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Sometimes trying to move toward healing and wellness feels just like the photo above. So many ups, down, twists and turns. We’re left wondering when we can get off this crazy ride! There are days I wonder this for myself.

When I starting adapting my eating habits, and that of our family, I went full steam ahead. I read and learned more than I had ever before about how food heals our bodies. We had fully embraced the Paleo lifestyle as a family and I had begun trying to live following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). I was in, but only to the point that I could still hang on to some of my favorite foods and drinks. But that has had obvious consequences on my healing. I have had stretches of time when I’ve felt great, and others when it has hurt to move. So when I step back and reflect on my own wellness journey this past year, it definitely feels like a rollercoaster! Just when I think I have what it takes to stick with the AIP, I find myself giving in and wanting to give up.

These past few months I have been reading more about others who share a similar journey, particularly those who are living with autoimmune diseases which respond well to the AIP diet. The sheer number of those people is constantly growing as awareness of autoimmune diseases is becoming more mainstream. As I read what they have to share, I hear them talk about flare ups and how they manage them. I have been wondering what a flare up looks like to me. Well, just this past weekend I have experienced a big flare up. My whole body aches — literally from head to toe. My toe joints hurt. My elbow aches. My hips are so tight it hurts to sleep on my side at night. Yep, that’s a flare up.

So yesterday, when I read an article from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mom) about moving forward, it was just what I needed to hear. Read what she has to say about set-backs. No matter if you’re experiencing set-backs from trying to follow the AIP, Paleo, or other lifestyle changes, this is so encouraging…

And what if cheating (or reintroducing a food that doesn’t work for us) causes a reaction? Well, yes, set-backs are frustrating. But, the key here is that the AIP provides us with a powerful tool that we can always come back to to expedite healing and recovery. We all fall down, once in a while, and all we can do is pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, reevaluate and move forward. And, falling off the wagon, even for a few days, won’t necessarily set you back to square one. As always, the affects of a particular food will be determined by your own history and by other factors, like how well-rested you are, your stress and activity level and more. The trick is to find a balance between what your body will tolerate and what it needs to heal. It’s all about finding a sustainable approach with which you can live and thrive!

So, today I start again, allowing myself to decide how I may or may not “cheat”. This is my ride, and I may get a bit dizzy and fall down. But that only happens when I get off, so getting back in line and riding again is not even a question. I will. I want to thrive!

Have you felt like your journey with food has been a rollercoaster? Are you benefiting from the ride, or are you left wondering how to get off? Don’t give up. Everyone has their own ride. What’s yours?