Are You Well-Heeled or Well-Healed?

I bought the cutest rock’n’roll flavor shoes!  They’re hip, they fit my foot snugly, they have a 3 1/2 inch heel and I can walk in them easily!  Score!  Finally!  With a 5.5 inch W shoe size it’s next to impossible to find this combination.  I LOVE these shoes when I have them on.

How can something that feels this perfect be BAD?

Rock & Roll! I love these shoes. Or I did...

These shoes hurt me.  At first I didn’t know it was these shoes.  I just knew that when I got up in the morning and stepped out of bed, my heels hurt.  The right one hurt pretty badly.  As time went by, even my hips seemed to hurt when I’d get out of my office chair during the day.

It’s summer so I decided I’d buy some cute flip-flops with a wedge heel and wear those for awhile until I figured out whether I was doing something, other than just getting older, that was causing me to hurt.

I spent an hour trying on flip-flops.  I wore each possible selection around the store for 15 minutes.  I chose a $50 pair.  I wore them for 3 days and the problem got worse.  REALLY?

I was careful.  I made sure these flip-flops were wide enough, supportive but not hard, felt good walking around, and that they were cute!  This time it was obvious pretty quickly that they exacerbated the problem.

I tried again.  Three days after I bought the flip flops, I bought a pair of flip-flop sandal hybrids.  The hybrids had several bands of rhinestone embellished elastic straps.  Again, I took my time.  I walked around in them.  I bounced up and down shifting my weight to see if I could feel any pressure points. I still felt the point of primary pain at the top of my right heel, but I thought it was just residual and decided these would work.  They were regularly $30 and I purchased them on sale for $14.99.  I figure I’m $65 in, but that’s not a bad investment if it fixes the problem.

This time I feel even more determined to give the solution a chance, so I wear the new hybrids for a week at which point I can hardly walk when I get up in the morning.  I have to go down the stairs sideways planting the ball of my foot and slowly letting down the heel, shuffling as if I’m on the way to the nursing home.  Now I feel angry and stupid.

I listened as hard as I could to what my body was telling me.  I took my time.  I felt like I made the best choices and yet I’m back in the same predicament.

I feel confused.  I thought I did everything right, but my problem hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse.  I start to feel guilty and ashamed that I could try so hard and be so wrong.  I begin to question myself.  Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe the rock’n’roll shoes aren’t the problem at all.  After all, my feet feel good when I wear them.

I pull out my comfort clogs and wear them around the house.  I even wear them around the office.  I can’t bear to wear them in public, so I limit my outings.  My feet start to feel better.  I schedule some lunch meetings and switch to cute sandals for the meetings.  This is tolerable and if I stretch a bit before I get out of bed, I don’t feel crippled every morning.

Now I have to know.  Was it my fabulously cute shoes that hurt me?  I wear them to one of my lunches and to run errands afterward.  The next morning I can hardly walk.  Am I an idiot?  These shoes feel great when they’re on and destroy my feet at the same time.

Then I remember something I already know from going gluten-free.  Until my injury completely heals, I cannot solely rely on what my senses tell me in any given moment.  But I know from my GF experience that even if I cannot draw a direct correlation from what I do this minute to how I will feel the next minute, I always fare better in the long run when I choose to stay the course and stick with my healing plan. Now I feel calmer. I know how to take the knowledge I’ve accumulated over time and let deductive reasoning play a part in a healing plan. My feet will be okay.  All I have to do is be patient with the healing process.

Wow!  I just realized what a good analogy my shoe scenario is for what many of us experience when we go gluten-free.  We may have so much existing damage that it is difficult to immediately interpret the signals from our bodies.  On those days when we think we feel worse, we may be tempted to decide that gluten wasn’t really the problem.  This is the time that it’s important to use some resolve, medical statistics, and the information we can gather from the struggles and successes of others to deductively reason that until we have given the body sufficient time to heal, we cannot rely on its momentary feedback alone.

If you already have a healing plan in place, all you have to do in these moments is relax and follow the plan.  If you don’t really have a plan and have viewed this gluten-free thing as an experiment you may want to check out the Cooking2Thrive healing plan guidelines.

In the meantime, be patient with yourself.  If you made a bad food choice at lunch, you can make good choices at dinner and breakfast and lunch and dinner and lunch and breakfast and dinner and lunch.  Treat yourself well.  Don’t just choose something for dinner that’s gluten-free.  Pick something that smells fabulous, tastes delicious and has a wonderful texture – something you can sink your teeth into, savor, and enjoy!  Then keep enjoying and choosing well, choosing well and enjoying.  As you heal, a gluten-free choice will become easier and easier.  

Pretty soon, I’m sure I will find some new rock’n’roll, hip, snug fitting, 5.5 W shoes that don’t hurt me, and you will find a gluten-free life isn’t one of deprivation. Or at least I’ll discover that I’m much happier without pain than I am with rock’n’roll shoes and you’ll discover that a gluten-free biscuit can, in fact, hit the spot.

Yum! That hits the spot.