Autoimmune diseases are tricky. Like any health issue, they have their own unique set of issues and challenges. I find that symptoms of my Hashimoto’s are pretty much invisible to anyone but me, unless they know me well. Flares (when symptoms are acting up more than normal) can be hard to identify and even more difficult to address. For awhile I took my needed meds and even did research on dietary wellness, but I didn’t really try to create an optimal life environment that would support my health.
Hashimoto’s flares up in reaction to stress…of all kinds. Stress on your body from too much rigorous exercise, mental stress, and stress from eating foods that aggravate the disease. Honestly, I didn’t like how what “worked for everyone else” weight and health wise, didn’t work for me.
Now, however, after some reflection and experimentation, how well I address these stressors vary, but I know what a supportive health environment looks like for me:
- A specialized Paleo diet: I’ve gone through elimination diets and years of testing what foods strengthen my particular body (broth, red meat, kale, kombucha, etc.) and which ones rip my stomach to shreds (gluten, dairy, sugar, grains, and soy). I don’t eat the first group of foods for weight loss (though that sometimes follows) but because they give me energy and strength to live the life I want to live.
- Consistent low-impact exercise: I love the idea of high-impact dance classes like Zumba, but my body doesn’t. Through a lot of experimentation, I’ve found that walking, swimming, stretching and some dancing (I started Irish dance a year ago!) are the right fit for me.
- Reduced mental stress: This has been the most constant battle for me as a super type-A person. But when I began to see the correlation between stress at work or home and my diminished health, I began to pay more attention. In fact, after a year or so of contemplating it, I made a career change that, while it doesn’t eliminate stress entirely, it does reduce the daily deadline-driven environment that was taking such a toll on my body.
In some ways, Hashimoto’s has been a gift because it has made me stand up and pay attention to the beautiful life I’ve been given and the way I treat my one, irreplaceable body. I have found that while good doctors are key, my own attitude towards creating an ideal health environment is just as foundational.
One of the reasons I have found coaching to be so impactful is that it provides the tools, framework, and insight to more actively pursue a life well-lived. It is such a privilege to walk alongside clients as they create environments that support their health and dreams.
If you’re interested in creating your ideal health and life environments, drop me a line! I have several spots open for one-on-one coaching and I’d love to see if its the right fit for you. OR if you’re a Catholic woman, a coach friend and I are hosting group coaching focused on 6 life environments – find out more about it here.