Why I Went to Integrative Medicine: Part 2
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Published on August 09, 2016

lisa leuning 4 weeks

Why I Went to Integrative Medicine: Part 2

Last week, I began blogging about my experiences with Integrative Medicine, and I’m now four weeks into my care plan. It includes:

  • Taking vitamin D.
  • Starting the Ideal Living with Avera weight management program.
  • Completing six sessions of acupuncture to help with joint pain, stress management and food cravings.
  • Aromatherapy to help with stress management, increased metabolism and food cravings.
  • Relaxation techniques for stress management and positive thinking to help with weight loss.

I’m going to start with the good news.

  • I’m down 20 pounds and have lost 17.25 inches!
  • My joint pain is gone!
  • I’m not stressing about my stress, so that must be improving as well!


I wasn’t sure what to expect for my first visit for acupuncture. I put on a pair of shorts and lied down on a heated bed. Dr. Dawn Flickema showed me how small the needles were that she was going to insert into specific points on my skin.

I was nervous that the needles were going to hurt, but to be honest, it wasn’t painful at all. When she inserted the needle, I felt it slightly and then it was done. She inserted about 18 needles and then she dimmed the lights and let me lie there and relax for about 20-30 minutes. While relaxing in the room, they had aromatherapy going and relaxing music playing in the background. I seriously fell asleep, and I do so every time.

It’s hard to measure the effects of acupuncture, but I can tell you that almost immediately I stopped having the joint pain I had been having for about four months before that. I always fell asleep while getting the acupuncture, so I must’ve been relaxed and I always felt really good leaving the appointment.


I’m using a stress-management aromatherapy essential oil mixture that Dr. Flickema recommended for me as well as grapefruit essential oil. The benefits of using grapefruit essential oil, besides how great is smells, include:

  • Supports a healthy metabolism
  • Reduces mental and physical fatigue
  • Curbs food cravings
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Reduces depression

I love, love, love the grapefruit essential oil. It smells amazing. I purchased a very inexpensive essential oil necklace that has five different diffuser pads with different colors that I can change out to match with my clothing or to have different scents.

The stress management essential oil does not have the fruity scent that the grapefruit has and I really like diffusing this scent with a diffuser I bought for my home. The mixture of the stress management essential oil includes true lavender and mandarin.

Ideal Living with Avera Weight Management Program

I jumped into this weight management program without a lot of preparation. In hindsight, this was probably a mistake. I’m going to be honest with you, the first couple weeks were pretty rough. Now that I’m four weeks into the program, I’m loving it!

This is my overview of the program. You eat three Ideal Protein packets a day – which are basically protein powder packets you mix with water. Some taste really great, some not so much. You are also required to eat four cups of vegetables a day from an approved list. You also eat 8 ounces of protein a day from an approved list of protein. You cannot drink any alcohol – there are no work-arounds on this one because it is dangerous. It is a very strict diet and you cannot cheat.

The good news is that you have a pretty tight list of rules of follow which takes away many decisions you would normally make. I think this makes it easier to stay on track. In my experience, if you follow the plan, you will lose weight.

Tips for this weight loss plan:

  • Join an Ideal Protein Facebook group. There are many groups out there, but they are a great resource for information, recipes and inspiration. The before-and-after photos are amazing.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know what your lean protein is going to be for the day and always keep a couple drink mixes with you.
  • “Hanger” – that feeling of anger when hungry – is a real thing. My first day on this plan I just felt lousy. I had a headache most of the day; I was hungry and really didn’t feel well. I didn’t plan ahead for my evening protein. My oldest son had baseball and I hadn’t eaten since noon and I was hungry. My husband picked up pizza for everyone else and my head hurt so bad I ended up just going to bed. It was the safest bet for everyone that night. You can bet the next night I had my evening protein figured out right away.
  • Detoxing is not fun. Fight through it – you can do this and once you are in ketosis, many (but not all) of your cravings decrease. I can safely say it took me a solid two weeks to detox. Even into the third week I didn’t feel great, but getting past that hump I do have more energy and feel better.
  • The Ideal Protein Jell-O takes longer than 30 minutes to set. I was tired, ready to go to bed and tired of waiting. It tasted very good as a drink too!
  • If you microwave your Ideal Protein potatoes, don’t shake them in your shaker! If you have very hot water the shaker top will pop off and potatoes will go everywhere and you will be left with less food to eat for the day!

My progress

  • Week 1 – down 8 pounds and 3.5 inches!
  • Week 2 – down 13 pounds and 10 inches
  • Week 3 – down 17 pounds and 18 inches
  • Week 4 – down 20 pounds and 17.25 inches – gain .75 inches.

I’m very happy with my weight loss. I was also pretty bummed about gaining the .75 inches in the fourth week. I’ve followed the plan perfectly and didn’t expect that. But that’s real life. My coach says it is more than likely undigested food and not to stress out about it. I’m trying to relax and not get discouraged.

I’m going to stay with this diet and see how the next four weeks go. I will check in around week 8. Thanks for reading!

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