This was not an easy week.  For those of you who did not catch last week’s post, my family and I have recently committed to the GAPS diet to help heal damage caused by celiac disease.  The beginning of a positive shift is often the easiest, as motivation is high, the change is fresh, and the honeymoon period of improving your life for the better is exhilarating.  Once the newness wears off, challenges arise.  Whether someone has started a new exercise plan, changed eating habits, quit smoking, or any other lifestyle change, motivation and desire to stick to the goal waxes and wanes.  It’s best to set up some reinforcements and contingency plans in advance, and rely on them as needed.  Some important reinforcements are social support, information, and patience.  I have relied on a great friend who has made a very similar commitment and understands what we’re going through.  She listens to vents and complaints, and responds with suggestions and gentle nudges toward acceptance.  The internet is always a great place for any kind of support, and I’ve made a number of friends online who have also been down this road and provide insight.  Surprisingly, I’ve even made some friends whose journey resembles ours of a few months ago, and I’ve been able to provide support to those individuals.  I’ve found it motivating not only to receive support, but to give back to others and know I’m paying it forward.

Knowledge is also motivating.  Each time I feel my commitment diminishing, I spend some time reading about the many benefits of this lifestyle change.  It reminds me of the importance of prioritizing health.  I also find recipes, tips, and ideas.  Favorites we’ve enjoyed thus far:

Zucchini noodles (these can be enjoyed by most anyone)

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Peanut butter squash “brownies” (tasted just like pumpkin bread)

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(Grain-free!) Banana blueberry waffles (based loosely on this recipe)

Next up on my list are butternut squash fries, which sound similar to sweet potato fries (who doesn’t love those?) and cauliflower “rice.”  We’ve also gotten good at making bone broth.  It’s surprising easy to make, and there are many benefits to it, whether you are feeling well or looking to improve health.

Finally, patience with oneself is key.  Chalk it up to my time spent working in the substance abuse field, but any new change must be taken one day at a time.  Even my husband keeps asking, “So how long do we need to do this?” and my answer is, “Let’s take it day by day.”  I’m a plan-ahead gal down to the most minute detail, but at some point it’s essential to let go.  Planning a change that will last “forever” (or for any relatively long time period) is daunting and overwhelming.  Those who stop smoking may not be able to envision never lighting up another cigarette, but they can probably agree to withhold for the remainder of the day.   The next day will bring new opportunity and often renewed strength.  I find it best to plan out only a few days at a time, and let things fall into place.  Adjustment happens over time.  Any new habit takes two to four weeks to form, and bolstering oneself with support and knowledge will make that time less painful.

As always, I welcome hearing from anyone who has ever, or who hopes to, make a significant lifestyle change.  I’m not gonna lie… it ain’t easy… but may the payoff be a fair exchange for the sacrifices along the way.  The face of my blog is changing, and I welcome you to visit, cheer us on, share your experiences, and broaden the support we can all offer one another.

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