If I said to you right now “Hey (insert your name), I can show you 5 ways to make a difference to your IBS symptoms” would you sit up and take notice? Yes, of course, you would. Do these 5 things stop you making changes to help your IBS?
You’ll be even more surprised that not one of them is a food change.
I see time and time, both in my clinic and in Facebook groups these vital points being overlooked and these 5 things could stop you from making changes to help your IBS.
Number 1 for a very good reason.
What’s the first thing a business coach will work on with you when trying to grow your business? What about an elite athlete’s sports coach training for a marathon?
The same applies to your health. You have to start with a goal. What do you want to achieve? Really focus on what you want – what is your ideal outcome? Make specific goals.
Then get into the mindset that what you’ve done in the past is no longer working and change is necessary to effect a different outcome.
If you want to reach your goal then achieving it has to take priority. Sometimes these changes are small tweaks, sometimes they are substantial life changes.
You’ll need a good dose of focus too, to make this happen.
What to do: Set a goal, have a plan and implement it (ideas are nothing without action).
Sleep is totally underrated.
Sleep deprivation can lead to adrenal stress, mood changes, declined motor performance, insufficient hormone secretion, increased appetite, food cravings (usually the sweet, salty or carby stuff). It can also adversely affect skin health, liver detoxification, immune health & natural healing. Add to the mix premature ageing and an increased risk of chronic disease.
That’s a lot of unnecessary risks to your health. Your liver is most active between 2 and 4 am so if you are awake then your liver is compromised doing its job. Liver clearance is vital to your digestive health.
What to do: Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Switch off all electronics an hour before bed. Try a magnesium salts bath in the evening. If you get into a ‘sleep debt’ try to repay it as soon as possible either as a lie the next morning or an early night the following night.
Get your loved ones on board.
To be successful in reaching your goal, you will go much further when you have support. And I mean both emotional support and practical support.
A client said to me this week:
“My mum made me a cake and I felt guilty, so I ate it and then spent the rest of the day quietly feeling ill”.
I encouraged my client to say to her Mum that she appreciates the thought very much. But eating white flour and sugar clearly makes her IBS (and in her case arthritic pain) worse. But she could make an alternative cake that would still be a treat but have a beneficial effect.
So, my client gave this tummy-friendly banana-bread recipe to her Mum and explained to her that food choices are really important to her if she wants to reach her goal of reducing tummy aches and arthritic pain. Then she showed her Mum this gut-loving anti-inflammatory Squash and sweet potato ginger soup recipe and her Mum was happy to make a huge batch for her daughter’s freezer.
That’s a Win / Win as Mum clearly wants to ‘treat’ her daughter, has time to cook and her daughter benefits from the emotional and practical support.
OK, so not everyone has such helpful relatives. Don’t be discouraged by family or friends’ comments such as “bread doesn’t affect me” or “don’t be so fussy” or “a little bit won’t hurt you” – you’re the one with the IBS, not them. Ultimately the changes are relevant for you to reach YOUR health goal.
Therefore, this point applies to you supporting yourself. Be the change you want to see.
What to do: Explain to family members, friends & work colleagues how important your goal is to you and that you would appreciate understanding, support and encouragement. This can be super effective.
This is a tricky one.
On one hand, money is not essential to reaching your goal. Cooking from scratch is cheaper than buying ready-made. Packing up on veg is cheaper than more expensive proteins. Menu planning can be really cost effective. Using end-of-day farmers’ markets can be great value. Exercising in a park, not a gym is free. You get my drift.
On the other hand, eating organic, high-quality proteins, decent supplements and enlisting professional help can add up.
However, if your goal is your priority, then consider where your money is going and does that help you achieve that goal?
– Gym membership you don’t use?
– Hair highlights every 8 weeks?
– A Costa and a sandwich every day?
– Getting your gel nails done?
– Handbags that go into three figures?
– Wasted tickets for events you’ve not been well enough to go to?
– When was the last time you shopped around for your house/car insurance?
– Checked your bank account recently for unnecessary direct debits?
Being fiscally savvy helps. My point is that if your health is your new priority and you want more money to buy better quality food or invest in help, then it may mean prioritising where you spend your money. Not that you need to have more if it (although admittedly, this does help).
What to do:
- Overhaul your finances.
- Invest in the highest quality food you can, ideally fresh, unprocessed.
- Information is free, read mine or other qualified nutritional therapists’ blogs to help you on your journey.
- Ask questions on Facebook pages – many nutritional therapists will give generic advice for free.
- Use your shiny new mindset to make small changes every day.
- Invest in professional help. A nutritional therapist provides tailored advice that’s right for you and can reduce overwhelm. Most importantly we provide the tricks of our trade to make it work for you.
Now take that learning and put it into practice, either on your own or with professional help.
That old chestnut.
“I don’t have time” (said whilst scrolling Facebook feed). Go on admit it, how many hours can you waste just reading ‘stuff’ on your mobile?
Or is time a smoke screen for something else stopping you making changes? Lack of motivation? Not knowing where to start? Afraid of making the wrong changes (so you don’t start at all)?
Or are you just rubbish at saying no to other peoples’ demands?
Let’s give you an example why time is crucial. If you can put aside an hour to batch cook a vat of tummy-loving soup or rainbow veg muffins then that gives you weekday lunches for a week or two – that’s a huge time saver and a win/win in that you won’t reach for tummy-unfriendly foods because you’re not prepared.
What to do: Guard your time so that it works for you, not against you.
All of these 5 points can stop you making changes to help your IBS, but come back to number 1 – mindset. If your mindset if focused, then your sleep, energy, money & time become priorities.
Direction gives you a much greater chance of reaching your goal.
SUMMARY – Do these 5 things stop you making changes to help your IBS:
Mindset – focus on what you want
Sleep – make it a priority
Support – ask for it
Money – be savvy with what you have
Time – use it wisely
So before you leave this blog, write these down (research shows people who write their goals down have a much higher chance of achieving them)
MY HEALTH GOAL: …………………………………………………
MY PLAN: …………………………………………………
CHANGES TO START:
A lasting thought:
Go unlock that gate!
If you are short of both money & time but would like professional help for your IBS from a gut health specialist, then my FREE 3 Steps to Control Your Gut (And Still Eat Your Favourite Food) masterclass is just what you need.
Jane Barrett is a registered nutritionist and expert in digestive health helping women & children with digestive issues take control of their health through food. She offers support through meal plans, online courses & personalised 1:1 programmes on Zoom.