Get ready for an incredible podcast episode! Join me in welcoming Taylor Ann Macey, a remarkable Life Coach and expert in nutrition tailored for women battling autoimmune conditions. Taylor Ann opens up about her personal journey, facing her own autoimmune diagnosis, and dives into the intricacies of navigating these health challenges. We'll also tackle that all-too-familiar thought: “My body is betraying me.” Discover how to reclaim control on your health journey, whether you're dealing with autoimmune issues or simply seeking empowerment in your relationship with your body. Don't miss this insightful episode!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/295
- What it means to have an autoimmune condition 07:01
- The link between nutrition and autoimmunity 09:42
- Nutrition deficiencies 14:54
- Balancing eating restriction and feeling restricted 17:53
- Dietary mistakes that people make 24:56
- How much protein and fiber? 26:09, 27:15
- Dos and Don’ts with Nutrition 28:12
- The suggested time frame for nutritional changes 33:28
- Addressing the common belief “My body is betraying me.” 37:29
- Taylor Ann’s current health and fitness goals 42:34
Autoimmune Nutrition Basics free download
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 295.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Hey, hey, hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, and today I am bringing you a really awesome interview that I had with Taylor Ann Macey. And Taylor Ann is a specialist who helps women specifically with autoimmune conditions with their nutrition. And she herself has her own story of being diagnosed in 2019 with an autoimmune condition and she tells a little bit about her experience. And how that brought her to really serving that client population and some of the nuances that come with having an autoimmune disease and how we can be focused on you know, obviously clinical support from a medical standpoint, but then what we can do with nutrition and also what we can do with how we see the situation and how we can step back into a place of power in our journey. Towards the end of the conversation, we have a really good exchange about this idea that my body is betraying me and this is a belief that I see come up in a lot of women and of course it makes a lot of sense that that would be something that a lot of women with autoimmune diseases would struggle with. Because with autoimmune disease, literally your body is fighting against its health. And so, we do have a good conversation towards the end about that idea. So, if that's something you felt like you struggled with of, like, my body's betraying me or it's me against my body, then definitely make sure you listen to towards the end of the episode because there's some good nuggets that Taylor Ann presents about that topic. So, if you have an autoimmune disease or know somebody who does, this is going to be a really great listen for you. And even if you don't, if you've struggled with some of those ideas of like my body's betraying me or, you know, it's me against my body, this is also going to be a really good episode for you. So, without further ado let's dive into the interview with Taylor Ann Macey.
Amber B 02:47
All right, I am super excited to welcome Taylor Ann to the podcast. How are you doing?
Taylor Ann Macey 02:51
I'm so good. Thank you so much for having me on.
Amber B 02:54
Yeah, I'm excited about this conversation. This is a topic that I know a little about, but I feel like I'm gonna also be in the learner's seat today, which is always fun as a podcast host to get to learn it alongside with the audience. So, let's start with just a brief introduction of you and a little bit about what you do.
Taylor Ann Macey 03:12
Yes. So my name is Taylor Ann Macey and I am a Life Coach and a Nutrition Coach, and I work with women with autoimmune conditions to help them to navigate any type of body re-composition goals. Oftentimes, I'm working with women to lose fat. That's typically the direction that most of my clientele are headed and with that comes a lot of learning how to navigate autoimmunity with confidence and to thrive because it can be a really interesting landscape. And so it's a really fun world to be in and I feel really lucky to do what I do.
Amber B 03:48
That’s awesome and kind of give us a little insight, you know why autoimmunity, what drew you into that niche specifically?
Taylor Ann Macey 03:55
Yeah, it's a good question. And I think as with many entrepreneurs, there's always kind of a connection to yourself and your own experience that can lead to why we do what we do and for me it came as a result of my own diagnosis that I received in 2019, I had two young kids. I have two young kids at the time, but they were really little at the time and I was healthy by all accounts, as you know, as far as you could tell and woke up one morning with some vision difficulties without any type of warning and obviously without any type of understanding as to why. And so it led to getting a diagnosis of a rare and aggressive autoimmune condition that at the time I knew nothing about, no one in my close circle knew anything about and having been a nutrition coach up until then, I then was faced and a life coach with the question of how can I use movement and use nutrition as a way to help myself where possible? But also how can I support myself when diet isn't going to cure this condition, when diet isn't going to change this chronic, this new and chronic part of my life that I hadn't anticipated and so it really was such a beautiful experience for me to be able to learn how to navigate those two. How to say I'm going to take care of myself in every way possible and I'm going to do my best to nourish my body while not operating under the guise that I can solve for this, but also understanding that where I can control things I will do my best to do so.
Amber B 05:35
Yeah. And I just, I just have to assume that this conversation that we're going to take together is going to be super applicable to you whether or not you have an autoimmune condition, because we all have things in our lives that are unchangeable, kind of like you're talking about, it's like this is, this is what is. This is what I'm dealing with. And all of us have constraints like that, whether it's you know, number of children or other health concerns or income or, you know, there's just a lot of things that are constraints for all of us and we have to work within the constraints that we have to be the most successful and so I'm excited for this conversation because I think while we are going to talk about specifically autoimmune conditions, this conversation has the potential to be able to really speak to a wider, you know, swath of people because we all have to work within the limits of things that we've been given.
Taylor Ann Macey 06:25
Yes. And there really is quite a universal applicability with these types of things because while autoimmune autoimmunity is typically chronic and life long, like you mentioned. Many people experience things in chronic ways that aren't quite related to their immune system. When we have injuries and things that just get in the way that we didn't anticipate that we don't have a lot of control over the timeline or of how our body responds to. And so, it's one of the things that is so precious to me that I get to do in teaching about this is it really can apply to anybody and just learning how to respond to a body that surprises you. Life surprises you.
Amber B 07:01
Yeah, such a good way to put it, OK. So, let's talk a little bit about autoimmunity and what it means to have an autoimmune condition, and so can you kind of just give us a synopsis of like, what does that even mean if we're putting a disease under the category of autoimmunity, what does that mean?
Taylor Ann Macey 07:16
Yes. So essentially autoimmunity is defined as one's own immune system that attacks one's own tissues and cells, and so one of my colleagues that I think put it so beautifully, EC Synkowski said essentially the immune system is constantly surveilling and asking 2 questions: Is this me and is this safe? And if the answer to either of those questions is no, then it works to eradicate it and to get it out of the body as quickly as possible in order to maintain health and to survive essentially. And so, what is happening with autoimmunity is It's asking those questions and incorrectly answering them, so it might recognize tissue that is in fact safe, and it is in fact me but then it deems it as foreign and unsafe, and thus attacks it. So, in the case of my condition, for example, my immune system attacks my brain, my spinal cord, and my optic nerve, and so assesses those tissues and says, oh, this isn't safe. This isn't me and causes lesions in my brain and spinal cord, and then can cause inflammation and optic neuritis in the optic nerve. Now, obviously that's not super helpful because it is me and it is safe, but this is essentially what autoimmunity is. It's just incorrectly answering those questions. And so, when this happens, what that means is due to the fact that we have a wide variety of tissues in the body. The severity of autoimmunity can really run a wide spectrum. It can be more or less benign. For example, something like vitiligo. I don't want to diminish the emotional consequences that can happen with any autoimmune condition, but something like vitiligo is something that attacks the pigment of the skin. Now, there's not typically pain associated with vitiligo. It's much more of an aesthetic change and that can be really difficult for people, but it is one of the more benign examples. And again, I want to emphasize I don't want to diminish how difficult it can be. But on the other end of the spectrum, there can be much more severe thing. Seems like type one diabetes, that's an autoimmune condition that attacks the pancreas and limits the ability for the body to produce insulin. And obviously, we know how important insulin is and so something like that is a little bit more severe and there's some much more obvious consequences physically that can happen as a result. MS is another example of something that can have a lot of very severe effects, having effects on someone's ability rock, you know, among a variety of other things. And so the spectrum is really wide with autoimmunity. The body's really tricky with how sometimes it can just pick a tissue and decide this isn't me. We're not going to accept this today. This is going to be something we're going to be against for a while.
Amber B 09:42
Yeah, absolutely. So then talk to me a little bit about this link between nutrition and autoimmunity and and what you know, what does that link, you kind of mentioned previously say that you know there is, there's some stuff that you can do, and then there's some stuff that it's just like this is, just kind of how it is. So, what is nutrition? How is nutrition able to support you and your health and your body? And then what are the limits of nutrition as well?
Taylor Ann Macey 10:28
Well, when you think about nutrition as, again, this is universally applicable, you can really manipulate how you feel over all your quality of life, your energy levels, your ability to heal from injury. And I would say with autoimmunity, it is just true, even more than it is with someone that doesn't have a compromised immune system in that if someone is not getting adequate protein, we know that there are consequences to that. It is even more true with someone with autoimmunity, because if you have constant tissue damage, even if it is self-inflicted, you want to make sure that you have nutrients to be able to repair damage that's done. Now, again repairing doesn't mean curing necessarily, but when you have inflammation in the body and tissue damage, getting adequate protein can be really helpful in how one responds to flares of a condition. Because it allows the body to have fuel to be able to respond with strength rather than being inadequately fueled that can result in a lack of ability to heal and to recover from relapses and events, and so what's interesting is what I do with my clients is a lot of the nutrition habits that we implement are similar to what I would do with anybody. I just emphasize the greater importance when you have a compromised immune system of getting adequate protein, of getting enough fiber, so that you have that prebiotic resource within your gut, so that your gut is healthy and able to absorb macro micronutrients in a in the best way possible. Unfortunately, with the autoimmune world, there is a lot of talk of healing conditions with diet, or of making really grand claims about what you're able to do with nutrition, and I don't want to understate what is possible. You can really help yourself, but there comes a point where it's, be under control as we've established. And so, when it comes to nutrition and giving yourself advantages, protein and fiber are what I always will emphasize to say, make sure you are getting adequate in both of those areas and then in addition to that, it's a lot of those lifestyle factors that are of greater importance, things like sleep quality and quantity. We know that so much restoration and repair happens as we are sleeping and when you have systems inside and tissues inside that are being attacked, you need that time to restore and repair, which again is true for everybody. We need that regardless of our immune health. But when we can prioritize sleep hygiene, sleep quality, sleep quantity. When we can prioritize sun exposure, hydration, movement where possible, there are often limitations depending on the condition that can get in the way of movement, but where possible and getting enough protein. One of the things that I do love to spend time on with my clients is eating at maintenance calories because feeding your body enough and spending time out of a deficit as you and I both well know is so influential in so many ways in a body's ability to function and feel well, and a body's ability to lose fat if that's the goal. And like I mentioned that something I love to do with my clients, but it's one of those like secret areas that people don't know about, at least in my anecdotal experience, I get a lot of clients that aren't even familiar with what maintenance looks like and are often a little bit afraid of it, and sometimes it can be such a powerful way to nourish a body and to help you navigate a condition with confidence when you are eating adequate calories and eating quality calories as well.
Amber B 13:42
One of my favorite things to, one of my favorite experiences with clients is when we can get them eating, you know, up to maintenance calories and then they go to the gym eating at maintenance and then they come back and they are just floored at how different they feel and how different their workouts feel when they are actually fueling their body. And then going to the gym and so many women, I feel like have just only experienced the gym depleted and on in the depleted state, you know, and they, it just is amazing how your body feels so different when you are feeding enough calories and how much more your body is able to respond and give when you ask it to give when you are nourishing it in that way.
Taylor Ann Macey 14:25
Right and when you have, I always kind of used the example of and when a stranger calls when she's on the phone with the police officer, he's like the call is coming from inside the house, right? It's like that's what autoimmunity is, is it's like is within. It's coming from within and that doesn't necessarily have to be as big of a problem as like having a murderer in your house necessarily, but it's so important to recognize that when you have internal systems that are compromised, eating enough,
Amber B 14:53
Taylor Ann Macey 14:54
Those benefits go so much further than what I often see in autoimmune marketing, if you will. That comes across more as just eliminate, eliminate, eliminate and one of the things that I've always prioritized is adding before subtracting, and this is regardless of autoimmune state or not for a variety of reasons, but I think sometimes people are too quick to want to eliminate things. I think sometimes that can be motivated by a desire to potentially see quick results, and it's not the elimination that leads to quick results. It's often more drastic drop in calories that can create a change in the scale. And so that's an important part of understanding that I like to illustrate that just because you eliminate a food, it doesn't mean that that food was causing the weight gain or whatever the status was of your body. It's much more just the caloric quantity, but there are some autoimmune conditions that very clearly will require a dietary change, something like celiac for example, where you literally do not have these structures to be able to tolerate gluten. And what happens when you eat gluten is very obvious. It's very clear when you eat it, what happens in your body you experience the response and so in cases like that, it's obviously very important to eliminate those types of things to help your body be able to function well and normally. But what happens is people will have more vague symptoms and maybe not be quite aware of what's going on in their body. And then just start to eliminate some of these massive groups and the problem there are two problems that come as a result of these type of elimination diets is the first you often are eliminating a lot of vital micronutrients, you know, if you're eliminating meat, you're, you know, losing a lot of your iron sources and B12 sources. And if you're eliminating certain grains, you know, you're losing a number of different important things. And so nutrition deficiencies are one problem that needs to be addressed if you're going to eliminate any type of major food group. But then the second problem that comes as a result of this is often some disordered eating patterns. If you aren't doing it with a very mindful approach and often with guidance, can be a very appropriate way to navigate these types of elimination diet. Then you're both nutrient deficient and you start to develop really poor relationships with food, and neither of those things is going to be helpful to someone with an autoimmune condition. And so something that I will emphasize is we want to add things in before we start to take things away unless there is a very clear need like in the example of celiac, to eliminate something very, very terrific. And so again, it comes back to those low hanging fruit basics that all of us benefit from the protein, the fiber, the sleep, the hydration, the sun exposure, the movement where possible, right? I have some MS clients that have limited mobility and sometimes their movement is getting outside and just getting their feet into the ground and moving their arms. And it just comes down to what you are able to do and executing that that is within your control.
Amber B 17:53
That's really good. I really like the idea of subtracting or adding before subtracting. I think that that's a great principle all the way around, yeah. Before we restrict things, focus on adding things. I do want to hear what thoughts you have or speaking to you know, there are some of these autoimmune you mentioned celiacs you know type one diabetes might be another example where dietary changes do really need to be made and there needs to be a cutting act or a restriction, or a pulling back of certain foods or certain food groups. And I, and you know, I wonder how you help people to walk that line of the difference between like restriction and feeling restricted and making the choice because you feel better of like removing foods. I find that people really struggle to balance that where it's like I either feel like I can't eat gluten and so then I feel restricted and I just want it more and that brain kicks in versus the choosing not to have it because it makes you feel better. But I wonder if you had any insight into working with clients who do have to make those dietary changes and how to do it in a healthy way that promotes a healthy relationship with food, promotes an ability to be able to own your own decisions and maybe like not get into that victim stance that I think sometimes people get into like, oh, what was me, I you know this is the way it has to be and I hate it and all that. So how do you coach clients through that balance?
Taylor Ann Macey 19:19
Totally. That's such a great question. And what's interesting is in the case for celiac, for example, the clients that I have coached through that. Because they have such a negative association with gluten, they don't have a desire for it, and so that's sometimes what can work in your favor is if you do have a very, very clear response that is very undesirable and uncomfortable. It can often make it easier to avoid the thing because like, yeah.
Amber B 19:45
I mean desired but wanted.
Taylor Ann Macey 19:46
Right, if you don’t want it then it's not a problem to not have it right.
Amber B 19:49
Taylor Ann Macey 19:50
And so that's one thing that's always interesting is, is for some clients making those elimination choices is a very easy and simple thing to do because of that association with how negatively they feel. But that's why I kind of like to say wait until you are 100% sure that your symptoms are clearly coming from something specific before you eliminate it, because otherwise when you have that gray area of like, well, sometimes when I eat this, I feel kind of not great, but it's not super clear so I will recommended, and I always recommend including as much as possible for as long as possible in order to maintain that sense of control and empowerment around food at the same time there are many instances where it is necessary to eliminate certain things, even if just for a time, and the way that I like to coach clients through that and the way I like to talk them through this is I like to relate it to my children. Right, there are four and six, and we have a lot of rules in our house about how we do food, how we do sugar, how we do treats, and we find those rules together, we discuss them and we decide what we both agree on. It's what I do with my clients is we work together to find rules that we feel like is workable. But the reason that I do that with my children is because I love them more than life itself. I would do anything for them to keep them healthy, to keep them strong, to support them. And so, my restricting their sugar consumption, for example, or suggesting to eat certain things over other things is all because I love them so desperately. And this is the exact same approach that we must learn to take with ourselves, that any type of changes that we make in our diet cannot come from a place of I'm a bad person if I eat this, something is wrong with me if I eat this, I'm weak if I eat this, because none of those things is true. Those are perspectives that can be very painful and can lead to some of those more negative associations and relationships with food, and so this is where having a coach can be hugely valuable to be able to help you see what you might not be seeing in yourself and how you're making these choices in the why that you are making these places. But when you can look at it from more of a place of, I love myself enough to maybe not eat this thing today because I know that tomorrow I will benefit, I will feel better if I don't eat this thing. But it's a very subtle shift and it requires a lot of patience and a lot of self-introspection to really examine why are you saying no to this food? Why are you wanting to eliminate this? Are you wanting to eliminate it because you think I'm going to gain weight if I eat this? Oh, I'm going to be such a slob if I eat this. There are so many perspectives that are not healthy ways to make changes and are not sustainable ways to make changes. Oftentimes that type of perspective can lead to those binges later that really end up making you feel much sicker. And so, it's so important to examine the why and to really ensure that it's coming from a place of I love myself enough to do this. Not because anything is wrong with me but because I care about myself and that is a subtle but very, very powerful shift.
Amber B 22:58
Yeah, it's super powerful and I really appreciate what you're talking about with like the why behind why you're doing things. I think oftentimes if we only pay attention to actions, you can take two women who have the very same action of, you know, maybe they don't eat the cake. Whatever. Right. Like it's the same action if I'm just watching them with my eyes. They both don't eat the cake, but the why behind it. And the conversation that's inside of each of those one’s heads can be completely different and one can be a very healthy, supportive loving conversation in her head of why she chose not to eat the cake and then the other one is like bashing and you know demeaning and negative conversation. And so, I think when we scroll back and we talk about that why, we talk about the process through which we make decisions, it really can be night and day of how Yes, maybe the end result is that you don't eat the cake. The process that you took to be able to get to that decision night and day in terms of your experience and your results and your long-term results.
Taylor Ann Macey 23:56
Yes, and that's one thing that I love about how you share things and how you've taught things. As I've learned from you, you know, over the last couple of years is macro counting, for example, is some people love to demonize it and some people love to, you know, obsess over it. And I always like to point out that any dietary approach isn't good or bad. I mean, it's just food. It's just numbers. It's just data. But the reason why you are doing it can look highly different on the inside, though it might be exactly the same on the outside.
Amber B 24:26
Yeah. It’s good.
Taylor Ann Macey 24:26
And so it's one of those underrated things, because I think on social media and in the diet world, there's a lot of just action focus of just we'll do this and you'll get the body that you want or eat this or track this way or eat this way or, you know, behave this way, do these things and all of those things probably have a place, but it's going to depend on the individual and the more you can pay attention to what's happening internally, the more all of those actions will actually get you the results that you want.
Amber B 24:56
Yeah, super good. So, walk us through some of the dietary mistakes that people make, especially those with autoimmune conditions like, what are some of the don'ts? I know you said, you know, I like the add before subtracting, I think that's a good one. Are there any other things that you have for someone who maybe is struggling with an autoimmune condition in terms of like how they should be thinking about their food and their nutrition?
Taylor Ann Macey 25:20
Well, first of all, it's going to be so individual, right, there are over 80 autoimmune conditions and they can manifest very uniquely depending on the person, their genetics, their age, their gender. There are a lot of different factors that determine a person’s health. I mean, that's just a general statement anyway, but especially true with autoimmunity and so I think this is good news. It's not like there is a clear cut. Do this if you have an autoimmune condition. Eat these foods and this will help you. I think generally sticking with the basics like protein and fiber which I will be a broken record by the end of this episode emphasizing these things.
Amber B 26:01
OK. Well, people are gonna ask. How much protein? How much fiber, Taylor Ann? So why do you answer that question? Cause people are asking in their heads right now.
Taylor Ann Macey 26:09
Yeah. Yeah. No. And it's a good question. It's a good question and I will generally make the recommendation, and I believe yours is somewhat similar, but protein can be anywhere between .7 grams per pound of body weight up to 1.2. Generally going up to 1.2 is very rarely necessary, and especially if you're working to manage your condition, I don't know if I've ever put a client up there consistently over long periods of time up that 1.2 grams per pound of body weight .7 is actually a very desirable, sustainable for most people once they can develop some experience with tracking protein and paying attention to that and you know, as you will notice, that doesn't differ whether you have an autoimmune condition or not. It's just getting enough. It's not like more is going to be more advantageous necessarily with a condition. It's just getting enough, it's going to be very helpful.
Amber B 26:56
Let’s say it over and over again. It's not that more is better. It's like you just need to get enough.
Taylor Ann Macey 27:00
Right. And especially because two at some point. Like protein, also just becomes extra calories and so if extra protein becomes a surplus, you know you then move into a different area where differences are happening. And so it's just important to recognize your.
Amber B 27:11
And you have gluconeogenesis and it just turn into carbs.
Taylor Ann Macey 27:15
Right. There you go. So, that recommendation has always been the same and will be typically what I recommend to anybody. And when it comes to fiber, it's actually similar as well. Women, I usually will put anywhere between 15 and 25 grams. I like to air closer to 25, but again, there's going to be unique differences, especially for women that have things like ulcerative colitis. Sometimes fiber can be a little bit of an irritant. And so that's one thing to make sure if you have a coach or a clinical team to make sure that you are just paying attention to those types of things. If you have Crohn's disease or things like that can be aggravated by fiber, but 25 grams approximately for women, 35 for men. And again, I assume that's pretty familiar and similar to what you would recommend as well. So those are those numbers for those that are desperately curious.
Amber B 28:00
Yeah, I just know people are asking it in their heads. People love like the concreteness. So, we give it to you if you were listening and you were asking that question, you're welcome. OK. Sorry. I cut you off. Keep going. You were talking about some of the don'ts with nutrition.
Taylor Ann Macey 28:12
Yes. So I think this extends from the idea of adding before you subtract is to not go to extremes first. Yeah, now there are times and my heart goes out to people that are just really in the thick of autoimmunity when symptoms are severe and desperation is, is very much at the forefront, yeah.
Amber B 28:32
Yeah, they're willing to do, like anything to get rid of this symposium.
Taylor Ann Macey 28:34
Yeah. I completely understand and I witnessed that and I, my heart goes out to you. But these basics are often going to be more powerful and more effective than some of these unnecessary extremes. Some of these people will recommend you know cleanses and a lot of very extreme behaviors that can not only not be helpful, but oftentimes be harmful to a person in their health and their condition and their overall well-being, and so to at least first avoid unnecessary extremes by just doing your best to master the basics, and this is something I've got a free download that I can give you the link for. It's called Auto Nutrition Basics and it is just going through the basics to master before going to the more extreme changes and of course, what I will also recommend is because autoimmune conditions are a medical condition to prioritize clinical care first, right? I'm not going to be your doctor and there are a lot of things. Most things that I probably can't help you with when it comes to, you know, a lot of elements of autoimmunity and so working with a clinical team first. For example, if you had type one diabetes, you want to make sure you have insulin. You want make sure that you stay on top of it with your doctors and your clinical team. If you have MS for example, you're, there's a lot that you're gonna want to be doing clinically first and then once you are getting regular blood work, if you have Hashimoto's or getting your thyroid tested and you're having comprehensive metabolic panels to just check levels of you know all the things we want to be measuring once you kind of cover your bases there, then move into am I being exquisitely careful with my sleep as much as possible? Am I being extra deliberate with the foods that I am eating and including? Am I being extra mindful of getting sun in the morning and drinking enough water and then beyond that is when you can start saying OK, maybe I am a little bit irritated by dairy, by gluten. And in that case you can start to test things right. There are ways to kind of experiment with elimination diets. And one of the best recommendations I can make is just to be patient because a lot of times, as with anything in the body, it. True change really does take time and true assessment of what's going to work for you nutritionally is worth giving it even more time than you think would be necessary. A lot more time than you think would be necessary. And so when you can have clinical care first, then move into mastering some of these basics of self-care and lifestyle behaviors. Then you can move into some of these more elimination experiments where necessary to see is this a very clear black and white noticeable difference when I eat this and when I don't? And is it worth it enough to me? Do I have a negative enough association with eating these things to say I can easily eliminate this and not have any emotional fallout about it subsequently and so that's usually the path that I like to take people down in terms of how to do it. And then how not to do that is really the number one thing is just to avoid those unnecessary extremes right out the gate.
Amber B 31:51
It's such good advice and I like what you said about. It's that, that, that without weighing is like, is there a clear enough delineation that this causes negative symptoms and am I willing to you said something about like the emotional fallout that that comes from that which is like so true, it's. Right. Sometimes that emotional fallout of, like, not being able to eat whatever it is if you love it. It's like. No, it's worth it to me to have a little bit of the symptoms if I don't have a clear association. And I like that line that you're helping people to draw it. You're basically just helping them to balance. Like what's most important to you? What's your priority here? And how are going to be able to live your life in the way that is the most supportive of your physical and your mental health?
Taylor Ann Macey 32:30
Right. And a lot of times when you do start to add in a lot of these other things. There is space to have some of these foods and maybe not have as many severe and noticeable consequences, and so that's why it's so important to make sure because sometimes what's happening is people are generally eating more calorically dense, more highly processed foods and not getting enough fruits and vegetables and protein. Sometimes you know overconsuming calories, but then they start to eliminate these things. And again, they associate that with feeling better, when in reality it's going to be the adding of other things that's going to improve how you feel more so than the elimination of other things, and so it is finding that balance and having the patience to find that space to really make sure you're adding in enough, not going to extreme too quickly and then to say actually because I'm eating enough of these other things, it's really supportive of me and my body then it's actually not as consequential if I do have some of these other, you know, more calorically dense high, highly processed foods.
Amber B 33:28
You talked a little bit about like giving it the time and again, I'm going to push you because people are like how much time? So, are we talking about like 2 weeks? Are we talking about a couple of months? What is that time frame that you would say, OK, we've given this the space that it needs to work. Now we're gonna move on to the next step and you know, make some changes. How long would you recommend people being willing to wait to be able to do that well?
Taylor Ann Macey 33:50
Let me back up a little bit and first kind of discuss time to give yourself. When you initially have a diagnosis.
Amber B 33:58
Taylor Ann Macey 33:59
So when someone gets a diagnosis again, there is a lot of emotions that can come up as a result. I know for me, in my experience there was a lot of fear. A lot of unknown, you know, mine is particularly aggressive and the treatment is really gnarly. And so there was just a lot of emotion as a result, in every day just felt like I was in limbo and not sure what my life was going to look like and every day was like I want answers now, I want this fixed now, I want tomorrow for this to be gone and again if people out there listening feel that way, it is not to be blamed. It makes perfect sense why we feel that way because it is. There's a lot of turmoil happening, however, when you can take a step back and shift your perspective a little bit and say OK, I'm going to give myself a year to learn about this, to adjust to this new normal, to this new life, to this new direction that my life is headed and this new direction that my body is going. When you can say ohh I have a lot of time to figure this out and I might have a lot of emotions and that's important to have mental healthcare. That's why what I do as a life coach is so valuable. I believe to kind of help navigate through some of those big emotions as it comes to health changes and diagnosis. But when you can say I've got a year and if I have hard days, if there are things that don't work. That's OK. And I think this is again applicable to something like fat loss, for example, when you want a six-week, 12lbs fat loss result. It's just too myopic and too close to home. You're not having the grand perspective as it comes to health and body composition changes and the same is true for autoimmunity. To be able to learn about your body and how it responds to certain things, what your needs might be, you know it was something that I learned over time that, ohh, I need a lot of extra sleep than I used to need and it's not because anything's wrong with me, but I just know this enough to really prioritize that. I also know that like heat can often be really aggravating for my eyesight and so I just have to. But it took a long time for me to learn that right because there's so many different things going on. There's so many new thoughts and new emotions that are coming up that can feel very tumultuous.
So coming back to nutritional changes and kind of figuring out what works for you, I think the longer the better if you can give yourself a year to figure out how your body tolerates certain foods, how it responds to certain things, you're more likely to get a more comprehensive picture of what's actually happening and avoid more of a confirmation bias. Sometimes we will eliminate things and be like, oh, I feel so much better. And this is kind of true in the fitness and diet community. Like, I'm eating these things and I'm feeling so much better. And it's like, well, are you or, you know, we don't quite have an adequate picture. And so, when you can give yourself, you know, even a month at a time like I am going to eliminate gluten, for example, for a month. And if I can guarantee that I can be as adherent as possible, you know, you probably want 100% to really get 100% adherence to really get a good picture of how your body responds to not having it, a month at a time is a good length of time to attempt any sort of elimination. And because you don't want to have compounding variables, you want to be doing things one at a time. If you are making some of these elimination things now, you can add in multiple things at once, sleep and hydration and movement. Those can all be added in, but if you're going to eliminate something I really recommend taking at least a month and doing one thing at a time.
Amber B 37:29
That's super helpful, that specificity, one thought that I had as you were talking is I get a lot of clients who don't have autoimmune conditions but for whatever reason, injury, surgery, whatever reason they have a deeply held belief that their body has betrayed them. And I was thinking about that. And I feel like, that's even more so. I have to imagine it's even more so in the autoimmune because literally it is like your body is attacking your own body. And so I have to imagine this idea of, like, my body's betraying me. It's like me against my body has to be something that a lot of these women deal with, and I wonder as a coach how you help to navigate them through that idea that it's like them against their body or them fighting their body or them, their body betraying them and how you kind of help work them through those beliefs.
Taylor Ann Macey 38:19
Yes, I love this question because this does come up with just about every client and the way that I explain it is you have something that's working against you physically that's causing probably a lot of unpleasant symptoms and results in your body. It makes sense why you might have a thought like this, it makes sense why that might feel true, and why that might feel legitimate. And I don't blame people for thinking this and for feeling this way. And at the same time, I will always extend options for different perspectives completely for their own sake, not because I think that everybody should be like my body's amazing and it's perfect and everything's working wonderfully. I don't expect anybody to try and be toxically positive about something that is genuinely, really hard. However, for someone's own sake, for their own well-being, to give them a break where possible. That's where I love to take a step back and to say, OK, these symptoms in our body are painful, but we are exacerbating our overall pain by compounding it with emotional pain as well. And that's something that we have control over. We have control over how we are thinking about the symptoms we're experiencing, about how we're thinking about the diagnosis that we are experiencing. And so, one of the thoughts that has been one of my favorite over the years is my body knows what to do. Now, it's like I literally have a system inside my body that's working against me. It's attacking me.
Amber B 39:48
Taylor Ann Macey 39:49
And my body still knows what to do. It happens and my body jumps right into action and it's like, ready to repair. And again, I do what I can to support it nutritionally and with movement, but it's like kind of amazing to think that your body can be under attack by your own systems and you can still be alive, and you can still function like it's such a trip, and so that is one thing that I will offer and invite people to consider, then it almost makes me emotional because bodies are so incredible, and though they don't work often the way that we want them to, we still have the opportunity to say my body's still amazing and it's still really smart and it still has the capacity to help me survive and help me even thrive despite having something on the inside working against me.
Amber B 40:30
Yeah, that's beautiful. I really love that. That perspective shift and I think there is a lot of opportunities. There are lots of horrible things that happen to us and injuries and death and there's just like circumstances and just lots of things that happen to us and that we may not have control over. And I think it's silly to think that we can control everything in our lives, right. There's lots of things we can't control. However, our experience of them really is shaped by how, you know, how we think about them and how we feel about them and what we tell ourselves about it. And you know what, it reiterate to ourselves in our brain and that can hold a lot of power to really not get you out of the situation that you're in. You know, you maybe have a disease that is a chronic illness and it's not going anywhere, but that doesn't mean that you can't improve your experience of that. In Buddhism, they have this idea of like the second arrow that you know that. Yeah, the first arrow hurts, but the second arrow, where you like, mess around with it. And like, re-injure that spot is like the emotional pain that you were kind of relating to. And we can't do much about that first arrow, but we can do a lot about the second arrow. And I think that's a really important place to be able to have people focus their attention on the things that we can have control over.
Taylor Ann Macey 41:38
Yeah, and that's one of those more ambiguous parts of health. It's not like. Sure, right. Like, has the skill changed? Has my body fat percentage changed? Has, you know my blood levels changed? But it's often one of the most important parts that really gets neglected. And I don't think that that's due to anything other than mental health and really paying attention to how we're thinking is not something that's been as much at the forefront of cultural awareness as it has been within the last couple of years. And so it can really change an experience of something and it's something that just brings me so much joy and it's one of those things that I, when I witness other people is. One of those are the moments where I'm like, OK, this is why I was given something hard. This was why it's worth it to me. This is why I do what I do, is just to be able to see a little bit of relief in someone where it feels like sometimes it feels like it's the end of the world.
Amber B 42:34
Well, it creates meaning to the pain. Right, we are able to go through a lot of pain if there's meaning behind it, and so that's a beautiful way to reframe that. Alright, well, this has been awesome. And you've given so many, so generously of your information and your knowledge, and I know that the women listening are eating this up. And the last thing that I would love for you to speak to and I ask this question often because I think that the more that we can hear from different perspectives and different ideas, the more we can get insight into places that we can set our own goals. So, I'm curious, what are some of your current health and fitness goals like? What are you working on? What are you excited about? What are you chasing?
Taylor Ann Macey 43:14
Yeah, I love this question and I know you do CrossFit as well, and that's been one thing that I attribute in jest as being a little bit life saving for me and you know I don't, I don't know exactly how much my current well-being has been influenced by my dedication to CrossFit since I was diagnosed. But I like to believe that it's helped a lot. As resistance training and movement is helpful for anybody,
Amber B 43:42
Taylor Ann Macey 43:43
But I like to believe it had an effect on my condition but it is such a safe space for me to be able to be in the gym and pushing my body beyond what I ever dreamed would be possible, especially so since I was told, you know, I might not live to see my kids go to kindergarten. I might not, you know, be walking or be able to see in a couple of years and so to be able to set goals in the gym and achieve them every time I get emotional about it because it's just like I'm doing the impossible and I'm proving wrong what I thought might be my future and so my current goals I have many at any given time because I just love challenging myself in that way and kind of pushing the limits of what's possible. One is a 300-lb deadlift working towards that.
Amber B 44:26
Taylor Ann Macey 44:26
Excited about that. Next is I've been spending a lot of time working on handstand holds and walks. Hmm, and I can get a solid like 5 seconds, but I'm my goal is 30 seconds right? Cause I feel like anybody can sort of get 5 seconds, but like 30 seconds is like, yeah, obviously.
Amber B 44:41
You have to hold it.
Taylor Ann Macey 44:42
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So goal 30-second hold, you know, followed by a handstand walk. And I've also, I mean, the last couple of years, I go through phases where I have worked on my muscle up and yes, I'm close, but then I go through seasons where I will prioritize other things, and so that's always on the docket as the next goal. I've only recently started to like really get the hang of chest to bar, which was exciting. So those are kind of top of mind. My, the things I'm excited about and that kind of take me out of the idea that something's wrong with my body because it's like I'm getting closer to these things and it's small and I'm giving myself a year plus to do all these things.
Amber B 45:22
Taylor Ann Macey 45:23
But, it's like, man, you know, things aren't so bad. I've got things I'm excited about and that's one of the things that I love to recommend for women with autoimmunity is to set goals like that because it can really help create not just a neutrality with a condition, but also like an optimism with it.
Amber B 45:40
Yeah, I mean, it moves you from like my body is broken to like look like cool things my body can do, you know it's and that's such a a powerful perspective shift. Awesome. Well, if people want to connect with you, where they can find you?
Taylor Ann Macey 45:52
I have the Autoimmune Nutrition Basics free download that you can get at taylorannmacey.com/basics. And then I have a podcast called Brain Diet that is on all podcast platforms and I go into detail about all of these things, about the mental health as it relates to autoimmunity and nutrition and just how to navigate life with confidence in that area.
Amber B 46:13
That's awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on and we'll link all those things up in the show notes that people can easily find. Find them and find you and really appreciate you for sharing your wisdom and your knowledge with my audience.
Taylor Ann Macey 46:24
Thank you so much.
Amber B 46:27
I hope that you enjoyed that episode and that it gave you some things to mull over, especially if you're someone who is struggling with autoimmune diagnosis yourself, or maybe has been struggling for years trying to figure out what works for you and for your body. As always, if you enjoyed the podcast, love it if you would share on social media. Let me and Taylor Ann know what your takeaways were from this episode, or what aha moments that you had as you were listening to her share so willingly about all the content that she shared in this episode. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio, I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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