Behavior modification to heal GERD

The following is quoted from the twelfth chapter of How I Learned to Manage GERD and Live Without Acid Reflux by Jim Notto. The first chapter can be found at Before trying these strategies, or any other method or technique, for managing GERD or any other disease you should consult with a qualified physician. See the Terms of Use + warnings, cautions and sound advice before proceeding.


Behavior Modification

By Jim Notto

I knew I had to find a way to modify or eliminate trigger behaviors. Since overeating was my most pronounced trigger behavior it was the first one I went after. One of the worst trigger foods on my list was breads that are made with fermented doughs, like sourdough or some ciabatta varieties. Another was Kalamata olives in vinegar. Add these two together and I’d have acid reflux in a very painful way.

To give a good test of my “stacking triggers” theory I decided to eat a helping of each, at the same time.

I waited for a day when I was relaxed and in good spirits. I made sure I wasn’t stressed or feeling any tension in my body, and I began eating. Just one piece of ciabatta and a few olives. They were delicious. I finished them and waited. Twenty minutes later I still felt fine. An hour later, nothing. After three hours I was convinced I was on to something.

The next day I was deciding what to have for lunch when I spotted the remaining olives and ciabatta in the refrigerator. I decided to push it a little and eat my fill. And then some. I was not stressed or tense, but I was overeating. Sure enough, acid reflux. I had stacked triggers and I got the result I expected.

Fortunately I had learned a number of tricks to get me through a flareup of acid reflux, and the rest of the day was not a total wreck. And I had learned the value of not overeating. Once I was able to make the connection between overeating trigger foods and the searing pain of acid reflux, modification of that behavior came naturally and easily. The desire to avoid unnecessary pain is a useful tool in modifying behavior.

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