Going With the Flow

I have struggled with this for a while. I realized I had not normal digestion problems at the end of 2014. I had to record everything I ate to figure out what the issue was and do the Whole 30 program to reintroduce foods to make sure my doctor’s interpretation was accurate. It was determined that I had stress related irritable bowel syndrome. Things like alcohol, sweets and heavily processed food cause severe bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. Needless to say, dealing with that made it hard to go with the flow…

I just remember having to bring my own food everywhere and being anxious about going out to eat. While I may have felt great and lost a lot of weight, I was alone a lot and people voiced how annoying it was for them to have to deal with my IBS. That put stress on me, which only caused me more digestion issues. So I stopped hanging out with others, unless it was my partner and my family when I took trips home.

This lead to the most rigid routine I have ever followed and possibly depression from being solo most of the time. I planned out everything. I became obsessed with it to the point of keeping a detailed schedule of exactly what and when I would eat for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. I also did this with my workouts, walks, yoga and pretty much any movement I made.

Mean while, I was dealing with nutrient deficiencies from being on birth control for over a decade, my cycle went AWOL, my partner’s time in school was being extended, my funding at work was coming to an end and I had so much to complete before that last day. I became so burnt out.

When the specialist I talked to told me to stop all the obsessive behavior and focus on listening to my body’s needs, I was a mix of feelings. “Thank goodness!” “So… how do you do that again?” “How long will this take?” “It is good that I will have plenty of time to focus on this.” “What’s on the schedule for dinner?” “Can I really stop running and resistance training for months?” “I wonder if I can find someone to talk to to help deal with this and not break the bank…” You know, your stereotypical female response of thought vomit.

Even a reader of this blog recommended that I go with the flow when it came to visiting my family. I had 3 trips during the Fall where I was put to the test and last week’s trip to my hometown made me feel like all my hard work was worth it. I had some vague plans to collect the last of my belongings from my mother’s house, see as many friends and family as possible, enjoy some Ted Drewes frozen custard and eat my favorite sandwich, but I just let all of that happen naturally. I was there to visit and worked around their schedules and what was decided among the group.

I am the type of person who is always trying to better themselves. For a few years, I got caught up in myself and forgot that one of my life goals was to be a thoughtful person. My maternal grandmother I did not get to meet, but the stories I hear about her are ones that melt my heart and makes me wish I had met her. She seemed like a kind, generous, go with the flow woman. I have always wanted to improve those qualities within myself in hopes that I will be remembered like she is by so many people.

I can not explain how much better I feel just relaxing. Sure, my digestion is better if I choose particular foods and get out for a walk everyday. However, letting things happen naturally lately has really made me feel whole again. I feel like there is a metaphor here or something because I am a serious river town gal. I grew up along the Mississippi and have loved every river town I have lived in or visited. 🙂

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