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Hi, I’m Joyce! Welcome to the Hungry Caterpillar.

Since I started this blog in January 2016, it’s chronicled my navigation of the tricky world of recovering from an eating disorder–with severe IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.

I’ve had bouts of IBS going back as early as 13 or 14. I remember regularly taking baking soda and Pepto-Bismol for the pain and discomfort. (That didn’t work, by the way.) When I got to college, my confusing, distended, sometimes very painful GI distress was paired with a heightened awareness of calories, exercise, and a lot of the false notions our society believes about “health” and “beauty.” As the GI issues increased, I frequently conflated them with what I believed must be overeating; why would I feel so uncomfortable if I hadn’t done something wrong, I reasoned?

And so I set out on a mission to eat less, and less, and exercise more, and more. But of course, that only led my GI issues to increase, leading to a vicious cycle of restriction, and ultimately, anorexia. You can read more about all that here.

Today, I’m mostly recovered. Although I write a lot about what exactly being “recovered” means–I see it as a rather dynamic, rather than static, state, although total recovery remains my ultimate goal.

I now advocate for intuitive eating, body positivity, and Health at Every Size. I believe that humans of all shapes and sizes can be healthy and that all bodies are worthy of love and respect.

Along the way to recovery, I also chose to try the low-FODMAP diet for IBS and that it helped a lot. Low-FODMAP is a diet in the same way that the gluten-free diet is a special accommodation for Celiac disease, not in the way that the Atkin’s diet is a diet for weight loss; you can read more about it here.

Still, low-FODMAP is very restrictive, I often feel conflicted about sharing the fact that I follow this diet here on my blog when so many of my readers are still learning to be okay with eating anything and everything. At the end of the day, I believe that, due to the severity of my IBS and the fact that restricting specific kinds of foods was not a major part of my eating disorder, low-FODMAP is the right thing for me, but it isn’t the right thing for most people, not even everyone with IBS.

Even though I eat what’s called a modified low-FODMAP diet, I do my best to eat normally, eat foods I enjoy, and eat as wide of a variety of foods as possible. Here on the blog, I post many of the low-FODMAP recipes I create or modify.

Beyond what I eat–and yes, what I even choose not to eat–I’m…well, a lot. Between about 8:00 and 5:00 every day, I’m a first-year college writing teacher–plus sometimes on the weekends when the semester gets crazy. I have a master’s degree in creative nonfiction writing. And when I’m not a teacher or a writer or a blogger, I swing dance, ride my bike, read good books, do puzzles and play board games, watch lots of Star Trek, spend way too much time looking at pictures of teapots on Pinterest, go hiking in the mountains near Fort Collins, where I live, and generally do my best to enjoy my life.About the Hungry Caterpillar: a blog about eating disorder recovery, IBS, and the low-FODMAP diet

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Hope you’ll join me on my hungry, hungry adventures!

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