While I am incredibly grateful for the autoimmune protocol, sometimes it just feels too difficult.
I am only human.
Sometimes I feel burnt out.
I grow tired of cooking, washing endless dishes, and thinking of new ways to make the autoimmune protocol easier.
It simply feels too hard.
With this in mind, I am opening up and sharing what I do when I feel like quitting the autoimmune protocol (AIP).
Allow Myself to Feel it ALL
When I start to feel sorry for myself because the autoimmune protocol feels too hard, or I have no where I can safely eat out within a 20 minute drive, my natural reaction is to be super hard on myself.
Before I realize it, my mind starts in with things like:
“Man, Shanna, don’t you know how bad so many other people have it? You are so blessed, so just stop.”
“Are you kidding me right now? What do you have to complain it, you’re so lucky!”
“Don’t you know how most of the world lives, and you’re upset about this? Give me a break.”
“So many other people have it so much worse, what is your problem?”
Sometimes it takes days or I am embarrassed to say, weeks, of this negative self-talk before I realize what I am doing.
My sometimes-negative inner voice is smart. It knows how to manipulate me, and pull on my heart strings.
Yes, I know how bad other people have it.
I absolutely know and understand how fortunate I am. I thank my Father in Heaven for the incredible blessings I have every single day.
When I think about how most of the world lives, it breaks my heart. I wish I could do more to help.
I understand so many people have it so much worse.
However, none of those things cancel out my struggles.
My struggles may not seem like much to other people, or compared to other people, but they are mine, and I face them every day.
Sometimes I face my struggles valiantly.
Other times I try to completely ignore them.
There are even times when I curl up in the fetal position in my closet and cry my exhausted, aching heart out to my Heavenly Father.
I find that I am able to keep going when I allow myself to feel the struggle, pain, and difficulty.
I can keep going when I remind myself it is okay to feel pain, and to struggle.
It is okay to cry.
When I struggle with the autoimmune protocol, I may fight the struggle at first, but I always feel better when I allow myself the struggle.
I find relief when I offer myself love and understanding, then declare, “It is okay if the autoimmune protocol feels too hard sometimes. It IS hard.”
Take a Step Back and Look at How Far I’ve Come
Time is a tricky thing. Time can make us forget some things, but remember others like it was yesterday.
My life looks so different than it did a year and a half ago.
My habits and lifestyle are completely changed. As a result, my health is incredibly improved.
I changed drastically in a short amount of time.
Easing into it never crossed my mind.
I whole heartedly jumped in to the autoimmune protocol, with both feet, saying adios to my old ways.
None of it came naturally to me.
When I feel like quitting the autoimmune protocol because it feels like too much work, I stop and remember how far I’ve come, and from where I’ve come.
I think back to what it felt like to not be able to get out of bed, to rest while walking up the stairs in my house, to miss out on my kids’ activities, and to feel each and every miserable autoimmune symptom.
Each of those experiences are much harder to live with than the autoimmune protocol.
Further, I remember the autoimmune protocol gave me my life back. Or, in other words, I gave myself my life back through the autoimmune protocol.
I recognize that if I went through all of the hard work of adopting the autoimmune protocol, I can for sure get through these times where maintaining it feels a little difficult.
I can imagine someone reading this may be thinking, “Why not just go off of the autoimmune protocol for a few weeks or months to give yourself a break? Do you REALLY need to stay on it??”
As much progress as I’ve made, my body is still healing. My health is still temperamental.
My doctor referred me to a rheumatologist last year after some concerning symptoms in the summer that were indicative of another autoimmune disease besides Hashimoto’s.
I allowed my body to rest, cut down on stress, and followed the autoimmune protocol to a “t.” Those mysterious symptoms cleared up.
I finally went to the rheumatologist in December. Five months after the referral.
Looking back, I regret waiting. I do not recommend waiting. Most of the concerning symptoms had cleared, but I wish my rheumatologist had seen my symptoms during the flare.
I’ve seen my rheumatologist twice now, and am still undergoing testing.
On my second visit, both the nurse and rheumatologist commented on healthy I look, and how great it is that most of my symptoms are in check, and I am doing so well.
I remember sitting there, thinking…
“Yes, I look healthy, and my autoimmune symptoms are mostly in check, but do you know what I have to do to keep them in check?? I eat like you would not believe, I cook every day, I rarely eat out, I am meticulous about my sleep, when my stress gets too high I slow way down and even get needles put in my body (acupuncture), I meditate, …..”
I felt like explaining all of that to him, then saying, “It just all feels too hard right now doc. Can’t you just give me a pill to fix it all instead????”
There, I said it.
As grateful as I am for everything I know now, and for the autoimmune protocol, sometimes it just feels like too much.
Sometimes I just wish a magic pill existed to make it all go away.
Remember the Alternative
The truth is there is no pill to make this whole thing feel like simply a bad dream.
When I have all of my ducks in a row, I feel great. However, those ducks are so hard to get in a row, and they keep trying to wander off!
My body is still super sensitive to what I eat, how I sleep, and my stress levels.
When I feel like I am at the end of my rope and want to give up, I remember the alternative.
Remembering the fatigue, fevers, brain fog, joint pain, muscle pain, swelling, mood swings, cold intolerance, and other symptoms helps me keep going in my autoimmune wellness journey.
While I may not want to cook, and I may feel like throwing in the towel, and saying “to heck with it,” I do not want to feel my Hashimoto’s symptoms return with a vengeance.
As a result, I choose to do everything I can to keep going, so I do not have to live like that again.
So I can be the woman, wife, and mother I know I can be.
Allowing Myself Some Wiggle Room
When I feel like quitting the autoimmune protocol, I allow myself some extra wiggle room.
There are a few AIP friendly foods that I do not tolerate well, but that I love and I consider a treat.
For example, my body does not do well with any sweeteners including AIP sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
I allow myself some AIP treats when I feel like giving up. That way I feel like I am indulging, but I am not consuming anything that will drastically affect my health.
I also consider my reintroductions, and determine if it is time to expand reintroductions in order to include more nutritious and exciting foods in my life.
Get Real With Where I am At
Usually when I feel like quitting the autoimmune protocol, it is because I am not feeling my best, or I feel like I am short on time. I may not be in a complete flare, but I may have little annoyances sneaking up on me.
When I stop and understand where I am at, I am better able to get my mindset under control.
I run into trouble when I try to ignore what is going on, and give in to negative feelings.
Usually when I feel like giving up, I realize I let some of my wellness habits slip. As a result, I refocus and get back to work.
Sending You Support
It is not easy for me to open up about all of these things.
Honestly, it is a bit embarrassing.
However, I am guessing I am not the only one who feels this way.
If you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, I feel you.
The truth is, these feelings will pass.
I am sending you love, support, and positivity.
Let’s hang in there together.
This will pass, and we will be so happy that we stuck to the autoimmune protocol!
I can see it now…no regrets.
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