Maintaining a Healthy Weight with IBS

IBS can be very tricky when we speak about maintaining a healthy weight. It can hit every single one of us differently. Some may lose weight due to a restrictive diet. Others can gain weight from the limited variety of low-FODMAP foods.

Our bodies react curiously. We are all very different when it comes to our weight, as there are many factors to keep in consideration.

IBS and weight

When we talk just about IBS, it can be influenced by the food culture where we live, where we grew up, lifestyle, age, habits, and weather. I fall in the category of those who gained weight, as I was used to eating "really healthy" before my diagnosis. I was having tons of veggies and fruit, and now I am limited with the consumption of foods that kept my belly full and happy.

It has been annoying. Mostly because I crave those healthy dishes I was having in my "previous life" before IBS decided to appear. Now those foods inflame my gut and body, making me feel awful. I also had to reduce my physical activity, because it was quite intense. Hence, less healthy fresh food and less sport ended up making me gain weight.

The exasperating part is what is usually considered "unhealthy." Fast foods, for example, might be completely harmless for us. While a bowl of salad can be our worst nightmare.

I guess that we have to rethink the whole "healthy food" idea when it comes to IBS.

Changing my diet

My gastroenterologist suggested I stick to low-FODMAP veggies, lessen refined carbs, and add more proteins to get fewer cravings and feel more full.

Easier said than done, but I'm trying my best. First of all, I'm lucky that due to my Italian food culture, I'm naturally drawn to fresh produce and not processed foods. Of course, this is helpful because I get to avoid all those hidden and unwanted single ingredients that can be IBS-triggering in ready-to-go foods.

The second point is that I had to force myself to buy more meat. It has never been my favorite part of a meal and I don't really enjoy having a steak but I got used to it. Along with meat, I'm buying more lactose-free cheeses and introducing yogurt as a natural source of probiotics.

Miso is another natural source of probiotics. It's not part of my culture so I got to learn about it and understand how to use this delicious ingredient.

Proteins in general satisfy hunger longer than carbs. Most of them are also IBS-friendly, including meat, fish, tempeh, tofu, eggs, and seeds.

Helpful reminders on weight and IBS

My doctor reminded me how important is to consume healthy fats to feel full and satisfied. Healthy fats include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and fish.
When talking about this category, nuts are great low-FODMAP snacks such as macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts.

Sometimes I feel hopeless, when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't really recognize my body or face. Despite that, I'm willing to follow all the instructions that my doctor gave me and try to get back in shape.

Sometimes it feels that IBS stops us to live our lives. We just have to learn how to co-exist with this condition and try our best to improve our habits.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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