How to Save Yourself With Bestselling Author Danielle Walker

Danielle Walker

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Danielle Walker

When Danielle Walker was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, physicians told her that her illness could be well-managed with medication. But, Danielle’s symptoms didn’t go away. In fact, flare ups caused her to lose a lot of weight and she required frequent hospitalizations.

While she didn’t want to abandon traditional medicine altogether, she also didn’t want to sit by and idly allow her condition to deteriorate. She decided she had to save herself. 

She started by changing her diet one small step at a time. Through a process of trial and error she discovered what foods worked for her and what foods had to be eliminated from her diet. 

Her diet limitations left her feeling like she couldn’t enjoy tasty meals anymore. So she set out to create recipes that tasted good while still allowing her to stick to her diet. 

She discovered other people were interested in her recipes so she started sharing her recipes. The popularity of her blog led to a cookbook, and ultimately, she became a bestselling author. 

Why Danielle Is Mentally Strong

Danielle says many medical professionals doubted that changes to her diet could improve her condition. But, she was willing to try anyway. She knew changing her diet couldn’t hurt.

Danielle is mentally strong because she didn’t give up on herself. She was willing to conduct experiments on her diet to help her discover what worked best for her.

And now, she’s sharing her knowledge with other people. She also talks openly about the emotional toll her illness has had on her and she encourages other people to conduct experiments to learn about the strategies that could help them feel their best.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • How changing your habits can cause grief over what you’re giving up
  • How Danielle began looking for her own answers about her health
  • What Danielle has grown to realize about the link between physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health
  • How to conduct 30-day experiments that can assist you in developing a lifestyle that helps you feel your best
  • Why you’re the expert on yourself and what works best for you 
  • How to deal with people who might not understand the steps you are taking to manage your health
  • Why it’s important to have an inner circle of people you can talk to and why you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone
  • Danielle’s experience with grief and loss
  • Why talking to a therapist can be an integral part of being your best
  • How Danielle practices self-care
  • What to do if you think certain foods may be affecting your health

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

  • It’s tough to know what strategies are going to help you feel your best. And if you’re struggling with a mental health issue, it’s even tougher to sort everything out.
  • Depression might tell you that anything an expert tells you won’t work. Or anxiety might convince you that anything you try is only going to make things worse. 
  • It’s important that you don’t discount everything a physician or mental health expert tells you. You may want to explore the reasons behind their recommendations so you have a better understanding of why they’re suggesting a specific change or why they’re prescribing a certain medication.
  • Try what health professionals recommend—even just for 30 days. And pay careful attention to whether that helps you feel better, worse, or the same.
  • There are many ways to treat the same problem. For example, a physician may prescribe medication for depression. A therapist might recommend weekly talk therapy appointments. And a nutritionist might recommend diet changes. It’s up to you to decide what steps you want to take to improve your well-being.
  • Just keep in mind that sometimes, mental strength involves challenging your brain. When your brain doubts that something could work, trying to do it anyway might be helpful. But, it’s also important to recognize when a specific treatment or intervention isn’t helpful—and be open to trying something else.

Quotes From Danielle

Danielle Walker

I look internally and try to not care about what other people think—which is always easier said than done.

— Danielle Walker
  • Trying to focus on the good and the things that I can have rather than focusing on deprivation has helped me significantly. 
  • I don't have to prove myself. I'm a good mom.
  • We asked my audience to submit their testimonials about how food saved them. And we got a lot of mental health comments that I wouldn't have expected. 
  • Some mental health conditions can come from lack of hope when you are dealing with a chronic illness.

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.