When I was diagnosed with SIBO my world was turned upside down. I so used to being able to eat whatever I felt like, and now I had to be on an extremely limited diet. I knew it would be hard, but honestly what surprised me the most was the impact it had on my social life.
Being vegetarian and usually avoiding alcohol, I was use to making different decisions than my friends when we got together. However, being on a strict diet lead to many frustrations for me. I could no longer just choose from a menu, in fact I had to take packed lunches and medications when we met up at the pub and cook at my friends’ houses. I felt like I was always explaining myself to others in fear of being seen as difficult. I constantly felt like the odd one out and looked on with envy as they ate whatever they wanted and as much as they felt like. Why couldn’t I just be like them? I’ll admit there have been a few tears.
These thoughts and feelings are all normal, and a huge change in your life is bound to bring some hurdles. With time I worked through these frustrations, and now I’m here to help.
1. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
Chances are there is a serious reason why you are on a strict diet. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself why you are doing it. Remember how you feel when you aren’t eating what is right for you and think of how these sacrifices will help you in the future.
2. Explain Yourself Only Once
It’s natural for people to be curious, and of course, you’re going to have to explain to people the change – but explain yourself once and only once. Drop the feeling that you have to apologize or explain things over and over. At the end of the day, you are doing what is best for you, and that is all that matters and it shouldn’t make a difference to anyone else. The more you dwell on it the more it will stress you out, and you don’t need to apologize for something that is for your health.
3. Don’t Let it Hold You Back
It was so tempting to just avoid social situations to make things easier, but this will have an even worse effect on your mental health. Shutting yourself away from friends and having a good time is not the answer. In fact, laughing and having a good time is probably just what the doctor has prescribed! Show up, do you and have a good time.
4. Accept Your Journey
It took a while and a lot of inward searching, but eventually, I was able to accept my journey, and in fact, I now fully embrace it and am thankful for it. You are in this situation, and you can either make the best of it and learn from it or be miserable. Think of all the ways this is making you a stronger person, what it is doing for your health and the ways that it will change your life for the better.
5. Join a Community
If you don’t know anyone who is in the same situation as you and are feeling isolated it is important that you find a community. There are so many Facebook groups, Pinterest boards and Instagram communities to reach out to and knowing that there are other people on the same path as you can really lift the burden. If anything, sitting down with someone you trust and venting your frustrations can go a long way.
There you have it, my 5 tips for dealing with strict diets and social situations. I know it can be hard, but stay positive and keep shining!