Erika Holmes transcript

Written by Christopher Kelly

Aug. 26, 2016

[0:00:00]

Julie:    Hello and welcome to the Paleo Baby Podcast. I am Julie Kelly, as usual, and today I am joined by Erika Holmes, MFT, who is -- MFT is Marriage and Family Therapist. But today, we're here, she's here to talk to us about lots of things because she's got some wonderful specialties that I think overlap nicely with some of the things that we talk about regularly. Nourish Balance Thrive, we focus a lot on working with athletes.

    And then coming from the Paleo community perspective, I think there's always a lot of questions that we get about things ranging from disordered eating to other behavioral things surrounding food and also exercise. I think there's a lot of overlap and I think a lot of you will have some insight and connection to some of the things that we talk about today. If not, you've maybe struggled with some of the stuff yourself whether it's related to pregnancy and childbirth or you were an  athlete. I think there's a lot of things we can talk about. We can probably talk for hours. I'm happy to have you, Erika. Welcome.

Erika:    Thank you, happy to be here.

Julie:    Great. So, like I said in the introduction, we work a lot with athletes but then on the Paleo Baby Podcast, I try to talk to moms and experts who are really kind of trying to help people just live better healthier lives. And clearly we have a little bit of a bias in that we're from the Paleo perspective. But one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about first was this idea of disordered eating.

    I think the term is thrown around a lot and I'm not exactly sure that everybody really has a firm grasp on what that means, what it can look like. So, can you kind of give us a little bit of background on what disordered eating can look like and some of the things that somebody might be able to look at, a list of behaviors, and say, "Oh, yeah, that's disordered eating."

Erika:    So, disordered eating kind of there's a big range of it. The overarching thing is that eating and food has taken a role in your life or has impacted your life more so than would be normal, so maybe an overemphasis on food or an overemphasis on a particular behavior around food. That can look like you're really selective about eating or maybe it doesn't raise quite to the level of an eating disorder but you're super obsessed with counting calories or carbs or fat or whatever it might be.

    Or maybe you don't follow normal eating patterns that would be "normal" and that impacts your ability to be social or it causes anxiety. It just kind of leaves you outside of the norm and has that impact in your life more so than just eating for fuel, if that makes sense.

Julie:    Yeah. It's interesting. I guess, just in my head I'm thinking then what defines normal because I'm thinking of my husband, for example. He was really sick when we met. And through changing our diet drastically and using the Paleo autoimmune protocol and doing extensive work with functional medicine and discovering that he's probably celiac and he had all these gut issues. And over a course of a year and a half, really doing a lot of healing. He's very selective about what he eats and he's very selective about his health. He's done a lot to educate himself.

    I know he's an extreme example. But I'm just wondering because he gets frustrated a lot when people accuse him of being orthorexic or having disordered eating because -- He just said, "Well, I dare you to feel as badly as I felt and to feel as good as I feel now and want to eat those things again. Or compromise even a little bit of my health just to feel "normal."" I know he's not alone in that because I know there must be varying degrees of that. I guess, that's my question. Once you've become healthy or you start to see the light and you start to understand that maybe what other people think is normal isn't really healthy?

Erika:    Right. We're in such like a weird society where what would be deemed normal is super unhealthy. I think normal is a tough kind of thing, a parameter. I think it needs to be more individual. You can't just say that eating, like the diet that Chris is on, that for somebody may be so strict and so limiting and cause distress or impact their ability to reach their goals or live a value-driven and healthy life.

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    And that would be disordered eating because their food and their eating patterns have caused disorder in their life and their priorities and values and living like a life that's meaningful for them. But if you're healthy and you feel like you're living a life that's value-driven and you can maintain relationships and it's not impacting you then, I mean, it is what it is and maybe that's healthy.

    I think you got to be really brutally radically honest with yourself to be able to delineate that. And sometimes people can get in deep enough where maybe they don't even see it and someone from the outside, our friends, family member, loved one, coworker, professional, is going to say like, "Hey, maybe this has gotten a little extreme." Or maybe it's a little bit weird or what was done initially for health reasons is now causing health consequences where like a good thing gone bad. So, I think it needs to be pretty individualized.

Julie:    Yeah, definitely. I'm curious how you got interested in this kind of as a specialty and if there was something driving you. Because I think it takes a special person to be able to identify that range because there's definitely a lot of clinicians, a lot of practitioners who aren't really willing to say that there's varying degrees of normal when it comes healthy eating and aren't willing to recognize kind of that -- even that diet plays an important role in mental health.

    So, I was excited when we got in touch because I think it's really great to meet people who have an open mind to the fact that all of this stuff matters, right? And it's a spectrum of health and it's a spectrum -- Diet is involved and you need mental health support as well. I'm really curious as to kind of what drove you towards the specialties that you have.

Erika:    That's a big question. So, I think I come kind of naturally to some of it. My dad is a chiropractor and so I grew up with kind of a holistic viewpoint. I was always a little bit wary of some of just like the spoon fed western medicine and grew up with kind of a skeptical questioning like maybe there is some truth to what something besides the normal western viewpoint.

    I think that from a very, very, very early age started to inform just being open to looking at things more holistically. And I think just from seeing, working in different facilities and working with a broad range of different clients and hearing a bunch of different perspectives from doctors and different perspectives from clients and for whatever reason been really open to taking what the clients says at face value and not thinking that I know better necessarily and really honestly believing the 99.9% of the time there's a good and valid reason why someone's doing what they're doing and maybe I should listen to that and take it into account.

    So, if someone says that they're feeling better by doing a certain thing, like being really like open minded to that and being curious about it rather than just saying that's wrong or that's bad. So, yeah, I think that's a big part of it.

Julie:    And what have you seen? I mean, in terms of working with people, I mean, if you work with a lot of people with eating disorder -- I mean, we work with a lot of athletes. So, I guess, we were talking before the show started about kind of just the overlap of our populations and how there's bound to be ways for us to kind of even make referrals back and forth because of just the type of people that we work with.

    I'm kind of just wondering what is it? What is kind of the profile or some of the driving factors that you see commonly in athletes or people? What are the parallels that they share, people that's typically are athletes and then also that you find the overlap where there's disordered eating or eating disorders or exercise addiction, those kinds of things?

Erika:    Usually, there's a strong perfectionistic streak, high achieving, like your typical type A personally is going to be more likely to either go into like over exercise or exercise addiction or disordered eating pertinent to an eating disorder especially on the restricting side like the anorexia side of eating disorder, persistent.

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    So it's not going to be someone who gives up easily. It's someone who's continually striving and likes achievement. I think that's a lot of looking for praise. A lot of times I see people who other people really matter and being seen really matters or giving praise really matters, like high reward dependent whether it be like a medal or that you got like the course record on Strava or you dropped a pant size or someone says, "Oh my god, you look great," or, "Wow, you've got such willpower for not eating that chocolate cake that's at the work party." So, that tends to be a big one too.

Julie:    Interesting. I guess, I'm curious about maybe what the treatment looks like for this. Because in our world, when we run tests on people and we look at their blood chemistry, we look at their organic acids, we look at whether or not they have any gut infections, and we work on their nutrition and we work on some of their lifestyle things like reduction of sleep or, excuse me, reduction of stress and increase of sleep, and we have this whole picture.

    But I definitely know that we've worked with people in the past who have struggled in the past with some of these issues that are definitely more along the lines of a mental health issue. While I think a lot of what we do probably helps move the needle in terms of their healing with their mental health -- My husband always talks about how it's kind of like a vicious cycle, like how if you have the behavior in the beginning it could lead you to find healthy eating and healthy way of life but then the healthy way -- and that could help your mental health.

    But then the healthy thing could become the new addiction. I'm just wondering how often that happens. So, what would be the ideal kind of way to treat this kind of behavior because I can definitely see how if you have an addictive personality or you are one of these kind of  real type A personalities, you're just going to find a new gold star you're after. How do we work through an issue like that?

Erika:    The first step has got to be kind of working to get behaviors back in a range of normal or a range of effective or a range of healthy. I think healthy is probably a better standard, like is your body actually healthy? You may have heard that something is supposed to be good for you or that running a certain amount of time is supposed to be good for you, but is it good for you? Not just is it good on average but is it good for you?

    And starting to also -- I think one of the biggest things that's helpful is looking at values. Sometimes people can get so stuck in like, "Oh, I've got to win that race," or, "I've got to drop five pounds," or, "I've got to really be avoiding whatever food group. I read on the magazine that I'm not supposed to do any fats, so I'm not going to do it. I don't think they do that anymore. It would be carbs now. But I'm going to do that."

    

    And they get so, like their focus just gets narrowed on that one aspect of life that they might lose out on what do they really value and coming back to like what are your values and let's get that back in balance. I mean, even to be like -- I don't think it's cheesy at all but your thing is Nourish Balance Thrive and I think all of those need to be, like nourish and balance need to there in order to thrive?

    So, we need to not only do that on a body level but do that on a relational level and like a goals level, bigger picture and a values level of getting all of those kind of needs met and then balanced. And, yeah, if you want to be on a particular diet or lifestyle and let's do that but in a more balanced and effective way.

Julie:    Yeah. That sounds -- It's interesting because that's one of the things, when I speak to people, my focus is working with people on their nutrition and a lot of it, I would say, is more along the lines or goal setting and just constantly reassessing what is the actual goal here? Because we always ask what the overarching goal is, right? And so some people come to us and they say, "I want to run the Boston marathon," for example.

    And we say, "Okay, that's a great goal and we want to get you healthy enough so you can achieve that goal and you can train for that goal." But then I always have to ask the question, "Okay, if that's the overarching goal, that means that you have lot of other goals. Because if your health isn't where it needs to be then you cannot achieve that overarching goal.

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    So, we have to set all of this kind of mini milestones for health before we can even really turn our attention to the bigger overarching goal. It's always there in the background but it's not, it cannot be the primary focus because there's no way that you can achieve the health that you need to get there by only focusing on that goal. So, it's a lot of kind of what's our goal for our health right now?

    And if that means removing all the inflammatory food so that we can reduce overall body inflammation and do a big round of gut healing and cleansing and all of the things that we have to work through in a protocol, in anyone's given protocol, it's a lot of goal setting. It's a lot of that. And so, is that something, that kind of self reflection and kind of inward looking, it's almost retraining because a lot of the people we work with, when it comes to food, they're all smart people.

    So, they've done a lot of reading, they've done a lot of research, they think they know what they're supposed to be doing and nine times out of ten, they're pretty close but they haven't done what you said. They haven't looked inside, okay, is this right for me right now? And a lot of times it's not because they're not healthy. They've got a gut infection or they've got lots of nutrient deficiency, that they're just flat out over exercised and they need to rest and recover or focus on recovery.

    So, I guess, I'm just wondering if you could maybe tell us a story or time of someone who has been through something like this and what that looks like and is it something that is -- Because we typically put a timeline on our recovery, like working with people. It's usually six months to a year and you'll be feeling really, really good. But I'm just wondering about the people that we've worked with who have had eating disorders in the past, women, athletes who struggled with eating disorders maybe through high school and college, they were athletes, they were working out a ton, they have a very unhealthy body image of what they should look like now, ten, 15, 20 years later after, maybe even after having kids, struggling with fertility and having kids and all that.

    So, they've been through the wringer and they still have this extremely high expectation. And I always worry a little bit, even after we finish with our protocols with them and they're feeling really great and it seems like they've got a really good hand on everything, I do worry about sending them back off into the wild because I worry that that's something that never really truly goes away and I wonder what that kind of recovery looks like.

Erika:    It takes a long time effort. Talking about eating disorders, the range is two to ten years for recovery and body image is always the last thing to go. That's always the biggest struggle. Because it's just in your face all the time, and even people, I can even say women, at this point it's men and women, are bombarded every day with all sorts of messages about what you're supposed to look like. So, that usually takes the longest but it's continually choosing life and values and recovery, balance and goals over your eating disorder or disordered eating or overtraining, over exercising and continually coming back to what are my goals and values and in this moment how do I take a step towards my goals and values and continually doing that?

    I had a patient. I was working at Eating Recovery Center in Denver and we had an athlete, college athlete who came in and she was on the track team and they basically had intervention and said, "Hey, you've taken this a bit too far. You're getting too thin." She was still doing well in races but they're worried about her health and she came in.

    We really had to peel back the exercise because she had such a strong addiction to it that she couldn't really see clearly of what was going to be healthy and what was sustainable. She just got way too deep into it. But when we peeled that back she also got to see like, "Hey, I have these other -- I love to sing and I like to dance and I like art and I'm really a great friend."

    And she got to connect to those so that when she did go back to track she could balance that out instead of doing a zillion and one crunches at night while her friends went out to a party. She could go do her track workout during the day but then go to a party later so that she wasn't so single focused on running that she didn't have a life. Because then you got to a point like what for? Yeah, you've got a nice body and, yeah, you're doing well in track but that's all you've got. And really taking a hard look at that, of like is that it? is that all you want and is it possible that there's more out there for you or more that you're passionate about or more that's interesting or that life could offer you besides this one very narrow thing?

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Julie:    That's interesting. That kind of rang another bell because one of the other things that we focus a lot on and that we've seen. When we start to work with someone we have this health questionnaire that we give them and ask a lot of what seem probably to the outside person or lay person as really random questions, but it says a lot of, in the last seven days, I have felt more irritated than somebody might know and says often or not ever.

    And it has lots of questions if that goes to digestion, everything like that. But I always look at more of the socially related questions because I think -- I really worry about somebody's social isolation and, I think, that's definitely something that we focus on because there's lots of beautiful research that's been done about the health effects of social isolation. And we, as humans, are not really designed to be socially isolated and yet in our society now we are becoming more and more socially isolated.

    And I don't even think that people identify with it until you blatantly put it into terms that they have to answer yes or no to. And when you do that, and then they look back and go, "Wow, yeah, I don't have a lot of social interaction that makes me happy or fulfilled or replenished at the end of the day." And do you see that playing out in your practice? Do you see a lot of social isolation and do you think that that's having ill effects on people's health that make it more difficult to help the mental illness factor of their health?

Erika:    Yeah. I mean, it can kind of mask it. People can use that as a way of denial, that if you're not having the mirror of someone in front of you saying like, wow, you look more tired or you're more irritable, or some of your behavior seems a little bit different. I mean, people can hide out and that of avoiding looking at the reality but then isolation also, it's one of those things like with addiction where who knows chicken or the egg and it depends on the person.

    But maybe you're a little bit more isolated and then you get more depressed and then to manage your depression you go and you run. And then you're running and you're tired, you don't have time to go out and socialize as much after work so you're isolated there, you're more depressed. The only time that you feel even a little bit good is running and then it kind of like can feed of itself and just come like just a big gnarly cycle there.

Julie:    Yeah, that's interesting. I think that's one of the things that my husband was getting out and we were talking about what we were going to talk about today. I think that's interesting way of looking at it and I'm always wondering about more scenarios like that, how you just walked me through kind of what leads to what. And I'm just thinking about other people within our practice. I'm really stuck on this idea that -- Because when I read research papers and things like that, that talk about depression and talk about lots of other things that can go on in terms of mental health, because of our practice and what we do, we say, I bet we could help that person tremendously just by working on their gut, just by working on their nutrition.

    And I'm just curious like how important you think that is and how deeply tied you think those two things are? Because while I think they're really important, I also, like with the scenario you just walked me through, I can see how the vicious cycle almost has to come, almost has to play itself out before somebody might be willing or able to seek help for either their health or their mental health. Because it almost doesn't seem like they go -- They don't seem to get help for them hand in hand, do they?

Erika:    Not often but they are, so I don't think you can treat one without treating the other, which is why I reached out to you guys in the first place because I think they have to go hand in hand and they both impact each other and in that situation that I mentioned, let's say that you're isolated and you're using running to cope with it, and then maybe you're not, maybe from running so much your gut gets messed up and then your gut's messed up.

    And different foods bother you and you're even more hesitant about going out to whatever social event. Or because all your neurotransmitters are made in your gut like you're even more depressed and that kind of feeds of itself of low motivation to want to go out and socialize. And that cycle continues. If we throw like your gut in there, I don't think you can tease them apart too easily. But as much as they can bring each other down, I think that whatever level a person is ready to work on, they can impact each other the other way too. If you work on your mental health, it's possible that you're going to do some things that improve your health and wellness too or improve your motivation.

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    And if you work on your gut first, maybe that's going to impact your mood or anxiety enough so that you can work on some of the mental health stuff. They both can kind of help each other out too and give someone a little bit more space to look at what's going on. Because if you're so overwhelmed with depression or, on the flipside, if you're so overwhelmed with your gut, like that's just -- You can't really do too much. But once you start to create a little bit of space by working on one or the other then you can kind of have your eyes open to making more positive changes.

Julie:    I'm curious. Have you ever worked with anybody who was depressed because they were sick? Because we're working more and more with people who have chronic illness, so they've been sick for a very long time and it's, obviously, it's affected everything. So, it's almost like your mental health has been directly impacted by your illness.

Erika:    I've definitely seen that with everybody really, like the more someone comes and say that they've got -- It's for everybody. So I'll give you a couple of examples. If they come in with an eating disorder and we get they've been starving and because they've been starving their guts messed up, they don't have any neurotransmitters, they start eating more. Their mood increases. They feel less depressed because they're more well-nourished.

    I would have to do very little on the mental health side specifically to get someone feeling better if they're coming in malnourished because once they start eating they're going to start feeling less anxious, less depressed. And I've had people who have addiction, let's say, and the more that you're drinking alcohol consistently, that definitely is a depressant. So, the less that you're drinking that's going to impact your mood.

    Actually, I've had a couple clients who ended up being diagnosed with celiac. One had been diagnosed with asperger, one was diagnosed with bipolar and as soon as they cleaned up their diet, those things improved dramatically. They still had some work to do. That wasn't the whole story. But that was such a large bulk of the story that once they got on a specific diet the work became much more manageable. So, it's pretty incredible. I have yet to see a case where improving your health hasn't impacted mental health.

Julie:    That's really interesting. I mean, it's always fascinating to me. It's like clearly, they are linked in. As easy as it is to talk about them like they're two separate things, your health and your mental health. Obviously, it's like they're inextricably connected. I was wondering why we deal with them on such different levels, why they're so separate all the time? It's frustrating.

Erika:    I 100% agree. I think it's just one of those good old western medicine thing that separates everything else and you get like the heart specialist who doesn't talk to the GP who doesn't talk to the ear nose and throat or the GI doctor whatever it might be and I think we've separated it out like physical and mental health and you can't tease them apart that much. They have to be -- I think in order to be effective, they need to be considered together. Like you can put a Bandaid on stuff and you can work on stuff but you're not going to help the whole person unless you address the whole person. I think it's an important to take a look at both sides.

Julie:    No. It seems ridiculously important to me. I'm just wondering from your side, I mean, when you're working with people, how willing are other physicians to communicate and to -- I mean, maybe you have a different perspective because you're clearly up on this stuff and you're invested in making these things happen for people, but I mean, maybe earlier in your career, maybe you saw like how willing are other people, other physicians, the more physical side physicians, how well do they work within a holistic approach to treating someone who has both the mental illness and a physical illness?

Erika:    I think, usually, people will kind of refer out. Like either they'll do a Bandaid kind of thing, like, oh, you go into your GP person and you say I'm feeling sad and they write you a prescription for Prozac. That's one scenario. Or the other scenario is they say, "You know what, that's out of my scope. Why don't you go see whatever specialist whether it be a psychiatrist or a therapist.

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    So, it's a rare case where someone is going to be treating both. I've seen that people generally are willing to at least chat a little bit if I approached them of like, "Hey," if I approach a doctor and say, "Hey, let's work on this together. What do you think about that?" Most of them are willing to chat. I really like working with chiropractors and functional medicine doctors and more holistic. They seem to be more open to looking at the whole person and incorporating both aspects.

Julie:    It's good to hear but it's also frustrating. We talked about this all the time about when my husband was ill, he went to the doctor who referred him to the gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist didn't even ask him what he was eating. They didn't ask him about his diet at all before they recommended him having like a colonoscopy and all these really invasive tests. And that's was where I really drew the line. I just said we're done with this.

    Because he came home and told me that and I was just like if they're not doing -- I mean, not even asking the question. That means they don't even think that there's a connection between what you're eating and what's happening to you. So, we're done with that route. We're just going to go completely the other way. I'm so glad that we did because I just, I think those specialties and I think it's great that there's people who are -- Western medicine is wonderful if you've got a broken arm and you need surgery and you've  got really acute problems.

    But when it comes to these chronic issues, I wish people would be a little bit more skeptical and a little bit more questioning and a little bit, persevere a little bit harder to find somebody to work with. That's going to really ask all the questions and try to put all of the pieces together because it's never simple. It's never that simple when it comes to your overall health and your mental health. I don't think it's ever easy to just say, "Oh, well, here. Here's a prescription. Take that." I don't think it's ever that quick.

Erika:    No. I mean, part of me says I wish that it was and there's a butterfly in there -- and it's kind of cheesy but whatever -- with butterflies sometimes you see cocoon and you can see it flapping around, like the butterfly is struggling to get out of its cocoon. And part of you might think like you want to help it so you crack open the cocoon and the butterfly comes out but butterflies die if you do that. It's actually the struggling to get out of the cocoon that makes a butterfly strong enough to fly. And I think it's kind of like that in most of life, the quick fix easy answer, like I don't want to tolerate a struggle, robs someone of getting a lot of strength in order to be able to fly and do what they were meant to do.

Julie:    That's a really good analogy. I really like that. Yeah, because part of it, part of what we do too, I mean, the reason why we work with the people that we work with is because they're ready. I mean, we like working with athletes because they will do what we tell them to do and they will get better. That's just the type of people that they are. But with that comes we have to be responsible in making sure that we're making, that they're fully understanding what it means to recover and what it means to be healthy and they're setting realistic goals and they're prioritizing true health and valuing true health over a performance objective.

    Because that performance objective, while it might be the goal that you want to attain right now, it doesn't necessarily align with your goals for longevity or health in the long term. So, it's kind of that constant battling. I know there must be some of this too that we haven't talked a lot about, just people who aren't necessarily or don't consider themselves athletes but they still are exercise enthusiasts, maybe mother and families and things like that, how this all plays into -- and children, because what we talk mostly on this show are about raising healthy kids.

    But I'm thinking about the moms who -- because I think this is a large percentage. If you found Paleo diet and you're looking around for podcasts and this is a podcast that you picked, I think you're probably a little bit more motivated than others in the health department. And so, one of the questions that continuously comes up in things that I read and the groups that I follow and whatnot is this social phenomenon of the fit mom and the body after baby and I'm using air quotes here.

[0:35:01]

    It's something I really struggle with. And maybe you can help me with it because I'm having a really hard time wondering if it's my personal objection to it that's causing me to think that it's unhealthy or if it truly is unhealthy. I'm very much about holistic birth and nourishing birth and I think I've made it pretty clear on all the people I've interviewed on my podcast about where I stand with birth and all those things. And so, I think, that goes well into postpartum.

    And while I think you should be as healthy as you can going into birth and after birth for you and your baby, I think there's quite a line there of what is good and healthy in terms of fitness and health post baby and what is not. Maybe it's more of like the social pressure thing that I have objection to but I'm just wondering if that's something that you see as well and something that could be causing more harm than good.

Erika:    Yeah. I think there is definitely specially with social media, all the Snapchat and Instagram and stuff like that, looking at fit moms, if you look at the distinction between fit versus healthy and I think that that's a really -- That again needs to be pretty individualized of looking at like, okay, well, maybe you're fit but are you healthy?

    And also beyond that, like maybe you're fit but what else is going on in your life? How are your relationships? How are you doing managing the emotion of having your life changed, of having a baby and having the dynamics of your family? How are you managing all that stuff? Are you putting all of your effort and focus, like avoiding maybe some other things and just focusing on what you can control and what you can control is that you look fit?

    I'm sure there's, for every person, there's their own set of reasons why they may be kind of drawn into wanting to meet that ideal, I guess, for some people an ideal of being like uber fit days after their pregnancy. But, I think, you just to, again, go back to looking at how do you keep it in the balance? And at the end of the day, why are you doing it and what's the most important kind of thing? Like what you put your focus on often leads to what you value and is that exactly what you value? And if the answer is yes then, I guess, I would [0:37:45] [Indiscernible] but I would imagine for most people, if they take a step back, there's some psychological reason, either they're avoiding something--

Julie:    It's masking something else, kind of like what we've talked about before with the running, right? It's that vicious cycle. You run because it's the only thing that makes you feel good and you just hit all this other stuff underneath the running, so peeling that back, what's under there, what's causing it.

Erika:    Yeah. And you can only run for, literally and figuratively, you can only run for so long. So, at one point or another, some stuff comes to ahead and people hopefully change and fix stuff or are willing to get help.

Julie:    Yeah. I mean, this we could clearly go on and on and on talking about all of this stuff. If somebody is listening and they're concerned that maybe they have stuff that they need to work on, what are some of the questions that people should ask themselves if they're thinking that maybe they have some things that they need to work on with someone like yourself, what would be some of the questions that someone would kind of need to ask to evaluate if they were ready to kind of help with some of this stuff?

Erika:    First thing, if they're thinking that they might have an issue with it, they probably have an issue with it. If it's kind of striking some sort of a nerve or like maybe, and then, especially if there's some sort of a resistance or a denial, it's not that bad, it's blah, blah, blah, pay attention to that. If you're listening and have some sort of strong reaction of identifying or on the flipside like, "No, no, no, that's not like me. I'm fine."

    Just be curious about it and then if you can start being curious of like what that might be serving, like what else is going on in your life, why that may be out of balance? And starting to think of what you would like to put back into your life focus on more to get things back into balance and then every day when possible take a step towards those other goals and priorities. Like if it's family relationships or laughter or rest or whatever it might be.

[0:40:02]

    Think every day like how can I take at least one step today towards that thing that I value to get my life more into balance? And if it starts where you do that and you notice a lot of resistance or maybe you don't know how, like what those steps would look like exactly or you take those steps and you noticed that you start feeling a lot more anxious or a lot more sad, then it's worthwhile seeking some help. There's not any shame in doing that. It doesn't ever have to be a forever kind of thing or a stigmatized kind of thing. Everyone needs some help. Just look for a provider nearby.

Julie:    That's really good solid advice. Thank you for that. Awesome. Where can people connect with you, find out more about you or working with you?

Erika:    I am online in two places. I have a website. It's erikaholmesmft.com. And I also have a private practice in Denver and that is under coloradocft.com.

Julie:    Okay. That's awesome. Well, it's been really wonderful talking to you. I hope that we can figure out a way to work together more in the future because I think that the people that we work with and the people that you work with could both benefit from our shared perspectives on holistic health. And I'm glad that you're out there fighting the good fight for these people.

Erika:    Likewise.

Julie:    Awesome. It's great talking to you and thanks for joining us.

Erika:    Thank you.

[0:41:44]    End of Audio

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