What are your thoughts on the FODMAP diet for those who have a history with an eating disorder?

When working with clients with a history of disordered eating experiencing digestive issues, we tend to suggest more gentle approaches before using the low FODMAP diet. For example, we might experiment with:

• Reducing common gut disrupters like artificial sugars, added fibre (ex: inulin), and caffeine

• Introducing probiotics, digestive enzymes, a magnesium supplement, or herbal supplements

• Breathing exercises

• Warm beverages like peppermint tea

• And more!

When we have exhausted these options, we may consider trialing a modified, less restrictive version of the low FODMAP diet. We encourage clients to regularly assess how these dietary changes are making them feel. Being reflective can help to identify any reappearance of unhelpful thoughts or behaviours. In conclusion, we believe a modified low FODMAP diet can be helpful for some, especially when approached within the context of self-care. We would encourage getting support from an eating disorder dietitian if this accessible, as well as an increased awareness of how our relationship with food is being impacted by these dietary changes.

How do I develop a healthy relationship with exercise? I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum – over exercising and not exercising at all. What should I do?

Moving our bodies is certainly something that can make us feel really good. However, as you’ve experienced, over-exercising can lead to a negative relationship with exercise and be quite detrimental to physical health. It is not uncommon for those who over-exercise to also have periods of no exercise and it can be very difficult to find a healthy balance. Firstly, we advise speaking to your doctor and an exercise physiologist to check it is safe for you to re-commence exercising. Over-exercising places you at risk of repetitive strain injuries, stress fractures, and heart complications. If you have/are experiencing any of these, your doctor and exercise physiologist can offer safety precautions you may need to take whilst exercising. In conjunction with any recommendations from your health professionals, we strongly suggest starting slowly. Exercise at a low intensity (eg walking rather than running) and for short durations; a 10 minute walk is fine. As your body adapts, you can increase the intensity, duration, and frequency.