“If you have an autoimmune disease, you are a survivor, and I believe you have an infinite potential within you.”
–Eileen Laird (Phoenix Helix), Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo AIP, A Step-by-Step Guide
I read this quote from Eileen when I was still new to the Autoimmune Protocol and it was exactly what I needed to hear. So often we tend to beat ourselves up for what we are experiencing:
Is this all my fault?
What did I do to give myself this terrible disease?
If doctors can’t figure out what’s going on, is it even real or is it all in my head?
Even after we start the Autoimmune Protocol, we continually question ourselves:
Why is it so hard for me to eat healthy foods?
Why did I eat that piece of cake even though I knew it would make me feel bad?
And even after we start experiencing success:
Why didn’t I do something about this sooner…why did I wait so long?
I hope that you are kinder to yourself than I am and that these questions have never entered your mind. But I’m guessing that if you have ever suffered from autoimmune symptoms, you have had similar thoughts. I’m here to tell you, though, that we have got to STOP IT!
A good friend once told me, “You will never beat yourself up to success.” Every time these thoughts crop up, this is what I try to tell myself. It is a much better life, and a much better strategy for healing, too, if we make the decision to love ourselves to success instead. My advice is to practice some soul-care, whatever that means to you. A walk in the park, a soothing bath, a good night’s sleep, time with true friends, or a delicious, healthy meal—just do something that feels good to you in the moment. We need to save up our energy to fight these terrible diseases, not to fight with ourselves.
The Autoimmune Protocol can truly be life-changing, but do not let it CONTROL your life. You are still the same magnificent person you were before, and you are not defined by the disease that you have or the methods that you use in an effort to heal your body. Give yourself grace to do what you need to do for healing, and know that you will “mess up” or have less than stellar days…and that’s ok. Health and healing part of the journey, not the destination, and make sure that you enjoy yourself along the way.