Well, I’ve gone over all the resources and foods you’re going to need on The Autoimmune Protocol. Now, I’d like to go over what I consider the hardest part of following The Autoimmune Protocol, the lifestyle changes. Dunt Dunt Duun!
There are many reasons I consider lifestyle changes to be the hardest part of the protocol. As far as reducing my stress, well, stuff happens. You know what I mean. You’re going along, just trying to heal your autoimmune disease(s), and, BAM, something stressful happens. Whether it’s your car breaking down, or a loved one having a health crisis, stress just seems to rear it’s ugly head.
Next, let’s cover getting enough sleep. I try to get enough sleep, even though I’m a bit of a night owl. If I need to wake up early, I adjust the time I go to bed. But, sometimes, I get insomnia. It’s actually something I inherited from my grandmother. I also get the jimmy legs and arms, otherwise known as restless leg and arms. Yes, you can get the jimmy arms! I don’t get it nearly as much as I used to; but, when it comes around, the only way I can go to sleep, is to shake my legs and arms until it goes away. My grandmother suffered from that as well. Plus, because my hubby has elderly parents, he has gotten calls in the middle of the night to rush over and give his assistance. All of this affects my sleep immensely.
As far as my circadian rhythms go, I’m a naughty girl. Even my hubby gets on me about this. Because I’m a blogger, I’m often working, on my computer or iPads, until right before I go to bed. I can’t help it. There is simply not enough time in a day to do everything I have to do. I honestly don’t know how people do it. I’ve tried to shut things down early; but, I can’t stand to sit in a dark room. I feel like I’m in a dungeon! I need all the lights on, until I’m ready to go to bed. That’s just me.
Meal frequency is another thing I struggle with. I practice intermittent fasting, which I will cover in a later post. Now, the reason I eat this way is because I’ve had my gallbladder removed and have several anomalies in my gastrointestinal tract. For me, eating actually causes stress to my body. Because of this, I eat two to three meals a day, all within an eight hour window. This gives my body lots of time to recover and digest my food properly. But, if you don’t have these abnormalities, I have to suggest against intermittent fasting until you’re in remission.
Exercise is another problem for me. If I’m experiencing a flare, I try to keep my workouts to yoga or ballet barre. Believe me, I would rather be doing HIIT training or heavy weight lifting. But, that would simply tear down my body. And, here and there, I hurt too much to want to even move. I mean, who feels like exercising when every joint in your body aches?
Lastly, taking medication is usually not a problem for me. I hate taking medications! However, recently I suffered a severe respiratory infection and psoriasis flare. I had to go on antibiotics and steroidal medications. There are things that happen that are completely out of our control. I’m still suffering the after effects of these medications.
So, believe me, I understand if you’re struggling with some of these lifestyle changes:
In her book, The Paleo Approach, Sarah Ballantyne gives many great ideas on implementing these lifestyle changes. She also explains the science behind why you would want to make them.
I have vowed to try and do better with these lifestyle changes. I have The Autoimmune Protocol diet under control. Recently, I tried some reintroductions, which really didn’t turn out too well for me. It was easy for me to return to strict AIP to heal my flare. But, without the lifestyle changes, I could simply be undoing all the good the diet does for me.
Applying the lifestyle changes of The Autoimmune Protocol is necessary for your healing. You must try to reduce your stress, balance your circadian rhythms, not skip meals, get low impact exercise, and, if possible, reduce or stop medication usage. I can’t tell you how to do these things. You must figure out what’s going to work for you. I can give you ideas; but, it’s up to you to pick and choose which ideas resonate with you.
Over the next few weeks, I will have blog post covering each one of these lifestyle changes. I will give you my report card on how I’m doing with them. I will also give you some ideas on how to make each change. Remember, be realistic when choosing which ideas you want to follow. If I list journalling as a good stress release activity; but, you hate to write, you may want to skip that one. Also, you have to forgive yourself if you’re having a hard time with these lifestyle changes. I certainly don’t hold my lack of obedience over my head. I move on, knowing that I’ll try to be better next time.
Striving for perfection is way too stressful. I prefer my own imperfect self! I go for progress! And, I applaud myself for every little win! Hopefully, you’ll do the same.
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