6 Week Paleo/Elimination Experiment

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Well, I have to admit – it feels really good to be back on the blog! I struggled for the past few months with what my first post back would be about. Should I talk about how I’ve integrated back into the working world? Or perhaps how hubby has done an amazing job at being a stay-at-home Dad, or maybe all of the incredible lessons I’ve learned while venturing into the world of podcasts and my journey of self discovery…. none of these topics really stood out to me, even though I promise, I will cover ALL of these topics in subsequent posts. Instead, I’ve decided that this post will be different from what I’ve covered in the past. I’ll be going a bit deeper in this one, and revealing one of my biggest struggles and most embarrassing ailments that I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager. Some truths…. and please, bare with me because this post is my longest one yet. (Don’t worry – this won’t be a new trend. I promise!!)

To say the last few months have been wonderful would be an understatement. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself, about where I want to go in this world, and how I may (or may not) get there! Let’s just say, the road ahead looks promising and I’m very excited to see how life unfolds. My absolute favourite quote that I’ve heard recently, and have on repeat in my head is from Tony Robbins – “Life is not happening to you, it’s happing for you”. If you haven’t watched the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix titled “I am Not Your Guru” I suggest you do so ASAP! Even though I had heard about Tony Robbins through the years, his teachings never really meant anything to me until recently. For the first time in my life, I am completely listening and responding to the energy around me, giving myself a purpose and evaluating how my body, mind and spirt communicate to me; and YES I am hearing these messages loud and clear.

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What do I mean by this? Well, I’ve always believed that life sends you messages all day, every day about where you should be headed, what you should be doing, not doing, and if we are receptive enough we can be learning new things constantly. At first, it’s like a little knock at the door… a minor heads up. Eventually, if you aren’t listening and responding, those knocks get just a bit louder until one day you get a message that is so loud you absolutely can’t ignore it anymore. I tend to think medical emergencies are these really loud knocks.It’s that super intense wake up call that sometimes is necessary to really say “STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!”. For so many people, it takes an extreme event to take place before they realize that change must happen. Even though you know deep down that you have to take action, it’s really hard to do something until you hit a critical point where you really have no choice.

There’s hasn’t been a medical emergency in my life lately, BUT, I’ve listened to my body and finally I’m taking action.

My Wake-Up Call

For as long as long as I can remember, I have struggled with acne. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even see it anymore because it’s just always there – but when I do see it, I get angry, embarrassed, and frustrated. It’s not the kind of acne that is spread all over my face/body, but this acne is very prominent on my chin, and sometimes forehead. If you have any experience with acne, you may know that this type of acne is most often linked to hormonal imbalances and/or digestive problems. Recently, it became clear to me that my body has been communicating to me for years...and I’ve been ignoring it. Even though I’ve known that there’s often a cause of acne, I haven’t really done a lot to identify for myself, what that cause is. Instead, I’ve read a lot about how to treat this problem, used more cleansers than I can count, had facials done several times, taken pills, had tests done, you name it… I’ve done it. What I have never done, is change my diet. I’ve known that if I am going to tackle the problem at the core I have to look inside.

A few years ago, I read a book called “The Hormone Diet” by Natasha Turner, a Toronto ND. It made me realize that what we eat plays an absolutely crucial part in why we experience many of the skin, physical or mental ailments that so many of us often suffer from. Everything from acne, to mood, sex drive, and of course, weight. Obviously, how much you eat can cause a lot of problems, but also what we eat can have serious implications on our well being. I know you are thinking.. “duh, tell me something I didn’t know”. Well, that’s just it – I read this book YEARS ago.. did the 30 day diet, and did very little to monitor what actually changed/improved. So after eliminating various foods for 30 days, I went back to the way things were, and go figure,  NOTHING CHANGED! I think that’s because deep down I was not really prepared to make changes that may have been necessary. If you know me, you know I LOVE FOOD! Seriously, the thought of eliminating any specific type of food from my diet was absolutely not an option. Hence, why I believe that this Hormone Diet did not truly work for me (at the time). I’ve always known that I should eat cleaner, test my body’s response to certain foods and ultimately eliminate what may be causing me issues. I know HOW to eat healthy, WHAT to eat, and if I truly truly worked at it, I could lose all the weight necessary that I feel I need – assuming my hormones are in balance.

It’s not about Will Power

So many people say you just have to have the will power to succeed. No. I completely disagree…. it’s not will power at all. You have to realize your purpose, understand where you want to be, and how you see yourself down the road. When we set our sights on very specific goals, define how we’ll get there and track our progress along the way, we can achieve just about anything. You cannot WILL something to change. You must put in the work, because nothing comes to us for free. It’s  hard work, determination, and a belief that your success is dependent on you and you alone. If you want something bad enough, I believe it’s important to set your vision and keep it super clear. When you hit a road block or get frustrated with the progress (or lack of), it’s much easier to keep pushing along when you stay focused on your goals and ultimately your vision.

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This is why I’ve decided to once and for all commit myself to a 6 week nutrition and wellness program. After paying a visit to my ND, she has put me on a new skincare regime (that I will talk about in another post), and she’s also advised me to eliminate dairy, grains, sugar and processed foods completely from my diet. I want to be very clear that this plan has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss (though it will likely be a welcome outcome), but everything to do with finding out what my body has been telling me about potential food sensitivities that I may have. Essentially, I will cut out various foods, and eat mainly meat, eggs, veggies, nuts/seeds and fruit. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? NOPE! For me, it sounded absolutely terrifying. I anticipated that dairy would be my biggest culprit, and assumed I’d be eliminating it from my diet to see if my skin improved. I did not anticipate eliminating grains, and sugar as well! However, I sat down, and thought to myself that if I truly want to improve my health, and find out why my body is sending me these messages I have to 100% commit to finding the culprit. I love a good experiment….so that’s how I’ve decided to look at the next 6 weeks. After cutting out the potential culprits from my diet, at the 6 week mark I’ll begin to reintroduce (one at a time) the food group that I had eliminated for 6 weeks prior. I’ll see how my body responds to the reintroduction, and if there are no flare ups, mood changes, digestion issues, etc, then I’ll know it’s considered “safe” and feel confident that I can maintain that food group as part of my regular diet. If the alternative happens and I recognize that I’m having some form of reaction, well, the decision will be mine as to whether or not I accept the consequences of eating that specific food going forward – or cut it out of my diet long term. If you had asked me 3 years ago if I would be prepared to eliminate ice cream from my diet, I would have told you that I’d rather cut off a limb. 🙂 At this point in my life however, I’ve realized that food is just fuel for our bodies, and not a necessity for happiness in life. In addition, there are SO MANY alternatives out there these days, and I’m far less terrified about the prospect of never eating dairy again.

Being Accountable and Committed

Here’s the fun part… for me anyways. I am going to track this journey here on the blog. Why? Well, because it’s a perfect place to hold myself accountable, track my progress (something I have never done before), and to post some tips/tricks/recipes that I learn along the way. In the past whenever I began a diet (and I have, many times!), I believe that my intentions were off. The goal was always weight loss, and yet there was no definitive plan. Eat better, be active, cut out XYZ. Well that is fine and well, until you get to that point where you feel you’ve achieved the goal,  or you didn’t have a goal in the first place and gave up after Day 3 when temptation took over. I believe this happens more often when we set goals that are completely unrealistic. For example, “I will work out 3x a week from now on”. This is not realistic for most people, and the goal itself is way too broad that holding yourself to this is nearly impossible. Success rate is probably less than 1% for people who set goals like this… and don’t get me wrong, I HAVE BEEN THIS PERSON AND FAILED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

The Difference

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will succeed in completing this elimination/paleo plan for the next 6 weeks. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t be able to complete this. Why is that? Because my intentions are 100% in line with WHY I want to be successful in this journey. There’s absolutely nothing misguided here… it’s not about losing a specific amount of pounds, or the false belief that I’ll live this way for the rest of my life. There’s a finish line, a very specific plan, a desire, and a goal – which is to identify if I have any food sensitivities. I’ve reached a point in my life where having skin problems that I know are preventable is just plain irresponsible on my part. I have nobody or nothing to blame but myself. I alone can find the root cause and set myself on a path where I no longer have to be frustrated or embarassed at the appearance of my skin. I refuse to treat this issue for the rest of my life, because I realize there has to be a cause. Maybe it’s not even food. Perhaps at the end of this 6 weeks I will still not have a clear answer as to what is causing my acne. At which point, I’ll move on to the next possibility… and I won’t give up until I have a solution. I’m really really optimistic that something will come out of my elimination plan, but if I have to move on to the next step, that’s OK too. This is a journey, and with each phase I believe, comes a learning experience.

I’m so ready to commit and put in the effort that is required to succeed. I know that this experiment is just the tip of the ice berg for me because if I can achieve my goal with this plan, I will gain confidence to work on my next goal, and the one after that, and never stop achieving and reaching my goals… and there’s a lot of them!!

So here I go… feel free to follow along!!

Shannon

FULL DISCLOSURE: This post comes on Day 5 of my 6 Week Experiment. In my next post I will provide an update on the progress and how Days 1-5 went.

 

 

 

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