N=1 – What Works For You Versus What Will Work For Everyone

Let me start this post by saying, I think it’s so, so, so important to learn what works for you. So important. So I’m not suggesting people stop that. Keep using yourself as an experiment. If you think a certain food bothers you and you want to eliminate it, add it back and see what happens, great! If you want to see what level of carb intake your body responds best to, do it! Or how much protein or fat seems to be optimal for staying full and getting in good workouts, do it! Or, when you have in injury you might work out on your own or get advice on what your issue is, that’s fantastic. There’s no point in knowing what that pain means in “most people.” In order to heal and improve, you need to know why YOU are having the pain.

But you have to remember, what works for you may or may not work for someone else. So someone else is struggling losing weight, and when you lost weight all you did was eat as few carbs as possible. That’s great. And it’s nice to suggest, but stop at suggesting. If the other person feels like crap on very little carbs or can’t maintain it, or doesn’t lose, that doesn’t mean he or she is lying. It just means what worked for you doesn’t work for them. If weight loss for you is simply staying under 2500 calories, great. I’m glad you found what works for you. The problem is you can’t push that on someone else. You can’t expect someone who progressively feels worse and worse to intermittent fast. Or run two miles every morning. Everybody’s body is different. We’re all unique little snowflakes. And, sure, when something works for most people, it’s nice to suggest it. But when it doesn’t work for someone, that doesn’t mean they’re lying or doing it wrong, it simply means they’re not part of the “most.” That’s why they say “most,” after all. “Most” means “not all.”

I’ve been struggling to lose weight over the past three years. I’ve mostly come to terms with it, honestly. After a bout of flaring autoimmune symptoms, I’m so much happier where I am now. Sure, I still WANT to lose weight, but there are worse things than 40ish extra pounds. I know, for some people being overweight is the worst possible scenario. But in *MY* situation, I’m honestly saying there are worse things. I have a friend who has an autoimmune disease that makes him randomly, suddenly go blind. BLIND! I’m so thankful most of my problems are minimal. Maybe some problems with blurry vision from dry eye and mucous. Maybe some skin issues and some pain. But nothing that sends me to the hospital or truly puts me at risk of sudden danger. Would I prefer to be AI-free? Yes, and that’s been a lot of my focus. That’s why I started trying to eat nine cups of fruits and vegetables a day. I want to heal my body. I want to be HEALTHY! But in the process of all of this body mess, I’ve pushed myself where I shouldn’t have, and not kept up with things I should have. Most autoimmune disorders/diseases are accompanied by pain and fatigue. Some days I am so tired, I come home from work and crawl into bed. My biggest success was that I went to work and was productive. I miss that night’s workout but feel like sleep is the only thing my body really needs. Other days I feel great, am working out hard, then have a wave of fatigue. Other days I can walk five miles then lift weights for an hour. Is it frustrating? Sure. But it’s better than suddenly going blind. Or having cancer that can’t be treated. I’m working within my constraints. And although it could be easier, it could be far, far, far harder.

One of the things I’ve been doing the past few months is seeing a sports chiropractor who is working with me on some of my muscle tightness issues, and improving my lifting form. I have a friend who also lifts, and he’s such a negative, egotistical know-it-all. I honestly don’t even know why I’m friends with him. He’s so frustrating. He asks how treatment is going. I tell him, he says the chiro is wrong. I’m sorry, are you trained in this? No, all he’s doing is taking his VERY limited n=1 data, and applying it to EVERYONE. I’m glad your back issues some from your SI joint. Thanks for sharing. But not EVERY back issue in the world comes from the SI joint. I’m glad you think “glute weakness” is a cop-out because that’s what they tell everyone, but maybe it’s cliché for a reason. My back feels better than it has since high school. This chiro spends an hour a week with me, and can SEE what I’m doing. He’s trained to find weaknesses, and to work out flexibility issues. I think I’ll go ahead and trust his diagnosis over your n=1, armchair quarterback perspective. I haven’t even seen this guy in years. He’s never seen my lifts. He’s never seen how I do squats or lunges or deadlifts. He doesn’t know what hurts. He doesn’t know my history. But he hears, “He wants me to work on glute strength,” and automatically assumes it can’t be true because, well, he just says so. He read an article somewhere saying it’s over-prescribed. He thinks HIS chiro (whose secretary is a bitch, by the way, not a place I want to go) is the only chiro who knows what he’s doing.

This perspective runs rampant in our society. We have a bunch of know-it-alls who think their experience is the only experience. We have people who think their marriage makes them able to counsel all married couples. They think raising two or three children means they know how to deal with other people’s children. They think because their face breaks out when they eat dairy, everyone should give it up. Or because bread doesn’t bother them, the “gluten craze” is a hoax. We have people who think their AI was brought on by diet. It’s just a theory, yet someone else’s theory about a trigger isn’t thought out or realistic.

We need to step back and realize everyone is different. Our bodies are all different. WE know our own body the best. But we know very little about anyone else’s. We know what WE think, what motivates us, what we’re lying to ourselves and others about, but there’s no way you know everyone’s body, mind, etc. Everyone reacts to everything differently. I can’t eat eggs Does this mean I think everyone should stop eating eggs? Absolutely not. I wish I could eat eggs, and I would! I know I can’t take much sun exposure. But does that mean I think everyone should be careful in the sun? To some degree, I suppose. But very few people in the world are as sun-sensitive as me. If I get too much sun, I get sick. I feel feverish, I’m lethargic, I feel like throwing up, and often get a headache. But that doesn’t mean I think everyone with a sunburn feels the exact same way. Or if they say they don’t, they’re lying.

In general, we are all the same. But some people are more likely to get cancer, others heart disease, there are even genes they’ve found that make you more inclined to develop autoimmunity. Some people have pale skin, others dark. Some of us have blonde or red or brown hair. Some of us are somewhere in the middle. We’re carrying genes from past generations. We’re working off of what’s in our environment today. There’s no way anyone person or group of people know everything. It’s likely no one ever will. So it fascinates me when people think they know all there is to know, and professionals don’t know anything. I don’t think any doctor is trying to kill us. Or that we can simply know all there is to know with a Google search.

There is so much to be gained from learning about yourself. And you should always share what you’ve learned, but it’s probably more important to teach the process of HOW you learned. For example, a friend recently approached me and asked how I got my skin to look so good (YAY!). Rather than telling him to quit eating eggs and peppers and get allergy treatments, I told him my process to figuring out eggs and peppers were the issue. And I told him how I worked toward clear skin by avoiding those foods, but ultimately, the fix wasn’t within my control, so I found an allergy treatment that helped. I told him, for me, I needed the allergy treatment. But despite the allergy treatment, I still had to avoid eggs as much as possible. Then I told him, “But your body’s different. Maybe there’s one food you eat way too much of, and if you’d start eating less, that would fix you. Maybe it’s a food you never considered. Here’s how I found out which food were bothering me, and my tipping point when it was finally worth paying a professional for help.” I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m the queen of arm-chair quarterbacking people’s children. I don’t understand why they’re not more strict. Or are as strict as they are. I don’t know what they’ve tried or haven’t tried, or how tired they are, or what their life is like. It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and judge when you aren’t living it. But the most insensitive, uneducated thing you can do is assume.

I always tell people, “I have things about myself I want to change. And they’re inside me, and I have a really hard changing them. Why would I ever think I have the power to change someone else. It’s hard enough to fix me.” The same is true in this instance – It’s sometimes impossible to understand your own body, the body you live with everyday. So, until you’ve conquered that (read: you probably never will), don’t presume to know someone else’s body if you aren’t a trained professional. And to clarify, living it once or reading about it on Google doesn’t make you a professional.

Fruits and Veggies Update

I got about 7 cups a day on average last week. I found some different fruits and veggies this week and am going to work in some juicing to mix with a smoothie at night as my last meal before bed. Juicing is a lot of cleanup work, but if I feel great when I do it, it’ll be worth it. Once upon a time I tried a juice fast. This isn’t a fast. It’s simply using juicing to get my fruits and veggies count up for the day. I’ll probably juice 1-2 cups of veggies at night. Things I should eat but probably never will, like beats. Or the stems of broccoli. And I’ll mix the juices in as my liquid base for a smoothie of things like frozen banana and berries.


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