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How to stick to the autoimmune, or leaky gut, diet

So you've either just gotten the results back from your  food sensitivity test  or your practitioner says you need to follow the  autoimmune diet,  also called the leaky gut diet, to manage your autoimmunity. The autoimmune diet comes as a shock to many due its strict limitations and compliance can be tough. The trick to sticking to the autoimmune diet is understanding how to work with your mind to establish new habits.

Although a goal is important — say someone wants to manage her Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland — research shows a goal alone is not enough to change your habits. We've all made promises to reform only to quickly succumb to the spell of temptation. Research shows we are more motivated by the daily habits toward that goal than the goal itself. The key is not in the big sweeping gesture fueled by fantasy, but instead the small, tangible things we do each day to move us toward our goal.

How to create new habits to stick to the autoimmune diet

It takes  66 days  to create a new habit, so commit to a plan of supporting yourself and your new way of life.

Create a vision board of your healthier life. Create a vision board, a collage of images that represent what life will look at when you reach your goal of more successfully managing your autoimmune disease. For instance, your vision board can feature images of feeling energetic, having fun with your kids, doing a sport or activity you love, a place you've always wanted to visit, romance, and other images that capture the life you will lead when freed from your symptoms. Put it where you see it every day so that the images seep into your subconscious mind.

Schedule time for your diet. Schedule time each week to chop veggies, cook meats, put together crockpot meals, and make snacks. You're most likely to cave when hungry, so create the convenience and accessibility ahead of time to ensure your success.

Check in with your habit building and stress levels. Big life changes are an eternal  work in progress   not a destination. You will bring down your health if you make the diet stressful. So check in with yourself regularly to see how it's working for you and whether it's stressing you out, and tweak and modify as needed.

Get support from others.  Social support  is not only healthy in itself, but it's also vital to your success. Join online groups of others on a similar path, enlist friends or family to encourage you, and don't engage those who try to ridicule or sabotage you.

Change your subconscious beliefs. Our subconscious mind plays a significant role in our daily habits, good or bad. You may have unidentified belief systems that are working against your success. There are many methods and books available these days to help you, including  EFT,  EMDR,  hypnotherapy   prayer, and books such as those by  Joe Dispenza.

Practice positivity. Yes, the autoimmune diet can be challenging. But having a sour attitude will only set you up for failure. Studies show subjects who spend a little time regularly practicing  positivity  and gratitude have far better outcomes than those who don't. It's no different than learning a new skill — investing just a few minutes a day thinking about something that makes you feel good or about things for which you are grateful pays you back amply.

Meet the Author

Kristien Boyle DOM, AP (FL), LAc (SC)
Kristien Boyle DOM, AP (FL), LAc (SC)

Dr. Boyle D.O.M. (FL) is the founder of the Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas where he is the Director of Functional Medicine. He holds a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine and is acupuncture physician and primary care physician in the state of Florida. His post-graduate focus has been in the fields of functional neurology, functional immunology, and functional endocrinology.

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