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Elimination diets are kind of like those personality quizzes online. The ones where you answer 10 questions to find out what kind of dog you are or what taco you would be. We all love to learn more about ourselves and those quizzes, as silly as they might be, are fun ways to learn a quirky new thing about our personality.
Just like the quiz to learn what kind of taco we would be ( I am a double shell taco) elimination diets offer us the unique opportunity to learn more about our bodies and how they work and react to food. The problem with elimination diets is at first glance they really aren’t as fun as taking those quizzes. A lot of people, myself especially, love to eat and use food to celebrate the fun times in our lives so eliminating food isn’t as easy as taking a 3 minute Facebook quiz.
I’ve used personalized elimination diets through my gut reset program to help people identify the foods that contribute to their bloating, gas, constipation, acid reflux (just to name a few) and then use foods to successfully manage their symptoms.
I Was Scared To Do My Own Elimination Diet
But to be honest it took me a good minute to do my own personalized elimination diet. Despite my first-hand knowledge of how amazing people felt when they went through this process of uncovering their food sensitivities and managing their digestive symptoms like a pro, I didn’t do it on myself right away.
I was scared that I was going to have to give up all these foods that I really enjoyed and I didn’t want to do that. I had my own set of digestive issues like bloating and constipation that could definitely be improved. But, somehow I knew wheat, cheese and tomato were going to come back on my results as something I couldn’t eat which meant no pizza. I didn’t want to give up pizza or other foods I liked and in my head my bloat and constipation weren’t a big enough problem for me to give up those things. (Turns out when I finally did it, I didn’t have to give up pizza!)
So, despite knowing how powerful an elimination diets are with managing digestive problems like bloating and constipation I was really hesitant to do it on myself and the reality was improving my health was not a big enough reason for me to do the diet at that time.
This is why I understand the hesitation for people in wanting to go through the process. There are some very real potential barriers to going through a personalized elimination diet. Because of those barriers we need a strong why to overcome them.
What’s Your Why?
My why for wanting to change things up was just being tired of feeling crappy. I wanted more enjoyment out of my life. You can read more about my story here.
I wanted to be able to eat lunch and then take the afternoon shopping without worry about where the nearest bathroom was. I wanted to go to the bathroom without worrying that I was going to be straining and it was going to be painful. I wanted to be able to go out to happy hour with my friends and wear my favorite pair of jeans without having to wear a large, loose shirt that would cover the top of my jeans because that button was going to come undone before the night was over.
Knowing your why and having a strong connection to it is the key to success with elimination diets. When it’s 6:30 pm and you’re coming home from work and nothing sounds better to you than going through the drive-thru your why is going to bring you home to make dinner instead because you know how much better you feel when you do and that feeling good represents more than just physical health.
So here are 5 reasons, unrelated to health, why you might want to do an elimination diet.
Driving straight home from work without having to stop to use the bathroom somewhere.
Take that road trip with your family without worrying about how your stomach feels.
Being able to chase your kids around the playground.
Go to dinner with your family and your stomach feels so good that you even order a slice of cheesecake to share.
Wearing your favorite jeans without needing to pop that first button after dinner.
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.