People with IBS can be overweight for all the ordinary reasons, but having IBS presents some unusual challenges around weight management. While trying to "eat healthy", many IBS sufferers find out the hard way that they don't tolerate a diet high in all the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products they are urged to eat. That understandably makes it difficult to eat a diet appropriate for weight loss. Although weight loss is not the primary purpose of the FODMAPs-elimination diet, it is certainly possible to lose weight while following it, and many of my client do just that. Key points:
- The food lists can be used as a guide to selecting the grains, fruits, vegetables and milk products that are the least likely to cause GI distress in those with FODMAPs intolerance, so go ahead and eat healthy for a change! It's a great feeling!
- Portion sizes of foods that are in bold-face type in the book should never be exceeded, because they have small amounts of FODMAPs. I usually recommend just one "bold-face" food per meal or snack.
- On the other hand, portions of the other allowed foods can be adjusted to meet your needs. If you are trying to lose weight, consider using the portions provided in the food lists as a guide.
- Most people who are trying to lose weight should limit "allowed extras" to about 100 calories per day.
- The sample menus provided in the book provide approximately 2000 calories. Althought that is a common "reference" calorie level, it may be more than you need, especially if you are sedentary, female, older, or of small stature. Try cutting back one serving from each food group. Don't consume less than 1200 calories without professional guidance--it is hard to get adequate nutrients on less than 1200 calories.
- Don't be to eager to replace wheat-based baked goods with commercial gluten-free products, which tend to be loaded with calories, sugar and fat. It is easier, cheaper, tastier and healthier to just steer away from breads and baked goodies than to try to replace them.
- To lose about 1 pound a week, a person should cut back about 500 calories per day. Take a hard look at what you are eating and see what you could do without or change. The best candidates for losing calories without losing valuable nutrients are extras like candy, desserts, alcoholic beverages, and refined carbohydrates. Big bowls of white rice or wheat free cookies might be FODMAPs-friendly but can still provide too many calories for your needs.
- Exercise is a lot more fun when you don't have to worry about being within a 20-yard dash of the toilet! Now that your diarrhea is better, maybe it's time to start an outdoor exercise program. Walking, biking, kayaking, hiking...they all can be yours again!
Please remember, this post is for educational purposes only. Please consult your own health care providers for specific advice about weight management or beginning an exercise program.