Let’s celebrate! It’s my 1 year anniversary of being in remission
It’s my one year anniversary – WOO HOO!
I’m celebrating because I have been in remission for a full year! What does this mean? Well it’s the first time in the last 13 years that I have gone a full year of being symptom-free from my ulcerative colitis. A full year since I’ve stopped taking steroids (prednisone) to get back to a healthy state. The first full year in 13 years that I’ve not had to take any steroids or heavy doses of medication. A full year since I was faced with the ultimatum that I would need to remove my colon if I wanted to have any quality of life. To me, that’s pretty big and cause for celebration 🙂
It’s been great to reflect on my journey to date and realise how much I’ve learnt in the past year. I feel so blessed to be feeling so well and able to share my story with you. As every day goes past, I feel like I am getting stronger and more in control of my health and wellbeing than ever before. My whole adult life I have always had this underlying fear of when I would relapse again… “any day now” I use to think. But today I choose to acknowledge my disease and focus on what I can do by using all of nature’s goodness to restore my health to an optimal state and continue living happily without “dis-ease”.
So what are the main things I have learnt in the last year?
1. Make health and wellness my priority – my number 1 – otherwise everything else will fall by the wayside. I realised that it’s not about “being healthy” but rather it’s what health allows you to do. Over the years, time and time again my health restricted me from doing things that allowed me to live life to the fullest. But now, by prioritising my health, and focusing on that goal of optimal health and doing everything I can to achieve this, my state of health is allowing me to do the things that I want to do in life.
2. Food is thy medicine. It’s a mantra that I will repeat time and time again. And so is this one – it’s all about whole foods baby! By eliminating wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, processed foods, coffee and alcohol from my diet – I noticed a drastic change immediately. Everything from my digestion to mood levels dramatically improved. I am now at a point where I love to nourish my body with beautiful organic leafy greens, and other healing whole foods that I know are improving my overall state of health. Sure I have my indulgences, but I try to keep within the 80/20 principle (read My Philosophy for more on this).
3. Power of the mind. There was a long time when I was fighting and hating and always thinking why me? But that stress and negativity only fuelled my symptoms even more. What I finally realised is that I simply had to accept who I am in this moment. I realised that acceptance is about loving what is and embracing what is so you can reduce the stress and create a better game plan for yourself. The ultimate place is peace, bliss, joy and contentment. I aspire for this on a daily basis, and use tools like meditation and taking “time-outs” to achieve this. By healing the mind, you’re well on the way to healing the body.
4. Move the body. I was always a very active child, played every sport under the sun! But now my focus has shifted to mixing up my workouts to things that I really enjoy… so if I get bored with my routine, then I mix it up again. It’s about doing things that you enjoy, not things that are stressful on the body or feel like it’s a chore. At the moment, my passion is yoga. I love, love, love yoga!! I will do a blog post soon about an amazing trip that I took up to Byron Bay recently that really changed my perspective on yoga. And yes, my passion for it has grown even more 🙂
5. Lean on me. A supportive network is key to any healing process. Although we all like to think that we’ve ‘got it covered’… your fooling yourself. At one point or another, we all need positive reinforcement – even when you don’t realise it. For me, that support came from my family who knows the depths of what I have been through, have seen me at my lowest and now how far I’ve come; my amazing friends who manage to put such a positive and optimistic spin on things; and my naturopath who was a constant independent source of support, positivity and library of information and seemed to know exactly what my body needed at every step of the way. You are invaluable incredible human beings and I couldn’t have gotten to this point without you all, so thank you.
6. Time and preparation: How I choose to eat now requires a lot of time and preparation. This is key. If your fridge is not stocked with fresh produce or you don’t have healthy choices on reserve, then naturally your diet is not going to be ideal. So you have to make time in your schedule to fit this in. For me, that means allowing an extra 10 minutes in the morning to prepare my green smoothies… and on Saturday mornings hitting up the farmers markets to get all locally grown organic fresh produce… and on Sunday nights usually cooking up a big meal of sorts (often soup) that I can easily freeze and reheat for lunches or dinners throughout the week. This may sound burdensome, but honestly after a while it will just become second nature.
7. Persistence, persistence, persistence. After about 3 months into my new ‘program’ everything was going better than expected…. I was feeling great! Then Christmas and the silly season hit and I started to feel not so great… I knew that I was pushing it a little too far, eating more on a 50/50 ratio, instead of 80/20 and I was doing a lot of things that weren’t the best for my body. It’s such a classic situation, and I fell right into the trap! Fortunately I realised what was happening soon enough, and got back on track. But it just goes to show that you really can never stop working at it. Now things have become a lot easier and so much more enjoyable! I love the way I eat and I have discovered such a plethora of foods out there that are perfect for people with any sort of inflammation in the body, or auto-immune disease that I really feel blessed to have this knowledge. I continue to learn, discover new foods, experiment with new recipes, try out new activities and now openly talk about my journey and share all my thoughts and ideas with you!
I hope your enjoying it so far 🙂