We caught up with Lottie Drynan aka The Tummy Diaries to discuss body and mind positivity, personal goals, IBS, staying confident and of course her favourite Hirestreet rentals!
You use your platform to encourage body and mind positivity in particular from the point of view of somebody with IBS. For those who don’t know, can you give a brief overview of what it is like to live with IBS? What are the challenges you face both physically and mentally?
I think what a lot of people don’t understand about IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), whether they have the illness or not, is that it’s not just a physical condition. Yes it often involves bloating, stomach discomfort and other physical symptoms, but it can have a big psychological impact too. IBS is an illness that means our organs all appear fine but there is a miscommunication between our gut and our brain. I like to think about it as our gut and brain are constantly talking to each other, but for those of us who have IBS, they’ve had a falling out and they’re no longer working together for the greater good.
As IBS is used as this umbrella term for when our gut and brain aren’t friends, it can mean everyone’s triggers and symptoms are different. And there’s not a one size fits all method for managing it. For me, my biggest trigger is stress, and my most common symptom is bloating. I suffer with anxiety (as a big percentage of IBS patients do) and a bad anxious spell can trigger flare-ups lasting of as long as a few weeks. It took me a good few years to figure out stress was my biggest trigger but now I understand that, I’ve developed better ways to manage it such as mediation, getting a good night’s sleep, exercise etc. However, it has meant that as I always have this in the back of my mind I have built up my own “ IBS tool-kit”, including my trusty “my bloated wardrobe”.
What are your personal goals over the next few years?
My biggest passion has always been people; spreading happiness and helping others. I am so grateful to be able to use my personal story and learnings to help make it that little bit easier for anyone going through a similar journey. I do this via my Instagram @thetummydiaries and my new account @youvegutthis but I wanted to take it one step further. So I’ve just launched the ‘My Tummy Diary’. This is a dietitian accredited diary-book hybrid that encourages women who live with gut health conditions to use a 360 degree approach to their lifestyle to help pinpoint any triggers of their symptoms. It’s packed out with tips and resources along with three months’ worth of diary pages to help you track your diet, stress, sleep, movement and more. It’s taken me about eight months to write so this is going to be a big focus for me, getting it out to more people and hopefully improving the gut health, mindset and overall wellbeing of so many others.
As an events manager by day I also love events so I’m a planning on hosting lots more (when all this is over!!) that bring people together; opening up the conversation of IBS and chronic illnesses, positive body image and confidence, and just helping people feel less alone.
You do such a great job at encouraging positivity, as well as appearing to live such a full and fun life despite IBS challenges, it’s really inspiring! How do you maintain such a positive outlook, how you cope with the more difficult days?
Thank you!! I think one of the biggest things for me is talking to myself how I would talk to others. If I’m having a difficult time I try to treat myself with kindness and patience I would if it was my best friend going through the same, and not beat myself up about it. I think especially when living with an unpredictable chronic illness, you have to take things one day at a time – there may be setbacks but that’s okay, you have tomorrow. I have kept a journal for a few years and find the process of transferring my thoughts and any worries whilst also writing positive affirmations and goals keep my mind on the right track. In the past year I’ve also started meditating and that has really helped keep me calm.
We’ve loved seeing you wearing some of our gorgeous Hirestreet dresses, which has been your favourite outfit so far?
I would have to say the Bardot pink rose nala frill dress! I originally hired it for an event I was hosting that was cancelled due to COVID but I strutted around the house in it on a Friday and it made me feel fabulous! I love pink and I love frills – anything girly and pretty is my vibe!
Which Hirestreet outfits are currently in your Wishlist and what occasions do you plan to wear them for?
That’s a hard one, I love everything on your site! And am basically obsessed with anything by Talulah, but here’s my top three:
Lottie: This is the absolute PERFECT wedding guest dress!! So floaty, gorgeous and you’d need minimal accessories
Lottie: I absolutely love the colour yellow and don’t wear it enough. I’d wear this to a big garden party drinking champagne under a gazebo with a big hat (I don’t know who I think I am and I’ve never done that, but that’s what this dress deserves)
Lottie: Talulah again but I can’t not choose this one! This would be absolutely stunning on holiday with a pair of coral wedges and big earrings. Because of the deep colours I think it could be worn right through to autumn too with some darker accessories, LOVE!
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Bloat-friendly (I’m counting that as one), pretty and fun
What is something people might not know about you?
My dream dinner is gluten free pasta, butter, cheese, chives and salt
Finally, what words do you choose to live by?
Treat yourself as you would treat someone you love.