For 20 years my health story was governed by diagnosis of Candida Overgrowth, Leaky Gut and IBS, which I was tolerating well on a Paleo-style diet minus all fruit and all added sugar. Regardless of a clean diet, resolution evaded me for over two decades. As an over-achieving home staging entrepreneur in full expansion mode, the work I was doing required high energy, long hours and total investment – all of which I gratefully possessed and willingly gave. Then the unthinkable happened. The real estate bubble of 2008 burst, and my business stalled out due to lack of home sales. The stress of the downturn on my business - and on my gut- was enormous. As the bottom slowly fell out around me, the gastrointestinal issues that had been manageable and mild mannered for long years suddenly grew worse. I grew exhausted and emotionally drained. It just so happened that a brand new diagnosis had emerged that explained it all: SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Fast forward to today and I am SIBO-Free, but it took 6 years and 8 rounds of treatment, plus my own dedication to researching and finding treatment avenues outside the box. The road was difficult, and were times when giving up hope was clearly an option, but I strongly held onto the belief that I would restore my health. The list below represents the mistakes I made and subsequently corrected on my journey. It is my sincere hope that what I have experienced can help others as the epidemic proportions of gut maladies continues to take its toll on our ability to be nourished, think clearly and be productive in a world that needs us to show up in our full empowerment.
Here are my top ten mistakes to avoid when you know your gut is off:
1. Tolerating what seems like a minor or unrelated condition. If you have candida, acid reflux, GERD, chronic constipation or diarrhea, or have skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, these are indications of a deeper gut imbalance. Ignoring them, or masking them with over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, will only allow them to undermine your internal equilibrium to a greater degree. Before more dramatic conditions take root, do yourself and those you care about a favor, and have an evaluation by a functional doctor or naturopath.
2. Waiting for perfect time to heal. Reconsider that now is the perfect time to take steps to insure you don’t experience diminishing health. Modern life is a string of stressful events for most people and your gut health rides the tide of the feeling and the emotion. Putting off healing leaves the door open for the greater challenges you experience to bring on greater illness. A part of any truly holistic healing program is learning how to better deal with the stresses you have right now which will in turn help switch off your gut’s reactivity.
3. Normalizing stress. Have you ever tried to convince yourself, and others, that the amount of stress you are undergoing regularly is something that you can handle? That therefore, its ok to continue? I sure did, and I was constantly flooding my body with biochemistry that interferes with my digestion and overall health.
4. Assuming that your gut health is only about your gut. Who knew brain issues were inextricably linked by way of the gut/brain axis? How about hormonal imbalances, depression and diabetes…indeed they too are linked. And seemingly unrelated issues like brain fog, skin conditions, and ringing in the ears. And these are just a few of the unexpected mysteries of metabolic imbalance. Stay tuned for the full list.
5. Worrying that taking care of yourself will take away from caring for others. The truth is that your nutritional resources are compromised and its as if you are double-drawing on reserves now, once for your own basic function and again for your effort on behalf of others. What will happen when your reserves are gone? Taking time for self-care now will assure you can still be there for others when they need you.
6. Not treating depression and anxiety with dietary changes*. Restoring gut health can be one of the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety. Complex biochemical changes in the brain are driven by metabolic and hormonal imbalances in the gut – and vice versa.
7. * Ditto for MS, autism, ADD, dyslexia and schizophrenia. AND diabetes.
8. Discounting the possibility that changing thought patterns will be a key contribution to your recovery. Intentionally building emotional resilience will allow you to rise in the face challenges that may now simply feel overwhelming. When we come prepared with greater resilience the truth is that we are never better than when we are challenged. We get to bring the ease and grace that spirals the healing forward faster instead of staying stuck on replay. I have heard numerous clinicians tell me something to the effect of “If I could get all my patients to resolve their emotional stress, their gut conditions would resolve so easily.” I have found this to be true in my coaching practice as well. Consider Diana (name changed) who came to me with minor disturbances, no diagnosis and was not seeing a doctor. Her thoughts were governed by self-doubt because, nearing age 30, she was not yet supporting herself. As we undertook a 90-day program to become more empowered around money, responsibility and commitment, her limiting beliefs were rewired, and her gut condition improved significantly with no other changes.
9. Leaving it all up to your doctor. Take time to become empowered as your own best health care advocate. Research and read, ask good questions, keep good records, track your case, and you will be rewarded. If that’s not available to you, work with someone who knows the way, a wellbeing advocate or coach like me who can help you.
10. Underestimating the impact of outside support. One of my coaching paradigms is that if we could allow ourselves to have the changes we seek, we would already have them. Thanks to advances in brain science, we now know that neurological rewiring can bring on those changes so fast we don’t even have to work at being different. After a few sessions of NLP or neuro-linguistic programming, we simply show up different, already making new choices based on new perceptions about who we are. Come join me for a FREE Hello Belly Breakthrough Session to see if it’s a good fit to work together.
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