A Fresh Start, Energy, Burnout, and Autoimmunes

Dear Lovelies,

In Paris, we are experiencing a fresh start, a moment of excitement, hope, and good energy for what is next to come. Fresh starts require energy and that comes from our wellbeing so in today’s video I’m talking about energy, wellbeing, burnout, and autoimmunes and sharing my story on how I healed Lichen Sclerosus, Graves Disease, and Alopecia Areata naturally.

Over the years, I’ve blogged about this many times, and recently I had numerous people get in touch about their wellbeing so I thought it was time for a little update.

Enjoy…

If you have any questions leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Love and light,
Carla x

a fresh start

If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity and purpose, download my Free Workbook here.

5 Ways To Transform Your Health

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It has been a while since I have written about my journey to wellbeing and how I kissed goodbye my three auto-immunes, Alopecia Areata, Lichen Sclerosus and Graves disease. You can read the original posts HERE.

Without good health and a good level of energy it is difficult to change your life or go after the things that are really important to you.

I have seen this in the Yes Yes Yes – The Year You Say Yes to Yourself group, that when women’s health improves so does their goals, dreams and ability to go after them.

There have been so many lessons to learn about transforming my health but one of the most important one is not to be passive when it comes to your health. We have the power to improve our wellbeing by adjusting how we live, what we eat, drink and the way we react to the environment around us. Good health is holistic, not just about diet, it’s also about our emotions, stress levels and many other factors.

My journey will be different to yours because each of us are unique and it is this very uniqueness that makes you special. I needed to go slower, you may need to go faster. I needed to let go of acidic foods, you may need to add some. My gut health was compromised, yours may be in perfect order. My psychological ‘wounds’ were unique to me, and you may have your very own set.

What you can do and I would like to pass onto you, is the excitement and knowledge that you can gain from learning about food. We play a BIG part in our health and it isn’t the responsibility of a doctor or a naturopath to figure it all out. It’s our responsibility to treat our bodies with love, to feed and nourish them with foods that they need and not to abuse them and then wonder why they no longer work.

veges for a week

If you are suffering from chronic illness, my number one recommendation is to find a local naturopath you trust and work together with a doctor so you can bring back the harmony in your wellbeing and you can take the great energy you receive as a gift and put it into creating the life you dream of!

You can start learning about health and informing yourself through books such as The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, Mystery Illnesses by Anthony Williams, or Super Genes by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi.

You and your body are perfect. If you are suffering from chronic illness today, it is simply that your body is out of harmony and it needs to be brought back to its natural balance. Your health is in your hands and ultimately if you aren’t happy with the way you feel, you have the power to change that by working with doctors and natural health practitioners to heal.

Our health is in our hands.

 

5 Ways you can improve your health and energy today

 

MOVEMENT

 

  1. Move at least 30-40 minutes a day, walk, dance, ride, run or workout.
  2. Become conscious of your posture when working and take breaks during your work day and get up and move.
  3. Rest when you are tired.
  4. Regulate your breathing and take time during the day to calm your breath.
  5. Incorporate yoga, stretching or pilates where you are ‘opening’ your muscles and joints.

 

FOOD

 

  1. Add more fresh food and vegetables to your daily diet.
  2. Check your water intake.
  3. Chew slowly and listen to your body and what it needs.
  4. Swap processed, packet or canned foods for natural foods.
  5. Add Super foods, on a regular basis such as sprouts, algae (dulse), herbs and spices.

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

  1. Declutter and free up space.
  2. Remove electrical devices from around your bed.
  3. Beautify your surroundings.
  4. Add plants and pets (if you can).
  5. Remove objects with toxic memories.

 

EMOTIONAL

 

  1. Remember you are a lovable human being and to receive love, you need to show love to yourself and others.
  2. Observe your reaction to events and the energy it takes from you.
  3. Notice what brings you joy and happiness and build more of that into your day.
  4. Make a practice in your day to bring peace and calm.
  5. Forgive people, yourself and situations on a regular basis.

 

LIFE PURPOSE

 

  1. Follow hunches and intuitive messages about things you might like to try.
  2. Don’t ignore things that are important to you.
  3. Use your beautiful voice.
  4. Keep digging till you find something you connect to.
  5. Say YES only to the things you want to do.

 

Let your curiosity be your greatest ally. I hope this helps you start improving your health today.

Love and light,

Carla

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

This Is Better For You Than Green Juice 

 

Dear Folks, 

The past four years have been beyond interesting in all things growth for me. Thanks to three different auto-immunes Alopecia areata, Graves disease, and Lichen Sclerosus, I got to take a VERY good look at how I was living my life.

I pulled up a train crash speeding at about 100km an hour before it hit a wall and in the process have learnt some of the most marvelous life lessons of all time. 

Jumping off a cliff into a new life 18 years ago, leaving Australia for Italy and a business for photography brought me so many insights into who I am and why I am here. There was so much to learn once I woke up from the trance I had been living that I couldn’t wait to get started. 

There was photography and Florence, museums and art, a new way of living and being. And there was so much love and joy. 

Love for life, for the small things, the world around me and the adventure I was on. The joy was daily in riding a bike through the streets of Florence, in learning a new language and the belly laughs for the mistakes I made and finding a community.

 

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

 

But somewhere in between Florence and the auto-immunes, my life got way more serious, I moved to Paris, got busy trying to make it work and being back in a big city. 

I credit the auto-immunes with giving me my joy back. They gave me the kick up the bum I needed to take responsibility of my life again and start living it the way I wanted to live it. 

I got back on the JOY TRAIN. 

And yes I did and do eat a million fruit and vegetables, Yes I did stop all those chemicals and loads of other things (YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT HERE) but the healthiest thing you can do for your nervous system is to laugh, to share, to find joy and to allow yourself pleasure with a capital P.

Isn’t this the best news you have had all year! Yes folks, the green juices are fabulous but your nervous system needs a break from doing, from the stress of work and life and all things serious. It needs to dance and ride bikes, it needs to laugh till tears come out your eyes and your stomach hurts, it needs to play football with your kids and lie in a park and do nothing. It needs to paint and to garden, to smell the roses and to go fishing.

 

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

 

The more little breaks you give that poor shot to pieces nervous system of yours, the more it will fire up the hormones we need and get them doing what they are meant to be doing instead of freaking out and flooding our body with cortisol. 

So lovelies, light a candle, buy yourself some flowers, book a massage because it’s good for you.  

Five Tips for Getting the Joy Back

  1. Remember what makes you happy and build it into your daily or weekly life, it can be as simple as riding a bike or gardening
  2. When you feel like life is too much ask for help or when someone offers it accept it. Doing it all on our own is no longer a badge of honour
  3. Build something that makes you feel good into your life. You decide how often. A swim, a massage, a walk in the mountains or a dance lesson.
  4. Make frequent breaks in your day.. Yes you are allowed to rest. Sit down for 10 mins if your job is on your feet or vice-versa get up from the computer and do some stretches. Take time to meditate or do nothing, lie on the grass and look at the sky.
  5. Disconnect – being connected all the time keeps our nervous systems on call. So make some rules around the use of your phone and social media so you can be present with the ones you love 

 

The super big bonus of letting your nervous system calm down is that you let a little light into your heart and soul. And when the light gets in you get a little piece to your puzzle.

Sending love and light

Carla x

Related Post: Why We All Need More Greek Kefi

My Journey To Better Health – Goodbye Auto-Immunes

auto immune, alopecia, thyroid, graves disease, lichen sclerosus, Black and white photography, photography workshop, italian photography workshop, travel photography workshop, travel photography workshop italy, portraiture, fashion portrait, movement, carla coulson, creative coach, creative entrepreneur, photographer, photographers life, italy, photography workshop puglia, beginners travel photography workshop, photography

Photo of me by Loc Boyle

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE, IT’S BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. PLEASE SEEK THE ADVICE OF A REPUTABLE NATURAL HEALTH PRACTITIONER AND DOCTOR.

Dear Friends,

This has nothing to do with photography but if you are interested in health then you might enjoy reading on.

I have been meaning to share this news with you for a little while and many of you have written to me since I first posted about discovering I had 3 auto-immune conditions in 2014.

I know it probably feels odd to talk about such a personal subject but what I realized is how many people are afflicted with this stuff. Once I wrote my first blogpost it felt like a pandemic. Wonderful peeps shared their stories with me and I realized I wasn’t Robinson Crusoe!

After 3 years on a natural diet, all three auto-immunes have been kicked to the kerb! No thyroid, no alopecia and no lichen sclerosus (and I promise you no-one wants this) and no auto-immune antibodies. If you were in Paris last week and you saw a gal cha cha chaing down Rue du Rivoli, that was me.

auto immune, alopecia, thyroid, graves disease, lichen sclerosus, Black and white photography, photography workshop, italian photography workshop, travel photography workshop, travel photography workshop italy, portraiture, fashion portrait, movement, carla coulson, creative coach, creative entrepreneur, photographer, photographers life, italy, photography workshop puglia, beginners travel photography workshop, photography

Photo of me by Loc Boyle (you too would be laughing like a manic if you were trying to balance

on a moving boat on the Amalfi Coast LOL)

Many of you may recall or have read one of my other posts where I posted my thyroid values as the months and years passed, they continued to improve as my body started to heal but almost 14 months ago they started to swing in the opposite direction (yikes). It was everything I had read and almost expected but I had to admit I was a little bit disappointed that this wasn’t finishing quicker.

There were moments where it got really hard and not only was I on a Paleo diet (with very little meat) but then I took it to new and exciting levels and went on a low oxalate diet, which meant green juices for me were like poison. The diet wasn’t the only thing I had to change, I had to change the way I did things. I had to let go of trying to be superwoman and start building breaks, time out and time off into my life and schedule and asking for help when I needed it.

This has been a great challenge for me but the secret sauce in getting well. Your nervous system can’t heal if you are constantly on overdrive and pumping truckloads of cortisol into your body daily.

So for the past 3 years I have been gluten free, I eat industrial quantities of vegetables and fruit, eat little processed foods such as bread, pasta, snacks etc (even gluten free ones). Gave up coffee for a year but started having one or two a day, have the occasional glass of wine and never went back to using any products in the home that are toxic. Oh and I laugh, dance and ride my bike as often as I can.

I have learnt to meditate (a work in progress) and made exercise a non-negotiable!

What this journey has taught me:

1. If you can find a naturopath and a doctor to work together with you it’s the best way forward

2. What works for me mightn’t work for you. All of us are different (that’s the good bit) and our own unique chemistry requires our own unique recipe

3. We are responsible for our health (not a doctor) and we should ask questions and do our own research and find someone we trust to help us improve it.

4. Fun, laughter, joy is the best cure! There was a moment when I was miserable, when I was scared of food. I was frustrated when I would find another bald spot on my head and eating such a reduced diet. One day I realized I wasn’t having any fun, so I booked a massage and made sure I did some fun stuff each week and started taking it a little less seriously.

5. The human body is the most amazing organism on the planet and if we treat it with love and respect, it can respond.

6. Exercise is better than Advil! I always thought the statement about ‘listening to your body’ was a bunch of BS but hey if you are willing to listen to your body, it will tell you everything you need to know. I learnt that walking, biking or doing aerobic exercise would get rid of scratchy ‘acid battery’ knees and it does reduce inflammation.

7. I realized how little I knew about food. About what it does to us and it has been the best 3 years of my life reading, watching and learning about how powerful food is.

8. I thought ‘how unlucky I was’ when I was sitting in the doctor’s office 3 years ago and what I realized instead is ‘how lucky I was’. How lucky I had this little cosmic slap in the face before things really got out of hand. How lucky I was that I could pull up this speeding train wreck that was heading into a deeper darker place.

9. Controlling your breath by slowing it down, calms your nervous system. I realised there are so many situations where I literally stop breathing,  like when I am taking a photo or even when I am working at the computer. I take time out of the day to retrain this habit.

10. Meditation has been a godsend literally! I love to think it does more than one thing and one of the big bonuses is the direct line to the universe.. When you slow your mind down, get our of your head space and into your heart all sorts of amazing stuff comes to you. Great ideas, solutions, inspiration and your desires all happen to me after meditation and now I have the habit of looking skyward and saying thanks..

11. It’s all in your intestine! The way home to good health is repairing your tired, exhausted intestine. Bringing back the right flora to life so it can do its job.

You will find a lot of material about what I did and resources on this post HERE including many of the books I have read and the things I have tried. If you are starting your journey today take heart, there will be dark days but I can promise you there will be such a great sensation of taking care of you,  there will be so many bright, pain free days ahead of you, every cucumber and salad will be worth it.

These two books are two of my favourites

The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls
The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush by Andreas Moritz

The past 3 years have been a gift in every sense. I have been pushed way out of my comfort zone, frustrated, desperate, sad, happy and elated.  The experience made me shape up and take a good look at how I was living. It started me on a road to greater places, deeper understanding of why I am here and the real power that lies within each of us and hell it took me sooooo long to to crack that open.

Instead of a meltdown it turned into a spiritual awakening, for which I will be forever grateful for. Not only did I get better health but it cleared the fog and allowed me to see my future and where I wanted to go so much more clearly.

Sending you love and wishes and good health always.

Carla x

PS. For the thyroid folk the first and the last test results

Latest tests 2017            Original Test Values in 2014

TSH – 1.79              <0.005
T4 – 16.7                 20.1
T3 – 4                      5.6
TRAB – 1.5              11.9

Related Post: Why Photography Is Good For Your Happiness

Private Portrait To Celebrate losing 45 kilos

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Photos Copyright of Carla Coulson

Dear Friends,

I skipped all the way home from this shoot. No kidding.

I have known Corrina Tough for almost 10 years. She was one of the early ones that bobbed up after I wrote Italian Joy and came to my first Get Published workshop in Sydney.

She has told me about her dreams via emails through the years and she keeps on surprising me.

We met for coffee in Paris a couple of years ago brought together by auto-immunes and Corrina had just started on her path to better health.

When she called me recently she told me she had lost 45 kilos and wanted to do a shoot I was floored, excited and jumping up and down. There is nothing I love more than a woman that grabs onto the reins of life and goes for it. The surprises just keep coming.

Corrina has transformed herself in every way, she has moved country, taken up photography, taken her power back and her health into her own hands and man she should stand on a top of a mountain yelling ‘I did it, I did it all’

I will let Corrina tell you her story and how she did it. PS… there are 2 before pics at the end of the post.

Carla Coulson, PHotography. Portrait Photography, Paris Photographer, Change your Life, Autoimmune

CAN YOU BRING US UP TO DATE WITH WHO CORRINA TOUGH IS, WHERE YOU LIVE AND A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR STORY? 

I am a mother of 24 year old twins (Phoebe and  Jesse), a 12 yr old daughter Ruby, 10 year old son Curtis and married for nearly 28 years to Shane.

I have always been creative, art, ballet, drama, languages, photography and cooking. As a child, teenager and into my adult years, I was singing Jazz, playing piano, guitar and photography.  I also have a masters degree in teaching but my passion for photography was always there and one day about 10 years ago I decided to follow that dream. I found a book that changed my life – Italian Joy.  I was enamoured with every page and devoured the words and images over and over, it really resonated with me.  That was just the beginning of where I am today!

I had also had a long love affair with France – having French lineage and an infatuation with all things French. I had been dreaming my whole life to at least visit but then when I read Carla’s books and many other similar stories I started to dream that one day maybe I could have a house in France and live a French life. I began to learn French, research and visited areas that might be suitable and after 10 years we found a house in a gorgeous village in South West France. I have been living here now for 18mths with my two youngest children. It hasn’t been easy but every challenge has been worth a million rewards.

Unfortunately my husband hasn’t been able to move here yet so he visits every few months and continues to work in Australia along with my twins. In the mean time the kids and I have been learning French, and renovating a 400 year old house in a medieval French village which is to being finished.

carla coulson, procida, photography workshops, travel photography workshops, pink, washing, Change your Life, Portrait

WHAT WAS THE CATALYST THAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE YOUR DIET AND LIFESTYLE?

For as long as I can remember, I had strange and varied things that no Dr could help or diagnose. As an adult they began to worsen and multiply until I was beginning to feel desperate. I had a long list, chronic migraines, heart palpitations, Thyroid issues, hair falling out, huge weight gain, constant hives, joint pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel in both wrists, chronic pain and agonizing episodes with my sacroiliac joints, symptoms of arthritis in all my joints, unusual and random joint swellings…. the list goes on. The pain was becoming so unbearable I was on pain killers to sleep,  I ate what most people would consider an extremely healthy diet but the weight kept on piling on making the joint and lower back pain even worse. My self esteem was extremely low and I cried lot!!

My research kept leading me to see that all these symptoms fell under the “Auto immune” category,  mmmm interesting as my family is rife with many autoimmune issues and my dad had been diagnosed at the time with an extremely rare and life threatening condition called Wegeners. However, blood tests weren’t showing what I thought was going on (this is a complex issue as the Dr’s weren’t testing the right things).

In the mean time as I was discovering my auto-immunes,  Carla was writing about her autoimmune diagnosis and what she was doing with great results, eating a Paleo diet, cutting back on chemicals in the home and only doing gentle exercise. I felt that was what I might have to do but before I started had another barrage of tests as well as seeing the professor who specialises in this sort of thing in Sydney. My research was correct and I was diagnosed with several very severe autoimmune conditions, bi-lateral sacrolitis,  a form of rheumatoid arthritis, and I suspect leaky gut amongst a few other things he didn’t discover.

His prognosis was I was to go on chemo drugs the rest of my life, and I would end up in a wheelchair. I cried for 5 mins and then I stopped and I said to my husband I am trying this Paleo eating for a year and we’ll just see. We had also recently bought our house in France and I was determined to continue with my dream. I started the new way of eating December 2014.

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NOW THAT YOU HAVE LOST 45 KILOS, HOW DO YOU FEEL? HAS IT HELPED YOU WITH YOUR HEALTH? ANY OTHER BENEFITS? 

Within two weeks I felt remarkably better and the kilos were melting away. By the time I left for France in March 2015 I had lost about 20kilos maybe a bit more. I was doing really well in Australia and I won’t lie, it has been harder in France but that was more situational, living in rented places, B&B’S and then establishing my new kitchen in the house all the while renovating the house myself, dealing with kids emotions, French tradesmen and a new language so there was a little bit here and there where I wasn’t totally paleo. I never gained weight but I was not really losing much either. What I really noticed was the decline in my health, hives, aches and pains, sore back again and just feeling like no energy.

I decided about 4mths ago I needed to get back on track. The first time I went Paleo, I followed the Pete Evans 10 week program which I highly recommend. The program is such a well rounded and informative program. I was given a free 10 weeks again so I had nothing to lose and went back on it very strict. I wish I could say exactly how much I lost this time but in total I have lost about 45 kilos (I don’t have scales however I knew what I weighed in Feb this year so I have a pretty good idea. I have gone down to about a size 8-10/11 from about an 18-20.

My health has dramatically improved as has my self esteem and well the only way I can describe it is I feel like I am flying! My energy levels and improved flexibility have helped me in my photography work and I even went trekking into local caves this summer and was able to do things I never imagined. Actually if two years ago you would have said I would be walking the streets daily of a medieval village and trudging up and down several flights of stairs in my house every day including lugging firewood from the garage I would have laughed! I feel fantastic in how I look too and am enjoying wearing the styles I really love and dreamed of wearing for many years. I now have a waist!

This will make an even bigger impact on how my clothes fit and how I feel. Even so I have even been buying and wearing beautiful lingerie and I just feel amazing.

carla coulson, photography workshop puglia, travel photography workshop puglia, martina franca

HOW HARD HAS IT BEEN? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU ON TRACK?

My motivation to keep me on track has always been my health first but as the kilos have come off it motivated me to keep going.  My clothes were getting bigger and I had to belt things in. Recently I was walking through the village and several people literally didn’t recognise me. Obviously lots of compliments too. It got me to thinking, in the last 10 years I basically didn’t exist photographically.

I’m always behind the camera and a lot of that was because I hated myself and what I looked like, but that has meant my kids don’t have a record of their mother and I don’t have any images with my kids either. When I’m not around anymore my kids and future grandkids will have no record of me and I am a special and creative person! What a shame, I was actually panicking about it!

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YOU HAD DIFFICULTY FINDING PHOTOS TO SHARE OF YOU IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, WAS THIS A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO AVOID THE CAMERA? 

I really want to send a message home to women, I think it’s easy to say just get yourself into pictures but I know firsthand how hard that is when you really don’t like yourself! However, I don’t even have a decent before shot now to show you all what I looked like before my transformation! I actually spent hours looking on hard drives that have the last 10 years of my life on them and could only come up with a handful and I think I was probably even bigger than that in the end. We need to get people to take flattering images of us so we have a legacy to leave behind.

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Photos Copyright of Carla Coulson

IT WAS SUCH A JOY TO PHOTOGRAPHY YOU, YOU FELT LIKE A CONFIDENT, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WHO WAS SO PROUD TO STARE INTO THE LENS. HOW IS CORRINA TOUGH TODAY DIFFERENT THAN THE WOMEN SHE WAS 10 YEARS AGO. 

I had dreamed for as long as Carla has been doing private portraits to have my photo taken by her in the city I love and adore (Paris) and it has been probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life other than having my children and giving my life to God. I have not felt so loved by such an amazing team of women, I was nurtured, spurred on and encouraged and I felt so incredibly special.  I think it has really changed how I see myself as my mind still has seen me bigger than I am. I went to a jazz night in the village the other night that I was singing at, I wore one of the new outfits that I purchased for the shoot with Carla, but it wasn’t about that, I think that I have had a shift on the inside and people were just all over me commenting about how I looked.

I know clothes can be lovely but I think ultimately it’s about how you feel on the inside that shines through and makes you beautiful.  I am really grateful for Carla because we have this connection with health and photography and through her I have been put on my way with both, this was an answer to a prayer so I am really thankful, really words can’t express. Corrina xx

carla coulson, portrait shoot paris, paris photographer, creative mentor, corrina tough, losing 45 kilos,

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carla coulson, procida, photography workshops, travel photography workshops, pink, washing, naples photography workshop

Corrina before she started her new way of living

I hope you enjoyed this post. Corrina certainly inspired me and much gratitude to Corrina for sharing her story and her new photos.. Check out Corrina’s work HERE.

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P.S. If you fancy a winter shoot in Paris, I will be here this year! You can check my shoots out HERE. 

 

Check out my Portrait Lightroom Presets here.