Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

Nutrition and Wellness Blog

Notes from a Gut Health Nutritionist

The First Step to Treatment for IBS Symptoms in Females

Feb 8, 2023 | Gut Health, Mindset, The Nourished & Thriving Show

It’s not uncommon for women to have different responsibilities and metaphorical weights on their shoulders… As females, we might run ourselves down faster than we expect or commonly find ourselves experiencing unexpected ailments, like IBS symptoms, migraines, and never-ending sicknesses. As a mother, a registered dietitian, and a certified mindset coach, I understand how these unexpected symptoms occur and what the first line of treatment is.

Getting Back in the Groove After the Holidays

I know the last couple of months of the year, it can often feel kind of hectic, chaotic, like your life is just happening to you instead of you really being in control. It tends to be a lot more focused on the urgent things that come up that need to be cared for and addressed urgently, but not necessarily the really important things that you care about.

So I hope that you were able to find a good balance between those urgent and important things and that you were able to spend your time and energy doing things that are really important to you and not just things that needed to get done. As a certified mindset coach, this is actually something I help my clients work on too, even as we’re in gut rehab, because living your life in alignment and in a way that’s fulfilling and feels right to you is helpful for your gut health too, because you’re managing your stress levels and all of that.

And we’ve talked about why stress is harmful for gut health and everything. So if that’s something that you just feel like it’s something you could have done better, and you feel a little bit disappointed – I really hope that’s not the case – but if it is, reach out because let’s start working on setting some boundaries.

Coming up with what your goals and values and priorities are so that whenever the holidays come around again, this time at the end of this year, you’re ready to go. And you feel a lot better about it.

It’s something that I think is fluid for everybody. I think it’s something that everyone is always working on and improving on and every year is different. So we’re always faced with a new set of circumstances that we’ve learned that our circumstances do not define our joy level. Right?

So being joyful, no matter what those circumstances might be, whether they are really amazing or really challenging.

But I wanted to talk actually about some of my circumstances that I went through over the holidays and it just really got me thinking about you guys. Honestly, I’m always thinking about y’all.

A mom works as her daughter pulls on her, IBS symptoms in females

The Struggles of Being a Mother and Doing It All

So about a week and a half before Christmas, I was wearing my fun, hot pink, sparkly, “Merry and Bright” sweatshirt, feeling all festive, and I had my last conference call before the week before Christmas, when all of the kids activities were going on. We had piano recitals and school shows and class parties and all of that.

And I was feeling tired, honestly. I was feeling tired on that call. I had my coffee. I didn’t even really finish it because I just felt kind of off. We just had strep throat go through our house. I’d been on antibiotics, which I hadn’t been on in years. It was just a high stress time. I mean, I have three kids at different ages, you know? One and a half to seven.

So after that call, I was not feeling great. I walked into the kitchen, and started crying to my husband, and said, my head hurts so bad. And it quickly escalated from headache to a full blown migraine. I’ve never had a migraine before, but it felt like my head was in a vice grip – and I gave birth naturally without medication to two out of my three babies and it did not hurt this bad. Like I didn’t cry in labor. I was huddled on the couch in a heat blanket with pillows over my head, holding my head sobbing because it hurt. So. Stinking. Bad. I had no idea what to do either because I never had a migraine. So I end up taking some medicine, and I asked for an ice pack. That sounded really good. And I put it on my forehead.

I ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours. And luckily – thankfully – woke up feeling not one hundred percent, but better. And I know these migraines for some people can last even days, so I’m so grateful it was just a few hours.

A woman pinches at her brow with her head down and eyes closed, IBS symptoms in females

Why My Holiday Migraine is Significant to Your IBS Symptoms

My migraine was a big wake up call. I knew that I had set myself up perfectly to get a migraine. Like I said a minute ago, I had strep throat the week before, not even a week before that I was still on antibiotics for the strep throat. So the antibiotics were making me not feel great. I’d been sick and run down. I had a sick kid… Well, three sick kids and me and all three kids got it. And my husband somehow, luckily didn’t. (Probably because the kids don’t sleep in his face whenever they’re sick.)

So I’d been sick. I’d been taking care of sick kids. I hadn’t been drinking enough water. I hadn’t been eating enough food in general and definitely not enough healthy food. I wasn’t getting enough sleep. My stress level was high and it was just the perfect formula for a migraine. And I knew exactly what caused it!

And so I knew exactly what I needed to do to keep it from coming back. I knew my triggers. I knew what those triggers were. I knew what was out of balance in my life. So I could take swift action. And help bring things back into balance as best as I could. Right? It’s the holiday season. So things were still not perfectly balanced, but I could bring these back in balance as best as I could.

And I didn’t get another one. But it made me think about you guys with your gut health too. Do you know your triggers? I hear all the time, people feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and confused and not knowing what action to take, not knowing what diet to follow, not knowing what supplements to take.

And it’s no surprise, because if you don’t know what your triggers are, if you don’t know what areas of your life are out of balance, because they’ve never really been examined before. Of course, you don’t know them. But whenever you understand what your triggers are, it is so empowering because then you have a guidebook where you can do just like I did with that migraine.

It’d be like this, this, this, and this were all out of whack – I need to go take action and bring it back into balance. And so that’s what I want for you guys. And that’s what my Gut Rehab program actually does for people.

A mom cuddles her son in a bed, IBS symptoms in females

My Signature Method for Getting Back to Balance

From my program designed specifically for IBS symptoms in females

I have a lot of training and I continue to get training. I love learning. And that’s something that I really pride myself on and prioritize: continuing to learn and continuing to hone my craft and my skills so that I’m always better for my clients. I help tell you what my recommendations are and I help you see things. But I also help you examine things that maybe haven’t been looked at before (that are really critical to look at) when you’re trying to understand your triggers and what needs to be brought back into balance.

In my Gut Rehab program, we look at things that you may not even think about. Things that have been normal or have been that way for so long, you don’t even realize they’re contributing to your symptoms because they’ve just become a part of your identity. You don’t even realize that it’s making you feel a certain way or contributing to your symptoms. And so it’s like shining a flashlight in all the areas of your health and of your life, where maybe you don’t even have the capacity to see on your own.

That in and of itself is a big reason why it’s so helpful to work with someone like myself because there are so many books out there. There are so many podcasts. There’s so many people on Instagram. There’s blog posts. There’s TV episodes. All telling you all the different things to try.

And a lot of people are able to hodgepodge plans together from different places. It’s not impossible to do. It takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication, but you can absolutely put a plan together for yourself based on free resources, as far as nutrition supplements and all of that goes.

A woman looks out a window in thought as she journals

But it can be more challenging examining the other lifestyle areas that could be contributing to your symptoms as well. And that’s, I think, the most helpful part of hiring somebody like myself – to help shine that light and help you to see.

I’ve had people say, “I never realized I wasn’t eliminating all the way when I went to the bathroom” or “I thought it was normal until I watched your video,” referring to one of the training videos they get in Gut Rehab. They learn more about it, and they’re like, “oh, that actually is something that I’m not doing all the way.” So they wouldn’t have known to tell me that. So I wouldn’t have known to help them with that information, if they hadn’t seen that video because it was normal for them.

Same thing with sleep, you know? “Oh, I didn’t realize that I’m tossing and turning all night and I’m not feeling rested when I wake up” or “I didn’t realize that I’m not drinking enough water. I’m drinking iced tea all day and not drinking any water.” I live in Texas, so people like their iced tea.

It’s hard to notice these things that you think are not that big of a deal. I was listening to a finance book recently and she was talking about people who have weight problems and people who have money problems…

Both say similar things where they think it doesn’t matter. “Oh, it’s $5. It’s not that big of a deal.” “Oh, it’s one piece of cake. It’s not that big of a deal.” But you don’t see how it adds up over time. And we’re not talking about weight, we’re talking about gut health here, but I think you can kind of put that together where you don’t realize how small seemingly insignificant behaviors can really have a bigger impact than you realize.

A pitcher of water filled with lemon slices

Understanding and Treating IBS Symptoms in Females is Possible if You Know Your Triggers

So really understanding what all of those are that are contributing to your symptoms, knowing your triggers. Then when you know them, you know what to do, and then you can choose if you want to do something about them or not. For example, I had somebody who drank iced tea all day long. Didn’t like water, wasn’t going to drink water, wasn’t going to give up her iced tea. She understood how it was impacting her health and keeping her from fully achieving her health goals, but for her, drinking her iced tea was more important than hitting the certain goal. And she was okay with that. And she had peace with that and that’s fine. But it’s really understanding what those are that’s really helpful for you.

So if this sounds familiar, if you find yourself shaking your head, feeling frustrated, feeling confused with what to try next, feeling like you’ve tried everything or nothing has worked, or you’re confused about which diet to move forward with, but still struggling with these hot mess gut symptoms – reach out. Let’s shine a flashlight into some of those areas that maybe haven’t been examined before, and see what we come up with, because there’s probably some other things that you can be doing or changing or pivoting.

Just a little bit can really have a big impact. Having a plan is just so empowering and that’s really the best gift that any provider can give you – helping you walk through the process of really understanding your body, what works, what doesn’t, what’s in balance, what’s typically out of balance, etc. So then you have all the tools.

You need to bring things back into alignment so that you have the best health, so you can shine your brightest light, so you can have the biggest, best impact on the world and live the extraordinary life that you were created to live.

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