Spring has officially sprung and while some people were recently knee-deep in snow and cold weather, no matter where you live you’re likely feeling a resurgence of energy to just get started!
Spring is one of my favorite seasons because it symbolizes new beginnings and not only the desire to set new intentions but to start actively pursuing them. Chances are, you’re feeling this way too and you’re ready to give your physical health the attention it’s been craving all winter.
It’s important to get clear on your goals—no matter what those may be—and what’s holding you back because recognition keeps us motivated through rough patches, hard work, and stagnation.
There were many times in my journey healing my Hashimoto’s where I felt discouraged and alone, but I never let it allow me to quit. Instead, I persisted until remission was accomplished. I have witnessed many clients do the same with plenty of education and support, plain ol’ elbow grease, and unwavering intention.
Setting Your Intention
To accomplish your health goals, first start out by putting a voice to them.
- What specifically do you want to see improve with your physical or mind-body health?
- Which symptoms are a total drag on your everyday life?
- Which are limiting you from being the person you want to be?
- What is utterly painful or annoying?
- What is it that you truly desire for your health?…
…fewer symptoms, less medication, remission, the ability to enjoy vigorous exercise again, better sleep, fewer depressed moods, less bloat, thicker hair, increased libido?
Put those wishes to paper and map out your end goal.
Make a list, then edit it. Come back to it and add when you notice something new you’d like to resolve and check off the goals you’ve achieved.
This needs to be written down and/or spoken.
When you do this, it becomes tangible and something to work towards. It also allows you to see the areas that need specific solutions. Whenever you’re feeling discouraged, go back to your list and remind yourself what you want for your life and how far you’ve come.
Then keep persisting.
We often have deep desires for ourselves that we never write down or verbalize because we’re scared we’ll fail. “What if I say this and it never happens? How stupid will I feel?”
But again, setting a specific intention is the first place to start. To succeed, we have to also identify and forgo the negative mindsets that hold us back.
There’s no doubt that changing your diet will improve your health; we have the science (and people who’ve lived it) to support this. Instead of operating from a place of, “What if it goes wrong?”…begin with “I’ll try no matter what.”
This isn’t to say that things always go according to plan, but if you have the desire to reach your goals, your health will undoubtedly improve because you’ll always seek solutions and implement those solutions no matter what.
When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012, I wanted a homebirth. I was a young, first-time mom who had no knowledge of what labor actually felt like. The older women in my life offered me patronizing skepticism because I’d never done it and it’s hard work!
But I knew this was what I wanted for my child, so I persisted into four long days of unmedicated labor with all of the fear, doubt, and insecurities that arose in each contraction—or lack thereof. Early on the fifth day, I birthed a healthy 9-plus pound baby girl and was so thrilled that I’d achieved my goal despite what any naysayers told me.
Any health journey will require the same mindset. Yes I was young, yes I was inexperienced, yes I had high hopes. But I knew it was possible. So I persisted. And I did it.
You have to go into any goal with the mindset that nothing is impossible, nothing out of your reach. This can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do because it requires breaking age-old patterns of thought that tell us things like, “This is genetic. There are no solutions. I must live this way forever.” Or, “This approach is too non-traditional.”
Family, friends, doctors, and co-workers often discourage us from even trying, only because they too are limited to their own cyclical, negative thinking. If they haven’t experienced it for themselves or read the research, it may be difficult for them to understand the goals you have for yourself. But remember, there are always solutions—it’s simply up to us to find them.
And it’s important to actively seek out supportive, well-educated allies to help us along in the process.
Hire a Coach
Although I graduated from nutrition school and have a deep love for imparting nutrition research onto my clients, this isn’t the only benefit I offer them.
Hiring a coach is an integral part of your health equation because we’ve been in the trenches ourselves (a good coach will have “been there”) and we understand the journey. We get the ups and downs, bumps in the road, and huge accomplishments. We understand that “this too shall pass.”
When you’re going at your health goals alone, you can become scared of every little setback, be worried about which next steps to take, agonize over every dietary decision, or miss a huge piece of the puzzle altogether—a piece that’s critical for sequencing an approach for lasting results.
Sequencing matters. Big time.
When you have a coach by your side, helping you investigate all factors and piece things together, you can customize a personalized, sequential approach. Adopting random strategies in random order is akin to bailing water out of a leaky boat.
It’s difficult to see things for yourself (even for coaches!) and becomes challenging to see the big picture—the forest for the trees, if you will. As a health coach, I’m not simply creating a specific, strategic diet plan for my clients. I’m also there to hold their hand and say, “This is one bump, it’s not the end of your journey. Do you know how far you’ve come?” It’s seeing a client in their time of vulnerability and saying, “You are so powerful. You’ve got this.”
Action Steps to Take Now
Once you set your specific goals, identify any negative thinking that’s holding you back, and find support, here are the next action steps to take:
1. Undergo an elimination/provocation diet. This involves removing possible food triggers/antigens from your diet for at least three weeks, then reintroducing one by one to chart any reactions. Any foods you are sensitive to and still consuming will affect how your gut, immune system, and hormones function.
2. Identify gut dysfunction. Is your gut “leaky,” allowing food proteins, bacteria, and yeasts into circulation in the bloodstream where they don’t belong? This will perpetuate the allergy-autoimmune-inflammation cycle and also make it difficult to truly digest and absorb the nutrients you’re getting from foods. See #1—doing this diet is a fantastic start in “healing and sealing” the intestinal lining, although many people need additional support cleansing yeast and bacteria from the gut.
3. Support detoxification. We live in a world full of chemical byproducts. No matter how hard we try, they’re inescapable, though we can certainly reduce exposure. Start by weeding out contact with harsh chemicals, plastics, and other immune- and endocrine-disrupting substances. Then add in foods and supplements to support your kidneys, liver, and bowel in their detoxification processes.
4. Deconstruct your stressors. Stress isn’t just the concerns over money, your job, or relationship problems. Stress is the undercurrent of our nervous system in any given situation—and we’re reacting all the time, whether we realize it or not. In every moment, try to tune into your heart rate/blood pressure, thoughts, and breathing to see where you’re stressed and then, begin to work through the problems in the given environment.
Remember, pain is always the signal.
You’re being asked to undergo a healing process to resolve it. It’s up to us to recognize it and act on it.
Set your intentions, identify anything (or anyone) holding you back, work with a coach to guide you in the process, and just get started.