Taking Control of Negative Events in Our Life

I can’t even believe it has been a month since I last posted on this blog. I apologize greatly for being missing in action. When we moved to Virginia from Ohio, we thought we had everything taken care of with my business and our house and right before Christmas, all of our planning fell through leaving us with a  lot of unplanned work. I’ve been going back and forth to Ohio much more frequently than I anticipated and it’s sucking up much of my time. I promise I’m not neglecting you!

But, through all of the emotional turmoil and personal things I’ve been going through, it really made me want to do a post on processing difficult situations. It seems like the last 2 months have been filled with chaos from multiple areas of my life!  I’ve written before about the emotional struggles when going gluten-free or getting a celiac disease diagnosis but I think it’s important to emphasize these feelings happen much more in our lives than we anticipate.

With everything I’ve been through in my life, I believe I’m a pretty strong person. I try to live a happy life and take things with a grain of salt, but every now and then something happens to shake me to my core. After all these years, I can say I make a pretty mean lemonade. (from all the lemons thrown at me of course!)

I want to share with you how I handle these situations.

One of the biggest challenges I faced recently was feeling betrayed by someone I trusted completely. This shook me to my core and caused feelings I haven’t had in a long time. But, what it showed me is the feelings I’ve had for this event are the same for when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, my miscarriage, realized gluten-free is for life or any other health problems I’ve discovered in the last 2 years.

We all grieve differently. Grief isn’t just something happens when someone passes away or leaves our life forever, it happens when major life changes cause us to question everything. You start to think about what you could have done differently, what you should have done or how you could have prevented the situation. For me, anxiety takes over my body for a few days and so does a somber and angry person – who frankly, I forgot existed. When I process these events, I go through the same process every time. Maybe these sound familiar?

First, I cry. I actually remember telling my husband when we first met that I “never cried.” LOL Yeah, Right.

Second, I want to be left alone. While I love and appreciate the texts, emails and messages, I really just need time to process the situation and my feelings. I also use this coping method to protect those around me because I tend to become angry and snappy while projecting my hurt onto them. I realized over the years that I just need to be alone.

Third, I process the situation. I run through the scenarios. I need to go through steps 1 and 2 to be able to effectively complete this step or else I end up with lots of irrational thoughts!

Fourth, I start planning for what’s next. I realize what is done is done and now I need to take action and move on. I need to grab the reins and start steering the horse, taking control of the situation.

And, finally, I learn from the situation. Setbacks, adversity, negative events are all a part of life. It happens to all of us. I don’t typically take the “why does this always happen to me attitude” and if I do, it doesn’t last long. If we can’t learn from our mistakes, we can never get better, never move on and never find our happy place again. We live in a world of anger and resentment with that situation controlling our lives. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have the happy Rebecca in charge of my life instead of the Debbie Downer Rebecca.

I am fortunate to have this blog and lots of readers to share my stories with! But, I’m just one person. There are thousands of you out there who have similar stories and I think there should be a place for all of us!

In case you didn’t know, Andrew Cordova and I have a GFMagazine podcast that you can find on iTunes. We have a  bunch of episodes on there about coping and I have them on my Pretty Little Celiac podcast as well. In the last 9 months, we realized through all of the feedback from our readers that there is a need for a community to safely talk about issues like this one. A place where we can process our feelings, without feeling defeated or bullied online.

That’s when we came up with the idea for the GFree Community. We are in the pre-launch stage, but we are trying to get people who might be interested in this to sign up for more information. So far, we are thrilled at the response we’ve received already since we first started promoting it last week. Just click here to find out more and to join us!

I’m ready to start blogging again so you will see much more from me in the near future.

Rebecca

Celiac and Your Sex Life – Things to Consider…

Celiac and Sex – Tips to connect with your partner.
Celiac and Sex – Tips to connect with your partner.

Celiac and Your Sex Life – Things to Consider…

Today I recorded a podcast and discussed several issues regarding celiac disease and your sex life. It’s mature content but is not explicit. I don’t go into details about my own sex life, but I do offer tips from my own life to help you feel close to your partner again.

It’s something that many women struggle with and is not just a factor associated with celiac disease. However, having a chronic disease makes feeling close to people difficult because it involves trust and communication above and beyond any physical intimacy. This makes dating and finding a new partner extremely difficult. There are people out there that struggle with their current partner and feelings of guilt, frustration etc. when it comes to your sex life.

I talk about things to consider before rushing to celiac disease and gluten to blame for your lack of sexual desire.

There are tips on how to make it better for both of you and the importance of learning to compromise.

Hopefully, this podcast will allow you to think about the how’s and why’s of a slow sex drive and give you inspiration to try my tips to feel close to your partner without the negative feelings.

Enjoy!

Rebecca

P.S. I have a ton of podcasts covering a wide range of issues with celiac disease on BlogTalkRadio.com or you can find me on iTunes and subscribe so you never miss an episode!

P.S.S. I am also Andrew Cordova’s co-host of his GF Magazine Podcast!

Dear Diary: I Think I’m Having a Tri-Life Crisis!

It’s a late night on our second full day of vacation and I’m sitting on our balcony, in the peaceful darkness, listening to the crashing of the waves with the sweet sound of cicadas chirping in the background. There’s a lot on my mind and keeping me awake.

When I think about the last few years of my life, the memories are filled with highs and lows, which seem like a never-ending roller coaster. Many of you may also think of your life in this manner too! I guess part of life is dealing the ebbs and flows as they come and developing the skills necessary to stand tall during the times of adversity. I’m proud to say I’ve gone through a ton of stuff and am still smiling and pushing forward to this day.

My first book coming out this fall is a self-help memoir about using these negative events, the lows as I would call them, to help propel you to the next chapter of your life. Looking back on all of the adversity throughout my lifetime, I realize that each one of these moments were life lessons to be used for the future. Sometimes though, you just want things to be easy.

I don’t want life to be easy, because I think frankly that would be pretty boring.

But, as I sit on a beautiful vacation, with my wonderful husband, in tears over all the changes we have going on in our life it really makes me wonder.. Am I doing something wrong?

Major life changes typically provoke thoughts and conversations that you didn’t even expect. I’m struggling with my sense of identity once we move to Washington DC next month. Who will I be there? What will I do? How will I fill my days?

Of course I will worry about my business in Columbus and our house we can’t sell. I’m sure I will have health issues to address and aches and pains to mend. The first few months will be filled with getting things settled in our new place, exploring the new city and making new friends. But, what happens after that?

I have an exciting opportunity to be whoever I want to be in a new town with new friends and create our new life, so why is this so stressful? Is it because I have too many options or am I having an identity crisis?

A Tri-Life Crisis? (I am in my 30′s so this is the term I’ve coined for struggling with your identity 30 years into life)

I know. I know. That’s ridiculous. (or is it?)

I will figure things out but right now I have a lot of things going on pushing me into panic mode! Never one to sit still, I will find things to fill my time. In a few months, my posts will be exciting and provide you will my fun gluten-free finds in the new city and some new opportunity that I found through my innate ability to network and connect with people.

But, I still can’t shake that feeling. The feeling of being the new girl in town and answering the question, “So, what do you do?”

I’m usually great at making major decisions and horrible at the small ones like, “where should we go for dinner?” or “What movie should we see tonight?”

In the end, it will all work out but for this moment I find myself questioning everything.

It’s okay to be in a funk!

Funk.

I. Am. In. A. Funk.

I’ve  been traveling a lot lately and I think it is starting to take a toll on my body. There is this funky feeling I haven’t had for quite some time now and I don’t know exactly how to put my finger on it.

I just feel off. Not on my A game.

Am I worried something might be going on with my body? Absolutely.

Do I think it’s probably a combination of stress, anxiety, traveling, how busy I’ve been and just generally trying to keep my head above water? Yes.

If you are reading my blog, you know all about feeling “off.” That feeling you get when something isn’t right and you aren’t quite sure if it was the food you ate, how you are sleeping or something internal. Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac disease and endometriosis, I think I am much more in tune to my body than every before. I pick up on patterns now and realize things much faster than before. But even now, I still get stumped by things.

My weight keeps on increasing despite attempts to get back on the fitness program. I know I’ve been snacking more lately and drinking alcohol more than normal but not to the point of where my weight is now. I recommitted to myself 4 days ago and am on the right track. I’m motivated and ready to go. So, then why have I had a migraine for 3 days? It’s like there is always something to get in the way lately and I haven’t been in the mood to push through it.

Sometimes I am hard on myself. I’m in the fitness industry, I own a gym and I write fitness articles so I assume I should look the part. But, on the flip side, I have a few chronic diseases that people can’t see which control my body in more ways than one. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. Actually, my therapist last year said that “frustrated” is just a nicer word for anger. Which is true, I am mad at myself and my body today.

I think it’s important to share my feelings on good days and bad days for all of you to know I’m not perfect (as much as I’d like to think I am though lol). I go through those periods where it just seems like everything goes wrong and you just want to watch TV all day. I’m trying now to pull myself out of it and it’s tough but I can do it. Last night the last thing I wanted to do with a headache was do a workout, so instead I took the dog for a walk. He enjoyed it and his happy tail wagging helped me with my mood. Aaron even came out with us last night and did a tour of the neighborhood. It was nice.

I’ll get through this! I know I will. I want you to know you will too. If you feel like you’re in a funk and just can’t get out of it, that’s okay.

Sometimes, we just need to hit the restart button.

I have a ton of stuff going on in my personal life that I can’t talk about publicly yet (all good stuff!) but they are major life changes (no I’m not pregnant) and have consumed a lot of my time and life the last few months. I need to pay attention to everything wonderful in my life and just keep treading water until things get better!

Conquering Self Doubt

decisiontotry

Self doubt. I’m not immune to it. Some days it completely fills my thoughts.

Tackling a major project can seem so difficult. The goal looks so far in the distance and completely out of reach. It feels like you are never going to get to where you want to go. I started writing my book about 2 months ago and finally submitted it to my editor today!

Talk about time-consuming and feeling like you are never going to get something done. I’m celebrating at the park where I’ve been writing my book for the last few weeks and just enjoying blogging without feeling guilty for not allocating this time to writing my book. I apologize for the sporadic blog posts the last 2 months, but when you take on the project of writing 60,000 words for a book, its tough to keep going for a blog post. But, I didn’t forget about you, I promise!

When I took on this book writing project, I knew it was going to be difficult. It was doing to be hard. I went deep into my own life to share my rock bottom stories with you and how I moved on to see another day. A better, more positive day. I can’t wait to get this book to print!

Everything I read said “write every day.” And, I did. Even if it was 300 words, I added to my book every. single. day. The days added up and so did the words. I submitted the book a week later than planned. But had I turned it in last week, I would have been sub par at best. I needed more days and more time to fine tune it. I’m so glad I took that time. Although it’s just my rough draft, I’m happy with the first result.

I honestly doubted myself the entire way through this process.

Could I write this book?

Who will read this book?

Who cares?

I started Pretty Little Celiac with the same doubts and look where it’s grown to this day. If I gave up a year ago, we wouldn’t know each other and you wouldn’t be reading this blog! I’m writing my story to tell how I overcome adversity to live a happy and full live. I share my deepest and darkest secrets from my life to help you heal and move on – I swear, I am sharing EVERYTHING.

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the status of the book. It’s set to come out mid-October, just in time for my speaking engagement at the Food Allergy Blogger Conference in Las Vegas November 2-5.

Of course, I’m already planning my celiac book for summer 2014!

Thank you for sticking with me and sharing your stories! It pushes me to work harder and help even more than I already do

 

YOU are the only person in control of YOUR health!

inferior2

I recently heard a story about someone who felt she “owed” it to her family to eat normal for a meal during a celebration event and this made me incredibly sad.

Is it because our medicine is food that makes it so hard for people to follow a strict gluten-free diet? Is it because we associate food as something our bodies need and really can’t understand how consuming gluten with celiac disease impacts our health now and in the future? Is it because for some of us the negative effects aren’t immediate like anaphylaxis so we treat it with less seriousness?

If your family member had lung cancer, would you expect them to go to a cigar club with you for your birthday?

No?

Well, then why would we expect someone with celiac disease to indulge in a piece of cake for a birthday?

Our society and culture is so wrapped around food, making it difficult for us to eliminate gluten because we feel our social lives are taken from us or our ability to have fun with friends. The crazy thing about living gluten-free is that it only confines us if we give it permission to do so. Gluten-Free is challenging and so is staying safe, but I’ll preach it over and over and over that with careful planning, a successful gluten-free life can happen. I live a full, happy, busy gluten-free life because I spent the time learning where and what my body loves to eat. I know what to order at even the scariest restaurants but still keep my fingers crossed knowing I did the best I could with the situation at hand. And, very rarely have I had a problem. Usually it’s when I let my guard down that I get glutened.

It is entirely possible training for a fitness competition and dealing with the negative and rude comments from people about what I ate during those times prepped me for the ignorance of people I meet now while living gluten-free. But, in all honesty, I don’t really care what people say about my eating habits because I’ve NEVER. FELT. BETTER. That’s really all our friends and family should be concerned about when it comes to our health. The foods I consume are healthy and not slowly killing me so where’s the problem?

At some point, you need to accept that others opinions don’t really matter. As long as you are educated about your disease, following the guidelines and living a happy life – that’s what is important. For me, I’m not asking anyone else to live gluten-free. I don’t promote gluten-free for people who don’t need it and I don’t go on and on about my problems unless someone asks me. Don’t get me wrong, I love educating others about my disease and gluten-free living and I’m a huge big mouth advocate too! But I know what I can eat, where I can eat and how to order – which makes all the difference in the world when it comes to staying safe.

But I can tell you that I would never, ever risk my life to feel normal. And you shouldn’t either! I’m the only one that will suffer the consequences and frankly there aren’t any gluten filled foods worth being sick again. (A really hot soft pretzel is very tempting at times though, after all I am human!) Check out an older post of my about why cheating on celiac is a horrible idea.

Bottom line is this… You don’t OWE anyone, anything when it comes to YOUR health.

One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt –

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?
Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Yes. Yes, they are.

This weekend the Celiac Awareness Tour cancelled the day before the event, leaving me with a prepaid hotel room in Philly for the weekend.

Aaron and I decided to go to the city anyway and use it as a little getaway for us. Jennifer Fugo from Gluten Free School and I decided to meet up anyway since we weren’t speaking at the event anymore.

She told me about the cool things she does over at her website and all the research she’s done on sugar and gluten-free, which really got me thinking….

While it’s wonderful that companies are coming out with more gluten-free options and versions of foods we used to love, we still don’t need them. Gluten-free snack foods are usually higher in calories and fat along with lower in fiber. They are the ultimate empty calorie. Most of the products labeled  gluten-free are equally as bad for us as those products we loved filled with gluten.

As a fitness expert, I see this every day. Clients come to me wanting to know why they aren’t seeing results despite cutting calories and then go on to tell me they substitute regular junk food with low-calorie junk food. Snacks from Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow always seem to pop into the conversation. These products provide no nutritional value for your body. “Weight loss” snacks are FILLED with chemicals and processed junk which does nothing nutritionally for you, despite the marketing claims on their boxes.

Once you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it is a tremendous life change. You struggle enough with just figuring it out along with all the emotional turmoil from the disease and health complications. You just want life to be easy. The problem is that easy in this area makes you gain weight. All those “easy” gluten-free foods are horrible for our waist line. Pancakes are bad for you filled with gluten and gluten-free. Just because it doesn’t make our auto-immune system go insane, it still isn’t the best option for us. Those products can be just as difficult to digest and cause other problems like inflammation aggravation.

Aren’t you sick of the high prices of this junk anyway? Don’t you want to eat for fuel and for happiness than instant gratification?

I’m getting ready to put together some awesome celiac fitness programming but please know we are going back to the basics on it!

Foods filled with nutrition should be priority for us, especially as we are trying to heal our bodies. Think about using the 80/20 rule for this. 80% of the time, eat foods that are nutritionally sound and make your body happy. Use the other 20% to indulge on something worth while like a great piece of gluten-free cake, a sundae, wine or whatever is your guilty pleasure. I recommend this to all my fitness clients at Bexa Body Fitness. That is how I lost my weight before and how I’ve started to do it again.

Twenty pounds later, I realized I consumed entirely too many snack foods throughout the week. I did a much better job tracking my food throughout the week and paying attention to when I had snack/junk foods. This helped me see eating patterns as well. One of my favorite tracking apps is My Net Diary. I use it on my iPhone to track my foods and fitness. There are a million apps out there, but I just found this one to work. I believe in moderation and enjoying your life. I’m don’t believe in fad diets or extreme weight loss programs. If you can’t have some things every once in a while, you are less likely to be successful.

If you try this and still aren’t losing weight – A few things could be happening –

1. Your hormones are off.
2. You’re not managing your vitamin deficiencies properly. (Supplements too expensive? Find an online vendor with bulk discount prices like Powdercity.com)
3. You aren’t writing down everything you eat and tracking it correctly.
4. You may have other health complications.

You are probably saying to yourself right now, so what the heck am I supposed to eat?

Well, instead of having lentil chips right now, I’m munching on some carrots. I hard boil eggs and consume them throughout the day. Nuts are a terrific snacking item. We try our best to stick with whole foods for dinner.

Here’s an example of what we eat for dinner throughout the week:

Monday: Salmon, green beans & red skin potatoes
Tuesday: Burrito bowls – rice, beans, ground beef, lettuce, avocado, peppers
Wednesday: Shrimp with rice – add veggies and use some gluten-free soy sauce in moderation
Thursday: Brisket with veggies from the slow cooker
Friday: Steak, spinach and sweet potato fries

Everything is very basic but tasty!

What’s your go to whole food meal?

 

Coping with Celiac Disease: A Therapist’s Perspective (Podcast)

Coping with Celiac Disease: A Therapist’s Perspective

When I was first diagnosed with this disease, I didn’t understand it and struggled to figure it out. Some of you are there now and are looking for help or some of you think you have it figured out but maybe just need to hear something new. I invited Jummy Olawale on my show to talk about the most common struggles associated with celiac disease ( besides the food!).

I’m so glad I decided to do this. Her insight is poignant and dynamic. She really gives inspiration and hope along with tips and suggestions for dealing with this disease. She’s doesn’t have celiac and isn’t a specialist in the disease but really can provide some help for those of us needing help. If you feel out of control or like you lost your footing, this is the perfect place to start.

Here’s a little snippet of what we discuss on the show:

1. What are some coping skills to use when someone goes through a major life change like celiac disease? When everything in your life as you know it, changes in an instant? How do you handle the sense of feeling alone and like a hypochondriac because no one else understands the complexity or the seriousness of the disease?
2. What are some coping skills for handling all these emotions? Sometimes we can have other life issues going on and this is just a huge burden on top of the lemons life throws at us. Especially when you have a bad day and just want to go home, order a pizza and lay around all night.
3. What’s the best way to explain a disease like this to husbands, family, kids and friends? How do you get them on board with helping you instead of constantly minimizing the disease and asking you to just “try a bite because it won’t kill you.”
4. How do you handle the disappointment when family and friends (or your spouse) doesn’t sympathize and isn’t as supportive as you think they should?
5. Marital problems – Handling a non-supportive spouse – what do you do? When your spouse is the only one that understands, how do you find other outlets to cope instead of stressing them all the time.
6. Changing you mindset of food being pleasurable and instead of thinking about it as fuel. People get so upset that they have to eliminate all the things they love that are poisoning them. When they get poisoned, they beat themselves up and get mad at their bodies for betraying them.

On The Air with Pretty Little Celiac is also on iTunes! You can just search “Pretty Little Celiac” and subscribe to it and all the episodes will feed right into your player!

Want to know more about Jummy Olawale?

Jummy Olawale is a dynamic speaker, life coach, Licensed Professional Counselor, Pastoral Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor with extensive international and multicultural life experience and education.
Biography

Jummy was born in Nigeria, Western Africa where she lived and attended elementary and secondary school. She migrated to London, England where she completed her High school and college education. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA.) degree in Psychology and Natural Science from Canterbury Christ Church University College, Kent. After getting married, she migrated to the U.S. where she now lives with her husband and their two children. Jummy earned her Masters of Arts (MA.) degree in Counseling Ministries from Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Jummy utilizes narrative therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and motivational interviewing approaches. She specializes in individual, couples, and marriage therapy, multicultural counseling, parenting support, career coaching and life coaching.