Finding Hope In Darkness
When we’re depressed or overwhelmed with problems, it’s hard finding hope. That is why it is essential to find a good support system to lift you out of that darkness. My guest today is a survivor. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Doris Dahdouh is here to tell us all about her journey of finding hope.
I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition last year. The courses are fabulous and I highly encourage everyone to sign up for their classes. It’s perfect for anyone who would want to become a health coach or simply enhance your knowledge about nutrition.
Doris Dahdouh says her journey to becoming a health coach started with her always having the heart to help people in finding hope. She ended up in the social work field and had a lucrative career that spanned twelve years.
Doris Dahdouh started in a community working with teens in crisis, children, foster families, and former prisoners who are beginning to get back into the community. It was not long after when Doris Dahdouh moved into the school field.
Doris Dahdouh worked as a school social worker for eight years. It was during this period that she noticed that she was progressively getting sick. She noticed that she was mainly getting sick around two and a half weeks before getting her period.
Some of her symptoms included being emotional, overly upset and depressed. She often felt angry, yet she found it hard to control her feelings. Physical symptoms include bloating, heartburn, joint pains and the sense of nausea. That was her health condition from 19 to 36 years old.
Doris Dahdouh consulted many doctors, but none of them could give an accurate diagnosis. She was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to cope with her condition.
Doris Dahdouh even recalls one OB-gyne diagnosed her to have PCOS because she was overweight and pre-diabetic at that time. Her hair was thinning yet Doris Dahdouh was put on birth control, thyroid medication, pre-diabetic medication.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Things weren’t getting any better for Doris Dahdouh when she pursued further studies in graduate school. With numerous health problems, it was hard finding hope beyond the darkness.
“I was in graduate school when I got progressively worse. I did some research and came across premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD,” said Doris Dahdouh. “At that time, nobody knew what it was. I had to educate some of the doctors about it, but still, they would not take me seriously. It was frustrating.”
When a woman has PMDD, they usually experience severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before getting their period. PMDD is different from PMS or premenstrual syndrome because the symptoms are more severe.
Because Doris Dahdouh’s health condition was erratic, she had to take strong medications. She was eventually deemed unfit by her work superiors to continue working and was later on relieved from her job.
Doris Dahdouh discovered the joy of practicing yoga when she left her social work job. Meditating, going to church and trying to take off some medication was her slow journey to finding hope.
“When I started my transformation, there was a time when I went cold turkey and got off of everything. But I realized it should be done gradually,” said Doris Dahdouh. “My yoga time was letting my body benefit from all of the positive results of moving it, stretching it and letting the toxins out. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about until I went to yoga.”
Doris Dahdouh affirms that some yoga poses would help lift up one’s mood. The emotions would come out, and it felt amazing. That felt like a breakthrough for her finding hope in getting rid of health problems. Doris Dahdouh’s teacher also taught her poses for detoxing. Apparently, anything with a twist would let out the toxins.
“It’s about being still. Just being in that moment is helpful for a person’s well-being. Because you’re not thinking about what if,” Doris Dahdouh said. “You’re not thinking about what happened, but rather you’re thinking about the need to be present right now. And that was helpful.”
Hitting Rock Bottom
It was not long after when Doris Dahdouh decided to see a kinesiologist upon a friend’s suggestion. The session was expensive, and Doris Dahdouh was tested for issues with thyroid and gut health. From there, Doris Dahdouh felt everything started to make sense.
“If you have a lot of thyroid issues, your heart is also going to have an issue. And I was overly exhausted. Finally, someone is validating,” recalls Doris Dahdouh. “There was so much outside stress on top of the inside stress that was going on in my body. It was a year of darkness. I had to see the kinesiologist every six weeks.”
Things were initially looking up, but a few months after the diagnosis, Doris Dahdouh spiraled downwards. She wanted to end her life because she was tired of waking up with anxiety, darkness and hopelessness.
“There’s a lot of emotions surrounding that story. Because I think about the person I was. I saw myself as an outside person. But something just told me not to do it,” said Doris Dahdouh. “I committed to doing the protocol, and the heaviness came back. My hope came from the Holy Spirit and my father, so I told myself to keep taking supplements.”
Doris Dahdouh says remembering her days as a social worker; there was this element of health that was missing. She wished there were more health and nutrition classes in graduate school for those who want to be counselors, too. Because apparently, a lot of mental health is indeed associated with people’s reactions to food or intolerances to food.
“The doctor did not alter my diet. But I was doing some reading myself about organic and gluten-free foods. Gluten causes inflammation, foggy brain and depression symptoms. It messes with the hormones. So I was very strict with my diet,” said Doris Dahdouh.
Slowly but surely, Doris Dahdouh started to see slight changes. A few months after hitting rock bottom and eating right, her health symptoms began to disappear. She recalls feeling symptoms a little before ovulation time, and it was getting to a point where Doris Dahdouh was shocked whenever her period comes on time.
I believe there has to be a stronger stance against serving fast food or unhealthy food in within the public school system. I recently had Dr. Joel Fuhrman on the show. And I’m currently reading his The Food Genocide book. The book states that there is a 40% chance of getting heart disease if you eat one meal a week that is processed food.
The risk of heart attack increases to 89% if you eat fried foods every day. I also had Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who says more kids now have early signs of heart disease. Ultimately, we have to look at our belief system and change our relationship with food before it’s too late.
Doris Dahdouh is also dairy-free, although it just happened in the past year and a half. She decided to give up dairy because she noticed having a hormonal reaction to it.
“I researched and saw that I didn’t need dairy. Being flexible is very important. It’s not just being flexible to what you’re eating or how you eat,” Doris Dahdouh said. “But it is being flexible to the fact that you change as a person. Diet can change, the situation can change, and it’s okay because that’s what life is all about.”
Finding The Institute For Integrative Nutrition
Doris Dahdouh was reading a lot of articles because she was implementing a lot of what she was learning into her life. Then chanced upon an Institute For Integrative Nutrition (IIN) ad and a friend who also saw it encouraged Doris Dahdouh to enroll.
Doris Dahdouh looked into the school curriculum and the sample class. After finding out the tuition details, she discussed the matter thoroughly with her dad. It took her another month to decide on signing up for courses.
Joshua Rosenthal is the IIN founder and his background in counseling helped Doris Dahdouh decide in enrolling at IIN. Doris Dahdouh started her online classes in January 2015 and eventually moved to California to see if she could start a business there.
Working With IIN
Learning from her past employment, Doris Dahdouh dealt with so much stress when she became too involved with her clients and workload. This time around, she decided to take baby steps.
Doris Dahdouh again joined the workforce by doing counseling sessions part-time. Shortly after, she found out IIN had a vacancy at the admissions department. She applied and eventually got accepted.
“I help people enroll in really great programs. It’s not just informative when it comes to health, primary foods, and diet. But there’s that personal transformation,” said Doris Dahdouh. “There’s a part of me that changed. I don’t see that I can’t do anything anymore. It’s amazing how your brain can shift.”
This June, it’ll be two years that Doris Dahdouh has been working for IIN. She says there’s something in the program where you learn to connect with someone, and people usually make some significant positive changes.
“This is something that is very needed because people need that support. They know they need to make the changes. You need that person who you can ask questions, and they can check in with you. Being held accountable is very important to your success,” said Doris Dahdouh.
Annual retreats and weekly office massages are just some of the employee perks at IIN. Doris Dahdouh says she deals with a lot of client referrals and the post-grad classes, in particular, are in demand.
According to Doris Dahdouh, many people usually sign up for IIN’s Launch Your Dream Book course. Apparently, many IIN graduates have become top sellers on Amazon and some even become personal chefs.
Doris Dahdouh has indeed come a long way from where she started. Getting out of the darkness, her perseverance and resilience are now paying off.
“Put time and effort, and you will see results. You are not going to see a result of something if you don’t maintain or put the work in,” said Doris Dahdouh. “And you also have to follow the tools that are given to you. They are given to you for a reason because it works.”
Doris Dahdouh believes that no matter how well your walking in your life and your path, there’s always going to be some stress. There’s still going to be an emotion to react to something. We tend to feel it in our body but tend to ignore it.
“Know that there is hope. Sometimes it is a glimpse of a small light, sometimes a big one. But there is something out there that can keep you going.”
Doris Dahdouh is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and CEO/founder of Get Healthy Soon. She is a guest writer/blogger for Fitlife.tv and a School Social Worker Substitute at Source4Teachers Education.
Doris Dahdouh has a Certificate in Health Coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark and Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities from the County College of Morris.
Get Connected With Doris Dahdouh:
Episode 106 – Holistic Health Coaches – Joshua Rosenthal
Episode 232 – Heart Disease – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Episode 242 – Eating Right – Dr. Joel Fuhrman