Part 2: Fasting and diet, my one-two punch out of my most recent Crohn’s flare up

cover image for blog article titled Fasting and Diet, my one-two punch out of a Crohn's flare

Part 2 is here! Well, technically, it’s parts 3, 4, and 5 of what I did to help pull me out of my latest Crohn’s Disease mini flare up. If you didn’t read last week’s post, I encourage you to go back and read it, as it paints the picture for what got me into this flare and the key changes I made in my diet to pull me out of it. So, without further delay, let’s pick up where we left off!

Part 3, Supplements:
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how much certain supplements are helping with our overall health; most times we don’t have objective measurements. But, I know from my own experiences of starting and stopping various supplements, I have felt better and seen improvements in my gut health when I take specific ones on a regular basis. So, here’s my own personal all-star lineup of supplements that I added back into my daily routine: CBD oil capsules from Lazarus Naturals and the full line of Intestinal Fortitude supplements (PRO-B11 (probiotic), AI-5 (anti-inflammatory), GLR-6 (gut lining repair)).

Part 4, Fitness:
Fitness has played a major role in my life since I was a child, but as an adult, I’ve found that it definitely helps in my overall management of Crohn’s Disease. I believe that keeping my body strong helps it to be more resilient and boosts my immune system (as long as I don’t overdo it!) and mood. My energy improves when I’m active and I feel better overall. As I battled with fatigue over the past few months, however, it was harder for me to workout on a daily basis. This is when I really started to notice the power of just moving and simply being active. For the past four weeks, I’ve focused on walking (aiming for 8,000-10,000 steps a day), rebounding, and doing a few basic strength training moves throughout the week (like pushups, resistance band squats, leg raises, and some basic upper body exercises with dumbbells).

Exercise helps digestion and has countless benefits for the body and mind. It really doesn’t matter what you do–strength training, yoga, walking, CrossFit, running–just pick something you enjoy and do it! Our bodies are like machines, they need to be used and maintained on a regular basis…otherwise they just rust, gunk settles in all the wrong places, lines get clogged, and then they just won’t start! So, use your body–move it, stretch it, push it, strengthen it, love it and care for it.

Photo collage of stephanie rebounding and showing off her step tracker watch

Part 5, Sleep:
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard how important sleep is to our health. It’s the time our bodies have to rest and repair; it’s critical to good health. Yet for the majority of my life, I’ve pushed the limits of what I can get by with. Always focused on trying to get one more thing done before bed…or waking up early to get ahead, make progress toward goals, and go, go, go. But this latest mini flare and fatigue have been a wake-up call. Now, for the first time in my life, I’m prioritizing my sleep and have set a schedule to go to bed by 10 pm and wake up at 6 am. Yes, I’m losing a couple of precious hours in the day to work toward personal goals and activities, but I’m gaining something even more valuable…better health.

I don’t roll out of bed anymore, feeling fatigued upon waking. But rather, I wake up most days feeling refreshed, stronger, and happier. Less time awake simply means that I have to prioritize things more so that I have time to accomplish what’s at the top of my list. I’ve also shifted my focus and trained myself to think in terms of “I want to” vs. “I need to.” With less time in the day, I have to emotionally be OK with accomplishing less. This isn’t a bad thing, because my body desperately needs the time to rest and repair. So rather than thinking that I need to get XYZ done today (from blogging to laundry), I tell myself that I want to get certain things done today and write out what’s at the top of that list. It may seem like a small shift, but it has made a huge difference for me in reducing stress and enjoying the days more.

The Overall Results:
It’s been just over four weeks now that I have been following this new routine of fasting, diet, supplementation, fitness, and sleep and, bottom line, I feel awesome!

One thing I didn’t expect to happen is that my energy levels have returned to normal. I’ve been battling extreme fatigue like I’ve never felt before since about April and after a week into this new routine, I started feeling like my old self again. I’m looking forward to my workouts, I’m not dragging myself up the stairs, and I don’t wake up exhausted.

My digestion is on point again. No more diarrhea, blood, or mucus and all the bloating and pain went away after that first week. There were significant improvements in my constipation over the first couple of weeks and it has continued to improve throughout the past four weeks. Most people may not understand (but I know my fellow Crohnies do) how amazing it feels and uplifting it is to have a normal bowel movement. Honestly, I feel like I’m on top of the world when my GI system is functioning the way it should. While bathroom habits and bowel movements are not the entire picture of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it is a major part of it (I mean, it is in the name after all…). So, I’ll just leave it at that 😉

I’ve also continued to monitor my ketones and blood glucose (mostly because I like to measure and track them because I find it interesting) and have found that I continue to produce ketones and my blood glucose actually seems to be more stable, hanging out in the high 70s and 80s.

All in all, my mini flare is gone and I’m feeling like myself again. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up the modified alternate daily fast, but it has actually been easy and I’m enjoying the rhythm. While I don’t eat a wide variety of foods, I enjoy what I do eat and appreciate the nourishment it gives me. I try to focus on keeping things simple and continue to learn ways to improve my life in every way I can–from having more gratitude and better sleep to discovering what foods I tolerate well and even how to be a better person. We’re all so different with how our bodies respond to diet, exercise, and disease, so my simple hope is that while everything I do may not fit into your life or resonate with you, I hope that maybe just a small part of my journey will help you along your own. <3

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