Why Going Gluten-Free wasn’t Enough to Heal Me

Have you ever wished you could send your voice back in time and scream something at your past self?

I do.

I would dial my time-megaphone back to about 4 years ago and scream this-

“if you’re doing ‘everything right’ and are still not healthy, something else is wrong.”

Because yes, when you have just gone gluten-free, after years of suffering from undiagnosed Celiac or gluten sensitivities, it can take several years for your body to completely heal from gluten. That’s normal.

What’s not normal is being constantly sick, despite eliminating all traces from gluten in your life.

Seems obvious now. But back then, when I was still in the thick of it, I didn’t realize just how bad my health had gotten.

It wasn’t until I “woke up” to how bad things were that I finally made changes.

How bad were they? Well…

  • I could NOT lose weight. Was officially “obese”. Despite eating extremely well and exercising.
  • I developed an anaphylactic allergy to avocados.
  • It started to feel like EVERYTHING I ate was hurting my stomach
  • I started getting very sick at LEAST once a month.
  • I had no energy.
  • I was in deep depression.
  • And I was terrified.

It wasn’t until I stared at the number on the scale at the doctor’s office that I realized… “Something is wrong. Bad wrong. And I need to fix it.”

So I did.

I fixed it.

The readers of Gluten-Free Makeup Gal helped me realize I wasn’t alone. Your stories mirror mine in so many ways. That’s why we get along so well. 😉 But it also made me realize I can’t keep this to myself.

Perhaps by sharing my story, you too can finally feel well.

I’ve been strictly gluten-free for 8 years.

Y’all have been following me long enough to know a bit about what my standards are when I say “strict”.’

My body was so sensitive to gluten, it reacted to it on my skin. Hence Gluten-Free Makeup Gal’s existence. (holla!)

In addition to cutting it out of my makeup and skincare, I’ve avoided it in every other area of my life.

  • Stayed away from bakeries (airborne gluten nooooo)
  • Rarely ate out, and when I did, made sure cross-contamination protocols were in place
  • Kept a strictly gluten-free kitchen

I’m basically a boss at making sure gluten doesn’t enter anywhere in my life.

What’s more, I’ve always been good at living a healthy lifestyle. And when I say “always”, I mean my mom started me on this when I was a baby and I’ve kept it up all my life.

  • Eating whole, real foods
  • Very little sugar
  • Exercising in some vigorous manner on a regular basis

And yet…

Going for about 3 years…

I kept getting sick.

This wasn’t your average “healthy person gets sick sometimes” sort of deal. No. This was slowly gaining weight I could not lose. Slowly watching my health fall apart. Slowly gaining new sensitivities left and right. And then yeah, catching all the colds everyone threw around every month. And maybe making up random colds over nothing too.

Oh yeah, and my allergies got horrific, and I kept getting badly physically injured.

Did I mention how miserable I was?

Doing everything right. And watching everything go down the drain.

everything i was doing was not making me well. so what was the problem? and how could i fix it?

then i figured it out.

I figured out exactly why I kept getting sick.

I figured out what I needed to stop doing.

I figured out THE EXACT PROCESS to heal my body.

SINCE THEN:

  • I’ve lost 40lbs.
  • I went from size 16 to size 6.
  • I’ve stopped getting sick every month.
  • I have more stamina, more strength
  • NO MORE INJURIES (except like a normal human doing normal daily things)
  • I’ve started to become less sensitive to gluten.

The other day I ran into a gal from my old church. It’d only been a few months since I’d seen her. She didn’t recognize me. It wasn’t until I grinned at her and said her name that she realized who this “stranger” was.

I’m literally a new person. People who knew me then are amazed by me now. I’ve stopped worrying about hurting myself. I’ve stopped worrying about getting sick every time the weather changes. I’m even less concerned about getting glutened.

Even as I’m writing this out, it sounds too good to be true. I couldn’t have imagined this much success until I DID it. In fact, I almost didn’t realize how much success I was having until people started asking me “Afton, oh my god, what are you DOING?”

It works.

It really, really works.

But here’s the real question I know you’re thinking:

“What did you do?”

I did so many things. Tried so much that didn’t work (clearly!). But what it came down to is 3 major keys.

1) remove sabotage

For us, gluten was the first major saboteur. But for me and for many like me, there was a lot more going on. There were foods in my diet, habits in my living, and even activities I was engaging in that were destroying me. I had to figure out what those were and how to get rid of them.

2) establish a solid baseline for healing

Taking out the stuff that was slowly killing me was only the first step. If that were the only step, I should have been fine just taking gluten out. But no. That wasn’t enough, so here we are. If you don’t give your body what it needs to actually heal, taking out the major aggravators doesn’t help. You just stop making it worse and don’t make it better. It’s when people miss THIS step that you see them sprouting new sensitivities all over the place, even though they’re taking out the things bothering them.

3) strengthen you body the right way

Yes, exercise is great. But if you do it the wrong way at the wrong time, it will tear your body apart. Ask my poor shins and swollen body. I had to stop exercising for a while, then know the right time to ease back into it. I also had to do exercises that calmed and strengthened my body, instead of stressing it to the point of stopping healing. Wish I’d known this part back when I was still at the height of illness.

This series of steps allowed me to finally heal. To be well. To be at a place in my life where I’m not trying to just survive every day. Where I can finally thrive and be healthy.

How you can also be well

I know you’re about to start asking me “What was sabotaging you??”, but that’s not what you should be asking. Why? Well I still can’t eat avocados without probably dying (throat closing up is fun! 😀 not). But avocados are an AMAZING source of healthy fats that can be deeply healing to some people. You should probably be eating avocados. I, however, may never eat avocados again (we shall see).

Everyone’s body is different. What worked for me may not work for you. You could follow the minutia of my daily life for the past year and a half, but never see the results I saw.

What’s IMPORTANT is figuring out what your body needs.

  1. What is sabotaging YOU?
  2. What does YOUR body need to heal?
  3. How does YOUR body need for rest or strengthening?

There are no easy answers. No one set formula to follow to make sure you are well. Assess your own needs and establish a plan from there.