Joanna Frankham helps you to make lasting diet and lifestyle choices that serve you. She is an AIP mentor and Certified Health Coach who uses rituals and group programs (like her foundational AIP Reset group program, which BTW you can save 15% with the code PALEOMOM) to help you break down the AIP framework into manageable pieces; all to enable you to implement positive changes to improve your health. Jo’s special sauce is her ability to facilitate bringing AIPers together in a way that is informed, inclusive and encouraging. Chronic illness doesn’t have to be isolating. You can connect with Jo on her site, on Facebook and Instagram.
The elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) gets the lion’s share of attention. There are oodles of resources for you when you’re just starting out. But what about beyond elimination? What about living an AIP way of life?
Were you aware there are actually 3 phases to AIP?
- Phase I – the elimination phase is the one that is the most talked about. That’s where we all begin. It’s where you remove all those potentially inflammatory foods and really focus on a nutrient dense approach. It’s where you start to recognise that it’s about so much more than food. Things like getting enough sleep and actively managing your stress and building a supportive community all matter.
But, the elimination phase is just the beginning.
- Phase II – the reintroductions phase is arguably the trickiest of the three. This is where you get to reintroduce foods back into your diet. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to expand your ingredient repertoire with more nutrient dense options. It’s important that you take your time and don’t rush this process. This is also where the practice of keeping a food and mood journal that you hopefully began in phase I really comes into it’s own.
And, there is a fair amount of information available for this phase, too.
- Phase III – the maintenance phase is your AIP way of life. This is your personal template for the nutrient-rich diet you’ll continue to follow and the one that you know works for you. Plus, it’s your framework for making lifestyle choices that serve you, too. Importantly, it’s not static. It’s an organic and constantly evolving tool.
I’ve been on this AIP caper for a while now – and I have a few strategies up my sleeve to help you stay on track as you build your AIP way of life.
AIP is not about trying to do everything at once, filling up every last minute of your day and creating endless AIP-focused to-do lists. Rather, the opposite is true. It’s about learning the art of the PAUSE and about opening up space in your mind to become more in tune with your body and what serves you. It’s impossible to achieve this if you are barrelling through your days at the speed of light.
Regularly set goals
Regardless of which phase of the protocol you are at, you know this AIP framework is a big beastie. It’s impossible to do it all at once. The very best way to chip away at your AIP way of life is to regularly check in with yourself – think critically and get into the practice of setting health goals. This helps you to drill down to your current priorities, which will change over time.
Develop personal rituals that serve you
Habits are great. I’m all for them as a way to bed down healthy diet and lifestyle changes – but, rituals are even better! When you elevate a habit to a ritual, it takes on a greater level of personal focus for you. It’s a touchstone that grounds you in your AIP way of life very intentionally.
Some of my favourite rituals:
Work on your internal locus of control
When you are a person with a strong internal locus of control, you tend to believe that you can influence your life events and their outcomes. If, on the other hand, you believe you are at the mercy of outside forces (including the opinions of others), you are more likely to have an external locus of control; one where life happens to you.
Working on understanding and aligning towards your personal values and regularly setting health goals are two ways to help you develop this internal locus of control.
Listen to your body
When you begin this AIP caper, it’s easy to think it’s all about the food. One unexpected side bonus is an increase in self-awareness. You learn to listen to your body in ways that you may not have done before. I like to think of this as a form of self-care.
The best way to start listening to your body is to keep a food and mood journal. It’s something I still come back to often when I need to recalibrate.
Build a strong tribe of support
Increasingly, studies into the idea of human connection and community cltearly illustrate that a tight network of good friends can have a hugely beneficial impact on your health. And, this is even more important when it comes to your AIP tribe. Those people in yours support team who understand the complexities of living with chronic illness and navigating an AIP way of life.
Whether you’re enjoying a quiet meal with your partner, catching up with a girlfriend at your local café or leaning on a mate for support during a particularly tough time, the peeps in your AIP support team are the ones who are there for you when you need them most. And science shows us that this loyalty can have a p
rofoundly positive impact on our health.
Close friendships have been linked to benefits in physical, mental, and emotional health.
When overwhelm hits, take things back to basics
Better yet, if you know you’ve got a stressful time ahead, take things back to basics BEFORE it hits.
There will be sticky patches in your AIP way of life, times when you stray from your personal protocol because life has got in your way. Because that IS life. Everyone experiences this. Even Sarah!
And, let’s face it – this AIP caper takes work. But, you can (re)find your groove and recalibrate your AIP efforts. After all – you’ve proven that you can do it already!