Listening to your body is important in the healing journey. And listening to my body is one of the hardest things for me. Growing up as an athlete, it was drilled into me to play through pain, push your body to the limits, no pain no gain….and it’s a struggle to break this mentality. Listening to your body is also important in finding certain food triggers. But again, this hasn’t been easy for me either. It has always seemed like I can eat one thing one day and feel fine, eat the same thing the next day and feel crappy. And then of course there is the frustration that I’ve already sacrificed so much for my body to heal, what else could I possibly sacrifice!
After 541 days/77 weeks/18 months, my body is still telling me it needs more time to heal. Despite progress, I continue to have regular symptoms and 1 or 2 rougher days each week. Although I have been disciplined in not cheating on my food restrictions, I do at times push through symptoms when I probably need to back off. I haven’t really been able to identify any specific food triggers from my very restrictive options, but I do know that the size of a meal is a trigger. And sometimes, I just want that extra bite or extra side…I mean I deserve it right….at least that’s how I justify it in the moment. And then to make the choice even easier to talk myself into, sometimes my symptoms will do okay or even improve slightly with the extra intake. The times that it doesn’t respond well, it’s really easy to get frustrated with myself or disappointed in my choice.
As I continue to navigate listening to my body, some things I have been able to do well are resting (sometimes I go to bed ridiculously early so that I can get extra sleep with my early work alarm), modifying workouts and reducing their intensity, taking more walks, praying, reading, finding treats I can enjoy (homemade tea lattes, AIP treats), and an occasional trip to a coffee shop (for tea of course). Things I’m working on are finding more joy each day, laughing more, giving myself grace, and finding more time for connection with family and friends.
“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.” (Adapted from a Cherokee proverb)