The holidays can be a hard time of the year for many people if they are already emotional. But they are also a hard time of the year for those who are on a required dietary change. Imagine having delectable goodies shoved into your face to tempt you as you visit a relative. Only you aren't looking at just having to step up on the scale and curse your self afterward - you make yourself physically ill and end up in bed for two days or more.
This leads to the question of why anyone would ever cheat on a food they can not eat if they know it will make them sick? Well the answer is of course convoluted but the reality is that justification and rationalization can be everyone's worst enemies. And most likely, we are all guilty of it.
My celiac daughter recently said to me that she didn't see the issue if she ate a little gluten. I of course panicked and asked her why she thought this. She said, "Remember what the doctor said? My body will heal itself."
I retorted, "...IF you stay on a gluten free diet..."
Her little face crumpled.
"He said you could cheat and possibly have no symptoms for a time. But it would turn into other illnesses later on in life." I continued on with the truth.
She looked like the reality was devastating all over again. "So I can never eat gluten again?"
"Nope." I looked at her with my heart breaking for her disappointment and then rationalized the other direction. "But you will be healthier and who wants to eat junk like fast food anyways?!"
She remained in a funk but seemed to forget the urgency of fitting in.
I know she will want to test out the theory and can only hope she stops and gives a hard thought to cheating. The closer we get to teen years and the longer time has elapsed to erase the remembrance of nights vomiting and all the other unpleasantry, the harder it gets to not justify. Her physician told me she would likely try it during teen years. The only strong tool I have to combat this is educating her, exposing her to others like herself, and constantly reminding her of the past vicariously through meeting others who are newly diagnosed.
In this respect being a part of a support group is no different than any other. It never allows you to forget where you came from and allows those who are newly struggling to see there is a light at the end of a tunnel. And this is why support groups are helpful because sometimes everyone needs reminders of where they came from so they don't repeat the same mistakes again.
Hopefully you all make it through the Holidays gluten free and happily so.
Lead Coordinator of R.O.C.K. Charlotte