“Everything you build starts from within, it’s an inside out process, meaning selfcare is key”, Dr. Anna Cabeca and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

I’m not someone who loves to go to the gym, but sometimes, especially on days when I’m less motivated, I remind myself that I will be so much happier, more productive and energetic when I leave the gym. And that helps me a great deal to stick with it and stay motivated; I’m just too […]

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I’m not someone who loves to go to the gym, but sometimes, especially on days when I’m less motivated, I remind myself that I will be so much happier, more productive and energetic when I leave the gym. And that helps me a great deal to stick with it and stay motivated; I’m just too aware today of how it affects me.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Anna Cabeca, known as The Girlfriend Doctor, a triple-board certified, Emory University trained, OB/GYN.

She speaks from experience. She has risen from her own ashes of personal tragedy that spiraled into depression from not one but two rounds of menopause, weight gain, hair loss and many other debilitating symptoms. Her journey led her around the world to learn about true health and natural healing. Dr. Anna came away empowered with the knowledge that modern medical training and research, combined with time-tested wisdom and remedies, will yield indisputable results.

Dr. Anna is an author of two best-selling books: The Hormone Fix, a groundbreaking holistic lifestyle program for menopausal woman and Keto- Green 16, a comprehensive nutritional plan to staying healthy and slim, at any age. She has also spent years developing and perfecting a complete suite of life-changing products and programs. Everything Dr. Anna develops is part of her own daily routine and based on her exhaustive research and never-ending quest to find solutions that help women reclaim their vibrancy, sexuality, health and happiness.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, I can honestly say I had a loving childhood. I remember walking home from the bus stop to school, and mom always had fresh baked cookies or muffins ready when we got home, I can still remember the smell, and the feeling of comfort it gave me. One morning I walked into the house and it was completely empty. My mom was at the hospital undergoing heart surgery. I welled up with fear that she wouldn’t make it. As all kinds of thoughts were racing through my mind, somehow it dawned on me that the medical care they were providing to my mother was all based on research done on men. This was a pivotal moment in my life and is what motivated me to pursue a career in women’s health and led to me becoming a physician and a gynecologist and obstetrician.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My mother has been both in life and in death an incredible inspiration. She always told me: “Anna, your education is something that no one can take away from you”. She also instilled in me that travel is one of the best forms of education because you meet people from all different backgrounds and perspectives, upbringings and religions. This opens your mind. She had struggled with medical crises ever since her thirties; she was diagnosed with diabetes, postpartum depression, then heart disease in her forties that required heart surgery at 52. She died prematurely at 67 years old, after many years of struggling. Because of her life and her death, I was inspired to get to the underlying root causes that affect women’s health, especially how we can reverse those.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Certainly, none of us can succeed without some help, guidance and insight from a partner or coach who holds you accountable and can really make a difference in your life. I met J.J. Virgin back in 2004, but it’s not until I created my first online program in 2009 that we actually worked together. I was a full time OBGYN at the time, juggling between family, work, and setting up a business, while serving my patients the best way possible. She introduced me to the one-to-many model and how to reach a broader audience at once; she explained that if I was saying the same thing over and over again, I should turn that message, or piece of information into a course or an educational webinar, I could share with my clients. Funny enough, I actually was her first coaching client, and this bond we developed is still strong today.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

The most interesting mistake I made was that at the core, I’m creative, I am dedicated, and I care deeply for my clients, constantly looking for ways to help them with un unwavering focus; but in doing so, I took my eyes off the business, I did not have the right people in place, I didn’t keep my checks and balances. It literally was a million-dollar mistake. This however helped me understand that just as the physician in me who cares head to toe for the human body, I need to apply the same mindset to the business, and I need to have a head-to-toe type of understanding of my business operations. With this newfound wisdom I created “The Girlfriend Doctor” virtual business, through the online platform, and here we are today.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I honestly would encourage each and every one to understand that your health is your wealth. Prioritize your health, thrive for a work-life balance, prioritize your relationships, reserve date night with your spouse, or a mommy-child night, continue to have one-on-one time with the most important relationships in your life. And practice self-care, take care of your physical fitness, be aware of how you nourish your body and your mind; all this is critical to your success in achieving your long-term goals. And then always remember, don’t have to do it all at one time, learn to rely on those you trust and support you; and while holding on to the big picture, pay attention to the small steps, focus on what is right in front of you; step by step.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I previously mentioned my million-dollar mistake, at the time I was near broke, I also had dealt with a significant tragedy in my personal life. It was easy to succumb to a fear-based mentality, focusing on scarcity and insecurity of when is the next shoe going to drop? There is a verse in the Bible that helped me so much reversing that mindset and start focusing on the positive instead: Philippians 4:8 reads “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things”. This is so true. Our physiology will follow where our mind goes. So, if we live in fear, stress and angst, our physiology will be stressed, tensed and unwell. When we focus on what we’re grateful for, praise the excellence we do have, our physiology will follow in that direction too.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Focus on the positive, think of it as a beacon of light and hope” — that would probably be my life lesson quote.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am working on “The Girlfriend, Doctor Show” which is taped in a studio in Dallas. The format is straightforward, and the mindset is “there is no such thing as too much information”, so we are creating a platform for open, honest conversations, where people can have these important discussions about what’s really happening and what we can do about it from a holistic place. I bring experts in from all fields, and we address the audience’s questions. It’s just been so much fun. We’re getting a tremendous amount of feedback and hope to have a million subscribers by the end of 2021.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

It’s important to develop these self-care habits, especially with a morning ritual that energizes you and begins with an attitude of gratitude, as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. This has been game changing to so many of my clients. When I started writing my second book Keto-Green 16©, I did some extensive research and as part of that research, I wore a glucose monitor throughout the day to monitor my blood sugar. And what I noticed was that on the days when I started my mornings with meditation, and a tall glass of alkaline water or a shot of my Mighty Maca Plus© green drink, I felt more energized and calm all day and my blood sugar level stayed even. However, on days when I had that cup of coffee first thing in the morning instead, my blood sugar actually went up by at least 20 units. And what that means is that coffee (with caffeine) was increasing my cortisol levels and cortisol was increasing my blood sugar. Even though it was black coffee, because I was fasting; it set the tone for a more stressed day and a more acidic physiology. That was a huge eye-opening realization for me, and I made that shift to not have coffee until at least after I break-fast.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

My morning ritual, and I do this before I even get out of bed; I start thinking about what I’m grateful for, where did I see love yesterday? Where was I loving yesterday? That conscious act has really had a positive effect on my physiology. Once I get up, I try to stick to an exercising routine first thing in the morning before the day gets away from me. This stimulates my creativity, I think more clearly, and have brighter ideas and most certainly, I’m nicer to be around.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop good habits is by knowing why these habits benefit you. Understanding how it is impacting you and why it is important that you do it. In this way, you’re continually focused on the end result.

I’m not someone who loves to go to the gym, but sometimes, especially on days when I’m less motivated, I remind myself that I will be so much happier, more productive and energetic when I leave the gym. And that helps me a great deal to stick with it and stay motivated; I’m just too aware today of how it affects me.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

Everything you build starts from within, it’s an inside out process, meaning selfcare is key.

The logical first step is: what you put in your body. Follow what I call a Keto-Green© diet: incorporate leafy greens, healthy fats into your meals, eat lots of healthy plant-based food and eliminate cravings by cutting out sugars. This will also improve your willpower, your energy and overall brain performance.

Then there is the mindset: a great number of performers have a morning ritual that helps set their day up for success. Incorporating a daily habit where you review your plan and priorities and get your mind ready for the day can help you feel better prepared. We all need to reset our focus sometimes, as life happens while we are planning; so, having a positive, goal oriented mental disposition and ritual, can be a game-changer.

And then of course, we should be adopting a lifestyle that includes movement — it is essential. You should also keep in mind that as much as exercising is crucial for your physical health, as it gets your heart pumping, and helps with detoxing, burns fat and build muscle; the physical activity is just as important for the mind, it releases endorphins that give you an overall feeling of well-being.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I think that before developing any habits, you need to make a conscious decision to want to live a certain lifestyle, you need to believe that you can, and know that there is a way, but unless you actively choose to do so, it won’t work.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

First, as you wake up in the morning, hydrate with a tall glass of filtered or alkaline water, hydration is necessary for our body and overall brain function (see my previous answer when I talk about the research I did when writing my book Keto-Green 16)

Second, before starting to run at 1000 miles per hour with all your to-dos of the day, take a moment to check in with yourself, meditate, focus on your breathing, minimize the mind-chatter, and just be in that moment, notice yourself. For me, if I don’t start my day with meditating, it changes my entire energy and mindset, I’m more irritable, less patient, and less focused.

Third: avoid distractions, turn off notifications on your phone, and if necessary, remove it from the room you’re working in and limit your own screen time. The distractions and constant notifications take brain fuel and energy.

Science has shown that these distractions and multitasking decreases focus on performance and energy level. This was an area that was particularly challenging for me, having had a medical practice. I was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for many years, and once the world was introduced to smartphones, it became a whole other ballgame. And having children, you never want to be without your phone; I don’t know how my mother did it back in the days when cell phones didn’t exist, can any of us parents imagine what it was like for our parents? And yet here we are, functioning, successful adults, having children of our own, so clearly it can be done without constant communication.

I learned to silence notifications at times, and discern calls from outside that were non-emergency calls; I assigned specific ringtones for my daughters, but would silent all other notifications, buzzes, pops, ups, etc.

This helped me gain a sense of control of my own time and mind and increased my creative energy and focus tremendously.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Sometimes you have to try and see what works for you, but the practice of silencing my phone when I work, write or am in a space where I need to focus or “just be”, is still a practice I follow today.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Take time for yourself — which is why I found meditation so helpful. It is a spiritual practice, yes, but it is also a moment where you slow everything down and focus on the essential, you’re breathing. It brings you back to basics, calms your nervous system down, quiets the mind, and gives you that balanced level of energy to tackle whatever you need to tackle with poise and focus.

I also can’t stress enough on the importance of working out regularly, find something you like, yoga, boxing, gym, swimming, anything that gets your body moving. It releases endorphins which stimulates the brain, it detoxifies your body and keeps you strong.

You are what you put in, so developing a healthy eating habit is key; the Keto-Green 16 diet filled with leafy greens, healthy fats and incorporates intermittent fasting, really helps fuel the body with the right nutrients to protect your immune system, keep your blood sugar level where it needs to be, which all increases your brain function.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Practicing gratitude is important, it keeps you humble and keeps your feet on the ground.

It also helps to plan ahead; plan your meal ahead of time so you are sure to have the ingredients you need to cook whatever you think of preparing. It will prevent you from picking up a quick dinner somewhere to “save time” or because you are too tired to shop or think. Eating healthy is just as much a mental commitment than it is a physical one.

Schedule your gym/yoga/activity class ahead of time; or if you’re someone who needs an extra push to be active, it also helps to have a “workout buddy”. Put it on the calendar, commit to a friend to do it together; that is a practice that can definitely help you stick to a physical activity regimen, especially when it is not something that comes to you naturally.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Getting into that state of creative flow is certainly a discipline and practice that I have acquired over time. As a surgeon, as a mom, and a very focused individual, I’ve been able to tune out a lot of the distractions that can pull from us in the midst of chaos. I achieve the state of flow by connecting with my breath, expanding my belly and my lungs to a very slow count of eight; inhale and hold it in, and then exhale really slowly to that same count of eight; repeat that a few times and everything will slow down. This helps ignite the parasympathetic nervous system, creating relaxation and gives you the ability to focus on what’s most important at that moment.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

You can say that it is what I’m hoping to do right now, by creating The Girlfriend Doctor Club. It is a plan to work with women from all over the world to inspire them to embrace the healing modalities that really work so that we can live our lives passionately, thrive in a loving relationship, fulfilling our missions and enjoying our days and a fruitful legacy.

My Keto-Green way is more than about what we eat. It’s how we live. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle and it is the healthiest way. I want people to experience this because the transformations are amazing every day. I read testimonials and stories online in my Keto-Green communities, of how this is changing their lives and their husbands lives and their kids’ lives. The goal is to continue with this ripple effect and keep spreading the goodness, the wellness.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to sit and talk with Oprah over a beautiful Keto-Green breakfast.

She is someone who has overcome many challenges and deep-seeded traumas and has turned it around in the most honest and fabulous way. She was one of the first who openly spoke about subjects that were not spoken about out loud and certainly not on television. She is an incredible influencer who has touched so many lives, and has inspired me with her positivity, her generosity and her candor and one of the imprints she left on me is that when we are positive and generous people, we can have a great holistic impact in this world and within our families.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can find us here:

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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