How Restrictive Diets Like Low FODMAP Can Become Problematic

{trigger warning: restrictive eating & food fear}

This is hard for me to talk about because it’s something that was my reality for well over a year. At first the Low FODMAP diet was helpful, I was going to the bathroom more regularly and although the diet was hard, I thought it was worth it.

Then I got to a point where it wasn’t helpful–all the pain, bloating and constipation came back. I figured I must be doing the diet wrong, and I began to over analyze everything I ate. This lead to me being so scared to eat when I didn’t know every single ingredient in my food. I ended up making myself sick anyways due to nerves.

This is also not a great way to spend your 20’s. Thankfully, I was able to realize how unnecessarily strict I was being with myself, but it was hard to stop because I didn’t want to make myself sick during the reintroduction process. I couldn’t afford to call in sick to work or miss out on social commitments if I ate the wrong thing. Plus, flare ups just suck and it’s awful and scary to be in that amount of pain. I was able to get myself to a new doctor who agreed that I needed to stop the diet and connected me with a wonderful nutritionist who helped calm my fears and I stopped the Low FODMAP diet.

Then, they put me right onto another strict diet: the Anti-Candida Diet. Now this one was short term and necessary in order to kill off my candida overgrowth, but I found myself fearing food once again. Especially once reintroductions started and everything made me sick.

This brings me to today. My doctor now wants me to focus on eating whole foods as often as I can, but to not restrict my diet completely. My current balance isn’t the best, but it’s what helps me stay sane. I’m still eating mostly grain, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. BUT if I’m out drinking with friends or at a work meeting and I want the donuts someone brought in—I’m not saying no out of fear.

Obviously, I am keeping things in moderation but it’s working for me so far. To be able to enjoy life without so many rules on food has been freeing. I want to share my experience so that others don’t fall down the same path. There is a right way to do these restrictive diets, and that is with a trusted nutritionist.

Please if you find yourself scared of food and skipping out on meals or life because of it, talk to someone.

Want/need to talk with someone? Contact the helpline.

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