Part 2: Lessons Learned from the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
After starting the anti-inflammatory diet, I was able to visualize a healthier version of myself. I was confident that there was a version of me that did not have to suffer from so much exhaustion. I started making decisions for her and her future.
Now that I've been working through the anti-inflammatory diet and already shared a few of my initial lessons, I wanted to share a few more lessons and learnings.
Don't restrict yourself
One of the reasons most diets fail is because people restrict themselves too much—therefore, they tend to indulge more afterward. What we fail to realize is that we do not have to stop eating everything all at once.
As for me, I started cutting off rice, and then I started doing meatless Thursdays. After a few weeks, I enjoyed eating vegetables more until I was able to slowly incorporate them into my daily diet. I also subscribed to a weekly diet plan where vegan meals are delivered at home every day, so I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to eat since I did not know how to cook.
As a person who enjoys food, I genuinely thought this diet would be dreadful. Surprisingly, I found myself looking forward to what I would be eating the next day.
Unconditionally allow yourself
After all the progress, I still struggled to avoid dairy, sweets, and desserts. My nutritionist friend reminded me that I should unconditionally allow myself to eat sweets once in a while.
If you restrict yourself and your cravings too much, you would most likely binge.
In order to avoid this, she suggested that I use the 80-20 rule wherein 80% of my diet would be allotted to healthy food while the remaining 20% would be for any food that I want. This method has taught me how to indulge in anything that I want in moderation without feeling guilty. It’s okay. You can eat that cookie!
Unconditionally forgive yourself too
Following any dietary plans and being healthy is never a linear journey. You have days when you feel accomplished, and days when you feel like a failure. Sometimes, following the diet is easy. While some days, you feel like eating a whole tub of ice cream and just drown yourself in guilt.
I found that after indulging unconditionally, you have to forgive yourself unconditionally too. Let go of the guilty feeling. Let go of the “I did not deserve that cookie” mindset. Move on, and do not allow yourself to dwell on it too much. Do not allow yourself to continue binge eating too.
Giving in to your cravings from time to time is never harmful and does not indicate that you lack self-discipline. Do not drown yourself in guilt and self-loathing. Do not be too hard on yourself, you are doing your best!
Go back to your purpose
Finally, I have learned that consistency and commitment are crucial in following the anti-inflammatory diet, or any lifestyle change for that matter. There are times where you struggle to continue, but you have to go back to the reason why you are doing it in the first place.
Remember your purpose.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?