Eating healthy and exercising are important for our overall health. In theory, these things are supposed to make you feel better, but what do you do when they make you feel worse?

Eat What You Can

After I was diagnosed so many healthy foods had to be eliminated from my diet due to the pain they caused. Broccoli, cauliflower, peas (to be honest not too sad over this one), most beans, raw carrots, raspberries, apples with the skin, and grapefruit were out. Also eliminated was dairy, which is a huge source of calcium and important for us ladies to keep our bones strong.

In the past, I wasn’t hugely committed to taking vitamins – mainly because I ate pretty healthy. Now, I religiously take a multivitamin, plus Vitamin D with calcium to supplement what I’m not getting from my diet.

When Exercise is More Foe than Friend

Exercising is important to maintain overall good health, and it also helps with our mental well-being. Unfortunately, some of the basic common exercises trigger a flare or cause me stress.

I”ve had two babies and would love to get rid of the dreaded baby belly. Full disclosure; mine are full grown adults in their 20’s but I really feel there’s no time limit on the old “I had kids” excuse. Mind you my belly isn’t huge, but let’s just say I haven’t seen my abs for quite a few years. Crunches, sit-ups, etc. are what’s best for toning this area; however, those all hurt — and not in the I just did 100 sit-ups kind of way, but in the this is going to trigger a flare way.

Running is also great for a total body workout and excellent for keeping a healthy heart. I know I’m not alone in having many visits to the bathroom every morning, and running outside actually stresses me out. What if I have to go while I’m far from my house?

Modify, Modify, Modify!

Just like someone with a sports injury has to modify working out, so did I. I found a personal trainer (who was knowledgeable in IBD’s,) and she modified ab exercises for me that don’t trigger a flare-up. There are several ways to obtain abs without doing crunches and sit-ups, you can even accomplish this standing up! Who knew?!

Through trying different exercises, I ended up finding the ones that work for me. The running issue was solved with the purchase of a treadmill. The stress of the big what if was removed and even though it’s still not my favourite thing to do (I am a firm believer in I’m not running unless someone is chasing me with a knife), knowing that I can pause my run at any time and run to the bathroom does make it more enjoyable.

Low impact also works well for me. There are literally tons of online low impact routines you can do and Pack Health has a whole library from which your Health Advisor can recommend exercises that work for you. Low impact does not mean it won’t be effective, believe me when I say you will feel it later, even doing a low impact yoga toning workout.

Get Professional Support

When I was first diagnosed, my Doctor connected me with a nutritionist –she was a huge help. Besides the recommendation of vitamins, she also suggested I try to either juice or smoothie the fruits and veggies I could no longer eat. After trial and error, I’ve found I can have some via juicing and some via smoothies, which is better than nothing! Finding a personal trainer to help make a modified plan for me to reach my fitness goals was very helpful as well.

The really exciting news for us members? Pack Health actually has these experts on staff, and your Health Advisor can set you up with a consult!

Pack Health also gives us a day tracker. Tracking your food, exercise and what works as well as what doesn’t work is really important. As we all know, one size doesn’t fit all. Remember, your Health Advisor is your partner in this process. Keep your Health Advisor in the loop, and he or she will help you make adjustments as needed in order to reach your goals.

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