Are you eating healthy but still don't feel well?
You know what I mean--you've made a ton of dietary changes, but you still. don't. feel. well.
Over the past 6 years, I have struggled with a variety of health issues. Intense anxiety, a panic attack here and there, extreme fatigue, achey joints, dizziness, loss of equilibrium, chronic digestive issues and the list goes on. Even since the beginning of all this madness I always believed that I had the power to fix my broken body. I knew this wasn't my new normal and I was convinced that I just needed to be repaired, so to speak, and that I could find answers.
The first thing I began to change was my diet. EVERYONE has to eat so I figured that was an easy place to start. A friend of mine who had some similar issues in the past suggested that I try a gluten-free diet. I had already been thinking of testing it out so I was glad to hear someone that I knew suggest it.
I started in full swing. I went off gluten for 6 months, then back on one weekend when I was at a family reunion. Bad idea! The sudden increase in breads and junk foods did a number on me and I spent the remainder of the weekend sick to my stomach. I went back to gluten-free and it did help...to an extent.
I have tried some other dietary things such as grain-free (which actually works better for me than gluten-free) and adding probiotic foods and cutting sugar. All of these dietary changes have helped greatly!
The thing is, I'm not 100% yet. I still feel stressed and I still feel tired a lot! I get wiped out very easily and I still struggle with anxiety from time to time.
I've realized over the last 6 years of dabbling in different diets that first off everyone is so different.
For example, my parents eat meat sparingly and don't like the way they feel when they eat too much, but I thrive on it and it gives me energy and sustains me for long periods of time.
Each of us is unique in what we need. There is no perfect diet for everyone. Our bodies have different weaknesses and needs.
I used to think changing my diet was the cure all. The fact is...there is no cure all.
The fact is...we need to take a holistic approach to our health. We need to look at the other factors that influence our health in a major way.
You could be eating the most pristine, organic, processed food free, allergen-friendly diet in all the world, but if you are negative, stressed, not getting enough sleep or exercise and don't set time aside for relaxation, fun and relationships--
I'm sorry but you're NOT going to have vibrant health.
What to Do When Eating Healthy Isn't Enough
This has been a toughie for me in the past. You can eat really healthy foods, but if you have a negative mind and are constantly thinking about your huge "to do" list, and that person that cut you off, and your annoying coworker, and how stressful it is to be a mom, then you know what?
You're going to feel like junk.
You can't feel good with a negative mind, you just can't! I've written about starting your day with positive affirmations. This can be a great way to set the tone for your day. Another thing you can do is to start a gratitude journal and write down 3 things you are grateful for, first thing in the morning. Try it out! These 2 tips only take a couple of minutes but they could really change the tone of your day.
The thing about stress is that we can't avoid it. Stress is a normal part of our life. The thing we can do is manage our stress so that it doesn't rule our lives. One thing that I'm REEEEALLY really good at is worrying which just adds to stress levels.
One thing to do to manage stress is to notice when you're body starts revving up, and take a 1 minute pause to just breathe.
One breathing technique I use a lot is deep belly breathing. Lay down if you can, if not do it wherever you are. Breathe in for 5 counts through your nose and concentrate on filling up your stomach with air. (Put your hand on your tummy). Don't breathe with your chest, breathe with your belly.
Hold the breath for 5 counts and the release through your mouth, slowly for 5 counts. Repeat this until you bring your stress levels down a few notches. This belly breathing technique helps to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and really gets you breathing back into your stomach rather than in your chest which is what we do naturally when we are stressed!
SLEEP AND EXERCISE
Sleep and exercise are so important to our health. I used to exercise so I could eat junk foods. I believed in my teenage years that this was "healthy." The exercise definitely helped keep my anxiety at bay growing up but I didn't do my body any service eating all the sweets!
Exercise is extremely important for our emotional well-being. It also, like deep belly breathing, lowers our stress levels and produces good mood hormones and endorphins.
Sleep is also important in regulating mood, stress and energy levels. If exercise wipes you out, like it does me lately, try pilates, yoga or walking. You don't need to run a full sprint and bust your buns. Light exercise will do the trick and you can always work up to more.
Sleep greatly determines how we feel. It's generally better to go to bed earlier and wake up early if you can. Staying up late and sleeping in just doesn't do the trick and is not nearly as restful. If you can't go to bed early because of your work then try to catch a cat nap when you can to keep energy levels up and stress hormones down.
Here are some tips for getting to sleep and staying asleep.
RELAXATION AND RELATIONSHIPS
This part of health is greatly overlooked. We spend way too much time running around trying to accomplish as much as we can during the day and forget to take time to breathe and just chill.
Take time each day to do things that help you feel relaxed.
- Is it reading a book?
- Playing a game with your kids?
- Taking a drive?
- Going to the grocery store alone!?
Whatever it is make sure you do it, every day.
Also who do you love spending time with?
A spouse, children, family member, best friend?
Don't forget about those around you that you love and that make you feel good. A feeling of connectedness with others makes you happy and thus strengthens your health.
I could go on and on about other things that impact your health that aren't food related but for times sake these are the top and most easily accomplished things you can do to increase your health. As I've placed more and more focus on the non food sources of health I've seen my health increase so much more.
Food is still important, of course. However, you've got to think outside of food as well for true vibrant health!
What do you do aside from healthy eating for good health?
Hi, I'm Hannah, a formerly sick mama who is reclaiming my health naturally one step at a time. My passion is to help others do the same. I am a former special education teacher who now teaches about fermented foods, unprocessed-sugar free eating, green smoothies, positive mindset, natural stress and anxiety relief and holistic health and wellness.