Lawyer, Nurse, Migrai-Neverland member, Beast Slayer Training Academy and Keto Blast graduate Anne shares her inspiring beast-slaying story in this episode of the podcast.
The 9 Primary Migraine Miracle RESOURCES: mymigrainemiracle.com/how-we-can-help/
MIGRAI-NEVERLAND, our premier resource for those who want to find their pill free path to migraine freedom (including the Beast Slayer Training Academy): mymigrainemiracle.com/endofmigraine
The Beast Slayer Training Academy
The 2019 Schedule of Migrai-Neverland Challenges: https://www.mymigrainemiracle.com/schedule
Migraine Miracle Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/899131986822364
The book that started it all – The Migraine Miracle: https://www.amazon.com/Migraine-Miracle-Sugar-Free-Gluten-Free-Inflammation/dp/1608828751
Dr. Turknett: Howdy folks. So today I am delighted to be able to share another Migraine Miracle success story with you. This one from another one of our beloved Migrai-Neverland members and Beastslayer Training Academy graduates, Anne Lawler. As you’ll soon hear, hers is a story that I know many of you will be able to relate to, one of ever escalating migraines, ever escalating amounts of medications, and then a transition to going all-in on the Migraine Miracle plan taking massive action and turning things around in dramatic fashion.
In the last two episodes of the podcast, I focused on the starve and sink strategy for ending a migraine, and you’ll hear an interview that this has been a key tool for Anne in her own transformation. And of course you can find those two episodes and all prior episodes of The Miracle Moment on the website at Mymigrainemiracle.com/moment. Before we get to that interview, I have a few little bits of housekeeping.
So we’re currently in the midst of our first ever sleep challenge and having a lot of fun with that. In our next challenge, which will launch in mid-May, is our KETO Blast challenge, the ever popular KETO Blast, which for those of you who don’t know is our 30-day challenge for those who have decided to dip their toe into nutritional ketosis and see what it’s all about, or for those who’ve done it before and want the guidance and support to do it again. As you’ll hear, Anne was also a prior participate in our KETO Blast challenge, and that was one of many tools she implemented to get to where she is today.
And of course, becoming a member of Migrai-Neverland grants you access to all of these things, the Beastslayer Training Academy, all of our challenges as well as our weekly group coaching sessions, primal provisions, our weekly meal planning service, plus a host of many other resources. And you can learn all about it and sign up, so you can be part of the next KETO Blast challenge, and hop on board with our current sleep challenge by going to Mymigrainemircle.com and just clicking on the Resources tab at the top. You can also specifically learn more about the KETO Blast challenge if you go to Mymigrainemiracle.com/ketoblast, K-E-T-O-B-L-A-S-T.
And lastly, I’d like to read the most recent iTunes review for the podcast. This one comes from [Janna 00:02:54] L. and is titled, “This really works!” And then she says, “After many years of dealing with migraines I’m finally able to get off the meds. I still get migraines, but now I am in control of them rather than the other way around. Thank you Dr. T.” Well, thank you Janna for taking the time to go to iTunes and leave that rating and review. It really means a lot to me, and it really does help spread this message to others, so now you can kind of pay it forward by doing that. So, if you’re out there and you enjoy this podcast, it’d be awesome if you do likewise, and I will read your review on the podcast. And if you want to take a screenshot of your review and email it to me at Drtatmymigrainemiricle.com, you will be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of the book, and one of our Beastslayer T-shirts.
All right. So now it is time for my interview with Anne. And stay tuned after the interview as I’ll share some final thoughts with you.
Dr. Turknett: So today I am very excited to have Anne Lawler on the podcast. Hello Anne.
Anne Lawler: Hi. How are you?
Dr. Turknett: Good. So Anne is part of our Migrai-Neverland family and has been an active, positive and helpful contributor to our community, which we really appreciate, and is also a certified graduate of the Beastslayer Training Academy. She’s also someone with, I think, a medical background, which can sometimes present a unique set of obstacles, and so I’m always particularly pleased when someone with that background goes down this path for a number of reasons. Anne, if you don’t mind just telling us a little bit about yourself as we get started.
Anne Lawler: Sure. I live in Idaho, and I actually am the director for the State Medical Board. It’s a board of 10 people, so I actually have 10 bosses, so you can imagine sometimes the rest that that involves. And being a regulatory job, I have to make sure we’re following all the rules. We license about 10,000 people. And right now we’re in the legislative session, so that’s always exciting as well with lots of hearings, and ups and downs, so it’s good to be mindful during that time.
Dr. Turknett: Right. I bet. Yeah, that certainly has its own unique stresses. So does that mean the medical board, is that licensing for all healthcare providers of all types?
Anne Lawler: We have the doctors and the physicians. So the physicians, physician assistants. We have some Allied Health professionals, athletic trainers, respiratory therapists, and dieticians. But then the nurses, and the pharmacists, and the dentists are on separate boards.
Dr. Turknett: Gotcha. And you have a nursing background? Is that right?
Anne Lawler: I do, yeah. Well, I started as a lawyer out of college, but then in my 40’s I went back to school and got my degree and my BSN, and so I’m an RN.
Dr. Turknett: So I have to ask. What led to that change? That’s a fairly significant turn around.
Anne Lawler: Yeah. Well actually I think as a child I thought I’d always go into medicine. I was that kid watching all those medical shows when I was a kid. But when I got to college I sort of didn’t go down that path after all, and went to law school instead. But then I think I always missed that, and felt like it was just one of those things I enjoy reading about, enjoy researching. And so after various careers, raising kids, et cetera, I just decided to go ahead and go back to school. And I kind of thought in my 40’s maybe medical school might be a bit much and a bit long.
Dr. Turknett: Yes. I think you made a good call.
Anne Lawler: Yeah. It’s been great. It’s been great. It’s been a good mix of my … The current job I have is a perfect mix of my two degrees.
Dr. Turknett: Right. I can see that, yeah. That’s really cool. So you’ve carved out something very unique for yourself. Obviously you’re here, because you have a story with the beast. So do you remember, you probably do, when your story began, or when your migraines first started?
Anne Lawler: I do. I actually think I was about five.
Dr. Turknett: Wow.
Anne Lawler: I had started ballet classes weekly, and for whatever reason, I don’t know if was the stress of the class, or maybe because I was eating a lot of carbs before I went to class, that I ended up getting headaches almost every week after class. And I didn’t know they were migraines at the time. I actually wasn’t diagnosed with migraines until I was in my late 30’s. Looking back I realize that I did have migraines. They weren’t awful as a child. It happened just periodic like that. In my 20’s … Well let’s just say I found out that alcohol is not my friend, and so college happened, and I had a lot of migraines in college. And then in my 20’s, not so bad during my 20’s and early 30’s, mostly just there’s always the stress plus lack of sleep combo that always got me. But then in my late 30’s, I think when I started maybe, I don’t know hormones changing, things like that, it just started getting worse through my late 30’s and through my 40’s. And I’m 55 now, and in my 50’s it’s definitely been the worst. And I don’t know, I think it’s a combination of having this job. It can be stressful at times, and I’m been doing this for almost four years. Plus also probably my hormones are in the process of changing, so I have a feeling there’s something going on there as well.
Dr. Turknett: So over the years you mentioned that you felt like stress, sleep deprivation were maybe the primary things for you?
Anne Lawler: I would say yeah, definitely that’s been the case.
Dr. Turknett: Did you have other foods or things like that that you recognized as an issue, or not so much?
Anne Lawler: Not until probably the last 10 years, and then I’ve realized certain things, certain cheeses really get me, red wine is a no-go. And more recently even, I’ve realized that MSG is just awful. And so I really try to avoid all those things.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. It’s pretty rough. At what age did you start getting any kind of formal treatment for them?
Anne Lawler: I started I think probably about 2001, so I was in my late 30’s. And I went to the doctor and she prescribed Imitrex. So a Triptan, and started me on just 25 milligrams. And at the time I thought that was magical, because … I mean I’ve heard your story, and I think it’s kind of similar. I took this and 30 minutes later I felt much better. So that was great for a while. And then as I went along, after a while the 25 milligrams didn’t really work, or the migraine would just come back after four hours. So I was put up to 50 milligrams, then 75, then 100. And then probably in the last five or six years I changed to different formulations that were longer lasting. So I went to Rizatriptan. Then I went to Frovatriptan. I was told take it at the first sign of migraine, that whole thing.
And then two years ago, I went to see a neurologist here in town, and he’s been great. We talked through some options and I can’t do beta blockers because my blood pressure is naturally quite low, so we knew that probably wasn’t going to work. I had tried Amitriptyline maybe three years ago, and I didn’t feel like that did anything for me, so I had stopped that. And so then he tried me on Topiramate or Tropamax. I did that for a year, and I tend to chart all my migraines just so I can keep track and know … Well, I was trying to track my triggers at the time. And so I noticed after looking at that year, that the Tropamax didn’t change the number of migraines I was having, but I did have that lovely side effect of not being able to find my words. Fortunately our staff here was all pretty medically oriented, so they were very sympathetic about it, and very understanding when I would sit there searching for a word. But anyway, so I dropped that Tropamax last, I think March is when I decided to quit that. And then we also did BOTOX, and I started BOTOX I think a year and a half ago, and I stopped doing that last summer, because again, I didn’t feel like it made a difference.
Dr. Turknett: Do you remember how much of the Tropamax you were taking?
Anne Lawler: I went from somewhere from 100, and I think I went up to 200 for a while. And no difference, and just I had to deal with all the side effects of the numbness, and tingling in my fingers and toes, and I was starting to lose my hair, which was disturbing, so yeah. So then he brought me back down to 100, and then, like I said, after a couple of months of that we figured out that really it wasn’t making any difference. And he said, “You know, if it’s not doing anything, then let’s not do it any more.”
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. I think a lot of people can probably relate to that story. You mentioned, I think, Imitrex. You were started in 30’s. Before that were you taking anything like over-the-counter medications?
Anne Lawler: Yeah, over-the-counter. I mean as a kid I remember my mom used to give me a little Baby Aspirin. And then I would just lie down in the dark for a while, and I’d feel much better. As I got older, pretty much Aspirin, and then Tylenol became a big thing. And then Ibuprofen, when that became more popular and was over-the-counter, then I started taking Ibuprofen. Sometimes I’d even do a mix of one Aspirin, one Ibuprofen. That worked for my husband. He’s had migraines on occasion. Not as much as I have, but that worked for him. Those are the over-the-counter things that I did. And I have done those kind of along the way until I got onto this plan. I was still doing that in between to so hopefully not take so much of the prescription meds, but still taking them on occasion.
Dr. Turknett: And what would you say, at the worst of things, how often would you be taking something like an Imitrex or whatever is was?
Anne Lawler: At the most, I was getting to where I took probably 18 to 20 a month, and I was having that many migraines pretty much. But anywhere from … I’d get my nine pills a month, but then they also put me on injections. I forgot to mention that part. Because if I had any food in my stomach, the pills wouldn’t work, and so then the neurologist said, “Well here. Get these injections.” So between the injections and the pills, I was getting 18 things per month to take, and I was pretty much taking them all. I listened to Lori [Laws 00:12:07] story recently, and could relate to the whole packing, making sure I have pills in like every … in my wallet, and a bottle in my purse, and injections in my desk, and in my purse, and in my car, and now traveling, I would make sure that my suitcase had room for the injection boxes, so if you looked through my luggage, they’d know what it was, you know that whole thing.
Dr. Turknett: And then if you ever had the moment of panic when you travel, and you realize you’ve forgotten it?
Anne Lawler: Yep, exactly.
Dr. Turknett: Yep. So many people can relate to all that. Just out of curiosity, anywhere along the lines, did you have any awareness about the phenomenon of rebound headaches, had that been mentioned to you at all?
Anne Lawler: It had been mentioned to me in light of what was happening to me is that I would have a migraine say on Monday, and I’d take the Imitrex, and it would feel better til Tuesday, and then I’d either wake up with the headache, or get it shortly into the day. Just wake up with what I call the headache hangover where you just feel foggy and kind of blah.
Dr. Turknett: Wiped out? Yeah.
Anne Lawler: Mm-hmm. And then frequently I’d get a headache coming back on Tuesday, and then I’d take the meds again, and then that would happen usually, I pretty much was pretty typically having three to four in a row. So I would always have these kind of clusters of days of headaches. So the doctor did tell me, “Oh. Well that’s a rebound effect.” But the advice was, “Well just keep sticking with it.”
Dr. Turknett: Right. Right. It’s like what other options are there, right? That was kind of-
Anne Lawler: Pretty much.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. I mean I was there for a long time. At what point, or how did you enter the Migraine Miracle universe?
Anne Lawler: So I had probably … Let’s see. Two years ago or so I started researching online more things about migraine, educating myself. I tend to like to research things, and I came across your website. And so over that next year, I sort of was looking at your website, trying to figure it all out, and then other websites too, and just at that point trying to figure out, “Well, what are my triggers?” and trying to read any advice I could find on what to do to get out of pain, and to have normal days. And I had subscribed to your emails, so I was getting your emails periodically, and I looked at those, and I was like, “Okay. Yeah, yeah, okay.”
And then finally I just I got an email. It was one of those days I think I’d just done a four stint of migraines, and I’m like, “You know. This is ridiculous.” And the email I got that day was great. It was a list of all the questions that you have answered in the Chatter, which is the chat room that I love participating in. And I looked at that list, and I was like, “I want the answers to every one of those questions.” So I just sat … I was on my laptop in the kitchen, and I just sat there and I just said, “I’m joining Migrai-Neverland,” because I want the answers to those questions, and I want the support.
Dr. Turknett: Good, yeah. It’s always interesting to see, and I think this seems to be a common theme. It’s like some awareness for a while, but then just like reach some critical point and just like, “All right. That’s it.” You know?
Anne Lawler: Yep. So thank you for sending that email that day.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. That’s so good to know it too, like what helped. It’s really fun to hear the other side of things, because we are here sending things out hoping they resonate, but you never always get all the feedback, and so it’s neat to know what actually was the trigger that got you started. And so was that maybe sometime early last year?
Anne Lawler: It was in April.
Dr. Turknett: Okay. And so kind of take us through then what happened next.
Anne Lawler: Well, so that was about the time I was talking with my neurologist about the fact the Tropamax wasn’t working. And then I started listening to your podcasts and all that, and I thought I heard some of the interviews you’d had with people who said that they just went all-in, and that the sense was that when you go all-in, you do better. So I just said, “You know? I’m just going to go all-in.” So I stopped taking everything. I mean I’d already been tapering the Tropamax, so it wasn’t hard to finish that taper. I did keep the BOTOX on until July, just thinking, “Well, if I’m trying to get through rebound, maybe the BOTOX might be helpful.” I don’t know. I’m not sure it was. And so I did go all-in, and take away all of the meds.
And I had already been doing, I’d been eating Paleo for a couple years, because I’d had other health things that I just … I’ve been a sugar fiend my whole life, and I think my body was just saying, “You know what? Sugar is not good for you.” So I had already pretty much cut out sugar, but I hadn’t done the whole Migraine Miracle food plan, and so I really got more on board with that, definitely.
So since April, I did have one … I took one Triptan in June. I was having one of those multi-day migraines, and I was fasting, and I was exercising probably every 12 hours, and I couldn’t shake it, and I was about to leave on a business trip. And I just thought, “You know. I’m going on this trip, and I need to be functional,” so I did take a Frovatriptan that day in June. But that’s the last thing I have taken. So, that felt great.
And I mean it was rough, and I know a lot of people say that. And I think I really appreciated this community to be able to see that other people have gotten through it. And so that encouraged me. And I kept telling myself, “If I take another one, it’s just going to take longer.” And so every time I would be in the midst of a migraine, and fasting, and drinking my salted water, and doing all those things, I would just encourage myself by saying, “You know what? I’ve heard these other people say they did, and I can do it too.” So I just stuck with it.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. That’s great. That’s a big reason why we do this, because it is really hard. If you’re not fairly certain there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I think it’s a hard road to go. But man, it’s so worth it if you can make it to the other side. So clearly, then, just having those role models was helpful, and it sounds like you are also deploying some of the drug-free strategies that we’ve talked about?
Anne Lawler: Yes.
Dr. Turknett: Anything you’ve found in that regard that was particularly helpful for you?
Anne Lawler: So for me, I’ve tried like the peppermint oil, and some of things, and those didn’t really do that much for me. For me, really the best thing is the Pink Himalayan salted water at the first sign of a migraine coming, which for me, I start yawning. I get pressure behind my eyes and on my forehead, and so I just do the water and stop eating. And believe me, along the way, since last April, there have been times when I was like, “Oh. I can eat a little bit.” Okay. And now I’ve learned nope. Just don’t eat.
Dr. Turknett: Amazing right? Yep.
Anne Lawler: Yes, it is. So for me, really, I’d say fasting, the whole sink and starve thing. The fasting and the exercise really works the best. And of that even, I would say, the fasting is by far the best. I’ve gotten to where now I can fast for a couple days, and it doesn’t even bother me. I don’t get hungry, I think because my metabolism is at a steady place. My hypothalamus is happy, and it’s not a problem. If you told me that years ago, just even two years ago, “Oh, you could fast for four days.” I’m like, “Nah. I could never do that,” because I was the one who always thought, “Oh no! I’m going to get a hunger headache, so I need to eat something real quick,” and I’d grab a granola bar, or some cereal, or some crackers. And of course now I know, especially after that great podcast you did on that topic that is the opposite of what I should be doing.
Dr. Turknett: Yes, right. It’s so counterintuitive, yes. Yeah, I think it may be good to think about in the midst of a migraine, what you may be driven to do may be the beast driving your behavior rather than what’s actually best for getting rid of them, you know? He’s in the driver seat, so …
Anne Lawler: Yeah. And I know it is hard to tell yourself, “Oh. I have a migraine. I’m in pain, and I’m nauseous, and I feel crappy, but I’m going to go jogging.”
Dr. Turknett: Exactly. Exactly.
Anne Lawler: I’m going to go for a walk, or I’m going to exercise. But I’ll tell you what. I’m almost now when I get a migraine, I almost crave to go out and exercise, because I know it’s going to help.
Dr. Turknett: Absolutely, yep. I had talked about a couple years ago, when I was doing those experiments with the starve and sink, and I just couldn’t believe how it was working! And I would just like first thing, I couldn’t wait to get outside and go running, and it would just magically improve over time. I never would have believed it before. I had the same exact ideas for so many years about hunger headaches, and I would do the exact wrong thing every time. And then in retrospect blame on it the hunger rather than the thing that I ate, you know?
Anne Lawler: Yeah!
Dr. Turknett: So it sounds like food wise, you were … wasn’t too far what you were doing before Migraine Miracle and afterwards. What’s sorts of changes have you made before and after?
Anne Lawler: After doing the Beastslayer Academy last May, then in June you had the KETO Blast. And so I joined that and did that. And I even got one of those little keto glucose monitor things because I like data, so I needed to track all that. And I especially in doing some more research realizing that if you keep your blood sugar low, and you’re building ketones, then you are possibly reducing the threat of cancer in the future, and that runs in my family.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah, absolutely.
Anne Lawler: So that’s why I wanted to track both the blood glucose level and the ketone level. So I did the Ketogenic Diet starting in June. And I would say for the most part, I have stayed … I mean I haven’t tested myself every day, but I’d say for the most part I eat a Ketogenic Diet every day, and when I do randomly test, I pretty much am in ketosis of some level or not. After fasting I’m in a very much large level of ketosis, but I would say day-to-day I’m in some form of it at some point.
Dr. Turknett: Have you been able to link kind of whether you’re in ketosis or not, or how deep it is to kind of how you feel overall?
Anne Lawler: I think so. I definitely have found that I am much more clear headed, and I can tell when my energy is constant throughout the day. And that’s just been so great, because being that sugar/carb lover, I was used to that sort of afternoon dive in energy, and would always have that sort of 2:00 to 4:00 PM slump. I don’t have that at all now. My energy is constant all day. I’m much more clear headed for my work, and just for my life in general, and I just feel better. I feel much more healthy.
Dr. Turknett: Even stability in your energy levels, and mood. It is so many different things. That was, for me, that was the first thing that happened years ago, and I was just elated about all that. And then I realized a few weeks later, “Wait a second. I haven’t had a migraine.” And it was like, “Are you kidding me?” Yeah, just the energy level change is a complete game changer.
Anne Lawler: Yes. I think that, and then also just the recipes you guys put out that [Jenny 00:22:16] does are so great, and it’s really encouraged me to really focus on eating whole foods. And I really doubled down on that this last month. I was generally pretty good through the holidays, but I was doing some things like, I have to say I do make just a mean keto cheesecake with Stevia, but I also know that that’s not recommended to use artificial sweeteners. And I had done some other things over the holidays. We had entertained a little, and I found things like almond flour crackers, and things that imitate what we were eating in the old diet. And so I ate a little more of that over the holidays, and I was greeted with a pretty bad visit from the beast starting on, well actually starting right before midnight on News Years Eve. And it lasted from that Monday night until Friday morning, which is how I know I can fast four days.
But I also said to myself, “You know what? I really need to just get really serious about staying on the super foods list.” So for this month I’ve sort of been doing I guess you could call it a whole 30 plus a little bit of dairy. And that’s been magical. I actually have now gone 17 days without a migraine, and that’s, I think, the longest I’ve ever gone. So generally I’d have them down, once getting into the Ketogenic Diet in June, I’d got them from the 15 to 17 a month down to about three per month, which is fabulous! That’s been marvelous.
But, of course, now I’ve been out of rebound since … Well, I’m not out of rebound, but I’d say I’ve been moving out of it since June. And it is taking … I mean I’m still working on that, I think. My body’s just still … I was on stuff since 2001, the meds, and I think my body’s just still purging all that. Now I really want to get to where I just don’t have any migraines. And it’s totally worth it to me to eat the right foods. and I feel so much better when I do. And so I guess that’s kind of my new story, which is I’m just going to eat for me, for good health, and to take care of me, and what works.
Dr. Turknett: Going back to the eating the substitute foods, or the stuff that kind of looks like what we no longer eat. I think everybody follow that progression where we dabble in that, and then learn a lesson, and then move on. And there’s so many little moments of those little lessons we learn along the way that I think are almost maybe a necessary part of the process. Because now you’re like, “Okay. Been there done that, and I know what happens,” rather than saying, “Well. Is it really bad? No.”
Anne Lawler: Well, I’m trying to learn too, that when I do those things, like maybe try something new at a restaurant if I’m out or something, and then I end up maybe have had a few migraines on occasional from travel or whatever, you know learn those lessons, but don’t beat myself up over them.
Dr. Turknett: Absolutely.
Anne Lawler: So I don’t think of them cheats, because I feel like that’s a beating up myself word. So I just say, “You know what? I varied from the plan a little,” or ” I took a chance,” and it’s just more data collection. And I’m just learning from the experience and moving on.
Dr. Turknett: Exactly. It’s feedback right?
Anne Lawler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Dr. Turknett: And helpful one way or the other. I agree totally. I don’t like the term cheat either. I wish there was something better. It implies you’re doing something wrong.
Anne Lawler: Right.
Dr. Turknett: But it’s just like … And I’m intentionally varying from the plan, and I’m willing to face the consequences if I have to.
Anne Lawler: Yeah, but I’ll tell you, this month staying right on the plan? That’s working really well, so I’m going to stick with that.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. And certainly as a foundation to kind of … Once you know too, like, “Okay. I have a home base. Whole foods, cooking at home, sticking to the foods that I know are best for me,” just knowing that that’s always there is such a huge shift in mindset and psychologically just so helpful.
Anne Lawler: Right. And the other thing I do a lot regarding food and actually my whole lifestyle is I really, in your Beastslayer Academy you talked about the Groundhog Day Strategy. That’s been magical for me too. It maybe means I don’t eat as varied a diet. I mean I do eat a variety of things, but I tend to go with what works for me. So I have sort of a routine, and the routine works really well, so I just try to stick with the routine as much as I can.
Dr. Turknett: That’s fantastic. I’m so glad to hear you say that, because I love that strategy too. Do you want to just tell it for those who may not be familiar with the idea of what the Groundhog Day Strategy is?
Anne Lawler: Well it’s like the movie Groundhog Day where the day repeats over and over and over again. And so the idea is you take a day that really works for you, where you didn’t get a migraine, and you repeat that versus trying to find all the possible triggers that could have caused a migraine. I loved your analogy of trying to find your friends house, and you had 500 ways of getting there, and you’re just going to try each way every day. And you’ve already had one successful drive to the friends house. It’s like, “Well, just stay on that road.” So I just stay on the road of knowing what works for me.
And so I get up in the morning, and I go jogging and walking with my dog, so I get outside. And then I don’t really eat until 11:00 or 12:00, and usually I start with eggs, because I know that you said after starve and sink, that’s often the best thing once the pain goes away to start with eggs, so I just do that every day. I eat a couple eggs. And then in the afternoon I’ll have a big salad, and then I’ll have some dinner later in the afternoon. And then I pretty much eat between 12:00 and 6:00.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. So you have about a six hour window.
Anne Lawler: Probably six. Sometimes seven or eight. It depends on how my day is going, but yeah. That’s generally what I do.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah, excellent. One of the things that the idea that you just mentioned about the Groundhog Day, [inaudible 00:27:24] are just set up with the old way of thinking, just from the start kind of this negative view of the world is filled with all these minefields, whether its food or other stuff, and just shifting from saying let me identify everything in the world that hurts me, to just saying identifying everything in the world that helps me. It probably says something deep about our fundamental psychology that like that’s just the default mode of doing it, and it’s kind of the route everybody takes.
Anne Lawler: The Groundhog Strategy works day-to-day great, and then you have to deal with the times when you’re not in that routine. And I do travel on occasion for work, and we’re going to Europe in May, so I’m going to have to sort of think about how to do that strategy. And I do the best I can when I’m traveling. I’ll do the same thing. Get up. Get some exercise, start with some eggs and sausage or bacon, or something like that to make sure I’m not starting with carbs, and that tends to work. And then I have some go-tos. When I’m at restaurants, I’ll tend to get burgers, but with no bun, and I’ll just get all sorts of vegetables with it, and that just seems to be pretty safe for me. That might not work for everybody, and I know it’s not maybe ideal. It doesn’t always have the best oils and things, but I’ll do a salad and a burger, and that pretty much works.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. That’s definitely a safe go-to. That’s one of … I’ll always look if there’s a burger on the menu, because I know that’s going to be a safe bet at least. It occurs to me, too, that you could do the Groundhog Day Strategy for travel. So you may be already doing this if you’re a data oriented person, but it’s cataloging the things that work best on your travel days, and then as time goes by just replicating those particular habits and behaviors for those times.
Anne Lawler: Yep. I’ll keep collecting data on those trips.
Dr. Turknett: So have you changed your data collection procedures from what they were several years ago to what they are now?
Anne Lawler: Well, I use an app, if that’s what you mean. Yeah. I have an app, and I can put in all the data about any migraine that I do get, and sort of how it came about, and how long it lasts, and what side of my head it’s on, and what I think may have been the causes, and then what I’m doing to correct it. And it’s just been interesting using the app over these last couple years where it used to be that I’d put in what medication I took, and now the medication I entered in there, I had do a custom field for starve and sink.
Dr. Turknett: That’s great! We need to talk to the developers to put in …
Anne Lawler: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Turknett: To put that in there. And do you do anything in particular to track the good days?
Anne Lawler: I guess I don’t actually track them, because I’m sort of doing the same thing over and over-
Dr. Turknett: Yeah, habituated now.
Anne Lawler: Yeah. I think so. I do think in the past I was more looking at that, and sort of I would say what worked … After the Beastslayer Academy I was more attuned to what works and what doesn’t work.
Dr. Turknett: Right. And now it’s kind of coming natural?
Anne Lawler: Yeah. I think prior, though, to joining Migrai-Neverland and all that, I probably was more in the negative side of it, and only looking for what caused it, and what did I do wrong, and what was the trigger? And now I definitely love the focus on the positive with what’s working and just keep doing that.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah, absolutely. Well, this has been great. If you were talking to anybody whose contemplating going down this road and is maybe a little bit apprehensive or overwhelmed by the idea of giving up sugar, or going gluten free, or anything like that, is there anything you would tell them?
Anne Lawler: I would say just give it a try. There’s no harm in trying. And just commit maybe 30 days, and just see if you make these changes for 30 days, which isn’t asking a lot, to see if you notice a difference. And to get involved in the group, and on Facebook, and get that support, because then you can see how it’s working for other people. Yeah, just dive in. It’s one of those things when I tell it to friends and co-workers who also have migraines, they’ll say, “Oh, that just sounds crazy. I can’t imagine doing that. I can’t imagine giving my X, Y and Z.” I’m like, “Well, but just try it,” because after a while you realize when you try these things and they work, and you don’t have those cruddy days, how wonderful that is, and it’s totally worth doing it. And besides, you’ll start feeling better anyway, and just feeling healthier, and more alert, and sleep better. The whole package is a great thing.
Dr. Turknett: Yep. That’s great advice. Experiencing results, that’s the most powerful motivator of all, right?
Anne Lawler: Yeah, yeah. And I wanted to say too, the other thing that I did start doing, my New Years resolution this year was to start meditating every day. Mindfulness, and stress, and all that has kind of been what I really need to work on the most now, so I thought meditation would be great to really dive into that. And so I started meditating every evening. And now, a friend of mine pointed out a second meditation app that her daughter really likes, so I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll try that in the morning.” So now I’m actually going twice a day.
And I have to think that that plus doubling down on the food has really been the secret to this 17 days of absolutely no sign of any headache. And I’ll tell you what, these last two weeks … I worked 70 hours last week. I worked 60 hours the week before, and I am testifying about every other day in front of legislative committees, which is very stressful. So I think that’s just a testimony to mindfulness, and eating well, and staying on the whole plan, the exercising, and taking care of yourself, and sleeping well. Just the whole package really works.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. We can’t always eliminate those situations that may be stressful, but we can mitigate their impact by the ways we can sort of control the mind. I would bet that that’s probably a big factor right now for you. So, that’s great. And it also is, you’ve habituated a lot of the diet and lifestyle pieces, but you’re not done, right? You still consider this a work in progress.
Anne Lawler: Oh, it’s absolutely a work in progress. And I think my story about the holidays is totally … exemplifies that, that you’re going to try things on occasion. You know, you have to try new things, and see what works, and what doesn’t work. And I’ve learned that some of those slightly off-plan foods I’m not ready for yet. And maybe in phase four I could back to those. Right now I took chocolate out of the diet. I used to be able to do some 90%. But I’m doing absolutely no sugar at all, and I miss the chocolate a little. But I also know that I’ve got other things that I totally enjoy eating. So I’ll just down the road when I’m really fully out of rebound, and fully in that fourth phase, then I can try new things. But be willing to try new things, but also just kind of know the signs of when you need to dial it back a little, and maybe fast a little, and drink some salt water.
Dr. Turknett: Exactly. All these things you probably would have been like, “What is she saying?” five years ago, right?
Anne Lawler: Exactly, yeah.
Dr. Turknett: Well, all right. Well, I think that’s a good place to end things. So first of all, I’m super excited about the success that you’ve already had, and I can tell that there are still great things to come, like you say, and like we talked about. This is a process. It doesn’t end. It’s just about sort of figuring out what the next step is, and finding the next piece to tackle. And it’s still an ongoing process for me, but it’s fun, because the rewards continue to accumulate.
Anne Lawler: Yeah, it is. And I’m just so thankful for all that you guys do to support this, and putting information out for everybody, and doing these challenges that you’re having coming this next year, for example, and the Beastslayer Academy, it’s just all such great material. I have to tell you, I go over your podcasts when I doing … And I’ll listen to them repeated times, especially if I am starting to feel like I’m not feeling well, I’ll just encourage myself by listening to a podcast. And so I listen to them while I’m gardening, or cooking, or cleaning, or when I’m doing all those things.
Dr. Turknett: Oh, that’s great!
Anne Lawler: So I just encourage people to just … That’s a great support.
Dr. Turknett: Yeah. I really appreciate it. Hearing these stories and the people in our community, I mean for us, it’s hugely motivating to keep doing this, so we really appreciate that. And that’s great to hear that you find the podcasts motivating and inspiring. So we’ll certainly keep putting it out there, and it’s just like … This doesn’t get old hearing things like this, and it’s just so cool we can connect really with just information over with ones and zeros, and it changes people’s lives, and it’s really cool.
Anne Lawler: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Turknett: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story here. I’m certain that you will have helped a lot of people by doing so, and like I said-
Anne Lawler: Well, I hope so. So many people before me have helped me, and I just want to pay it back, so I appreciate that. I appreciate all you’re doing, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my story.
Dr. Turknett: You bet. Well, thanks so much.
Anne Lawler: Thank you.
Dr. Turknett: Okay. Well, thanks again to Anne for taking the time to share her story with us. As I said in the interview, these stories just don’t get old, and not only are they inspiring, but they’re always filled with so much wisdom. As you heard in that interview, one of the many things Anne deployed in her transformation was the starve and sink strategy. And like she says, the idea of fasting and exercising during a migraine would have seemed crazy to her in the past as it would have to me as I mentioned in the prior episodes. And again, that’s why ditching the myth of hunger headaches is so important, and why I spent two episodes talking about that specifically. As she mentioned, her own perspective flipped so much that she began to crave exercise if she felt the beast coming on.
She also describes deciding to finally go “all-in” with the plan, and she absolutely did using really every available resource at her disposal. So not just consuming the information that we provide, but taking action on it, which is really the hardest part. And like so many others, now that she’s been able to experience what’s possible with these changes in her diet and lifestyle, she plans to keep going and never stop because the results speak for themselves. And this is something we’ve seen time and again, that once you appreciate the impact that these changes can make, you realize that it has the power to improve all aspects of your health and well being, and so you just don’t want to stop. And that certainly has been the case for me as well.
All right. Well, that concludes this episode of The Miracle Moment. I will talk to you again soon in the next episode. Now it’s time to go out and slay the beast!