Living Gluten Free

I had a friend over for dinner two nights ago and she was the first person, out of the many I’ve seen, to remark on how much weight I’ve lost. Hurrah! While I wasn’t going into this with the goal to lose weight, I have to admit, it has been a good secondary outcome and completely unexpected considering that I have had to eat more (in terms of portion size) and exercise less.

I may or may not be guilty of a chucking an epic tantrum after being so incredibly, utterly sick and tired of hearing everyone we know go on and on and on and ON about how great C looks and how impressed they are he’s put so much effort into getting better and how well he’s done (until the delightful Aggie came to my rescue that is).

I felt a little cast aside when no-one mentioned that I had tried equally as hard and worked my little but off, painstakingly dealing with the changes to my routine and eating habits, my own cravings and sugar come-downs while also putting up with C’s complaints of the same (because of course, for men anything of this nature is always worse!). And no-one seemed to spare a thought for the fact that while C can pretty much go back to eating anything he wants in a few weeks, there are some things that I will never be able to eat again (namely, anything with gluten in it). Did I make myself clear people? NEVER!

But then I remembered that he DOES look amazing, and he HAS worked hard, and no-one has the ability to see into my insides and see how great I feel so they weren’t as aware of the changes I’d experienced. (Not to mention he had a lot further to come, so the change was far more drastic/noticeable.)

Coming into the middle of week 8 of the much-talked-about diet I feel it’s only necessary to bore you with the obligatory update blog to let you know where I’m at.

To be honest with you when I first got told I would never be able to eat gluten again I literally thought my life was over. I was a wreck and had to mourn all the foods I loved; like bread, pastries, Yorkshire puddings, beer, tomato sauce, soy sauce, horseradish, cakes etc, etc. I spent many hours in tears and also many hours dreading the significant change this signalled for me, as well as for my husband.

Then to be told I had to cut out nearly everything for a couple of months was also pretty difficult to swallow, although oddly enough it was easier than the first lot of news because I could see the end in sight.

So how do I feel now I hear you ask?? Well to be perfectly honest with you – I feel absolutely-fucking-amazing. Apologies for the swearing, but I have never felt so good in my entire life. I realise looking back, that I have been suffering for many a year and have pretty much always felt low on energy, moody, tired and sick. So to suddenly feel human again, I just cannot tell you how amazing that feels!!

My skin is miles better than it was, I don’t get headaches anymore, I have energy, I make it through the day, I’ve lost weight (quite a bit actually), I actually WANT to socialise again, I can exercise again (although not as much as I would like) and I’m feeling happy. That’s the best part. I actually feel happy and ‘normal’. The only negative to all this change is that my wedding ring now doesn’t fit and I feel completely lost and naked without it!

I’ve learned a bunch of new recipes, have discovered some new vegetables, have a whole new appreciation for which spices and herbs go well with which meat and vegetables, have found some amazing cookbooks and have really and truly opened my eyes to how much crap goes into foods I would never have originally thought were bad for us.

When I say I was tired before starting all this – what I mean is: so exhausted I was tired the second I woke up every day, tired on my way to work, tired all day AT work, and counting down the hours until 6pm when I would crawl home and go straight to bed usually without any time, energy or inclination to cook myself any dinner or to even TALK to C, let alone go out and do things with him. I was exhausted beyond my own comprehension so it was no wonder not many people quite understood the severity of my situation… in short I was a walking corpse and now I am fit, well, happy and feeling like I could take on the world.

I’m not ‘healed’ (as my Osteo so very earnestly explained to me), I have put in a lot of work to improve my health and done really well but there is still a long journey ahead. BUT, the good news is I’ve started re-introducing fruits and was able to have my first drink a few weekends ago.

Before the hard-core diet started I was off gluten for about 2 months and when I did have some while we were in Belgium (it is virtually impossible to stay gluten free on the continent), I noticed immediately the effect it was having on me. I was suddenly lethargic, cranky and my stomach didn’t feel good. So I am now pretty resigned to the fact that gluten is bad for me and strangely, have no real desire or craving for those foods I so woefully mourned when I first heard the news.

Frankly, I would primarily be happy to stay on the same diet forever given the proof I’m experiencing now, if only I could relax a bit on social occasions, or the weekend. I now don’t mind never having gluten again, and could cope with cutting right down on the dairy and the sugar, the coffee and the alcohol, but I would love to still have a social life that didn’t mean I was challenged if I wanted to go to dinner or a friend’s place or have a glass of wine at the end of a hard week. Especially now that I actually feel up for socialising!

So that’s the goal I’m working to now. I guess you could say I’ve converted – from a girl who thought losing gluten from my life would be the worst thing in the world, to a girl who in just a few gluten-free months never wants to touch the stuff again!

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