Irritable Bowel Syndrome and your weight
Does IBS affect my weight?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not usually affect your weight directly, however there are a number of aspects of it that might have an indirect effect.
- The pain and abdominal discomfort associated with IBS may decrease your inclination to eat, so that you lose weight
- If you restrict your diet to try to control your IBS symptoms, you may end up not eating a balanced diet, and lose or gain weight because of this
- Stress is often a factor in IBS: stress hormones have the immediate effect of decreasing your appetite but may increase it in the long term, read THIS ARTICLE for more information
- It's thought bacterial imbalances in your gut may induce cravings for certain high calorie foods
- Your IBS may prevent your food from being properly digested or absorbed, causing either weight loss
- Severe and prolonged diarrhoea, a common symptom of IBS, can lead to weight loss
How to lose weight if you have IBS
Essentially the same principles apply as if you don't have IBS -
- Eat sensibly and take aerobic exercise regularly. This means you exercise until you are slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation!
- Make changes to your diet gradually, so as to monitor their effect on your IBS symptoms.
- Watch your portions - as above your IBS may cause you to eat more than usual.
- Hypnotherapy can help with motivation to follow a healthy diet or exercise, changing your eating habits and cravings for unhealthy foods. This can be built into your IBS sessions if you wish.
- Consult your GP or ask for a referral to a dietician for help so you don't aggravate your IBS.
How to gain weight if you have IBS
- Don't just add junk to your diet!
- Larger quantities of healthy foods, especially soluble fibre are the best way to go. Or use 'weight gainer' drinks, which are high in calories but well balanced. As above ask your GP or a dietician for help with this.
- Avoid aerobic exercise, which burns calories and encourages weight loss, instead stay fit with weight training or any other strength increasing exercise which adds muscle.
- Eat regularly throughout the day.
- Again hypnotherapy can help you with motivation, establishing new habits, and other issues around your weight gain programme.