Friday, July 8, 2016

Self Love: Stop Listening to Others

My journey to gain control over my rheumatoid arthritis has been all over the place.  I started off on medications as I awaited an appointment with a naturopath six months after diagnosis.  In my heart and mind I felt confident I could make huge changes in my rheumatoid arthritis by just eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. And I was right, I did see some improvements with diet.  Good nourishing foods are never wrong.  NEVER! EVER! Eliminating harmful foods is never wrong. NEVER EVER!

But after years of avoiding restaurants with family and sitting on the sidelines watching others enjoy a good meal in fear of eating something that might inflame my body more, I look back at pictures of myself during this time period and I instantly feel the pain I was experiencing at the time.  It was awful.  I had stopped all meds so that I could see what my body would do by being strong and staying true to an anti-inflammatory diet.  The pain I endured during these years will never leave my memory.

Once again I want to say that I 100% believe eating anti-inflammatory foods is important for each and every one of us.  But, as I browse Facebook and see posts such as this one, I cringe.

It's not changing my mind that I need to always add healthier foods to my diet. I have learned that on my food journey. I mean, who can turn down pineapple, avocadoes, spinach, apples, or lemons?  I love them all and they all make me feel great.  BUT, what experts maybe don't realize when they make statements like the ones above, is how it makes those of us who have tried over and over again to live a painless life without meds feel.  What their messages say to me now is

 "You FAILED."
"You didn't try hard enough."
"Did you really follow the diet?"

I wish my RA could be cured by something as "simple as a change in diet".  I really do.  But after years of making "simple" and drastic changes to my diet, I am worn out mentally.  I never again want to pass on a beautiful meal or miss out on the fun of eating out with my family and friends.  While I desperately want to lose weight, I will never again micro-manage each and every piece of food I put in my body.  I am done.  I am done listening to "experts" tell me how simple it is to cure rheumatoid arthritis.  They don't know MY body or MY RA.  I AM the expert.  And I am telling my body that it no longer needs to put itself under the stress of feeling like a failure for not being able to gain control of my RA with food. I am done. I love myself too much to keep listening to "experts" who believe you just haven't tried eliminating the "right" food or taken the "right" supplement. Roll your eyes at me, but I deserve to fill my body with nourishing anti-inflammatory foods while also enjoying a less stressful life.