I am moving forward from SIBO, whatever that means and whatever it takes.
This is the final part in my post-Rifaximin/Neomycin series. In case you missed the first two:
In the last post I listed out the correlations I made and ‘things I knew for sure’ after carefully reviewing my 28-day journal.
And then I said,
This time I will really move forward from SIBO because I am desperate and it’s imperative.
But how? Today I’m sharing with you how I’m moving forward from SIBO. (Think you might have SIBO? HERE are some symptoms.)
Moving Forward from SIBO
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When I thought about this blog post and these actions I must take (have already started taking), I remembered a blog post I wrote about a year ago called, “Wherever You Are.” At the end of the post I stated,
Going through these daily motions is not easy or hard compared to anyone else or any other season of our lives.
It is only easy or hard compared to the here and now, you and you alone.
It brought me to the first thing from my list……the bloat and running correlation.
- No Running. If you told 10 people they could not run so that they would heal, my guess is 8-10 of them would roll their eyes and say, “Um…okay.” But they are not me; they are also not you. If you love running, I feel ya. On June 2, 2016 I wrote, The Rules of Running. Two years later and I still believe in the words I wrote, but my body via journaling proved to me that right here, right now – me + SIBO – we are just not going to coexist. If I could only tell you how heartbreaking that realization was for me. Remember, my hard in this season; no one else’s. I understand if no one else gets this. I fought the bloat and running realization hard, too. But the signs were all there. So I posed the question (via email) to my new doctor, asking if it could be true that running was keeping me miserable and might prohibit me from ever healing. Here was his response (verbatim), “It has been researched, running causes an oxidative stress in the gut and “LPS” is released and this can be a major reason of bloat and runners diarrhea. It has to do with overtraining as well, so maybe less miles and/or decreased intensity.” I told Michelle. I also told LilliAnne (I’m still paired up with her, though, because you don’t have to run – any workout counts – and I’m not stopping workouts altogether). For the time being I just cut – cold turkey – any and all long distance workouts. I’ve had to get it out of my head that there will be no trail races this summer/fall. Mentally, I made a promise to myself that if I stayed symptom free for a couple-ish months, I could return to some sprints or lighter running 1-2 times per week.
- No WOD’s. There was also a correlation with intense workouts period (also confirmed by my doctor). Once the correlation with running was made, I refused to see this one, but it was fairly strong and in my face, so I didn’t have a choice. A year ago, an intense 20-minute workout left me feeling strong and energized. This past month, though, the aches and fatigue lingered.
- Lower back. In 2012, I did a workout program that overused every single part of my body. I am still paying for it today, namely in my lower back. My lower back doesn’t hurt; it’s more like an “itch,” inflammation of sorts. When I used it too much (usually during hard workouts), I always noticed how it would leave me bloated later in the day. There was a direct correlation; one I never saw before. I need to start focusing on strengthening those low-back muscles; they are so weak.
So then what am I doing? How am I moving forward from SIBO (without losing my mind – remember, my hard, not yours or anyone else’s).
These are the 6 major things I’ve defined already, taking all things into consideration. (Click HERE to save them for later.)
- No running + no WOD’s, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working out at all. Not working out is not the solution. Smarter working out is the solution. I’ve gone back to straight lifting where I can focus on making sure my core is super tight to support the lower back at all times. The lifts can be as easy or hard as I want them to be, but right now my goal is to build strength without the addition of anything too intense. I’m doing a Nia Shanks dumbbell program. I’ve been doing it a week already, and I am so grateful for it. In fact, I emailed Nia these exact words, “I love your workouts, and I love what you put into the world. And I just wanted you to know it.” If you’ve never read anything of hers or bought one of her programs, she (like Jess) are top recommendations. I’m already feeling stronger (and am appropriately sore vs. achy sore) without having massive fatigue from it.
- Low-back focus. In addition to Nia’s program, I am adding in more low back stretches and exercises here and there. I am saving some of them HERE. When I do these workouts and in everyday life in general, I am focusing on my core as much as possible – it’s all connected.
- Walking x’s infinity. I don’t feel the need to be doing all the cardio, but I do feel the need to walk and move as much as possible without intensity. Walking is probably the best, hands down, form of “cardio” anyone can do. There is research to back it, and it helps with healing efforts for almost every single condition out there. If I’m not shooting during the weekday, I am sitting an awful lot while I work. Getting out to walk is something that must be very intentional. On the days I go lift, I walk for 20-30 minutes on the treadmill. Other days I just take myself outside for an hour-ish. I don’t care what the time commitment is, simply walking right now is critical.
- Super low-carb and low-FODMAP, but not for long. Tuesday was the first day I’ve had a banana in like 2 weeks. On Monday I had blueberries. I have also been experimenting with a low-carb, low-ish FODMAP 60-second microwave cake recipe, and that uses a tiny bit of almond flour and coconut flour. And yesterday (on the 4th, I had an Epic Bar that had onion and garlic in it – a small amount – but still, along with a ton of low-FODMAP fruits). Outside of those, not a ton of carbs and/or FODMAPs. I have had no bloat. My goal is to stay like this until Italy (except for the day before my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy) and then re-evaluate. With SIBO, I believe there is a time and place for super strict diet adherence, but I also believe that you must learn to reintroduce foods, at the very least, the “healthy” FODMAP foods like fruits and vegetables. In my experiences, the longer you avoid foods, the more intolerant you can become of them. I absolutely don’t want that; I also want to feel well now, so the balance has me walking a fine line that I’ve perfected.
- Massages. Maybe it’s me justifying; I don’t care, but I feel like if I have to give up running and certain workouts, some foods, and other things, then I get to add in massages and other lovely self-care things. One night just before I started Rifaximin and Neomycin my low back was so bad and bloat insane that I booked a last-minute massage to see if it would help my body find relief. It was probably the best 60-minute massage ever because the (physical) pressure was taken off my entire core, and I had relief for a couple days. Since then, I’ve been in for another one. My massage girl said that my right side is where all my troubles lie. And that’s where I feel it the most (where all my lower stomach “sloshing” occurs, too), and where I’ve always noticed problems begin. I’m trying to get a massage at least once a month now, if not 2-3.
- Chill the $%@# out. But for real. There have been so many times during these past few months when I’ve felt bloated to the nth degree, had anxiety like crazy, and then stopped myself dead in those tracks to physically feel myself not breathing. When it all gets to be too much, I’ve been checking my breath, stopping, breathing, breathing some more, and then reminding myself to just chill the @#$% out. I continue to say over-and-over, “You must live life.” And I’m putting it all into practice again.
In addition to those main things, I am adopting and practicing little new things each and everyday (more water, writing, new research, etc.)
While I don’t like some of the changes I’ve had to make, I refuse to live with SIBO symptoms my entire life.
I would rather live life and eat normal food than run a million miles.
At least for the time being, I have completely shifted my goals. I am the queen of the Type A club and ultra-goal driven so right now, the goals are three-fold:
- Find my strength again. I am talking about muscle strength (running took a lot of that away), but I’m also talking about the strength to just do all these things I need to do to get this gone for good.
- Continue exploration through further testing to see what might be bottle-necking this to be gone forever (or is it JUST a matter of my lifestyle choices?!)
- Stay symptom free, and get rid of SIBO for good while proving that this is done, almost entirely, by lifestyle and not diet (because I believe it now more than ever, and no top doctor, nutritionist, or scientist can can help with that).
By the way, you should know that I am still 100% symptom free since day 26 of Rifaximin/Neomycin. The bloat is gone (YES, even after the minimal FODMAP foods yesterday and fruit!), and consequently, the weight is starting to go with it, too.
I feel happier, and I feel stronger. I no longer have aches and fatigue (I did, however, need a 3-hour nap yesterday, but the beauty of listening to your body during recovery is that that’s okay).
And I’m totally, 1,000% moving forward from SIBO. Whatever it is that plagues you today, I am believing in the same for you.
p.s. I get so many emails and DM’s via Instagram about SIBO and healing. If possible (meaning, it’s nothing too private), can you please just leave your questions in the comments below? This way, I can publicly answer so everyone can benefit. With that, grab my e-book HERE (where you’re likely to find most answers) and then ask away for all the other things. I’m here to respond!
You will heal. I will help.