When it comes to pursuing better health, we all want to heal fast. Blame it on the media which is littered with drastic before and after pictures taken only a few months apart, or blame it on our own personal drive to just feel better already. Whatever it is, once people start on a mission for better health, they want it to happen immediately. However, there’s always a bad day, there’s always a cake at a party, there’s always bad traffic on the way to the gym, and we stumble. We stumble on our health and healing journey, and we hate ourselves for it.
There are different kinds of health journeys. Sometimes it’s weight loss, sometimes it’s just trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and others, like the one that myself and most of my readers are on, are health journeys related to chronic illness that really effect your quality of life. I’ve stumbled many times on my journey to heal my gut and my Hashimoto’s, and it’s okay. We all stumble and I’m going to tell that it’s okay, and how to pick yourself up afterwards.
We All Stumble On Our Health Journeys
As someone who is deeply engrossed in this health industry both personally and professionally, I can tell you that we all stumble from time to time. Whether that’s bingeing on a food that we know is bad for our health, quitting an exercise routine, or just giving up on ourselves, we all do it.
I know about this first hand. I’ve done it several times in almost the past decade that I’ve been pursuing better health with Hashimoto’s, and with leaky gut. I’ve gone back to eating gluten for months out of nowhere plenty of times, and I’ve fully disregarded doctors advice. There are tons of little things, but I want to tell you about my worst stumble in own health…
I was 18, newly diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and trapped in what felt like a whirlwind. My first semester of college was supposed to make me feel young, and excited for life, but it was the complete opposite. I was clueless on how to really address my health beyond medication. I was so fatigued that I was sleeping 16 hours a day, my digestion was so bad that I developed a bingeing habit to keep up wth the fact that I wasn’t absorbing any of my food, and I was growing more and more anxious and depressed every day. My health felt tied to where I was, and for some reason, I felt like I could run away from it all.
My ultimate dream in my young life was to indeed run away and have an experience of a lifetime where I could travel and life a different life for even just a short time. I made the brash decision to literally run away. I loaded up my car, drove across the country, and set off to do a semester long internship in the happiest place on Earth. I thought the time away from the stress of school and working in a fun environment with new people would solve my health problems. It didn’t.
My health just got worse. I go back and forth between gluten free junk, and tons of sugar. I remember aimlessly wandering around grocery stores on the brink of tears… knowing that I needed to be eating better, doing better, feeling better, but I had no idea how. I developed the most random obsessive habits around food like drinking tons of fruit juice (which I never did) and chewing entire packs on gum in a day because I was so desperate to just constantly eat. I had several infections and illnesses that had me on antibiotics, and my anxiety was getting worse and worse and I got regular attacks. I was so antisocial and so down on myself that I did nothing to enjoy the experience of a lifetime… I had to run away again… I left the internship early having zero of my problems solved, and only returned with more.
Picking Yourself Back Up And Not Hating Yourself For It
Coming back from that trip 5 months older and feeling set back in my health and my life 5 months was hard. I moped around for weeks not knowing what to do with myself. But I had to slowly get back up and stop hating myself for it. That was easier said than done.
This is a hard step for everyone, including me. We get so down on ourselves about it. We say that we failed, we say that we’re not good enough and we say that we lost so much precious time. However, we need to stop that negative self talk immediately.
In this post health bump state, we need to accept that the longer we dwell on it and stay mad at ourselves, the longer we stay in limbo with out health. The sooner that we dust ourselves off and just push forward, the sooner we get to being healthier and getting back in our groove,
It Takes TIME To Find Your Groove And To Forgive Yourself
Even though we need to just push ourselves back into finding a groove rather than moping around and feeling sorry for ourselves, it takes time to find a groove. One of the biggest questions that I always get from people is “how long did it take you to heal?” Months, and then Years… and I’m still doing it.
But slowly and surely, day by day, you develop strategies to stay the course like….
- Acknowledging that it’s okay to stumble… you’re not a bad person or a failure for it
- Learning to meal prep to always have health meals on hand
- You find more staple recipes that make eating healthier more enjoyable
- You find a workout routine that you love
- You find an online community of similar folks who can support you
- You develop an arsenal of strategies that just work for you (check out these gut healing strategies)
- You find a doctor that gets you
It happens slowly and you don’t always know exactly how you got there, but when you work at it every day, you eventually do find your healthy lifestyle groove.
So, my dream was to run away for some dream travel in college when I was 18 and I crashed and burned with my health. I wanted it at 18. I wanted my health to be stable and I wanted the experience of a lifetime. Did I ever achieve my dream? Yes. Four years later. It took time.
At 22, after working for 4 years on getting myself in a physically and mentally healthier state I was healthy enough to study abroad in Florence Italy for a month. I had zero anxiety attacks, no particularly earth shattering food reactions, and I had literally had the time of my life. And you know what? I still went off the rails with my health and didn’t do a single structured workout for over a month, and I ate gluten and tomatoes and foods that would normally throw me off back at home. The food did eventually catch up with me, but I didn’t mentally abuse myself and mope over it when I got back to the states. I acknowledged that i had an amazing time, and got right back into my normal healthy lifestyle routine when I got home. It took years for me to get mentally and physically healthy enough to do this, but it happened.. and it was amazing.
Your Groove Is Always Changing and Stumbles Will Happen Again… But That’s Okay.
The reason that we all stumble in our healthy lifestyle is because our lives are always still changing. My healthy lifestyle today is so different than the one I developed when I was 19, and it will be entirely different when I’m 30.
Living a health journey like gut issues and autoimmunity is lifelong so stumbles and shifts in your groove are normal. I stumbled when I got my first full time job, I stumbled when I left certain long term relationships, and I still have mini stumbles a stressful week or a long trip. It’s okay. I will continue to happen over and over and it’s fine. We all stumble, but we all have to learn to just dust ourselves off and keep going.
Leaning On Something Bigger Than Yourself
Through all of my early stumbles, I always ran away. I ran away when I took that internship, I ran away from myself and into toxic relationships, and I ran away from my feeling and into unhealthy relationships with food. When really, I needed to run into it and lean on something bigger than myself. I couldn’t single handily solve all of my own problems, especially when I was running away from them. Again, it took years for me to realize this. Taking yourself outside of yourself and seeking advice and guidance elsewhere is always transformative.
Running to God and telling Him that I clearly needed help, strength, and guidance was the ultimate game changer for me. It took prayer, strengthening my relationships with Him, and strengthening my relationships with other Godly people helped me reconcile the fact that I am just not perfect. I will always stumble and I will always fall, but I’ve been redeemed of that eternally. I don’t have to be perfect. I can just focus on being the best that I can be, and trusting God with it.
When you stumble, know that it’s not the end of your health journey. We all do it, and it’s always redeemable. It takes time, guidance, and determination, but if I can do it, so can you.