Not a ‘diet’, but rather a lifestyle change

I dislike when I say I’m on a diet. It feels wrong. To me I’m not on a diet. I’m molding my body and mind into a new lifestyle using my diet. Yes, the food I eat means more to me than most things but my success so far is due more to an all encompassing lifestyle I have created. I am not on a diet. I’ve changed the way I live. I eat real, simple food. I cook and bake everything I eat and I love doing it. There is something so beautiful about creating the very meals that make you into you. I love feeding my body and nourishing my soul. And it goes without saying but I love treating and healing my ‘incurable’ autoimmune disease on my own. I can’t get enough of creating delicious, nutritious and most importantly healing meals in the kitchen.

I’ve been trying to read more. Besides reading the extensive amount of GAPS, SCD, Bone Broth, and Ulcerative Colitis/Crohns books I have also been indulging in completely separate literary desires. Whether it’s the biography of Steve Jobs or the Alchemist or maybe a random book about a scientist in the jungles of Brazil reading has been so beneficial. I am feeding my mind. I want to indulge my mind with knowledge and love. Reading also acts as an escape for me – its another way to focus solely on the present moment. Laugh or cry (which i’ve done quite a lot of lately and I mean A LOT) it allows the stresses of life to fall wayside and the story to take precedent. It becomes real. You can appreciate a different perspective of your life so much more when you take a step back and play pretend for a couple hours.

Along with reading I have been consciously trying to reach out to people to maintain and develop relationships. People need people. As much as I enjoy time spent alone I realize I need people. Not even so much ‘need’ but I want people. I want to be around those I love and those who push me to grow and be better. Ulcerative Colitis took me to a brink that I have never been to and honestly I never thought I’d experience. It showed me the delicacy of life. It reaffirmed the love I have for the people closest to me. I want to fill my soul with loving relationships and I want to meet more people and develop as many of those lovely relationships as I can.

Yoga has been my muse for the past 5 months. I find myself bringing up yoga in random conversations. Yoga. Yoga. Yoga. It has helped me in so many ways and I’m beginning to feel and see the benefits of such a consistent practice. It not only helps calm down my mind but it forces me to be completely present. Not to mention it’s helping build my own body awareness and my favorite – strength! I love the sensation of feeling strong and stable while focusing solely on my movement and breath. Moving in unison with breathing is such a simple inherent action that you’d think we would all be experts. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Fortunately, I am improving. I have probably heard something to the extent of “focus on your breath” from every yoga teacher I’ve ever learned from but now it resonates so clearly to me. I can appreciate “breath in, breath out”. Holy shit moving to your breath really relaxes you! Even when your arms are shaking and your chaturanga looks gnarly. When you focus so much on your own body, breath and strength you begin to love yourself. Your physical being and your soul collide into this beautiful abyss. Self doubt begins to fade and self love becomes.

Something that’s been vital to my lifestyle change through yoga is loving myself. Like everyone else at some point in their life I’ve always struggled with self confidence. I’ve always struggled to completely and utterly accept and love myself for exactly who I am. With yoga I’m watching my strength and focus build and build and I’m loving how my body looks and feels in poses. It is definitely rebuilding my confidence. I always want to be investing in my body and my mind and through yoga I feel like that is completely possible. I’m taking my analytical, quantitative mind and forcing myself to FEEL. What do you mean I can’t calculate feeling? I mean I know I feel strong but how can I actually measure it? Sometimes I need to just shut out my thoughts and FEEL. Balance that left side of the brain with the right, right…? Feel your body. Feel your breath. Feel your heartbeat. Feel your love. Yoga is allowing me to love myself.

I’m functioning happily and [more] healthy than before my diagnosis because of my evolving lifestyle. I’m not in pain anymore. I’m not rushing to the bathroom 20 times a day or suffering from joint pain and red welts. I’m not anemic or ghostly thin and weak. I’m not at the mercy of my diseased colon. I don’t feel like my insides are being ripped out and I don’t feel like my hunger can’t be quenched because food only makes the suffering worse. I am healing. I am learning. I am not on a diet. I just live a different life than I did a year ago and it is surely a beautiful thing. I’m embracing the control over my body that I’m gaining from changing the way I live. Using food, books, relationships, and yoga (along with music, push ups, outdoor activities and many more!) I am healing my UC and my mind. I am becoming. And I love it. I am focusing on myself and it is exactly what I need to be doing right now.

Listen to your body – it is always speaking to you.