I recently came across this quote by Thich Nhat Hang, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown they prefer suffering that is familiar.” It made me stop.
I remember back when I was first faced with my diagnosis of GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus. I was on PPIs, but I was doing my own research to figure out what I could do to control my acid reflux on my own and get off the prescription medicine. I was starting to see a pattern. I was going to have to change the way I ate, the way I moved, and the way I lived in order to change my health. But how, fear set in. Maybe I didn’t feel that bad…
My GI doctor had said that there was nothing I could do except take my PPIs and monitor it on a yearly basis. When pressed, he did say to manage my symptoms I could sleep with the head of my bed up (to prevent the acid from flowing back into my esophagus from my stomach when I slept), avoid spicy foods which irritated my stomach, and stop eating chocolate and coffee (which I rarely ate). Notice, manage my symptoms, not do anything to cure or heal my body.
Acid Reflux is caused by too little acid in the stomach and not too much acid. Yet PPIs reduce acid in the stomach. That seemed odd to me. I think it was when I discovered the “cure” was the opposite of what I needed, was when I knew that I had to take control of my own health. No one, not the GI doctor, not my fabulous family doctor, and not my husband was in control. I was the owner of my body and my health. I had to do something.
But I also remember the fear. How in the world would I be able to change the way I ate. All I could see was what I was giving up. How could I give up my Coke a day? Give up my sugar snacks? Give up my favorite processed food snacks? Give up my peanut butter? Stop eating bread? (I was sensitive to peanuts and yeast among over 100 other things.) I didn’t want to give up my “comfort foods”. It was overwhelming. I was focusing on the goal and all I would give up, not the process. At the time I didn’t realize how my taste buds would change or how much more whole foods of fruits and vegetables would satisfy me. I was just seeing what I would have to give up.
It wasn’t an overnight change. I did get rid of peanut butter and bread immediately. Then I slowly starting eating more fruits and vegetables. I slowly moved to eating more organic foods. I found local farmer and CSA. It took time. But oh, how I remember the set backs and the wanting to give up. “Maybe, having a stomach ache and something in my throat wasn’t so bad.” “Maybe being on PPIs was ok.” Those were definitely thoughts on my tough days. I was wanting the familiar because I was afraid of the unknown.
Now I look back, and I would never go back to the way I was eating. Sweet processed things are overly sweet. Coke tastes metallic. Fruits and vegetables have such flavor, especially when they come from my garden. I truly enjoy nuts,. seeds, coconut flakes and natural drinks, especially water. It is no longer the unknown, it is my life.
I am in charge of my own health. No, I don’t do it perfectly. I do eat a small bowl of ice cream once in a while at our favorite local ice cream shop. I do have bouts with acid reflux from time to time, but I am determined to never again let my health be in someone else’s hands…to wait for someone else to tell me what I need to do to feel my best. I pay attention to my body and try to listen and keep making changes.
That is why I went back to school to be a health coach. I want to walk with others who want to take control of their health. To help them to not be at the mercy of the food industry and their misleading labels and claims. To help them learn to listen to their own bodies and treat themselves with love and care. It is the only body they will have. To be with them to let go of the fear of the unknown. To trust themselves and to realize that the familiar is not necessarily better than the unknown.
What are you dealing with health-wise? Are you letting fear stop you from making changes? Are you letting the fear of letting go, the fear of losing the familiar, even the familiarity of ill feelings and being overweight, stop you from taking steps to take control of your health? Comment below.
I love hearing people’s stories. If you would like to visit with me regarding your health, schedule a free Inner Vitality Breakthrough Session. It might be what you need to take that next step in your health journey. Go here to schedule.
Check out the Revitalize Your Health Detox starting Nov 5. Online program to help you eliminate junk foods and highly sensitive foods by eating whole foods, so you can start making your health a priority. Check it out: Detox
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