As soon as I walked out of my naturopath’s office, Flaming Hot Cheetos were dead to me.
If I had realized this before making my decision, maybe I would have gone on one last raid of the junk food aisle. It’s hard to tell. The shock of understanding my test results was strong and fresh, and perhaps the resolve it brought would have been strong enough to resist an orange cheesy binge.
When I look back on the first week knowing about my shiny new food allergies and intolerances, I’m surprised at myself — in a good way. The anger, the depression, the frustration… just a few days before, it all would have driven me to eat my feelings via tortilla chips or pasta or a large glass of chocolate milk. But the little paper booklet that held my test results wielded enormous power. The power to convince my animal brain, unchangably, that my food friends were no longer so amicable. My diagnosis was over 30 food allergies, and an inflamed and underperforming GI tract. First-world life was killing me.
The night after recieving the results, I Skyped with my long-distance boyfriend. He asked if I had a strategy, if I would weed out the allergies one by one, or go cold turkey. “It’s poison, to me,” I told him, “I’m not really interested in suicide.”
There is no stronger motivation for change than being destroyed from the inside out.
It has been 1 1/2 years since that fateful day in 2012. I won’t lie to you and tell you it has been easy (it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done), or that I’m glad it happened (I think I’d give a foot for a normal digestive system.) But I’ve learned the lesson marathon runners do when they push themselves and push themselves and push themselves hundreds of times past the moment their body tells them they’ve had enough. If only that lesson were more complicated – maybe I could get a book deal out of it, or start some sort of motivational speaking cult. But no. It is just this:
You are capable of doing ALL unpleasant things, if you will only place enough value on the results they will give you.
This is simple to say, simple in theory, and agonizing – but just as simple – in practice. I obey the limitations that have been imposed on me by my body, because I have placed the value of my life on it. And so, my life goes on – without Cheetos, without cake on my birthday, without sharing thanksgiving dinner. Because growing old and being free of pain are of higher value than Ben&Jerry’s. The lesson wasn’t easy, and I don’t like what it demands. But it made my decisions clear, and I am grateful for the results.
And that, in the end, is what really matters.