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Dietary restrictions

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Azazel, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Azazel

    Azazel Pick a lord and you pray to it

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    Hey all, I have an issue in that I can hardly eat without getting sick for like a full day. I'm finding I can tolerate less and less foods, therefore I was wondering:
    • Is there anyone else like this? how do you cope?
    • What are some good, easy on the stomach foods?
     
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  2. Dawn

    Dawn La vie est drôle

    Cure Melody
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    ...yeah, this is basically the central point of the majority of my health problems.

    Honestly, I don't cope very well. I live in a perpetual state of anxiety. My weight, the food I eat - or don't eat - and my general health is a constant source of worry for me. It's landed me in secondary care and almost in hospital, lead to incorrect diagnosis, and left me a very isolated person, because every social situation irl has food or drink involved and I am always the only one who never has anything. I've coped by doing my best to ignore it and focus on the other aspects of my life, in the vague hope that one day I just won't have room for it and things will sort themselves out. It's...coming along, I suppose. Sometimes I wonder how I've lived to see 30. But I digress.

    My best advice would be to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time. If you eat at set times your body will expect food at that time, which makes it much, MUCH easier. But find what works for you. For example, I eat three meals at around 6am, 1pm, and 6pm each day, and I don't snack in-between. I occasionally get hungry around mid-morning, but otherwise I generally have things under control. Some will recommend that you don't eat three large meals a day and instead have five or six smaller meals a day. Experiment a little around your appetite, but try to establish a routine: we are creatures of habit. Making eating a habit instead of something that you do in response to your body's urges might not sound like a good idea on paper, but if you make it a habit, your body's urges will coincide with those times that you are due to eat. It all works out.

    Introduce new things gradually on a scale you are comfortable with or not at all. Also - and I really cannot stress this enough - let yourself have bad days if they happen, and don't dwell on them. Press the metaphorical reset button at the end of each day so you can start afresh and not carry over the struggle of yesterday's meals to the next. You need to be very forgiving of yourself when things are tough, because it's easy to let these things stack up and all of a sudden you're caught in a cycle where it's very difficult to do much of anything without feeling awful, and feeling awful for not being able to do what you feel you should.

    I find liquid and softer food is generally easier to stomach than harder, more solid food. Yoghurt is one of the easiest things to eat, and you have so many options with it. It's also very healthy and good for your stomach. Soup is another thing you can have, if you want something hot instead. A lot of fruits are soft and easy to eat - grapes, raisins, bananas, etc. Also, anything bland: bread, pasta, some cereals, etc. Bland food doesn't aggravate your stomach, and lot of it is filling and healthy.

    If you have anything more solid, try to keep it small, so you don't have to chew it quite so much...I am personally not a huge fan of large meals or "heavy" foods that take a long time to digest, because they make me feel awful and set off my anxiety, which makes me feel more awful, and on and on it goes. But take smaller bites, and pace yourself. Distract yourself whilst you're eating by doing something else - I find watching something helps. This probably isn't helpful at all, but pay enough attention to your food to pace yourself, but not so much that you dwell on what you're doing. Make eating an automatic action, rather than something you do consciously.

    As a minor aside point, if you're struggling to eat enough, use a bigger plate. It'll make your meal look smaller and less of a challenge. There is often a psychological component in things like this, even when it's caused by something else. Maybe do a little bit of research into mindful eating? It's a form of mindfulness that focuses on the relationship we have with food, and you may be able to pick something up from it. Maybe. It's not for everyone, but you lose nothing by trying.

    Finally...if you have a doctor you can trust, it might be worth talking to them as well. Make a list of the food you can tolerate, keep a week's diary of what you eat and when (although do not do this on a week-by-week basis, because monitoring on that scale is excessive and bound to cause anxiety) and see if they have any suggestions. A dietician may be able to help you come up with things you haven't tried, too. There could also be an underlying cause: anxiety, lactose or gluten intolerance, etc, that you might not be aware of. Just...be careful with what you say and to whom. Speaking as someone who had their life ruined for four years by an incorrect diagnosis, you know yourself best, and the fondness that many health professionals have for their labels is extremely unhelpful when it doesn't apply to you. Good luck getting them to change their mind, too...or even apologise after it comes to light that they're completely wrong. Make sure you know what you want to say before you go down that route.

    That's about all I can think of...I am simultaneously the best and worst person to be giving advice about this, haha. My intolerance for a lot of food is the product of anxiety and nearly 25 years of habit, and I haven't made as much progress in correcting things as I would like. But I am also not dead, and I was actively planning suicide over this when I was 24. So yeah. Those are the general things I've picked up along the way that have helped me somewhat. Obviously I'm not a medical professional or anything and I absolutely wouldn't suggest taking anything I say as gospel, but I hope it helps ^^
     
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  3. Azazel

    Azazel Pick a lord and you pray to it

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    Yeah it causes me anxiety too like I'm so scared of the day I can't eat and have to get a tube :( but thank you!! I also figure I shouldn't eat out at fast food places that much.
     
  4. Dawn

    Dawn La vie est drôle

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    That's not necessarily the only option in the worst-case scenario that you can't eat anything! There are quite a few high calorie weight-gain shakes out there. Like, 400+ calories per serving, usually more, and this is just with water - you can mix them with milk too, and milk has benefits of its own. They're not commonly advertised, and they can be fairly expensive off a prescription, but they do exist. They also have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them as they're commonly used by people who exercise a lot, but that doesn't mean that's the only circumstance in which you can have them. Might be worth a look? If not in the largest supermarket near you, then in a specialist fitness shop or online retailer...Amazon probably have some, although you might want to price check before you buy anything.

    If you struggle with eating a lot some days, I'd recommend finding one you like and can drink comfortably. It'll serve as a helpful reassurance tool on those days, as you'll get the calories etc. you need that day. Not a good idea to rely on them solely for everything you need, but it might help you feel a little less stressed about it, and make bad days into isolated incidents rather than long-term bad spells.

    I'd say consider looking for higher-calorie brands of the foods that you can tolerate, too. It might not be a whole lot, but it'll help - in my experience there can be a 50 calorie difference between the same product between brands sometimes. That's also a good way to explore other foods: in your search you might find something else that you want to try.

    But weight management is another thing entirely...if it's worrying you, I'd say check your BMI, use a calorie calculator to see how much you need to maintain a healthy weight (on average it's 2000-2500 although that depends on various things - height, the amount of exercise you do per day, etc.) and then plan around that. It's a good idea to get a feel for how many calories per day you get so that you know how much you need to make up, and to weigh yourself once or twice a week to make sure you're not losing dramatic amounts of weight if that's scaring you. But yeah, don't keep meticulous track of either of those things. Weighing yourself every day won't do anything other than stress you out because it fluctuates a lot, and you'll get more anxious on days when you don't feel well if you find your calories dipping...and that kind of thing has a knock-on effect when you have evidence of it like that, at least in my experience. One day at a time, one meal at a time, accept that bad days will happen, and try to find your own rhythm, once you have the knowledge of what you need to stay healthy. Once you've got that in place, you can try and tackle the problem of not being able to eat without worrying about the consequences of that all the time, and it'll hopefully be a lot easier for you to find a solution.

    I don't want to say don't worry too much about it, because not being able to eat for whatever reason is scary as hell and there are serious health concerns to consider if you're not eating enough or the right types of food, but don't let your mind jump to the worst-case scenario of refeeding/hospital admission because there are alternatives you can fall back on and plenty of foods you can try and hopefully tolerate, and food you can tolerate right now. The day you can't eat at all may never come - right now you're exploring your options, and nothing has failed yet, so there's no reason to think that day ever will come.
     
  5. Gazi

    Gazi Rival

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    I'm going to be honest, I don't have much experience with this, but I'm going to try to give what advice that I can, because i want to help. If what I say isn't applicable to you, then please, dismiss it, but I at least wanted to try.
    So when I'm not feeling well, I try to stick to food with easy textures and simple flavors. Things like fluffy scrambled eggs, toast, crackers, fruit. But because these are so simple, it can be easy to get sick and tired of eating them so often, so try to mix it up a bit without mixing it up too much. Try to add simple ingredients to the scrambled eggs to spice them up a bit (my sister likes mushrooms and peppers). Eat the crackers with turkey slices (a youtuber I watch has chronic illness digestion issues, and he's mentioned that turkey is something that has never given him any issues. I don't know if it would be the same for you). Make a fruit salad using a different variety of fruits. Try to find food that you can handle eating and that you enjoy as well.
    I don't know if any of this helped. I'm kinda just spit balling here.
     

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