: 21:12 Yes, because even from my own issues, when I was helping my son, I had IBS, so I was taking antacids. I have a pituitary adenoma, which has a benign brain tumor. So I was taking medication for that. I was getting Migraines, so I was taking Imitrex shots for that. And sometimes when that didn't work, the neurologist was giving me botox shots and I'll never forget one time just saying, hey, can you put a little bit around my eyes?

Sharon Gelfand: 21:37 And he was like, well, I don't think so. Um, but in my point in sharing this, I had hypoglycemia. I had anemia, I had tried skin, Eczema. I mean I was going to so many specialists and I wasn't sleeping well. But as you were saying, right, it's when it's our normal, we don't realize that that's all happening. We don't know that we can feel differently. So as a result of helping my son, I was able to heal myself. And when I had those wake up calls of, Oh my God, I can't believe how great I feel, I can't believe that I've actually, I'm getting better sleep. It's the moments like that that you start connecting and as you said, I feel great. Wow, I want to continue feeling this way. And the biggest thing also that I noticed with clients is that if we don't do something, we immediately self sabotage.

Sharon Gelfand: 22:25 We immediately get down on ourselves. So I always have them switch to shifting the way they perceive it as all right, it wasn't a great day today. Tomorrow's going to be a better day. It's not enter the world. So you have to remind yourself that adolescent week I was able to relieve my stress, how it, whatever I did for three days the week before it was zero days. So it's looking at those baby steps, even if it's improving how much water you're drinking. If you went from like never tricking water too, well now I can drink a glass a day. That's a huge improvement as opposed to, but I'm not drinking half my body weight in ounces. Right. Everything is about that perspective and stopping yourself and reminding yourself to shift it so that it's a positive reinforcement so that you keep going. Yeah, and I think that as type a personalities, I think that is something that we are so good at doing is beating ourselves up for all the things that we know we quote unquote should be doing and are not doing.

Sharon Gelfand: 23:22 And we got to just recognize that we're human beings and yes, this is all practice, like creating a habit. It takes time. Just like the habits that you have right now. They took time, our brain is wired to create those shortcuts and it wants to give us that comfort. And so we're just replaying those same habits and it's going to be uncomfortable to change, but once you do, you're going to want to stick with it. All right. So what other things do you feel people can look at their lives and say, okay, stress is impacting me and here's a sign that it is. Well, the interrupted sleep, which we just talked about, but stress for many people starts to appear as weight gain around the belly because your cortisol levels have been raised and so it's going to release more insulin into your bodies. So if your body's not able to metabolize it properly, you start gaining weight around the middle and you may be eating as healthy as possible and exercising and thinking you're taking care of yourself.

Sharon Gelfand: 24:25 I had a client who was a personal trainer and she's like, I don't understand this. Like you know, look at my gut because I eat well it's, you know, I exercise, I'm a personal trainer for me out loud and I just keep gaining weight. I can't get rid of this. I can't close my pants. And it's because of the stress. And that's one of those indicators that you're starting to get that muffin top. But also you start getting more cold, you start becoming more susceptible because it's suppressing your immune system. So your ability to respond to a virus or the, you know, annual cold that you make at as we get older, I hear this a lot also, I'm getting more cold. I don't understand it. I never used to get colds or they would go away in a day and now they're lasting a week. All of this is connected to your environment and your life and your stress.

Sharon Gelfand: 25:15 So these are little things and even the sniffles, uh, that you start to like, you know, just kind of rubbing your nose, you start to get a little eczema around, you knows, cause you're blowing it all the time. Your skin breaks out, you start getting itchy skin. The symptoms are so different for everybody. But all of these are signs that the stress is wreaking havoc on your body. And when it does that, it also then can precipitate other conditions. And I'm not saying this to be an alarmist, I'm just saying this to, you know, your heart might start basing your blood pressure starts to increase. It really has a domino effect on all parts of your body. So it's huge to, again, as we keep saying, connect and have that awareness and just take small steps to give yourself time to breathe, to just connect to your body, to allow yourself to shut your brain down. Which is so hard, I know.

Dina Cataldo: 26:12 Right, and it takes practice. I'm gonna keep going back to that. Part of the thing that I do is I do recognize, like I'll kind of say, wow, I'm kind of punched, kinda tight. You know, like I've got this little spot in between my eyebrows, you know, or my shoulders. I'll feel kind of clenched. Or you know, I'm just tense because I'm like working on a project or whatever it is. And it just takes me to take a moment to say, okay, I am going to just sit here. I'm going to take a few deep breaths, I'm going to focus on those areas and I'm going to intentionally relax and you might tense up just a few minutes after that. That's normal. It just recognize what's going on in your body. You'll also notice, at least for me, that your breath will be shallow, so you'll notice that your breath start smooth and deep. They're just like these kind of shallow things and we need that oxygen. So that's why you know, it's so important for us to just kind of take a regular scan and just say, okay, where can I relax? So the benefits of addressing these symptoms, there's so many. The increased focus, the ability to set your boundaries. We talked about that. Are there any other benefits that you can tell listeners about to actually address these things and give them the motivation they need to like start working through these?

Sharon Gelfand: 27:31 There are so many benefits of addressing the stress. Before I go into that. It's also really important for everybody to know that when you're stressed, your gut is impacted and it's so crucial to really pay attention to our whole gut, what we call microbiome because there are trillions of bacteria that live there. The good, the bad, the ugly. And when we're stressed, our body releases these free radicals, these on stable molecules that then can attach themselves to other cells and create more stress on our bodies. And when that happens and the cell walls of our guts start to weekend and Lucin and not be able to do the job they're able to do, then that can lead to leaky gut, uh, where things are flowing in and out into your bloodstream, into your organs that are not supposed to be there. So the benefits of really paying attention to stress, whether it's the breathing, whether it's going to youtube and doing the four, six, eight, there's so many things that you can Google on youtube or using.

Sharon Gelfand: 28:40 There's a something that's megahertz that you can just have as music playing while you're sleeping at night. The benefits of allowing your body to have that, is that right? A few things, especially when you're sleeping, as you're relaxing, your body is able to rest and digest. It's able to heal and do the job that it's supposed to heal so that it can help you prepare for the next day. When you're able to manage the stress, as you were saying, you have more clarity and you're able to focus on what you need to do. When you're looking at ways to manage stress and your gut, then you guts able to produce the serotonin that it needs to produce the happy hormone that then can improved production of Melatonin, which is just sleep hormone. And then ultimately with being able to manage stress. The biggest benefit to me honestly, is being able to be present because if you're paying attention to your breath, if you're paying attention to the stress, if you're paying attention to body, your presence, and then as your present, you can start focusing on being able to be a better listener because you can create the space for others to talk so that you're conversing and instead of you preparing what you have to say next and saying it, so it gives you that space to really improve your relationships.

Sharon Gelfand: 30:02 And at the end of the day, that's what we all want. We want connection. We want to hear, we want to be hard, we want to feel loved, we want to love, and it only starts with you first. It only starts with put the oxygen mask on you first because I just said earlier, you know, you can serve other people if you don't have compassion and serve yourself first. And you know, autoimmune disease, which is where the body starts to attack itself. Stress is a huge component that can trigger over a hundred different types of autoimmune disease, which by the way, 40 years ago, maybe one in 400 people were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Today it's one in 12 right? How crazy is that? The wait for women, it's one in nine and they're over a hundred different types of autoimmune disease. If you look at the cases that have scientific studies are about 25 million people who are diagnosed with autoimmune disease.

Sharon Gelfand: 31:00 But if you look at everything where there aren't even so many scientific studies on them yet, then I must go as high as 50 million Americans. So for women especially, it's so important for us to realize that we have a choice, that we can do something and that we don't have to live in this ultimate reality, that we can take our power back by tuning into ourselves. And even going back to, at the beginning of the conversation we were talking about you know, society and who we listened to. Look at the ads on TV. Every single ad is an ad for a pharmaceutical drug and the music makes you feel good. Everybody smiling, they list all the side effects so quickly and then they mumble at the end, you know, possible stroke or death. So instead of listening to those and then thinking, wow, I had that symptom, I have that symptom.

Sharon Gelfand: 31:54 Oh my God, I must need this were led into this fear space. We have to really turn that around to realize we have that power to say, wait a second, why do I believe that? Where did that come from? Is a true and when you start doing that, that helps to reduce the stress because now again it's bringing that focus back to you, slowing you down to pay attention. And I always tell people start like I mentioned the body scanning in the morning, book your day. I love that you offered to do it during the day cause we should lunchtime break time. Give ourselves, put it in your phone. If you can even book end your day of starting with the body scan saying the three things that you're grateful for, looking for the positive. It's amazing what that to your brain and hormones at that releases the night at the ends of the day, the same name.

Sharon Gelfand: 32:44 Look back because you could have had a miserable day where everything went wrong. You were late, you miss the subway. So you relate for the meetings. So you've got this and everything would go wrong. But at the end of the day, there are always three things that you could feel grateful for. Maybe there was a siren that you know wild by you or there was an ambulance and you can just be thankful that you weren't in that ambulance. Thankful that you have a roof over your head. So many small things that we just take for granted when you book end your day and you practice that and yes, like anything else that you want to be good at practice, it takes that effort. But when you do, you feel so much more in control that you feel lighter, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and you happier because you were able to realize that you can do something about it. So the health benefits of all of that. One of my clients didn't even need to like lose weight or anything, but she was just a happier person and she didn't even realize until her husband said to her, oh my God, you so much nicer in the morning.

Sharon Gelfand: 33:47 It's like all those little things that have a ripple effect on your family, your friends, your relationships, and you look at the world completely differently. And so interesting you say that because that's one of the big things about yoga and how so many people talk about yoga and their family members tell them you need to go to yoga so that you can be nice because you know like sleep, exercise, eating well, it can really impact how we are in the world and it impacts how people see us. So when you're looking at the habits that you have right now, it's okay, you know you are where you are and then you can make change. Like first just recognize where you are right now, but the power that you have to change is huge. I don't think we are hot enough that we are 100% responsible for how we are living our life right now.

Sharon Gelfand: 34:44 And we have the ability to change. And I hear all the time, well what about this? This things, you know, I had this commitment and this commitment, this commitment, this commitment and all of that cuts out all the time I have for myself and working on this. No, these are choices that you have made to commit. They're not just there. You actually have the ability to make choices in how you use your time and I love that you were talking about taking back your power. Why abdicate that power to live this healthy life in which you have amazing relationships. You wake up in the morning and you feel energized and focused and you know you're nice. Those are things that are priceless to me anyway. I agree. You were saying when we had our talk, there were some things that people implement.

Dina Cataldo: 35:37 Let's say they have some awareness about this. They know they're not sleeping well, they know they're not eating well. They know that their brain is kind of a scramble with all their commitments. They just want some little things that they can do to start making some shifts. Do you have any recommendations for them?

Sharon Gelfand: 35:53 Yes. Simple, simple, simple steps. First thing, as we already discussed, right? The breathing, and I do believe in putting it in your phone as a little reminder. Like you even said that you have that reminder of like to get ready for bed after breathing, to remind yourself to just take two minutes. I've been at just sit down and breathe and take that breath, as you were saying, instead of being shallow to let it go deep into your belly or abdomen and feel it, that immediately releases so much stress and with breathing before you eat, do that because when your body relaxes, you're able to digest your food better and when you're able to digest your food better, your body's not struggling to take all the energy from everywhere else to then digest it. Yeah. Because what happens, especially after lunch, we get that two o'clock slump because a body so busy trying to digest the food and we're so stressed out that it's hard and now this energy is going to our stomach instead of our brains.

Sharon Gelfand: 36:53 So doing that, it makes it easier and in breathing so that you can digest food better, just chewing your food. And these are things during the day that help again, because you want your brain to have the energy, not necessarily your upper body for digestion. So by chewing your food 20 to 30 times, the digestion process starts in your mouth. Yeah. These amylase enzymes, right, starts to break down the food. So the smaller the particle and more surface area there is for your body to easily digest the food as opposed to getting indigestion and things kind of getting

Sharon Gelfand: 37:29 stuck

Sharon Gelfand: 37:30 where they shouldn't be. So by chewing it's slowing your body down. And also by chewing and slowing you down, you end up eating less because your stomach and your brain have a chance to communicate and say, Hey, I'm cool. And that alone, for people who feel, oh, I want to lose some weight studies, show that bill just by chewing it 10% fewer calories on an annual basis. So look at,

Sharon Gelfand: 37:55 okay, so there were a couple things like we talked about being on the phone, eating within a couple hours of bedtime, like

Sharon Gelfand: 38:04 yes, yes. So at nighttime your body wants to get ready to start to rest and digest. It needs to heal. And that's when you do it when you're sleeping, when you start eating one to two hours before bedtime, now your body is waking up and it's saying, okay, wait a minute. I need to make sure that everything's in working order so that I can digest the food. So instead of healing and resting, it's busy trying to digest the foods that you're having and it's not doing the job that it needs to heal the rest of your body. So I always recommend least reactors so that your body has a time to digest and then it has the time to get itself into sleep mode as opposed to awake because then it's harder to fall asleep when your body's trying to digest. So by shifting back, you'll be able to have a more restful sleep and it'll be easier for your body to heal your body.

Sharon Gelfand: 38:55 Yeah. One thing that I trial attorneys are guilty of is poorly eating during their day and specifically during that lunch period when you know you're coming back from trial and you're doing something really quick, maybe you're doing some research, maybe a regrouping, and then going back for the second half of the day in court. And I call it trial tummy. It's something that, you know, you don't really want anything substantial, you just want a quick fix. And so often we reached for the candy and the sugar and something that we think is going to give us a quick boost, which is just going to make us crash. I would highly suggest for those people who are in trial to prep the night before, before you go to bed, pack something good. If you've got a sweet tooth, don't crack your snickers bar, pack some carrots, packs and bananas, your apples and whatever it is to give you that sweet tooth fixed.

Sharon Gelfand: 39:55 But stay away from the candy bar and if you are in trial, I highly suggest you try to make it a little bit more substantial because you know, don't have like that big sandwich cause otherwise you're not going to be spry in the afternoon. Try to have a snap that's like a salad or something like that so that you have the energy to go through the rest of your day. I just want it to bring that up because you know that we're talking about food and some of the practical things that can come up during our day. We want to reach for something unhealthy, but it just takes preparation. It takes a couple minutes the night before or the weekend before when you're at the grocery store to say, Hey, I need to pick something up that I can take in during that. That's such a great suggestion and I want to add to that with the preparation is making sure that you have enough water.

Sharon Gelfand: 40:42 And I know, you know, certainly when you're a trial attorney, you don't want to have to think about, oh my God, I'm going to run to the bathroom. I can't drink too much water. By the same token, we don't realize that that that 60% of our body's made up of water. So water too, if you're not drinking enough water, that also zaps your brain energy. Your cells need that water in order to function. It needs the water in order to help you kidneys pump properly. So if you're not a big water drinker or maybe you like sparkling mineral water, you can also infuse your water, let's say the weekend before or the night before with a fruit slices or you know, cucumber and mint. So that it's flavored, but staying hydrated is so important also for that clarity and in addition to you with same with the snickers bars. I think about those snickers commercials where it's like you're having a snickers like, oh, okay, they're back to normal.

Sharon Gelfand: 41:32 I love the idea of the carrots. Carrots are homos or a salad or maybe an apple with almond butter. They even have the almond butter packets that are just, you can squeeze, but look for ones that don't have extra preservatives and oils, there's plenty out there, but having that is going to give you also that energy and making a trail mix. So if you have a trail mix with a variety of nuts and chewing them, you're not going to need that much. And if you do have a sweet tooth and you're saying, oh my God, Gina, there's no way I'm going to give up my Snickers bar, okay, then I say, okay, go for dark chocolate. Go for something 60 70 80% if you have a really sweet tooth, start with 60% work your way up because if you feel psychologically that you just need something, at least have it be a solid dark chocolate bar that you can have a little bit and then you work your way up and then you realize at some point, yeah, wow, I don't even notice it anymore because your body started to shift and doesn't have those cravings.

Sharon Gelfand: 42:32 All of those are great

Sharon Gelfand: 42:33 suggestions. Yeah, I love his ideas. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon Gelfand: 42:39 Sure.

Sharon Gelfand: 42:40 Well Sharon, thank you so much for sharing everything that you have during this episode. I want listeners to be able to learn more about you. Can you share where they can find you, where they can contact you and I'll be sure to link to all of this in the show notes.

Sharon Gelfand: 42:54 Oh, fantastic. My website is Sharon Holand with one L dot com and if you sign up there, you'll see a tab that you way you can get a free guide to breaking free from cravings, diets and deprivation. Get on my email list and I'm active on Instagram, so follow me on Instagram. I have a program I'm working on at a book that I will be finishing this summer and just stay tuned, get on that email list and you'll hear more about it.

Sharon Gelfand: 43:24 Oh, that's fantastic. That is wonderful. Well, thanks again. Do you have anything else that you wanted to share? Anything you felt like we missed that you want to really make sure will here?

Sharon Gelfand: 43:34 Just a reminder that Rome wasn't built in a day. Be kind to yourself and focus on the positive and you'll get there. Just start with one thing at a time. Don't feel like it has to be all or none.

Sharon Gelfand: 43:47 Just start guys. I know we're all perfectionist and we can like, if you're not going to be perfect on it, why bother starting, but just start. Just do it. Awesome. Thank you so much, Erin.

Sharon Gelfand: 43:58 Thank you so much for having, it's been a pleasure.

Sharon Gelfand: 44:00 Wasn't she fascinating? If you want to learn more about Sharon or find out more about any of the things that we talked about in this episode, go to Dina forward slash 52 where I've linked to everything. Again, that's Dina forward slash 52 you have a fabulous week and I will talk to you soon.

Sharon Gelfand: 44:24 Hi Lawyers. If you love soul roadmap podcast, I want to tell you about a couple things that will jump start your life. The is the 10 day lawyer life detox. Be Clear out, stress and overwhelm in this Self Study Online coaching program and you can learn mo**@di*********.com forward slash work with Dina. The second is my signature online group coaching program. I do a couple times a year while the 10 day lawyer life detox is like a quick refresher. The lawyer soul roadmap is a deep dive in this 10 week online program. I teach you how your brain works, why you do what you do and how to reach your goals while creating ease in your life. If you're ready for more, joined **@di*********.com forward slash work with Dina. I'll see you there.

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