I do blame food a lot, but the food is not always the enemy.
A 110% strict diet is not always the only answer.
Though I preach it and will preach it until the day I die for a healthy lifestyle and as a means to control Colitis, (and everything else, by the way) I also fully understand that there are many other contributing factors to a flare-up. Here are 3 for me.
Food is not Always the Enemy
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- Lack of Exercise. Typically I don’t have this problem. I love my fitness. I love sweating. And I love making my body move and stay active. But I am no different than anyone else in regards to having “life” demands. When I get super busy with work and don’t carve out movement time or am traveling, I, too have a lack of movement. This lack of movement always is a contributing factor to my flare-ups, perhaps not causing the flare-up, but instead intensifying it. Our bodies were designed to move. For me, the effect of sedentary is a less than optimal for a properly functioning digestive system. Typically the best forms of exercise for me to keep my digestive system on track are walking, running and yoga of sorts. (p.s. But also, too much exercise is also harmful.)
- Lack of Sleep. We all hear about it – “sleep is so important.” But just because you know it, doesn’t mean you believe it and act upon it. Again, this is typically not something I have a problem with. Usually, I am sleeping no later than 9 pm and naturally wake up between 5 and 6 am. At a minimum, I average 8 hours of sleep. That’s perfect for me. But I notice that just prior to and/or during my flare-ups, I average 5-6 hours sleep/night. I don’t function that way, and after just even a couple nights on that I get sick. Adequate sleep restores and repairs. You need it more than you think, especially if you have any kind of illness.
- Stress. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about people with Crohn’s and Colitis say that stress led them to a flare up or intensified the flare-up once it showed its ugly face. They aren’t making this up in their heads. It’s the truth. And stress plays such a huge part, a much larger part than we think or know. It’s all part of the Brain-Gut Connection, and this connection not only fascinates me but I also resonate with it deeply. It’s like clockwork with me really. Like I mentioned before, stress doesn’t even necessarily have to be negative. It could just be any one of many outside factors. But stress is stress, and when our bodies are under it the reaction is never a positive one. The body knows it’s not natural to have it for days at a time. (Click HERE for 28 ways to reduce stress.)
Food is not always the enemy. I promise…..sometimes you have to look beyond that delicious donut.
I’m interested to hear from you as well. What are the contributing factors that make you unwell?