What Is Your Body Trying To Tell You? | FODMAP

Are you listening? I honestly feel like these last 5 years, thats what Ive been doing. Its quite talkative when I really pay attention – to the good and not so good. Key is to listen, and shift your lifestyle…

I briefly mentioned in some previous posts that I had been working at cleaning up my diet, actually I really don’t like the word “diet” because when I think of diet, I think of restriction in a not so healthy way. So Im going to re-phrase that to cleaning up my lifestyle!

Last summer I had some really funky things going on with my body that had me very confused and uncomfortable. Thankfully after months, I was able to get some answers and movement forward after reaching out to my nurse practitioner and telling her my odd story!

When I met with the Gastroenterologist Specialist she was wonderful at going through what I was experiencing, offering some suggestions and moving forward with some tests for further investigation. One of her suggestions was gaining control of my digestive system with an elimination diet called The Low FODMAP Diet. This is a “diet” where you remove 6 types of foods that are known to be challenging to the digestive system and then after not eating any of the foods in these 6 categories for a couple weeks, slowly adding them back in.

What I did already know was the gut – brain connection! We actually have 3 “brains”… our actual brain, our heart and our gut. Our gut health controls alot of how we feel around our emotions. Think of that, when you have a stomach ache or pain how do you feel? I know this all to well, I felt run down, exhausted, short and irritated, unhappy, blah and over weight! Gut health is so key!

Interestingly enough my body thrives when I am gluten free! Something I honestly did not think would be an outcome of this trial but one that I am embracing and enjoying life without. I’d also known that ice cream and milk have been sensitive on my system (especially after some ice cream indulgences last summer), so I am now reaching for lactose free greek yogurt, which is SO good.

When I left the doctors office I burst into tears, I immediately let my mind go to that dark place of my body letting me down, again! I was used to this for years… it was like a flash back to years of pain and unknown. I called my husband sobbing and how I left without any answers and now have to restrict my eating. I really love that my husband and I can provide a logical sounding board to each other. He simply said, remember when I made a decision [to make a shift in my life], I set a date and stuck with it. He knew I was completely up in my head worrying about how to adapt to this change.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a significant change. It’s literally removing food from my lifestyle, shifting in a very big way. The shift I needed!

I began this shift saying to my family, I dont know why I’m giving up bread, because it will be one that’s fine, I eat it all the time. After 2 1/2 weeks of not having bread, we made sandwiches. One thing I’ve learned is that when you already have emotional eating tendencies, bread or more specifically gluten can add to that “addiction” feeling.

Why is gluten addicting?

There are two main reasons why gluten is so addicting:

  1. Gluten makes your blood sugar rise quickly
  2. It can cause mind-altering effects that lead to addictive eating (source https://www.weightandwellness.com/resources/articles-and-videos/gluten-connection-compulsive-overeating/)

I used to blame the veggies portion of a salad on why it used to fast track through my system and that my body didn’t like veggies… when in reality it had nothing to do with the veggies and everything to do with the gluten! I was adding in croutons or crispy onions, left over breaded chicken etc…

It’s important to remember everyone’s body IS different, so what affects me, may not affect someone else and vice versa.

I followed through this “diet” adding things slowly back in, until December. A month I’m sure everyone can understand why. But, I stuck with what I knew. Avoid gluten, lactose, spinach, brussel sprouts (which does make me sad because in the past 2 years I was really enjoying them). Spinach and brussel sprouts make me feel extremely bloated and uncomfortable. This really is trial and error! One thing I learned about myself only a few years ago is that I cannot eat reheated starches, so potatoes, pasta, rice etc. So I was used to this lifestyle already (if I had left overs it meant eating cold or making less, which we have been getting better at doing!).

How do I now feel when I consciously eat? I feel fuller faster, my blood sugar levels feel balanced, I sleep really well, my time in the bathroom is “normal”. What does normal mean? Well for a while I didn’t feel I had a normal, this goes way back to my teen years. I made my “normal” – running to the bathroom after I just ate as things literally rushed through me. Sometimes multiple trips, sometimes in the bathroom for a very long time. Remember where I mentioned “teen years”, yeah this is devastating to a teen girl and affected my confidence in a very big way. And yet even though this was happening at least once, sometimes multiple times a day, I was still feeling so gross IN my body because I was still gaining weight and unable to loose it, even though I literally couldn’t keep all the food in me. I felt derailed so many times. I think this is why my first reaction was calling my husband in tears.

My new normal feels awesome, when I listen to myself. My body processes things as it should, I am pain free, comfortable, healthy. I CAN eat all the salads and not have to run to the bathroom, I just have to watch what goes in it! Hint… there is gluten in a lot of things, secretly!

We have shifted our household over to gluten free pasta and after trying a few types have found some our family really loves!

I was able to naturally loose that weight that the doctor had told me if I could loose, would help lessen my IBS symptoms as well. Actually thinking back, this also triggered me that day leaving the Dr’s, being told to lose another 10% of my weight after I had already lost a significant amount, for me felt like a slap in the face. BUT, It was merely a tap to get moving and listen in to my body even more!

I talked to my kids. I put up a chart on the wall of what I could and couldn’t eat as part of the FODMAP diet. This helped immensely with meal planning and for their understanding. When you are suddenly forced to think outside of the box, it’s incredible how less stressful it is!

As my husband had told me, just set a start date and start. I couldn’t argue with him, because he literally did that and he knew how supportive and proud I was to him. So I did. I printed off the food lists, downloaded the FODMAP app from Monash (which has research behind it supporting this 6 week diet) and got started! If I didn’t know, I would learn on the way!

Now that we are all social distancing, what better time than now to truly take a dive into your eating habits! Be conscious of how you feel AFTER you eat something, and make note. If you are curious about more support, check out the app in your app store or google FODMAP Monash University. I found it to be a very helpful resource while out to eat or doing groceries, even meal planning at home!

5 years previous to this I began getting more in touch with my body and me. I had went through a couple cleanse and restore protocols that helped immensely. I know for a fact those cleanses combined with my energy work propelled my health higher than it ever had been.

So take this time that we have been given, we are all home much more now. Use this as your opportunity to rise up even more, even if that means sinking down into some challenging emotions.

For the emotional eaters out there, I hear you. I hear you, I feel you. I was, no I am you. Being an emotional eater, is triggered by something in your life. For me it can be boredom and sitting in front of the tv, however its typically deeper than that and more linked to stress or other more significant feelings. Which has been my trigger. During this global pandemic I’ve had to really push myself to walk away from the kitchen. I shared the other day on insta of the pain I was in, because I indulged in a food I shouldn’t have. Pain like that I hadn’t felt for a very long time. Truth be told I was allowing myself to feel stressed, scared, worried. All legitimate feelings but also all feelings that food wasn’t going to “fix”! Acknowledge it, be ok with shifting again. Just like when we all learned to walk at various ages, when we fell down, we got back up!

P.S. it’s ok to fall down and get back up again! This is how we learn. We just want to get ourselves to the point where we do not continually fall down the same hole again, and again and again.

So a little insight into what I did and do to help myself when I have an IBS flare up… One oil I have used since the beginning and is with me at all times, DigestZen to calm my digestive system, its incredible and totally helps calm and balance. Peppermint has been scientifically shown to help with IBS symptoms, so I took 2 Peppermint softgels, also took digestive enzymes and a probiotic. At my daughters advice, because she knows it works, I also laid down on my left side for 15 minutes! Plus I cannot forget my oils I use to ground myself, lately I’ve been really pulled to Nerolo, Magnolia and Balance. It all totally helped… BUT in retrospect I wouldn’t have had to even need IF I followed my body’s lead and consumed things that helped my body thrive!

Sugar is also a BIG immune depressant! Something we all should be avoiding especially at this time, yes emotional eaters I’m speaking to you and your kiddos!

With being home more, many restaurants closed or only open for take out, use this to your advantage to figure your body out! Because once you do, and once the world gets back to our “new normal” it’s totally doable to still enjoy meals out AND be healthy! We did all snowmobiling season, how? I pushed judgment aside and asked when in a restaurant!

This is one thing I used to do and will no longer do. I would push my own lifestyle or dietary needs aside because I didn’t want to “inconvenience” someone else?! Which essentially was telling my heart and soul that their feelings and plans mean more than how I feel myself – NO! It’s even been a bit of an adjustment for some of our family, more so when eating out when my options were more restricted to “just eat it tonight”, I pushed through what I would have found embarrassing and just settling to confidence in needing to know what I could eat and feel good!

One thing I have learned is once you clean up your diet and your body is liking what you have done, it’s much quicker to let you know when you have consumed something you shouldn’t have! My kids even remind me of this! Which I am grateful for!

So, what are you waiting for? Use this time. Use this opportunity you have to be cooking more at home to figure out if you should be making shifts in your eating habits! Let’s all come out of this so much healthier and happier as a collective! ✌

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