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Unconventional Hope (part deux)

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Let’s start where we left off last time…Acceptance. Acceptance is where Hope is born. The first step on your healing journey is accepting where you are. You have to accept that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, that you have Chronic Pain and that you can’t do everything that you want to do. However, DO NOT mistake acceptance as resignation.

Until you accept where you are, you will continue to fight with the issue you are facing and yourself. Who has ever won a war when they are fighting on multiple battlefronts? Think about how that will increase your stress and the load (allostatic load) on your body. It is clear that stress and allostatic overload can lead to a multitude of negative health effects. 

But what happens when you accept where you are? You realize that you aren’t in control of everything. When viewed in the correct light, this realization is freeing! It takes a heavy load off of your shoulders and your body. It gives you the resources to concentrate on what you do have control over. 

What do you have control over? You can control your choices…the choices you will make to improve your health like eating real food and capturing negative thoughts and emotions.


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What should you expect during this journey? Expect it to be difficult and challenging. Expect to make mistakes. Expect to learn more about yourself and what is important to you. This is priceless! It helps you to focus on what actually matters and what matters is bigger than us!

There is a ton of research that is showing the benefits of community in relation to outcome measures of many different disease processes. The research shows that people who have others to take care of them AND someone/thing they are responsible for have the best outcomes. These results are seen despite the severity of their condition. This means they are doing better than someone with a less severe version of their same condition who didn’t have the same community. 

The Goal

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If you are reading this, you have something you want to accomplish…a goal. A goal can be a great thing. It can help direct us and we have already covered a few things that can help us in determining a worthwhile goal. Yet, goals can be harmful in some ways. Actually, it may not be that the goal is harmful but our thoughts regarding the goal may be detrimental.

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For example, it is not uncommon for people to be so focused on their goal that they lose sight of where they started. This may not sound like a big deal but think about this scenario. Let’s use a person who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Their goal is to be able to work a full day and exercise for an hour after work. After working, and working hard, on their health for 2 months, they are able to work a full day, but they have to take 2–3 breaks to slow down their breathing and recover. Unfortunately, they don’t have the energy to exercise after work.

Viewing this in light of their goal doesn’t look very good. After all, they are tired with work and unable to exercise. But let’s change the perspective. Let’s look at where they came from. They were unable to make it through a full day of work without taking multiple breaks in the morning and afternoon. They also suffered from brain fog and gastrointestinal issues like bloating. After two months of hard work, they are able to think clearly and their abdominal bloating has been alleviated. They have made significant improvements! They are not at their end goal yet, but they also are not at the very beginning of their health journey either. They have made progress and moved down their path.

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Our ideas about goals can trip us up in other ways too. Our goals start to get more complicated and grow. The Goal is to keep the Goal the Goal! (Don’t tell Dan John that I stole his line)[1] How often does our end goal morph from what we originally intended?

Body composition goals can help to make this point crystal clear. It is not uncommon for people to want to lose body fat. Yet, that is not all. They also want to increase weight in their exercises and gain several pounds of muscle too. However, losing body fat requires some amount of catabolism (breaking down) and building muscle requires some amount of anabolism (building up). These are two distinct and opposite processes in the body. (Time for another Dan John-ism) This is an example of chasing multiple rabbits. When you chase more than one rabbit, you end up hungry! 

Figure out what truly matters to you. Then decide what goal you want to focus on. Now you will have the intrinsic motivation to do what you need to do to move towards that goal. Remember and repeat to yourself, the Goal is to keep the Goal the Goal!!!

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  1. Dan John is a famous strength coach who has a great way of making things simple and easy to understand.

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