Saturday, May 14, 2016

Starving yourself is not the answer

By Tatjana van der Krabben

Starving yourself, starvation, fasting: these words seem to pop up everywhere these days in relation to lipedema. And not just with respect to lipedema. There’s talk of ‘starving tumors’, resetting and/or cleansing your body by fasting, skipping meals like a caveman etc. The emphasis is shifting to what is not ingested, instead of what you should or could ingest. Before you know it the (presumed) science behind these tools is translated into numbers of calories and ways to cut calories, as we are all drilled with the low-calorie myth.
With doctors still (!) recommending gastric surgery for lipedema, the fad of the hCG diet which was paired with extremely low calorie food plans, the popularity of juice detox-fasting and the presumed beneficial effects of (intermitted) fasting, the extreme low calorie theories as somehow being beneficial for lipedema after all keep creeping into conversation. I don’t buy that. Plus, this line of reasoning is creeping me out. It creeps me out because it’s a slippery slope: if you don’t lose weight at, say, 1500 calories a day, they drop the recommendation to 1200, then 1000. Where does it end? With hCG they dropped to 600 calories. That’s incredibly low, to put it mildly. Just because we need to fit the calories in and calories out myth.

Weight-loss is not simply about calories in and calories out. Yes, a lot of doctors still say that, but that’s because they didn’t keep up with research on this topic since medical school. A frustrating example in my own household: my son has to eat like crazy just to maintain a healthy weight, my husband was the same and can still eat an insane amount of calories without showing it, but my daughter and I have to really watch what we eat. There is no general standard in metabolism which you can quantify with a number of calories per day, even though this is being done anyway. We simply are all different and don’t process food alike.
On top of that, lipedema is not caused by overeating. It can be aggravated by overeating, but that’s another story. As lipedema is not caused by overeating, it seems farfetched that eating (extremely) little could fix it. I know many of you are familiar with the images of women with anorexia, who still displayed clear signs of lipedema. Sadly, these women prove that point.

Starving yourself is not the answer. Food is not the enemy. Good food provides nutrients, the stuff that keeps you strong and healthy. You can’t build muscles on air. You can’t maintain strong bones and teeth, and have enough energy to face your day by limiting yourself to a few mouths-full of food day in day out. Food is sustenance.
Moreover, lipedema appears to coincide with deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12 and D deficiency is notorious among lipedema patients, as low levels further undermine energy levels. Some say it’s because we already tend to eat too little as it is. Others speculate it’s something in our metabolism. I don’t know what it is, as lipedema metabolism has never been studied. I only know that if you’re already prone to deficiencies it’s not particularly helpful to deprive yourself of sufficient quantities of foods containing essential vitamins and minerals.

There’s no nice way to put it. Lipedema in itself already can already affect quality of life. Deficiencies only make you feel worse. It’s a sign your body doesn’t get enough of what it needs to keep the system running smoothly. It’s not just a matter of discomfort: deprivation leads to health problems and in the long run to permanent health damage.
I know many of us have to use supplements or get for instance B12 shots to compensate regardless, but access to supplements cannot justify deprivation. My two cents: even if modest (!) fasting or throwing in a liquids-only day is said to be beneficial, it should be nothing but a tool in the bigger picture, never a goal in itself.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I have a beach body, just like everybody else

By Tatjana van der Krabben

In about a month me and my bits and bumps are hitting the beach again. In a tankini, without additional cover ups. That is neither good nor bad. Neither brave nor a display of lack of style. It just is the way I prefer to be on the beach. A minimum of wet fabric sticking to me. Feeling the breeze on my skin.  

I’ve done the pareos and the tunics in the past. It started that first vacation after discovering I had lipedema and still had to come to terms with the fact that, in my case, it was no such thing as ‘baby weight’ which could still be melted off somehow. Also, someone was kind enough to whisper into my ear that I should really look into cover up options (not my spouse!). It landed on fertile soil, being terribly insecure and frustrated because of my altered mirror image.
That trip I brought two tunics and two pareos. In the end I wore them only a few times. Towards the end of the trip I would only slip something on when someone wanted to take my picture. Otherwise I found the cover up strategy a waste of time and energy. It was hot. It didn’t fix that awkward moment when you need to take it off to swim and walk to the water in nothing but a bathing costume. You could decide to keep all sorts of clothing items on in the water, but I found it uncomfortable. Especially when exiting the water and having all that heavy, wet fabric sticking to me. The moment I realized I was crossing the beach several times a day with exposed legs, just to get in and out of the water, I really couldn’t be bothered anymore.

That was me being practical. I was still fussing and constantly checking what angle I displayed the least cellulite. Along came this fab local lady, at least 4 sizes bigger than me, rocking a pair of hot pants on the beach. She was having fun. She was not only confident, she was in her element. That was the last drop. To me, she was doing something right and I was definitely doing something wrong. I let go of most of the stress and self-consciousness right then and there.
I can really enjoy the moment now, even in a bathing suit, completely forgetting what I look like. In my mind I’m thinner anyway. That bubble bursts quite violently when I see myself back in pictures, of course. That’s still an issue. I still haven’t found a way around that, or rather how to push through that, even though a decade has passed since my diagnosis.

There’s also always that awkward first vacation day. That’s when I’m really self-conscious. Every single time I need to take the hurdle big time on the first day. The second day is better and by the third day I’m good. It’s my vacation, too. I’m entitled to enjoy myself just as much as the next person.
I love the ocean. I walk around the beach with the lines of my snorkeling mask pressed into my face and a dumb grin. Or I sift through the sand looking for shells or fossils. Let’s not forget swimming. It’s the one place where moving doesn’t hurt, my weight doesn’t hinder me and where I can move freely. If I swim al lot, I can get away with not wearing compression during the day, even when it’s hot.

The ocean makes me feel free. To the point I actually feel comfortable to engage in small talk with complete strangers. There’s no judgement. The snorkeling gear is leading, tall tales you can tell about what you saw in the water, there or elsewhere, and the fun and excitement that comes with that. Or comparing finds on a fossil-ridden beach. Just as long as I’m experiencing that beach-vibe, everything is easier, even though my legs and arms are on display. Not to mention that I tan in three different shades: not (legs, upper arms), slightly (face and lower arms) and a lot (neck and back).
A lot of it is attitude, positive energy and making up your own style rules. Unfortunately, so far my portable comfort zone only deploys on vacation. It would be nice to find a way to take that vacation vibe and mental freedom home with me, to enjoy it 365 days a year. I’ve still not found an answer to that, but I stand by it: I have a beach body, just like everybody else. All it takes it taking your body to the beach, and voilĂ .

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unsollicited lifestyle advice is harmful

By Tatjana van der Krabben
Unsollicited lifestyle advice – When you completely miss the fact that we were not sitting here idle, waiting for you to step forward with your insights.
Many not only miss this point, they hop straight to the guilt trip. We are supposed to feel bad, dislike ourselves and be more than ready to try the latest fad in diet or exercise. We are expected to jump to the opportunity no matter what the suggestion. As if it were a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory presented by Mr. Wonka himself.

Chocolate… Where was I again?

Exactly. This is what too many people actually think. That I have (junk)food on my mind 24/7. That I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since the previous century. Neither is true. It’s unpleasant, to say the least, to watch a conversation skid and to find myself defending lifestyle choices and explaining again and again why I look the way I do. I shouldn’t have to. Not only that, it’s as pointless as explaining why my eyes are green and my feet are small. I simply have lipedema. It’s part of me – like it or not.

The truth is that we are the new smokers. Society thinks it’s okay to lecture us out of the blue. We not only deal with lipedema, but also with the ruling false assumption that body weight is all about calories in and calories out. It makes us automatically to blame for excess body fat, hence the mandatory guilt trip. It’s an unfair assessment which is unhelpful at best for those who are struggling to accept the way they look. By projecting their own (temporary?) excitement over a particular work out regime or diet they are much like a bull in a china shop, doing more damage than good. Maybe they mean well, but I will never be the one to drop 2-3 pounds a weeks, let alone several weeks in a row. Insisting they know a way around that is insulting. It implies I haven’t tried hard enough. And the saddest part? In their efforts to impose certain lifestyle choices I mostly recognize their own obsessions and frustrations regarding their body image being projected on me. Or a chance to shine with assumed moral superiority, which frankly is despicable.
It’s not only annoying. Much of the advice I get is plain wrong for me and anything but medically sound. It’s unbelievable that people are able to think they’re qualified to give lifestyle advice to a chronic patient, regardless the condition, based on something they read in a glossy magazine or seen on a sponsored TV show. If our doctors did that, there would be consequences for sure!

The insensitivity when it comes to the fat is mind blowing. So many people with lipedema (or obesity) suffer from depression, low self-esteem, a negative self-image and/or eating disorders. Yet, we are confirmed in our feelings: they’re labelled ‘appropriate’ for our current state and are meant to encourage us into a healthier lifestyle. By sending the message the plus-sized are not worthy is plain cruel. Change is not always on the table. Sometimes because of an underlying medical condition, sometimes because someone simply isn’t ready to take on the challenge and sometimes – tada – because they’re happy just the way they are.

Size is such a limited perspective. It doesn’t even define healthy living. Just look at Witney Way Thore from My Big Fat Fabulous Life: definitely plus-sized due to chronic illness, but also super fit and living a healthy lifestyle. I know some of us desperately try to prove we didn’t bring lipedema onto ourselves and claim we only eat very little, if not starve ourselves. I feel we shouldn’t have to defend ourselves. The fact that some of us are essentially starving themselves is horrible! Is that what it takes to ‘prove’ we give it our all?! That’s crazy! We should drop the apologetic attitude. We don’t need to accommodate their ignorance and justify fact. I’m done with that. This is how I feel these days:

Unless you’re a doctor with knowledge of lipedema, walk a mile in my shoes first, or zip it.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Theory of Opposing Processes in Illness and Healing

Maggie and Joe McCarey-Korkin

The Underlying Mechanism of Alternative Healing

Non-traditional healing methodologies, referred to as alternative healing, are now grudgingly acknowledged as providing varying degrees of benefit for a broad spectrum of physical illness. However, the non-invasive and nonvisual nature of these healing techniques gives scoffers the means to debunk their powerful underlying healing mechanisms and modes of therapeutic action.
These challenges are fueled both by religious and medical pedagogies based in tradition and domination rather than in testable explanations and predictions about the universe, or as it is known, science. To begin with, the medieval church gained control of medicine by hanging or burning anyone who practiced medicine outside its control. Using the populace’s archetypal fear of witches and medicine men, the church convinced people that such healing came from the devil, especially if the patient survived. Archetypes never die. To this day, alternative healing has been dismissed, at worst as witchcraft, and at best, as “alternative.”

Consequently, alternative healing modalities are still thought to be ignorant, dangerous, and parochial: hocus locus, based in pagan spirituality, rather than in science. This view is still believed and promoted by the medical community, including insurance companies, and law makers who disallow the efficacy of any healing method outside its control. And for good reason. There is no profit in alternative healing. which is found in the hands of all who accept that human beings are born with an ability to give and receive healing energy from each other. To challenge this innate power is to challenge the texts from which you derive your understanding of God’s nature, but the tightly managed fear of others, keeps the world afraid of gospel medicine.
We hope with this research to refute and debunk the AMA’s tight control over our bodies by providing a general theoretical framework and scientific application to the underlying mechanism of alternative healing.

A List of Alternative Healing Modalities
Yoga* Prayer* reiki* cranial sacral therapy* Singing* Laugh Therapy* meditative music* Deep Breathing* therapeutic touch* positive thinking* laying on of hands* acupuncture* bio-sonic repatterining* crystal healing, chakra* healing* tuning forks* humming bowls* chanting* quantum healing* AMMA therapy* aromatherapy* breema bodywork* dance therapy* Feldenkrais method* Jin Shin Jyutsu* hot rocks therapy* massage* myofascial release* Qi Cong* shiatsui* art therapy* color therapy* eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)* guided imagery* music therapy* neuro-linguistic programing (NLP)* stress management* T’ai Chi* herbal therapy, hydrotherapy* magnetic therapy* acupuncture, and more.

All matter is composed of molecules which, in turn, are composed of atoms. Going further still, one finds that these atoms are composed of members of an ever-growing list of elemental particles. Atoms attain their unique character by virtue of the structural arrangement of their constituent elemental particles. This structural relationship is determined by the energetic interaction between those elemental particles. Similarly, the structure of molecules and their energetic interactions with atoms ensure an ongoing
dynamic present in the body. Let's explore how this concept can scale macroscopically within a biological context and understand why it may be significant.

The human body is composed of many mechanically and electrically inter-connected structures comprised of different types of cells. In this view, biological activity is analogous to our gross description of raw matter above. We know that if large enough quantities of those cellular components are altered from their normal composition the associated structure malfunctions. Profound consequences can result due to the inter-connected nature of those structures resulting in a domino effect of failure or disease.
As an example to introduce one of the central underpinnings of our theory, consider one aspect of the human heart: heart rate. The rate at which the heart beats is determined by
the signals it receives from the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. One system instructs the heart to beat faster in one system while the other system receives a slower instruction. The result is a constantly changing activation signal. Researchers disagree whether those activation signals can be strictly classified as chaotic or simply complex as viewed through the analytical lens of nonlinear dynamical systems theory. What is most interesting for our purpose is that if the complexity of the heart activation signal is lost or absent, so that the signal is uniform and periodic, then heart malfunction is imminent[1].

Here we observe two opposing processes such that if one were operating in isolation the destruction of the heart muscle would be rapid and certain. Yet it is the counter balancing effect of one process juxtaposed against the other that sustains the heart. Moreover the normal healthy functioning is one of controlled imbalance; the result is non-uniform. This elaborate dynamic has been identified in many areas of nature, physics and physiology.

The two important features common to all normal functioning is the presence of simultaneous opposing processes and the resulting chaotic or non-uniform dynamic in which those processes engage each other.
How are these observations critical to healing in the context of the human body? The answer may be found within another area of research: energy physics. The property of sonoluminescence is the occurrence of a brief flash of light that is emitted from a collapsing gas bubble embedded in a viscous liquid that has been subjected to continuous sound waves. After the bubble reaches maximum compression and the flash of light is emitted from the core which is now in an extremely high energy state, it begins expanding rapidly. One would expect the bubble to simply expand and disintegrate but instead the resulting vacuum that is creating within the bubble prevents this by creating an internal counterforce to the rapidly accelerating bubble membrane. The bubble reaches a maximum expansion state until the arrival of a next sound wave which restarts the compression phase. Theories place the temperature of the compressed plasma within the bubble at around four times the temperature of our sun[3]. This phenomenon is neither revolutionary nor unique in our universe. “One of the key unsolved problems of physics relates to the motion continuous media and can be formulated as follows: Why is there a general tendency of the off-equilibrium motion of continuous media to be characterized by the formation of structures and the focusing of energy?” [4]

A large percentage of the human body is continuous media whose off-equilibrium motion either on a macro or micro scale is critical to healthy functioning as we have illustrated with our earlier discussion of heart rate activation signals. If uniformity is imposed on those processes, passed from a healthy system to the sick system, normal function of the second system may be restored by retraining those processes such that its dynamic is once again non periodic or chaotic.

Before the world was round, it was flat. Before the body was understood, it was a stick figure, which after time, was known to have removable and non-removable parts.
A this stage in history, the human race is trying to understand that the body is more than a stick figure with removable and non-removable parts. It is trying to understand that, like planets and solar systems, it is both a macrocosm and microcosm of life. We are beginning to grasp the scientifically based notion that the body perfect synchronizes energetically and vibrationally to the All of Life—plants, trees, waves, sound, light vibration, and other living beings. We are slowly comprehending that the body perfect performs continuous media that looks like the above dominoes illustration in constant motion and in simultaneous overlaying configurations rather than the hours, days, and years we assign to explain existence: nonorganic words like life, death, eternity. The theologian Paul wrote a perfect description of learning to see life in the midst of life. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (Second Corinthians 4: 17-18. ) It is this principle of the unseen and our dedication “to see beyond the “accepted and approved” world” that holds the key to health in the future.

In the time you have read this paper your body has, ever so quietly, and ever so swiftly, used its intelligence to perform billions of little expansions and contractions. Unfortunately, when this silent process repeatedly misses a signal, it impedes the actions of the original blue print. No problem. Knowledge of missed signals is part of the body’s self-healing protocol. It simply finds a new route in order to sustain life. To the untrained eye, this valiant and creative effort to survive is called disease rather than correction. In truth, it is creative, not failed, and for us who have lipedema and/or lymphedema, the body correcting itself looks like this:

The unseen triumph of the lipese body is that it is determined to keep its malaise from the internal organs needed to sustain life. This view of the body is compatible with a cosmological notion that God knows even when a sparrow falls from the sky. Ever vigilant, concerned with survival, caring and nurturing the whole, it constantly adapts to heal itself.
Some mechanism must first exist, either artificially or in nature, if retraining of a process or energy pattern to another pattern is to occur. Again we can benefit from a historically early exercise in basic scientific observation and method. The phenomenon of entrainment was discovered in 1660 by Christiaan Huygens when he observed that if two separate pendulum clocks are mounted to a board their pendulum swings will become synchronized [5]. This happens because each clock imparts a very small amount of energy to the other clock and a type of feedback loop is created the forces the clocks to synchronize. Entrainment of mutually coupled systems has been observed and studied in biological, physical, electrical, social and financial systems.

The synchronization of two separate pendulum clocks lead us to the “HOW” alternative healing works. Our research argues that this entrainment event is the core mechanism to the success of alternative healing.
We have shown results from energy physics that off-equilibrium motion within a continuous media results in the formation of structures and that the focusing of energy is ubiquitous in nature. We believe that an individual with a consciously maintained healthy energy structures resulting from off-equilibrium motion within there cellular media should be to focus the resulting energy field onto the energy field of a less healthy individual. Entrainment would then cause the less healthy field to lock to the healthy one.

Over time the associated underlying structures of the less healthy individual would also improve. It is critical to note that it is unlikely the healthy energy pattern would lock or entrain to the unhealthy one. The reason is that the unhealthy energy pattern is the result of passive entrainment to uniformity through the mechanisms of culture, diet and substances, whereas the healthy energy pattern is consciously cultivated and maintained and therefore more resilient.

Alternative healing then is analogous to a healthy person rewriting and rebooting the cellular memory of a person who is ill as defined in the phenomena of entrainment. His or her health state restores the unhealthy state back to healthy.
1. Wu GQ, Arzeno NM, Shen LL, Tang DK, Zheng DA, et al. (2009) Chaotic signatures of heart rate variability and its power spectrum in health, aging and heart failure. PLoS One
2. Vinita Rangroo Thrane, Alexander S. Thrane, Benjamin A. Plog, Meenakshisundaram Thiyagarajan, Jeffrey J. Iliff, Rashid Deane, Erlend A. Nagelhus, Maiken Nedergaard (2013).
"Paravascular microcirculation facilitates rapid lipid transport and astrocyte signaling in the brain". Scientific Reports 3 (2582). doi:10.1038/srep02582. Retrieved 9 December 2013.3. Putterman, Seth (1995). “Sonoluminescence: Sound into Light”. Scientific American(32), February 1995.
4. Seth Putterman, Professor UCLA. Sonoluminescence research website at
5. Birch, Thomas, "The History of the Royal Society of London, for Improving of Natural Knowledge, in which the most considerable of those a supplement to the Philosophical Transactions," vol 2, (1756) p 19.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Celebrating 100,000 blog views

By Maggie McCarey, Stefanie Gwinn-Vega, Christina Williams Routon & Tatjana van der Krabben

We’ve been posting on social media about a surprise, and to us it truly is. We certainly have been looking forward to this moment, guessing what day it would happen. And here it is!

In November 2012 we started the LIPESE blog with this blog post:
My Experience - MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) and Compression Therapy

3 years and almost 100 blog posts later we have hit 100,000 blog views! Early Christmas morning, no less.

Thank you for reading the LIPESE lipedema blog

Not even in our wildest dreams did we anticipate our blog to be this well-read, or that we would write this many blog posts. It has proven to be a valuable platform to spread realistic information about lipedema and lipedema treatment. It has proven its worth particularly for those living in corners of the world where there is no expert help present, or for those unable to travel to the conferences to hear about the latest research, or those who can’t afford to see an informed specialist. We sincerely hope it will continue to be that little light out there.

Giveaway to celebrate 100,000 blog views

To celebrate this milestone of 100,000 blog views we are giving away 10 copies of Tatjana’s ebook Welcome… which will appear January 2016. Part of the proceeds of this book will go towards lipedema research. For Lipese it will hopefully mark the start of supporting significant lipedema research financially.

If you would like to win a copy of Welcome…, you can enter by leaving your name in comments. On January 12, 2016 we’ll draw the winners!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Losing circumference and weight with lipedema legs

By Tatjana van der Krabben

Losing weight from your legs and losing circumference on your legs. Despite having lipedema. Can it be done? Many say no. Some say yes. Now, what is it? It’s individual, that’s what it is. It’s always individual cases of people saying they managed to lose weight and they do it with very personal, customized regimes.
But what makes weight-loss in lipedema legs possible for some?

There are 3 factors that we know of. If you’re lucky one or more of these factors could help you reduce mass on your legs (and lipedema arms).


Although still not broadly supported, and certainly not in literature, it is believed that lipedema flares up with inflammation. With inflammation not only comes pain and fatigue, but also swelling. If you manage to reduce inflammation, you may be able to reduce the swelling. You’ll mostly shift water weight and toxins, but as a big added bonus you’ll feel better for it, too.

We don’t respond all alike to inflammatory factors. Some of us have cut out so many foods, additives and allergens they are clueless what else could possibly be causing the remaining inflammation. Others drop bread and sugar to a degree and shed pounds instantly. No, fairness is not on the table in the lipedema world.

An untreated serious edema component

If you have lipo-lymphedema or a strong edema component with your lipedema for another reason and you haven’t started treatment for that, there’s a lot to gain. Or to lose, actually. The more edema you have, the more water weight could be shifted.

Could, because the edema component is there for a reason. If you’re prone to swelling, it won’t magically disappear with (self) management. Or perhaps you can’t afford treatment or don’t have access to proper treatment. It takes hard work and more so dedication, but with untreated edema there’s usually margin for improvement there.

Amount of lipedema tissue in your legs

The top two factors I was aware of. But this one was an eye opener:

We don’t all have the same amount of lipedema tissue in our limbs.
As explained to me in a presentation by a therapist specialized in lipedema: some of us are lucky and still have a good amount of normal fat cells in their legs. That would be good news since normal fat cells do what the fat police wants: they do respond to diet and exercise. And there’s your personal margin for improvement. Assuming your thyroid is on top of his game and you’re physically able to exercise and, and…

Unfortunately all these factors are highly individual. This makes good results with diet, exercise, supplements and what not also highly individual. “Because I did it” is not proof you can lose lipedema weight. Most likely, if you have lost weight, you lost water weight and/or normal, unaffected fat, which is great, of course. Even if you don’t care too much about your size, dragging less weight around with you is always easier. It also may very well be a sign you are not only managing your weight, but also your lipedema in a way you experience less symptoms.

I would say (self) management of lipedema matters always. Whether you manage to drop weight or not. There are other things to gain from lipedema management: less discomfort, less pain, less fatigue and improved mobility. As I get older I must say I value these factors more than that number on my scales.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The relationship between cortisol and estrogen - Part 4

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the “master stress hormone” and the Greek Chorus

By Maggie McCarey

THE GREEK CHORUS: Each of us has a Greek chorus inside our heads, every waking and sleeping moment of the day.  Unbeknownst to us, they call upon our  hypothalamus to coordinate their reaction to everything we do.  Most often they are messengers of doom.
THE HYPOTHALAMUS: Vanessa Bennington describes the hypothalamus in What You Don’t Know About CRH Can Kill You. She says: Our hypothalamus is the control center. It receives messages from within the body that tell it if we are indeed in stress, and then the hypothalamus coordinates the actions needed for the body to react. Our emotions, skin temperature, pain level, and electrolyte balance are all things that the hypothalamus compares to our baseline. Basically, the hypothalamus functions as the epicenter for the mind-body connection.
Now, while we think of stress as negative, it is also positive: emotions and memories evoked at a wedding, for example, the thrill of a winning lottery ticket or receiving an unexpected compliment, a cool drink on a hot day. And, a stressful event can be contradictory like watching the Olympics, and feeling both joy and sympathy, when another country  falls behind your country’s team. Butterfly surges in the tummy are perfect happy examples of the hypothalamus at work, too.

TRANSLATED: you are what you fear; what you hate; what you sing; you are what you love; what you need; what you pray ….YOU ARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE because your emotions trigger your hypothalamus to receive all external stimuli, without judgement,  and then to send it on to the appropriate department, like your tear ducts to make water, the vocal chords to sing or scream, the hands to clinch, or the feet to run.

HOW THE GREEK CHORUS CAME TO BE:  They are the sum total of our reactions to everything we have ever encountered outside our bodies perfect, as well as our genetics. If  what you felt at any given moment, was only one or even a dozen emotions, life would be grand, but that is not how we live, particularly in this age with the world, good and evil, at our finger tips. We have layers of complexity coming at us all of the time: commutes in insane traffic, our workload, a multitude of relationships to maintain, technology to learn, 15 hour a day schedules multiplied by the number of family members we have, financial burdens, climate change, sickness, childhood trauma, fear of flying, dating, divorce, boredom, rain, drought, no food in the fridge, tires to buy, fear of death, and desire for salvation, all heading to the hypothalamus (clearing house) at the same time.  As a result of selectivity, some members of the chorus dominate; others are silent. There’s just not enough time in a day to cope with all of it.
CHRONIC STRESS and CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE (CRH):  Corticotropin-releasing hormone is also called the “master stress” hormone.  It is released by the hypothalamus in response to stressful stimulation. Do you see where this goes?  Again quoting Bennington: CRH functions as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. CRHs role as a hormone is to stimulate the anterior pituitary glad to release adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH). ACTH then reaches the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland, which causes the synthesis of cortisol as well as several other hormones. So, when a stressful situation occurs, CRH goes up and eventually stimulates more cortisol production.” 
If you are chronically stressed you will also be chronically over-stimulated and you will make high levels of cortisol  so that daily living will trigger and affect your body perfect like a wrecking ball coming at you.  Bennington says:  “Chronically increased cortisol levels …can lead to all sorts of issues like the redistribution of fat from the thighs and buttocks to the abdomen and upper back, insulin resistance, fluid retention, high blood pressure, decreased immune function, muscle and connective tissue wasting (joint pain, anyone?), and inhibited peptide and hormone production. Absolutely 0% of that is good for health or fitness.”

Chronic Stress?  That’s the full Greek Chorus singing Mozart’s Requiem on a loop day after day.

If you read the first three blogs on cortisol and estrogen, you may have just raised your cortisol a little….but there is more.


We have to become good parents to our bodies, break through their pain in order to parley with lipedema. Our bodies do talk to us and they will cooperate with us when we are calm. They only want to be loved as they are.