I’ve recently had to come to terms with something I’ve been denying for years.
As you know from reading my book and listening to my podcasts, I’ve had some pretty frustrating digestion issues after more than seven years of disordered eating. After dieting and dieting and dieting, and restricting, and dieting some more, I’ve had lots of unpleasant reactions to food that my body isn’t accustomed to.
There have been more occasions than I’d like to admit, where I’ve felt gassy for weeks (and sometimes months) on end.
Being a Body Image and Eating Disorder Coach, I want to be 110% invested in food freedom…and I am, which is why I enjoy eating all of the foods I want.
But what happens when you realize you might have a problem with your digestion that’s not only from years of dieting, but something more?
What happens when you realize that you may actually have a problem that’s caused from something deeper than just years of food restriction?
Though I know some tummy issues of mine have come from anxiety, dieting and stress, I have also realized that I have a problem with my intestines and digestion. Actually, I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
I’ve assumed this for a few years, but my go-to self-diagnosis was always just that “my body is getting used to eating meat, carbs, or grains” again.
There was always some food or macronutrient I had been restricting, so the easy go-to reason was just that I was eating a “new, off-limit” food. But now, a couple years after I’ve been eating all the foods, I have realized there’s a reason I react so poorly to so many foods.
For example, I can’t eat apples, cherries, peaches, plums, dairy, soy, artichokes, tomatoes, sweet potato skins, sorbitol, or most other types of sugars, without getting super bloated and gassy.
And finally, I’ve realized my biggest food struggle right now is that I have all of the symptoms of IBS.
For the past several years, I’ve really started to get to know my body. I’ve kept track of which foods leave me in the “I’m just going to stay at home” mindset, because I’m too bloated to want to leave the house.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to continuously promote eating ALL the food, when I myself can’t even do that! I can now realize that sometimes…there are necessary exceptions.
Recently, I’ve had to come to terms with that fact that I can’t eat a lot of my favourite foods (apples, plums, cherries, Greek yogurt) because of the way they make me feel. And as a result, I’m starting to have to research FODMAPS and all of the “safe” foods I can eat.
But why am I semi-happy about this?
Am I happy about this because I have another reason to restrict, just like I did back in the day?
While I’m not necessarily ecstatic about this, I will say that I see some good in this situation.
I see some good because now I understand what it means to take care of your body with food. I am taking care of my body by cutting out certain foods for a COMPLETELY different reason that I used to.
I used to cut out food because I wanted rules. Now I’m having to do it because I honestly truly love my body. Not because I hate my body.
I want it to feel good. I want to walk around confidently, knowing that my tummy is happily digesting foods that nourishes it, and gives it energy that lasts.
As much as I love apples, I don’t love the way they make me feel. And the whole reason I want to eat food is for it to nourish my mind, body and spirit.
Another reason why this isn’t so bad, is because I can relate to more of my listeners and readers.
I can relate and understand to people that have to avoid certain foods for health reasons (not just feeding a restrictive urge) but also want food freedom. It’s exactly what we discussed in this podcast.
My goal is to use this information and empathy that I now have to create more content for those of you that are experiencing something similar.
Do you have IBS?
Do you have to restrict certain foods for the sake of your health, and not just for the sake of a restrictive mentality?
Share your thoughts below on how you have created food freedom for yourself, while avoiding the foods that make you sick.
*Update 8/12* I have recently come across this course for anybody that is interested in furthering their own education on FODMAP and IBS: maddymoon.com/everythinglowfodmap