Way too often, I see people frustrated and in pain. They have chronic symptoms that suck the very life out of them, even while they pretend to their friends and coworkers that they’re fine.
They try to get by on over-the-counter and prescription medications that may have been recommended with the best of intentions but that fall short of providing them with the relief and ease in their bodies that they were seeking.
Now, they’ve got symptoms AND medications to stress about.
Life starts to feel like a cage.
Here’s what my cage looked like in my 20s:
- I would wake up exhausted and gas up with coffee, which only made me feel more fried.
- I’d start getting anxious about midday, which was (temporarily) relieved by lots of chocolate.
- When the beginnings of a migraine came on, I’d pop a prescription (then sleep under my desk at work for 30min because the drug always made me fall asleep).
- When I felt super constipated, I would take another pill (and pray).
- At night, another prescription to put me to sleep and shut my mind off.
- A big zit was treated with a prescription cream from the dermatologist. I had bigger ones injected at the dermatologist office (I took a long lunch that day and hoped no one would notice. Note that I was also on antibiotics daily to reduce breakouts.)
This cycle was a weekly, if not daily affair.
I was chasing symptoms with quick fixes and paying absolutely no attention to what any of these symptoms meant, the patterns that were present, and how these symptoms related to other aspects of my diet and lifestyle.
“This is just who I am”, is what I would tell myself.
“I live a stressful life, working long hours. It runs in the family.”
Maybe you tell yourself the same thing?
Maybe you rely on a number of prescriptions or over the counter medications to help you function throughout the day.
And there’s really no judgment it that – we all do what we can with what we have wherever we are.
But these things give us a false sense of control and actually support our tendencies to ignore what we’re feeling (if only because we don’t even know what to make of how we’re feeling).
I’m here to tell you that THIS CYCLE IS OPTIONAL
There is another way.
Anytime you are taking something to feel better, to alter your current state of being – whether it be to change your symptoms, your mood, your ability to focus and have energy – it’s an indicator that something is off.
We’re all designed to feel good and when we don’t it’s really just like having a flashing light on the dashboard of your car – it’s an alert to something deeper going on.
What we don’t often realize is that our symptoms are most often triggered by certain foods and ingredients.
Without getting into the science of it all, I want to encourage you to just start to notice (we’ll talk science in Reverse Your Symptoms STEP #2).
I invite you to take the first step to start connecting the dots between your diet and your symptoms.
The key to doing this is to start listening to and observing the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) signs and symptoms that present themselves to us each day.
How do you start listening to your body? Try this.
One brilliant way to do this is to track what you eat along with a variety of “dashboard” indicators (I’ve got you covered on what to look for!).
You’re not tracking calories or amounts (there’s really no sense in that), simply what you ate and drank and how you feel throughout the day.
By nature, I am not a tracker, so I understand when there is hesitation in making the time, but this can be a revolutionary activity and is the essential first step to learning what causes your symptoms.
I’ve designed this Food & Mood Journal to help you get started, but feel free to find or create one that works for you. You may want to use mine as a guide to start, since I have included a list of things to look for as you’re keeping track.
There is nothing more satisfying for me than seeing the results that people get when they start to learn more about what works for their unique bodies. They’re lives totally change.
Just start here and look out for the next post: Reverse Your Symptoms STEP #2.
So many people feel stuck in a cage of symptoms and medications. If you know anyone who may benefit from beginning this process of recovery, please share with the options below!