The Control Touch- From Helicopters to the Craniosacral System

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Blog, brain health, CranioSacral Therapy | 0 comments

In aviation, a pilot’s control touch can be the difference between a smooth ride and a bumpy one.  Flying helicopters requires a certain type of finesse.  Back in flight school, the Instructor Pilots (IP) used a lot of similar cues to teach us how to fly.  The one that has been coming to mind recently is how minute our control inputs were to hover.  To get to this level of calm, you had to completely relax and “think” the aircraft where you wanted it to go. I have always loved hovering.  Literally floating ten feet above the ground.  During our first couple weeks of flight school, that was a big focus.  Just learn how to keep the helicopter still in the air.  It sounds easy, right?  Well, it took most of us about 10 hours in the cockpit before it finally clicked.  Ten hours can be a long time when you’re just trying to focus on not going anywhere.  They would start us off simple, giving the student one of the three controls at a time to get used to it. While the IP had the helicopter under his control, we just hovered, rock solid, over the same spot.  It looked effortless.  I looked over at the way he sat, his hands moving slightly, his feet gracefully working the pedals, yet we remained still.  “You have the pedals,” he said.  “I have the pedals,” I replied and put my feet out on the pedals.  To complete the three-way positive transfer of the controls, he responded once more before giving me full control of our yaw, “You have the pedals.”  Almost immediately, the helicopter started to yaw to the right.  “You need more left pedal,” he instructed.  I gave the left pedal a little kick, and we violently swung 120 degrees to the left.  “A little less than that.”  We continued rocking from right to left until my quads started burning because I was pushing too hard.  The IP took the pedals back to give me a few seconds to shake out the lactic acid built up from my legs fighting themselves.  After some time of doing little more than working the pedals, I learned how to lighten my control touch and stay relaxed.  One by one, I practiced with the each of the controls until I became more comfortable and accustomed to the helicopter’s response to my inputs. It took some time and a lot of patience, but eventually, I learned how to hold the helicopter still, 10 feet above the ground.  Stillness.  When it came time to start moving, I was instructed to just “think it forward”.  Any movement of my hand holding the cyclic that could be visually noticed was too much....

Read More

The Summer Sizzle Seminar Series (S4)

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Blog, brain health, CrossFit Mom, essential oils, Nutrition, Paleo, post-partum, post-partum weight management, Wellness coaching, Zone | 0 comments

I am so excited to offer a seminar series out of my new office location! The first in the S4 series is Hormone Balancing 101. Here are the details: $10 entry fee will automatically submit you for a drawing for a FREE bottle of Young Living Essential Oils​.     WHO: You! WHAT: Learn the basics of leveling out your body’s hormones with food, supplements, essential oils, breathing, and movement. This is an ideal introductory class for: new moms, athletes seeking to improve performance, anyone looking to shed a few pounds, those interested in holistic wellness and disease prevention. WHERE: 3008 Bee Caves Rd, ATX 78746 WHEN: 6/14 at 3pm RSVP: to me at liz@lcrwellness.com or on the FB event page HERE   Wishing you best in...

Read More

Whole30 Check-In: Week 1 Done

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog, brain health, Gluten-Free, Goals, motivation, Nutrition, Paleo, post-partum weight management, Wellness coaching | 2 comments

Here I am on Day 8 of the Whole30.  I bet you expect me to say how I feel like a million bucks and am so excited how my body is feeling… blah, blah, blah. The truth, yes, I am sleeping better, I am less irritable in general, and I have a bit more energy to get me through the day.  But it’s not all glitter and rainbows.  I just completed my first cheat-free weekend since I can remember (maybe 2+ years), and all I can think about is candy corn, cinnamon buns, and pumpkin spice lattes!  I am realizing that my psychological mental processing on food is a big issue.  I made it through the weekdays pretty well.  I found a kombucha that is Whole30 compliant.  (Sorry LIVE Soda; see you in November.)  I have been eating a TON of food.  I know the Hartwig’s recommend sticking to 3 meals a day.  But, my time in the gym and the kiddo’s continued breast feeding requires more calories than I can put down in a meal.  My metabolism is on over-drive, and while I am not doing this for aesthetic reasons, I have lost a little fluff around the edges.  I don’t have a scale, so there is no way to tell what my weight is doing.  Besides, one of the rules for the 30 days is no weigh-ins. The first few days were magical.  I quickly realized where I had been faultering on almost every meal or snack for the past year or so.  I cleaned up the eats, and was feeling pretty good.  I could literally feel my body soaking up every nutrient dense morsel I consumed to heal my gut and my hormones.  I was sleeping, hard.  I was still getting in some good work at the gym.  I was motivated and feeling like a champ.  Then the weekend came. I am a big advocate for substitutions over sacrifice.  The inability to have that psychological break makes this challenge more difficult for me than any other I have done.  We are not to recreate any paleo version of any treat.  Banana and egg pancakes- nope.  Sweet potato fries- forget it.  I can’t even have my coveted Must B Nutty almond flour tortillas until this is over.  My post-workout protein shakes- no sir!  NorCal margaritas- absolutely not. We went to my friend’s going away party on Saturday.  The no booze rule didn’t bother me much.  The Topo Chico and lime was just fine.  AJ and I went on a date after, and instead of getting an early dinner sans kiddos, we went people-watching and shopping on South Congress.  We considered grabbing some food, but I didn’t want to...

Read More

The Importance of Blood Work

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Blog, boundaries, brain health, drug-free, Gluten-Free, Graduate School, happiness, Mood Disorder, Nutrition, Paleo, post-partum, progesterone, supplement, Uncategorized | 3 comments

As with all of my blog posts, it is my hope that I can help someone out there by sharing a story from my own journey. Sterling just turned 17-months old, and I am currently working part-time on this company.  I spent his first 5 months of life exclusively with him.  In the spring, I went back to my internship and my final semester of Graduate School at UT-Austin, and graduated in December.  The effort to complete my master’s degree, resume CrossFit training, and balance the baby and family duties was quite taxing to say the least.  This is an excerpt from my journal shortly after graduating. “12/6/13 Finally finished grad school.  I feel like my adrenals have been on over-drive pumping my veins with adrenaline to keep up with everything.  I want to collapse and do NOTHING for at least 3 days…. I am taking a [CrossFit] break to give my [parasympathetic nervous system] a chance to recharge my body.  I finally crossed the finish line and need to collapse and shudder all the excess away. .. Thanksgiving took a lot out of me. … I want to : yoga, meditate, get a massage, watch a movie, sleep uninterrupted, dance, laugh, take a hike, sit, NOTHING.” After a month of family time, I started LCR Wellness.  I thought my short “break” was enough to recharge my body, and I was ready to press on.  (Come on, moms.  We all know that taking time off to be with the baby is hardly a break.)  By March, I was exhausted.  None of my old nutrition or supplement tricks worked.  My energy and motivation had dwindled to a slowing trickle.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  My outlook on most things became quite negative, and I started experiencing intrusive thoughts.  I was well beyond the time frame for post-partum depression, though I presented with similar symptoms.  After all I have been though in two combat deployments and my time in the Army, I felt ashamed.  Here I was, an emerging Wellness Coach, yet I felt that I my own health needed help.  This was not something I could suck up and endure. One evening, we ended up in the ER as my hands started to tingle and go numb.  The ER doctor recommended I go on anti-depressants based on my symptoms.  It saddens me to think of how many women have been in a similar circumstance and decided to take the advice of doctors such as this.  How unfortunate that our societal norm is for professionals with over a decade of medical training to hand out pharmaceuticals without hesitation.  Seriously, this needs to stop.  Instead of popping a pill, I knew my...

Read More

Slow Down, Super Mom

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Blog, brain health, CrossFit Mom, Fitness, happiness, Uncategorized, Wellness coaching | 1 comment

So, I’m four weeks into the 2014 CrossFit Open.  My performance thus-far has not been exactly as I had hoped. (Thanks, Dave Castro, for programming a beast of a WOD for 14.4 to destroy my ability to get a muscle up. #humbled)  While I was clear with myself that I could not commit to competitive training until I finished graduate school this past December, I thought I was still well prepared.  My skill set and strength stats are beyond where I was back at 2012 Regionals, but I haven’t kept up with the women in our region who have improved leaps and bounds over the past two years.  After fighting a nasty bug for the first two weeks of the competition, I decided to take a complete rest week.  Yep, in the middle of the Open, I took a break. I originally hoped to maintain a strong standing amongst the other 5000+ female competitors in our region.  I intended to demonstrate that you can balance it all and still be strong.  I wanted to be a source of inspiration to get moving.  I wanted to get my company up and running.  I wanted to be a good wife and mother.  I wanted to do it all. Instead of keeping a competitive ranking on the Leaderboard, I’m a bit lower.  Instead of having an established business, I’m chipping away slowly each day.  The baskets of laundry are clean, but take a few days to get put in drawers.  We’ve used up the frozen vegetables and meat kept in the freezer for “emergencies” (i.e. I just didn’t get to the store today).   Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for all that I have and have accomplished.  Sterling is growing like a weed and such a joy.  I love my family and my life.  My physical abilities are fine.  My business is coming together. My energy level the past month has dwindled, so I am taking progressive steps to find out more about my current body and its needs.  I read that the postpartum period can last up to the first 6 months.  But, from the birth to breast feeding to getting back to work to our bodies adjusting to it all, our hormones can go for quite a ride well past the first year.  I don’t know about any of you other new mommas, but my PMS has been a bit more spicy than my pre-prego self.  While Sterling is doing a great job sleeping, sometimes I feel I need more rest.  Adequate sleep is a huge factor for my overall well-being. TIME TO SLOW DOWN As for my lack of energy, I decided to be kinder to myself.  Stop...

Read More

Brain Benefits of Exercise (Part 1- The Cerebellum)

Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in Blog, brain health, cognition, CrossFit, exercise psychology | 0 comments

     I have been active my entire life.  My parents put me in gymnastics at the age of three and I never looked back.  For me, getting a good work out in was always part of my schedule.  There have been periods when my workouts went minimal; combat deployments and Army commitments come to mind.  Nothing cleared my head the way a good run did.  Regardless of my schedule and responsibilities, exercise took a priority at least 5 days a week.  If I went too many days without it, I felt “off”.   Now I know why.      My passion for exercise is what drew me back to school after my 11 year hiatus in the Army.  Instead of becoming another master of Exercise Physiology, I wanted to explore the Psychological aspect of it.  This semester in particular has been given me a lot of clarity in where I want to go with my journey.  I love exercise, and I am fascinated by brains.  Right now, I am not only taking a Neurophysiology course, but also Cognition and Exercise Across the Lifespan.  They complement each other perfectly.  I have studied psychological benefits of exercise, but now I get to look at studies on actual changes that occur in the brain with exercise.  Brace yourselves.      When we are born, our brains are only 25% of the size that they will be when we reach adulthood (20-25 years of age).  Nutrition, exercise, education, and exposure make a HUGE impact on how our brains develop over that time.  Yes, there have been studies that show that high fit children perform better on tasks involving attention and inhibition, scholastic exams, general executive function, and even creativity than their lower-fit counterparts.  One study focused on children diagnosed with ADHD.  After a 1 year team and individual exercise intervention, the experimental group experienced improved sport competence, social communication, self-esteem, attention span, ability to follow instructions, listening and waiting skills, improved behavior in the classroom, and reduced anxiety.  How’s that for a benefit?      The beauty of non-human trials is that it allows researchers to analyze the actual brain tissue of subjects post-experiment.  One of my favorite studies was done in 1990 by Black et al. showing development in the cerebellum with exercise.  The cerebellum, aka “little brain”, is in the lower part of the hindbrain and is best known for its role in coordination and balance.  Rats were put into 4 different groups and studied for 30 days; acrobatic, forced exercise, voluntary exercise, and inactive control.  The rats in the acrobatic group were given tasks of increased complexity throughout the study which culminated with a very difficult obstacle course including loosely suspended ropes and pencil-wide...

Read More