Staying Motivated on Your Healing Journey
By Ann Hutyra – Lead Biological Health Coach, MHH
Anyone who has had a major health crash and struggled to regain their health will tell you that staying motivated can often be a big challenge. Feeling like all of your time and energy is going to healing can leave little time for anything else. If you’re a parent, have a job, or run a household (or all of the above) the healing process can actually start to feel like a big burden. If you find yourself in this space, I think it’s important that you step back and take a long, hard look at your mindset.
When I experienced my own health crash ten years ago, and then worked to heal and regain my vitality, I found myself really frustrated with the process. I was 32 at the time and had just had my daughter when my physical issues came to a head. I experienced intense rashes all over my body, extreme exhaustion, major gut symptoms, panic attacks, and depression. I’ll admit, the gut issues had been present for years, back into childhood – but I thought my chronic constipation, constant bloating, and daily headaches were actually normal. I had experienced those symptoms for as long as I could remember, so for me, they were normal. I had learned to adapt.
At the time of my daughter’s birth, I was working a very high-stress job for an affiliate of a major news network. I worked 9 to 12 hours a day, and was live on-air in front of a camera for an hour and a half Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends. I spent my days covering the drug war on the Texas-Mexico border and witnessed my fair share of murder scenes, crime, and violence. When I wasn’t working, I was constantly on the go. I spent 2 hours a day in the gym or running (sometimes 10 miles a day), I ate very little, and my sleep was horrible. Adding a pregnancy and a newborn into the mix, my body reached its breaking point.
It took me about a year to get a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, which is a relatively short time compared to the 5-7 years it takes on average. The only way to address a celiac diagnosis is through lifestyle changes and focusing on the gut – so while I had my work cut out for me in that first year and a half, it was relatively easy to actually make the food changes. Changing my mindset, and dealing with the grief associated with my diagnosis was the bigger challenge for me, and having a therapist at the time really helped.
About two years after the Celiac diagnosis, I found myself back at my MD’s office feeling really run down and tired. I had started gaining weight despite my clean and healthy diet, and I just felt “off.” I was eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, or autoimmune thyroid disease. I’ll admit that this diagnosis really crushed me. I remember struggling to hold back my tears and my anger as I finished up my appointment with my doctor and made it out to my car. I cried the whole way home and sat there in the driveway feeling so defeated. I had made all of these changes over the past two years – why didn’t any of them work?
It was at this point in my journey that I started asking myself “why?” Why was I spending so much time searching for clean high-quality foods, and so much time in the kitchen cooking, if it wasn’t doing any good? Why was I saying “no” to nights out with friends for drinks, and late-night after-work get-togethers to focus on self-care and quality sleep if it wasn’t doing anything for me? Why was I spending all this money on high-quality supplements, infrared sauna treatments, and acupuncture, if my body was “broken”? None of those things were actually true – but that was the story I told myself.
When the journey to healing becomes challenging, it’s not uncommon to grow weary of the process. I get it. I experienced it myself, and I see it on a regular basis with the dozens of clients I work with. It’s normal to grow tired of putting in all the work. It’s normal to question the financial investment when the journey is longer than you expected. And it’s normal to ask yourself “why?” and really dig deep into all of the emotions that come up for you during your healing process. After all, although you may be on this journey to heal your body – you are also essentially healing (or need to heal) your mind and spirit as well.
What really helped me at the time of my own frustration was going through what we call the “Keys to An Achievable Outcome.” Asking myself the following questions – and being honest with myself, and really clear and concise in my answers.
- What specifically do I want?
- Where am I now in the process?
- What will I see, feel, or hear when I have it?
- How will I know when I have it?
- What will this outcome get for me or allow me to do?
- Is it only for me?
- Where, when, how, and with whom do I want it?
- What do I have now, and what do I need to get my outcome?
- What will happen if I get it?
- What will happen if I don’t get it?
Becoming really clear with myself on WHY I was doing the work I was doing, and my REASONS to keep going, as well as what I would GAIN on the other side of the journey was what I needed to shift my mindset and keep the course. I started focusing on what I wanted as opposed to what I didn’t want. So if you are struggling right now, know you are not alone. I understand your frustration, our team understands your frustration – and we are here to help remind you of your WHY, and your REASONS, and help you focus on what you are going to GAIN when the hard part of your journey is complete.