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Let Go and Take Control of Your Health

What is stopping you from taking charge of your own health?  What are you afraid of? Let go of fear.

Letting Go

I recently came across this quote by Thich Nhat Hang, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown they prefer suffering that is familiar.”  It made me stop.

I remember back when I was first faced with my diagnosis of GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus.  I was on PPIs, but I was doing my own research to figure out what I could do to control my acid reflux and get off the prescription medicine.  I was starting to see a pattern.  I was going to have to change the way I ate, the way I moved, and the way I lived in order to change my health. But how? Fear set in.  Maybe I didn’t feel that bad… Oh, the justifications that flew through my thoughts.

My GI doctor had said that there was nothing I could do except take my PPIs and monitor it on a yearly basis.  When pressed, he did say to manage my symptoms I could sleep with the head of my bed up (to prevent the acid from flowing back into my esophagus from my stomach), avoid spicy foods, and stop eating chocolate and coffee (which I rarely ate). Notice, manage my symptoms, not do anything to cure or heal my body.

Acid reflux is caused by too little acid in the stomach and not too much acid.  Yet PPIs reduce acid in the stomach.  That seemed odd to me.

It was when I discovered the “cure” was the opposite of what I needed, was when I begin to take control of my own health. No one, not the GI doctor, not my fabulous family doctor, and not my husband were in control. I was the owner of my body and my health.  I had to do something.

Let Go of Fear

But I also remember the fear.  How in the world would I be able to change the way I ate.  All I could see was what I was giving up. How could I give up my Coke a day? Give up my sugar snacks?  Give up my favorite processed food snacks?  Give up my peanut butter? Stop eating bread? (I was sensitive to peanuts and yeast among over 100 other things.)  I didn’t want to give up my “comfort foods”.  It was overwhelming.  I was focusing on the goal and all I would give up, not the process.  At the time I didn’t realize how my taste buds would change or how much more healthy fruits and vegetables would satisfy me.  I was just seeing what I would have to give up.

It wasn’t an overnight change.  I did get rid of peanut butter and bread immediately.  Then I slowly starting eating more fruits and vegetables.  I slowly moved to eating more organic foods.  I found local farmers and CSA.  It took time. But oh, how I remember the setbacks and the wanting to give up.  “Maybe, having a stomach ache and something in my throat wasn’t so bad.”  “Maybe being on PPIs was ok.” Those were definitely thoughts on my tough days.  I was wanting the familiar because I was afraid of the unknown.

Now I look back, and I would never go back to the way I was eating.  Sweet processed things are overly sweet.  Coke tastes metallic.  Fruits and vegetables have such flavor, especially when they come from my garden.  I truly enjoy nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and natural drinks, especially water.  It is no longer the unknown, it is my life.

I am in Charge of My Own Health.

No, I don’t do it perfectly.  I do eat a small bowl of ice cream once in a while at our favorite local ice cream shop.  I do have bouts with acid reflux from time to time, but I am determined to never again let my health be in someone else’s hands…to wait for someone else to tell me what I need to do to feel my best.  I pay attention to my body and try to listen and keep making changes.

That is why I went back to school to be a health coach.  I want to support others who want to take control of their health.  To help them to not be at the mercy of the food industry and their misleading labels and claims.  To help them learn to listen to their own bodies and treat themselves with love and care.

Your body is the only body you will have.  Let go of the fear of the unknown. To trust yourself and to realize that the familiar is not necessarily better than the unknown.

What are you dealing with health-wise? Are you letting fear stop you from making changes?  Are you letting the fear of letting go, the fear of losing the familiar, even the familiarity of ill feelings and being overweight, stop you from taking steps to take control of your health?  Comment below.
I love hearing people’s stories.  If you would like to visit with me regarding your health, schedule a free IHealthy Results Strategy Session. It might be what you need to take that next step in your health journey.  Go here to schedule.


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Let Go of Fear | Take Control of Your Own Health | Take Your First Step to Healthy Living
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  1. Angela Milnes says:

    I am really unwell with certain illnesses and am trying to make changes to my eating to help me. It’s not easy and something I am struggling with. I found your post really interesting!

    Angela from daysinbed x

    • Karen G says:

      Thank you Angela, for commenting. Keep going, it can be so hard, with such confusing information out there. But it is worth the struggle. Not knowing what you are struggling with, I have to say, you may not find a “cure”, but almost always you can find ways to make improvements to your health so you can live life feeling better and enjoying the good moments. If you want to talk about it, you really can schedule a 50 minute phone breakthrough session. Sometimes it helps to share.

  2. My mother had to give up chocolate because of her illness. It was hard for her at first but after a while, she just stopped getting a taste for chocolate. Fear does stop us from taking care of ourselves. We have to make the conscious decision to make the necessary changes in spite of our fear. Great post and great perspective on how we deal with our own health and our fear of the unknown.

    • Karen G says:

      It is true, you will develop a taste for other things that give you joy and comfort. It is not easy, but worth it. Fear stops us. We have to conquer and bust through our fear.

  3. This is great! I’ve been a huge advocate for taking control of your health where you can. Obviously we can’t change everything, but we certainly can control how what we eat and the exercise we do, and how we look after ourselves! It can make such a huge difference! I’m glad yoire feeling more in control of your body and wouldn’t go back! Xx

  4. Denise says:

    My husband also has both but has yet to want to make a change. He loves his peanut butter too much.
    I have my own diet needs I need to work on and it can be very hard to make those diet changes.

    • Karen G says:

      The familiar really is hard to give up. There needs to be a bigger why and a little leap of faith that there is better health and benefits to that better health. Good luck with your changes. Hope you can follow here for inspiration, or join Savvy Circle http://www.facebook.com/groups/SavvyCircle which is a private facebook group to help support and encourage women in their journey to better health.

  5. Nina says:

    A great tool for tackling with fear and other ill feelings, as well as emotional eating is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s truly remarkable technique, easy to learn, you can do it by yourself and just a few minuts a day. I swear by it.

  6. Vicki N says:

    Thank you for this post. A few years ago I had a brain injury and my whole body went haywire. I am thankful it happened, for in the midst of it, I learned to take control of my health. I’m so excited when I hear about others who are doing the same.

  7. That’s so great that you healed your problems with GERD and Barretts. It’s so true that conventional medicine physicians offer no options other than to take the purple pill. Over time, this medication robs you of important nutrients like Vit B. I love the fact that you became a nutritionist and can help others. thanks for sharing your story!

  8. dngei30 says:

    Hi Karen G,

    Really loved the quote that you started with. I’m inspired to take control of my health (and other aspects of my life), so thank you for sharing your journey. I wish you the best.

    • Karen G says:

      Quotes can be so inspiring. I change my favorite quote every few days. Other people’s words can really make a difference in life when you let them sink in and become a part of you.

  9. This post is such food for thought ( no pun intended – truthfully!). I have a lot of health issues and my son has reflux that he is still medicated for and so I have toyed with the idea of going dairy free / vegetarian / vegan free for so long. I need to think about it and try and calm the fear and then go for it. Thank you for your post. Thank you for linking to #featurefridays

    • Karen G says:

      I am sorry to hear you son is struggling with reflux. It can be debilitating. You may want to find someone to have your son tested for food allergies. If you know what he can’t tolerate, that would give you a starting point to eliminate in his diet. You can do it. My mantra is feel the fear and do it any way. 🙂

  10. Beth Niebuhr says:

    It is amazing how quickly the foods that we substitute for “bad” ones start to really taste good. For example, moving from whole milk all those years ago. Soon 2% tasted good. Later the move to 1% was easy and whole milk was horrifying!

    • Karen G says:

      Beth, I get your point and agree. But I also have to point out that now experts are suggesting we move back to whole milk that comes from grass-fed, hormone free cows. They are finding milk from cows that are given hormones is not good for you. You are getting those hormones, plus the fat in milk that is from grass fed cows can be a very healthy fat for those who can tolerate dairy. So what is healthy does change as we learn more and more about our food.

  11. carolee44 says:

    There is always something new to learn about eating healthy is great. Though I have spend most of my life eating healthy and staying in shape always something new to learn.

  12. Kris Vaughan says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. As a fellow health coach I totally agree with you and love helping my clients come to these same realizations.

  13. I was just thinking yesterday how I’ve changed so much in my own life now that I don’t have insurance for prescription drugs. I’ve been able to take control of my own health in ways that I simply ignored before. Because I had insurance. Silly, huh?

  14. Karen G says:

    Glad you used that as a motivator to take control of your health, but you aren’t alone. I was just speaking with a retired physician last night that one of the things he doesn’t miss about practicing is the demands he had from his client to prescribe a drug, not because it was the best thing but because it was covered by the insurance and it seemed the easiest thing to do.

  15. I can relate to the fear of giving up goodies that we like. When I started having migraine headaches at the age of 17, and the family doctor made me give up peanuts, chocolate and horrors – cheese, I honestly thought the world had come to an end. But the thought of having a migraine was a good enough deterrent and I stuck to ‘The Plan’.

    I have since discovered that one can have food allergies at different stages of life, just like I had to wear long distance glasses while studying to become a Chartered Accountant because of the excessive use of computers and long study hours and which corrected itself a few years later. And the need for reading glasses as a more mature person (age is just a number).

    I still monitor what I eat and the time that I eat and if I feel something is not quite right, I get it checked and take corrective action.

  16. Karen G says:

    Good for you. Yes, it is horrors, or at least it can feel like a horror to give up favorite foods. I try peanuts from time to time, but they are still something I mostly avoid. Found almond and cashew butter to substitute for my peanut butter. There are almost always other options that you can come to love. Love that you monitor how your body reacts to food.

  17. rozbeads says:

    Thanks to a few good friends who studied at Integrative Nutrition and became coaches, I switched to whole foods years ago. When I started to become overweight in concerned about diabetes, high cholesterol, & the like, I knew it was more complex than what I ate. How much was I eating, were my new products really healthy, etc? So these past few months I’ve taken on my health, no more crazy programs that work until I get off them. My key is moving my aging stiff body & fine tune my daily choices. Enjoyed your blog.

    • Karen G says:

      Good for you for re-evaluating what you are doing. Our bodies change and so should we change what we eat and how we move. You may want to look into yoga, tai chi or stretching if you haven’t already.

  18. I believe for all of us, there is an underlying question (often not even conscious) of “who am I without this illness?” “Who am I without this extra weight?” Once we become conscious of that root fear, it makes it easier to take responsibility and embrace the change and transformation we outwardly appear to be seeking. Having transformed an “impossible to heal” health issue, I continued trying many modalities until the unconscious became conscious (through the art and biography work I was doing) and was finally able to heal. We all deserve to live vital and healthy lives and to choose wisely from a conscious place. Thanks for sharing your story as well Karen!

  19. Patty says:

    Nice thoughts. My mother is staying with us right now, helping out as I broke my foot in April. Love having her, but my husband and I are really feeling it from the heavy food we’ve been eating!! As soon as she heads home, it’s a whole 30 For us!

  20. Thanks, Karen for a great post. I agree completely that we are in control of our own health. Even though I know better, I have allowed my health to suffer lately. I make the easy excuses of time contraints and work being the culprits. But you remind me to look deeper and own what’s really going on. It would be great to feel and look better once again!

    • Karen G says:

      Jane, Glad the post brought your health back to the forefront. Sit down and figure out one or two steps you can work on today to start improving your health. You can do this.

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