The Truth About Healing My Acne And The Approach That Gave Me My Food & Body Freedom Back
About three years ago I developed adult acne.
Up until then, I never had any major skin issues, just a few pimples and breakouts here and there.
This was different.
My skin looked angry, red, and irritated. I knew something was going on, I just couldn’t figure out WHAT.
Even though I tried to cover it up with makeup, I noticed people looking at my skin. People would make subtle comments to me about products they used that worked for them.
It gave me a pit in my stomach.
It made me not want to go to work.
It made me want to avoid social gatherings.
It made me hate my skin.
I went to a dermatologist, and she just gave me a “cookie cutter” checklist of scrubs and prescriptions to go on that she gave to every patient with acne. I tried all of it for a few months, but it ultimately didn’t help.
I bought a custom skin care formula, designed “just for me”, and tried it for months, but it didn’t help.
I tried essential oils, and diluted them in my moisturizers, and it worked for a little, until it didn’t.
I purchased a popular MLM skin product that so many people swore by, and it worked at first, and then my skin got unbelievably dry and the acne got worse.
I went to an esthetician for a facial once a month, and bought some products she told me would help heal my skin, and it helped a little but, but ultimately my skin wasn't healed.
I started to cut out certain food groups to try to heal my skin. First, I tried gluten, then dairy, then sugar, then soy, but it felt like nothing helped, in fact, it almost seemed to get worse!
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, part of me was relieved to not have to be out in public anymore. I was so ashamed of my skin, that going into work was a major source of anxiety for me. I thought: “If I can just go a few weeks without wearing makeup, my skin will heal.” But, it didn’t.
I felt pressure around being a certified holistic health coach, and not being able to figure out this aspect of my health.
One night, I was up late scrolling for answers about my skin (I don’t typically recommend asking Dr. Google for the answers, but we’ve all been there).
I found a credible Naturopathic doctor who had resources on how to heal acne, naturally. I did a deep dive into the doctor, took an evaluation quiz, and realized my skin issues were deeply rooted in digestive issues (another problem I had dealt with for years), and unbalanced hormones resulting from high cortisol and stress levels.
The naturopathic skin healing protocols were straightforward, but intense.
There was a major focus on managing stress and creating a positive self-love skin mindset practice. There was also a very restrictive elimination diet that removed dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, chocolate, coffee/caffeine, oatmeal, bananas, pineapple, alcohol, peanuts, corn, highly processed oils, and eggs.
My former disordered eating memories were triggered, and so many questions and concerns swirled in my head.
As a person who has found food and body freedom, and a Food Mindset coach who supports my clients to do the same, I felt like doing an elimination diet went against my “anti-diet” beliefs.
I gave myself a few days to think through whether or not this was something I felt like I could do physically, mentally, and morally, and without falling back into old dieting habits.
What I realized was, this felt different from my past dieting habits.
This time my intention was different. I wasn’t looking to lose weight, or change my body, I was looking to heal my gut, my hormones, my stress, and my skin inflammation.
I was looking for food rules or labels, I was looking to find out what foods were triggering my body to react negatively.
I decided, this wasn’t attached to my weight as my worth, my intention was truly to take care of my body.
I followed the program, and to be honest, it was difficult most days.
Days when I wanted to just enjoy my food freedom and eat all of the foods I love and craved. Days when I stressed about going out to eat and if there would be anything on the menu that I could eat. Days when I was really hard on myself, and angry that my skin wasn’t healing “fast enough”.
I constantly had to come back to my intentions and remind myself that my focus was on healing my body, especially when things felt very restrictive and limited, and that IS freedom.
I loved that the program included a lot of mindset work and meditation. I learned to get to a neutral place and accept my skin as it was with acne, and constantly reminded myself that my skin was good and worthy no matter what it looked like. Something I tell you, and my clients all the time about learning to love and accept your body.
My skin started to heal, my stomach aches showed up less, and my hormones balanced out.
After a few months of elimination and reintroduction, I was able to add back most of the foods back into my meals. I realized that eating dairy was a major trigger for my stomach and my skin, so now, I avoid dairy -- not because it’s a “bad” food, but because it doesn’t make my body feel good.
My skin isn’t perfect by any means. I get breakouts occasionally, just like anyone else. But, the irritation and inflammation is gone. I feel proud that I was able to give my body the love, support, nourishment, and care that it needed to heal.
I feel good looking in the mirror, I feel confident with or without makeup, and I truly feel love and appreciation for my skin.
Today, clients ask me about my thoughts on elimination diets. And, while it was helpful for me, I always encourage them to work on their relationship with food and their bodies first, so when diving into an elimination, their intentions are clear -- for health, not weight.
If you’ve noticed inflammation in your skin, your stomach, or anywhere in your body - always check with your doctor first.
I know elimination diets can be triggering and difficult if you’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food or your body. Always reach out for support if you feel you’re falling back into old patterns.
If you have been considering doing an elimination diet, and feel like you do have positive reasons for wanting to do it, I encourage you to first check-in with yourself. Ask yourself questions like:
“What are my intentions of doing this elimination diet?”
“Am I eliminating foods to punish my body or change my body, or to heal my body?”
“What are my boundaries with this elimination diet?”
“How can I learn to accept where my body is (inflammation, acne, etc.) and treat it with dignity, respect and honor my health?”
If any questions come up for you, or you’d like some 1-on-1 support with navigating the insecurities you have in your body, I’d love to support you.
I have limited spots for my free 30-minute food & body freedom assessment call. On this call we can get clear on your intentions for doing an elimination diet, or figure out a few simple ways you can heal your relationship with food and your body - so you can feel free to finally enjoy nights out with loved ones without stressing about what foods you can eat on the menu.
Space is limited, book your free call here!