Poorly Absorbed Carbohydrate Programme / FODMAP / The Most Boring Diet Ever

Well, I was very excited to be meeting my dietician at last… when I first got the appointment through months and months ago I was thinking… YES! Finally someone who will be able to help me and, naively I guess, I thought I could mend myself through eating alone. So, for the past 7 weeks, I’ve been placed on the Poorly Absorbed Carbohydrate Programme to see if it will alleviate any of my symptoms through diet and, dutifully, I have been wading through my little booklet of do’s and don’t’s of the diet. Well, I am now a pro at the diet, but my tummy is not exactly on top form. So… I’ll try and explain the stages as they went each week and up to where I am now…

9e76d9b967e8c60b49718d80aafd8349I am just in the middle of week 6 or 7 (I don’t know, I’ve lots count and quite frankly, I just want it to be week 8 and over with) of this ridiculous diet and I can honestly say, I feel rubbish… See the picture to the right…

It’s technically called the Poorly Absorbed Carbohydrate Programme, but it is also known as the FODMAP diet which is the more ‘known’ name for the diet, although I’ve been informed the the NHS can’t call it that as that’s a brand name… or something along those lines!

a96e9dcea7eaefb64e1437239ac735a5Anyway, here’s a useful little diagram to illustrate some of the stuff I can and cannot eat at the moment… give or take a few bits as the FODMAP diet allows some bits the Poorly Absorbed Carbohydrate Programme does not and vice versa.

I started off a bit overwhelmed in week 1… like… wow, this is new, I can do it, it’s a lot to take in, but how long can eight weeks be? It’s long when it’s all you can think of! That, Ruby, you plonker, is how long 8 weeks of the most boring diet in the world is. Week 1 was okay… took a bit of getting used to. But then I got the dreaded blockages. So, when I saw my gastroenterologist a week into the diet, he gave me Movicol and said to see how I got on.

Then, in week 2, I thought, hmm actually maybe I can do this, maybe it’s going to make me healthier, perhaps I’ll feel like I have bags of energy and some to spare. I certainly felt this on occasion, but no more than anyone else does and certainly no more than I’d had the few weeks before when I wasn’t on this diet. At this point, the Movicol had lost it’s effectiveness and I was part way through organising moving out of my flat and back home, so fitting in seeing the Dr for my next step of laxatives was a bit of a long stretch, so I got some Senna and grizzed it out on these.

Week 3 and I was pretty much getting the hang of things… checking ingredients, trying out different food, generally I was feeling positive, I was trying to enjoy the experience rather than see it as an inconvenience. This was a good week. I wish all the weeks had been this easy!

a4b926a13be437f1272c0bdc3b2f9cebWeek 4 and I caved… I rang the dietician in a bit of a panic as the BMs were VERY reduced and the blocked-up-ness was getting quite unbearable. She recommended adding flaxseed oil to my diet, ensuring I was doing my 20 minutes exercise a day, keeping hydrated and stepping up my fruit/vegetable intake from the ‘allowed’ list… although erring more on the side of vegetables, given my gastritis which might not be so great if I added in lots more acidic fruits. So, I dutifully started on this regime.

Week 5 and I went on holiday… great, BMs actually seemed to get back to my version of normal… 3 or 4 and the food side of things was working out great too! I was able to enjoy my week in Majorca, all inclusive so I didn’t have to fret about food, lots of sunshine and relaxing and plenty of catching up with the boy and drinking peach schnapps in the evening. I’m not sure if it was my lack of worry about anything, my stress-free week, all the walking we did each day, stepping up the vegetable intake or the fact that I quite possible may have been eating some of the non-allowed ingredients unwittingly while we were away, but for some reason, my tummy felt in a much better way.

Getting into week 6 and I was back home and things were okayish… starting to slip back into the no BMs… 3 days of nothing. Being really good with food, making sure I was sticking to the lactose free milk and checking all the ingredients of the things I was eating. Plus, adding in the flaxseed oil the dietician recommended to me, anddd ensuring that the 20 minutes of exercise were happening. But still, the BMs were not ‘normal’ and a niggling pain was starting in my left hand side, a pain that as the week progressed started to feel like that horrible pain when you have a toothache… when you start getting a headache because all you can think of is the pain in the other place… pain from pain… not ideal!

262925c5228417a61a79746d3ec8aacfAnd now, it’s Tuesday and I’m in week 7 and I am exhausted. My energy is so low, my tummy hurts loads. Particularly in the morning, after breakfast and in the evening between around 8 and midnight, the time when I just want to chill out, but all I can feel is my tummy gurgling, bloating out and the pressure is unbearable. I’m walking the dog every day for 1-2 miles and am eating all the right things… lots of veggies with lunch and tea, fruit as a snack if I need one. My appetite seems to have swanned off somewhere unknown right now though and I’m feeling totally drained.

46876131651cb053226353778c5dd1baSo… I was told that I needed to be on the 8 week programme given the extent of my symptoms which is what I’m doing. And, if this doesn’t work I think it’s on to the liquid shake things… I think.

I don’t think I’ve lost any weight, something that the dietician said could happen, so clearly my body hasn’t been under-eating during this time, which is good in a way although like a lot of people, I could do with shaking a few excess pounds off. But this is an aside from the real point. Basically, I’m on this diet as they thought it would help the IBS side of symptoms, but to be honest, I don’t even know what it has done other than make me feel blocked up and exhausted.

Hopefully my next meeting with the dietician will boost my confidence as I’m a bit tired of feeling like rubbish and I’m fairly sure my friends and family and anybody reading this is pretty fed up with me moaning about the ‘uselessness’ of this diet.

831654220f6ab8be4dd3ad18b849813aPersonally, it hasn’t worked for me. Although, saying that, I know that it does have a good success rate, so please don’t knock it till you try it. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s had a slightly more positive experience or anyone who can shed light on why I feel so rubbish when I’m meant to be feeling like a new me having supposedly flushed all of the bad things out of my body!


Not loving prescribed diets,

Rubelles Moon


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