Welcome to the second month of the Gluten Free Health Challenge. As part of The Challenge, Amy will be sharing her journal entries here the first 3 Mondays of every month from now until December. She'll be receiving free health coaching from Mia Davis of Blissful Chicks Wellness and Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel during this period.
When I first decided to do this gluten free challenge, I figured it would help me complete something that I had been trying to do for about two years now (even longer if I was really honest). What I didn't expect was that it would allow me to become more aware of many things in my life. Over the last couple of weeks, I have become more aware of what I am putting in my mouth, potentially why I am putting it in my mouth, and especially more aware that I don't really need it or want it. I am becoming more aware that maybe if I stop being so hard on myself when I make a mistake (or am fearful of making one), I will be happier and may actually complete something I didn't think I could do.
The most recent thing that I realized is that maybe if I start dressing for my appropriate size and stop trying to fit into clothes that don't fit (even though I don't like the size I'm in), I can be happier about how I physically look. Maybe then I can be more content with my body - not that it means I can't work on getting my body healthier and more in shape.
Since starting this challenge, I have realized that I don't have to have gluten in my diet to be happy and satisfied. Yes, I have "cheated" and ingested gluten. I have also realized that gluten really isn't good for my body. I realized that I sleep better without gluten, I have more energy, my skin is better, my mood is better, and my digestion is better. I have realized that I can have a small amount of gluten and not have it completely overpower me and control me (I don't have as strong of cravings as I have had in the past). Yes, I still find it difficult to not eat foods that I used to almost gorge myself on, and yes, I still wish I could eat those foods... But I also realize how much better I feel without them and how much easier (hopefully) it will become over time, especially if I don't look at these foods as forbidden. The other things that my coach, Mia, suggested when I am having a hard time not eating foods that I am craving is to ask myself if I really want to have the negative symptoms that I get when I eat foods that aren't good for me.
I am realizing that I can allow myself to fail and the world won't fall apart. I still find it difficult to potentially fail at things, but I am slowly realizing that I will miss out on so much if I don't allow myself to try new things. If I didn't allow myself to try this challenge or didn't get back on track even after I had a "failure," I would not have realized that gluten doesn't control me; I can control it! By realizing this, I now believe that I can get rid of more things that may be a problem for me according to the blood test I had a few years ago. Now I can see myself eliminating yeast and dairy, and actually succeeding at it.
My most recent realization was that maybe if I start buying some clothes that actually fit my body (versus attempting to wear clothing that I fit in when I was 15-20 pounds lighter), I would feel better about how I look. I now have three pairs of pants in a size 12, not a size 8. I just bought two new tops in a size large. I also just bought some clothes that have some color in them. Maybe if I am happier with how I look - and more comfortable in what I am wearing - it will make life a little better. I know that it is a little sad, okay, really sad that how I look makes a difference in how I feel, but I definitely felt better with my new clothes even though they are not the size I want to be. That being said, it doesn't mean that I am happy with the weight or the size I am, and it doesn't mean that I am not going to work at getting my body to a healthy weight and level of being toned and in shape. It just means that while I am in the process of getting healthier, maybe I can feel a little better about myself!
I know that I will still have to fight my issues with perfectionism. I know that I will still have to, probably forever, push myself to do things that are difficult for me. I know that I will still have to fight urges for foods that are not good for me. I also know that I will have to fight issues with how I feel about myself and my body. The difference now is, I know that even if it is hard, I can be successful. I also know that even if I am not as successful as I want to be, it is not the end of the world. I can just try again, and know that I can get better the more I try.