Could approaching the days with a sense of What If? help you reach goals. Because what if you imagined your best life and really got into the emotion of feeling you have accomplished that? Especially if you are currently struggling with making a lifestyle change, I recommend visualizing the outcome. Sometimes some of us have to make drastic changes to our lifestyle to stop suffering from poor health. What is severe enough for you to change? What are the benefits of changing? Focus on that. It won’t be easy, but keeping that end goal in mind and staying grateful for the journey can lead you back on the path if you fall astray.
For me, it’s been through running where I’ve gained that commitment towards goals when I set them. But that’s not the only way to gain confidence in your abilities. You have to take some time and find out what will work for your highly unique self. For some, it can be through art, mantras, different types of physical activity or exercise, breathwork, sound work, something that lets you turn your logical mind off and be present in the action of just being. It’s in that magic space where you can ask yourself how much this goal means to you and even strike a deal with yourself to accomplish it. Because if you are trying to achieve a goal for someone other than your fabulous self, the challenge becomes even more difficult. If you are fortunate enough to reach that milestone, it may not be as fulfilling as doing something you challenged yourself to do.
Over the years, I’ve always pondered, what if? Early on in my fitness journey, it started with what if I ran for a couple of minutes, which led to a mile, then a 5K, and so on. Each time I accomplished one of these distances, it increased confidence in my abilities outside of fitness. Ultimately, I ended up wondering what if I ran a marathon? What could that journey teach me about me?
So many lessons, there is just something humbling about breaking the body down mile after mile to do something powerful with your mind, which tells your body to keep going. When scientists have looked at what leads to exhaustion in exercise, they have found the mind quits before the body does. That’s powerful, and which is why it’s also critical that we are filling our minds up with good wholesome thoughts. It goes hand in hand with making changes to achieve goals.
So if you have found yourself in a spot like myself where you have to make significant changes to your diet, start by focusing on what you will be able to eat, not what you have to give up. Of course, it will take some will power but it’s far easier to think in terms of abundance instead of lack and it will also help you stay the course.
I’ve struggled with severe eczema that's lowered my quality of life, especially in the Summer for the last 2+ years. I’ve seen three dermatologists, one allergist, one Nurse Practitioner who consulted others for my visit, had two biopsies, and no answers. I took matters into my own hands and changed my strictly vegetarian, bread, and pasta rich diet into a more paleo style of eating. I eliminated gluten, grains, legumes, nightshades, dairy, nuts, added sweeteners, and inflammatory oils. After a few months of doing this, I had seen some improvement, and my hair grew back (that's another blog post about borderline Anemia) but the eczema hasn’t gone away entirely. Even after strictly avoiding gluten outside of three or four indulgences the entire year. I’ve even stayed away from nightshades, legumes, eggs. I just don’t know what I’m consuming that is creating the reaction. This is especially frustrating because, I am consuming a nutrient dense diet rich in fruits and vegetables and staying within all the guidelines already covered.
Fortunately for me, my friend that is going to nursing school and mentioned my situation do a Pathologist that thinks I could be sensitive to histamine and suggested a low histamine diet. After connecting a few other dots, this may be the answer and I’m going to implement this lifestyle realistically and commit to it for the next few weeks. Because What If this was the cure I have missed all along? To give you an idea of some foods that are high in histamine that I will have to avoid includes, avocados, bananas, vanilla bone broth protein powder, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkin, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and even nutmeg. Of course 2020 is the year I find out I should try to avoid pumpkin spice because I love to mix plain canned pumpkin into oatmeal around this time of year. But I do plan to add eggs back into my diet, so I’m stoked about that!
What If Hippocrates theories regarding health is the best path towards health? While I haven’t been able to pinpoint what I need to change yet, What If this is the thing?
“If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he/she (I’m going to add she & her) is ready to do away with the reasons for his/her illness. Only then is it possible to help him/her." Hippocrates
I have stayed committed to believing in my mind I will heal, so this connection that shed's a new point of view that I should look at for my health is no coincidence. There have been many times when I was ready to be done avoiding this or that, still eat nutrient dense foods but add some of the stuff I've been avoiding back in, like hummus and peppers. I mean the Dupixent commercials are pretty convincing, right!? But that would be the easy way, and taking shortcuts in life do present their own set of consequences. When it comes to medicine it might be side effects that I’m not willing to take a chance on, especially if it's any sort of immune compromise. What if I’m the 1% of the population that is hypersensitive to histamine and I’ve been fueling my disease this year with bananas, avocados, dates, dark chocolate and more. Mastering gluten-free, just gives me courage to take the next step in the journey towards healthy skin. Maybe I can have gluten after all, which would be pretty dope cause it's in everything and just gives bread the texture it should have.
What If my favorite type of exercise is also inducing a histamine response? I'm an endurance fanatic and love getting lost in the stride of running, with music in my ears. And since I’m now blessed enough to call Colorado home, I’ve gotten into hiking more, which is also aerobic. I spent almost four hours in the mountains this weekend climbing to 12,000 feet. I was sore AF when I got back, but then I wondered if I could do a 14er, What If? I guess it might be something to think about for next Spring...
With any change we make with health, it’s hard for it to be sustainable if it’s drastic. My plan is to gradually phase out any high histamine or histamine inducing foods I currently have at home. I will continue to train for an in person live 5K race in a few weeks that I’m beyond excited for. Then I will focus on foods that are lower histamine while staying away from foods that should be avoided on a low histamine diet. My fitness plan includes reducing my cardiovascular training with lower intensity activities and ramping up my yoga practice and resistance training through things I can work with at home like free weights and a TRX. I remain grateful that this change can be made as the months will get colder and perhaps make running outdoors less appealing.
While I may be a fitness professional that can find a formula to help you reach your goals, I’m also a human that knows how hard it can be to make the changes needed to get there. And I’m also on a journey alongside you, even if it looks different than yours keep in mind I'm also making some tough changes. So if you are struggling with health challenges, don’t stop looking for answers and seeking opinions even if they don’t seem to line up with the traditional healthcare model. Seek other reasonable opinions and try new things when they are presented to you. Because What If? You found a way to help your amazing human body tap into it's own ability to heal through lifestyle modifications and were freed from that feeling of being trapped with poor health.
Now that you’ve put yourself in that What If? scenario you have to get your mind on board. According to some mind-body research …there is no real division between mind and body because of networks of communication that exist between the brain and neurological, endocrine, and immune systems.
Whether it’s taking the time to sit in stillness and get to know yourself on a deeper level, or taking the time to explore the mind-body connection through movement, or simply taking the time to make mindful choices, you have the power within to choose to turn that “What If?” to “I did”...