If the autoimmune protocol stresses you out, you're not alone. Awhile back, I was putting together a few blog posts on why these diets used to stress me out. While doing so, I came across a post advocating for a Whole30 type of diet. After explaining all of the things not to eat or do, the author added a line...
"Don't stress about it. Don't let it keep you up at night."
I really believe this author has good intentions, and that's not what this post about. Instead, I want to reaffirm what you (most likely) already know: This isn't helpful.
If any type of restrictive diet stresses you out, it's not because you've failed, have no willpower, or don't value your health. It's not that there's something wrong with you or that you'll never get to feel better. It's just that diets are inherently stressful for many of us.
And that includes diets like autoimmune protocol that are "for our health".
Plus, excluding that these dietary approaches most often look and act a lot like a diet -- a mindset of externally-driven rules adopted to give a false sense of control by single-handedly informing behavior and greatly influencing internal worth — you might "fail" to follow the autoimmune protocol for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with willpower, commitment, or discipline.
Maybe you weren’t mentally, emotionally, or soulfully ready to take on this restrictive program in a NON-restrictive way. (Yes it's possible, but not for all of us in every season.)
Or maybe this simply isn’t the diet and lifestyle for you, your body and your goals.
Or maybe this type of plan is too stressful for the season of life you’re in — such as recovery or a life transition — or it doesn’t agree with what you believe. (Like those who don’t believe in eating meat doing so because it’s one of the only things “allowed” — or those who don’t believe in diets adopting a restrictive plan in a restrictive mindset because the experts say you should.)
Taking care of your body -- and practicing wellness -- is less about adopting a specific set of rules or regulations and more about cultivating a relationship with yourself. It‘s less about ANYTHING that leaves you feeling shameful or miserable or asking the question”what’s wrong with me?” and more about finding joy in your entire being: physical, soulful, mental, and emotional.
What if we stopped meeting posts about a "failed" autoimmune protocol with more physical things to do or cut? What if sometimes these plans aren’t right because they’re inherently stressful, shameful, and miserable? What if a “successful” protocol didn’t take any more behavior modification but rather a mindset shift? What if we opened a conversation for a different approach to achieve our goals, heal the body, and feel really good?
Wondering where to go from here?
If you want to tackle the autoimmune protocol because your gut seems to be pointing you in that direction for YOUR health... then you've got to focus on your mindset.
If you want to tackle the autoimmune protocol because you're hoping that in addition to feeling better it will also help you lose weight, here's why diets for weight loss don't work.
If you're ready to figure out if there's a different way for you to feel good, have health, and feel like yourself again, then come join us inside The Wellness Boulevard!