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You're Not Sick, You're Stressed

When I was super ill this past summer, to the point of being unable to eat anything but a banana a day and keeping it down, I was more stressed about not knowing what I had than actually being ill. I believe stressing about it caused more exaggerated symptoms than actually being ill. Once kidney issues were ruled out and thyroid, doctors being to listen to me and finally honed in on intestinal issues.

I switched doctors multiple times because none of them took me serious and all told me it was probably a Crohn's Disease type of diagnosis, but they never actually further researched. It was me who did the self diagnosis and research to find out about Leaky Gut and Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO). For SIBO, you get a breath test to confirm the bacteria overgrowth which causes an excess of gas. When bacteria feeds off of sugars and starches, it produces gas. The result of this was distension for me. Bloat is out the window. Distension is being so bloated that you essentially look pregnant, about 3 months pregnant.

This is an excerpt from a well known medical credible site regarding SIBO:

"SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small bowel. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel (the mucosa). Additionally, this damage to the small bowel mucosa can lead to leaky gut (when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, allowing large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream), which is known to have a number of potential complications including immune reactions that cause food allergies or sensitivities, generalized inflammation, and autoimmune diseases (2)."

There is a lot of misleading information out there so my best advice is to go to a doctor but make sure you trust your doctor and above all he/she listens to you. I told my first doctor that this was not my body, I was uncontrollably bloated and his response was, "You look fine to me". I am very in tune with my body and I know when something is wrong. My next advice is to log what you eat, what your reactions are and how you feel day to day. This helped me know what to avoid, what high starch and sugar foods to avoid once I could actually attempt to eat.

The reason I correlated this article with stress is because after my bodybuilding show, the cherry on top as I call it, I became swollen, retained water and put on pounds of weight so rapidly. However, before you gym heads assume I was cheating or not doing cardio, those of you who know my work ethic know that I would never let myself go, especially after months of hard work. Also, my prep for my show, much like other athletes, I had an intense tunnel vision for. I did not cheat or skip out on anything and the major problem was that I didn't allow my self to recover properly or sleep. I caused an immense amount of physical stress on my body but at the time, was going through some personal things this year which cause a lot of emotional stress. This combination of stress on my mind and body caused me to just simply crash after that show in July. My body told me screw you and had a reaction of a reverse protein release effect and cellular retention which then kicked everything into an intestinal distress.

My point is whatever you have, if you're ill or sick or have something going on you may not have a diagnosis for...

-Get a doctor's opinion

-Do research

-And above all, identify any stress you have and attempt to eliminate it

Once I eliminated my stress and learned better coping mechanisms for it, I became healthier again

Since late July until Late November of this year, I was unable to digest any type of starch or sugar. An apple made me throw up once...juicing was impossible as was a vegan diet. Then after a few months, once I had more of a diagnosis, I began eating the foods listed on the SIBO diet which were more proteins and cooked non starchy vegetables. Now, at this point, I'm back to being able to eat like I used to, clean and healthy but my body is able to process carbs such sweet potato and oatmeal. I was never into processed food but I can tell you that is definitely making a lot of people sick in our country; no question. I'll definitely address that in a further post but stress is the the culprit in this case.

Stress has been known to cause all types of illnesses, some even link it to cancer. I'm just trying to tell you that stress is heavily linked with all types of effects on the body. If you have stress, feel stressed, find an outlet; dance, sing, run, lift weights, walk, read, meditate, draw, write, volunteer...etc

For more info on SIBO click the link!

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