I have been following the strict AIP elimination diet for over eight months now. I’m not going to lie, the first few weeks were challenging to say the least. I was hungry and light-headed because I wasn’t eating enough, had a headache because I gave up caffeine, and I REALLY missed some of my favorite foods. But once I started to feel better, following the diet became easier. After about two months into AIP, I started to feel amazing! My joint pain was almost completely gone, I was losing about a pound a week, and I had so more energy and focus than I had experienced in years!
I wasn’t completely “healed,” so my chiropractor recommended that I keep going a bit longer with the strict elimination phase. At first I was devastated—I was so looking forward to reintroductions! But after three months I was seeing even more significant improvements. Plus, I had discovered some really delicious AIP recipes, learned some great AIP “hacks,” and had cleaned out the pantry of most of the tempting food. AIP was finally simple—I didn’t want to give up on it now!
Three months turned into four, then five…now it has been over eight months, and the only food that I have officially reintroduced is egg yolks. My original intent was not to stay in the strict phase for so long. In fact, that is not the intention of AIP at all! The purpose of AIP is to stay strict until you notice significant improvement, then slowly add food back in at the pace of about one new food a week until you find the perfect set of foods that work uniquely well for your body.
So why have I not reintroduced more foods back into my diet?
The truth is: I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of a negative reaction. I’m afraid that I won’t know recognize a negative reaction. I’m afraid that I will put back on all the weight that I have lost. I’m afraid that I won’t know the rules of what to eat anymore. I’m afraid that once I relax I will lost all control and go back to a totally SAD diet. I’m afraid of what others will think. I’m afraid that it will be time consuming to find modified AIP recipes that include reintros. I’m afraid that it will be stressful to keep track of what I’m eating and potential reactions. And I’m afraid that I won’t feel so great anymore.
Now that AIP has been my way of life for so long, I’m intimidated by making changes and new rules for myself.
But no more. It struck me today that so many women are watching me and following what I do. I used to be afraid this would mean that I would get judged if I didn’t always follow a strict AIP diet. I have seen many posts in Facebook groups lately of women that are sticking with the strict elimination phase simply because they don’t know the next step, and they are struggling to maintain the discipline that it requires. I want to be a good example of what I believe is the spirit of the Autoimmune Protocol, which is to help us heal and to show us which foods are healthy and which are harmful to our unique bodies.
So today I am choosing courage. Courage to move on and to lead the way for others that may be facing the same fears that have been haunting me for the last few months. I pledge to you that I will begin reintroductions, and that I will share my journey along the way. Please hold me accountable each week by asking what I am reintroducing!
I know that to be successful, I have to have a WHY, a reason to start and continue with the process. This is what I will keep in mind to motivate me: the ability to experience new and exotic foods on our 10th Anniversary/40th Birthday Extravaganza trip to Prague in July.
But there are so many other reasons to try reintroductions: Life will be easier for my family, especially my husband. Social events will be easier to attend. Most importantly, I will have a much better understanding of my body and what it needs to be healthy.
I’m always cheering on others for their choices to take positive steps towards health; for me, this is the next positive step in my journey. I appreciate any encouragement you are willing to give!
What are your fears or challenges surrounding reintroductions (or is it just me)? Have you successfully reintroduced any foods back into your lifestyle? What is your next step in your journey towards better health?. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org