When I was on my quest to get healthy. To not struggle with my psoriasis, acne, weight fluctuation, migraines, severe asthma, and hormone imbalances, I tried every diet out there. Anything that someone would claim would help, I would follow. I was in a “diet for diagnosis” mentality. I just wanted to feel better. Through my own experience plus coaching for the past 10 years, I see the same 3 mistakes being made over and over again. It’s harming you and now allowing you to heal as quickly as you could.
The Role Therapeutic Diets Play
Therapeutic diets absolutely have their place. I mean, that’s my specialty. Helping people follow therapeutic diets necessary to help them regain their health. However, there are 3 traps people fall into that set them up for frustration at best and at worst, making their health problems worse due to nutrient deficiencies and sometimes even developing an eating disorder.
Your motives are pure. You want to feel better and each expert promises their way is the right way. It worked for all of these people, why wouldn’t it work for me, right?
I’ve been there. I was able to escape this “diet for diagnosis” mentality and find the real foundation for a healthy diet I could actually do and it supports my health. I’m grateful for my journey. It’s made me a better health coach and I’m able to help a wide variety of people. What took me years to learn, I’d love to help you learn in much less time.
The 3 Mistakes Typically Made
- Doing a complete 180 from what you’re currently eating and jumping 100% into a therapeutic diet
- Staying on that therapeutic diet for too long
- Going right back to the way you were eating before you started the diet when the time is over
These might not sound like harmful strategies. Let me explain why there are mistakes, then I’ll go into what to do instead.
Number 1: Jumping from what you’ve been eating straight into a therapeutic diet
You want to feel better fast. You’ve been feeling awful for a very long time and you just want to feel good so you can live your life. So you learn about a diet that is supposed to help and you do a complete 180 to jump into this thing.
But then find that it takes so much mental effort and time it’s only sustainable for a very short time. Then you feel like a complete failure and like you’re doomed to suffer your symptoms forever because you quote-unquote lack the willpower to stick with it.
The reason this doesn’t work is directly linked to the fact that jumping into a new diet and doing a 180 from what we have been doing requires much more mental effort than we expect. It also requires us to change the way we meal plan, grocery shop, prep, and cook our meals. It’s basically a brand-new lifestyle and doing it all at once is basically impossible. You haven’t failed at anything! It’s just too much to take on all at once.
A much more realistic and sustainable approach is to make over what I call your Food Baseline first. Make that second nature so it requires very little thought and effort. Once you’ve done this, strategically make changes over a few weeks to build up to transitioning onto the therapeutic diet.
Number 2: Staying on the restrictive/therapeutic diet for way too long
Therapeutic diets are restrictive for a very good reason. They are removing foods that inhibit the body from healing itself for a short amount of time. Usually 30 days to 6 months. They aren’t meant to become your new dietary lifestyle!
The reason they can’t is because of how restrictive they are. For a short time they’re extremely beneficial, for the long haul they include too few of nutrients and you very likely will become nutrient depleted. If you stay nutrient depleted for too long you can have permanent damage from these deficiencies.
A couple of examples: I’ve seen people stay on the ketogenic diet for too long and have their thyroids completely crash. They then have to stay on thyroid medication for life. I’ve also seen people stay on a Low FODMAP diet for too long and have permanent neuropathy from nutrient deficiencies. They also develop disordered eating and require much more intervention than they would have if they had followed it properly and gotten off of it when they were supposed to.
Staying on these therapeutic diets for too long can also cause you to be afraid of food. Please eat. Please. You need to eat. Not only do you need nutrients and calories, but food also brings us closer to those we love, it builds community and connection, and it’s just plain an important part of being human.
Therapeutic diets absolutely have their place but very few have been designed to be long-term dietary lifestyles.
Number 3: Going back to your old way of eating right after getting off of the therapeutic diet
Another thing I see people do is for those who are very good rule followers, they will follow the rules of the therapeutic diet to a T no matter how hard it is but once they’re told to transition off of it go absolutely crazy and eat all of the foods, usually highly processed, sugar filled foods they’ve been missing. They got right back to their old way of eating, or sometimes worse, because they felt so deprived and hungry the entire time.
All that hard work just got flushed down the toilet.
This isn’t healthy either. If the goal is lifetime health, and management of symptoms, then you need to eat in a way that supports that. The therapeutic diet is there when there is a flare-up of your symptoms, but like I’ve been saying, it’s a short-term tool, but your regular diet, your Food Baseline, is what will keep you healthy…or if you don’t make it over, symptomatic, for life.
These don’t work. This is why you’ve been frustrated. You might even feel like you’re doomed to feel awful forever. Don’t blame yourself. You just need guidance.
What To Do Instead
It’s time to get out of the “diet for diagnosis” cycle, makeover your normal way of eating to support the healthy life you desire, learn how to use a therapeutic diet properly so your other therapies work more effectively, and then go back to your food baseline easily, enjoy food again while experiencing vibrant health.
It’s not as hard as it seems. It’s just different. It requires a complete mindset shift away from a pill for every ill or diet for every diagnosis, and onto something so much better. Tangible, realistic healthy living that can be done for life. And really, that’s the goal, right?
- No more trying every new diet out there
- No more spending all your mental energy searching for answers
- Able to enjoy food again
- Symptoms improving
- Less medication and herbs needed
- Finally feeling better, not being held back by debilitating symptoms, and enjoying the amazing life you have!
Typically seeing a health coach is the absolute last resort. People want to try to figure it out on their own. They’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars going to doctors, testing, and medication. I totally get it. I’ve been there!
I’ve helped people get out of this cycle for 10 years and I love every single minute of it. I actually have a name for how I help people break out of the diet for diagnosis cycle and finally figure out how to eat for lifelong health. It’s called the Therapeutic Food Framework.
Here it is:
First, you have to learn what healthy eating actually looks like. We think we know but you’ll be surprised at how different it is from what we’ve been taught all of these years. Every single therapeutic diet starts with the same foundation. I teach you what they are and HOW to start incorporating these foundational principles into your life strategically.
Once It becomes your norm that requires almost no thought or extra mental energy, you’ll then move on to your therapeutic diet. This is eating for your diagnosis. You’ll learn how to properly follow the diet you need to follow, typically your doctor will tell you what diet you need, I ensure you find it easy to follow with meal plans, and step-by-step guides. Once you’ve followed it for the set amount of time. This is a therapeutic tool and NOT a dietary lifestyle as it’s usually quite restrictive.
Meal plans available in this step: Autoimmune Support, Balance Your Hormones, Low Mold, Low Histamine, Low Fructose, Low Sucrose, and Low Oxalate.
And lastly, I teach you how to transition off of that therapeutic diet and onto a way of eating that supports your health and helps you experience minimal to no symptoms of your autoimmune disease or chronic illness. You deserve to feel amazing and live the life you desire.
Changing the way you eat is truly changing your lifestyle. It’s necessary when you are struggling with autoimmune disease or chronic illness but it doesn’t have to be drastic and miserable. Food is so much more than calories. It’s connection, it makes us happy, it brings people together. I LOVE food and I love sharing food with those I care about.
Eating for your health should be just as emotionally satisfying as not eating for your health. One of the reasons I became a health coach was because I wanted to help people see that eating for your health doesn’t have to be miserable.
The Therapeutic Food Framework is what makes this possible. Learn more here.