How I took control of daily indigestion and heartburn?

I go off to sleep as soon as my head touches the pillow. And sleep uninterrupted for 6 hours. Blissful, isn’t it?

It was not always the case. When I had first landed in Mumbai 15 years ago as a new bride, and started working immediately, I came home at 11 pm, had dinner at 11:30 and went to sleep at 12:30-1 am. Most nights I woke up with an unbearable stomach pain due to indigestion and heartburn. I popped an antacid first thing in the morning, after my thyroid medication.

This continued for two years, when I started taking dinner to work. Things improved. At least, I had to stop the antacid, and the episodes of indigestion and heartburn became far and few.

When I quit job and had my daughter, I decided to work upon my body. I had aches and pains not fit for a 32-year old. I started exercising and ate more consciously. Things improved drastically. No more indigestion and heartburn.

However, as I turned 40, I realised my metabolism was not the same as in my 20s and 30s. Bloating became a regular feature. And there were a few socially embarrassing moments as well. I realised what had worked in the past wouldn’t work now and that I had to take extra care of my body.

I have become more conscious now, of these 3 things.

What I eat – I cannot eat all foods, because not all foods are good for my body. Over the years, I have noticed what doesn’t work for me and I respect my body. I avoid cauliflower, chickpeas, caffeine, dairy and all those foods that are difficult to digest post evenings or that cause bloating.

When I eat – I try to eat immediately after the sun sets. It gives me a good couple of hours to digest my food, until it is time to sleep. Again, I start eating the next day around mid-morning-noon. I observe intermittent fasting for 14-16 hours. It helps me shorten my window of eating, which translates to eating less but mindfully. Also, I brush my teeth immediately after eating dinner (I have this unwritten rule for the last 30 years – once you brush, you can’t drink elixir even if it’s offered by the God Himself/Herself).

How much I eat – I was never a big eater, but now I know my limit. I take a little amount of food on my plate; that way I am not tempted to finish my plate.

Here are a few rules to eating that I follow religiously –

  • Do not eat as if there is no tomorrow.
  • Don’t overstuff just because it’s your favourite food. Your tongue knows the taste, your stomach doesn’t.
  • Make your stomach/gut the master of you, and not your tongue.
  • Stop eating when you are still a bit hungry.
  • Stop eating if you feel full even if the plate is unfinished. Better to dump in a dustbin than in your stomach.
  • Do not eat just because it’s placed before you.
  • Indulge mindfully. I can go to a chocolaterie and come out without tasting a single chocolate. Yes, chocolates are not my most fav foods, and if I have to eat a sweet, I’d rather indulge in an ice cream or a sondesh.

I eat at 8, sleep at 10 and observe 14-16 hours intermittent fasting. And to tell you the truth, my bloating is very much in control now.

There are times when I still eat something that doesn’t agree with me or have coffee post 6 pm. And regret in the night. But we are all humans, after all. These episodes thankfully occur once in a blood moon.  

I care for my body. I respect my body. I love my body. Just follow these 3 mantras and you will see your body getting in a better shape.