Most people take one look at the “food to avoid” list and are immediately filled with a sense of despair. “No way! Surely it’s not possible to eliminate so many foods from my diet…. I can never do this…..I love my (insert wine/sushi/pizza/breakfast cereal) way too much!”
This is a typical reaction I get from most people when first introduced to the “food to avoid” lists. Let’s be honest, the food lists are daunting….and it might seem that you don’t have many delicious or comforting options left. Starting this is a huge commitment, one that requires lots of drive, discipline and heart. Like most of us, you will probably go through periods of doubt. “Is it really possible to heal and recover by changing my diet?”, you might ask. Perhaps you tried the food eliminations for a few weeks and it feels like you’re wasting your time because you’re not reaping the healing results that everybody else seem to experience. Feeling this way is normal. It will take time and there will be bumps in the road. Expect ups and downs, but in the long run, you are going to start seeing little improvements, then some bigger ones and then after a while you might get to a point where you’ve healed.
But before you turn your back on the Autoimmune protocol (aka AIP) eating plan, because you’ll rather live with your symptoms than not having your favourite food, consider the following:
ASK YOURSELF WHY
Why are you considering this? Maybe you are too tired to spend time with your children or go on that hike with friends. Perhaps you feel exhausted all the time, no matter how much sleep you get or maybe you are tired of doctors prescribing more and more powerful medication to treat your symptom without considering the cause of your condition. Perhaps you’ve declined one too many social events because of the fear of being stuck in the rest room all evening. The only way to successfully implement the dietary changes, is for your “WHY” to be stronger than your”WHY NOT”.
“Change will only happen, if not changing, hurts more than changing.”
CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVES
- Are you okay with taking immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of your life, knowing that you didn’t even try a more natural alternative?
- Are you okay with living with the side-effects of the medicine?
- Are you okay with being sick and with your symptoms getting worse or never going away?
- Are you okay with not trying absolutely everything in your power to heal and recover?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you owe it to yourself to give this a shot.
If you’re the kind of person who responds well to tough love, this paragraph was written for you. It’s a well-meaning kick in the pants to put the eating plan into perspective, retire your excuses, and start owning the changes you want to make in your life. Here goes (said with love and respect):
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Losing a child is hard. Eliminating food that is making you sick. Is. Not. Hard.”
It’s not going to be easy. You will not be perfect. Don’t even try to be perfect. No one is judging, no one is keeping score, and there are no penalties for admitting that this is hard, you are struggling, and you need help. Be patient with yourself, because real change takes time. Be kind to yourself, and celebrate even the smallest of victories, because a series of small victories is all it takes to change your life. Finally, take it one day at a time. One meal. One bite. Do this one bite at a time if you have to, because it’s for the most important and worthwhile cause on earth—YOU.
THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
It will get easier. Stick to something long enough, and it will become a habit. It might just become second nature. Staying motivated isn’t just about putting in the hours. It requires a conscious effort to focus on the positives and to celebrate every small victory. To shift your mindset from “Why is this happening to me?” to “I am in control of my health, I’m doing this for me”. And the good news is, once you’ve healed your gut, you will be able to reintroduce some of the food you’ve been missing, back into your diet.