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The Holiday Report

This will be my second Holiday season writing about the very real troubles those of us with IBS struggle with throughout the Season. Last year, I told tales of terror about my inability to cope with the food, the drink and the stress associated with the Holidays. I would like to share what has changed, stayed the same and what I have learned about the ‘IBS Holiday’ this year. I will say that this has become the hardest time of year for me with regards to my IBS symptoms (although the summer BBQ’s are not much better). The willpower and self-awareness it takes to avoid the obstacles the holidays season takes some of the fun out of what used to my favorite time of year. I think that with just a few adjustments to how we think about the festivities, we may bring the Holiday Spirit back again, but I’m acknowledging that it might take a few tries, maybe even several years.


We’ve talked about the food. Everyone does their best to create all sorts of culinary delights for the holiday parties and get-togethers. And it’s not just the main course either. It’s the snacks before dinner, the booze flowing and the freaking desserts. It’s like you have run some kind of gauntlet to avoid like ten things in order to stay healthy. I’m sure there are those of you that have this down cold after suffering with IBS for several years, trials and errors. This is really only my second Holiday season dealing with the IBS issue. I will remind everyone that last year, I not only wasn’t successful avoiding the problem areas, but chose to indulge in every way possible. ‘I’ll deal with the consequences, It’s my life, I have the right to choose,’ is what I said to myself. Then I suffered…a lot. I missed work, it threw off my metabolism and my digestive system and many months of work went down the toilet…literally. I did better this year. I tried to focus on what I could have and mindfully appreciate what I have. Many people around the world are very hungry during the Holidays. Those of us who have family and friends that throw parties are LUCKY. So…yes, even though you might not be able to have the brownies, pie, green bean casserole, beer, wine or a variety of other things, there are vegetables there, there is usually ham or chicken or turkey. You can find things that are very tasty and won’t cause trouble. I am trying very hard to be grateful for what I could have and not dwell so much on what I couldn’t.


I think the thing I’ve come to is that these holiday events really aren’t about the food; it’s about the people who invited you to their home. It’s about the conversations, watching kids open presents, the songs and so many other wonderful things. Is it hard to smell all the great stuff that will make you sick? Sure it is, but we will get through it if we just maybe change our expectation about what the whole thing is about. I don’t want to miss work over some cheesecake this year. I don’t want to be in the bathroom because I decided to drink a bunch of beer. I want to enjoy my people and come out of it as healthy as I went in. I will do my best and hopefully I will continue to learn. That said…mind over matter, man. Mind over matter.

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.