Everyone who has adopted the gluten-free diet has been discouraged at some point or another, because the lifestyle does eliminate a bounty of options that was easy to take for granted before going gluten-free. At first it can seem as if you’re giving up everything! But as you leave one bounty behind, you make room for another bounty of ingredients, food products, and recipes in your life. And simply recognizing how much better you feel without eating gluten can often be enough to give you all the willpower you need.
Yet, the options around you are not always immediately apparent when you begin this lifetime adventure. The beginning is marked by exploration and experimentation. But the number one key to preventing discouragement is building and maintaining realistic expectations. Simply knowing what to expect and understanding the realities of what you will face daily can help you be prepared and to cope. Realistic expectations help keep you on track by knowing what you’re options are in any given place, and encouraging you to become proactive in your self-interest.
For example, when you’re hungry on a road trip, you can’t expect to find a wide variety of gluten-free snacks at gas stations, convenient stores, or airports, so you bring your own. You can’t expect to eat gluten-free at a party potluck, so you bring your own food to share. You can’t expect your airline flight to serve a gluten-free meal, so you order one in advance.
As you embark upon a gluten-free diet, think about one handy equation for preventing discouragement: For every realistic circumstance you learn and prepare for, you lose a reason to be discouraged and gain an opportunity to become stronger in living the gluten-free life.