275: When the data says you’re “well” but you feel far from it.


I can’t tell you the number of women I have worked with over the years who hired me because they don’t feel well even though their blood profiles and hormone panels say that everything is just fine.

Is it all in their head?

No. There is simply more to the story that they have yet to uncover.

In this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast, I help listeners explore what else might be at play and it’s probably not what you think.

Have a listen and, if the message lands, consider sharing it with the other women in your life who could benefit from the message.

When the data says your "well" but you feel far from it.

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.

Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always I’m so deeply grateful that you’ve decided to spend a little time with me today. And before I get started on today’s episode, I just want to make a request that if you are a longtime listener, if you are someone who keeps coming back to the show time and time again, because the message is landing because you are reaping value from the show. I would immensely appreciate it if you would rate and review the show. Now, most Podcast apps that you listen to your podcasts through, provide some sort of outlet for doing that. iTunes is probably the most beneficial place for you to rate and review the show. I know that’s not possible for everybody, because not everybody has an Apple phone. But if you do have an an iPhone rating and reviewing the Grace & Grit Podcast from your phone can go a really long way in helping to support the show. And how exactly does it support the show, I want to speak to that when women are looking for a new Podcast, I know I’m this way, I always look at reviews. And I always read reviews.

My husband makes fun of me for doing that. But it’s just the way that I am I like to sort of see what how other people are responding to this information before I invest my time and energy into it. So by you rating and reviewing the show, it goes a long way in helping us to get new listeners listening to the show. So I will thank you in advance, I would hugely appreciate it. Many of you often reach out to me through email, which I also love to tell me how much the Podcast has impacted you. And I always respond first and foremost by thanking you. And also by asking you to leave a review. So please, please, please, if you have the time, it’ll only take you a couple minutes, it would be immensely helpful.

Alright, let’s get on to today’s episode, I’m excited about this topic, because this topic actually comes up a lot in conversations that I have with women, not just my clients, but the women in my life, right, my friends, my family members, the people in the community that I interact with. I cannot tell you the number of conversations that I have, and I’m sure you have these conversations too, with women who generally feel unwell. They feel like they lack spark in their life. They feel like they don’t have a lot of motivation. They don’t feel like they have a lot of excitement for the future.

And yet, when they go to their doctor’s office, everything checks out just fine. So their data says that they’re fine, right standard blood work that they’re getting at their doctor says they should be fine. The outward appearance of their life says they should be fine. Right? They have a lot to be grateful for. But they are so not fine. So what gives? Why does that happen? Well, clearly, there’s more to the story. There’s more at play here.

Here are three things that I have found might be the culprit of that unwell feeling. So I’ll tell you what the three are. And then I’m gonna back up and give you a little bit more information about both. Number one more detective work as needed. We are we don’t have all the answers with standard blood tests. Number two, you’ve made a habit out of normalizing stress. So you aren’t even aware of how stressed you you are. And number three, you’re in what I call integrity pain, which is probably not a new phrase for many of you who’ve been listening to the show for a while because I talk about integrity pain a lot.

So let’s break each one of these down so you’re more clear on what each one is. So when I say that more detective work is needed. Often when we go to the doctor because we aren’t feeling our best. And we do standard blood work with we aren’t necessarily getting all of the data. We aren’t necessarily getting information about our hormones. We aren’t necessarily getting information about our gut Mike biome. And so our doctor may tell us that everything is checking out. And yet they haven’t read the whole book.

So this is why I’m always encouraging my clients to really find practitioners who are really willing to look at the whole enchilada and ask some very broad questions in that, right, we’re looking at the whole picture and not just one isolated piece of the picture.

I’ll tell you, several years ago, I was working with a client who, you know, went to the doctor bloodwork checked out, but she was feeling miserable. She was gaining weight pretty quickly, she just was definitely feeling lackluster, and knew in her heart of hearts that something was off kilter. Long story short, she ended up working with a naturopath, they did some gut microbiome testing, and found out that she actually had a lot of yeast growing in her intestines and elsewhere. And so they addressed the issue, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw her a few months later in person, and she looked like a radically different person. She just needed more information.

I also would say that when more detective work is needed, we need our providers to be asking the right questions. Right. I kind of alluded to this earlier by saying that, you know, we needed to, we need to be asked bigger questions, questions that cover the scope of wellness. And that takes time, right, usually, we book a, you know, a regular checkup, and it’s just like in and out within 15-20 minutes. And if we can find providers that actually are blocking more time for us to be able to do this detective work, we’re often able to find answers sooner. And also, I think another issue with the truth of our data is that we might be working with more than one provider. So you might be going to a therapist, and you might be working with an endocrinologist and a dermatologist and a general practitioner. And yet, each one of those providers is uncovering different information about you. And they’re not necessarily sharing it with each other.

I find this outrageous in the year 2022, that we can have so many health care providers in our network of providers that we’re working with. And yet there is no database, there is no way for them to communicate easily with each other. And I realized there’s HIPPA laws and all kinds of things, probably a lot of other red tape that gets in the way of them being able to do that. But if we’re talking about an encouraging health from a holistic perspective, looking at the whole person, rather than one isolated part, we need to have more communication amongst our providers. And, unfortunately, that responsibility falls on you as the patient. So being your own advocate, this is what that means. You are the medium through which your providers find out about the wholeness of who you are. You have to relay the messages, you have to relay the discoveries that your providers are making, or at least advocate for them to speak to one another. Right, which would be ideal.

So let’s go to the second piece of why you might not be feeling so hot, even though all of your data is showing that you should be fine. A lot of women I lived in a space for many years, I work with a lot of women who are currently living in this space of making a habit out of stress. I’ve done lots of Podcast episodes about this. But what this means specifically, is you have lived in a heightened state of stress for so long. You don’t even feel stressed anymore. You’ve numbed out to stress you’ve normalized it. Even though life is feeling flat. It’s feeling again like it has it lacks that spark. You don’t necessarily feel stressed and you don’t really read you won’t really realize how stressed you actually are until you start unpacking your stress. And I see this all the time where clients will work on unpacking their stress. And a few months in, they say things like oh my goodness, I had no idea. I had no idea how stressed I was until I started to do decompress until I started to create more space in my life.

And here’s the problem with making a habit out of stress. One of the many problems is it’s kind of sneaky. It’s insidious, right? It’s not like we, we have, we feel it’s not like we experienced stress. And then everything in our biology breaks down at once. That’s not how it works. We feel stressed, we keep feeling stressed, we kind of numb out to the stress. And as we are consistent with our stress, over time, our biology starts to break down. Because you’re literally making a habit out of draining your resources, you’re consistently living on the edge of burnout. And while you may not get an immediate diagnosis, right, because you don’t necessarily have an acute problem, right away, because of the stress, you have this general sense of valleys. And this is a very dangerous place to live. Because you can only drain your resources for so long without paying a very steep price.

Eventually, you will start to have the boulders coming through the window. Those are the diagnoses that nobody wants. We get autoimmune diagnoses, right? cancer diagnoses, all kinds of mood disorder diagnoses. And it didn’t happen overnight. We lived in that space for such a long time that eventually our body was just tapped out. So the third thing I want to speak to and I really want to get into this today on the Podcast is the reason you may be feeling unwell and lackluster is because you’re in what I call integrity, pain.

Integrity pain is the very real and physical and mental pain that shows up as a byproduct of living your life out of alignment with who you want to be, and the life you feel called to create for yourself. And gosh, I wish that there was a diagnosis for integrity pain, because I think a awful lot of people would get that diagnosis. Everything checks out, but I don’t feel awesome. Well, you might be in integrity, pain. So this is what I want to discuss today integrity pain, because it is the very real problem that I truly help my clients to solve.

Llet’s start just with a quick reminder of what integrity is. There’s sort of two layers of integrity that I approach integrity pain from. Number one is structural integrity. So structural integrity in the world of engineering, is the ability of a structure to withstand its intended loading without failing due to fracture, deformation, or fatigue. So when we think about the structural integrity of the human body, what we’re really talking about is your biochemistry. Right? How well do your cells do their jobs? How well do your tissues and organs support your life? How well do your hormones communicate with each other? Right? That’s structural integrity in the human body.

A lot of us are in integrity, pain, because we literally lack structural integrity, because we put we’ve been putting way too much load on a framework that starting to break down. The other layer of integrity I should speak to is the state of being whole, entire, undiminished and undivided. So this means that you show up in the world as a whole, authentic, fully expressed confident human. And I can’t see and if you listening, but does that describe you? I would say for a large majority of the people I work with, in fact, all of the people I work with when they first start working with me, their hands would definitely not go up in the air. They don’t feel that they feel anything but that they feel divided. They feel separated from themselves. They feel confused about their lives. They feel overwhelmed, they feel diminished. They do not feel like they are in integrity with themselves.

And of course, I can’t talk about integrity without speaking to Brene Brown’s thoughts on integrity. So she talks about integrity, she has a quote that says integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy, and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them. And I think, I think it’s impossible to be an authentic and fully expressed human. If you don’t even know what your principles for life are, you don’t know what your values are. So choosing fun, fast or easy is so much more tempting. And right, inviting, then choosing what is right for your life. Because often what feels right for our life feels scary, feels hard. Feels like you’re, you have to take a big risk. And that requires courage and courage as a practice.

So, integrity pain, it can literally be a byproduct of lacking structural integrity. So your chemistry is just all over the place. Because you are you’ve made a habit out of stress, because you do nothing to take care of yourself. Because you’re saying yes to everyone and everything in your life and never reserving time and energy for yourself. But integrity, pain can also be and very often is the byproduct of just showing up in your life in a way that is misaligned with who you really are. So what creates integrity pain I want to speak a little bit more specifically to this is when we lack self awareness. When we don’t know ourselves, when we don’t know, our values, and our principles for living, like I just mentioned. When we’re not honoring the truth of who we are and what we want, at this age and stage of life. It’s really hard to align our actions with those things. So self awareness is a very big deal.

I always say when we know ourselves better, we can lead ourselves better. And getting out of integrity. Pain is really a journey of developing self-leadership. Another big player in integrity, pain is crappy management of your resources. So again, not taking responsibility for how you’re spending your time, energy and mental bandwidth. And this often shows up when we’re saying things constantly, like I’m overwhelmed. I have so much to do. There’s never enough time. To me that speaks to an unwillingness to make hard choices that will help you to reclaim your resources, reclaim your time reclaim some energy. Reclaim your capacity to focus. Which really comes down to boundaries, right if we don’t have boundaries with others, even with ourselves. We tend to overspend. And overspending leads to debt. And that just feels crappy. Right energetically and otherwise.

We have a lot of time leaks in our life that pull us out of integrity with ourselves. So we’re spending time on things that are really not giving back to us so there’s no energy exchange. And or there are things that are completely out of alignment with our value system or What we really want to be spending time on I think of all the time people spend on social media. And believe me, I’m so guilty of this.

And often what I’m doing on social media is not business oriented, right? Because that’s my rationalization for being there. I have an online business, I need to be posting I need to be communicating with, with clients and my audience. But let’s be honest, I’m spending a lot of time on social media that is none of that. And then it ends up costing me time in other areas that I really want to be showing up in. And then I end the day feeling really lousy about how I showed up. And you repeat that cycle day after day, week after week, month after month. And it’s no surprise that we feel like the color is starting to fade from our life. That’s always the image I hold for integrity pain. It’s like living with integrity is color TV. Right, you see the full spectrum of color. It feels really vibrant and alive. Where integrity, pain, living in integrity, pain all the time, makes life feel like it’s void of color.

Another contributor to integrity, pain, are thought errors. The way you think about yourself, the way you think about your life, the way you think about what happens in your life can all massively contribute to integrity pain. So if I want to be a confident person, that’s what I really desire for myself, but I’m talking to myself in a way that riddles me with self doubt. There’s a lack of integrity there is there is something that is has been on my heart for a long time that I really want to go after. But I am spending all of my time arguing for why it’s not possible and why I’m just not a person who does that. That’s integrity, pain. That creates integrity, pain. Knowing that you need to have a difficult conversation with somebody to change the way the relationship is going. But not making time and space. Or mustering the courage to have those conversations causes integrity, pain. And then the fourth thing that I want to speak to is just emotional childhood. That when we this emotional childhood creates integrity, pain.

So what is emotional childhood? Well, it’s when you make everyone and everything outside of you responsible for your emotional landscape. So because you don’t like yourself, you look to others for validation. Because you don’t trust yourself. You outsource the decisions of your life to other people. Because you don’t feel your own self worth. You don’t generate your own self worth you hustle for your worth. Very dangerous, right we can see where those things looking for others for validation, outsourcing the decisions of your life to others, hustling for your worth. That creates a tremendous amount of integrity, pain.

But when we take ownership for our emotional landscape, man’s their power in that I’m responsible for what I make things mean. I’m responsible for what I give real estate to in my brain. I’m responsible for the things that I make matter. Because if we don’t do that for ourselves, if we make everyone and everything outside of us responsible for our emotional landscape, what ultimately happens is we get further and further away from ourselves. And life starts feeling like an itchy sweater that you just want to take off. You literally create a life full of integrity pain. Integrity, pain makes life hard. It makes us feel like we’re moving through molasses. And it’s a very slow death.

So want to give you a few tips for how to get out of it.

Number one, take some time to get very clear on how you want to be showing up at this age and stage of your life. What do you want for your life? At this age and stage of your life? Those are really important questions to answer.

Step two, get radically honest with yourself about where the misalignments are, this is what you want. But how are you actually showing up currently, that’s not a fun exercise. That is not a feel good exercise. But there’s so much gold in that exercise. Because it just shows you where the gaps are. And when you see where the gaps are, you can start building bridges.

And that’s the next step is you decide hard, how to start realigning one piece of your life at a time. And this is where we get crazy. Because what a lot of people want to do is they see all the misalignments right, because there’s going to be a lot, when you get really clear on who you want to be at this age and stage of your life and how you want to be showing up, you’re gonna see a lot of misalignments with your current behavior, your current behavior is not leading to any of that. So there’s a lot of work to be done. And here’s the big mistake we make, we try to do all that work at once. Or we have a lot of thoughts about that work, it’s going to be so hard, it’s going to take so much time I can’t possibly do it. So we never even get started. So my work as a coach with my clients is getting very clear on where we’re going to start. And that is not my decision.

By the way, that’s my clients decision. I will ask them some very pointed questions to help them get clear on where they want to start. But we start with one area of their life, one piece of that area. And then we develop skill sets to make sure we’re following through with the thing that we said we would do. Skill sets like thought management, emotional agility, structured flexibility. Some of those phrases will sound very familiar to longtime listeners. But we need skill sets to follow through with the promises we’re making to ourselves.

And then finally, we proceed with caution. And what I mean is we don’t live life scared. But we live life awake to the fact that when we do the work to realign ourselves with ourselves. It’s not a permanent state. Life is going to throw a lot of curveballs at you. That get you misaligned again, that is life that is normal. But when you make it mean that’s not normal, that there’s something wrong with you that you’re a failure, you will take for ever to get realigned if you get realigned at all. So, I’m always practicing with my students and my clients. I’m encouraging them to practice identifying their misalignments what does it feel like when you’re misaligned. How do you know what are the signposts because the quicker you can identify those misalignments the quicker, you can pivot yourself back into alignment.

Integrity pain is a very real thing. It is the main work that I do with my clients and there’s a lot of layers to that. Right getting out of integrity, pain, structural integrity, pain, moral and principle integrity, pain. But when you reduce the integrity, pain in your life, this I know for sure, you will feel better. You’ll feel better than better. So if you need help with this Rumble & Rise is the space we do all this work. Right. Rumble &. Rise is my community outside of this Podcast where I don’t actually just talk about these things I teach them, right I teach the skill sets that I allude to in these episodes. So if you need skill sets if you need a community of practice to travel with. Check it out. graceandgrit.com/readytorumble

Alright my friends I hope you have a wonderful week and I will see you again very soon. Take care

Thank you for listening to the Grace and Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This