One way to make it easier is to meet with others that walk in your shoes. They know where you've come from, they get it, they understand. Understanding is not something you always find in the gluten-free lifestyle. You find out that you're not alone.
Connecting with others that share your same situation can give you a huge boost emotionally and physically. Many others experience the same trials and tribulations you do. We're all on this journey together, so we might as well help each other out along the way. Who knows - we might even have a few laughs while doing it!
Celiac & Gluten-Free Support Groups
The Pathway to Gluten-Free Success
The ultimate formula for success in life consists of five steps: know your outcome, know your motivation, take massive action, notice your results and change your approach.
While I don't attend Mr. Robbins' seminars, read his books, or even follow him on social media - I found his formula for success very commonsensical. It's straightforward - no-nonsense. I like that. It's so universal that it easily applies to the gluten-free lifestyle. I'm all about being "sensibly gluten-free.” If you're wondering, Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker, author, and famous life coach.
While it may happen to some, most people don't blindly stumble into success - particularly with something significant like a lifestyle change. It usually requires some conscious effort - "massive action" as Mr. Robbins calls it.
Let's look at Mr. Robbin's formula and see how it can help create a successful gluten-free life.
Know your outcome
There are many definitions of success, but the best one is the one you've created for yourself. Success is unique - as individual as a fingerprint. One person’s success may be another person’s failure. Whether a newbie or a pro at the gluten-free lifestyle, ask yourself, "What does my success look like?" Let your answer be your guide. If you've been suffering from an undiagnosed gluten-related disorder, you probably know your outcome already. It might go something like this: By removing gluten, I want to recapture my health and start a new life. An excellent long-term success goal, but don't forget to develop a roadmap - a plan to get there. In "Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for SUCCESS", G. Richard Shell, says, “success is not a static, one-and-done process. It’s dynamic. If you stay in motion, learn as you go, and remain open to the insights you gain on the journey, good things often follow.” Gluten-free success may be different depending on the day, the hour, or even by the minute. That split moment decision to pass up that piece of gluten-filled birthday cake, the time spent learning what gluten is, or becoming a label reader and finding hidden gluten, helping someone in the gluten-free aisle at the grocery store are all great examples of success. On the surface, some of them might seem insignificant, but if we examine them closely, they are important milestones. Those small successes add up and contribute to your long-term success goal.
There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.
Know your motivation
Motiviation is "The Why You Do it". That little voice inside you - sometimes whispering - other times screaming that you can do it. Knowing what pushes you forward enables you to be more effective in attaining your success. For many, the motivation is a better life without the constant pain and suffering. For some, it's centered around loved ones - having the ability to fully present for them. For others, it's the opportunity to help others. Transitioning to the gluten-free lifestyle is filled with numerous distractions; things that will pull you into the weeds. Friends and family members who offer gluten-filled foods, "Donut Day" at work, birthday celebrations, family gatherings, holiday parties. The list is seemingly endless, these are just a few events where temptation is present. Enter stage left - discipline. Discipline is "The What You Do." It's the ability to analyze a situation and make corrections in your behavior. Discipline keeps you on the "straight and narrow"; preventing you from eating that [gluten-filled] donut or giving into friends and family members' offerings. Motivation and discipline work together. When the motivational inspiration wanes, discipline swoops in to save the day. It's true, you will experience low-motivational days. Probably more than you want, but this is normal. Expect it and prepare for it. Mental preparation will help get you through; stay positive. By focusing on those small (minute-by-minute, day-by-day) successes, you will help raise your motivational energy levels.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen
Take Massive Action
Making a lifestyle change is no small feat. You're re-wiring years [decades] of behaviors and habits. Unlearning your old way of life and replacing it with a brand new one requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment. You've probably noticed the use of the word "lifestyle" instead of "diet." Changing what you eat is only one component. This change will affect every facet of your life from here on out. Convenience – gone. Care-free dining – adios. The joy of family gatherings - replaced with dread and worry. Things that took little or no thought - now rivals the logistics of a Mars Rover launch. Yes, it will require massive action. A few examples of what massive action looks like for the gluten-free lifestyle?
• Making the 24x7x365 commitment to gluten-freedom. There are no vacations, no breaks, no "just this once" cheats. Constant vigilance is required. Gluten never sleeps. • Educate yourself about gluten - what is it, learn where and how to find it. • Determine if you can have a gluten-free house. Many variables to consider. Choose what's best for you and your family. • Clean your house from top to bottom. Crumbs matter. Either throw out all the gluten [and gluten contaminated items] for GF household or arrange [segregate] gluten-free/gluten products accordingly. Setup GF safe zones and develop gluten cross-contamination policies and procedures [and make sure household members abide by them]. • Educate your friends and family. This can be a Herculean or a Sisyphean task • Join and participate in a support group. Local face-to-face groups are best, but online groups can be extremely helpful too.
Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.
Notice your results and change your approach
Due to the complexity of this lifestyle, you will be making some mistakes in the beginning. Everyone does, it's all part of the process. You didn't go from crawling to walking without a few falls. Don't let these events derail your efforts. Get up, dust yourself off, and try again. Resiliency and adaptivity will take you far on your journey toward gluten-free success. The important take away here: learn from your mistakes. If you don't you will be spinning your wheels; expending a lot of energy but going nowhere - fast. When something didn't work out as you expected, or you are not feeling well, take time to analyze what has been happening, why it's happening, and how you can prevent it in the future. Yes, you have to become a "Gluten Detective." Perhaps you've switch products because the store stopped carrying your first choice? Maybe the french fries you ordered at the restaurant were fried in the same fryer as the gluten-full items? What about overlooking gluten in a product's ingredient list?
Only those who are able to adapt to changing scenarios will continue to survive and prosper. Success is directly proportional to the degree of positive adaptation to change.
Keys to GF Success
Positive Mental Attitude
They can either become your biggest assets or your most significant liabilities. The choice is yours to make.
You can decide to harness the power of your mind to deliver the success you dream of or allow it to give you chaos, confusion, and potentially permanent failure.
Be warned; it won't be a bed of roses at first. You will go through some highs and lows.
You will probably experience a grieving process. You are losing the foods and the lifestyle that you once loved - that's not something that easily dismissed.
You are also losing your unhealthy self - which is a good thing!! So, allow yourself to experience the entire range of emotions as you go through this gluten-free journey.
The more we know about our condition, ourselves and our food, the healthier [and happier] we will be.
There is a steep learning curve when adopting the gluten-free lifestyle; a lot of details to keep straight; it all seems so overwhelming. By educating ourselves, we create the best possible environment in which we can heal and become healthy.
There are many excellent books, magazines, and websites currently available. Take time to read and learn from them - it's a high ROI [Return On Investment]. Who better to invest in than yourself! It's a no-lose situation.
Slips and accidents will occur, especially in the beginning. However, one must carefully examine relapses (a conscious decision to abandon treatment). Continued ingestion of gluten puts your health at serious risk.
With all those people pulling for you, it's a lot easier to win the tug-o-war with gluten.
If your commitment crumbles, your support system may grow weary. If you don't make it a priority in your life, how can they make helping you a priority?