Living Wheat-Free For Dummies
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Few people can decide to change their diet and then just do it. You'll probably want to find ways to stay motivated to increase your chances of success with a wheat- or grain-free diet. Try applying the following techniques because your behavior begins with your thought processes.

By generating positive thinking in the form of mindfulness, expressed gratitude, and positive self-talk, you're better equipped to handle the challenges that eliminating wheat from your diet presents. You can use each tool by itself or together to form an unbeatable combination. Whichever approach you choose, it all starts with your frame of mind.

Practice mindfulness in eating

When was the last time you drove across town, reached your destination, and then asked yourself, “How in the world did I get here?” Have you ever been so lost in thought that the conversation you were having with your spouse went in one ear and out the other? Do you ever look down at your plate and barely recall eating any of the food that's suddenly not there?

If so, you're not alone. Lots of people live life on autopilot and miss out on so much that life has to offer. This rut is where your health, and more specifically your diet, suffers. You lose sight of day-to-day self-care practices because you give your attention to other issues.

So how can you breakout of this pattern? Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. In essence, it's stopping and smelling the roses. It requires focus, attention, and patience; you have to quiet all the voices and noises in your head and pay close attention to what's happening in the moment.

When you practice mindfulness, your appreciation grows for the object of your focus. This practice is what helps answer the questions, “What's most important to me right now?” and “What do I need right now?”

As you make the switch to a wheat-free diet, become more mindful of the food you're eating. For example, take a bite-sized piece of meat. Look at it very carefully: What do you see? What color is it? What shape is it? Write down every nonjudgmental (that is, objective) word you can think of to describe what it looks like.

Then write down every word you can think of that describes its smell. Do the same to describe its feel (both in your hands and on your tongue) and its taste. Describe all of the sensations that you're experiencing.

Considering all the changes that you have to make to go wheat-free can be overwhelming. However, the more you practice mindfulness, the more confidence you gain in switching to a wheat-free diet.

Express gratitude

When was the last time you expressed gratitude for something someone did for you? How often do you find yourself communicating gratefulness? Expressing gratitude generates positive emotions each time you thank someone because your focus is on the good of the other person, not yourself. The real benefits come when you live your life with an attitude of gratitude.

This positive approach to life doesn't mean that you look at life from a Pollyanna mindset or that you ignore life's difficult times. Instead, it's a realistic viewpoint of your abilities and an optimistic approach to life's challenges. Positive thinking also makes you more resilient, allowing you the strength to address adversity head-on.

What does gratitude have to do with eliminating wheat from your diet? It provides the positive thinking and resiliency necessary for you to succeed in the change process. These tools come in quite handy when the challenges of change test your commitment level.

Engage in positive self-talk

The conversations you have with yourself — your self-talk — greatly affect your outlook on life and level of motivation. A quick analysis of your behaviors reflects the types of dialogues you have with yourself.

Your beliefs dictate the direction of your self-talk, which is why positive self-talk generates the confidence needed to do your best and negative self-talk creates the self-doubt that often leads to failure. Here's how you can use self-talk to encourage your wheat-free shift:

  • Understand the power of self-talk. Thoughts lead to beliefs, beliefs lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions. By appreciating the strengths of both positive and negative self-talk, you're better able to put each in its rightful place and move forward with your behavior.

  • Focus on your positive beliefs. This focal point includes the positive benefits of performing a particular behavior and the positive belief that you have the ability to succeed with the behavior. The idea is based on the belief that something is always working no matter how bleak things may appear.

    It answers the question “What is the best possible outcome from this situation?” or “How can I learn and grow from this situation?” You're more likely to give a task your best shot if you believe you can accomplish it.

    This focus is often useful when you're looking for a comeback after going off your wheat-free diet. Shifting your thought process to one that focuses on what you've learned from your relapse is essential to getting back on the wheat-free horse.

  • Address your negative beliefs and self-talk. Encouraging positive self-talk doesn't mean ignoring your negative self-talk. Instead, acknowledge the presence of your negative beliefs, set them aside, and move forward with a more encouraging framework. This balanced approach keeps you in a more realistic mindset.

    For example, if your confidence is low that you can be successful with your new diet because you frequently fall off the wheat-free wagon, don't panic. Calmly acknowledge your beliefs and fears, set them aside, and then focus on more-positive approaches to your dietary choices.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Rusty Gregory has a master’s degree in kinesiology and runs a personal training studio. He is an active contributor to, an emerging leader in publishing health news for consumers, and is the author of Self-Care Reform: How to Discover Your Own Path to Good Health. Alan Chasen has a degree in kinesiology and has run a personal training studio since 1989. He advises his clients on exercise, proper nutrition, and general well-being.

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