I started this year with a new word of intention. I love this practice because it sets the stage for how I want my year to feel. For 2022, I chose vibrant. I want to feel like my best, most vibrant self. In a year where I was walking into one of the busiest seasons of my career, pursuing that vibrant feeling was not going to come without intentional work. Part of that work is focusing on my health.
I’ve shared about my health journey on my blog and on the podcast before, but I wanted to dive in deeper on one area that’s been so beneficial to me – nutrition. I’ve been working with Brigid Titgemeier, a functional medicine dietitian, and my learning with her has been absolutely amazing.
In this conversation, we’re going to explore her world of health and nutrition – how is a functional medicine dietitian different from others? What can happen when an entrepreneur ignores their health and nutrition? And I get a bit vulnerable about my own nutrition and what I’m learning with Brigid. Grab a green smoothie and let’s get down to it.
Producer’s Note: This episode contains a discussion of weight, weight loss, and miscarriage. Please listen with care.
What is Functional Medicine?
There are many terms used interchangeable to describe what Bridid does – dietician, nutritionist, functional medicine. That last one is important because it distinguishes how she approaches diagnoses and care.
“[Functional medicine] trains practitioners to think about systems instead of disease states. A lot of times, different specialists are looking at the top of your tree and the dying off branches. You see an endocrinologist because you have hormonal imbalances and a ‘dying off branch’ there. And then you see a neurologist for cognitive issues, because you have a dying off branch there,” Brigid explained further, “But no one is really thinking about how all the branches are interconnected.”
Functional medicine looks at the core systems that are out of balance that lead to the metaphorical dying off branches. Brigid said, “So we’re really looking at the root system. How can we optimize your roots so that then we can create thriving branches? It’s looking at the body in a more connected way than disconnected parts, essentially.”
Entrepreneurs and Health
Brigid has seen a surprising trend among entrepreneurs, “We do programming for Fortune 500 companies and other corporations and I would say executives and entrepreneurs are sometimes the least likely to prioritize their health and also the category of people where it’s the most important, because when you have a lot of responsibilities, you have to be in the best state of health.”
In Brigid’s view, health is a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. She said, “I believe that that is a competitive advantage for any entrepreneur and frankly, even any person that’s just trying to be the best mom they can be, or the best spouse that they can be or whatever energetically you are called to do in your life. You cannot show up fully if you aren’t prioritizing your health.”
It’s not just about losing weight or changing a number, “What we see in a lot of the entrepreneurs and executives that we work with is they think they’re signing up for our programs to lose weight and to lower their blood pressure or their blood sugar, and what they find is that the huge benefit they get. Fewer mood swings, less anxiety, less depression, better emotional resilience to stress,” she continued, “And then you have a higher capacity to take on more without feeling overly reactive to that. So I would say that if you are an entrepreneur or someone that is trying to just show up in your greatest capacity, figuring out small ways to start to prioritize your health is absolutely essential.”
My Work with Brigid
I found Brigid initially when I was doing Levels, which is a continuous glucose monitor that was helping me evaluate my metabolic health! Then, Levels connected me (and my data) with Brigid! My goals when I started working with Brigid were to feel vibrant and energized, to support my metabolic health, and to create a routine that helps me stay on track when I am going through the busy season, as well as to reduce emotional eating.
In this very in-depth episode, Brigid walks through the work we’ve been doing together since January to help me feel and perform like my best, most vibrant self. We discuss the different tests and labs performed to check levels of so many different parts of my health and what she recommended in response to the results.
If you’re curious about working with a functional medicine dietician and what sorts of things can be supported or improved through nutrition changes, this is definitely the nitty-gritty episode for you. Press play to hear our full discussion and be sure to follow along on Instagram to learn more ways to learn from and work with Brigid @beingbrigid and visit myfoodishealth.com.