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Catherine Seo

“Beyond Lipedema” Webinar and MasterClass

By | MasterClass, Rachel Miranda Feingold | 3 Comments

Connecting the Worldwide Lipedema Community

Lipedema Project co-director Catherine Seo, PhD, is offering a series of live webinars titled Beyond Lipedema: 5 Steps to Living Your BEST Life with the Disease They Call FAT. The first of these on January 14 reached women from Spokane, Washington to the U.K. to Boston, from Georgia to California to Israel; in fact, so many women were interested that the website could not hold them all, so she is offering the MasterClass webinar again on Saturday, February 3 and again on Saturday, February 10 (register here). The webinar was aimed at any woman with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis who is looking to take more control of the disease’s effect on her life, and is also Catherine’s introduction to the MasterClass she will be offering from February through August with a staff including Leslyn Keith, OTD, Megan Vogel, LMT, MSW and Mende Staggs, Keto Chef & Coach,  along with Kate Freeman, the co-director of the Center for Releasing, and a range of expert guest speakers.

I was lucky to get a spot in the first webinar group, and spent an intense 45 minutes hearing about strategies for transforming our relationship with our bodies, including the latest thoughts about nutrition; discovering and releasing hidden fears so we can move out into the world with grace and confidence; harnessing the power of our brains; and tapping into the loving community of lipedema ladies everywhere.

Does This Sound Like You?

Catherine’s moving description of what it feels like to be a woman with lipedema reminded me again that I am not alone, that none of us have to be alone anymore, because there is a whole world of women out there to connect to. We are living with many of the same struggles: We do battle with our weight, but nothing works. We avoid looking at our bodies in the mirror. We live with the knowledge that we are working so very hard, side-by-side with the fear that nothing will help, and the self-loathing of believing that we have somehow failed. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. We feel separated from others and inferior because of our lipedema. We feel powerless to change. For many of us, lipedema is the one really big problem we deal with every day and can’t seem to get a handle on.

5 Key Shifts We Can Make Now

The Overview for Clinicians produced by the Lipedema Project in 2017 has opened up communication with the worldwide medical community in unprecedented ways. This is progress—momentum is building—and yet, one of our greatest challenges is the disbelief and lack of knowledge we lipedema ladies still face from healthcare providers. Seo’s webinar outlined five ways we can reframe our experience to give us a greater sense of agency now, while we wait for the clinical world to catch up.

#1: Find Your Voice

Catherine talked about her own quest to find out about the disease, spurred on by the words of Robert Schuller: “What would you attempt to do if you could not fail?” She interviewed more than 125 experts around the world—and developed a deeper sense of her own voice, which she says is critical to advocating for ourselves.

We are so used to being doubted and dismissed that this will require a deliberate shift in mindset, from “I can’t” to “I can.” We do not have to wait for answers. We can find them for ourselves, use our own voices to fight for what we deserve. I found it very powerful to be reminded of this, because no matter how strong I think I am, I often lose my voice when I am faced with doubters and shamers. We have the right to make ourselves heard.

#2: Let Go of Emotional Baggage

Because we have lived for so long with pain and disfigurement and uncertainty, it is understandable that our psychological well-being is affected. The art of “releasing” is about managing our negative feelings without suppressing them or using a destructive means of escape. By addressing what’s at the core of our emotions, we can begin the process of letting go. Catherine acknowledged that this “may sound simple but it’s not always easy.” Still, it seems clear we can find relief and hope by learning to let go and live more in the present.

#3: Retrain Your Brain

Because we are so focused on our bodies, it’s hard to remember that every decision we make comes from our brains. The average person generates 50,000 thoughts a day and makes over one billion synaptic connections. When we starve, our brains are forced to consume themselves, to function under extreme stress and without the nutrients they require. What’s worse, 70% of our daily mental chatter is negative, self-critical, and fearful. What if we could retrain ourselves to honor and support the unique patterns of connectivity in our individual minds? This is one of the ways we can break free of the confines of our disease.

#4: Take Actions Proven to Work

Armed with an understanding of what it means to have lipedema, we can begin to make decisions about what is right for each of us. Catherine reminds us that we can take charge in finding the right combination of actions that works for us as individuals: this is a balance between compression, mindful/healthful eating, surgical approaches, lymphatic massage and physical therapy, emotional support, and safe exercise.

An exciting development is the ever-growing number of positive stories from lipedema ladies who are practicing the Keto way of eating, a low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein regimen that brings about a radical shift in metabolism (from sugar-burning to fat-burning). As hundreds of women are reporting improvements in pain, swelling, size, energy, mobility, and mental clarity, this approach is a very promising action many of us can take. There is a Facebook page on “Lipedema and Keto” for women who are interested in more information.

#5: Seek Abundant Support

For many of us, finding our “tribe” of lipedema sisters has been a revelation. We must hold onto that community and “love it hard,” Catherine said. This connectedness is not just an antidote to isolation, but a way of sharing information and resources that will make it easier for us to live our lives.

This is also where Catherine comes in on an active level: she is offering one-on-one brief coaching sessions to help lipedema ladies formulate their own best plans, one of which might just be to enroll in the “Beyond Lipedema” MasterClass for the spring, a 6-month course covering the latest approaches to managing lipedema across all realms: physical, mental/psychological, emotional, spiritual and social.

I can’t wait to see what unfolds next.



Meet Rachel Miranda Feingold

By | Rachel Miranda Feingold | 2 Comments

Greetings dear lipedema tribe,
I am so pleased to welcome Rachel Miranda Feingold as our new BLOGGER-IN-CHIEF.
Rachel, plus various guest Bloggers will be contributing to our newly revised
Lipedema Project BLOG. If you would like to contribute your experience as a BLOG
article, be sure to email [email protected]

Rachel is a writer, and a lipedema lady. I’ll let her introduce herself to all of you.
We are delighted to have her talents helping us to spread the word about lipedema
and support our lipedema tribe!
Welcome, Rachel!

Catherine Seo, PhD

About Rachel Miranda Feingold
I arrived at this website, like so many of us, through a combination of luck, research, frustration, and hope—after a lifetime of looking for answers in places they couldn’t be found.

I got my lipedema diagnosis less than a year ago, in March of 2017, a few months after hearing about the disease for the first time on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.
The NPR story was a revelation to me: I was relieved to put a name to the weird hamster wheel of my life in this body, and thrilled to find a worldwide community of lipedema sisters who truly understand these issues that have dogged me for my whole life. But I was also stunned to learn that lipedema had been identified at the Mayo Clinic in 1940. What happened in the 77 years since then, that has allowed millions of women to go on thinking we are failing ourselves? I promised myself then that I would find out everything I could about the history of the disease.

Lipedema – Stage 3

Let me tell you a little bit about me so that you know who’s talking to you. I will start with my body, not because it defines me, but because for lipedema ladies, everything begins with our bodies, right?

I am a 51-year-old white woman, with early stage 3 lipedema that advanced rapidly during the onset of menopause. My first symptoms appeared when I went into puberty around age eleven, and it’s clear to me I inherited it from my mother. I married young, and had four children; maybe the frequency of these hormonal events helps explain the reach of my disease.

I have had 4 liposuction procedures since May 2017, with two surgeons abroad, first under TLA with local anesthesia, and then WAL with general; I have two more scheduled with Dr. Klasmeyer in Germany. My results have been mixed; I will tell you more about that some other time. For now, it’s enough to say that though I am $25,000 in debt, I am physically better off than I was when I started: I have less pain, better mobility, and have had a year without new joint injuries—which is saying something, because I also have (again, like so many of us) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome with hypermobility (EDS-H). This is a connective tissue disorder that results in extreme joint laxity, leading to chronic injuries and dislocations. It has not been fun living in this body, but I am a determined optimist by nature and have worked hard to maintain that optimism.

I am feeling very hopeful as I write this post.

Mom, Practice Manager, and now Writer

In terms of the rest of my life, it looks like this: I raised my four kids in suburban Connecticut with my then-husband, who was a young doctor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; while my kids were little, I worked part-time as a freelance editor, but once he went into private practice, I became his practice manager, because I thought it might help me to understand his work, which consumed all his energy. In the end, this choice did not save our marriage, but it bought us enough time to finish raising our kids. And this work brought me other gifts, including a deeper understanding of the way doctors think, and a working knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology. I hope my different perspectives—professional, emotional, physical—will be of use in illuminating the still-mysterious world of lipedema.

It was not until I was in my forties that I realized I wanted to be a writer. But once it came to me, I was so sure I wanted this writing life that I decided to pursue an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, an excellent low-residency program that allowed me to continue to run the medical practice and live at home. This was another powerful learning experience; in fact, you could say that at Bennington, I found the courage to write myself out of my 25-year marriage. As my last child left the nest, I moved to Washington, DC, and started over. That was in 2014. Now I have two novels that I am trying to publish; meanwhile, I’ve supported myself as a freelance editor and writer, and eventually also as a Professional Writing instructor at the University of Maryland.

Going back even deeper into my past, I think it’s important to mention that I am an immigrant, though maybe not a typical one (if there is such a thing): I was born in Zurich, Switzerland to American parents, who had moved overseas because my mother had an opportunity to sing opera there; then my father became an editor and translator for the main Swiss newspaper, and my siblings and I were all born there. We moved to the USA when I was eight, and because I had gone to Swiss schools and had Swiss friends, I knew German best, but I understood English because my parents used it at home. Still, I spoke English with a noticeable accent for several years, and went through the difficult immigrant experience of feeling like I had to suppress my first language and hide the evidence of my “foreignness,” and that I didn’t really understand American culture. I have come to love the English language and to feel it belongs to me, but I never quite got to feeling that I belong to America. I would like to think I belong everywhere.

Lipedema Book in Process: Stones Beneath Her Skin: A Lipedema Memoir

As soon as I got my diagnosis, I realized I had to write a book about lipedema—not just for me, but for all of us. I’ve been working on it ever since, finding the balance between my personal experience and the objective, medical parts of the story. As part of my research, I have been contacting people for interviews: surgeons, researchers, patients.

That is how I came to meet Catherine Seo, the co-director of the Lipedema Project. I went to Boston to interview her for the book, and I ended up on this blog, talking to all of you. I want to know your thoughts, your experiences, what is important to you. I want to bring you along on my journey to finish our book—and beyond.

We are Better Together

I know we will all learn from one another as we share in the important work of bringing lipedema, at long last, into the light of day.

Rachel Miranda Feingold

Advanced Immunomodulation with Professional Strength Systemic Enzyme Support

By | Pain Reduction, Treatment / Biology | 3 Comments

This poster presents information about systemic enzyme support, which is a process that uses enzymes to assist the bodys various regulatory and communication systems. Sections include information about systemsystemic enzyme formulation functions, formula composition, inflammation mediators, clinical applications of systemic enzyme support, and therapeutic dosages.

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