How often do you experience pain or stomach discomfort and figure it’s just part of life? There are many symptoms we have normalized because they come on gradually and are livable. We may not even fully realize them because they aren’t that bad and things could be worse. Some of my clients have even said when they share what they’re experiencing they’ve been dismissed by people in the medical profession saying it’s all in their head. I’m definitely not a doctor and I don’t diagnose people but I do know that food and lifestyle can play a big role in how good (or bad) we feel. Take food sensitivities or intolerances as an example.
I was talking to a friend recently who said he didn’t realize he was dairy intolerant until he got hives and went to the doctor. He had been living with the hives for weeks and was really uncomfortable. Thankfully his doctor was open to exploring food intolerances and sure enough, after doing a food sensitivity test he found out that he has an issue with dairy.
When we have been living with these symptoms for so long and then are diagnosed with a food intolerance, cutting out a favorite food group can feel restrictive. Even though someone may feel better when off the food, they may find themselves “cheating” and eating it anyway or overindulging in the “safe” foods. It can be confusing since they know they feel better when they avoid the food, yet something gets in the way and keeps them from sticking with it.
One of my clients started working with me because she was diagnosed with IBS and her doctor suggested she go on a low FODMAP diet. This diet is pretty restrictive and removes a lot of inflammatory foods, as well as some fruits and vegetables that can be tough on some people’s digestive systems. This client felt A LOT better when she followed the diet but she found herself skipping meals, eating macaroni and cheese or drinking when out with friends, all of which led her to experiencing flair ups that would last days to the point where she would be stuck in bed. So, if these foods caused so many physical symptoms, why was she continuing to consume them?
Through our work together we identified some key themes that led her to eat out of alignment with her food and health goals, including:
- Constantly feeling behind
- Stuck in all or nothing thinking
- She wasn’t checking in on her needs and would put others’ needs ahead of her own
- Compared herself to others, which led to feeling like she wasn’t doing enough or wasn’t good enough
By identifying these themes we were able to address each one to figure out what she needed and what was important to her so she could shift to eating more in alignment with her goals. She also learned a lot about her body so she no longer felt like she was at odds with it and could appreciate it more.
If you know what works for you to feel good but are having a hard time implementing it or sticking with it, schedule a free 30-minute Q&A session as I’d love to support you on your journey!
Laura B. Folkes is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She supports busy adults who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns that have been keeping them stuck so they can experience freedom from food. She ensures her clients don’t feel deprived by guiding them to make small, incremental changes so the journey is more enjoyable. After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.