I generally hate New Year’s resolutions. I find the date to be arbitrary and I strongly believe that a person must be ready to take-on the impending change or discipline. It just so happens that this year, my readiness coincides with January 1st! I am ready to address self-sabotage and Sjogrens symptom activation because of it. But I still refuse to call this a “New Year’s Resolution”, when in fact I am aiming for a long-term commitment to my life.
I have tested several diets and exercise regimens throughout the years with the primary goal of losing weight and getting fit. The last diet I tried was the “Paleo” diet (animal protein, vegetables and fruit) coupled with a longer walking/hiking program and yoga. I not only lost ten pounds but I also felt so much better — greatly reduced pain and inflammation, no bloating or digestive issues, no brain fog, slept well through the night — I had forgotten what feeling (close to) normal was like.
And then it happened:
Hello self-sabotage, meet my Sjogrens symptoms.
Self-Sabotage and Sjogrens: Why Did I Do It?
If you have visited my blog before, you may have read When Major Grief and Autoimmune Disease Collide. I wrote this last year after my Father died. I definitely comfort-ate with my family and grabbed the high-carb easy food at the hospital cafeteria. I continued comfort eating to get me through the grief….then the holidays…. then another loss…and so on. My inflammation was crazy-high and I felt horrible. I did my best to get back to Paleo, but kept sneaking sugar, or wine, or really good bread into the mix. It was enough to stop any real progress. I did feel better than when I was in the thick of grief, but had not truly made the commitment to get back on Paleo fully.
I still need to lose that 10 extra pounds and I really want to feel better! So I have spent time trying to figure out why I self-sabotage so I can try again and make it stick.
My Self-Sabotage Personality
I believe I have a fairly good handle on my self-sabotage issues and how to handle it this time, although I suspect it is a life-long practice. Here is what I know to be true for me:
- I love food and I see food as a reward or for comfort. Moving forward, the trick will be to create Paleo food treats that feel like rewards and are comforting, but that do not contain my trigger foods.
- I’m stubborn. No one is going to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. And that includes this disease I have! I often self-sabotage (Lasagne, a Manhattan, a late night out) just to show Sjogrens who is boss. I’m sure you already know that this does not work out well. In fact, it is almost like showing Sjogrens that she is boss. Self-sabotage and Sjogrens meet again.
- I make “logical justifications”. If I’m having a bad Sjogrens day and I’m feeling low, I may say, “Why should I deprive myself since Sjogrens already deprives me of so much”. Or if I want to push myself too much , “Life is short and Sjogrens limits me already so I need to enjoy all I can”. These are justifications and I know it’s self-sabotage when I’m doing it, so I believe I can conquer this one.
- I like verifiable facts before I begin things or make choices that matter. I seek to understand how things work in general so I can understand how it might work for me. Collecting facts is rarely an issue. It is when I choose to NOT investigate that I know there is an issue. I may not be facing something that could be good to learn, do, experience. My friends tease that I always “need more data”. My sister-in-law teases me that my nickname should be “Ms. thinks-a-lot”. So if I’m not thinking about it or collecting data about it, I know I probably should!
- I have an easier time committing to other people than committing to myself. This is a big one and one that I’m not that happy about. I have always been in service to others, including in my work. It is very easy for me to blow-off a yoga class, or spend the time preparing healthy meals because a client, friend, or organization needs my help. I believe THIS ONE IS MY SABOTEUR!
If you have read any of Gretchen Rubin’s work on the Four Tendencies, you may have recognized I’m a bit of a hodgepodge. But for the purposes of starting a new autoimmune protocol diet, I am honing in on my #5 — The Obliger. (If you haven’t read her blog or book, it may help you determine your tendencies and then how to change habits based on your type.)
How I will Conquer Self-Sabotage This Time
AHA! To avoid self-sabotage and Sjogrens symptom activation, I must commit my obliging self to others! I’ve already done this with my consistent Yoga program where people expect to see me on class and at the studio. They hold me accountable. Now, I find that my yoga practice is not only good for my body (for so many reasons), but also my spirit. Seeing these wonderful people at the studio brings joy and community. This greatly helps the feeling of isolation I get inside my house working on my computer all day.
I also thought I could apply this to my diet. This is why I’ve signed up with Angie Alt’s SAD to AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) for six weeks. I know that I have felt so much better on the Paleo diet and this program takes it up a notch. There are several coaches and a group of supportive students (all with Autoimmune issues). So they understand my challenges and my life. This week was the first week and we’ve been gearing up with knowledge to put into action for next week. This time, instead of it being about weight loss, it is about how I can get the most out of life. I already know that this program will help with pain and fatigue — this is a long-term commitment to wellness.
There’s a fountain of information on the Autoimmune Wellness website run by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott. See if you can soak up some of their recipes and come on the journey with me. It may help you or you may find another solution to optimum health (for a Sjogrens patient).
My Mantra to Keep My Mind in Wellness
Sometimes, I like to create simple slogans or mantras to keep my focus. I have come to a clear opinion about two things that help me feel my best. These are not my original thoughts, but I use them together to keep it simple:
- Food is Medicine.
- Motion is Lotion.
Most likely, at some point I will fall off the wagon, with self-sabotage and Sjogrens symptoms meeting again. But if I do, I will get back on the program. I am determined to feel as well as possible and live life to the fullest.