I learned something about myself recently that I never thought would actually end up being so true. It was something that crossed my mind every once in awhile, but I never considered to be the top contributor to all of my health issues over the past several years.
All this time, I was looking outside for healing (food, supplements, etc.), but that could only do so much if I wasn’t addressing the most important factor of all – stress.
It took a few big life changes recently to make me realize that stress had not only played a big role in making me sick but it was also keeping me sick despite my best attempts to eat well, take good supplements, and listen to my body. My path to realize this was profound, and has forever changed the way I look at my health.
Only July 15, 2017, I got married. My biggest concern, above and beyond if the name tags were all spelled correctly, getting the perfect bridesmaid gifts, and that my dress would fit perfectly was if my digestive issues would flare up.
I was terrified of being bloated on our big day…
I worried that eating prepared food would make my stomach writhe in pain…
And I was afraid that all the stress would affect my sleep, leaving me feeling worn down and tired on one of the most important days in my entire life.
But let me tell you this: I slept better than I had in a long time leading up to the wedding. My stomach was flat and happy from the rehearsal dinner night until long after our honeymoon. And I felt more whole than I ever have in my life.
I remember vividly about half-way through our wedding feeling the most overwhelming sense of love, and at that moment I actually felt my body change.
That’s because in place of stress, I felt excitement. In place of fear, I felt love. And I was whole again. This carried over throughout the honeymoon and I committed to myself on the last day of our trip that I would never let stress take control of my body again.
During this time, I learned that what my body needed more than anything was to feel in alignment with life. To be filled with love and joy. And to slow down and enjoy life as it’s happening. When that happened, my body came back into alignment. I still feel that way today, and I never want to let it go.
Coming from a place of much deeper understanding about stress, I’ve decided to bring stress reduction to the top of the things I aim to help my clients with. Because it’s that important, not only for digestive health but to everything. It’s so easy to put it off for another day — unless you have someone holding you accountable and giving you real ways to make it happen.
Of course, it’s easy to tell ourselves stories that one day stress will just go away. That once this big project is over, life will be easier. But is that really the reality? No way!
I told myself these stories for years, and look where that got me. Thousands of dollars spent on supplements and superfoods my body couldn’t even do anything with because I was in a state of chronic stressed. Misguided wishful thinking that if I cleaned up everything around me, I’d feel better again. But it’s the internal conflicts, unhappiness, anxiety, and pressure we feel on a daily basis that can altogether hinder healing if not addressed.
This is all to say that without addressing the deeper imbalances that stress can cause, you can never fully heal. I talk a lot over on Instagram and in my private Facebook group about the immense impact stress alone has on our health, and in fact it’s the number one contributor to doctor visits and the onset of disease.
So many people agree with me when I post about it, but how many actually act on it? My guess is a half of a percent, and that might even be generous. But it’s not for a lack of motivation that most people don’t actually reduce their stress. Stress reduction is easy to put off for another day. To make excuses about. Or maybe you don’t even know what to do about it so you keep putting it off. I sure did…
Now, this isn’t to say that diet, supplementation, or doing deeper work isn’t the right thing to do. Of course it is! But they’re part of the puzzle, just like stress is. We need to address stress equally alongside diet and all the other things you’re doing to get better. Otherwise your body won’t be able to focus on fully healing and restoring balance.
(And yes, it is possible to live nearly stress-free, even with a busy day-job, parental responsibilities, and a hectic schedule.)
I learned the hard way just how much it was costing me to put off reducing stress. I thought one day the stress would eventually go away. But by doing nothing about my stress, I decreased my body’s ability to heal and turned further from love.
Stay tuned in the coming next weeks for some pretty big updates and shifts I’m making and committing to that is making this a reality. I am so excited to share what’s to come with Thrive by Food with a renewed focus, energy, and knowledge.
I want to inspire your journey to reduced stress, more joy, presence and love.
Thank you for being here. You light me up.
Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.
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