When I first was diagnosed with endometriosis, I was told by my doctor that the only options to manage it were medication and IVF so that I could get pregnant. Feeling like this was my only option, I agreed. The medications used to “treat” endometriosis block estrogen. But the reality is that while we don’t want too much estrogen in our system, we do need it in order to feel our best. While on that medication, I experienced menopause-like symptoms. I had hot flashes, stopped having a period, had trouble sleeping, felt tired all the time. I felt awful. Most importantly, I felt like the medications were ruling my body. I didn’t feel like I was in charge.
So I decided to take my health into my own hands. And now I want to help you take your health into your own hands too!
Now of course medications like this are not the only thing that can leave you feeling this way. Hormonal birth control is so often prescribed to “treat” conditions like endometriosis, painful periods, irregular cycles, and more. BUT it is another common medication full of side effects and nutrient depletions. These can easily make you feel not yourself.
How did I begin?
My first steps to taking my health into my own hands involved a whole lot of research. Endometriosis is such a common condition. It affects around 1 in every 10 women, and I just thought there is no way that these awful medications can be the only way to manage it. I started to find stories of other women who struggled with the immense pain and other symptoms involved with endo. They were able to greatly improve their quality of life and fertility through dietary and lifestyle changes and I decided I could too!
So I started to experiment. I started eating more whole foods, I stopped eating gluten, I started cooking more at home, and slowly but surely I started to feel better. My period pain went from a solid 10 to a 3 within one cycle. My digestive symptoms started to improve. I had more energy. My body was changing and I just couldn’t help thinking this was all too easy. If these simple changes can make such massive improvements in my health, more women need to know about this!
So I began to make it my personal mission! I completed training at the Nutritional Therapy Association and the International Association of Functional Hormone Health and I learned. I soaked up every bit of information so I could continue to improve my own health and be able to help my clients as well. Now I find myself with symptoms continuing to improve and I am as I write this awaiting my endometriosis excision surgery which combined with these efforts should bring me a lot of relief.
How You Can Take Your Health into Your Own Hands Too!
It all starts with a mindset shift. In order to take your health into your own hands, it is important to stop thinking of your body as something that is “broken” or needs to be “fixed” and start thinking of it as a team effort. You nurture your body and it gives you feedback as to what is working and what is not and you continue to adjust throughout the course of your life.
Many of us are well aware that we should be eating less processed foods and drinking more water, but we don’t always do it. I am not about a restrictive diet at all, in fact I try to incorporate as many different foods into my diet as I can as long as they work in harmony with my body.
Figuring out what NOT to eat
For myself, I have learned that gluten, cow’s dairy, and sugar are major triggers for me. They cause digestive upset and also lead to more painful periods or even endo flares mid-cycle. These same foods are not necessarily an issue for everyone though and that’s where it is important to get to know yourself. Getting to the bottom of things may involve doing an elimination diet of common food sensitivities like gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, eggs, and soy, for a short period of time and then slowly reintroducing foods to see what is not sitting well with your body.
Figuring out what TO eat
More importantly than figuring out what not to eat is figuring out what to eat. Filling your plate with real, whole foods can do a lot of good for your health. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as grass fed meat, pasture raised poultry and eggs, and wild caught seafood. Rather than focusing on all the things you might be missing out on, focus on all of the real, beautiful foods out there. Plus preparing meals with your own two hands allows for a greater connection with your food and the more connected we are the better that food will serve us.
In addition to food, the mission to take your health into your own hands also involves lifestyle choices. Can you incorporate more movement into your day, like walking, yoga, or dancing around your living room? Or do you find yourself over-exercising since this can put stress on your body as well? Speaking of stress, how well do you manage it? Are there areas in your life you can take the pressure off yourself? Can you delegate some things? Are there ways you can help your body cope with the stress you do have, like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, journaling, or socializing?
Check in with your sleep. Are you getting enough? Can you get to bed a little earlier? Is there a way you get some sunlight exposure first thing in the morning to help reset your melatonin cycle for the day?
There are so many simple things we can do each and every to take your health into your own hands.
What can you get when you take back your health?
The simple answer here is that you can get your life back. Take a moment and think about how much your health struggles impact your life. What things do you do or not do because of the challenges you face? How are you feeling on any medications you might be on? How might your life look if you truly were feeling your best?
While some of these changes may seem difficult at first, the benefits outweigh the costs by far. Slowly you learn to love the healthy food you are eating because it makes you feel amazing and you won’t be able to even believe some of the things you were putting in your body before.
What challenges might I run into?
One of the common complaints I hear when it comes to eating the best quality food like organic produce, grass fed meat, pasture raised eggs and poultry, and wild caught seafood is that it is expensive. And typically, it will cost more than conventional items. BUT what I always remind myself is that it is all an investment.
At the end of the day nothing matters more than our health and also all of the healthy food in the world still costs a whole lot less than the rising cost of health care! If you could potentially set yourself up to avoid medication, extra doctors visits, and even many of the common degenerative diseases, isn’t that worth it right there? I sure think so.
I hope that you are ready to make the first steps towards taking your health into your own hands. Baby steps are A-okay and remember that our goal is not perfection, it’s consistency. Don’t bash yourself because you let loose and had some fun over the weekend. Check in with how your body feels after and then get yourself back on track. Keep on putting one foot in front of the other! I am here for you!
Looking for a place to start on your own journey towards health right now, today? I would love to hear from you! Click here to learn more about my Thrive With Endo program and apply today!
Want to get a taste of what nutrition for endo can be like? Click here to download your FREE Endo Reset 7 Day Meal Plan for a quick and easy way to get started today!
More articles you might enjoy:
Why Birth Control Doesn’t Fix Endo
Birth Control: A “Quick Fix” for Your Hormones?
3 Simple Ways to Reduce Endo Pain Naturally