Thursday, 19 December 2013

A visit to the Dietitian

Today I had an appointment with a dietitian. In preparation for this appointment, last night I googled 'questions to ask a dietician' and came up with some, well, unusual responses.
  • Ask what your BMR is
  • Ask what your BMI is
  • Ask what your TDEE is
Wow! You might as well have told me to ask what my C3PO is for all the sense that the above made to me! Surely diet is a bit more simple than that?

As most will know, I have Ulcerative Colitis which does cause a little bit of trouble for me in the bowel department. Most people conclude that diet plays little to no part in the causing of, or the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis. Now I'm not a medical professional - far from it - but I have never been able to understand why most experts believe that what you eat doesn't make a difference to a disease that is all about the bowel. But that's just me.

So, being one to ignore people and find things out for myself, I have, over the last 7 years (since diagnosis) tried a variety of elimination diets to determine what I can and cannot eat. Or should and should not eat. Unfortunately, even by keeping a detailed food diary, I couldn't pinpoint any particular foods or groups of food that consistently had an effect on how I felt physically.

I was coming to the conclusion that all foods hated me.

Then, of course, there is the link with mental health. When I'm feeling low, that certainly does affect what I eat, how much I eat and if I eat. And how I feel afterwards.

So - what to do? My doctor decided to refer me to the dietitian for some help and advice and I was keen to go.

Other than the rather baffling questions above - I specifically wanted to know whether I was intolerant to gluten, to lactose or some other crazy thing! Basically, what should I eat, or not eat, to make me feel better?

This is probably a good time to mention, rather ashamedly, that my diet is, erm, not the best. I don't drink a lot of fizzy juices, I don't eat takeaways and I don't tend to drink alcohol. Good? Well...

I do eat a lot of chocolate, sweets and chocolate. Oh, and chocolate.

If I'm ever too tired to eat, don't have anything planned or am just looking for a pick me up, I turn to chocolate. Sure it hurts my stomach, but so does most food and I figure that at least I'm not eating full meals AND chocolate!

I know, I know - it all sounds a wee bit silly when you write it down but, as the dietitian mentioned today, food is such a big part of our lives, but it's also routine. You can almost switch off when you're doing it because it's so... normal.

So, the dietitian...

I went in and told my story, as above. She then asked me the question that I had dreaded - what have you eaten today? I answered truthfully that I had eaten an apple. And a chocolate orange. By this time it was 2.30pm so there were more things about that statement that were shameful than you would first think. I was trying to defend myself when I realised that my excuse was that I wouldn't have had the chocolate orange but my colleague didn't want to eat his birthday cake until the afternoon so I had to have something other than cake for breakfast/lunch.

As excuses go - it's pretty shit.

Luckily for me, the dietitian has seen it all - heard it all.

Then she said something that surprised me. She said that my first issue is making sure that I eat consistently.

What - does it not matter what I eat?

Of course it does but I was told to take it one step at a time. My first task is to eat consistently.

As the dietitian pointed out, on some mornings I'm eating breakfast, and others not. Then sometimes I eat lunch at 12noon, sometimes 1.30pm and sometimes not at all. Tea is rather the same story. So, my bowels, already not in pristine health, are being overwhelmed. When will she eat? What will she eat? It's very possible that my stomach isn't reacting to the food itself, but the fact that sometimes it gets healthy food, sometimes it gets unhealthy food and sometimes nothing at all.

It's an interesting thought and one which I hadn't actually considered before.

So, before I can decide if I have any intolerances, I have to make sure my body knows when it will get food and to feed it with consistent portions with protein, veggies and carbs in each meal. Only then will my stomach settle down enough to be able to conclusively say whether it's the food that affecting me or just the inconsistent diet and schedule.

So, as appointments go - it was useful.

And at least she didn't tell me to avoid chocolate, biscuits and good stuff over the Christmas period! Double bonus!


  1. I liked how she gave a sensible but "do-able" suggestion. Hopefully you'll be able to do what she suggested. :o)

  2. I hope so, too! Fingers crossed! :D


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