“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
Imagine for a minute the last time that you felt really good. I don’t mean the last time you didn’t have a sniffle or sore throat because you caught a bug that’s going around. I’m talking about the last time you didn’t have to worry about that thing in your body, whatever it is for you, that you’re aware of a lot of the time now. When was the last time that you remember it not even being an issue, and feeling great?
Then the issue showed up the first time, but it wasn’t really a big deal because it was temporary and only mildly problematic. Maybe you had allergies, but they were truly seasonal. Or perhaps your heartburn only happened when you ate spicy chicken wings, and it could easily be controlled with a few Tums.
Now think about how that thing has evolved since the last time you felt really good. Perhaps your recurring digestive issues have gotten worse since that girls’ trip to Mexico. Or maybe what started as a warning from your doctor about your blood sugar levels has progressed to the point that you have to remember to take your Metformin every day.
Although thinking about the less than desirable ways your body has changed can be distressing, it also shows you that it takes time for the body to change. In fact, the body is constantly changing in positive or negative ways, and sometimes both at the same time! Our amazing bodies are constantly adapting to what we put in them, the environment we expose them to, and the simple act of daily living.
One way the body changes over time is degeneration. Whether it’s trouble sleeping, gray hair, difficulty losing weight, or consistent discomfort in any part of the body, our bodies sometimes change by not functioning as well as they did in the past. Some people say these issues arise as “part of getting older”, and sometimes they are, but that isn’t always the case. After all, it were true, we’d all have the exact same problems at the exact same ages!
The last way that the body changes over time is by healing. I realize that seems obvious from every bruised knee and paper cut you’ve ever had. But it’s true of bigger things also. For example, it takes about three weeks for all of the taste buds in your mouth to renew. The cells in our mouths are constantly being sloughed off from eating, drinking and swallowing. So it doesn’t take very long for your taste buds to turn over. Why does this matter? Well, if you are trying to reduce your desire for salty or sweet foods, you can cut your salt or sugar intake and your perception of how food tastes will literally change in three weeks, making it far easier for you to stick to your goal.
Another example: If your doctor diagnosed you with anemia and he or she could tell that it was, say, anemia related to vitamin B12 deficiency, you could correct this imbalance by increasing your intake of B12 rich foods and/or supplements for four months. You see, a red blood cell lives for four months from the time it is created in your bone marrow to the time that your spleen recycles it. So in four months, every red blood cell in your body will be new and reflect the dietary change that you made.
Of course, these are simple examples about the time that it takes for the body to change in a positive direction, and to heal. The healing process is certainly more complex when there is more than one imbalance present, and it becomes more complicated when an imbalance in one area is causing imbalances in other areas. And I’m not trying to suggest that the body is capable of healing from all things simply by you changing your food choices. (I mean, thank goodness for good doctors and good medicine! They are life savers in so many situations.) Rather, what I want you to know deep in your heart is that no matter what you do, your body is changing. As time passes, your body is deteriorating, getting used to a drug, or healing.
And the best news is that our bodies want to heal. Our bodies’ primary goal is to keep us alive, and that is easiest when we are healthy and all the parts of our bodies are functioning optimally.
So, if you have a thing in your body that has been bothering you for longer than you care to think about, I encourage you to be purposeful with your time. Give your body the food it wants and needs. Help your body by being physically active and learning to manage your stress. Find a healthcare practitioner who can guide you in holistic approaches to health. Network with people who have similar goals and have harnessed their bodies’ innate healing capability. Equip yourself with everything your body needs to heal. And keep doing it for as long as is needed, because your body wants to heal. It just takes time.
To see this article as Stephanie delivered it in a short speech, click here.
John E. Hall. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology, Twelfth Edition.
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