5 reasons why you’re still bloated

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Think the low FODMAP diet isn’t working for you? Think again…

Here are five things that make a difference to my IBS, even though I follow a low-FODMAP diet:

1. Disorganization. So, you’re eating mostly low-FODMAP foods, but at least once a day you’re eating things you know might set you off or having a lunch at work that you can’t be sure of doesn’t contain high FODMAP foods. Although you’re doing a good job reducing the ‘FODMAP load’ on your system, you might find your tummy reacts best when you’ve created all your own goodies: bring your own low FODMAP lunch and don’t be fooled by gluten-free sandwiches which actually have lots of secret garlic or onion ingredients between their layers.

2. Fatigue. Your body doesn’t work as well when you’re tired – it’s as simple as that. (So don’t even get me started on the health irony of the fact that nobody gets any sleep on a busy hospital ward). Not only do you crave unhealthy foods when you’re tired (because your body is seeking energy from calories that it should have got from sleep) and make more impulsive decisions, but a change in your sleeping patterns can also affect your bowel habits.

3. Timing. I find if I leave it too long between meals, then – regardless of what I eat – I become bloated afterwards. For me, if I eat breakfast at 7am I need to make sure I’m having something like a banana at 11am so that when I eat lunch at 1/2pm, I don’t get bloated afterwards. Give it a go!

4. Stress. Don’t forget that the low FODMAP diet is a way to control the symptoms of IBS, not treat the cause. If you know there’s a time of stress/worry/anxiety/[insert negative emotion here] coming up, then you need to be making a special effort to eat as low FODMAP as possible. Stress will no doubt have an impact on your tummy. If said stress is unavoidable (e.g. earns you your daily bread) then the best way to prevent this is to go anti-stress on its arse: exercise, meditation, yoga, me-time (think hot baths, cosy socks, candles and herbal tea).

5. Hormones. For us gals, bloating around that time of the month can be quite common, regardless of what we are eating. The pain can also be quite similar to IBS cramping pain and even people without IBS might find their bowel habits become slightly different to normal when they’re, ahem, “surfing the crimson wave”.

– Low FODMAP foods are magical (in my humble opinion) but not even they can solve all of life’s problems.

(Incidentally, I have discovered that these five tips spell out an acronym:
Don’t
Forget
That
Shit
Happens)

Pretty apt!

Let me know if these five things make a difference to you too!

Laura xxx

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