I know that stress and gut health are intrinsically linked. I can even recall a few very stressful moments when all I could think about was wishing my insides would calm down so I could focus on what’s really important.
So when I was asked at my follow-up appointment whether I was dealing with any stress, I answered honestly, “This process is the most stressful thing for me right now”. Let me just clarify when I say “most stressful” as it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds because I actually don’t have many stressors right now. However, working so hard at eating right for so many weeks and not feeling better was exhausting. Trying to keep track of all my food and all my symptoms was also a lot on top of meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and, yes, dishes – lots and lots of dishes.
Once I answered her question about stress, she said, “Stop journaling. Don’t write everything down. Simply follow the new low-FODMAP rules and in a few weeks, tell me generally how you are doing”. It was a welcome instruction, and it was one I didn’t realize I needed until she said it.
So, when I wasn’t able to fully stick to my diet in Florida, I didn’t stress about it. In fact, I have actively worked on not letting the little things get to me. And, I think it’s helping.
I’m more relaxed and generally feel more freedom than before. Obviously I have more freedom now that I’m finished my elimination diet, but this is a different kind of freedom where I don’t put as much pressure on myself. Before I was so focused on being in control in order to feel better that I’m not sure my body ever did get a break.
I also realize that I may never get to a place where I feel amazing all the time, and instead of letting that get to me, I can acknowledge it and let it go. I know it’s easier said than done, and I’m not going to fool myself into thinking I’ve got it all figured out. But I think I’m heading in the right direction.