We’re back and I am still in my temporary gluten- and dairy-free trial. Am I loving it? No. Am I feeling better? Yes. Why does that annoy me? Let’s unpack together:
It annoys me to be feeling better because I know I will have to explore whether this will need to be a long-term/permanent change in my lifestyle. Like I have said in previous posts, I can no longer claim to be ignorant or ignore the obvious. Now, I can also make the argument that it could be the supplements and nothing more (and trust me, that is my hope). But we will find out when I implement gluten and dairy back into my life, and I will allow that to be a future Casey problem.
I have a great deal of fear when it comes to changing my lifestyle because in my mind, lifestyle becomes part of your identity. I do not want to be known as a “crunchy granola health fanatic” who won’t eat anything but what was grown in their own backyard and shames anyone for not eating exactly the way they do. I know that I am not this person, but asking for substitutions makes me feel this way. Again, I know I do not have to justify or give reason to anyone for what I am doing, but the pressure is there nonetheless.
I have been wrestling with why I am so bothered that I am feeling better when that is truly the goal. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that I am feeling better. It has lowered stress in many ways, and I like not fearing food and how it will make me feel. I had not realized how much stress and anxiety food had been causing me, not knowing whether something would make me feel bloated, have physical pain and discomfort, the constant worry and lack of control has been more draining than I realized. So why does feeling good feel wrong? Maybe it’s because now I know how it feels and am afraid to lose it? Or afraid of the changes, both short term and long term. I don’t have the answers right now but these are some working theories in my mind.
One of the most surprising things with my recent adjustments is how I have been able to recognize being full. I have always been jealous of intuitive eaters who can just stop before they are too full. I have always been in the camp of either not enough or too much. It is a sensation that I am not used to, but a welcome one, at that.
I have also had increased hunger signals, which is also something I thought was a myth. I absolutely get hangry and moments of “oh yea I’m hungry” but I do not usually have actual cues of knowing my body needs food soon. I am working on using these new “feelings” to think of food as fuel for my body and something to enjoy in that process. I am actively trying to ask myself the question “what will serve me best” and “what do I actually want” when listening to these cues.
I am still struggling with decision fatigue in this process. Having to plan and think more about food weighs heavily on me. This can look like me just not eating at all instead of making the “wrong” choice. I know that this is not a healthy approach and that if given a choice between not eating or eating a sandwich with gluten…I should eat the sandwich with gluten, but I struggle to want to do everything perfectly and to break my unhealthy cycle of “do it perfect or not at all.” I’m working on this and trying to extend grace to myself. Life is not black and white, and no one expects me to do this perfectly or even wants me to. I appreciate the approach Stevie and Anya have laid out for me, encouraging me to live my life and not rob myself of joy or experiences in order to follow protocol. But the flexibility with grace remains hard.
I will be going on vacation and visiting family soon, where I will have little control over what I am eating and will also want to indulge in foods I don’t normally have access to (favorite restaurants etc). I feel anxious about this upcoming trip, and that it will “ruin” all my progress and that I will struggle to get back on track…but I have appreciated being able to voice this to Stevie and Anya, and have been met with nothing but support. While I have anxiety about this trip, I also have curiosity of how I will feel when indulging and if it will be different than it has been in the past…so stay tuned for that.
Feelings this week: a little exhausted with the added decisions about food, and anxious about my upcoming trip.
Favorite moment from experience: feeling true hunger cues and feeling more in touch with what my body needs.
Something I am currently loving: discovering all the different types of goat cheese.
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