Five Ways To Lose Weight When You Have IBS

Losing weight is a common cause of frustration among people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, there is now more information available than ever, on weight loss strategies for those suffering from IBS.

Furthermore, these tactics can help you lose weight while also maximizing your digestive and overall physical health. If you have been searching for the perfect weight-loss strategy, look no more; this post is all about that.

Here are five ways to lose weight if you have IBS.

Have you considered clinical trials for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

1. Physical activity

Increasing your physical activity is a great way to improve IBS symptoms and, at the same time, lose weight. This is because exercise aids in burning more calories than you consume. Physical exercise can also help facilitate intestinal gas clearance¹.

The following forms of exercise can help you lose weight while improving symptoms.


All types of yoga follow the basic principles of connecting the body, breath, and brain via stationary poses and active movements. People who participate in yoga² have improved digestion, feel stronger, and experience fewer IBS symptoms.

Yoga is so effective because it focuses on the brain-body connection, which improves the transmission of the messages between the gut and the brain. Starters should take gentle exercises that focus on relieving stress before proceeding to the more intense yoga exercises.


Walking or taking light jogs helps burn calories and regulates blood sugar. The more steps an individual with IBS takes in a day³, the less severe their symptoms are.

Walking aids digestion; it relieves constipation and moves gases to eliminate abdominal pain. What’s more, getting some fresh air and moving is also great for your mental health.


Cycling is a great aerobic activity that is both enjoyable and quite safe. It's also a low-impact activity, meaning that cycling is a perfect form of exercise for virtually anyone.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi also connects the body, brain, and breath via slow, graceful movements that are accompanied by deep breaths. According to one study, people who did Tai Chi experienced less severe IBS symptoms⁴. Individuals with IBS have problems regulating digestive stress, but Tai Chi helps calm everything.


Swimming gets your legs, arms, and core on the move. It also forces you to concentrate on your breathing, reducing your cortisol stress levels, boosting endorphins, and creating a feeling of calm. It also reduces anxiety and stress⁵ in older people, two common triggers of IBS symptoms.

2. Try low-FODMAPs

Fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPS) are short-chain carbohydrates present in many foods. People with IBS should consume a diet that has low or no FODMAP content.

Vegetables and fruits are nutritious, satisfiers and fillers, and eating more can help in weight loss. Consider eating more low-FODMAP vegetables and fruits such as avocados, kale, tomatoes, and bananas.

Foods with high fiber content keep you full for a longer period, a key strategy in losing weight. However, adding more fiber should be gradual, otherwise, drastic increases⁶ may cause abdominal pain and gas in individuals with IBS.

3. Drink enough water

Your body requires sufficient water intake to function properly. Unfortunately, many people simply do not drink enough water and fail to recognize the signals that their body sends out when dehydrated.

For instance, on occasion, you may think you are hungry, yet you’re thirsty! Therefore, before grabbing a snack, drink a full glass of water, and perhaps you will realize you didn't need that snack after all. Hydration helps with IBS⁷ by keeping your stool soft if you have constipation.

Inadequate water in the body contributes to hard stool since the body compensates by pulling water from the stool. What’s more, people with diarrhea-predominant IBS greatly benefit from drinking more water, as this replaces lost fluids.

4. Avoid junk foods

Junk foods may be tasty and time-saving but they ruin your health. Fast foods and many snacks contain unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, excess sugars, and chemicals such as food stabilizers and colorings. These lead to weight gain and also intensify IBS symptoms⁸.

One way to avoid junk and fast foods is by cooking at home when possible. Also, avoid buying packaged foods that have a long shelf life, since they often contain preservatives that may be harmful to your body.

5. Take protein over carbs

If you battle with cravings, go for protein over carbs. Proteins do not spike your blood sugar levels and are easy to digest, thus won't trigger IBS symptoms. Choose proteins such as beef, eggs, nuts, chicken, seafood, seeds, yogurt, and pork. If you are a vegetarian with IBS, try tofu, seitan, and tempeh⁹ to get your protein hit.

The lowdown

Weight loss for people with IBS is very possible.

We recommend implementing methods such as choosing protein over carbs, trying low-FODMAP foods, drinking plenty of water,  avoiding junk food, and increasing physical activity in your everyday routine to successfully manage and even lose weight.

Have you considered clinical trials for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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