Transforming Pain Into Purpose: Navigating Health, Emotions, and Faith

Alisa Keeton is the founder of Revelation Wellness, a nonprofit ministry that uses physical and mental health practices to spread the gospel by inviting participants to become integrated and whole beings through biblical teachings, on-line events, productions, and in-person retreat experiences. A fitness profes­sional for over 30 years, Alisa is the author of The Wellness Revelation and Heir to the Crown and hosts the popular Revelation Wellness podcast with over 7 million downloads. Her new book, The Body Revelation, is available now.

Download and listen to this episode here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

Continue reading “Transforming Pain Into Purpose: Navigating Health, Emotions, and Faith”

Five Things I’m Doing for My Health This Year

Happy New Year!

It’s the time of year when people are setting goals, creating self-improvement plans, and looking forward to change that sticks. As a health coach, I know that creating changes that stick have to do with small, sustainable habits. I like to practice what I preach, so I created some small steps that I can focus on this year. I share in more detail on my latest podcast episode here.

My word of the year is renewal, and all five of these are ways I can focus on renewing my mind, my body, and my soul!

  1. Start my day with at least 20 grams of protein in my first meal. Protein is crucial for mental health and neurotransmitter function, but most of us don’t get enough – especially at breakfast. So while I don’t have a set breakfast time, I make sure that my first meal includes sufficient protein. When that happens, I have more mental clarity and less sugar cravings throughout the day.
  2. I’m doing intense trauma therapy. I am working with a counselor who specializes in EMDR, a therapy that helps to reprocess trauma at the brain level, which creates safety in the entire nervous system. Ironically, after all my podcast episodes centered on trauma, I didn’t realize I had complex PTSD until this fall, so I’m looking forward to correcting some core belief systems that are based upon the lies that trauma and shame told me about my place in this world.
  3. Build intentional muscle. I move my body 5-6 times a week for mental health reasons, and I usually choose yoga and walking as my favorite forms of movement. But new studies are showing the anti-inflammatory benefits of muscle as we age, not to mention how it benefits insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function. My plan is to do strength training twice a week on top of what I already do, in a way that supports functional movement and longevity… and my husband was my inspiration for this one, which you can hear more about in the latest podcast episode.
  4. Read the Bible in a year. My faith is important to me, and I read a lot. However, in 2022 I spent much more time reading research articles and fiction than the book that is foundational to my belief system. I’m going back to the Bible Recap plan, and I’m looking forward to seeing God’s faithfulness in a new way, which happens every time I do a plan like this, no matter how many times I’ve done it before.
  5. Take a break from food at least 12 hours every day. I recently learned that less than 10% of Americans eat in a 12 hour window, while the majority of Americans are now considered metabolically unhealthy. There is something to be said for taking a break from food to let your body digest and assimilate and utilize nutrients. It’s beneficial for so many systems in the body. For females, I don’t recommend going longer than 16 hours from eating on a regular basis, and definitely not during the luteal or menstrual phase of the cycle. But most women can benefit from a 12 hour fast every day, though it will be different for everyone.

Programs this year:

I will be hosting three day reset groups periodically throughout the year for anyone who wants to try a fasting-mimicking approach through a food-based system from the company Plexus Worldwide. It contains bone broth, protein powder, collagen soup, and other antioxidant-packed products designed to give your body a metabolic overhaul. You can look at more details and ingredients here. Email me for a special discount code!

I will continue to utilize the online month-long Feast 2 Fast program on Facebook, with in person group opportunities in East Texas. Stay tuned for that information. Our first group will launch in February.

I’m still available for 1:1 virtual coaching. Let’s put together a New Year goal sheet for you and your unique body’s needs.

When the Christmas Season Doesn’t Go as Expected

Do you ever have the feeling you just don’t do holidays as well as other people? Or maybe the holiday season hasn’t gone as you wanted it to? 

We’ve had a difficult fall, as I’ve been dealing with some heavy past trauma I didn’t know I had. My Christmas spirit has been minimal. I don’t decorate like crazy anyway, but this year was half-hearted at best, featuring an old artificial tree with busted lights, a couple nativity sets.

I ordered a few presents on Amazon when I was sick in bed with the flu, and we took our kids to Six Flags for an experiential gift, instead of loading them up with more toys they won’t play with more than once.

I waste a lot of time scrolling social media. I look at other people’s decoration pictures, the baking reels, the cute creative reels, the smiling kids in their matching Christmas clothes… and I worry my kids are missing out on something this season. We didn’t do enough. They’ll resent us.

But then I offer myself a different perspective. Our family has spent many evenings in the last month cuddled up on the couch together, watching The Chosen. Richard and I have spent numerous nights, practically every night we can, connecting and sharing – often with hard conversations, but mostly making memories I will treasure forever.

See, I might have made a mistake sometime in September. On a morning walk, I asked God to show me His love in a new way. And boy, has he delivered. I’ve seen his love through the raging tornado of my past trauma, because out of my brokenness comes his promised wholeness. I’ve seen his love through friends who have checked on me and offered a listening ear. I’ve seen his love through the unconditional love and support of my husband. I’ve seen his love through the three very chill, very laid back kids I’ve been gifted.

And I see his love through the gift of Jesus.

As Paul David Tripp writes in his Christmas devotional, Come Let Us Adore Him, “What sense would it make for God to go to the extent of sending his Son to be born for our sake, and then abandon us along the way? Since God was willing to make such a huge investment in his grace, isn’t it logical to believe he will continue to invest in his grace until that grace has finished its work?”

It’s okay that I don’t have an Instagram-worthy living room. It’s okay that my kids didn’t decorate Christmas cookies, that they didn’t see lights, that they didn’t get the usual amount of cousin and grandparent time this year. It’s even okay that they got more screen time than I’d like (it pains me to say that one out loud).

What matters to me is the lesson I’m learning… THAT is the most important legacy I can pass on to my kids, something they can hold on to through any of life’s plot twists.

His grace and unfailing lovingkindness don’t run out. There is no limit. I haven’t reached capacity. I continue to pull from that well of living water, the kind that never runs out, because he can’t be anything other than who he is – a God who sees, who rescues, and who creates life from death. Over and over again. He did it for me. He can do it for you.

Oh, come let us adore Him indeed! 

Merry Christmas, 

Erin

Stewarding Our Focus for a Healthier 2021

I love starting the new year with a fresh focus, a fresh intention, maybe even a fresh goal or resolution. But there is so much noise these days, and some of us are still barely hanging on after 2020!

I recently welcomed Thomas Thompson onto the podcast to discuss all the above. Thomas has led churches in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado for over 25 years.  He now works with a coaching ministry, Lead Self Lead Others, as well as a city focused non-profit, COSILoveYou.

In this episode, Thomas shares practical ways for us to cancel out the noise and live with an intentional focus in the new year. Download and listen here or find wherever you get your podcasts.

Key Topics:

– The way that 2020 exposed us all

– How increasing connection with others may not be a good thing

– Why harnessing our focus and being intentional is important

– How to prioritize the information we receive

– Dealing with overwhelm, anxiety, and worry

– Daily rhythms to implement

– Why we need to train our brains to direct focus

– How to ask ourselves the right questions and practical tools

Learn more about Thomas and his work at leadselfleadothers.com/thomas-thompson/

Should You Practice Fasting?

Should you try fasting this year?

That’s a hot topic question right now!

Fasting is a practice that has been implemented for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. It isn’t a dieting trend, though it is often misunderstood as another weight loss quick fix. While there are plenty health experts promoting it as a great option to bring balance to your body, optimize insulin sensitivity and support digestion, there are others who treat fasting as if it’s a type of starvation tool that will lead to an eating disorder.

This is why fasting must be addressed with an individualized approach – what I teach in my Feast 2 Fast program!

Most people can benefit from different types of fasts, whether it is a true water fast, or fat fast, or even a bone broth fast. It is a good way to improve your health, and it can be a beneficial spiritual discipline as well.

The majority of studies on the trendy 16:8 style of intermittent fasting have been done on men and postmenopausal women, so it’s important for women who still have a menstrual cycle to nourish hormones and not restrict food too much at all cycle phases. That can really backfire and cause stress to your body!

My advice? Start with a 12 hour fast. Everyone can benefit from a 12 hour break between their last meal and first meal. And hey – if you’re sleeping 8 hours at night most of your fasting will happen then, which makes it even easier!

Want to make fasting work for you, while also learning how to incorporate more nutrient density into your real life? Join my four week Feast 2 Fast program that starts January 4!

This program is one of the most science-based approaches to health I have seen! But we don’t just target physical health; that’s secondary. Every day you will receive nourishment for your soul in the form of a short devotional. We even meet weekly on Zoom to individualize our approaches to even more!

For more details, and to sign up, click here

Past Participants Say This:

“Through Feast 2 Fast I learned to listen to the natural cues from my body. After years of dieting I had stopped listening to the natural cues like hunger. Feast 2 Fast slowed me down and forced me to listen and learn what is best for my body and not just follow it because some ‘diet’ tells me it’s right. It literally brought joy back to my relationship with food!!” – Jen

“The feast to fast program allowed me to stop and really think about the way food affects me. It was truly like a reset and I now feel more in-tune with my body and mind! I lost a lot more weight than I expected and gained confidence in my ability to listen to my body!! That is priceless!” – Laura

Join the program here!

Refocus 2020: Don’t Wait for the New Year to Feel Good About Your Body

My friend Heather Creekmore (Compared to Who) and I teamed up in January to bring a different kind of detox for the new year. We wanted to bring women a mindset detox, heart detox, and a spiritual reset about health and body image. It was a success!

We start our final round on November 30. In this 14 day e-course, you will receive daily videos from me and Heather, written inspirational posts, and tips for whole body health. I include a FREE recipe download for all participants, and Heather provides her ebook “Mountain Top Experience: Personal Body Image Retreat.”

The cost of the group is only $28. This includes two full weeks of daily content, an additional month of access (in case you get behind or want to watch the videos again!), interactions with me & Heather through the week, and a live Q&A call on Zoom where you can get your questions answered! Other online coaching courses may cost about the same –but you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a course like this that will give you direct access to the facilitators through Facebook conversations every day!

Here’s what a few past participants have said:

“Listening to the heartfelt, prayerful, and knowledgeable videos by Erin and Heather was like having good friends giving me a heart-to-heart. I looked forward to every single video and post, and gained a renewed and healthier perspective on food and body image. Thank you so much!”

“This was a GREAT value for my money. I couldn’t believe how available Heather and Erin were to answer my questions and dialogue about tough issues. I’m sad it’s over!”

“I loved this group so much. . .Every single post was so well planned. I liked that both Heather and Erin would reply to people’s comments. I learned tons from the posts and the videos but I also learned from the comment section.”

Sign up here! You don’t want to miss this opportunity to renew your heart, mind, and body this holiday season!

How to End Comparison and Release the Burden to Be Better

So often in the world of wellness, we find ourselves getting caught up in chasing optimal health yet finding out that there’s always a better goal, diet, plan, solution, etc.

Heather Creekmore is a body image expert, speaker, and the author of Compared to Who along with the newly published The Burden of Better.

In this episode we discuss her newest book, the inspiration behind it, and WHY we need to stop comparing and set aside the heavy burden of better. Download the episode here or listen wherever you get podcasts!

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But that’s not all! Heather and I are excited to share that we are partnering together one last time in 2020 to bring you our 14 day ecourse, Re-Focus 2020! In this course, we tackle the topics of body image, wellness, spiritual health, nutrition, and so much more!

To learn more about Re-Focus 2020, and to sign up, click here.

Being Bipolar in a Global Crisis

No amount of sugar or substance can make my brain buzz the way a dose of hypomania can. The ideas, the thoughts, and the LIFE that course through my head – all those are amplified in a time of crisis or extreme change. Being thrown off my daily routine or sleep schedule is a risk to my mental health. So throwing me into a global pandemic and giving me access to information 24/7 can really shake things up.

I find myself hopping around from medical research sites to conspiracy theory groups to political commentaries and read over all the comments and opinions. I am an excellent mimic. In order to manage my symptoms early on, I found a way to adapt to acceptable behavior and commentary, so I wouldn’t have to stand out any more than my buzzing brain could allow. I know what I shouldn’t voice in public or on social media, at risk of anyone thinking I am “crazy,” the C word accusation being one of my biggest threats. I fear other people’s opinions of me more than the average person, because deep down inside I know that my brain functions differently from everyone else’s, and that is scary. So I turn inward, and obsess, and research some more, and head down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, at the expense of my sanity.

At first the racing thoughts and buzz are a high, and they fuel me and energize me. At some point though, my brain reaches breaking point and I have to make it stop. I’ve been down these roads long enough to know where they end – in verbal explosions or in heavy medication to shut it all off.

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The carousel ride that is bipolar disorder.

So I fight. I maintain my mind by shutting off my triggers. I stop researching, stop listening and reading to anything that will throw me into a black hole of information. I take naps, and I go to sleep early. I’m fortunate in that I’ve never struggled with sleep. I can always breathe myself to sleep. In for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, out for 8 seconds. I burn off the energy through heavy exercise. I write, I dig into my feelings and name what is going on instead of escaping through obsessive behaviors.

The thing about bipolar disorder, is that it manifests differently in everyone. Everyone struggles in a unique way, and everyone has different triggers.

*To hear more details from others who suffer and how they manage, click to listen to Episode 29 of the podcast on my show page or subscribe on iTunes.

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tools for finding stability during times of major stress or life change. Before I list them, here is the caveat – these tools aren’t always effective in the middle of a full-fledged episode. It is really hard to tell someone who cannot physically get out of bed due to depression, “You should just lace up your shoes and go outside. Why are you just laying there?” Or telling someone who’s manic, “Slow down and go to sleep.” It doesn’t work like that. These are physical illnesses that affect the physical function of our bodies. Our brains aren’t capable of telling our bodies to do what our bodies need to do. This is why we have to be on the offense and employ these tools REGULARLY, during times of stability, so that they are habitual and instinctual. The sooner we can tighten up these strategies at the beginning of the roller coaster climb or at the beginning of the dip downward, the better off we will be. Continue reading “Being Bipolar in a Global Crisis”

Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!

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Can you believe it’s almost March? This new year isn’t so new anymore. Maybe you’ve already forgotten your word of the year, or broken your resolution. Or… maybe you’re still figuring out if you should have a word or resolution!

In January, my friend, body image expert and author of Compared to Who, Heather Creekmore, joined me to coach 50 women in an online group called Re-Focus 2020. This group was a huge success. We both believe strongly that being caught up in body perfection is enslaving. We created the group because we want to help women change their views of themselves and find purpose outside of the scale, pants size, or mirror. We want women to see that there are ways to nourish yourself that have nothing to do with a restrictive diet plan.

Here’s what a few participants had to say about their experience in January: 
Continue reading “Re-Focus 2020 – It’s Back!”

The Age of Outrage

I try to be very intentional about what I choose to speak out on. I am a woman with a LOT of opinions on a lot of things, but I prize relationships over my opinions so I don’t speak up if I fear it will hinder authentic relationship-building.

That being said, I have spent the last 5 days silently observing the frenzy taking over my newsfeeds. It has deeply disturbed me, though maybe not for reasons you would think. I’m ready to speak up now.

We are currently caught up in a viral response system. We are tangled up in an age of outrage, and nobody is immune.

As a result of this age of outrage, everyone is REACTING to everything, and nobody is RESPONDING to anything. And there’s a physiological reason this is occurring.

But before I explain that, here is what I mean by the age of outrage:

After a skillful performance that was a dazzling and empowering celebration of Latin American culture at the Super Bowl halftime show, my newsfeed blew up in criticism. I’m not surprised by much anymore, but that caught me off guard. I didn’t expect anything different from performers like Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, so I didn’t understand the outrage and shock. (Side note – I also spent most of the show dancing along and trying to do whatever they were doing, so I didn’t scrutinize every movement either.) Did it bother me that a 50 year old has to strive to look like a 25 year old to stay relevant and desirable? Maybe. But again, I didn’t expect anything different from the entertainment industry.

What affected me the most and what caused me to silently observe, hesitant to say anything at all, is that everyone seemed to be REACTING based on their own perception of the show, based on their own life stage and season, based on their own personal triggers. And so many of these reactions and post fed MORE posts, and shares, and back and forth commentaries.

For this reason, I am NOT going to share any more of my personal views, as they are multi-layered and will cause division and have nothing to do with the reason I am writing this. Now, I could talk about clothing choices and unfortunate camera angles (seriously – was J Lo’s gynecologist filming???) but that’s not what I want to get at here. Continue reading “The Age of Outrage”