Hello friends! Dawn here. This week I am celebrating 2 years following the Paleo lifestyle! I cannot believe it has been this long, nor can I believe how far I have come. It is because of this milestone, and some recent health changes, I thought it a good time to check in. To share an update with you all, and get personal. Again. Can you see me cringing through your computer screen? Kidding (I think).
Seriously though, I know I am not alone in dealing with health and personal struggles. We all have problems, we all have heartache. Your issues may not be the same, but they are just as difficult. Most importantly, you are not alone. I hope that my story will inspire and encourage you to share your story. There is hope for everyone.
Wellness Roundup: Lessons in Self care
A Refresher On My Background
Upon meeting me the first time many think I am shy, or quiet, or closed off. And I get this, sometimes it takes me awhile to open up. But don’t be fooled into thinking I am disinterested or am not paying attention. I am listening, taking it all in, and learning all about you.
This habit has me always paying attention to others, but not necessarily paying attention to myself. Of course, I am aware of existing, obviously. But looking back now, I can admit I took poor care of myself.
To jump backward for a second, if you have not previously read my healthy lifestyle journey (aka how I came to follow Paleo) or how I took control of my health (aka how I turned things around) this is a good place to start.
Where I Stand Now
Since my last update, I have continued to focus on me. Nurturing my body, mind, and soul as much as possible. And it has helped immensely.
My health is leaps and bounds better than it was 5 years ago. Honestly, I can hardly believe I managed in my old ways for so long. It seems ridiculous I ever thought my former lifestyle was “healthy.” I now realize we are all misinformed in some way, lead astray, and trick ourselves into justification. The human condition is a sneaky devil.
Despite all my progress, I am still experiencing setbacks. I still have digestive distress. I still have a massive hormonal imbalance thanks to PCOS. Because of this imbalance, anxiety still rears its ugly head if I don’t seriously focus on self-care. My adult acne rarely lets up, and fertility is a moving target.
I have asked myself a thousand times, how is it that I have been following a nurturing healthy lifestyle for 2 years, but I still have issues?
Battling multiple conditions is no picnic, but I am not willing to give up, and neither should you. There is always another way.
I continue to experiment with options to treat, and hopefully cure, my conditions. I focus less on addressing the symptoms because they aren’t the real problem.
Here is more information about each condition, some suggestions for anyone else battling them, and ways I am tackling them.
Did you know that food intolerance can cause a huge variety of symptoms? Symptoms include everything from digestive distress, to headaches, hives, runny nose, and coughing. Many things we often assume are allergies.
I am definitely one of those people. And because of this, my doctor has been recommending a food intolerance test for a while now. His treatments have really turned my gut health around, but I still couldn’t avoid turmoil when I traveled or ate outside of my Paleo template.
Just recently I pulled the trigger and took the test. It was a light bulb moment for sure, showing me many of the healthy foods I enjoyed often were not agreeing with me. I am now following an elimination diet focusing on calming my immune system and restoring internal balance.
If you want to learn more about this test, view more information here. And note I am planning a follow-up post after I finish the diet to let you all know how it went. I am keeping a weekly log and taking copious notes, so for any fellow science needs or curious cats out there, feel free to reach out if you want more information.
This condition is so widespread, yet often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. It can be tough to test for, and often confused with other conditions. The most obvious sign is cystic ovaries, then the symptoms alongside them equal a positive match.
It is also extremely difficult to treat. Many doctors will tell you only symptoms can be treated. But it can be done naturally. It requires a disciplined lifestyle including a whole foods diet, diagnosing other associated conditions, stress management, and a general focus on self-care.
There are some great resources and support available, and these are the ones I have relied on.
- Paleo For Women has a ton of information, as well as an e-book that details the various types of the condition and how to address them.
- Although not written by a woman, this is a great easy to follow breakdown that details symptoms, treatment options, and ways to treat it naturally.
- As someone who really connects with personal stories, the PCOSAA has a great support group for women, and I love to read about real women who overcame the disorder.
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash
Hormones + Acne
These are the tough ones. They are symptoms of the above condition and the ones that leave me the most vulnerable.
Having cystic ovaries means my reproductive system doesn’t function properly. Which is bad enough, mind you. Then come the hormones. They affect your mental stability (hello, anxiety) and the health of your skin. Dealing with all this is almost unbearable. And truthfully, sometimes it is.
These have actually become worse in recent years, ever since I went off the pill. I know first hand how much these external symptoms can affect daily life. Thankfully, they can (and will) get better. But they take a lot of patience and TLC, and are specific to each person.
These are some of the resources I have found most helpful for hormones and acne specifically. They help remind me that there is hope.
- Paleo For Women also has excellent resources for Acne, since she struggled with the same issues.
- Hormones are not only affected by what we eat and how we care for ourselves, but also by what we put on our bodies and use in our homes. Join my Facebook Group to learn more about these topics and be part of a support group for those in similar positions.
What I Have Learned
Patience is a virtue and one I struggle with. Especially when it comes to my health. I find it extremely difficult to keep waiting for my issues to subside. I truly hope that one day I will wake up “all better” but I also have to be realistic, these are not things that improve overnight.
These health conditions have been building for decades, and take time to resolve. So while I wait, I celebrate the small wins. These are the takeaways I constantly remind myself when things get tough, and I encourage others to practice as well.
- You are not alone. I want to drive this message home, you are not suffering alone. Don’t try to hide behind your problems, it does you and your loved ones no good.
- Connect with others. Find someone you can talk to and lean on. A friend or family member, or join a support group. You can find many in your area using Meetup, or find a Facebook group specific to your interests.
- Consider everything that affects your health. It is very difficult to heal without looking at the big picture. Not only will you need to eat healthier, incorporate gentle exercise, practice good sleep, and avoid stress. But you also need to consider the products you use in your home and the products you put on your skin.
- Don’t settle. Only you truly know your body. If you feel something is wrong, it most likely is. Don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise, even doctors. You have to be your own advocate, and sometimes take your health into your own hands.
And that is where I currently stand, still struggling but improving every day. These Lessons in Self Care are important lessons for all of us to understand and practice. More to come soon on the elimination diet I am following, and please reach out with any questions in the meantime.
What health struggles are you facing, and how are you overcoming them?
Want to learn more about the Paleo lifestyle? Visit my Paleo Basics post, how to Master Paleo on a Budget and my 1-year anniversary recap with loads of recipes.
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