Elimination Diet: End of Week 3

Today is the first day of Week 4 of my elimination diet, attempting to heal from Post-Infectious IBS.

If you are not familiar with the elimination diet I’m on, the book I am following recommends you do at least 3 weeks and as many as 6 weeks before you begin to reintroduce other foods.  The goal is to have 5 consecutive days of “substantially improved bowel movements” before you end the elimination phase of the diet.  I discuss the source of this diet in yesterday’s post.

Here are my observations so far, having completed the first 3 weeks:

  • Average bowel movements over the course of Week 3:  down to 2 per day (hooray!). This is an average – I have had days with more (3 max) and days with only 1.  This is much less variability than I had the first two weeks.
  • I have lost 8-10 pounds since beginning the diet.  This is fine, but I should not lose any more.  I need to try to eat more and especially get more healthy fats in my diet.
  • My muscles are very tired.  Walking up a flight of stairs makes my leg muscles burn.  I think this is an indication I’m not getting enough energy from my food.
  • I am not drinking enough.
  • Trying to take all of the supplements at the right time relative to meals can be very hard, especially when you are busy.

Even though last week was more stable and improved over the weeks prior, I still have not reached the 5 consecutive days of improvement goal.  I am falling short because over the past week I still had the occasional bad day in the midst of other good days.  For example, yesterday I had three trips to the bathroom, with the last one being quite severe, despite the fact that the previous few days had been better overall.  Also, while the overall and average frequency of trips to the commode have decreased, what’s happening while I’m in the bathroom hasn’t improved a great deal.  As I told my doctor, any trip to the bathroom is always terrible; it’s just a matter of where on the scale of terrible it falls.  In other words, not yet normal. Not by a longshot

I was really hoping my couple of months on FODMAP diet would mean that I’d have dramatic improvements after the first 3 weeks on this new elimination diet.  After all, I’m not jumping into this after eating Doritos every day. I was already restricting all FODMAPs from my diet, which is a good number of foods.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that will be the case for me.  So for now, I’m preparing mentally to be on this diet for the full six weeks.

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