FEAST FOR FREEDOM
Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Gluten Free

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Categories: Mindset & Attitude    

When you're changing your diet for health reasons, whether it's due to stomach or bowel problems, autoimmune diseases, weight loss or any other reason, it's important to try and maintain a positive attitude.

Coffee cup with happy saying next to a smiling stuffed lamb
Image by: Alexas Fotos

Sometimes that's hard to do, especially if you're really feeling deprived.

We'll share some ideas you can use that can help you build an attitude that will be the base of feeling better in the long run. The tips are a bit different depending on what your goal is, and why you're changing your diet, so review these and pick those that apply.

For Everyone:

Be proactive in planning your diet. This takes some pressure off before you hit a wall or are exposed to temptation. Be honest about where your blocks and temptations are and plan for them. The actual process of planning is a positive attitude. It may be a bit boring or irritating to do it, but it is a positive thing. Give yourself permission to be proud of doing it.

If you have children then try involving them somehow in the changes. It could be having them help you in the kitchen or shopping. Plan some fun during the process or some positive lesson you can teach them as you work together.

Find a friend who can support you in your changes. It can be someone you can talk to on a regular basis who will encourage you and won't sabotage you.

It could be someone you can go out with to lunch or a coffee; somewhere you can safely eat within your plan. Someone who will also eat something within your eating style, at least for that meal. You can actually request ahead of time, and the right person will agree.

If you have a tougher plan then get some stronger support, such as in person or live online support groups. A group with people who are doing the same you're doing. Be sure that the group is supportive of making the changes, and not a group of enablers who are sabotaging each other.

For Weight Loss:

Have a realistic plan. That will mean different things depending on what your goal is and where you're at currently. If you have some serious hurdles then get a more formalized plan that includes support. Also be realistic on your time frame. Losing 1 pound a week for 100 weeks and keeping it off forever is much better than losing 100 pounds in a month or two, then gaining it all back and more. Having an attitude that you're in this change for the long haul is a positive attitude. Small permanent changes are much better to maintain than radical short term fixes, that don't work long term.

Find some markers that make you feel like you've done a good job. It could be that some clothes are looser, or you can wear some jewelry that you couldn't before. It could be that you make some more effort in what you wear so you look better, both to yourself and to others.

Ask for help when you need it. Prepare that you will need this at some point, and know where that help is, so you can act quickly when you need it.

If food has been a reward for you in the past, find some new rewards. Figure out how often you would have rewarded yourself in the past. Try and find something that you can give yourself with the same or similar frequency. So, if you used to reward yourself 10 times a day, going to the spa once a week probably won't be enough of an incentive. It could be $1 that you physically put in a jar each time you don't reward yourself with food. You can watch it build over time, then spend it on something special, weekly or monthly.

For stomach, bowel, autoimmune diseases:

Find skilled practitioners that really understand your issues, from a diet perspective. You may need to have several people with different skill sets to find a diet that truly helps you.

Diet changes for these kinds of diseases are actually a fairly new concept, and not everyone is properly skilled at this. Understand that the first batch of people you find may not all be helpful, or only will be partly helpful. Have the attitude that you'll eventually find a group of people who are able to help. When you find the right people your life can be transformed.

Have the attitude that you will NOT cheat. Cheating with many of these conditions can mean a few minutes of tasty food, then 6 months of illness. This isn't an exageration. Take it seriously. Due to this seriousness you need to plan. Plan aggressively. Make the effort to find alternative foods that you like and always have them on hand so you're not tempted. It doesn't necessarily have to be a bad cookie that's replaced with a safe cookie. It could be that you eat much more dinner that fills you up, so you don't have room. You'll have to play around with this method a bit, or choose a different plan, especially if you have a weight problem also.

Find some other people with similar kinds of diet restrictions so you have people who truly understand what you're going through, especially if you're not getting as much support at home as you should. Seek out and find some of these people who have fully or almost fully recovered their health. Find out what they did, how sick they were, and what they did and who helped them. These people can be beacons of hope and have a tremendous store of knowledge and some great connections to useful practitioners.

In Conclusion:

Having to change your diet can be challenging, but with the right attitude you can make positive changes. Having the right attitude will allow you to get some control that you may not have had in the past. Having the right attitude will allow you to get past the hurdles that are bound to come up.

When you make progress you'll know it was your effort and attitude that got you there. Be sure to remind yourself of this when you make any kind of progress or breakthrough.

If you're looking for few more tools and ideas to try and change your relationship with food, be sure to check out our Kick It Up section, and for Celiac / gluten free specific articles check out our Gluten Free Living section.

Eat wisely, smile and enjoy!

Thora Toft

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