As much as I want to tell you that I found a magic bullet (as with Zoloft!) with the Women to Women (W2W) program, I didn’t. I continue to believe W2W is a great resource for educating yourself about hormonal changes, dietary considerations, and phytotherapy (the use of plants for healing purposes), but the vitamin/supplement regimen didn’t work 100% for me. This is because between the 60 and 90 day mark, I began to have intestinal ills that I attribute to the regimen.
I had halted the regimen all together when I came down with what the rest of the family had during the winter, some type of flu. We were sick with fever, fatigue, intestinal ills, headache and loss of appetite. After two weeks of this, when our vigor was finally restored, I eased back into the routine of vitamins and the Herbal Equilibrium. It was at this point that I could not get my intestinal health back on track. I tried altering the schedule, one packet instead of two, vitamins and no herbal supplement, and vice-versa , and then taking only the calcium/fish oil in the evenings...no combination seemed to work. From reading on the W2W website, I knew if I called for a consult, they would probably recommend a probiotic. Well, with already taking 5 to 10 tabs a day, I did not want to add something else to the mix. So I stopped all of it. And within another week, the intestinal ills went away entirely.
The good news is that this was also the time of emerging from a very cold/dark winter into one of the most delightful springs I can remember. With the advent of sunshine, warm days and outdoor activity, nearly all of my symptoms (fatigue, fuzzy thinking, depression, irritability, mood swings) disappeared. I also began a new part-time job that, serendipitously, led to a new focus and decreased stress.
I’m aware of the damage stress can do to a body and so, it is with caution that I attribute the episode of intestinal ills to the W2W program. I am only self-diagnosing; since I live with chronic stress, I cannot be certain of the cause-effect relationship since I did take the vitamin/supplement regimen without problem for 60 days.
With certainty I can attest to these things that made me feel better:
-getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night
-drinking LOTS of water (8 to 10 glasses per day)
-stress management, such as yoga, meditation, spending time with friends
-strenuous outdoor exercise (not just a walk through the park, but cardio such as climbing hills and stairs)
-limiting caffeine and sweets
The advent of spring and the internal changes it wrought made me consider seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to which some have recommended light therapy. I don’t know. I probably won’t go out and invest in a special light to use through the darkness of winter, but I may consider increasing my intake of Vitamin D through those months. Also, when it comes time for shorter days, colder temps and gray skies, I’ll be sure and keep up the outdoor exercise -- I think it’s an ace.
In the meantime, I go soon for a complete physical and will hopefully have the opportunity to discuss much of this with my new MD. Hormonal imbalances are not fun and for me, at least, I’ve found no quick & easy method for dealing with it. I continue to approach my health in a holistic way, believing that being created in the image of God constitutes three parts, mind, body and spirit - all of which need to be nurtured to create a healthy whole.