We discuss in this interview – Back to running after reversing RA symptoms:
- Charlotte’s change of mindset from RA treatment to overall health
- From swollen knees to running a half-marathon
- The power of positive affirmations
- Determination and progressive training
- Eating in a physical training regime
- Stretching in a sensible way
- CBD oils
- Hair testing
Clint – Today, we’ve got Charlotte back on the podcast and she joined us about a year and a half ago. Wherein, she described how well she’d done on the Paddison Program and all of the strategies that she’d used to get her health under control. I’d like to welcome Charlotte back today to talk about how she’s now able to run again after reversing RA symptoms.
Clint – Today’s episode is going to be for those of you who are interested in taking your current physical state and then taking it to the next level. In her case, it was running and we’ll focus on that. But a lot of the strategies and the approach that she used to be able to run again will also apply if you’re looking to really get to that next ability level in what you’re currently doing. So welcome back, Charlotte.
Charlotte – Hi, Clint, thanks for having me back again today.
Clint – How are you doing? What’s the current status of your health?
Charlotte – Yeah, really good things. I’ve kind of got to a point were in my mind, I don’t label myself as someone with rheumatoid arthritis anymore and I’ve decided that it doesn’t serve me. However, I’m very mindful of looking after my body. So my latest blood tests were really good on a daily basis. I don’t really have any inflammation anymore, which is really good. I feel happier and healthier than I’ve felt even before probably, so it’s pretty good really.
Clint – We couldn’t ask better than that really could we? For those wondering about your back story, we’re not going to go into all that today. Let me just direct everyone to the previous episode that we did. If you’re interested in watching the past episode with Charlotte, I’m going to read out the bullet points at the top of the page on that podcast listing. What we talked about was that Charlotte was diagnosed with R.A. a few years ago. Today as I’m recording this, we probably know that 3 and a half years ago she was diagnosed. She’s working as a registered nurse. She also kept in a close relationship with her rheumatologist. She even gave him the Paddison Program for rheumatologists and kept him up to date with what she was doing. She’s never been on any medication but has regular exercise including Bikram yoga. She also has stress management and balanced sleep as a part of her health regime. She also drinks celery juice frequently as a part of her diet. She continues to go down this path and has even started a business in the health sector helping others. So that’s the previous episode and you can go and find that by typing Charlotte in the search bar over at www.paddisonprogram.com/blog/ or search for it in the podcast via whatever one you use.
Clint – Now let’s talk about your newfound love of running and surely there must have been a point where this seemed to be a future impossibility. Take us back to when it was very unlikely that you would ever run again.
Charlotte – I think not long after I was diagnosed, probably the year after my diagnosis, that was probably the most challenging time of my life. I had remembered that feeling, like when I had small children and I felt like if it was an emergency in the night, I felt very vulnerable. I don’t know if I’d better get myself quickly out of the house, let alone my children. In that time, like, I actually remember feeling so debilitated by the fact that I was like, I actually can’t run anymore. My knees won’t let me do that and my body won’t allow that. Fast forward through my time and dedication to the Paddison my, and in my healing. About a year ago I had signed up to walk a half Marathon in Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand, due to the nature of the past year that we’ve had, it was postponed to May 2021. Around Christmas time or around January earlier this year I was like, I just want to run. I’ve never been a runner but I felt like I just needed to push myself further than walking 21 kilometers. I guess with the encouragement of my husband, my family, and friends, I was like, I’m going to do this and I’m going to be a runner. The first part of the challenge was actually instead of holding onto that I’m not a runner story, it was around the self-taught. But actually, I’m a runner and I’m a massive advocate for positive affirmations. I started by just affirming and I’ve always said I’m fit, strong, and healthy, that’s the one information that’s really supported me and my progress healing. I changed that up a bit and it was I am a fit, strong and healthy athlete and I love running. And that was running through my head every time that I hit the road and started running.
Charlotte – I started by just doing small runs like run the lamp post or walk around the lamp post sort of thing. Then I built up to the point where I was so excited. I was like I just ran 5 kilometers without stopping and that felt absolutely massive. In the midst of all of us, I was going really well with my training, I actually had an injury that was unrelated to running. It was actually being thrown off my horse but that’s another story altogether and that accident slowed my training down. I got to the point where maybe I can just revert back to being the walker. But I was so determined that I am going back in my training and that took two weeks out of my training regime. Then when I came back into it and I got moving again, I felt so good. I truly started to feel like I was loving running and I felt really connected with nature outside, it just felt really good. Then I just rapidly built up and my self-thoughts supported me in that. I think the biggest run that I did prior to 2021, I did 16 kilometers and that was only about seven days out from 2021. I built up quite rapidly, but my self-thoughts were really powerful for me. I also had some very inspiring music to listen to along the way.
Charlotte – In terms of nutrition, since I found that I was eating a lot more because I was doing well at running and it was exerting more energy that I wasn’t exerting otherwise. I definitely had an exercise regime up until the point when I started running that I found that I needed more. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been able to introduce eggs. I actually started eating more eggs, and I found that they were working and supporting me really well. I think it was a protein thing and I needed some more protein. I also found that I needed just to continue making sure I was getting a wide diversity of nutrients. I’m a massive advocate for green smoothies. A green smoothie to me is something with fresh greens from the garden. Also, some other greens Paddison things that are definitely nutritionally supportive of me and keeping my body in a space where it could do what I wanted it to do. I think that’s probably the running piece in a nutshell.
Charlotte – Then I came to the point where I actually got to race and I was so nervous because I’ve never done started a race before. There were 4000 people at the start line and that in itself, you can’t mentally prepare for. It is because you kind of think it’s going to be the best time of your race and you think that will be off. It was actually 20 minutes after the start of the time that I actually got to start moving. It is because of the nature of all of those people starting. And mentally, that was the biggest challenge of the day. I was really happy with how it went because I found my groove and my pace. I got to about 8 kilometers and I did have some pain in my ankles that I’ve never in my life experience before. I’ve never had any issues with my ankles and that really challenged me in terms of how my self talk, the use of my mind, and the tools that I have onboard. It is because there was nothing else that I could do and I wasn’t prepared to opt out. Even though at the same time, I’m very mindful of listening to my body. I was like, how can this be happening? But I was telling myself, I’m that strong, healthy and I’m a marathon runner. All of these things got me through and I got to about 12K mark and I’d completely forgotten that I had pain in my feet. Coming over the finish line, like probably the last three kilometers of the race were the best kilometers of all end. There’s nothing quite like crossing that line and my husband, children, and my parents are there to support me. It was just a really special day for me and it really marked a significant milestone in my healing or in life journey. Like to be able to run a half marathon like it was massive and it feels pretty good.
Clint – But it’s thrilling to run, isn’t it? I just find that there’s an exhilaration associated with it. Certainly, you don’t feel anything close to stress once you get into a very high heart rate and you’re in the zone. It sort of wipes out your mind and it’s a fleeting kind of behavior. You get focused, you get in a rhythm, you’re concentrating, you’re listening to your body and it’s meditative in a way. What a journey for you to be able to get to that point. Let’s explore the routines that you went through for people who are looking to maybe even just increase their physical activity a little bit. It can be getting into walking if they’re struggling to walk or maybe they’re walking and they want to do just little bursts of running here and there to catch the bus or something. What was your approach with, for example, stretching and strengthening away from the actual running itself?
Charlotte – Absolutely, that’s a really good question. We have to be really sensible and anyone has to be sensible about this. But particularly when you’ve experienced inflammation in your joints before, you need to be really careful. It’s about warming out slowly, getting your body moving. I think first and foremost, you need to make sure that you’ve got really good shoes and footwear. It is because you need to be well supported with the right cushioning and the right fit for your feet. It’s really important because it has an impact on your joints. It’s about just starting small even if you feel like, maybe I can push myself a bit further, just start small, and then even give yourself a couple of days just to see how it feels. Because as we know, like all of us have different responses to different things and sometimes it can be like an instant. But sometimes it can be a couple of days down the track on the way it catches up on you. Just start carefully, just keep listening to your body, and just reflect on how you’re feeling in that training process. As you alluded to before, I think stretching and warming down afterwards is absolutely essential. For me, that was always about getting back from my run. I actually have a tree and during winter it helps me to ground myself by doing my stretches against an ice trail in my garden. It just feels really good to be outside in the fresh air and it just helps because you are often quite hot. (inaudible) for your age, you don’t want to be going back inside. Just go outside and do some really good stretches. Yes, it’s worth getting some support or even some advice around the stretches that are going to be best for you. It is because you want to make sure or that’s how we avoid injuries to stretch really well. Just listen to your body, obviously when you’re building up that you need to keep pushing yourself, but just check your body. You don’t want to keep pushing, you need to just stop and check your body. Then also soaking in magnesium baths is a really good way to support your recovery. It can be done when you’re doing something you like that is so rough.
Clint – Just like Epsom salt that you can buy?
Charlotte – Absolutely, yeah.
Clint – What about running style? Did you give that any consideration or did you just go with what you basically used to do when you’re a kid?
Charlotte – Yeah, it’s a really good question. I still thought actually that if I’d had more time, I would have actually gone and got some advice around about running style. It is because it’s actually a thing and I didn’t really even realize it was a thing. I was just like was like, I’m going to start running. For me, I just do what I need to do. I have this app on my phone called, Nike Running Club. It was quite cool because you can track the kilometers that you’re covering and also the time that you’re doing it. It’s kind of quite cool when you can track and you’re building your progress up. It tells one of the strategies that I learned early in the pace was that once you get going. You should first try a fast km and then a slower km, that’s very hard once you get a good place to slow yourself down. But that actually helped me build up as when I was just doing like fast km or slow km and that can work quite well for people. But in terms of actual running style, like physically, that’s not something that I looked into too much further. But perhaps I need to look into that a bit more.
Clint – Maybe that’s in the advanced category. You’ve certainly got to where you are now. What about problem areas? You mentioned your ankles on the big run, but is there any area of your body that tends to complain? And if so, how do you keep that under control between runs?
Charlotte – My inflammation at the moment is usually like if my immune system is low or if I know I’ve eaten something. Generally, if I’ve eaten sugar or and which I don’t eat a lot of it all, but occasionally sugar sneaks in and that definitely causes inflammation. I also had an episode where I got gluten. Actually, it wasn’t gluten so much and I’m actually okay with gluten. I can have my oats, but I’m very sensitive to wheat and I had wheat by mistake. Wherein, it caused a massive inflammation that took me about 2 weeks to get on top. On a daily basis, one of the things that support me in and keeping the inflammation down, which is predominantly on my hands or on my wrists. Sometimes I feel a little bit on my knees on really cold days and I also feel it in my hips. With the effort to manage that on a daily basis, I’ve found that CBD oils are really supportive.
Clint – Yeah, talk about that.
Charlotte – I just found it and I’ve never taken any other medications. But that one, in particular, has just really helped me to keep any underlying inflammation under control. If something creeps up, like when I managed to have some wheat and clearly I didn’t agree with wheat. It helped me to regain some more control and reduce the inflammation probably a little more rapidly than before. I just found that really supportive.
Clint – CBD oils are just massive in the States. Whenever we’re living over there, it comes up a lot. Even in discussions with my neighbors, one of my neighbors over there is invested in a CBD provider farm. It’s just a sort of growth industry and I’ve had a lot of discussions around it. I’ve tried it and it comes in a little bottle with a dropper that you will put under the tongue. It provides a soothing effect to a calming effect and I was taking it at night to assist my sleep for a while. My experience was just a calming and sort of almost like a numbing kind of experience to the body. What’s your result from taking it? How does your body respond to it? Do you take it in that dropper style, how much do you take, and so on?
Charlotte – I take it or I use the dropper under my tongue and it’s very readily absorbed that way. I think some people that take it find it quite fast-acting. For me, I think it’s more of a long-term thing. I do take it twice a day some during the morning and night. I find that it works for me just to keep that buffer up. I haven’t noticed any because I do a lot of other stuff around stress reduction. But I know people that have found a tremendous reduction in stress and anxiety. As you were saying, they’re able to sleep better when they’re taking it regularly. And I guess we understand how important it is to reduce stress on our bodies when we have these sort of inflammatory joint conditions, it’s that certainly is really helpful.
Clint – The only question I had regarding the CBD oil is, does it ever make you lethargic or tired or just sleepy or affect your athleticism?
Charlotte – Not that I found myself, but I have certainly heard others feel like it has made them feel a little bit sleepy at times. For me, I haven’t had any of those sorts of side effects. I’m grateful to have it as a toll on my (inaudible), I guess you could say.
Clint – You’ve got your diet dialed in, you’re running, and you’re making sure that you’re keeping your body nimble and stretched. Therefore, it prevents injuries with that. Your appetite has increased as a result of doing the extra physical activity and all of these are great things. You’ve got some CBD oil in the mix just to keep things nice and controlled. It is because there haven’t been any medications in all the time you’ve had rheumatoid. Your blood is great, is there anything else? One thing we wanted to talk about was hair testing and it has not come up in any previous conversations. Tell us what is hair testing? What did you do? What did you learn by doing that?
Charlotte – When you’re going through the elimination process and you’re kind of managing everything really well. There’s definitely a point where we know that if we don’t manage our variables, right? We change more than one factor or food r whatever at the same time. Then we don’t really know what it is or is this giving us either the positive or the negative impact. One of the tools or the things that I discovered that was really supportive of me was hair testing. It just gave me like another level of information around foods that my body was definitely saying. It came back with a list of the most creative food group to moderately reactive food group and slightly reactive food group. It was foods per group according to environmental factors and things like that. I found that really helpful because it kind of empowered me. There was definitely some stuff in me that I already knew. It kind of confirmed that for me and it made me feel really good. I was like, I knew that and that’s definitely a thing for me. It also gave me some insights into a few other things that I wouldn’t have probably really picked up on because they weren’t that supportive. For me, dairy and wheat are absolutely non-negotiable. For most other things I’m aware of and in small amounts of here and there, they don’t have a great impact on me. But it’s just certainly great to have that level of awareness and the further information to support what you’re doing.
Clint – I haven’t had conversations about hair testing before or actually ever had that done. It’s a little bit of an unknown area for me. When you get the results, how confident are you that they matched with your own experience of testing? How much emphasis you’ve placed on those results with making your choices afterwards?
Charlotte – Yeah, that’s a really good question. To be fair, in our family, we all got it and we all have this level of inflammation. The children kind of took it really seriously and they said they don’t want to do that. But I said it’s just information that we can use in whatever way we like. If there’s something going on in our bodies, we have more information. Then that’s a sign that we need to maybe go back to that information and think that there is something that my body doesn’t like. I think it’s just another tool that can give us more information that we can use in which way we like that. For me, it’s really empowering to just grow and develop further in that journey of understanding what works for my body and what doesn’t. I definitely refer to it from time to time. If something new comes up or if I have a different inflammation or if I have inflammation. I feel like I always know what I’m eating. If something happened to my body I’ll think maybe the food that I ate was bad, and that’s kind of helpful. I don’t know, I think it just supports you when you’re growing that integrative approach around what does and doesn’t work. At a deeper level, we know more than we give ourselves credit for what our body does like and doesn’t like. We get into our analytical mind and we overthink things rather than just kind of going with that hunch that we have. I think it supports you in terms of some of that intuitive stuff as well.
Clint – Yeah, I like that. Our intuition is underrated and more powerful than we give it credit for. As you said, these tests are tools and we can get all sorts of tests. For example, microbiome mapping, food sensitivity tests, and kinesiology tests. A kinesiology test is done where you do strength testing against someone who’s proficient at monitoring your reaction to certain suggestions. Then we can get the hair testing done and I’m sure there are many out there. All of this stuff can occupy a lot of our time and consume a lot of our thoughts. Ultimately, if we apply just good practice that works for everyone, which is eat more grains, get lots of good sleep, exercise well, avoid processed foods, and keep down your saturated fats. In your case, it’s dairy products, I also recommend no meat, no dairy, no animal products at all, and you’ve already gotten yourself 80% there. These other things are intellectually satisfying. But for example, I never recommend food sensitivity tests ever. In fact, I find that those who have done them in the past and we had conversations about their results, we spend half an hour just wasting time. For example, what about olives because it says I can’t eat olives? Let’s just keep those in the nice to have, and if you want to explore it just spend the money and time. But most of the time and I speak of food sensitivities, I see them as a distraction and then we can lose months going down these paths. So hence, I wanted to really gain from you is the value that you’ve placed on the hair testing. It is because it could be something that has value for others too.
Charlotte – For sure.
Clint – Yeah, thank you. This has been really interesting and I’m really pleased with how well you’re doing. I think it’s another example of how these aren’t fleeting improvements to our health. When we go and do all the things that we just mentioned a moment ago. This isn’t something that suddenly switches on you and it’s temporary. If we keep it up, we’re disciplined and we don’t get complacent, then we can maintain our health. You are a shining example of that.
Charlotte – Yes, absolutely. Thank you, it’s nice to share with you today. I always feel like this has much value in sharing our stories to empower others to see what’s possible for them as well.
Clint – What’s next for you? Do you have more running ambitions? Do you have another sort of mountains to climb? What is that idea that is coming out of your head?
Charlotte – Yeah, good question. People are always saying, you’re probably going to do the full marathon next time. I’m like, no, actually I feel a bit done with it. I’m thinking about getting out in nature in our beautiful country. I think just doing more tramping adventures of my family and that feels really good. Yeah, that’s where I’m at.
Clint – What about your helping others? If people want to talk with you, what’s the best way to reach out to you?
Charlotte – Yes, that’s a good question. I’m actually right in the process of changing up my website. So perhaps at a later date, you could come back and edit my website details attached to this podcast. The best to contact me is via my website, which is www.wealthofhealth.co.nz or actually just find me on Instagram, which is really easy, charlotte. heald. This would be a great way to connect with me and learn more about the work that I’m doing.
Clint – Yeah, so much of our community is on Instagram now. If you are on Instagram, then go over and check out Charlotte. Just follow her and see what she’s doing. She’s posting pictures up of completing her run and stuff like that. I believe you’ve certainly sent those through to me that I’ll put up on the show notes for this episode. Thank you, Charlotte. Keep up the wonderful work. Thanks for coming back and sharing your wonderful progress.
Charlotte – Cool and thank you, Clint!