Go for Great!
Last week I wrote about the difference between feeling ok and feeling well. About how it’s so easy for us to just get used to mediocre and think it’s ok to settle for that. I wrote:
“Feeling well is deeper. And wider. It’s the you that you can imagine being if you lifted off all of the things that are holding you back in your life.”
Since then I’ve been thinking about my own life and the times that I’ve come up against this kind of wall. I decided to go ahead and share this, even though it’s a little personal, in case it can help you identify something small, or big for that matter, that’s been bothering you, or keeping you from feeling your best.
About 15 years ago, about 5 years after a severe bout of mono I realized that when I ate wheat I felt the same way I did when I first got sick. Exhausted. Not just “I want to lay down.” exhausted, but “It feels like every cell in my body is crying,” exhausted. The kind of exhausted that no amount of sleep could cure. Since I know that what I eat impacts my body profoundly I made some additional diet changes to my already pretty healthy diet. I tried both being off of wheat and being completely gluten-free. I felt substantially better with both but didn’t notice much of a difference between the two, so I cut out wheat and left it at that.
Then, in 2007, I became a mom and it sent me into an extended rough patch complete with crying jags, mood swings and almost debilitating anxiety. With some help from a very good counselor I got it under control and truly thought I was better. And then I hurt my shoulder. Ripped the socket basically, carrying a too-heavy suitcase down the stairs to catch a subway to JFK (I call it my fashion injury). After the initial sharp pain it seemed fine but then within a week it started aching all night long, waking me repeatedly. No position was comfortable.
Because I wasn’t getting enough sleep the fatigue that I’d had after the mono started rearing its head again. And my shoulder wasn’t getting better. After about 6 months, in addition to that pain and some decreased range of motion, suddenly I was experiencing a new kind of pain. The kind of pain that if I reached the wrong way, or moved suddenly, would strike like a lightning bolt and literally drop me to my knees. This might even happen in the middle of the night If I rolled over to pull up my covers or reached out to grab a sip of water.
I was in physical therapy but it wasn’t working and although I was ready to have surgery, the surgeon thought there was still a chance it would get better if I gave it more time (kudos to that surgeon who didn’t jump to the scalpel).
I decided to put myself on an anti-inflammatory diet, including going off of gluten entirely.
You’re probably expecting to hear that my shoulder miraculously got better. It didn’t. But what did get better was my mental state. I hadn’t even realized that I was still crouching under a dark cloud. A gluten-free diet changed everything for me. The lights were back on. I could feel it. But more than that, I could see it in the eyes of my husband and my then 5-year-old son. Nothing could make me go back.
You see, I thought I was ok because it wasn’t as bad as it had been.I had settled for ‘ok’ partly because I couldn’t see it, but also partly because I wasn’t honest with myself about how I was feeling.
Let me be clear. This isn’t a story about why you shouldn’t eat gluten it’s a story about what’s possible. You can be ok with good, or you can go for great- for your optimal, whatever that may be. You need the choices you make on a daily basis to move you in the direction of truly feeling well. It’s easier than you might think.
Yours In Health,
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