Why the Maintenance Phase of the AIP Trips You Up
You’ve been doing this AIP thing a while. You know the drill. You understand the importance of nutrient dense dietary choices, and getting all the lifestyle ducks in a row – like sleep and stress management and spending time in nature and connecting with people who lift you up and moving your body.
So what’s the deal with why the Maintenance Phase of the AIP Trips you up so damn frequently?
First things first…
What is the Maintenance Phase of the AIP?
You know that there are three phases to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) – the initial ELIMINATION Phase, the REINTRODUCTION Phase and the MAINTENANCE Phase.
Arguably, the Maintenance phase is the funnest phase of your AIP health caper. This is the time when you get to play with futher bedding down and experimenting with the diet and lifestyle choices that will serve you in the years ahead.
This is where you get on with the business of living your AIP way of life.
By this third phase, your maintenance phase, you will have made a giant step forward in healing your gut, balancing your microbiome, regulating your hormones and mitigating symptoms of chronic illness. In a nutshell, you’ll have a very good understanding of what your AIP way of life should look like – what foods serve you, how important your sleep routine is, a good stress management practice, and all the other factors in your health toolbox covered on your wheel of health.
BUT, It’s also the phase that is the most likely to trip you up and have you experiencing creepage…
In fact, whether it’s through group programs or one-on-one coaching, most of my clients come to me in the maintenance phase of their AIP caper.
“Falling apart is great – it’s the only chance you get to put yourself back together however you want.” –
WHY DOES THE MAINTENANCE PHASE OF THE AIP TRIP YOU UP?
So many reasons!
Perhaps it’s because you’ve got the diet piece of your AIP way of life under control but you still have yet to really nail the lifestyle aspects – things like learning to create boundaries or the importance of developing an internal locus of control. Maybe it’s because you’re feeling a little isolated and in need a wonderfully supportive AIP Mentorship crew of women who understand. Often, it is because life has thrown you a curve-ball and you want to recalibrate with a 30-day AIP Reset.
Ultimately, it is often simply that the new normal of your personal AIP way of life proves to be a tricky thing for young players; the maintenance phase itself is the thing that trips you up.
Because you think you’ve reached the end state of your AIP caper…
WHEN really this is your new way of life!
This third phase is the one where my own personal roadmap towards better health is a constant work in progress.
Because it is completely normal to stray in this phase of the AIP. Because life is to be lived! Because the AIP gives me the freedom to experiment.
In the six years that I’ve been creating my AIP way of life, I’ve tripped and stumbled – often inelegantly, it must be said – with alarming frequency. It’s happened so often I’ve written about it – AIP – Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight, I’ve designed my Wheel of Health to help me stay on track, and I’ve been facilitating my signature 30-day program – AIP Reset – since 2016 to help AIPers like you to (re)find your AIP groove.
And still, I trip…
But Now I have STRATEGIES to get myself back on track
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE MAINTENANCE PHASE OF THE AIP TRIPS YOU UP
Here’s what I do:
Take things back to basics
This is an important step. Taking things back to your personal AIP baseline gives you a sense that you are firmly back in the driver’s seat.
In fact, this is something that I consciously do a couple of times a year – spend 30 days focusing on the core tenets of the protocol. For me, this includes:
- focusing on a nutrient dense diet + foods that I know serve me. I remove all those ‘sometimes’ foods and stick to all the good stuff
- get serious about maximising the quality and quantity of my sleep
- double down on my stress management – things like box breathing and legs up the wall.
- schedule more movement and time in nature in my diary. And keep those appointments with myself.
During thse months, I minimise my social engagements – less dining out. I’m not a big alcohol drinker, but this also stops during my ‘back to basics’ months, too.
Focus on small incremental steps
My Mentorship crew will tell you – I’m a big fan of setting short term health goals. Every month, I set myself 3 new ones – very targeted and specific. I use my Wheel of Health to help me determine the areas I want to prioritise at any given time and these are where I focus my attention.
I think this, more than anything is central tohelping me stay the course with my health caper. BIG change is always hard and can feel overwhelming. Chunking it down and chipping away at it can effect big change over time.
Keep on keeping on
It will not be news to you that this health caper is not linear. There will be goot patches and not-so-good ones. The important thing to remind yourself is to keep trying new things.
For me, it’s an experiment to try new techniques and tools until I find what sticks for me. And what sticks for me may very well be different to what sticks for you.
I enjoy the learning.
Connect with my community
For years, I hid my health ‘stuff’ away. It was a piece of me that nobody knew about because I was ashamed. But, one of the most important lessons in my AIP caper is that in sharing my shizzle; the deeply personal stuff at the core of who I am – with the right people – that can be transformative.
It can be counter-intuitive to share when you trip. And it can make you feel so very vulnerable. But, it is in connecting with others who understand that you gain the strength to pick yourself up and keeping on.
This has been a profound lesson for me.