Listening To My Body To Prevent IBS Flares
Last updated: July 2022
In the first years of my IBS journey, my diet was mostly based on lists and recommendations I found on the internet. And those helped a lot. However, as time went on and I became more and more familiar with potential triggers and safe foods for me personally, I noticed that my body was pretty good at telling me what to do and what to avoid.
In this article, I wanted to share a couple of ways in which I listen to my body to prevent flares as much as possible.
Never forcing myself to eat
This one is very simple: when I’m not feeling hungry, I do not eat. Sometimes this happens in the middle of a meal: I sense I should not take another bite. So, I stop. I used to force myself to finish my plate before, but I do not do that anymore. Even though it is seen as wasteful and not polite. Forcing myself to eat can quickly end in a flare, and I want to avoid that at all costs.
Eating when I’m hungry
My partner often complains that I eat at random times during the day. He’s not wrong. I’ve been known to have lunch at 11 am and then eat again 3 hours later. I work from home, so I can have as many lunch breaks as I like.
The funny thing is, my body tends to regulate when it’s able to digest and when it’s not. More often than not, I’m not hungry at all around dinner time and food just sounds awful to me. So, I just go with it and eat whenever I’m hungry, even if it’s deemed socially unacceptable.
Changing my eating schedule every day
I have no set times for any meals. Some days I have a big breakfast early in the day, other times I skip it altogether. Lunch and dinner hours don’t exist for me. One day I might eat 5 small meals, the other day only 2. It all depends on how I’m feeling. Unfortunately, this tends to drive people crazy, but I honestly don’t care that much anymore. After all, they’re not the ones living with IBS, so they don’t get to tell me how to live with it, right?
My body decides what foods I eat
I feel like my body knows best what foods it can tolerate at any given moment. Sometimes, I really want (gluten-free) pasta. Other times, it doesn’t sound so good. The same goes for meat, vegetables, fruit, desserts, and so on. My body seems to tell me what nutrients I need, and what foods might be too much for my digestive system right now. Nowadays, I just go with what my gut tells me and it usually works out okay.
The problem: cravings
Sadly, listening to my body doesn’t always work. Especially when it comes to cravings. For example, chocolate is never a good idea for me, and yet I always want it. While I can usually have some chocolate, I have absolutely no willpower to keep myself from eating too much. The only option here is to simply avoid buying it, and that’s what I do most of the time.
Overall, even if the results are nowhere near perfect, I tend to feel the best when I pay close attention to what my body wants and don’t give in to social pressure or cravings too much. How about you?
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?