Starting (and staying) on the Autoimmune Protocol is quite a committment, one that requires lots of drive, discipline and heart. Today I am sharing with you the six most effective strategies that helped me find motivation to start AIP, set my priorities and complete the Autoimmune Protocol in a dedicated and effective way.
Before we begin, I want to clarify that, just like anybody else, I too have dealt with lots of doubts and sense of failure. I have experienced the scary feeling of wasting time because the results were not coming; I have thought that I was a fool for making all of those efforts and sacrifices without reaping the healing results that everybody else around me seemed to experience.
THIS IS NORMAL. Know that you are going to feel like that too at times. There will be bumps on the road, ups and downs, and that it will take time.
But in the long run, you are going to start seeing little improvements, then some bigger ones, and hopefully a little after that, you’ll feel that you got to a point in which you are happy with the results you’ve accomplished and that all of your efforts were totally worth it!
6 Most Effective Tactics To Find Motivation To Start AIP
1. Think About The Alternatives
My first tip to find motivation to start AIP is to think about the alternatives. Would taking immunosuppressant drugs, knowing that you didn’t even try a more natural alternative, be a solution you are happy with?
To feel at peace with myself I like to think that I did everything that was in my control to deal with chronic pain and try to prevent the risk of developing even more autoimmune diseases in the future. And if you look at things from this perspective, giving up certain foods for a period of time doesn’t seem that big of a deal anymore.
Of course, the Autoimmune Protocol isn’t a magic formula. The level of healing you can achieve doesn’t only depend on the diet and lifestyle you follow (and you should definitely consult with a Functional Medicine Doctor for that), but these two aspects can definitely have a huge impact on it, and in some cases also bring your symptoms to remission.
If you go shopping and are tempted by some non-AIP foods that look yummy, don’t feel deprived, but think about what a small sacrifice this is compared to what you are trying to accomplish. During the elimination phase of the AIP, think of them as something that would equal quitting and giving up all of the hard work you have done so far. You won’t feel the desire to put them in your cart anymore
That bag of M&M’s looks tempting? What you can do instead is take them as the inspiration to come up with a new recipe! Go home and play around with Pinterest and Google… maybe somebody has already replicated them in an AIP way.
…And if not, why not be the first? Make your time in the kitchen playful and come up with something awesome.
2. Get Excited About Meeting New Foods!
Don’t look at the AIP like an “elimination diet”, look at it as a nourishing and healing diet that can help you succeed in your goals. Before you start getting rid of the foods that you will no longer consume during the Autoimmune Protocol, stock your pantry with all the new ingredients that will keep you going instead.
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Drive to your local health food store or farmers market and place a big order on Amazon (and here you can find my AIP Grocery List of foods that you can buy online). Having the right foods in the house will inspire you to eat according to the protocol and will make it easier for you to find motivation to start AIP.
3. Reorganize Your Pantry!
Go through your pantry, kitchen drawers, fridge, freezer (and even that little nook in your night table where you like to hide chocolate candies) and get rid of all the foods that are on the NO list of the AIP elimination phase.
IF YOU LIVE ON YOUR OWN: You have it much easier: you can eliminate the foods you’ll not longer eat without bothering anyone. Still, be respectful towards your food: getting rid of it does NOT mean you need to throw it away.
Donate it to a shelter, use apps where food wastes can find a new home, or simply offer it to your neighbors, friends or relatives.
IF YOU LIVE WITH YOUR FAMILY: Redistribute the items in your kitchen in order to create a space that’s all yours, like a cabinet or a drawer where you store all of your new AIP compliant foods and ingredients.
Ask the other members of your family to please leave the stuff that’s on that drawer for you so that you can always find AIP food when you are hungry.
4. Think It's Not Forever!
The elimination phase of the AIP is designed to help you remove inflammation in your body and heal your gut, but it’s not meant to last forever! And knowing that you are only being this strict with your food for a specific period of time is another factor that will help you find motivation to start AIP.
Take this time to really get in touch with the signals your body is sending you, Improvements aren’t usually something that you notice from one day to another, but month to month, and keeping a diet and symptom journal can help you better track and understand this correlation.
With some of these foods you might do well right away; some other foods might require some more time and healing. Don’t get frustrated, even if you get a reaction after you reintroduce a food for the first time, that doesn’t mean you can’t try it again in a few months be able to tolerate it!
After spending several months on the AIP, I have successfully reintroduced so many foods… from rice to nuts, and even some legumes!
Take the elimination phase of the AIP as a healing time you are giving to your body to allow it to heal and turn off the inflammation. You owe this to yourself!
5. Make Sure Your Family Members Are Onboard
Succeeding on the Autoimmune Protocol is a team work, and you can have a very hard time doing it if you have people in your household rooting against you, making fun of your food choices or disapproving. …As if it wasn’t already hard enough as it is!
Before you start, you need to make sure the people who live with you are informed about your choice and or willing to help you. Support from other is really one of the main reasons that can help you find motivation to start AIP.
Share some of the research with them or have them read some success stories. They will understand why you want to give the Autoimmune Protocol a try and, even if they are skeptical, ask them to have faith in you for at least 3 months.
Once they’ll see that you are having results, they will be the ones to remind you to drink your bone broth.
The reason why having your family members onboard is important, is because, sometimes you’ll be late, tired or sick and won’t have time to cook or go grocery shopping, and the people who love you will be happy to do that for you. They just need to understand why they are doing it.
6. Find a Functional Medicine Doctor
Make sure to match your AIP journey with a parallel healing protocol that’s evaluated by a healthcare professional that is familiar with Paleo AIP or by a Functional Medicine doctor.
On the association’s website, “Functional Medicine” is described as “an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness”. If you feel chronic pain in your hands, they won’t tell you to go see a orthopedic; if you have a chronic skin condition, they won’t suggest you to see you a dermatologist. They will look at your body as a whole and try to find the root causes of your problems.
At this link you can find a functional medicine practitioner in your area. This is the same tool I used to find my doctor, but, in all honesty, finding a health care professional who you trust and takes your situation at heart is not easy.
Unfortunately, I had to go through a few not so serious doctors before I found a really good one, who’s helped improve my health dramatically and that has customized a personal supplement plan that worked for me.
Lastly, be aware that sometimes elimination diets don’t work. Even if you follow them by the letter. Why? Because food wasn’t the trigger that caused your symptoms, but there were other issues that needed to be addressed. You can learn more about this topic in this extensive interview I did with Functional Nutritionist Jennifer Fugo: What To Do When Elimination Diets Don’t Work.
Select a few FM doctors and do your research: read reviews on Yelp, call them and speak with them on the phone, ask for recommendations to people you know or in specific AIP Facebook groups. This process takes a bit more time but it will allow to make the best choice.
... Now It's On YOU!
Now that you learned what are the best 6 strategies to find motivation to start AIP, it will be a lot easier for you to jump into it and finally see if the Autoimmune Protocol is somethings that can work for you.
As always, I would love to learn from you! Do you have any other good tips that helped you find motivation to start AIP? Make sure to share them in a comment below so that other people who need them can learn about them too.
Don’t forget to pin this article on your favorite Pinterest boards and to share it on your Facebook so that other people can benefit from it too!
Lots of love and healing vibes!
One more TIP:
If you need more personalized help with this transition, and you are looking for a targeted program to make eating healthy fun and sustainable, know that I work with selected clients and offer them customized one-on-one coaching programs, where I help you:
- Find effective ways to stick to a gluten free / dairy free or AIP diet without ever feeling restricted
- Learn how to cook without recipes and make simple meals taste good
- Incorporate more vegetables into your diet and learn how make them taste great
- Gain confidence and be more creative in the kitchen
- Learn a variety of exciting healthy recipes that the entire family will love
- Experience a healthy version of Italian food and culture
- Learn how to accommodate the whole family regardless of your food limitations
If you are interested in working together, answer to the questions in this form, so that I can understand your needs. And if I am confident I can help you reach your healthy eating goals, I will get in touch with you personally.