Autoimmune conditions can leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and you may feel that your body is working against you.
Over the years of working with many women with autoimmune and other chronic health conditions I have found that there are some common patterns and approaches when it comes to long term health creation.
But before I share 5 ways that you can do this, I want to talk about a big obstacle that many people face even when they are ready to support their body’s healing process
A mindset that makes you more resilient
Not having a growth mindset can often be a big obstacle when we are trying to do something new.
When we are dealing with any chronic condition, our diet and our lifestyle are two of the most important pillars for addressing the root causes.
This means that we have to change the way we eat, the way we live, socialise, move and sleep. In fact, this aspect of the healing process is what most people find really difficult to cope with. All the changes can become too overwhelming.
I simplify this entire process of health creation by taking my clients through a step by step approach to achieve this. At the same, I teach them to develop a more growth-oriented mindset toward making these changes.
You see, the view that you take makes a huge difference in whether you will be able to make these changes and see the results or not.
When you believe that your qualities are completely fixed and that there is not much you can do to change or grow, it becomes really hard to accept and embrace change.
What if you chose to believe that you can change?
That you can change, grow and adapt so that you become more resilient in dealing with the challenges that you face?
According to Carol Dweck (Author of the excellent book “Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfill your potential
This means that no matter how hard it is to adopt a new diet and make lifestyle and other changes, you can find ways to stretch yourself and persevere.
This is especially relevant in the case of chronic diseases like autoimmune conditions. Often, getting better is an uphill task where a setback can be just a breath away.
The thing is, having a growth mindset teaches you to take these setbacka in your stride and keep moving forward. I have written more about this topic here.
Change is hard, but with the right mindset, you can make a concrete plan to do whatever is necessary to create long term health by addressing the root causes of your disease.
Once you understand this, it becomes easier to make the necessary changes to support your body.
I have shared below 5 important ways that you can support your body’s healing potential.
5 ways to unlock your body’s healing potential
1. Eliminate trigger foods:
Autoimmune conditions are often triggered by certain foods, and identifying and eliminating these trigger foods can be a powerful way to reduce inflammation, manage symptoms, and support healing. Common trigger foods can include gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
To identify your own trigger foods, you can try an elimination diet in addition to food sensitivity or IgG antibodies (intolerance) testing.
An elimination diet involves temporarily removing all potential trigger foods from your diet for several weeks, then slowly reintroducing them one at a time to see if they cause any symptoms. Food sensitivity testing can provide more targeted information about which foods your body may be reacting to.
But do keep in mind that no single food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance panel is going to yield a comprehensive and fully accurate list of all foods that might be causing inflammation and/or discomfort.
Eliminating trigger foods can be challenging, especially if you’re used to eating them regularly. However, by working with a health coach and using a step-by-step process you can make it easier to make these changes.
2. Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods:
Inflammation is a common feature of autoimmune conditions. And incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can help reduce inflammation in the body and support healing.
Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include all vegetables including leafy greens, berries, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, turmeric, ginger, and green tea.
In addition to incorporating these foods, eating a rainbow diet of different coloured fruits and vegetables, can ensure that you get a variety of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) that support your immune system and overall health.
You can learn how to eat a diet rich in anti inflammatory foods and navigate any dietary restrictions or challenges by following a proper plan for creating long term health.
3. Reduce stress:
Stress is a major trigger for autoimmune symptoms and can worsen inflammation in the body.
Reducing stress can therefore be a powerful way to support your body’s natural healing potential. There are many techniques that can help to reduce stress, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and journaling.
Actually stress is not bad, chronic stress is.
You see, our bodies have NOT evolved to deal with chronic stress.
We evolved to deal with short bursts of acute stressors. Stress causes the release of hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. And the purpose of these hormones is to prepare our body to either fight, flight or freeze. This means that we mobilise stores of fat, protein and glucose to give us the energy that we need to do this.
It works well when we get a chance to use the extra energy produced by our stress response.
But more often than not we don’t get a chance to do that. As a result, our stress response eventually leads to modern diseases like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, insomnia, anxiety, depression, obesity and many more!
Incorporating stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine can help to improve your overall sense of wellbeing and reduce autoimmune symptoms.
4. Address underlying imbalances:
Many autoimmune conditions are more prevalent in women, and hormonal imbalances can play a role in the development and progression of these conditions.
Identifing potential root causes of your symptoms, such as gut imbalances, hormonal imbalances, or chronic infections is an important component of a foundational and holistic approach to managing autoimmune symptoms.
Addressing these underlying imbalances can support your body’s natural healing abilities.
Some strategies that can help support hormonal balance include getting enough sleep, managing stress, and incorporating certain foods and supplements into your diet. For example, consuming healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts and seeds can support hormone production and balance. Eating a nutrient-dense diet that includes plenty of fiber and protein can also support healthy hormonal function.
However, the body is very wise, and we don’t often need to “force” hormone balance with interventions. Focusing on laying a strong foundation, removing triggers and providing the nutrients can often lead to remarkable results.
By figuring out what strategies may be most appropriate for you, you can do what works best for your body.
5. Get enough rest:
Many women with autoimmune conditions experience fatigue and exhaustion.
Getting enough rest and sleep is crucial for supporting your body’s natural healing potential. Sleep is when your body repairs and regenerates cells, and it’s also important for regulating hormones and reducing inflammation. However, many women with autoimmune conditions face sleep related issues and even insomnia.
In cases like these, I help them to prioritise getting enough rest and quality sleep as a starting point.
Creating healthy sleep habits is the first step. This can include creating a calming bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or gentle yoga, and avoiding electronics or other stimulating activities before bed.
Creating a comfortable sleep environment can also be helpful, such as making sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bed can also support healthy sleep patterns.
Sometimes, taking these measures may not be enough. In this case certain supplements can be helpful.
However, start with the basics by incorporating a good sleeping hygiene and be patient with yourself as you establish healthy sleep habits.
The important thing is to remember that your body has tremendous healing potential.
And only you can unlock this with the decisions that you take every day. One bad day that you have or any setback on your healing journey should not be a reason to give up. It is consistency that matters the most.
And as Jim Rohn had said
“The body is the only thing we really, truly own. Take care of it. It’s the only place you have to live.”