Several weeks ago I was told that at least for the near future, I should go gluten-free. It appears I have sensitivity to gluten which may be causing inflammation in my body. Bummer!
The thing is I like gluten-containing foods. Some days I like them quite a lot.
As I ruminated on the idea of cutting out all gluten-containing food, I could feel tightness growing in my chest. I felt trapped.
I was desperate to feel differently. In that moment, I thought the only way to NOT feel trapped was to find a way that I could continue eating gluten.
I began researching. But my research didn’t uncover any magic solutions.
Feelings of resistance started welling up inside of me.
And then it happened….
Suddenly all I could think about was the exact food I was trying to avoid.
It was as if there was a 2-year-old inside me, kicking and screaming. Visions of “forbidden foods” danced in my head. I craved foods I hadn’t thought about in over a decade. I wanted things I’m not sure they even make anymore!
I soon made the decision to eat some of the things I was craving, temporarily. I gave myself one week.
I had one rule for the week: No judgement, just simple observation of my thoughts and how my body responded to the food.
This pact with myself also included the promise that after one week I was to put my “life coach” hat back on and do the work necessary to move beyond this point.
An interesting thing happened during that week. Since I was eating more gluten than usual, I could clearly feel how it affected me. I was shocked at what I discovered.
I realized that after high-gluten meals I never felt fully satiated, just odd. After a few more days I began having strange pains in my stomach. At the time, I remember thinking my stomach felt like it was being torn apart.
As the week came to an end and I was finally ready to deal with the underlying issues, I asked myself what I was truly craving. The answer came even more quickly than I expected.
Autonomy (or freedom) is a universal need. When we feel it’s being taken away – this often leads to rebellious actions.
Suddenly I could see it. I felt like my freedom was being taken from me. I didn’t want to feel forced into a way of eating. I wanted to feel like I had choices.
After all, I was telling myself I had no choices. This was a painful thought that wasn’t even true.
I could absolutely continue to eat gluten. In fact I’d just done it for a week. I could continue if I wanted.
Of course there would be consequences for this action. At this point in my life, this choice could possibly lead to physical discomfort and inflammation in my body. But it was still a choice.
Nearly every time we tell ourselves we have no choice — it’s not true.
For example, I used to think I had to work. One day I realized I didn’t have to work. I worked because I wanted to be able to afford to live in a house, not my car.
This subtle shift of realizing gluten was also a choice – was exactly what I needed to feel a shift in my feelings
Once I knew no one was forcing me into anything and that I was making loving decisions based on how I wanted to feel, my cravings diminished.
It’s been almost 3 weeks now and during that time I’ve remained gluten-free. Yes, I’ve been tempted. Certain foods have caught my eye. And each time they do, I make a conscious choice. That makes all the difference.
Where in your life have you felt trapped with no choices? Look again. See if you can find the choices.