After the post that I shared last week on my Instagram page, and along with my first post about recovering from adrenal insufficiency, so many of you reached out asking for a step-by-step guide for how I healed my adrenals. I completely understand where you're coming from, because I searched for any sort of step-by-step guide for YEARS.
I wanted to be told exactly what to do, what to eat, and how to live life, in order to heal. It wasn't until I finally did heal my adrenals on my own that I fully understood that finding true health is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We're all completely unique and each of us has different needs, so what works for me may be totally different than what works for you.
I want to be extremely clear here – everything written in this post is what worked for ME. I'm in no way, shape or form telling you that this will work for you, or that you should follow any of my advice. I'm simply sharing my experience, as I know how helpful it can be to at least have somewhere to start, and new possibilities to consider.
I healed myself by thinking completely outside of the box. This takes an open mind to truly comprehend. I literally went against everything that I was ever taught to be true – and it WORKED.
Because of this, I no longer believe that healing is always found with super strict protocols, a million supplements, and "paleo-ing" harder. I find that if something stresses me out, is there really a point to doing it? Definitely not in my opinion!
Again, this is all for YOU to decide what best works for YOUR body. Maybe your approach to healing will look completely different, and that's great! Life is all about finding what works for YOU!
I was told by several doctors that there was nothing that I could do to heal my adrenals, besides take the Prednisone that I was prescribed.
Shortly before I healed my adrenals, I was told by my endocrinologist that I wouldn't be able to stop my Prednisone, and that I would most likely be on it for the rest of my life.
Although I have a deep respect for most doctors, I tell you this because I hope that it will show you that just because someone says something, doesn't mean that it's true.
If you ever want me to do something, simply tell me that it cannot be done. I strongly believe that the only limits we have are the ones that we place upon ourselves.
It's your choice if you're going to write your own story, or if you're going to let someone else write it for you.
How I Healed My Adrenals:
MINDSET IS EVERYTHING
I cannot say this enough. Having a positive mindset was the KEY to healing my adrenals.
By now, most of you know how important keeping a positive mindset is to me. My husband, Mike, and I have created several videos around this topic, where we break down common challenges into manageable steps to help improve your life! We're able to do this because we've both been in very dark places, and we learned how to pull ourselves out and back into the light.
In order to heal my adrenals, I learned to manage stress like I never had before. When I would become stressed, it would tax my adrenals, and when my adrenals weren't able to produce cortisol, this would make me very sick. I went through this cycle for years, basically until I said "no more," and I completely changed the way that I handled stress. If this is something that you struggle with, Mike and I also created a video for you with 5 easy tips for managing stress right now.
As I talked about in my Learning to Love Your Body post last week, the book The Loving Diet, by my friend Jessica Flanigan of AIP lifestyle, was a huge part of my healing process. I highly recommend this book, as it helped me to completely change how I looked at Prednisone, a medication that I once despised, which I learned instead to be so grateful for. After all, this medication saved my life, over and over again.
When it comes to mindset, WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS EVERYTHING.
I fully believe that moment my adrenals healed was when I 100% believed without a single doubt, that they were already healed. That's when I was able to completely release the Prednisone that I was on, after struggling with it for 5 ½ years. My belief in myself and my body's ability to heal made ALL the difference.
When it came to healing my adrenals, proper rest was a huge priority. I skipped events that I wanted to attend, simply because I was focused on a much bigger goal. While missing out on something isn't always the most fun, you can make the choice to recognize that it's only temporary. Rest and taking care of yourself pays off HUGE in the long run.
While I was healing, I aimed to be in bed by 10pm. Here's the thing though, if I wasn't in bed by 10, I DIDN'T beat myself up for it. This all circles back around to stress, and beating myself up for anything would have been pointless, and really, it would've only made everything so much worse.
FOOD & SUPPLEMENTS
Changing my diet and lifestyle really helped to make the signals extremely clear for what my body actually needed. Finding what foods that made me feel my best definitely took some trial and error. I stuck to a strict paleo diet for 2+ years to allow my gut to fully heal. (FYI, I've been eating this way for over 4 years now).
Once I felt ready, I slowly added certain foods back in, to see how they made me feel (although I never added gluten back in). Through putting in the effort, I've found what works for MY body, and what keeps me feeling great. It may be a surprise to some, but it's no longer strict paleo.
I've found that white rice, high quality grass fed dairy, and some other gluten-free grains are what help me to thrive. I read a few books on adrenal health and took away the advice that intuitively felt right to me. I started to switch up the way I was eating, and noticed that I felt better, so I rolled with it.
Here's what I ate while healing my adrenals. Again, this is what worked for ME, what works for you may look totally different:
First thing in the morning, I ate a breakfast that was high protein and low in carbs, and I also did my best to eat within an hour of waking up. Over the course of the day, I increased my carb intake, having most of my carbs at dinnertime (usually in the form of white rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, or something similar). I also made sure that I always had a healthy snack on hand that included a good amount of protein, as blood sugar was tough for my body to regulate with improper cortisol production.
I didn't (and never have) count or measure anything, so I couldn't tell you how many grams I ate of what. I simply listened deeply to what my body was asking for, and I gave it exactly that.
I also completely cut out caffeine from my diet. Caffeine can stress the adrenals, and obviously that was the last thing that I wanted to do.
Years ago, I was taking 14 supplements every single day. Intuitively, this didn't feel right for my body, so one by one, I cut back on them as my health improved. The only supplement I took for my adrenal health was Ashwaganda. It worked well for MY body, when I felt like I needed it.
First thing every morning, I did my best to get some quick sun exposure (sometimes even just standing in the sunlight, and looking out the window), which I believe helped with my adrenal healing. There's a lot of science that backs this up, if you're interested in learning more about this. Since it was summertime, this was easy to do. If nothing else, it really did make me feel great getting that early morning light, to start off my day, and I plan to do it again this summer!
Movement is SO important to me. My workouts have changed drastically over the years, and now that I've fully healed my adrenals, my routine is much more intense, because my body is able to handle it & recover quickly. While I was healing my adrenals, I was told by alternative practitioners (conventional doctors never once mentioned anything that I've written about in here) that I should stick to only doing gentle yoga.
Here's the thing, gentle yoga doesn't make me happy. Maybe it does for you, and that's awesome! I found that my happiness, and doing what I loved, was SO important when it came to healing, so I learned how to modify my workouts to work for me!
While I was healing my adrenals, I still did SOME obstacle course (ninja warrior) training and weight lifting, although I kept my workouts short. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes. I did what I felt up to, and this changed day to day.
Sometimes I felt up to doing my regular training, and sometimes I knew that I needed a day of complete rest, perhaps going on a walk with my dogs.
When it came to my workouts, I learned to never run myself down, as this would only go against what I was trying to accomplish. It wasn't always easy, but in the long run, it's been more than worth it.
HOW I HEALED MY ADRENALS – SUMMARY
All in all, when it came to how I healed my adrenals, I truly learned to listen to my body more than I ever have before. I did my best to honor and give my body what it needed.
Healing my adrenals taught me the most priceless lessons that I'll carry with me throughout my entire life. I learned to REALLY take care of both my physical and mental health, and because of this, I know that I'll stay strong, healthy and thriving.
I put in the effort, without letting excuses get in the way, and because of this, I'm able to now reap the rewards.
I have energy that I never knew existed. I train as often and as much as I want (while still always listening to my body), and my workouts leave me feeling stronger. I've learned what makes me feel my best, and I now eat to support my lifestyle and energy.
Life is full of challenges, and I believe that once you accept this fact and put in the work, the challenges become easier and easier to handle.
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