Loving your lady parts as a path to success, power & global change: Alisa Vitti at TEDxFiDiWomen

Loving your lady parts as a path to success, power & global change: Alisa Vitti at TEDxFiDiWomen

September 21, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Translator: Monika Kapuscinska
Reviewer: Reiko Bovee I’ve waited all day
to get my hands on you. So, I want to take you back
to where I was about 14 years ago. I was a student
at Johns Hopkins University, and I was ready to begin my life,
I was planning to become OB/GYN. And my body, all of a sudden,
went into total hormonal collapse. And as a result, so did my life,
totally dysfunctional. I couldn’t get up, couldn’t go to sleep,
couldn’t have any energy. It was a non-stop nightmare
to wake up not recognizing yourself and not knowing how to live
in the body that you had. I want you to picture me. I really do want you to look. (Laughter) I was 200 pounds. I know, right? Covered face, chest, back, arms,
anywhere that you could put, in painful cystic acne. It would take me half an hour
in the morning of careful uncomfortable application
of make-up to try to go outside. I was depressed; I was exhausted; I would menstruate once a year, and nobody had any idea
what was wrong with me. It had been getting progressively worse
from about the age of 15. And I was getting progressively
more curious and frustrated. And in one of my insomniac moments
I was at the library, of course, science nerd, sexy scientist,
I’d like to say. Researching in one
of the obstetrics journals. And I saw this small study on a disorder called
Stein-Leventhal disorder. It was named after the gentleman who categorized this grouping of symptoms. I said, “Oh my god, I fit
this description to a tee.” So I felt very naughty,
but I ripped off the document, and the next morning I very vigorously marched
into my gynecologist office. Without an appointment, of course, first thing in the morning, I’m like, “Hi, so I think I just figured out
what’s been wrong with me for the last seven years, and I’d like a transvaginal
ultrasound right now!” She looked at me,
“How do you know what that is?” And I said, “Let’s do this
confirmatory test and let’s see.” I said, “I’m not leaving here
until we do it.” So we did it. And she said, “Look at that!
You do have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In fact, you were right!” And being a now-what-solution kind of girl I said, “So now what? What do we do?” “Now I know what it is finally! Now what?” She said, “Well…” and I’ll never forget sitting
in that chair in her office. She said, “You have a future
laid out ahead of you of obesity, diabetes, infertility,
heart disease, and cancer. And we’ll medicate you
along the way, so don’t worry.” And I remember sitting in that chair. And it wasn’t out of anger,
or a sense of victimhood; there was no fight;
it was just on a cellular level; my whole being said, “No, thank you,” and I said to her,
“Thank you very much for your opinion. I’m going to take my very
expensively trained Hopkins mind and go figure this out.” So that’s what I did. And I apprenticed myself
with all sorts of healers, and I was doing all sorts
of fun experiments. I had turned orange from drinking
so much carrot juice at one point. My girlfriend at that time
– she’s still my best friend – she grabbed me and she said, “You’ve turned orange.
It’s time to stop this experiment.” And “I have to finish this experiment!” (Laughter) None of these experiments made
any change in my symptoms at all. And then, about ten years ago,
what was coming to the forefront in nutritional science was this idea
of nutritional genomics that you could use food
to manipulate gene expression. Oh, I was so turned on by this. I said, well if that’s possible,
if food could decide– you know, in a set of twins, if the diet in one twin can decide
how her health is going to manifest versus her identical twin
with a different diet, different issues, what can I do with food to recalibrate my hormonal system? And that’s when I dove into my research and studied functional medicine,
opted-out, freaked out my parents, did not become a doctor, and instead became
a functional nutritionist and developed this five-step
nutritional protocol that rebooted my entire endocrine system as you can see how glorious I look now. (Applause) (Laughter) And opened my center
in mid-town Manhattan nine years ago and started treating other women
with similar conditions: menstrual issues, fertility issues,
low energy, low libido. And they’d come into my center, limping with these issues,
periods out of whack, couldn’t get pregnant
if they’ve tried 17 times, can’t function,
can’t remember the last time when they thought about sex,
or pleasure, or anything. And similarly, their lives
were also untethered, uncentered; they were not, they didn’t have
their center point. And we’d apply the protocol, and their health issues
would resolve themselves, miraculous things for me as a scientist, like a woman without a period for 17 years she’d have to go to the doctor once a year to be induced with progesterone
to have a bleed. She menstruates monthly now. And we are close friends, I just find
that whole story so fascinating. Another woman came in
on birth control, on Prozac, in a job she hated,
in a relationship she hated. We got her off all of these medications,
of course, with the support of her doctor, and six months later she wrote me
and she said, “By the way, feeling great,” – that was a given –
and said, “Moved to L.A. and have gotten
my first screenwriter job, and the show that I’m writing for
is now being in syndication.” Love that. Another woman had two businesses, had all sort of things
going on in her life, private Pilates clients
in New York, very fancy, had her own studio
in Greenwich, Connecticut; husband was in transition in his career. And she was having erratic cycles. She’s in her mid-30s. We applied the protocol to her body. And effortlessly – this is the part
that I kind of get excited about – effortlessly, her body restored itself. Remember that game, Connect Four? I love that game, I used to play that
all the time with my brother. So, you know, her whole life
just started lining up. She effortlessly let go
of these clients in New York, allowed one of her partners at the studio
to take on more responsibility. And she realized that she had been putting
off having a child for far too long, and was able to conceive naturally
as a result of the work which was so exciting to see. And, of course, being someone
who is interested in biology, I love the idea
that she was healing herself of these symptoms, all of these women. But the bigger discovery was
that if a woman is in line, in alignment, in harmony
with that internal ecosystem that she has, that begins to impregnate
the ecology of her entire life. With this idea of transformation;
your body is a change agent. And then that can start to affect
the rest of your life. So exciting. And that’s when I fell in love;
I said, “Oh, my God.” Here we are, we are walking around
with these blueprints in our bodies that tell us how to live and work in a way that’s in the flow of our bodies. And if we can become fluent
in the language of our biochemistry, and our physiology, this grouping
of glands and organs – that I like to call lady parts – that we can have access
to an infinite source of energy, and vitality, and clarity,
and unwavering purpose. I mean I was totally hooked. So, Aldous Huxley once said that man is an intelligence
merely in servitude to his organs. And I thought, that’s sad, that we look at being in our bodies
as this sort of slavery based trap that we have to deal with. And I’ve really instead found that women
who get into partnership with their bodies end up becoming the fullest
expression of themselves, and living as leaders and change agents
in their lives and communities. So let me introduce you
to your lady parts. I just can’t help myself. If I’m on stage I’m going
to talk about lady parts, I’m going to tell you about them. I want you to at least go home
knowing what they are. (Laughter) Nothing else. So, there are two things
I want you to know. First is the physiological structure
in your body called the endocrine system. Six glands. Hypothalamus in the midbrain, pituitary gland nestled close by, thyroid, here, pancreas, here, adrenals, here, ovaries, here. They work in an interconnected way making sure that your body has
what it needs to function: brain, heart, muscle, tissue, hormones. Fascinating. And they’re so highly sensitive. Hypothalamus works with this thing
called negative bio-feedback so any time that something happens,
the temperature changes outside, hypothalamus picks that up, pituitary gland sends
a message to the thyroid, all of the sudden, you are adjusting
to the temperature. You didn’t have to do a thing.
You were merely enjoying the weather. Love that. Genius. Only in a body could that happen. Anyway, then there’s
this physiological structure: your hormonal ratios; you have four of them
that happen in one month cycle. And it’s really interesting, because we only ever reference that
in a very basic way: “I want to get pregnant,”
or “I don’t want to get pregnant.” That’s how we reference
these hormonal ratios. The ovulation one is
kind of the most famous. And the period, the menstrual part
is the most infamous. But there are four. There are a couple of others. So I want you to start to think
about where you are in that cycle. And here are the four phases. First you have the follicular phase,
fascinating phase. And neurochemically these hormonal ratios
change your brain chemistry. So you are a different person,
week over week within a month. Yeah, you know. (Laughter) In that follicular phase, where the eggs
are kind of coming up to maturity; one is going to make it
to the Fallopian tube, very exciting time. (Laughter) Neurochemically speaking, you have the most access
to creative energy that you will have the entire month. Effortlessly. This is a perfect time
to begin new projects: mastermind, plan, dream big, all of that. In the ovulatory phase,
which we all know very well, so I’m not going to dive into it. In the ovulatory phase,
we have the best communication skills and the most energy
that we will have all the month. This is definitely a time
to have important conversations. Wouldn’t it be genius if you could plan to ask
for a raise when you’re ovulating? (Laughter) Whoever is trying not
to give you the raise is like, “Please take the money.
You’re so irresistible.” (Laughter) Or go on a first date, or have an important conversation
with your partner. Or tell your mother something
you really want her to say yes to. You’re just a magnet at that time. In a luteal phase, B vitamins
are being called into action, because the lining is thickening,
and it is a very energized process. But we become
very detail oriented at this time. So that shoe closet you couldn’t get
to organize before, this is the week. Detail oriented tasks are very easy to do. Try not to plan them
in the other two weeks. In the fourth phase, the menstrual phase,
this is the time of the month when you actually have
the most active conversation between the right and the left
hemispheres of the brain. So amazing! So, if you’re looking into course correct,
evaluate your life in the past 30 days, how you did this month,
this would be the time to do it. You’re most able to receive
those gut feeling body messages. So, take notice, take a moment
to take notice at that time. Gloria Steinem said,
when she was talking about the movie, “Miss Representation”
which I love, she said, “Girls are taught to view their bodies
as unending projects to work on, whereas, boys from a young age
are taught to view their bodies as tools to master their environment.” I literally fell off my chair
when I heard her say that. Because isn’t that the truth? We, as women, get on this hamster wheels
of self-improvement and self sabotage. And we don’t learn about these important,
real physical structures in our bodies that give us this blueprint
to how to organize our lives. I mean, if you actually adhere to the map you learn exactly what you should eat,
when you should eat it, how you should move your body, how you should organize
social commitments, work priorities. It’s all laid out for you. You don’t have to think,
or do, or push, or struggle. It’s just there for you. And unfortunately, the environment
is a little bit mastering us right now. Woman’s bodies are in hormonal
breakdown in epidemic proportions. I think it’s 20 million women
in the Unites States suffer from endometriosis, fibroid, PCOS… In 2009, 1.42 billion dollars
were spent on infertility treatments. Rates of idiopathic
“no-known” cause of infertility are on the rise in both men and women. Cancers of the reproductive organs
are on the rise in men and women. Drugs are being prescribed,
left and right, for treatment of things
that don’t really need medication, but really need a systemic approach. And it’s also interesting, because we’re also in a very equally
interesting historical moment, where we have the most power economically and as the largest consumer demographic
than we’ve ever had before. You can literally vote with your dollars
to say to corporate America, “Hey, I’d like you to custom-fit
an environment for me.” “I’d love to see
more maternal care there.” So, at the center we want to empower as many women as can
to learn this language, and leverage their bodies as a tool. So, I want to give you the three things
that we teach everybody. The first is you have to fall in love. You have to learn what these parts do
and how to eat to support them, so they can function optimally for you. The second thing is
that you need to commit, commit to this new relationship
with your body. I want you to plan your month,
thematically, week over week, in accordance with these hormonal ratios,
so that you can just do more, cross train your life;
I call it “in-body time management”. The third thing is, I want you to start
to leverage your body as a power tool. And I want you to answer the question that none of my patients can ever answer
the first time I ask it of them, which is: if I were to wave a magic wand
and restore your body to perfect vitality what would you do with that energy? How would you be
a change agent in the world? If you can begin to answer that question, then we can really step into our roles
as leaders as women. So, women give birth through the body. The biggest act of our generation
of women is going to be to be in a partnership with the body,
to not leave it out. And I really want to see you
love your lady parts, transform your life, and change the world. I’m Alisa Vitti. It’s been an honor. (Applause)