Eating in Moderation? I Wish!
When I see posts on social media, or articles in the news stating the best way to eat is in moderation, I feel envious of the people that actually have the option of eating this way. I would love to be able to eat well 80% of the time and then be reckless the other 20% of the time but I just can’t do that.
I can’t eat what I am supposed to eat for five days of the week to manage my IBS symptoms and then eat whatever I want for two days. I would love to eat three meals a day of non-trigger foods and then have two snacks a day when I could indulge. But I can’t, because if I did I would feel awful for 100% of the time. Eating the wrong food at breakfast, like toast with my regular plate of eggs and vegetables, sets me up for a day of discomfort and no matter how well I eat for the rest of the day, the damage is already done and I won’t feel well again until the next day, if I’m lucky.
Different foods. Different reactions
Managing digestive issues through food is an hourly, daily, ongoing occurrence and for a lot of the time I’m ok with it because it means my symptoms are under control. However, there are some days when it’s really tough. When I was younger I could eat a whole packet of Tim Tams in one day with no issues at all. If you’re not familiar with them, Tim Tams are delicious chocolate cream filled, chocolate coated biscuits. A favorite Australian treat, much like Oreos are to Americans. However, the wheat, sugar and dairy content means that they are off limits to me. I can’t even remember the last time I had one and just thinking about them makes me want one.
But, I could have one if I really wanted one. Perhaps there would be no side effects, perhaps there would be. A big part of managing IBS through dietary changes is about experimentation and finding out what works for your body. We’re all so very different and different foods have different reactions which change over time and it can be a long and tiring process figuring it all out. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and compare yourself to others, but I’ve found that it’s actually easier and kinder to my body to accept that this is the situation I am in and just go with it.
The development of the low FODMAP diet has been a life changer for many people with IBS and if you haven’t tried it, research it or speak to an experienced practitioner about whether you should try it too. It has made a huge difference to me and has really helped to figure out my trigger foods. One day in the future, I would love to find a way to indulge 20% of time without repercussion but until then I just need to keep pushing on and reminding myself that once upon a time I was free from symptoms and maybe I will be again one day, but it’s also ok if I’m not because I know I can handle this.
Is gluten a trigger for you?