A young man sits with his chin on his hands, looking dejected. Around him are floating happy foods, including ice cream, pizza, a cookie, and a tub of Cool Whip.

Guess I Can’t Eat Everything

Growing up as a permanently lean kid, my metabolism was always the talk of the town. My dad would call me (in jest) a toothpick. My friends would always get jealous of my ability to eat whatever I wanted with no physical repercussion. While I was a camp counselor kid called me "Mister Skinny." Okay, I did get this child in trouble with the camp director. You can’t call out your counselor! Boundaries HAD to be set there.

I've been lean my whole life

I used to just blast through a pack of sugar-free mints and eat deepish pizza with my girlfriend and her parents with no care of what it did to me and how I felt. I mean my reputation was important to me. But MORE importantly, however, was my “I can eat whatever it won’t break me” attitude.

My friends gave me my own tub of Cool Whip for my 18th birthday!

Getting diagnosed with IBS has been a real game-changer. The thing is though, I can’t say it’s something that happened all of a sudden, and I didn’t know better.

Understanding my IBS

I mean before I realized what IBS was, I would feel the harsh effects of whole milk and ice cream. Embarrassingly, I would take a bite and rush to the loo for over an hour. Or I would have a mini panic attack while having sit-down dinners with extended family. Basically anything related to forming an impression. I have begrudgingly eaten in front of my girlfriend's’ parents so many times it’s a miracle that my should hasn’t left my body through my butt.

My cavalier attitude, my resilience to accepting my body’s warning signs, was just a hallmark of my youth. Wow, I sound like I’m so old and soooo wise at 24.

IBS triggers

I find myself legitimately avoiding what foods I’ve found to be my triggers. My love of pizza and ice cream has become a lot more calculated. Safe spaces and restroom comfort are just a few tools in the tool belt I’m building. It’s something like I said, I’ve known for a while and have been implementing slowly. However, This diagnosis has cemented in me what I knew over the past few years. Responsibility for my insides.

All that being said, yes, a part of me has died inside in a way. PERHAPS that is my theatre degree’s dramatics talking, but rewriting my brain and my habits are difficult.

Difficulties avoiding IBS trigger foods

I mean pleasure foods are so delicious and I’ve always looked forward to treating myself whether I had a hard to strenuous day. Or I just kinda… wanted it. What’s more important is figuring out what moderation looks like. DO I have to give everything I love up? Do I have to sacrifice what I like for how I feel? Must I always feel discomfort while I eat? What are my triggers? These are all questions that I am looking forward to answering. This leg of my journey has just begun and it’s far from over.

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