There can be a lot of discouragement in transitioning from a place of disordered eating (i.e. dieting & eating disorder alike) to a place of eating intuitively. Discouragement from friends and family telling you you’re crazy, to feeling out of control around food during the beginning stages of letting go of dieting mentality. But another major discouragement for a lot of women is the abdominal discomfort that comes from allowing yourself to eat freely again. Today we’re chatting how to deal with the digestive discomfort that can be associated with re-awakening your intuitive eating self and how to push through to feeling your best!
I just want to start this by saying, I’m not an expert in the area of digestive health. I do know the basics, but also have dealt with personal discomfort while re-introducing past restricted foods into my diet. If you are having stomach pain or discomfort, it’s best to speak to your doctor about it first before trying anything on your own.
It’s not very commonly talked about, but it is, unfortunately, completely normal to experience some digestive discomfort when re-learning how to be an intuitive eater.
(Also, just wanted you to notice that I don’t say “starting intuitive eating” because you once were an intuitive eater as an infant. What happens is that diet culture seeps in and clouds up our ability to eat intuitively. Ok, back to digestive health).
Restriction is tempting, but don’t do it.
What happens as you begin to let down the guardrails that you had in place around food is that your body may not be used to all the foods you are now finding freedom with. With restriction of foods, your body does become more irritated by these foods because it’s not used to them. You may even think that you have a food sensitivity, which you do to an extent. But don’t be discouraged. These uncomfortable symptoms don’t last forever. With eating regular meals again and feeding your body enough calories and variety, you’ll notice that most often your symptoms will disappear.
Symptoms many women face when beginning their intuitive eating journey
Some typical symptoms that women deal with when first starting on their intuitive eating journey are bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and cramping. It can be tempting to try an elimination diet to prevent discomfort, but actually, by doing so you may be causing more harm than good to your progression with intuitive eating. Instead, be patient. Continue to eat in a balanced way. It may be uncomfortable at the moment, and you may feel like you can’t eat anything without feeling discomfort in your stomach, but don’t lose heart. You’ll be able to feel “normal” again soon.
Natural aids to soothing your digestive system
A couple of things you can try to help relieve discomfort (and this can apply to anyone who has a sensitive stomach). I have a very testy digestive system, so these tips have really helped me feel my best with what I eat.
- First off, start your morning with a probiotic or probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi. These good digestive bacteria will help to repair your digestive lining as well as help move food along so it doesn’t sit too long and cause gas. This was a life-saver for me when I was dealing with a lot of stomach discomfort with eating.
- Drink mint or ginger tea after a meal if it caused you discomfort. Mint and ginger naturally help to soothe the stomach.
- You may want to try a digestive enzyme before eating something irritating in the meantime of building up your body’s comfort with eating those prior restricted foods.
Have you noticed any undesirable stomach symptoms with starting intuitive eating?