Throughout most of college I would eat anything, especially if it was free. I notoriously would eat meals I felt bad about eating then walked extra or occasionally worked out to make up for it. It never worked. First of all, I never ate healthy even outside of these meals I felt bad about. I ate what I wanted and what was easily accessible to me, i.e. pizza, fries, shells and cheez, massive burritos, pastries, brownies, extra large ice cream balled up on top of a chocolate dipped waffle cone, etc. Not to mention, what I did pay for was not as cheap as I thought it was because eating out is expensive!
Second, only working out after you over did it more than you normally already overdo it will not undo what you have eaten. I was more active than your average college student and I thank having to walk the hilly terrain of my undergraduate daily for not having a “freshman 15” situation. However, I was still over weight and perpetually fatigued.
Even when I started a fitness routine in 2012, I still was slightly overweight after losing the weight I gained during graduate school. Plus, I was starting to feel symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) coming on stronger than ever. I chose to ignore it for the most part. By the time I started my first job after graduate school, the intestinal cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation had gotten to the point where I was working from home or taking sick days to recover from merely eating.
The recognition brought to digestive intolerances, allergies, and sensitivities within the past decade, had me starting to think that what I was feeling was not normal. In early 2015, I went into the doctor begging for help after a 2 week long bout of constipation left me without sleep and in intense pain. After allergy tests, blood tests and a few months of tracking my food and digestion, my doctor had a feeling that heavy fat foods, sugar, alcohol and processed foods were causing me issues with IBS.
After really getting a hang of removing these foods from my diet 80-95% of the time I noticed my weight changing quickly. I lost 30 pounds in 4-5 months, putting me right in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height and build. It was not just my weight that changed though, my mood improved and I physically felt great! I was amazed. I remember thinking one day, “Who knew my body was telling me something and I just was not listening for years!”
Recently, I have discovered on my own that beans eaten with animal protein (meat or dairy) cause me problems as well… goodbye side of beans at Mexican restaurants. Now know that everyone is different and something that does not work for me could be just fine for you. You need to listen to your body and talk to your doctor to figure out what you could be having issues with.
Personally, I think it is equally as important to get up and move as it is to fuel your body the way it needs. I would not have the muscle definition or therapeutic experience without my fitness activities. However, how I fuel my body has made a much bigger difference in my health than I ever thought it would. When I truly changed my diet to work with my digestive issues I finally felt like I could take on anything! It boosted my mood, I had more energy and I could have regular, healthy bowel movements.
Have you had digestive problems you ignored or just think is normal? You may want to delve into it deeper because it could really change your life!