I want to encourage you to take a minute today to celebrate and honour the beautiful vessel that is your body. Our bodies work so hard for us and often all we do is focus on what we’re not happy with.
‘Listening to your body’ is the first in my Nourish series, which will be looking at ways you can nourish your mind, body and soul. It felt important to talk about listening to your body to begin with as it helps to guide you to know what you need.
Once I had my new anti-inflammatory diet in place shortly after my diagnosis, I then focused on which holistic therapies would help me to manage my pain, reduce inflammation, increase my energy, avoid medication and help me to heal my body and immune system to start fighting off the constant stream of viruses I was going down with. It has been a gradual process over the last two years as nothing gave a quick fix or cure but each different route provided another piece of the puzzle and helped me in my journey back to wellness without medication.
After my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, I decided I was going to tackle my RA symptoms via diet, natural supplements and alternative therapies. Interestingly, lots of people I spoke to told me I was wasting my time trying to heal it through changes to my diet. This momentous decision meant that I had to eat my body weight in chocolate at Christmas, as obviously I didn’t want any temptation when I started the new eating plan! Ahh that was fun!
My first step was to read and research about diet and supplements. There seemed to be so many conflicting ideas about an anti-arthritis diet so, armed with my lists of food that I had read about which were supposed to help or hinder RA, I saw a kinesiologist to have a full food test of my lists to create a diet that was right for my body at that time. I was already wheat and gluten free because it caused bloating and often caused me to be doubled over in pain after eating those foods. Giving up those food groups already was a positive as it was common to read that gluten and wheat were not seen as helpful for people with RA.
‘You are strong. You are brave. You can do this’ has been my mantra for a long time. There are times in everyone’s lives when we have to step outside of our comfort zone or cope with something which seems too big. I use this mantra in times of fear and overwhelm.
In times of fear, it is easy to take the safe option or to run in the other direction but this often leaves you in exactly the same place as before and can result in you feeling disappointed and frustrated. It’s at exactly this point when you need to remind yourself of how strong and brave you really are deep down (because it’s at this time when you don’t believe it). Think of all the times you’ve faced your fears and summoned all your bravery and strength and taken that step out of your comfort zone to use as evidence. I often find repeating this mantra really helps to change my mindset and get in touch with the inner strength and bravery that we all innately have. Even though it’s often very hard and uncomfortable, by facing the fear or taking that step (or nudge!) outside of your comfort zone, it can move you forward and take you to a different place and the feeling afterwards is almost euphoric because you did it! Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge how well you did.
In September 2017, I had my annual x-rays to check on the damage caused by my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). They showed I had managed to halt any further damage (which is quite incredible as my diagnosis x-rays in 2015 showed aggressive damage to many of the joints in my feet and swelling in both my hands and feet). I am also virtually pain-free day to day (with only occasional short flare ups) with no swelling and I’ve even managed to rid myself of the severe fatigue which was completely debilitating and resulted in me having to stop working full time as a teacher. Since my diagnosis late 2015, the only medication I have taken is an 8-week course of steroids in January 2015. After my diagnosis, I decided to fight my RA naturally through diet, supplements, natural holistic therapies and a better mindset.
It’s so easy in in day to day life, especially when you’re going through a tough time, to be very hard on yourself and to treat yourself badly. We wouldn’t dream of speaking to friends and family in this way, but we happily do it to ourselves.