Lasting Lifestyle Improvement
I had an infection that went untreated and continued to stress my immune system allowing other invaders to take over my body, until I felt my whole system was quite out of whack. For me, the only way to truly heal from Lyme disease and multiple co-infections was to address my whole life holistically. It was about more than killing off the invaders, it was about truly healing and looking at why I may have been susceptible to getting sick in the first place. I had to look at environmental factors – not just mold and heavy metals, but also the negative thoughts I was exposing myself to. Nutrient dense food, movement, time in nature, stress management, and spirituality were all aspects of my life I focused on during my healing journey.
Changing your life to address lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your dis-ease can feel like a big task. Change isn’t easy. Neuroscience tells us habits are wired into our brains and old habits will pop back up before you are even aware they are there.
Change creates loss – even if the change is positive, we have to let go of something. I found this during my own journey – I had to grieve the sick version of myself as I transformed into a new healthy person.
Lifestyle change is also an area where people tend to have experience with multiple failures. Perhaps these failed attempts at quitting smoking, losing weight, etc, have caused some pain.
Fear of loss and fear of pain are reasons people may shy away from making lifestyle changes.
Yes despite this, we still have a desire for growth and change. If everything we do comes out of love or fear (per psychiatrist Gerry Jampolsky) than this motivation could come from fear of death or illness, or love of self. Although fear can be a spring board for change, we need to look to love for sustained changes.
In the book Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle Change by Michael Arloski, PhD, PCC, CWP, the author mentions that our present lifestyle is maintained by a combination of habit, comfort, fear, and reinforcement.
I wanted to share with you the seven steps for lifestyle improvement Arloski shares in his book.
The first step is taking a look at your current lifestyle. You must first assess where you are and what you would like to accomplish. During this phase, you develop the ability to observe oneself. Self awareness is used as a tool to assess which areas of your life you are ready to change.
2. Foundational work on self
During this phase, focus on increasing awareness of self in regards to environmental, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and spiritual levels. This is the time to become excited about your personal growth.
3. Setting the focus
This is where you determine what you are ready, willing, and able to work on now and in the near future. This is where you create a wellness plan (or co-create one with a health coach). Ask yourself where you want to go and how you will know when you have arrived. This wellness plan is an agreement for action with an accountability plan.
4. Working through habit and environmental support
To support healthy change, alliances should be sought out with friends and wellness professionals who provide a supportive environment
5. Initial behavior change
Initial success is accepted and celebrated. Resistance patterns can be identified and goals re-adjusted if needed.
6. Deeper work on self
In this phase, higher levels of self-awareness, fear, and resistances are explored. Spiritual and emotional issues become primary. Setting boundaries with other people may have unpredicted consequences and bring up emotional closeness, trust, or loss issues. This stage takes courage to maintain the changes.
7. Lasting behavioral/lifestyle change
Congratulations, the lifestyle change has taken hold during this phase and the benefits of the change are the motivation. Maintain self-awareness and reassess periodically. Alliances with friends and wellness professionals can support the continuation of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy your health.
For anyone struggling with a Lyme-like illness, a hospital that treats the body as a whole can offer a great deal of help. This article was written by Christine Arseneau, Pharm.D., Director of Coaching services for Lyme Support (https://www.lymesupport.com), which refers people who are suffering with Lyme disease to hospitals in Germany and Mexico as well as providing personalized health coaching using a functional medicine approach.
If you’d like more information about these specialized hospitals, we can help schedule you at a hospital and provide education on treatments. We strive to advocate for tick-borne illness by writing articles and speaking at conferences and support groups.
You can reach us at Lyme Support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at +1415.228.0296.
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