It's nice to look back, to see how far you've come. I try not to look back too often because that's not the direction I'm going but it is insightful.
I recently spoke to a client struggling with the social aspects of eating. She has Ulcerative Colitis and has done great modifying her diet. She feels so much better. But our call was mostly about how vulnerable it feels in social situations when you eat so differently than others. When you have a digestive disease, every ingredient can matter so its highly advisable to prepare as much (if not all) of your food yourself.
This conversation took me back to the days of worrying about how to say "thanks but no thanks" to the many people that wanted to graciously feed me. It reminded me of how awkward it felt bringing my food into someone else's home or into a restaurant when meeting family or friends out for dinner.
People are curious and sometimes their questions feel difficult and heavy. “You're still eating this way?" “You think one meal will make a difference?” Or one of my favorites, "you don't look sick, what’s the big deal?" Words and phrases can cut deep. Food snob, overly cautious, fanatic, absurd. (Well, there are some things I can't deny but not without good reason.)
Remember, declining your mother in law's lasagna or your friends cookies, doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful. It means you’re choosing something your body won’t reject with fury. You are not saying “I am better than you” because you choose to eat in a different way. You are saying, these foods work for my body and I want to feel good, enjoy your company and not obsessively worry about how I may end up awake all night, in the bathroom feeling terrible just because I decided to put your feelings before my health.
It takes time and patience to get to the point where you don't even think about the fact that you’re pulling out your homemade meal while at a restaurant (or any other time) but I promise you, the more you do it, the less you care what other people think. Let them talk, let them ask questions, be curious or even judge. None of these things are worth risking the progress you are making with your health.