Over the last three months I’ve been addressing my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) by following the low FODMAP diet. Before this, I had been experiencing urgent bowel motions, excessive bloating, pain, difficulty sleeping, which then impacted on relationships and daily activities. You can read more about my IBS symptoms here. The FODMAP diet is a diet established by Monash University. It excludes certain carbohydrates (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) that commonly cause IBS symptoms. This post shares about my experience doing The FODMAP Challenge, a course run by dietitian Chloe McLeod and my advice to others thinking of doing the FODMAP Challenge (along with a discount for my readers!).
Things that surprised me about the FODMAP challenge
It actually made a difference!
It reduced my IBS symptoms significantly. Before the course, I was at a point where I thought nothing was going to help my bloating or bad gas, but after about 3 weeks, I was almost a new person – a person with almost visible abs again!
It wasn’t incredibly hard.
Once I knew what I could and couldn’t have it actually wasn’t too hard to follow. The hardest time was when I would eat out.
There a lot of helpful low FODMAP resources
The course has everything you need in one place – information, recipes, meals plans, a custom meal planner, snack ideas and support groups. I was also surprised to find there are a lot of good low FODMAP blogs out there that have great resources and recipe ideas. My favourite is the Monash University FODMAP blog.
I didn’t want do the challenges
I didn’t want to do the challenges (ie. bring back each of the carbohydrates that I had excluded on by one to see which was a trigger) once I had been following the low FODMAP diet. This surprised me that I didn’t want to introduce a lot of foods that I loved (like avocado and mango!) and was looking forward to having again, because I was scared they would flare up my symptoms again! I ended up having one on one consultations with Chloe to help make plans to do this because I found myself procrastinating and not following the course at this part. It was important to reintroduce them to make sure I was meeting my nutritional and pre-biotic needs, as well as to be able to live with as little food restrictions as possible.
There’s a lot of other people that have IBS too!
There are a lot of people who also suffer from the embarrassing symptoms of IBS. I received amazing support and encouragement from many other people in the online space that were struggling with digestive issues or undertaking the low FODMAP diet. This was particularly good amongst the FODMAP Challenge Facebook Group (a closed group that you gain access to when you do the course).
What I would say to someone considering joining The FODMAP Challenge course with dietitian Chloe McLeod
Know that there is another way to live, you don’t always have to be bloated and uncomfortable or alternating between constipated and running to the bathroom
It’s easy to think ‘oh this it just how I get at night’ or ‘I ate something that didn’t agree with me which seems to happen often but I can’t work out what it is’ or ‘cutting out food groups like diary and gluten hasn’t helped and so I just don’t think there’s hope for me, my body is just broken’. But please know there is hope and you don’t have to live like this – it isn’t ‘normal’ and you shouldn’t allow it to be your ‘normal’ either. The best thing you can do is work with a dietitian to determine your triggers. The FODMAP Challenge is a great starting point for this (discount code below) with guidance from Chloe and support from other IBS sufferers also doing the course.
It’s a well-valued investment in your health
The price was probably what concerned me the most with the challenge. I wasn’t sure how much access I would get to Chloe for personal input and advice or if it was better to see someone one on one. I was pleasantly surprised that Chloe was almost immediately getting back to any concerns I had via the Facebook group or email. As such, I am happy that this is far more cost effective than one on one consults with a dietitian. Plus this is Chloe’s expert field.
Having completed the online course now and knowing how much better I feel, I would pay this three times over for the knowledge that I have gained and the changes I’ve seen in my digestive health! Remember knowledge is power. Take control of your health. Value and prioritise YOU! You deserve to feel well.
When choosing a package, consider the level of support you need based on your lifestyle
My very busy lifestyle meant I ended up holding back on starting each of the challenges. This lengthened the time that I was eating low FODMAP, making eating out harder for longer period than was required. I find that when something is tough, it goes to the end of my to do list – because I just don’t have the ‘brain space’ to work it out. If I met with Chloe one on one from the start, it is more likely I would have completed the challenges at their nominated time because I knew Chloe was going to ask me individually how I was going. It also would have meant I had set the time aside to take in the information and make a plan based on that.
The FODMAP Challenge – 10% discount code for Eat Pray Workout readers
If you want to do The FODMAP Challenge course too, Chloe has kindly offered a 10% off discount code for my Eat Pray Workout readers, or those who read this review. This applies to all packages. Simply enter ‘eatprayworkout’ as the discount code at the checkout.
Do you suffer with IBS? Have you tried the FODMAP diet? I would love to hear your story too and don’t forget to let me know of any questions you have in the comments below.