This week’s Gut Feeling awareness campaign saw a number of coeliacs take the brave step of sharing their diagnosis stories – Kim has rounded them up nicely on her blog. It can be hard to bare-all in this way, as it often involves sharing some quite intimate, and sometimes unpleasant symptoms and experiences.
Of course we all hope that sharing in this way is helpful to the undiagnosed, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how much I found in common with other people, when at the time, without an answer, you can feel so isolated. The most striking thing to me was that so many of us thought the (in retrospect) quite debilitating symptoms were ‘normal’.
So I wanted to end the week on a high note, and tell you about what ‘normal’ really feels like. Now nearly 4-years post diagnosis, I feel so much better for managing my coeliac disease with a gluten free diet. Here are the best (health) bits about being gluten-free:
I have energy! No longer falling asleep on the sofa, or finding any excuse to miss post-work drinks. I fit in regular gym sessions, can see the sun up drinking cocktails if I want to (though less now I’m approaching 30 ;))
My stomach works like clockwork! Who knew the simple pleasure that was to be had from having one, regular and non-painful trip to the toilet every day! Honestly, guys, you can set your clock by me now ;)
I know what being full feels like! Gone that daily post-meal bloated feeling, I had to completely re-evaluate what it meant to feel full to stop myself having seconds and thirds for dinner.
Look at my nails! My nails were once so brittle I was given 2 fake toenails during a pedicure. No more tutting from beauticians for me – I have strong, lovely shiny nails which I enjoy treating to all sorts of colours.
I know loads about food and nutrition! Daily scanning of ingredient labels now means I scorn those people on the TV who don’t have a clue of the calorie count or ingredients of their favourite snacks. I make much more educated choices about what I put in my body, cook from scratch daily, and am healthier as a result.
I’m happy! I had no idea that my frequent bouts of anxiety and low mood could be related to my diet. The feeling of occasionally grinning to myself for a minor reason is alien and awesome.
I’m in control! Now I know what is normal for me, I no longer feel on a crazy roller-coaster of surprises courtesy of my unpredictable body. I know when something’s actually wrong now, and can do something about it.
I get ill less frequently! 2 years ago I picked up every bug going, and would even get upset from drinking the water in Manchester. The incidents of flu and winter bugs has decreased dramatically.
I’m highly productive! Perhaps the word count on my blog will tell you how much I can get done now, even on top of the day job – cooking, blogging, learning Spanish… A world away from the days of staring, confused at my computer screen as my poor brain struggled to focus.
I’m sure that’s not all, but now I want to hand over to you. What does the ‘new normal’ healthy you feel like?