My Long Journey with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER GOING TO THE NUTRITION & WELLNESS CENTRE ..
"I had been suffering from a stomach condition (IBS) for roughly ten years before I first went to see Heba at the Nutrition and Wellness Centre. In this time I had gone from doctor to doctor, had numerous hospital visits, had tried acupuncture, meditation, Chinese medicine drinks, hypnotherapy, and many others tactics all to no avail. I found doctors were often dismissive and tended to try and attribute the causes to stress. I came up against this brick wall so many times. I would complain about my stomach, or pull out of some social occasion because I would feel too sick and people just could not understand – "oh you'll be fine after a while" they would say, or, "you're just anxious, it will go". Despite my protests that this was not all psychological, I still felt like family, friends and professionals did not understand what I was going through.
After several trips to hospital I grew even more despondent. I would wait up to 16 weeks for an appointment only to go home with no answers, having made no progress, finding myself feeling frustrated and worried that I may never find a solution.
During this time, as my symptoms grew worse, my condition began to take control of my life. As someone who has always loved food and cooking, I found that I was losing my passion for it completely. It had become an automatic response to the thought of food to think "is this going to make me feel ill for few hours or (sometimes) days?" This became so habitual that I would often put off eating for fear of it making me ill. I would not eat before leaving the house and would avoid eating out. Those times that I didn't have a choice and had to eat out, I would find myself getting anxious before eating and after would feel so intensely ill I could not carry on a conversation. I would feel nauseous, sometimes in pain, and just concentrate on breathing, and trying to appear normal. No easy task. But if I tried to explain why I was not myself I would get the same response as always – "oh you'll be fine in a bit, just let your food go down".
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So eventually I started just backing out of social occasions completely. Whilst my rational mind told me not to let my condition take control of my life, another part of me just did not want to purposely put myself in a situation that would make me feel so uncomfortable.
The longer this cycle went on, the worse my health became. I stopped sleeping properly, I wasn't eating properly and I often had no energy. I was unmotivated, irritable and felt utterly powerless to do anything about it. I was in my final year of my degree, for which I had worked incredibly hard, and all I could think about was that my condition had become so debilitating that I truly believed I would not be able to get a job once I finished, let alone hold down a job, because of my condition.
This was probably my lowest point. I felt I had tried everything and nothing had worked. Around this time, I was leafing through the Bath Chronicle and came across an article about Heba and the recently opened Nutrition and Wellness Centre. I had seen a nutritionist briefly once before and they had promised they would "fix" me within a month. I left £80 poorer, and absolutely terrified to eat anything – no soya, dairy, nuts, seeds, Quorn, etc etc. The list was huge, and for a vegetarian immensely limiting.
However, the article highlighted Heba's qualifications and experience which made me decide to try one more thing. This, it turns out, was the best decision I had made in the ten years I had suffered from this condition.
From the very first phone call onwards Heba radiated positivity, energy and enthusiasm for what she did. In our first meeting I finally felt, after all this time, that someone was listening, and really understood what I had been going through. This was such a huge relief. And immediately made me feel at ease with Heba, and most importantly made me feel I could trust her.
When I left that first meeting I felt positive about my situation for the first time in a long time. I felt like I could beat it and eventually return to my normal self. This was entirely due to Heba's ability to empower and motivate. Whilst everyone I had seen previously talked in very vague terms and never offered any concrete solutions, Heba was confident, factual, and knowledgeable about what needed to be done.
Over the course of six months I saw Heba roughly every one to two weeks. I found each appointment boosted my energy and motivation and helped me work harder towards taking control of my condition. And it was work, for both Heba, and me. Following Heba's great advice at times can be challenging. It requires strength and willpower, and sometimes it can be difficult. It can be tempting to lapse back in to old habits. But knowing what would be in store for me if I did, and also out of fear of undoing any work we had already done, I stuck to Heba's advice. What made this easier were our meetings where we would discuss how I had been for the previous week, would review my food diary and check my weight and muscle mass. To see a change on the scales each week was fantastic – more muscle and less fat. This gave me the drive to work just as hard at it the next week so I could see an even better result.
Heba's nutritional advice has been invaluable. I have learned so much about eating properly – for years (as a vegetarian) I thought I was eating pretty healthily, but it turns out a large amount of the food I had been eating had been perpetuating my condition. As part of building up my appetite again by eating regularly, and eating healthily, Heba recommended a number of Herbalife products. These made adjusting to new routines so much easier. They taste great, are quick and easy to eat and are really healthy. I still use Herbalife products every day.
All of this contributed to the changes I saw over the period of six months.
By the time I had finished my degree I was almost back to my old self again, and it felt great. People commented on the difference in how I acted and looked, I had more energy and was feeling more positive. Most importantly I felt I could work and hold down a job, which I now am.
I look back now at how difficult the last year with this condition was and to how I felt when I truly believed I would not be able to work. The change has been immense. And Heba was not only the catalyst, but was a constant driving force behind this change, and working hard at it with her has made a profound difference.
The great thing about the Nutrition and Wellness Centre and Heba is that it could work for anyone who just wants to eat healthier, feel better and have more energy. There are many positive points to the Nutrition and Wellness Centre, but what really sets it apart from other places is Heba herself. She has such energy and enthusiasm for what she does. Heba is someone who truly does what she does because she is passionate about it. Her energy is contagious and always makes you feel positive and confident that you will succeed in your goals.
So if you want to feel better, eat better and live better, then you could have no better start than with Heba at the Nutrition and Wellness Centre."