I’m going to give you my 21 best tips for starting your healing journey today.
I have been incredibly committed to you, to the facts and information, and to the entire Gutsy community these past several months.
While I have no intentions of letting up anytime soon, something occurred to me sometime during the 6+ hour drive home from Chicago last night. Maybe I’m not sharing enough of the real and raw, personal aspects of both gut healing and gut health?
You see, I have lists upon lists of topics to research and articles to write. These are all things you have told me you want and need.
But a common theme still emerges every single day. It never fails, no matter what, and no matter how much research I do and information I provide.
…..but how did you heal your gut? How can I eat “normally” again? What were the exact steps you took?
Facts vs. Life
It dawned on me.
The benefit of having a passion for gut healing and health and making a commitment to you is not solely based on facts and a textbook. Seriously, go to Google, the ‘gram, or heck, even your own doctor. Surely you will find someone who has done the research and is committed to sharing it with you, on your behalf.
What makes me different is that I have LIVED IT ALL; practiced and preached, preached and practiced.
And though I’m not actively healing any longer, I know what it took in order to heal. Furthermore, I believe that having a healthy gut takes a lifelong commitment; there is no end date in sight.
So here is what I want to share with you today – some personal things, factual by account of living it and healing. These are not (necessarily) factual things you’ll find in a textbook. And there is a difference.
The way I’m doing this is in similar fashion to the posts you see going around like, “52 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self.”
These are 21 tips for starting your healing journey – how I would have told them to my younger self.
Tips for Starting Your Healing Journey
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Note: Remember, all these tips below are written to me. They are written in a way where I am reflecting on my journey.
I’m sharing thoughts for how I could have either avoided the mess or healed faster from it.
Don’t even start that diet
I cannot state this enough. Start no diet in any way, shape, or form. And by this, I mean an unwarranted diet. Every diet I ever entertained (in the beginning) was purely out of choice (and vanity)? For many of you, it’s too late. If it’s not too late, then don’t start. Please. p.s. I’m looking at myself in college. If you’re there right now, HERE is a resource you must have at your fingertips 24/7.
Try not to use that term because it’s so subjective. But all I’m telling you is that even though I don’t think you should start that diet, what you eat and how you choose to fuel your body does matter. You don’t have to diet or count calories to be good to you. Neither food restriction nor calorie-free, chemical-filled options will do you any good.
Stop working out like the Olympics is in your future
Seriously, 2-a-days? Hours in the gym? 40+ miles of road running a week? For what? Or for who? You are not going to the Olympics, and working out like that will make all the things crash. Once they have all crashed, intense workouts and gut healing cannot and will not co-exist. Go head, learn the lesson the hard way time-and-time again. But, you’ll see.
Listen to your body, not the magazine
Sleeping is actually important
That Preemie baby is going to demand every last ounce of your energy and time. But Mama, you can’t be the best for her if you’re drained and sick. Sleep instead of waking up at 2:30 am to do all the things. Sleeping more is also going to save your gut.
A therapist doesn’t come with guilt and shame
You can’t heal your gut if you can’t process the emotions. Any guilt or shame you feel is simply on you, not them. Just go and do it.
Less is more
Between medication and supplements, you’ll be given it all. You don’t have to say yes, though. Remember, it’s your body. The more you take, the less you know about what’s working and what’s not. However, a minimalistic approach to supplements will be life changing. So will the meds.
Find the right doctor, not the one tradition and society has told you is right for you
You’ll hear, “Oh, stomach problems? Go to the GI doctor who is highly recommended from xyz.” Don’t just make that appointment, do your own research, and listen to your own intuition. Start with the beginner’s guide to digestive health testing and figure out which doctor will be right for you. And by the way, the answer might be more than one. Roll with it.
There is no ONE diet that will help you heal
Listen, nightshades are inflammatory, but so are peanuts and tree nuts, sugar, wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and maybe even air. Yes, everything could prove to be inflammatory. GAPS and SCD are nearly the same thing, except that you have SIBO, too, so don’t eat the avocado. White rice is “bad,” but brown is okay (because, fiber). Well, unless you can’t do any starches, then maybe just consider a non-starchy vegetable to fill that gap. Shoot, but the rice is low-FODMAP; that vegetable the Paleo-ists told you to eat is not. UGH. I could tell you this one a million times and you’ll still ask, “What diet should I follow? What about kale? Can I eat kale?” I don’t know. What I do know are these three things:
- If you’re already sick, food journal and find patterns and
- Do NOT follow any one diet. There is no such thing. There are only template diets which you must customize based 100% on you.
- The diet that works for you today, might not tomorrow. And as you heal, you should move towards an un-diet as a lifelong goal.
You’re not healthier if you’re strict Vegan or strict Paleo
By the same token, do not believe the hype that if your’e strict Vegan or Paleo you’re any healthier than the next. You’re not (necessarily). What makes you healthy is determined by testing results and how you feel on a daily basis. And if you need to learn more about this and drilling down to the gut-healing diet that’s right for you, check out THIS.
Intermittent Fasting actually works
Don’t ruin your hormones to begin with. And if they aren’t ruined, start practicing Intermittent Fasting. (Because you did ruin your hormones, fix them first, then start.) You don’t need to eat 24/7. Eat a lot and enough, but rest and digest for at least 12 hours (up to 15) each day. Seriously, your digestion is going to thank you immensely. You’ll see.
Medication doesn’t mean you’re weak
The end. Listen, sometimes you just need the damn medication.
Holistic isn’t the holy grail
You will fall in love with the world of alternative health and a more holistic view for healing. That’s okay. Stay on that path. But please, for the love of God, know that it is not the holy grail. If you choose to elect #12 to help on your healing journey, you are not weak. Life will go on and (gasp!) it might truly help you heal!
Don’t be basic
You can’t just get a CBC (complete blood count), have a GP (general practitioner) tell you, “All is well,” and walk away feeling like s#$% yet say to yourself, “Yup, all is well.” There are so many testing options you can and should explore. When you aren’t getting answers, you must keep seeking them. Without the answers, you’ll never heal!
Drink more water
You’re going to lie all the time when doctor’s ask, “Are you drinking enough water?” Fine, lie. But go home and drink water. Being properly hydrated truly does make a difference for both gut and overall health.
Lifestyle is everything
Gut health and gut healing are very different things
The sooner you realize what to do for each part of the journey, the better off you’re going to be.
On your healing journey, you’ll feel awkward in social settings. And, once you’re healed, you’ll still feel awkward. Why? Because you care. You care about the things you do, foods you choose to eat, makeup and skincare you believe is superior, cleaning supplies you enjoy making, journal you crave writing in, and the sleep you’d rather have than late-night partying. It’s OK that you are mostly “different” than your day-to-day company and surroundings. They don’t care. And if they do, don’t hang out with them.
You WILL heal
Yes, you WILL heal. And when you heal your gut, you’ll also heal your life. And it’s going to be incredibly awesome!
It’s going to take you a very long time
(Almost 10 years) to both heal and find your permanent voice as A Gutsy Girl, but you’re going to do it. And once you do, you’ll never stop giving back to the Gutsy community while also staying on your forever-mission for optimal gut health. The balance is going to be beautiful!
The truth? It was a long, sometimes painful, and always frustrating road. And yet, honestly, I would probably not change much.
Okay, that’s a lie. I may have expedited the process, but going through it all has taught me everything about myself.
Today I know the difference (vast difference) between gut health and gut healing. I also know what feeling incredible feels like. So many people are okay with feeling below average; a normal for them. I wasn’t then, and I would never be now. Because I know what’s on this side……
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You will heal. I will help.