My Health and Wellness Plan Back to Strong and Happy

There are a lot of blogs out there that are or have shared their wellness journey’s and I realize some of them can be construed as not health and wellness or they don’t need to be doing this journey because from the outside they look healthy and happy. Key phrase here is from the outside, we never know what someone is going through on the inside because we cannot see it. 

This is actually a very vulnerable post for me, but I think if I am up front and honest about how I have been feeling the last few years then maybe it will help someone else have the strength to do the same. For those of you who do not know, I was diagnosed with celiac disease just over 3 years ago from this post date. The first year after being diagnosed I was relieved, and had a great year of feeling better then I have ever felt – I finally knew what it felt to be “normal.” But then I went out to eat one day and long story short I was given the wrong bread and I became ill for 8 months after. Since this incident I have not been able to get myself back on that high feeling, and instead I seem to have hit a plateau of, “things are the way they are and this I just how it is going to be from now on.” It seemed like no matter what I did my symptoms would get a bit better but then come back, for a lack of better words, in a raging shit storm.  I have not been able to get my TTG levels to drop in my blood (antibody test for celiac disease) for over 2 years. This has discouraged me and made me unmotivated because it just seemed like, no matter what I did, my levels were not going to drop any lower and I would always have symptoms appear out of no where. One day I’d be happy go lucky and feeling great and the next it was like I had eaten the wrong bread again.

I guess the best way to describe this is by explaining what I used to be like. I was very active and loved it, I loved going to the gym and playing sports, I never stopped moving. I woke up excited about life and used to get up around 5:30-6:30am on my own without an alarm and never hit the snooze button. I would wake up and think, I’m going for a walk or just excited about what it was I was going to eat that morning.

Now, as I’m sure you can guess, it is the opposite. Over the last 2 and a bit years I have lost motivation and drive, I was always physically and mentally exhausted or not feeling well. It became very hard to get out of bed and I was always hitting the snooze button. I stopped being active and doing the things I used to live for, I became lost. I know having a physically demanding job that I absolutely love did not help with my motivation to be active, but I used to be able to look past this and still get to the gym and do something for me. 

I really feel as though it took the pandemic and being forced to stop working for me to realize where I had brought myself. When I was forced to stop I then started to feel all my aches and pains in my body. My left shoulder keeps going numb with neck pain and my right hip will scream at me if I do too much sitting or moving. The kind of pain that will make you wince and look as though you have aged 50 years over night. As an Athletic Therapist I know and have seen this all too often with my patients and know that I have lost my strength, mobility and flexibility. Once I build these back up and correct my muscle imbalances, I will live up to my last name of Walker and be an unbeatable Jedi again. I have been on again, off again, bloated with mental challenges and brain fog, anxiety, decreased motivation and drive, and decreased focus. If there is anything I have noticed over the last few years it is that the gut brain connection is a true and serious thing.

However, with all of that being said, I am happy to state that as hard as things have been in the past they are improving and from this day forward I will not accept anything but. It is going to be challenging and I will of course still have off days – but I will not let them drive me away from my goal of becoming strong and happy again.

So you may be thinking, how are you going to do this? Excellent question, here is how:

  1. Fitness: I will be working on my muscle imbalances and correcting my biomechanics. I will be doing this through mobility, flexibility and strength. There needs to be an equal amount of all of these to have a well balanced musculoskeletal system. So I will be making myself a fitness plan that will include all three of these components. 
  1. Nutrition: I have been dabbing into this component for the last 2 months already and I am happy to state that following the diet I have been doing has helped to decrease my TTG antibody levels in my blood and increased my iron. There is still a lot to improve in this department but it is a start! For the first 3 weeks I followed the hypoallergenic diet without consuming any grains. I was to cut out processed foods, dairy, certain meats, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn, tomatoes, artificial butters and sweeteners, refined sugars, and glutinous grains (obviously for me) but the naturopath had me cut out all grains just for the first 3 weeks. I followed this to a T and even continued it past the 3 weeks because of how much better I felt, but then, my digestion started to go wonky again and my energy has dropped. This is why I feel these full on restrictive diets are not meant to be eaten forever (other than the food you have to avoid for health reasons).

    Science actually shows that if you are under eating you will have immune problems and digestion issues. It may seem like you have a food intolerance but in reality your restrictive eating will cause digestive issues because the digestive system is not receiving enough energy, and if it does not get enough energy it cannot properly extract the nutrients your body needs to function. Mind.Blown. Therefore, I have decided that following a very restrictive and paleo diet long term is not the way to go for me. I believe my TTG levels being high is due to cross contamination in food that is processed and made in restaurants that are not careful. Also, having a very restrictive diet has made me very anxious around food, I’m always afraid whatever it is that I am eating will cause food intolerance symptoms. I know I do have some food intolerances because after eating certain things like corn and oats, I instantly have full body autoimmune symptoms. However, I do wonder, if I get my TTG levels to lower to zero, will these intolerances go away? Because technically once I get those levels to zero, that means my gut lining has finally healed and it will be able to digest food properly again. So as long as I stay away from my kryptonite, gluten, I should be okay to eat a variety of food again without feeing sick. That thought actually makes me so excited and pumped to get my gut lining healed.

  2. Mindfulness: This one is HUGE! I have been trained in transcendental meditation and started doing it back when I was in university as I used to have a huge amount of exam anxiety. This technique helped me get through my certification exams, and to be honest, I stopped doing it, and that was a big mistake. I told myself I was way too busy and did not have the time to sit and meditate for 20 minutes twice a day, but this is the exact person that needs to make time for exactly this as they typically need it the most. Since I have started meditating again, I cannot even begin to explain the benefits I have experienced in my everyday life. My thoughts are clearer, I do not snap as much if at all, I’m positive, focused and motivated. Mindfulness does not just have to do with meditation, it also includes living intuitively. If you have a negative thought come into your head, change it right away for a more positive one. If you are overworked, cut your hours. Our bodies need us to start living more intuitively because we all need to start listening to our bodies and giving it what it wants and needs.

These are the three ingredients to not just my wellness journey, but I believe everyone’s. If the health of our mind, nutrition and fitness does not exist, then we are more likely to develop muscle imbalances that will cause injuries. We may have a leaky gut or improperly functioning digestive system because we are not fuelling it properly or moving to help stools pass through your bowels or have a horrible gut brain connection where now the health of your gut effects your mental health and vice versa. All three of these components are absolutely essential for an overall well balanced health and wellness plan, you cannot do one without the other. It only took me siting down and writing this blog for me to truly make this connection. I always tell my patients to include all three but it has really clicked with me as to why.

Regardless if you are on a wellness journey of your own or want to see me through mine, I hope you find what it is you are looking for, because the sun really is brighter on the other side.

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