The Fulfilled Mom

Creating Sustainable Lifestyle Change to Optimize Your Health with Sarah Brandell, PA-C

September 16, 2021

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I'm a healthcare momma who burned out, big time, and now I teach working moms to create the life of their dreams. I love leopard print, tequila, and my morning routine. My mission? To help moms stop feeling frazzled and start living a life of fulfillment, leaning into the joy of the journey, not just the destination!

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On Episode 051 of Fulfilled – The Podcast I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Brandell. Sarah Brandell is a PA Professor and Primary Care/ER PA-turned Functional Health Coach who now works with clients one-on-one to support them in creating sustainable lifestyle changes for optimizing their health! Functional health providers and coaches work within a patient-centered approach where investigating the underlying cause, not treating the superficial symptoms is the goal. 

Functional health entails taking a whole body approach to care, investigating the root cause, and an ongoing personal relationship where coaches work with clients to optimize health and wellness. Common functional health complaints include fatigue, hormone imbalance, pre-diabetes and diabetes, and many more.

Women who have been dealing with chronic fatigue, feel their hormones are imbalanced, or they have had an ongoing journey with an autoimmune disorder.

Fatigue is the No. 1 concern that women and moms bring to the table when they are working with Sarah for functional health coaching. Step 1 in addressing this exhaustion and fatigue is to pause and listen to our body – it can be exceedingly easy to find distractions where we don’t listen and tune in to our bodies natural cues. Step 2 in addressing energy levels is to address their five pillars of health to see where improvement can be made:

Sarah Brandell’s 5 Pillars of Health:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Sleep
  3. Environment
  4. Exercise 
  5. Stress

Functional health consultation includes a detailed intake to figure out what’s going on, then diving into these health categories to identify action items to build sustainable changes in your lifestyle.

Let’s talk about nutrition. So, first of all, there’s not one diet that fits for everyone. It’s absolutely not one size fits all. Working with a functional health coach on gut health, micronutrient testing and adjusting diet with the possibility of adding supplements for a period of time. When it comes to nutrition basics, let’s reach for more vegetables, a protein and a healthy fat.

 Regarding sleep, resting better and getting higher quality sleep. Aim to be winding down and landing in bed at the same time each night. Give yourself an hour range to aim for and go to bed consistently each day instead of aiming for 8-hours of sleep! Keeping your bedroom cool and dark can make a massive difference, as well. Employing the use of an eye mask and earplugs on an everyday basis can help to block out lights and sounds that might try to disrupt your sleep. Try 1-2 nights a week for a warm bath with magnesium salts. Prioritizing rest can make a huge difference with fatigue and feeling ready to take on the day when the morning comes! 

The key to creating sustainable change is adding habits and changes in a do-able amount. Going from zero to sixty, trying to change all five pillars at once and starting with extreme intensity doesn’t set you up for sustainable change. Crash diets, suddenly starting to exercise at extreme levels and deciding you are going to get 10 hours of sleep every single night starting tomorrow isn’t realistic. 

88% of the US population has some evidence of metabolic disease. The goal here is optimal health, not average health. These factors play into evaluating your lab work with both your PCP and a functional health coach. Often the reference ranges for labs isn’t the ideal or target that you should be aiming for, but rather they are the averages of people who get that lab drawn.

Vitamin D has been getting lots of press this year. You can be well within range of Vitamin D, but not in the range that’s going to be protective for illness, leaky gut and  ot at the optimal range. 

Let’s talk simple ways to detox your life. Removing chemicals can feel overwhelming if you try to tackle it at once. First steps to take when looking to remove chemicals from our homes and to detoxify our surroundings include simple (and FREE) steps like opening up the windows, taking off your shoes before entering the house, and avoiding the purchase of fragrances. Before you throw your scented candles AT me (or Sarah!), know that the fragrances that companies add to candles and plug in’s, scented melts and more… the fragrance ingredients are considered to be trade secrets and do not have to be disclosed. 

Implementing broad and sweeping changes might *seem* like the best thing to do, but slow and steady wins the race when it comes to truly changing your lifestyle! Tune in to the full interview and hear all that Sarah has to share.







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