So willpower has never been a strong suit for me. I don’t seem to have a lot of personal restraint. I hate to tell myself NO, I guess, is what it comes down to. If someone else tells me no, I may hate it, but I can usually respect that. Telling myself the same thing? Forget it!
So when I found that I had new dietary restrictions, I thought, “Oh HELL No!” Truth is, though, I had been suspecting this issue for a very long time. So long, in fact, I had been doing various things to prevent anyone knowing I was having the issue at all. I just didn’t want to deal with the massive change in lifestyle…and the saying NO to myself.
But here I am, on week 4 of a gluten free diet, AND I am living through it. Not only am I living through it, I am better for it, and I haven’t even cheated once! That is HUGE for me. I nearly always cheat at some point. I see it as I’ve earned it by being good for so long. It’s completely flawed thinking, but I’ve been doing it my whole life. I especially do it with chocolate. “If I just get through this,” then I will have a little smidgen of dark chocolate love. I’m no better than a child who’s mother has to bribe them to behave in the checkout lane at the store. I know this isn’t good healthy behavior, so dont look at me like that!
Over the last four weeks I discovered something that was kind of mind blowing for me. Number one, I CAN say no to myself and do it amazingly well. Furthermore, the biggie revelation needed no learning, nor any research. It is obvious and it’s stupidly easy to see… (yet many of us do the same dumb thing I’ve been doing for years and rewarding ourselves with “treats” that are bad for us when we do hard things.) But listen, here’s the kicker I finally came face to face with, “You don’t EVER earn the right to make your body sick.” Period. That thinking is ludicrous, really, when you just stop and see it for what it is. When would that ever even make sense? My thinking on food has been skewed for a very long time apparently.
NO! I’m not pregnant! This is the reaction to eating gluten. It’s immediate and extreme. There’s no denying that it is not something my body tolerates.
So four weeks of a gluten-free diet and I’ve lost some lbs. and that’s nice, but I’ve lost something I cant believe I’ve lost… I’ve lost permanent daily headaches! I thought I would never ever be free of these damned things, but apparently a food allergy can do that. It can give you one heck of a bad reaction and until you stop taking it in. Keep eating the wrong food and the body it wont stop beating you up for it. My body has been thanking me in so many ways since I stopped. I’m less cranky, tired, my daily headaches are gone (though my Chiari based ones have stayed, I dont mind them nearly as much!) and my gut is a LOT happier. Like a LOT LOT LOT happier.
I had taken to wearing one or more compression garments whenever I knew I would be out and have to be eating something. Because I hadn’t yet targeted the cause, I was embarrassed at the outcome and hated being asked “when I was due.” I am a small boned person, so the extreme reaction to my meal was obvious to most and I was trying to find new ways to cover it up at every turn. Finding the cause of it has been life changing. It’s been far less restrictive than those compression garments. I cant begin to tell you how much happier I am!
Bottom line: my view on food itself has completely changed.
I now see food as fuel. It may sometimes be a nice and enjoyable experience fueling up, but it’s fuel. It’s not a treat, it’s not a reward, and it’s not something I earn. If my body needs fuel, I give it what it needs. My body doesnt run well on standard fuel. The cheap stuff like unleaded gasoline at the gas station. My body wants the premium stuff. It wants to cut through the stuff that literally weighs a body down and only go for the good stuff God made. Along those same lines, every time I pass a gas station, I don’t stop and fuel up my soccer mom van, because the sign is shinny and the gasoline pumps are colorful. The lure of food because it smells and looks yummy is the same. I only eat when hungry, and I stop when I’m not. I dont eat past the full stage, and I only eat things that my body can process and use as fuel.
I haven’t got away from desiring all the yummy things yet, but that is okay. I am finding alternatives. On my birthday I bought a gluten-free brownie mix and made it up and put it into muffin tins. This gave me individual servings and no chance to cut a bigger piece. I then froze the left overs in seperate baggies and now i grab one out and thaw each time my family has birthday cake (we had several birthdays this last month!) and other treats. I am not tempted when I have alternatives like this. It’s keeping me on track.
So while I have a long way to go in learning all the crazy ins and outs to gluten-free eating, I am getting a handle on it, and on my health. Why didn’t I do this sooner? I can’t believe how long I let this go, and how many headaches I could have prevented!