As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am going gluten-free in April. I must confess that the outpouring of support and interest has made me speechless! (Yes, it CAN happen!) Several followers with Gastroparesis have indicated that going Gluten-Free has provided them with some relief. The outpouring of support & the success stories have given me the extra motivation to officially dub next month “Gluten-Free April”. If anyone else would like to join in on this adventure, please comment on this post so that we can all encourage each other to stick to it!
I’m not sure about you, but in my mind the only logical step to prepare for Gluten-Free April is to create a reward system and sticker chart! Personally, I like the sample I found below:
This particular sticker chart provides 5 keys for success. Hey, these success factors aren’t just for “Stuntboy”! If stuntboy gets cool stickers for doing things, then so should I!
1) Be consistent. Okay, this is easy enough. There is nothing like setting yourself up for success!
2) Make them part of the routine. Woohoo! I can achieve step #2. I’m already feeling like I can go Gluten-Free. I like routines so I’ll focus on that and not that pasta sitting in my cupboard.
3) Chose rewards personal to YOUR kids (aka ME). hmmm…interesting thought. Was I aiming low at just the prospect of putting stickers on a chart? Maybe I should find some little rewards for myself. Waaaaaiiiittt….the reward is that I will feel better and stop having those pesky GP Elves tormenting me. The motivation to do this is increasing more!
4) Don’t overwhelm them with too many behaviors. CHECK! I already got this one beat. This confirms that I should start out with Gluten-Free April and then maybe Sugar-Free May. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to do Caffeine-Free May. Sugar…Caffeine…Sugar…Caffeine….decisions…decisions. Okay, back to gluten!
5) Keep the sticker chart fresh and relevant. I like this! I can do fresh and relevant. I feel rejuvenated already. Gluten-Free April just got a whole lot more fun!
Some of you might be wondering, “what the heck does a sticker chart have to do with Gastroparesis?” Well, my response is to never underestimate the power of a sticker chart! (Even if you opt for the more “adult” version using check boxes instead of stickers.)
In all seriousness, there is something extremely powerful about a tracking chart. Something to visually show you just how far you have come. You can see what a struggle the beginning of the month was by the larger percentages of blanks than stickers. However, as you begin to see your calendar fill in, you begin to pat yourself on the back more. You begin to build your confidence. You begin to strengthen your willpower. You are more able to keep your eye on the prize. You are more likely to succeed.
And most importantly, it’s just plain fun. It’s fun to go to the store, purchase some stickers, and not take yourself so seriously and just have some fun. Those of us with Gastroparesis have been dealt such a crazy hand in life. So why not make some fun out of Gluten-Free April? Rather than focusing on all the food we are excluding, let’s focus on our stickers & how much better we are going to feel!
Whose with me?!
PS…I promise to post real photos of my personalized sticker chart throughout the month of April. 🙂