Weighty Matters: Learning from My Body

I’ve been losing weight and people are noticing. I’d like to tell you how this came about and what I’m learning from my body.

I see this as related to living out my faith because God created this body of mine, so to ignore my body is to be at odds with my creator. And really, being at odds with God just never ends well for me.

Some Background

I really, really hate to talk about this, but I have what is called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I hate talking about it because it is embarrassing to admit yet another way (besides my infertility problems) that my body doesn’t function properly, plus bathroom issues are just not a topic I enjoy–ever.

On top of that, IBS is a really frustrating diagnosis. Doctors don’t know what causes it, it’s not life-threatening, and there is no known “cure” for it.

There are ways of managing it, but they are often highly individualized solutions–the kinds that require a great deal of patient trial and error.

I have been in and out of doctor’s offices trying to get more answers. I wished for a long time for a different diagnosis–one for which the answers were more clear.

For quite a while I kept a food diary trying to figure out what foods made it better or worse. I could not find a pattern about specific foods, but in time I began to suspect that large meals exacerbated my symptoms.

Too Much to Handle

One might suppose that the solution was rather simple: if eating too much at once was a problem, then just eat smaller meals! While this sounds good in theory, it was harder in practice.

I did try to eat smaller meals, but I continued to have times when my symptoms would flare up and I was in a lot of pain. Still, the better I did at keeping my meals smaller, the better I felt.

I was actually doing pretty well until a few months ago when the pain got so bad that I ended up in the Emergency Room. It was pretty embarrassing for the only problem to have been my IBS.

New Discipline

After the embarrassing ER visit, I resolved to redouble my efforts to keep my meal size down. Putting less food on my plate was an obvious first place to start.

What I found though, was the most reliable guide for how much was too much was something even simpler still–to “listen” to my body. This was not something I learned as a kid in a family where the idea of “too much” of a good thing was laughable.

It has taken me a good deal of practice to actually key in to my body’s sense of fullness. And it comes surprisingly sooner than I would have guessed.

But in addition to the improvement in my IBS symptoms, listening to my body about my eating habits has also resulted in me losing some weight. I wasn’t looking for a weight-loss solution, but I’m glad that some good can come from this embarrassing condition.

Note: I am not a medical professional and my experience may not be typical. Please be sure to check with your doctor about your own weight and eating habits before making changes.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hermano Grande on October 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Too much?
    I haven’t a clue what that is!
    Thanks once again for being vulnerable in what you write about. Far too often we avoid embarrassment at the cost of personal growth AND opportunities to encourage others who may share our particular difficulties. Well done Gwen!

  2. I appreciate your courage and candor in dealing with both IBS and infertility. While I jokingly refer to Ashley, my daughter, as my miracle baby, I found out I was pregnant with her when I was preparing to have a hysterectomy at 30. Whenever I question “Why me Lord?” when things don’t go my way or get a little tough, I try to remember the blessings He has bestowed .
    PS I noticed your deminishing weight last Sunday. You are looking sleek and a bit sassy these days.

  3. Posted by Lemae on October 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I agree that listening to your body is essential and something we have lost along with bad advice to clean our plates! In our world where too much is there to tempt taste and sight, it is so necessary for us to begin eating again as a relaxed social time and when we are full stop! I’m blessed that Sirkka does this! I just need to learn more from her and listen better to my own body!
    Also a nutritionist gave me good advice years ago, which I should go back to. That is to take along or get your “to go” containers at the beginning of your meal. Most restaurants today serve us enough for two at a minimum so if you half the food to start with you not only have “fresh” and good looking take homes for another meal, you automatically eat less and find you are really happy with that if you listen again to your body saying “that was good, you can stop now!” ;>)

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