Fiber: The Secret To Your Health That You Never Knew About

Sep 28

Fiber: The Secret To Your Health That You Never Knew About

A few weeks ago, I visited with a nutritionist to discuss my ongoing health issues and weight loss journey. If y’all don’t follow me on Instagram, you might have missed how I’ve been, lately.

Here’s a recent post …

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I could use some prayers. 🙏 The truth is: I’m not okay. I haven’t been okay in a long time. Yesterday I realized in therapy that I’ve essentially been in flight or fight mode for years – constantly on alert, constantly on edge, constantly waiting for whatever trauma is coming next. This constant stress and anxiety has NOT been good on my heart, my body, my soul or my mind. I’ve lost nearly all of my IRL friends, I’ve closed my photography business, I’ve gained an extra 70 pounds and was diagnosed with mild pre-diabetes a couple weeks ago, I stopped going to church after my cancer diagnosis, I’ve been in near-constant pain with my shoulder, neck, hips and hands for years and there have been some really terrible days where I’ve honestly asked myself, “what’s the point anymore?”.

I decided a few weeks ago to get back on anti-anxiety medication because I hit rock bottom. I’ve seen a zillion different doctors, had MRIs and x-rays, I’ve gone to physical therapy twice a week for months … all trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Why I’m constantly hurting, why I get headaches often and out of nowhere, why my digestive system is constantly in uproar with no rhyme or reason why, why I struggle to sleep even though I’m exhausted, why my memory has gone to shit, even why my hands tingle and feel cold even though they’re not. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck every single day, and I’m so, so tired. And after literally crossing off every other diagnosis possible, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia this week. Fibromyalgia is literally caused by stress, and there is no cure. Super. 😣

Stress does ugly, terrible, awful things to the body and being someone who literally has been swimming in stress for most of my life – I’m totally drawing a blank on how to NOT be stressed. I have more cortisol floating through my veins than blood, I’m pretty sure. Bless. I’m honestly not sure how I am going to reduce my stress load, nor do I know how to even begin exercising. But I know that it’s something I *have* to do, because I’m sick of living life like this. I’m going to be sharing a LOT about this battle for my life, so – buckle up. It’s about to get real. 🥴

A post shared by Ashley Durham (@xoashdurham) on


It was shortly after I shared this super vulnerable post that I had the opportunity to meet up with a nutritionist. During my visit with her, I shared with her my typical diet and (lack of) exercise and discussed my goals. What are my goals? First and foremost, to stop feeling like crap all the time. Having chronic IBS, recently diagnosed fibromyalgia and pre-diabetes, constant heartburn, headaches, exhaustion … I want it to stop. I want to lose weight, and get down to a healthier size. And most importantly: I don’t want to hurt anymore.

The nutritionist sat there nodding her head because she knew exactly one of the root causes of some of my issues. In fact, she said 90% of her client’s had the same exact problem with the same exact solution.

Fiber: The Secret To Your Health That You Never Knew About

You see, the nutritionist recognized that even though my diet wasn’t really high in carbs or in fat, it was dangerously low in FIBER. What exactly is fiber?

Fiber, also known as roughage, is the part of plant-based foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans) that the body can’t break down. It passes through the body undigested, keeping your digestive system clean and healthy, easing bowel movements, and flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.Help Guide

Sounds pretty important, right? After looking over my recent meals with my nutritionist, I had no idea how little fiber I was eating. Sure – it was low carb or low fat but the food I was eating wasn’t really doing anything for me; I wasn’t fueling my body and my body has not been too happy as a result.

So my nutritionist suggested I start incorporating more fiber into my diet by switching out my favorite foods with higher fiber options. For example, instead of having a regular English muffin with breakfast, I’ve switched to the Thomas’ Light Multi-Grain version. We eat a ton of Mexican inspired foods in our house, and I was stoked that Mission’s Carb Balance Soft Taco tortillas are filled with fiber, and don’t taste like cardboard (which is what low carb tortillas used to taste like a few years ago). 

Instead of eating all different kinds of fruits, I’ve focused on blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and eating apples with the skins still on. I even started adding seeds and nuts to salads! 

There’s so many easy ways to sneak fiber into my diet, all without having to choke down fiber supplements. Here’s a high fiber food infographic that I found on Pinterest, which basically highlights all the foods my nutritionist told me to eat (minus the edaname, because that is soy and soy is bad bad bad for people with thyroid issues like me).

high fiber foods infographic

What Happens When You Eat More Fiber?

Well … for one … things get better. A whole lot better.

First of all, my GI issues have modestly improved. I’m still getting heartburn and there are certainly side effects from beans and other forms of fiber ((💩)). BUT! I’m feeling better. 

I’m feeling more full and satisfied after meals, and I’m staying full longer. I don’t feel absolutely starving 12 minutes after I get done eating, which is great. Why? Because since I’ve incorporated more fiber into my diet a few weeks ago, I’ve already dropped about 10 pounds. 

Simply by switching to higher fiber options, and making sure I’m getting about 25-30 grams of fiber a day.

Fiber: The Secret To Your Health That You Never Knew About

So, if you’re struggling with GI issues and wanting to lose some weight, try switching up some of your meals to include more fiber!