I’m a firm believer that if you have a feeling about something you should listen to your gut instincts. But today I want to talk about literally listening to your gut.
The last year or so I’ve been on a mission to lose some weight, tone up and feel more positive about my appearance. Aside from this, my biggest motivator is my health. For two-to-three years I’ve been suffering from digestion issues, which are today still undiagnosed. Last year things got much worse and I found myself at the doctors talking with a stranger about my poo whilst she prodded my stomach. Who says a girl doesn’t have a glamourous life?!
The symptoms I’ve been suffering range from uncomfortable to downright unbearable.
Nausea. Pain in the abdomen that can range from a slight cramp to what feels like full blown contractions. Grumbling bowels which I have to laugh off as ‘I’m just hungry.’ Trapped wind. Bloating. And I don’t mean the kind of bloating you get from eating a bit too much. I mean the kind of bloating where my stomach is hard to the touch, and I look heavily pregnant. So bloated that people have offered me their seat on the bus thinking I am pregnant.
See why I went to the doctors for an answer?
In autumn I was seeing a PT twice a week, and getting in another two or three workouts a week. One day I’d see progress and be super proud of myself. The next day I’d be bloated beyond belief and look bigger than I did to begin with. Emotionally, as someone who suffered from body issues when I was younger, this has, of course, had an impact on the way I see myself in the mirror.
At my last appointment, we agreed I would keep a food versus symptom diary to see if that could help shed any light on what is causing all of my issues. So I’ve been listening to my gut, literally. I’ve been noting down every meal, every trip to the bathroom and every symptom I’ve suffered. This has meant I have started to become familiar with particular things that give certain symptoms. Through avoiding these foods where I can, it’s helped to alleviate the symptoms I’ve been experiencing for a couple of years. I’m due to go back to the doctors soon to review this food diary and see if it can get me any closer to a formal diagnosis.
Whilst blood tests have shown that I don’t have coeliac disease, I have noticed that switching to gluten free options where possible has really helped. This has also meant that whenever I do have meals which previously left me in agony, I seem to be okay for the most part, so I can still have yummy treats!
I have a whole new respect for people who are unable to have gluten in their diet. Checking food labels is a laborious task, and gluten free food is so expensive! Luckily I have managed to adapt my diet to include fewer trigger foods, but lunches for work are something I’m still struggling with. I spoke to the team at Mr Lee’s Noodles who sent me some of their noodle pots, which are gluten and nasty free. I love noodles and Thai food, and being as quick and easy to make as a Pot Noodle I hoped they’d be a good lunch option. Whilst not a patch on a proper homemade stir-fry, they are a great quick and easy lunch for workdays and they don’t leave me with any painful bloating. My favourite has been Warrior Fighting Shrimp, I love me a shrimp!
Hopefully, through listening to my gut more, and eating foods that don’t trigger a meltdown in my digestive system. Then I’ll be able to get back on track with getting to my goal of a healthier body!