I Am a Serial Dieter

Having control over my symptoms was something I thought I couldn’t fulfill unless I had the correct drugs, help from the necessary doctors, or if I just lived in a bubble under a rock in Antarctica. I would have never considered food and lifestyle changes to be an advocate for my health.

After being gluten free for 2 years and still struggling, I hit the end of my rope with “remedies” for my symptoms. The delicious gluten free goodies just weren’t cutting it anymore and the medical world (filled with their pills, potions, and notions) seemed to be working against me as well.

Firstly, I have to gain faith in myself that I could have control over my own health. Secondly, I had to knock down the mentality that doctors and pills can solve everything. Thirdly, I had to suck up the fact that I had to change my lifestyle, despite knowing I’d never be “normal” again, to receive proper healing. Since I was absolutely desperate, I welcomed the challenge. It turned out to not only be a physical endeavor, but quite an emotional one as well.

Once I realized that food and the lifestyle changes associated with all healing diets had such a direct impact on my well-being, I went a little bit crazy. In total, I’ve tried 6 different diets over the last year and a half: Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Low FODMAP diet, Histamine Intolerance diet, Copper Toxicity and Nutritional Balancing diet, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), and Ketogenic. I need healing diet rehab, but admitting it is the first step, right?

Overnight, I went from a highly processed, taco bell obsessed, vegetable hating, and sugar gobbling diet to a whole foods, clean, grain free diet. It was a shock to my body – to say the least – and I definitely found myself at a decent sized pity party.

My biggest concern was that I wasn’t going to be able to fit in anymore. I suddenly had to avoid eating out, I was eating nauseatingly strict, my budget called for more grocery money instead of “going hog wild” money, and my nights were filled with cooking and trying to get to bed early instead of social time.

My social life completely changed because it no longer could revolve around food, staying up all night, binge drinking, and other unfavorable things that prolonged healing in my body. I definitely had to adjust to this. I started planning my meals ahead of time, got used to discussing my diet to others (and accepting whatever reaction they had), and had to think of unique “hanging out” activities to do with people. Suddenly, I was having more meaningful experiences with the people I loved because we weren’t chatting over a burger and fries or drunkenly expressing our feelings, but doing things that brought out the best in us – together.

I decided to embrace the fact that being different is a good thing. It has helped me find things about myself I didn’t know existed (like cooking, whoa), it has deepened the relationships I have and will have, and it has opened my eyes to completely new things.

Sometimes this is a hard reality though, but friends come and go. The people who truly care about me completely understand why I am making all these changes and are willing to upgrade our relationships by not making food the main priority. I did have to reevaluate some friendships because of this. The friends I have today would walk through fire for me, though. That is more meaningful to me than sitting around while eating a hot pizza and drinking a beer.

After the initiation phase, I was on a roll and feeling better than I’d felt in years. Slowly, I started having bad days again. I knew something else was going on so I decided to switch it up again which seemed to be the future trend. When one wasn’t working, move on to the next.

My body was like a puzzle. For years, I was just trying to smash, bend, and pretend the pieces matched, but they just wouldn’t. Now, I’m slowly and meticulously fitting the pieces together, but I’ve had to look at every angle of the image first. Sometimes there’s an underlining issue that is setting off these symptoms. The problem is trying to figure that out. It is heavy metal toxicity, mold, chemicals, parasites, thyroid, food allergies, genetic mutations, and the list goes on. I thought I only had digestive problems, then I began to question where did these problems come from in the first place and what other havoc are they creating inside me?

It might seem manic to keep switching up my diets as frequently as I did. Did I really receive the benefits from each one even though I only followed them for a few months? Maybe. Could I have approached it in a different way? Definitely. Do I regret it? No.

I probably learned about every diet out there for healing/curing just about anything. I grew to understand others troubles and actually gained gratitude that my situation wasn’t as fierce as others. I also grew to have a deep respect for people doing these diets. It’s hard to have to change your lifestyle and way of eating, especially in a world where fast food is treasured and processed food is cheap. The will to start, stay, and maintain such lifestyles, takes a truly brave person.

So, what’s the harm in trying out a diet or lifestyle to see if it works? When we’re sick, there is no barrier to stop us from trying these things except ourselves. That was one of the hardest things for me to realize, but once I did, the world opened up plenty of doors for me. Now, the questions is which door is the right one? Maybe it’s a mixture of all of them. Who knows, but I’m willing to find out – diet mania and all, I will push forward until something sticks.

I plan on writing individually about my experience with each one so far. Look out for those!

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My Symptoms Don’t Define Me

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I’ve struggled with shoddy diagnoses and symptoms that have plagued me emotionally and physically for years. At first, these things defined who I was and directly affected how I felt about myself. They justified the poor self-esteem that had bogged me down since I was in the single digits.

The little voices in my head told me that I must be shit if this is happening to me. I deserve this pain, agony, and embarrassment. This is all proof that I don’t deserve happiness and love. This emotional beatdown made everything worse. I was lost in this sea of sadness and despair and it was all I could think about. My head swarmed with guilt and shame until the point where I almost couldn’t find my way out. All my energy went into how much I felt like crap. I dreamt of days that I could feel “normal” and wouldn’t have to think about all these things that were happening to me. In concentrating on these negative things, I made my emotional state suffer more than my actual body.

After years of lounging carelessly in the pity pool, I realized how much that was adding to my failing health. The worst fact of this is our brains have such a direct connection to the health of our bodies. I was ruining every facet of my health by drowning in these thoughts. It wasn’t benefiting me to wallow in the things that were happening or had happened. It was breaking me down. How could I heal my broken body when I kept beating it up for being broken in the first place?

Forgiveness. I had to learn to forgive myself. For eating all that processed food for years, for drinking diet cokes everyday, for not eating vegetables, for stressing over everything, for desperately dating people who weren’t good for me, for not working out, for being lazy…you get the point. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Even to this day, I struggle letting little things go because I can’t forgive myself for letting them happen in the first place.

We have control over our lives, but sometimes our brains tell us that we aren’t worthy of anything except pain. This directs our actions, our words, our friends, our everything. I had to decide what kind of person I wanted to be. A strong, wise, courageous person or someone who would give up in the blink of an eye and become a victim of my circumstance.

I chose the obvious one. I didn’t do it alone though. My family and friends have been ANCHORS in helping me build up my self-esteem. I truly want to thank them for being amazing humans beings who in turn bring the best out in me. It wasn’t just that I had support, it was also a very conscious decision inside of my soul because I would try to use every excuse in the book to not get better.

“I will always be sick” – “I just can’t win” – “I deserve this somehow”

These were common things I used to tell myself on a daily basis. I had to STOP it. I realized that these things weren’t true. People heal all the time, people like you and me. People even kick cancer’s ass without even doing chemotherapy. It’s about strength and power within ourselves.

A quote that I will never forget is this: “You are never given anything in this life you can’t handle. Everyone comes into this lifetime with a psychic wound that needs to be healed in order to transcend the struggle, evolve, and grow. When you embrace the wound, it becomes a gift and the very thing that will make you whole.” – Demo Demartile

Everyone has to deal with something. Sometimes its silent like hypothyroidism or sometimes it’s loud and obvious like an abusive husband. Here’s a strange way to put it, but I realized my symptoms and problems weren’t special. Someone on the planet is going through the same exact things I was and actually fixing their symptoms! I couldn’t use those excuses anymore. It was up to me to take control over my feelings and decide how I wanted my symptoms to impact my life. It’s these kinds of choices that mold us into the people we are supposed to be. It’s a challenge, every damn day, but we will succeed!

These are still things I need to remind myself every now and again and that’s ok. No one is perfect. When symptoms are bad, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but trust me, it’s there! Don’t give up because of those voices or because you can’t grasp was is happening to your body. We are all just slowly finding the answers for ourselves and we are on this path together.

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Thank you to my friend Adele for helping me write this post the way I subconsciously wanted it written. You inspire me, motivate me, and make me a better person every day. Thank you!

Finding My Freedom

IMG_0921If you’ve found this blog, I’m guessing the thought of “what the hell is wrong with my body” or “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” has popped into your head a few too many times. Of course, in my experience there were much more graphic words used, followed by a toddler-approved tantrum. I’m sure you have all been there, done that!

I’ve struggled with relentless digestive “woes”, depression, anxiety, headaches, brain fog, hormonal issues, weight gain, acne, a fragile immune system, blood sugar issues, and so forth, for about 10 years (and counting). It wasn’t until I was 21 that it hit hard and never backed down. I thought I was doomed. Doomed to live a life I was constantly spending money, energy, and time towards and still feeling like I was getting the short end of the stick.

I was living in a state of constant fear, embarrassment, regret, guilt, shame, judgments, and hate. I was afraid of everyone finding out about what was really going on inside of me – physically and emotionally. I felt unworthy of existence every day. I was starting to convince myself that this must be some type of karma and would rack my brain on why I deserved this pain. Most of the time it was too overwhelming to even handle. My own body felt like a prison and I was trapped behind its steel bars.

Sure, with my personal health struggle came endless hours of research, weariness, debt, pointless doctor’s appointments, and a million breakdowns, but it also paved way to an indestructible tenacity inside of me and a realization I wasn’t willing to give up without a fight!

I even dared to try some unconventional diets to heal. At first, it was the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Through this, I found Paleo and then Autoimmune Protocol. I even dabbled into a low FODMAP diet, low histamine diet, and heavy metal toxicity. I tried everything I could. I googled, I read, I tested, I pouted, I cried, and I broke – then I got the hell back up again. I have learned a lot from my experience and it has forced me to find the most treasured things about myself and to find true worth in the world. It has opened the door to acceptance and belonging in a world that I thought I was never, truly apart of. It brought the word “optimism” back into my life.

We all have our up’s and down’s, weirdly enough, I want to document mine. Maybe it will bring peace, maybe it will bring destruction, but at least I can say I tried. I’m past living in the bullshit victim role and want to break free of hating my body for betraying me. The only thing that’s betrayed me is my mind in thinking that I am not worthy, that I deserve pain, and that I will always be sick.

Selfishly, I created this blog for me. This is obviously a huge gateway into my head and my soul, but it’s also a much needed place to express (and relieve) a part of myself that I have kept hidden for years. I am finally at a place where I just want to dump these emotional barriers in hopes of a more positive and deeper healing experience. I want to find my own freedom in life. Freedom from stress, fear, food, people, insecurities – the list goes on. We are all here for a reason and I know that we are trying our best. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe we can’t, but that’s ok. I’m just looking for a way to find freedom within myself with a bonus of finding some new friends and sense of community along the way.