It’s cliché but true; elimination diets and food restrictions are a marathon, not a sprint. I used to hate when my mom would say something like this to me. I didn’t want to wait, and it didn’t seem fair to me. It seemed like I was doing everything right, but progress was slow. I would make a timeline of when I wanted a symptom to go away or when I wanted to have a certain food back. For example, I wanted to be on the full GAPS diet by a weekend youth conference in order to eat fruit. It didn’t work out that way. (I cheated by the way and ate apples and bananas- not smart!) I didn’t even reached full GAPS by the time I needed to eliminate all foods with medium and high salicylate levels three months later.
Our bodies are complex. Everything is connected and affects each other in some way. As one part begins to function poorly another follows suit. As you begin to fix one issue, such as your digestion system, you discover something else is not working. I call it the peeling back the onion layers. You have to peel away one layer or issue at a time. It is different for everyone because our bodies are so complex and have many layers. Wellness may feel like an eternity away, as if you are stuck in the never-ending peeling of the onion.
Keep in mind, every time you make the choice to eat a food that will help your body rather than harm it, you are taking a step forward. A tiny baby step, but it is still a step forward. You may not see it in the moment but eventually those steps add up until you can see the progress you have made. A 26.2 mile marathon is much longer than a 200-yard dash and requires a different type of training and mental preparedness, and you are in the midst of a marathon. Here are three tips…
1. Positive Attitude
Have a positive outlook on your circumstances. Being negative doesn’t help and it only makes you and the people around you miserable. Life is rough; you didn’t ask for these health problems, but you are actively doing something to change your health for the better. Hold on to each baby step and success rather than setbacks and disappointments that might come your way.
2. Quit the Pity Party
Like stated before, life is rough and you didn’t ask to be given these health issues, but guess what – you have them anyway. If you hit an unexpected bump in the road on your way to wellness, it is okay to be upset. What is not okay is to continue with the mindset of “poor sick me”. It is understandable to experience this (I have!) but don’t make it a daily habit. You have the choice to decide that tomorrow is a new day. You have the choice to let it go and move on. That is a better way to handle a situation than being frustrated for days and not making steps forward.
3. Focus on the Finish Line
Keep your dreams in mind when things get hard. Remember why you changed your diet and what you want to get out of it. When the marathon gets overwhelming, remember what is waiting for you at the finish line. This can help motivate you when you are in the middle of a pity party or want to be negative about your situation. Don’t forget to enjoy things along the way though! Don’t be so focused on your health that you miss fun opportunities that are in front of you now.
Our bodies don’t work on our time. We need to be patience and not to be anxious to sprint it out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Persevere by having a positive attitude, not living in self-pity, and focusing on the finish line.