Food for thought
As an introduction to my monthly mailing, I thought I would share a little about my JOURNEY WITH FOOD, how my MINDSET TRANSFORMATION has been the key to feeling better over the past 4 years. My journey with food started over 15 years ago, when I was diagnosed with IBS. My young self thought I had it sussed. I knew my cure had to come from food, sure when you have digestive troubles of course food is the answer as Dr google so informed me.
My body continued to call to me, and 4 years later I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid. My lifestyle had not changed in those years and my body was struggling. My food intake was moderately better but I had not considered that this might only be one factor. With hindsight, its a wonder I ever changed because my mind was so fixed on one aspect of my life that I failed to notice all the other detrimental habits I had going on. Food was easy though, I could pacify myself making some changes, drawing up lovely food plans and trying quick fixes with a result of making feel better… for a couple weeks. I would excuse periods of digestive chaos and the emotional trauma that ensued because I was eating better. It was 10 years after my thyroid diagnosis that I got the final calling but this time the calling came in a very fiery red and outwardly evident manner, I had now developed guttate psoriasis. You see I am one of those Autoimmune folk, when you have one you’re chances of getting another are quite high.
And this last straw was the catalyst for change for me, the one that stopped me in my tracks and changed my patterns of behaviour for the long term. Boy did this battle challenge me, and before I hear anyone telling me that celery juice or shark fish oil and specific carbohydrate diets will cure me, I shall stop you right there and enlighten you that it hasn’t. Plenty of dietary changes have helped me into remission, as did light therapy and addressing my poor lifestyle habits. After countless attempts of sticky plaster treatments I finally got down and dirty and tackled my bodies’ malfunctioning with a holistic, integrative whole body approach that relies on me to be AWARE of myself every whole single day.
If you want to hear the emotional bit, keep reading but if you just want my 5 tops tips for those suffering with IBS, psoriasis or indeed hypothyroidism then scroll on down.
During my active IBS years I know see that food was an obsession, the more I tried to figure out my triggers the more stressed I got as I couldn’t find the answers. I did get into exercise, but it was a very socially accepted way for me to remain competitive with myself. Unless I was the best at it, then I wasn’t achieving. And this is where all the learning has been, working on accepting this perfectionist head of mine but MANAGING it. I became aware of how much I was afraid to change my habits. I became aware of how much time I spent thinking about what other people thought of me. I understood that there were aspects of my life I wasn’t tending to. I was valuing my own self worth based on what I THOUGHT others thought of me. I used to justify why I was a stay at home Mom. I fought with things in my head until I learned the art of accepting. I truly believe that my path was meant to be this one, because until your experience then you don’t really learn.
In recent years, my relationship with food, exercise and other people has changed. However my relationship with myself has changed the most. I have finally found a way to accept me, as I am, all the parts of me. It’s been hard to achieve this balance, it’s been hard to truly love myself because of who I am not because of what I do. Its been hard to shut up that little fella inside my head telling me this is all a little too “whoo whoo” and to get back to a real job.
I came up with a phrase a while back and I think its very true of my journey. I’ve had to slow down to speed up. I am no longer looking at the finish line, I am enjoying the race, learning and experience as I go. Changing at your own pace is the hardest thing you have had to do when you want to become accountable for your own well-being. There is always someone else out there doing better or more. However as I slowed down, my health has improved in leaps and bounds. I am full of energy, feeling the best I have felt in years. I eat, sleep, exercise and meditate so much better not because I have to, but because I want to and am grateful for the real benefits I feel every day.
If I could offer 5 health tips to anyone who has IBS or psoriasis, or is hypothyroid, here they are:
- Accept your condition, work with it, face it and all its demons and decide to change. Nothing will happen if you don’t change something. For more help around identifying your triggers for your condition and define some goals around changing those patterns, click here.
- Seek out methods to calm your mind, to help you process what is happening to you and help you to focus more on what you do have. Strength training, meditation, yoga and simply breathing now feature in my weekly routine. And the best part is that in slowing down and listening I have realised how powerful these very acts are in helping me.
- Work on resilience. What I mean by this is learn a little more about what is troubling your whole body. Not just the physical stuff, you have to look a little deeper. This book was so powerful for me in my journey, and would recommend it to anyone seeking out a fresh way of thinking about things. Mindfulness : A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penmann.
- Consider how important SLEEP is. I’ve come from feeling so guilty about sitting down doing nothing, to needing a nap during the day to feeling not guilty about either. If my body calls for it, I either nap, sleep in or get myself to bed super super early. In my sessions we talk a lot about sleep hygiene and I have plenty of tools that I have picked up along the way that can offer your support if you have troubles sleeping.
- Look after your gut. Gut health is super popular in the media right now. And its so terrifically amazing how much we have learned in recent years, it is also so terrifically amazing that there are a few habits that won’t cost you much that will help you look after your gut. My reading around Asian cultures and lifestyle choices has given me the most practical actions and information for gut health. Modern science is backing up what we have known for a long time, we just need to tune into these things and apply them. Its the application you see that is the tricky bit…and that’s where a good health coach can really help you get unstuck in your daily food habits.