People never admit it, but there is a grieving process once you alter your eating habits. It took me serious time to come to terms with all the new changes.
When I discovered I was celiac, it was like a dude in a white lab coat just took away all the things I loved.
I thought that my diagnosis removed my right to be merry at Christmas dinner, bond over my family’s homemade pumpkin pies, and robbed me of Friday nights on the patio at a hip, new joint in town.
To start, the emotions around “losing” food are real, people:
- I grieved.
- Felt deprived.
- Became overwhelmed.
- Felt that all the fun times were over.
- Worried friends would stop inviting me for dinner.
- Felt like an outsider at the table.
Maybe you also feel all the feels!
It took me time to come to terms with being a celiac.
In my eight-year journey of discovering my allergies and autoimmune diseases, I determined I was allergic to corn, soy, oats, dairy, and eggs. Oh, and I cut out meat and stopped drinking alcohol. Now, I REALLY felt robbed of all the good stuff.
So, does this narrative sound familiar? Maybe you’re going through the same feels about food.
Here are some tips to come to terms with your diet:
#1: Stop framing it as an all-or-nothing thing.
I remember tearing up, looking at a peach pie in Gourmet Magazine, realizing I’d never eat that again in my life. In reality, I can eat peach pie, I just need to make it differently. Learning to see things as a spectrum rather than a binary view allows you to see the possibility.
#2: Know that you aren’t missing out.
You might feel alone at the dinner table, but you genuinely aren’t missing out on the good stuff. Stop the FOMO. Those folks eating the creamy penne alfredo genuinely won’t feel rad-tastic after that meal. Learning that I was better off munching on plant-based grub was a total eye opener. I had more energy, didn’t need a nap after every meal, and felt more alive. No more FOMO.
#3: Look for abundance instead of lack.
Choose to see the good, the light, and the positive. I hung out with gluten-free friends, followed plant-based bloggers on Instagram, and listened to podcasts lead by women who struggled just like me with food and feelings. (One Part Podcast, The Wantcast, and Real Talk Radio are my favs). This all helped me feel less alone and see the abundance.
#4: Find other things that give you satisfaction.
I’m an emotional eater. Learning to de-stress through exercise (instead of spoonfuls of peanut butter) was a challenge, but hella liberating. When I had a sh*tty day, I got my a$$ to the yoga studio instead of stumbling into the Whole Foods bakery. Food isn’t the only thing that makes you feel good. Figure out what works for you and lean into it. Take a walk, light a candle, hit up CrossFit, or whatever makes you feel ahhh-mazing. Then, go for it.
#5: Understand how habits work.
I signed up for a course on makin’ and breakin’ habits. I wanted to ditch my bad patterns of using food to soothe myself. Really freakin’ hard, but doable. Understanding your cues, habits, and rewards around food will be a major a-ha moment for you. Read The Power of Habit or take a class. Hello, freedom!
#6: Get professional help.
I went to therapy to discuss my relationship to food, emotional eating, and FOMO. Digging deep into my issues, I learned that it was never really about the food. Being honest with myself enabled me to overcome that blockage in my life. Your mental health is worth the money. If you are feeling all the feels too, a profession can be a great source of guidance.
#7: Focus on how rad your body feels.
Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Sometimes I think back to my days in the fetal position with wild stomach pain and think: “holy cow, I feel so much better now!” Be proud of all the work you’ve accomplished to get to this point. Even if you are just at the start, you’re headed in the right direction. Everything is figureoutable (hat nod to Marie Forleo for this amazing quote).
Peace, love, and all the good vibes,
-Kelly from The Wild Manifesto