How To Become A Morning Person And Wake Up Early

Everyone is wired differently and not everyone considers themselves a “morning person.” Even if you are not one to wake up early, you can consciously build a morning routine that works for you to get yourself up and start your day off right. Through the process of becoming a morning bird, you should keep in mind to have compassion for yourself and be kind as this is a process. It takes time to build up to waking up earlier, but with that, you’ll need to switch up your sleeping schedule as well by going to bed earlier as well. This is a new habit you’re trying to build and it will take time to adjust to the new sleeping schedule, but over time and with patience, you’ll get there!

Important note: Trying something new is challenging already, so don’t feel like you need to do ALL of the suggested tips below. Start with one and go from there, try to not get overwhelmed by doing too much too soon.

  1. Consistency is key

    As with everything in life, you need to be consistent and stay with a sleeping schedule that works for you. What I mean by that is, you’ll want to pick a bed time and wake up time that will allow you to get enough sleep, around 8-10 hours. So if you are wanting to wake up at 5am, you’ll need to make your bed time around 9pm to get 8 hours of sleep. However, being consistent means that you also have that same bed time and wake up time on the weekends as well as during the week. The body’s circadian rhythm needs consistency, if you wake up at 5am during the week but wake up at 7am on weekends, you’ll be having a hard time getting out of bed come Monday morning.

  2. Change your mindset

    This can be a tough one, but changing how you think of mornings can make a huge difference. If you think negatively of something, it will make that particular habit or goal a lot harder to accomplish. So instead of saying, ” I have to get out of bed at 5am,” say, “I get to wake up early to have a good start to my day.” The way you think of something can completely shift how you feel about it. This will come with practice and time, but when a negative thought comes into your mind about the morning ahead of you, try and switch your words to help change your mindset. This will make getting out of bed a lot easier and worthwhile.

  3. Think about the delicious breakfast you’re about to have

    Following up my last point, getting out of bed will be easier if you are excited about what you’re going to eat! I know I’m personally motivated by food, but thinking about that warm cup of tea or coffee and the waffles or avo on toast you’re about to have just might give you enough fire and want to get out of bed. I find having this thought in your mind the night before can make it that much more enjoyable, something to look forward to the next morning.

  4. Don’t eat or drink too late into the evening

    For better digestion and rest, you want to stop eating and drinking anything 3 hours before bed. By doing this you will help your body get a better nights sleep as your digestion won’t be working overtime, and potentially disturbing your sleep by waking you up through the night. This can also help your body fully rest and recover from the day you’ve just had. Another point is caffeine, try to stop drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it by midday – I usually stop at 1-2pm. The reason for this is caffeine itself can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. At 6 hours, your body would have burned through half of the caffeine you have consumed. So if you stop drinking at 1-2pm by 9pm you would have given your body 7 hours to burn through the majority of the caffeine sitting in your system. This will allow for a better night’s sleep.

  5. Shift your schedule gradually

    If you wake up at 9am most days, changing your schedule to waking up at 5am the next day without giving your body anytime to adjust will end up with you hitting the snooze button until 9am. Instead, adjust your time by 30 min each day. If you wake up at 9am, the next day set your alarm for 8:30am, try that for a few days then once that becomes easy, adjust it again to waking up at 8am and let that new time settle for a few days. Repeat this process until you get to the new desired time you’d like to wake up at. Eventually over time you will be able to get up and out of bed without any issues at all, infact, you may actually wake up just before your alarm goes off!

  6. Get to bed earlier

    I hate to say it, but there is absolutely no way you will get out of bed at 5am if you are going to bed at 2am. Just like slowly adjusting your morning wake up time, slowly adjust your bedtime as well. If you are used to going to bed at 12pm, trying to get to bed at 9pm may be proven difficult. So, just as above, slowly adjust your bed time with the wake up time you are doing. Remember that you want to achieve getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, so schedule a bedtime and wake up time that works where you will be getting enough hours a night to sleep. Eventually over time, you will have your new sleep schedule and be able to sleep soundly through the night, as long as you work on what’s floating through your thoughts of course.

  7. Have a morning AND evening routine

    Everyone always talks about a morning routine, but ever so often a night time routine is never mentioned. Both routines are important for a better sleeping schedule. The morning routine can help you get out of bed thinking about the things you’re excited to start your day with and the night time routine can help to wind down your thoughts and body into a calm state for a restful sleep ahead. These routines do not need to be lengthy or complicated, find what is right for you and slowly start adding them into your everyday life.

  8. Have good sleep hygene

    What I mean when I say “sleep hygene” is habits like having the room cooler, blackout blinds, decrease light exposure at least an hour before bed, no technology an hour before bed, as I mentioned before – stop eating at least 3 hours before bed, maybe stretch or read before bed to signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and relax for a restful sleep ahead. I find if you have a busy brain like I do, journalling and breathing techniques before bed seems to help wonderfully for a good nights sleep.

  9. Morning light

    Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning in the winter months when it’s cold and dark out, but it’s a lot easier getting up in the summer months as the sun comes up much earlier? This has to do with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, when you see light your body knows it’s morning and time to wake up. This also triggers the body to drop melatonin levels and start producing cortisol and other hormones to wake you up. Try to walk outside first thing in the morning for about 5-10 min to kick start your body into the day ahead. I realize this may be difficult in the winter months as it’s dark, but once that light starts to rise try to go outside for a bit if you can. I promise you’ll feel a big difference doing this.

  10. Try to cut back on caffeine first thing in the morning

    Woah! Don’t kill the messanger, hear me out. I know some people live off caffeine, especially parents of young children. But try to go the first 1-2 hours of the day without any caffeine and let your body do what it naturally does without the assistance of that warm cuppa or cup of joe. By waiting a few hours in the morning you will be able to help your body take control and regulate your energy levels. Just think of how much better that cup will feel and taste after only a few hours extra before having it.

  11. Don’t snooze your morning away

    We have all been there, our alarm goes off and we shut it off right away and say to ourselves, “Five more minutes.” But in reality another hour or 2 goes by and then we finally get up. Instead of shutting it off right away, sit yourself up and then shut it off, this way you’re already up. Another trick is putting your phone or alarm that you use aross the room so you have to get up to shut it off. The hardest part is getting up out of bed, once you get past this point, you’re good to go. You can also try a light alarm if it’s the winter months that you have a hard time waking up in, these alarms slowly light up the room as if the sun is rising.

  12. The 5 second rule

    Another trick you can try is the 5 second rule. I’m not talking about the rule where you’ve dropped part of your breakfast on the ground and as long as you pick it up in 5 seconds, you can still eat it…you’d be lying if you said you haven’t done this. The author, Mel Robbins, wrote about a rule where you count down from 5 to 1 and just do it. This rule isn’t just for waking up in the morning but can also be used with pretty much anything else in life that you may be procrastinating on. So, when you wake up, count down from 5 to 1, and once you hit one, push yourself up out of bed and get your day rolling.

More and more research is starting to come out on the importance of sleep, but if you’re wanting to become a morning bird, above are just a few tips of how you can get yourself closer to your goal of getting up earlier. And remember, take it one step at a time, pick a few and work on those first, then start adding more. If you enjoy the process you will be more likely to continue it.

Keep being legends and thank you for reading my blog 🙂

LEW xo


Part 3: My first accidental exposure to gluten that lead to a gastroscopy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eat gluten again? I was accidentally exposed to gluten at a restaurant, and I can tell you that I never want this to happen again. This was my realization that I am 100% celiac, especially with how quickly my body reacted to it and for how long the symptoms stuck around for afterwards. Here is my story of being given gluten and how it brought me to doing the gastroscopy.

Just over a year of being gluten free, I went to a restaurant and ordered a gluten free panini. I told the server that it was for a celiac and to tell the chef to be careful with cross contamination. I saw her write celiac down and I then took a seat waiting for the food to be brought to me. It wasn’t until this day that I truly believed I was a celiac. I bit into the sandwich and I remember looking up at my friend and saying, “I sure hope this is gluten free,” because it tasted very strange to me. I ate the whole thing, and twenty minutes later I had major brain fog, a headache and nausea, and I was fighting to keep the food down. Then forty minutes later I had to find a toilet as I was puking and shortly after having very sharp pains in my gut. It felt as though I had eaten a bucket of razor blades. I then had a month or more of bloating, brain fog, sharp pains in my gut, muscle and joint pain, vision problems, hair loss, dermatitis herpetiformis, rashes and acne, decreased appetite, lack of sleep, menstrual pain and PMS, sadness, anxiety, irritation, I found it hard to breathe, and anything I ate or drank caused my stomach to bloat and hurt even more. 

The first photo to the left is a photo of the cystic acne that can occur with gluten exposure. The photo on the right, which also shows up on my upper arms, is a photo of one cheek from my buttocks with another form of dermatitis herpetiformis (I showed what happens with my hands in my blog, “Part one“). Both of these photos have been taken in the last year, and both of these conditions I had back in high school as well.

I finally went to see my doctor a month after eating the sandwich wondering what had happened. We did the blood test and my antibodies were right back up to greater then 300 (they should be less then 12). It took me 8 months to recover and feel like a human again and another 4 months to be my 100% normal self. All from eating one sandwich that was made with the wrong bread. From this moment on I had to go in every 3 months to have blood taken to test my iron levels and tTG levels, and the results were sent to a gastroenterologist and my family doctor. 

I think it bothered me more that the chef of the restaurant didn’t seem to care, I got a ‘copy and paste’ response from him with no apology. He blamed his front staff for not telling me about cross contamination possibilities but I explained that this was not just cross contamination, this was giving me the completely wrong bread. I found out later that three more celiac’s went to his restaurant and also became sick after my experience, which of course left me livid. However, from this experience and others over the last three years, I have now learned what it is like to fully eat something that is made with gluten and eat something that has been cross contaminated. 

A product that is made with gluten: you will know and taste the difference, and you will have an autoimmune reaction right away (as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog). It will make you awfully sick for months (mine lasted 8-12 months), and it may even bump back your intestinal healing time by a few months or years.

A product that has been cross contaminated with gluten: unfortunately, you cannot taste this. You may have symptoms of bloating, headaches or any of the other typical symptoms of celiac disease, the day of or a few days later. The bloating from my last cross contamination experience lasted 3-4 days but some other physical symptoms of rashes, acne, dermatitis herpetiformis, constipation and diarrhea, many toilet visits, and not to mention the mental side of aggravation, anxiety, sleepless nights, and depression (to name a few) lasted about 2-3 months after exposure.

The photos on top is after a weekend away being cross contaminated with gluten while eating out. The photos on the bottom is just three days after with a huge improvement in the bloat but not feeling 100% (I am completely relaxed in all photos).

For the first two and a half years after being diagnosed, I was only a celiac through a blood test. To be a “true celiac” you have to be diagnosed through a biopsy. In order to have a biopsy, you have to be referred to a gastroenterologist, and here in some parts of Canada it takes two years to get in to see one. Which means you will go two years of eating gluten free and then have to do the ‘gluten challenge’ and reintroduce it into your body for six weeks before the biopsy so there is a positive to the test if you are truly celiac.

One year after eating the sandwich and four blood tests later, my tTG levels were sticking around forty and I received a call to see the gastroenterologist and have the biopsy done. After review of my blood tests, she decided to not have me eat gluten before the test as she wanted to see if I was consuming gluten from something that may contain it without me knowing. She also said because of how high my blood levels were, she had no doubt in her mind that I was a celiac and did not want to put me through six weeks of eating my kryptonite (I dodged a serious bullet there). To add, I was sent home with a crohn’s disease home kit to rule this out, and this thankfully, came back negative. 

The Biopsy…

First of all, there are two types of biopsies. A gastroscopy (or endoscopy), is through the mouth and down into the small intestine, and a colonoscopy, is up the rectum and usually used to take a sample of the large intestine but can also be used for samples of the small intestine. What I had done, was a gastroscopy.

The day of the biopsy came and I was a bundle of nerves, not just because this is minor surgery, but mostly because this would be the true test to confirm if I was a celiac, and if it did come back positive, this meant I was still eating gluten somehow. 

The process of the biopsy was nothing to be worried about, you are called in and asked to put on a hospital gown. Then the nurse comes back in and answers any questions you may have and informs you that you cannot drive or make any legal decisions for twenty-four hours after the surgery. The IV is placed in about thirty minutes before you are brought into the operation room, where doctor will ask if you have any questions and ask if it is common for you to have a reactive gag reflex (because if you do, they have a liquid that can be sprayed to the back of the throat to stop this). You are then put under conscious sedation. 

A photo of me after the biopsy was finished; happier than a pig in shit…pun intended.

With my experience, I woke up choking (I did not get the spray because this would have been another hour of sticking around at the hospital after), but I only remember seeing a blurred vision of the video footage of my insides, and then fell back to sleep. I woke up feeling really rested and just a bit sore in my abdomen when I tried to sit up. I also had a sore throat. The nurse gave me a drink and a gluten free snack and checked everything was okay, and told me the doctor did not see anything relevant to the eye, but a few biopsy samples had been taken. She told me the doctor would be calling me in two weeks with my results. I got dressed and my ride came to pick me up, then I was homebound. I remember having a sore throat and abdomen when I would eat just for a few days after, and tired just one day after.

Two weeks later the doctor called and I found out that I was indeed consuming gluten from somewhere, and was officially diagnosed with celiac disease. Parts of my biopsy showed the damaged villi in my small intestine, which indicated gluten consumption and celiac disease.

To this day, I still have digestive issues including constipation, diarrhoea and everything in-between. This included colour and consistency issues of the stool, going to the bathroom 3-5 times in the morning from the moment I wake up, and after I eat, and to top it off, some foods come out undigested. I also have other symptoms, including brain fog, headaches, rashes and acne, hair loss, feeling dizzy when getting up from a seated position, bloating (to the point that I look 4 months pregnant), sleepless nights, insomnia (only had this happened once in the last few months), waking up in a sweat, menstrual pain (only once), hormonal imbalances, and bad PMS. I should also mention that in the last year I have had 8-10 colds, one of which turned into bronchitis and another a sinus infection; that means three rounds of antibiotics just this year. I have been waking up with phlegm in my throat and left lung everyday this year, except one month when I decided to go back on the hypoallergenic diet I spoke about in my last blog post. 

Photo on the left is a photo of me in June 2018, one and a half years after diagnosis with a huge amount of hair growth on the bottom of my head (you can see in the photo how much thicker my hair was by my shoulders). Photo on the right is me in Aug 2018, with my hair chopped to the new growth length.

So why do I still have symptoms even with being 100% gluten free? It could be because my gut is still healing after many years of eating something I should not have been. Research does state that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 5 years for the intestinal lining to heal after an exposure to gluten. It can also be due to little micro cross contamination exposures with going out to eat at restaurants and processed foods made in a facility that contains gluten, as everything else in my life I know for sure is gluten free. I have even started to switch over to gluten free beauty products such as toothpaste, make up, shampoos and conditioner and soaps. 

January 2020 will be the third anniversary of my diagnosis, and there is still a lot of learning and researching to do. But I am excited to share my path through this new gluten free lifestyle that I am grateful for, because I can finally start healing and help other people while I am at it, via this blog. 

The healing process of celiac disease can be very frustrating and may be a longer process then expected. However, this does not mean that it will never happen; learn as much as you can and never loose belief that you can do this. 

Until next week my friends,

LEW 

xxx

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.



Part 1: The beginning of a positive lifestyle change

“I was assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”

This is a progression of photos of me over the years. 2013: I was 24 in this photo and just a few months away from graduating from a very intense program at school, probably around 120-130lbs, pale, blackened eyes, stressed and thin hair. 2016: 27 years old, 155lbs and 3 months into what I did not know was an autoimmune response in my body. 2018: exactly one year after diagnosis, healthy and looking better then I have in years and feeling fantastic.

Just over two years ago, at the age of 27, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease through a blood test. Six months before that I became extremely ill after a trauma from an accidental hit to the face with a hockey stick. Don’t get me wrong, now that I know about this, I realize I actually have had symptoms my whole life but just thought of them as my “normal.” 

Growing up I remember having frequent ear infection after ear infection and I do remember a lot of arguments over taking this artificial banana tasting medicine, which really wasn’t the best. As a fun fact, I have now been informed that repetitive ear infections in a kid can be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance. Now keep in mind, it is not always associated with food allergies and can be due to a virus or bacteria and can be a serious medical condition that needs to be looked at right away as it can lead to hearing loss or the infection spreading.

Along with ear infections, I had knee pain and other joint pain, seemed to get the stomach flu quite a bit, when I was 17 I had my first go at gastritis (which I now realize this may have been an autoimmune flare up because I also had another trauma; to my knee this time; and it occurred around the first time I had gastritis) and again another time 5 years later in the Dominican Republic (May 2012). I could never seem to get my iron up no matter how much red meat and iron supplements I took (this was before I realized you could get iron from vegetables and fruit as well) and I was always anemic (I now realize this was most likely due to malabsorption in my small intestine). 

Want to know something super ironic? I worked in a bakery for 7 years, yup, a full on gluten infested, flour in the air, bakery. This is when I really started getting symptoms; shocking, I know. 

This is my hand recently with Dermatitis Herpetiformis.

Symptoms such as: shortness of breath, anxiety, menstrual problems (infrequent, heavy, light, painful, PMS, etc), clustered blistering bubbles all over my hands (Dermatitis herpetiformis), hair falling out, nails always breaking and nail beds always peeling, painful acne spots on my face and buttocks, red bumps on my upper arms, mouth ulcers, stomach sickness, difficulty concentrating and I was ALWAYS hungry; I literally could out eat all of my friends in school. It was very difficult for me to gain any weight, I remember my family doctor telling me I needed to be around 140lbs for my height and I was always around 115-120lbs (I’m not complaining and I was really active but it was just weird eating as much as I did and not gaining any weight). My hair dresser always pointed out to me that I was loosing a lot of hair at my appointments and mentioned a handful of times that I had psoriasis on my scalp. I do remember having flaky chunks of skin come off my scalp in my finger nails when I would scratch my head.

Jan 2017, just a few days after diagnosis (super inflamed gut), to Feb 2017, just one month after. The difference after one month of being gluten free was huge. Also, take note of how messy my room was, this just goes to show how awful my mental state was at the time. I had no motivation and just did not care.

Before the trauma occurred, I was sluggish, gaining weight (I was around 150-155lbs, which could have been muscle), unmotivated, bloated, my hair was thin, and I was tired. After the hockey stick trauma in 2016, I did not know what was going on with me, I became very mentally and physically ill. It started with really low energy which I thought was from lack of sleep because my sleep pattern went from sleeping well to falling asleep fine but waking up all night. I had maybe 2-3 hours of sleep a night, which resulted in me nodding off in the middle of the day. Concentration and thinking was a struggle, my brain was in a fog all day and everyday. I started to experience becoming sick with the common cold at least once a month, which turned into a sinus infection which I was put on one dose of antibiotics for and soon after got my first ever yeast infection. PMS was HORRIBLE, I had headaches that later turned into migraines, cramps, bloating, and nausea. I had the Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) rash on my hands blistered and cracked open with sores all over my fingers. I had a mental hit as I was depressed and mentally fatigued, quite literally crying 2-5 times a day over what seemed like nothing.

The last month before I finally went to get help (6 months after the trauma), I had migraines which I have never had before in my life, really sharp pains in my gut, and what got me going to see a doctor was my mouth bleeding every time I brushed my teeth and huge bleeding oral cankers as I know this can be a sign of malnutrition.

The stubborn human I am, it took me 6 months of being sick to finally consult a doctor. The first doctor I saw told me to go back on birth control…yup. Talk about negligence, keeping in mind he was a walk in doctor that was extremely tired but that is absolutely no excuse. Knowing what I do now, he let me walk out of his office after less then 5 minutes of talking, close to being hospitalized. Thankfully I knew better and threw out the prescription paper as I was leaving the office and the next day I went to another walk in and met the incredible doctor that I now proudly call my family doctor. She spent what felt like 30-40 minutes with me and listened to my entire story and all of my symptoms for the last 6 months. Palpated my abdomen and sent me on my way for a blood test looking into multiple conditions.

Fifteen minutes after this appointment (about 3pm), I was in another building having my blood taken. This is when I really knew something was wrong as they were having trouble finding my veins and getting blood from them. The nurses had to go to both arms to try and get enough blood for the tests.

9am sharp the next morning, when the walk in clinic opened, I received a phone call telling me my blood results have come back and I needed to go in to speak to a doctor immediately. This of course, got my heart racing. Getting my blood results back this quickly had me thinking I had a serious health condition. The doctor sat down and told me I had Celiac Disease and I was extremely anemic. To test for celiac disease they test for a tTG result in the blood (IgA antibody level) and this level should be less then 12. Mine was over 300, and the iron/ferritin level was 3.4 when it should be between 40-200. 

I left that doctors office surprisingly relieved and felt as though the bag of bricks I was carrying around had been lifted off my shoulders. I went home and immediately spent hours researching celiac disease and the more I read, the more my life made sense.

If you are in a position of not feeling well, or knowing something is just not right, do not give up – your answer is around the corner.

Next week will be Part 2 of my story, three years after diagnosis.

With love, be kind to yourself,

LEW xxx

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness. You must consult with your professional health care provider before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking, varying the dosage of or ceasing to take any medication.


Who am I?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Hi Friends!

As I mentioned in my About section, my name is Lauren and my nickname is LEW (this stands for the initials of my full name).

It seems like everyone and their cat is starting a blog or a vlog, and to be honest, for many years I was afraid to do this. Thinking to myself that I did not have anything worth writing about or no one will ever want to read about my life. However, I know realize that this is nonsense! Everyone is their own important and amazing soul and everyone has a worthwhile story to share.

Truthfully, I want to start writing a blog to bring more awareness to two passions in my life, which are: Athletic Therapy and Celiac Disease.

Firstly, I work as a Certified Athletic Therapist in Canada and we are often confused with Physiotherapy. Both careers being as amazing as they are, there are slight differences and I will be discussing about this in my blog along with writing about conditions, exercises, stretches, mobility, prevention and so much more.

Secondly, I have known I am Celiac for almost 3 years now, and I cannot believe the kind of mixed messages and untruthful information out there about this disease. With the rise of a gluten free trends and lifestyles, there is no wonder why people confused someone with celiac disease with someone who is non-celiac gluten sensitive or another human who has decided to eat gluten free because they feel better. 

“In a study released in 2016, Hyun-seok Kim, MD, a doctor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark looked at a national survey taken from 2009 to 2014. Only 1% of the population has celiac disease, and this number has not changed in recent years. Although celiac disease numbers remained stable during that time, the number of people following a gluten-free diet tripled, from 0.5% of the population to nearly 2%. This was bringing in an estimated $4 billion dollars of sales on gluten free products in 2015.” (WebMD, 2016)

Those numbers are HUGE, and thinking that it is now the year 2019, I could only imagine how much larger those numbers are.

My goal is to connect with everyone interested in either of these topics and if I end up helping just one soul in my journey into blogging and sharing about my life experiences, that would mean the world to me.

Please follow along or share the information I am providing if you know of anyone it will help. Subscribe to get notified when I post new updates.

WebMD 2016 Reference: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/news/20160916/whats-behind-gluten-free-trend#1

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness. You must consult with your professional health care provider before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking, varying the dosage of or ceasing to take any medication.