Free GUIDE: 3 Simple Tools to Feel Great!

It’s Not What You Know, But What You Do.

Dr. Tonia Winchester, nanaimo naturopathic doctor and nanaimo acupuncturist shares her personal journey with her weight and wisdom about proper digestion, stress reduction and weight loss.It’s not what you know, it’s what you do.

I heard that quote from Todd Henry. I’m not sure if he said it first. When I google it all I get is people who said, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” I suppose this is also good information. It’s not my specific point today, but I’ll use it as a segue (which I just learned to spell.)

If we focus then on who I know, then we can start with my mom. She is pretty super, so I like to give her shout outs. I am really proud of her. She has reached an incredible goal in the last year and a half.

She is about to turn 65 and has lost over 65 pounds, and if we round up almost 70 on the Plan. (Update: Ha! When I called her to ask permission to share this with you she quickly corrected me, “68.2.” GO MOM!)

Anyhoo, I share this not only because it’s super inspiring, but also because it’s a lead into some awesome wisdom. Both from my mom, and Todd Henry (and perhaps others.)

I have been at odds with my weight lately. Despite knowing what to do, I’ve been having a hard time doing it.

While my mom, dad and sister (my entire family of origin) has collectively lost about 130 pounds on the Plan, I’ve gained quite a bit. I’m still fit. I can still do several push ups, squats, and burpees. I can still hike mountains and salsa dance all night.

But gah. Weight.

I still have my curvy figure, but I am the heaviest I have ever weighed. My blood work is all normal. I’m told by people close enough to learn my secret that they never would have guessed that I’ve gained so much – that I carry my weight very well.

Maybe they are just being kind, I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t feel good in my skin. Pictures of myself make my stomach turn, which is sad, because silly photo shoots are one of my favorite things to do.


Now that you know my secret too, I’ll admit that I think the reason I haven’t put out any new content in the last 5-6 weeks is because I’m embarrassed. That is also probably the reason why I just spent 3 hours reorganizing my home studio instead of hitting publish.

Despite my position as a naturopathic doctor, I am a mere mortal just like you. I have challenges. I get sick. And sometimes I struggle.

I figure that my pain and story might help you and so I’m willing to share it. Hiding was not helping, so I thought I would try something different.

And to be honest, all the negative self talk is exhausting.

On a recent visit with my folks I mentioned something about gaining all the weight my family has lost (trying to find light in self deprecating humor is still quite dark.)

My mom said something that stuck with me.

“Of everyone I know, I know you will be able to do it when you’re ready.”

It didn’t just stick with me. It inspired me. And I hope it will inspire you.

She trusts, that I can be successful, when I’m ready to be successful. (This wasn’t actually the first time she said this to me, but I was finally ready to hear it.)

It’s not what you know, but what you do.

Her compassion and acceptance for where I was and what I was experiencing was so vibrant that it convinced me to choose compassion for myself. And acceptance. And forgiveness.

I was finally ready to question, “Why was I ignoring how I know to care for myself?” I sat in meditation and petitioned this. Apparently this last several months has been more stressful than I have let on – to anyone including my besties and my husband. I moved away from my working family and started my own clinic. And while I love it, it’s been a new and big stress.

Eating in a way that serves my body has not been a priority. I have been frantically cramming food into my cake hole instead of listening to what my body was asking of me. I am sorry body. I forgive myself.

My next question to myself was, “What do I need right now to feel successful and good in my skin?”

The answer came so clearly and is so simple. Love and rest.

When you open yourself up to love and support, things show up for you. I listened to a webinar for the 3rd or 4th time and heard about a book recommendation that I had never registered before. It was perfect. It’s called The Slow Down Diet by Marc David.

I put it promptly on my e-reader.

The premise is simple.

Stress and digestion don’t mix.

Poor digestion will cause nutrient deficiencies. Those will prevent weight loss and even cause gain.

I realized I have been anxious around meal times and eating in a way that is not conducive to proper digestion, proper nutrition and a subsequent understanding that my body is safe, has what it needs, and can let go (of weight.)

My morning smoothies were often chugged as I was blow drying my hair. I was inhaling my salad as quickly as possible while checking email and patients’ blood work. Dinners were always in front of the TV.

I was over eating carbs to a certain extent, but I would say 80% of the time my meals were actually quite “healthy.

But I was eating in a stressed out state.

I needed to bring the sacred nurturing nature back to my meal times – just being present with my food and really enjoying it. I stopped rushing. I sit at the table. I turn off the computer and the TV. I just eat. And breath. Sometimes I listen to gentle music. These are things I teach to my patients regularly but wasn’t honouring for myself.

It’s know what you know, it’s what you do. (Tweet it!)

So far that is the only change I’ve made. I’m being conscious about being conscious around my food. The scale tells me I’ve lost 5 pounds so far, but I feel like such a tremendous amount of weight has been lifted – the weight of ignoring my body’s messages. The weight of judgement. My body was stressed and sick and I wasn’t listening.

Compassion. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Love. Rest.

I feel whole again.

On the phone I had a little cry as I told my mom, “I’m really thankful for what you said. It was so unconditionally loving, and non-judgmental.”

And she giggled as she said, “Well of course. It’s not like I would ever say to you, ‘Yeah, come on. Get to it you, Twit!’ Because a) that’s not who I am and b) you would never say that to me.”

And she’s right.

And I hope that I don’t say that to myself, ever, and I hope you don’t say it to yourself.

I’d love to hear from you. Where do you seem to get stuck when it comes to self care? And what is something simple you can do to calm down your meal times? Share in the comments below.

If you liked this, please share it. I’m sure others can benefit. If you really liked it than please sign up for the (bi)Weekly Tonic Newsletter so you’ll never miss an article or insights that I only share with the superstars on my list.


To your healthy, thriving, delightful life,



PS: As to not leave him out – my dad gives amazing, unconditionally loving and supportive advice too. Check out what he said to me after I failed three exams in my 2nd year of naturopathic college. Dad, I love you and am sending white light your way.)

PPS: The other reason I wanted to share all this is because despite having been born to these incredible humans it doesn’t mean that I don’t experience suffering. I have dark nights of the soul as we all do. And no matter the trauma or pain any one has to go through there is always a choice to lean into love and away from fear.


Leave a Comment

Previous Post: