A doctor of chiropractic and practitioner of functional and natural medicine, Stacie Stephenson is also the author of Vibrant: A Groundbreaking Program to Get Energized, Own Your Health, and Glow. Stephenson’s program is designed to empower people of all ages to get energized and take control of their health. Most recently, she is the founder of a new digital platform, VibrantDoc, which makes integrative medicine concepts an optimal wellness experience accessible to everyone. Originally a competitive figure skater, Stephenson changed career paths after suffering high stress levels and a multitude of injuries on the ice. She has found her true calling to help others, and now focuses on functional, anti-aging and natural medicine modalities, and has developed a foolproof method to unlock your inner glow.
Cristina Cuomo: How did you create this protocol of vibrant living, and what does it mean to live vibrantly?
SS: We all know that woman: she walks into a room and you think, “What is her skin care routine? What vitamins is she on? What does she eat?” The “What you are eating?” question is No. 1. It translates directly to your inner glow and vibrancy, health and wellness. This, as well as exercise, is connected to longevity. I think Americans have thought of exercise as a tool just to look visually better. We all chase perfection, and I don’t want us to keep picking apart our body parts. Exercise translates to actual energy in the body, as it triggers our cells to produce more energy. This is why we want to do it, and also for the health of our brain. When you exercise, your brain produces a critical protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that improves your brain function, enhancing attention, focus and memory.
CC: Is there a point in which it’s too late to begin an exercise routine, and movement is futile? Or can you change the course of your future if you take the initiative?
SS: It’s never too late. Exercise, movement and fitness at any time in your life and in any way all translates to value. Of course, different exercises and levels burn different numbers of calories and affect different parts of the body and hormones in different ways, but select the activity that works for you, whatever that is. If it’s yoga, fabulous. Weight training, fabulous. Weight training is great for maintaining bone density. You don’t even need to go to the gym; you can use bands, or lift small things around the house. You can do small spurts at home throughout the day if you tend to get distracted. Don’t beat yourself up about quitting; just get back on the horse. We know that 30 to 60 minutes a day is the sweet spot for longevity, brain health and blood sugar.
CC: Beyond the physical modality of movement, what are other modalities to achieve emotional well-being?
SS: One piece I focus on in the book is relationships. The Vibrant Triad consists of diet, exercise and connections with others. Let go of toxic relationships, and work on the good ones, including your relationship with yourself. As women, we tend to pour outward but rarely do we get restored. Watch out for emotional vampires—you leave interactions with them and realize that they take and don’t give anything back. It’s OK to let those go with compassion and recultivate more reciprocal relationships.
CC: You were in a toxic relationship, and people are known to get chronically sick within the context of a toxic relationship. What did you do to get yourself to a better place?
SS: When women are in domestic abuse situations, what is predominantly affected is the adrenal glands. You’re getting progressively more fatigued and it affects your hormone function. Just like in competitive figure skating, where I had suffered injuries and illness, I had overly taxed myself. When I tested my hormones at the time I had no functioning estrogen, progesterone or cortisol. Imagine trying to get the motivation to get out of a situation when you’re in that space! What kept me going was envisioning a future I could have only if I got out. I realized I could start my life over. vibrantdoc.com; @vibrantdoc