If you’re ready to make lasting, impactful change when it comes to your Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2021, this is the episode for you. Today we’re dishing on why it’s time to ditch that New Year’s Resolution (before it fails you) and swap it out with my simple 3-Step Solution to finally get a handle on the real action steps that can put Crohn’s and colitis on the back burner for good.
In this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into what it actually takes to make lasting positive changes to bust your IBD challenges wide open and finally find peace and health in the new year (trust me, it isn’t what you think)…
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After the episode, you’ll be saying goodbye to any New Year’s Resolutions you reluctantly made regarding your Crohn’s or colitis and hello to a real step-by-step plan that actually works when gut healing is your goal.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode:
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INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.[music]
[00:51] Hey there dear one, we’re back!!! Feels good to be back with you in a new year. And to 2020 all I have to say is… so long, farewell, don’t let the door hit you in the uh-hmm on the way out… If you’re in the Gut Love Community, our free tribe for moms with IBD, you already know that December was a very difficult month for me with my mom and best friend being put on hospice. I took time off last month to be 100% with her during this time and it was the best decision for me. I talk about my mom a lot here on the podcast and I feel like you know her so just a quick update that she’s still hanging in there, ever the fighter that I’ve know her to be my whole life. I wouldn’t expect any less from the tough as nails lady she it. I so appreciate all your kind shout outs and emails throughout last month. Your support has gotten me through some really difficult days.
But since I’m a woman and we’re known for our complex emotional range, I’m also finding myself feeling so blessed and thrilled to be back with you again. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in 2021—taking a huge bite out of this crap illness we’ve been saddled with—and I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2021 is your year to crumble the walls of the cruelty on this illness and demolish it once and for all.
Can I get an Amen?
Let’s start this year right by ditching any New Year’s resolutions that are probably already letting you down. As we all know, that’s the thing about resolutions, on Jan 1 we feel like even though we know that historically resolutions fail for everyone, we’re going to be the special one, the one who succeeds above all the odds, above a Vegas sized deck of cards that’s stacked in the dealer’s favor.
What if I told you that you don’t have to hold up that resolution anymore? What if I told you, you can go ahead and let go of it today? What if I told you that it would actually serve you better to drop that resolution like a hot potato right now?
Go ahead, do it. I dare you! Picture yourself dropping that damn potato. Awesome. You go girl.
Did you do it? Good, now that we’ve taken care of that, the real work, the work that’s actually going to move the needle can begin. Today on the podcast, we’re diving into the myth of the New Year’s resolution and what is so much more beneficial to do instead. We’ll start our conversation with why New Year’s Resolutions always fail you (yep, that’s right, they fail you, not the other way around), then we’ll move into what would be a much better use of your time if your ready to make big and lasting IBD strides in 2021, and finally I’ll set you up with my 3-Step Solution to put IBD in its place in 2021.
Let’s do it!
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FAILURE
[04:49] First, let’s dive into the psychology of the resolution and why they are destined to fail you. There’s so much weight put on resolutions, isn’t there. It’s this big process full of pomp and circumstance. People all around you asking, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” Man, that’s a lot of pressure. Not only do you have the pressure to pick the best thing to change about yourself, but then you have to live up to the change 24/7, and if you don’t, it’s because you didn’t have enough willpower. Resolutions are all about setting yourself up for a failure due to everyone’s high expectations. They needlessly create a platform with a long way to fall, so when we don’t accomplish our goal, we feel like a failure and or course we never want to repeat that again.
If we think about the psychology of how human mind and how the brain actually operates, we realize that resolutions are not actually in line with how our brain functions. The human brain is much more designed for baby step, incremental change, and big, bold, New Year’s Resolutions never allow for baby steps or failure. It’s all about December 31st—no exercise, bump on the log watching Netflix all day in your pajamas to Jan 1st—I’ll work out 7 days a week, 30 minutes minimum and I’ll stop binge watch so much streaming content—and get out of those pj’s!!! No plan, no step by step, but I sure do have the willpower! Actually, we don’t. Humans don’t. We are wired that way.
Here’s my “instead of a resolution” proposal for you to mull over.
[07:16] If, when January 1st rolls around every year, and you feel like you HAVE to instead of WANT to make a change, it’s not your time. Don’t push it. Just think of there being 365 January 1st’s in the year. And each one of those days is just as good as the next. And in all honesty, who would blame you for not feeling it in the New Year’s Resolution department coming out of the 2020 we’ve had. It’s hard enough to get out of our pajamas every day. Who can think about long term goal anyway?
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?
So now that we’ve absolutely ditched the New Year’s Resolution and we know why we’re doing it, the question becomes what should we do instead? Instead of making big bold declarations about what you’ll change, I want you to spend your time daydreaming. Yep, allow yourself to just daydream in whatever form that takes for you. It could be journaling about your hopes and dreams, and of course you can use the method I’m describing for anything you want to change, but for this podcast, we’re focusing on Crohn’s and colitis, of course! So, in your daydreaming about your gut health, some questions you might want to ponder might include: What are you hopeful will happen with your IBD? What are you most scared of? What’s giving you the most trouble right now? Or it might be that every time a thought pops into your head about a supplement you’ve heard of or a food or a diet you want to know more about, you just put it in the notes section of your phone. Daydreaming could also take the form of a conversation with your spouse, or your best friend, or your mom—whoever you confide in about the realities of your illness. In this conversation, you get real about what’s working and what’s not and where you are hoping to make lasting change. Remember though, this part is just about dreaming, not doing.
See how lose this can be? It’s about appreciating the things that are going well in the world of your IBD and dreaming about the positive changes you want to make on an ongoing basis so when the time is right you, you have everything you need to get started. And doing all of this in a way that works for your life.
KEEP IT LOSE, BUT STICK WITH THESE NON-NEGOTIABLES
[10:30] There’s no timetable here. No pressure to come up with the best solution or resolution. Just a belief in 3 non-negotiables– #1: The change or changes you want to make are about the journey, not the destination. And if you’re uncertain or annoyed with this statement, stay tuned, I promise, I’ll convince you that that attitude will actually get you more results. #2: Trust the process. Don’t push this to happen, like a January 1st resolution might do to you. No pressure. The goals you want to set for yourself or the changes you’re thinking of making, they will come to light when you’re ready for change. And lastly #3: Accept failure and missteps. This is harder than it sounds for most IBD mamas I know. Failure and missteps are part of the journey towards positive change. Just know that you will take detours and not all will pan out in the moment, even with the best intensions. But when we stick with our non-negotiables and stay true to our personal journey, we know we are on the right path.
OK, now that we have our non-negotiables straight, it’s time to decide how all that daydreaming will work best for you. Are you already a journal gal? Do you have a hubby with an ear that bends easily? Are you attached to your phone all the time, making notes about everything? As we move on the actual 3-step solution to make 2021 the year you get control over your Crohn’s and colitis, let the gears start turning. Are they turning for you? Great, now put that thought in the back of your mind to marinate, while I fill you in on your 3-Step Solution.
Remember I mentioned earlier when we were talking about the psychology of resolutions and making change that our human brains don’t work the way New Year’s tells us to do it? That our brains aren’t designed superhuman massive all at once changes, but more for baby step solutions? Well, the beauty of those baby step solutions is that they can lead to monster results when done properly and my 3-Step Solution to put IBD in its place in 2021 is all you need to turn targeted baby steps into huge leaps that positively impact your health this year.
Time for the awesome sauce mama. Let’s dive into the best, most actional part to make change you’ll stick with and be invested in to help your IBD heal. Got a pen and paper? Good cause you’re going to love this 3-Step mindset hack.
YOUR’RE GOING TO LOVE HOW SIMPLE THIS PLAN IS
Step # 1: Get crystal clear on the right baby step to take.
[14:01] This step all goes back to your daydreaming about what’s working and what you want to change about your gut health. You know, when I ask moms I work with, “What are your goals with regard to your Crohn’s or colitis?”– The thing I hear from most moms is “I want to feel better” Although this is a true statement for all of us IBD moms, it doesn’t really get you anywhere. Because this statement alone is absolutely all encompassing and overwhelming—FEEL better could mean a lot–physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally—maybe even all of the above. And tackling all of these desires all at once is an insanely daunting task, isn’t it? There’s just so much to fix before you get to “feeling better”.
Instead of spinning your wheels and failing at tackling “I want to feel better”, I challenge you to go further by asking, “What would that look like to you?” What would feeling better actually look like for you? And once you figure out exactly what that means to you, I want you to embrace digging deep into the baby steps for what would make that happen change happen.
A CASE STUDY YOU CAN USE TO CREATE YOUR OWN HEALING PLAN
[15:55] I don’t want to move on from step #1 until I really show you what it looks like because skipping this step will keep everything from working when it comes to healing your IBD. Let me really paint the picture of what this would look like for you with a client story- Mikaela, not her real name to protect her privacy, was a 32-year-old who came to work with me after being diagnosed with Crohn’s. When I asked her what her goals were for healing her IBD she told me “I want to feel better.” But when we took that thought a bit further with, “What does feel better look like for you?”, Mikaela decided it meant achieving health in 3 areas– #1 she wanted to stop feeling so bloated, gassy, and crampy in her belly after she ate, #2 she wanted to stop being so tired all the time, and #3 she wanted to put an end to the back and forth between diarrhea and constipation she kept experiencing. All good ideas. Each much more specific than “I want to feel better” right?
Now, while these are all fantastic health goals, they are quite mammoth when you think of tackling them all at once. Instead of stopping here and potentially going nowhere trying to accomplish all of these goals at once (talk about overwhelm and the possibility of inaction), Michaela and I spent time talking about each of these difficulties and sus’d out which challenge to focus on first– the one that was giving her the most trouble right now. For many moms, the answer is all of the above and if that’s the case, I encourage you to always pick the baby step that’s the low hanging fruit—the one easiest to fix.
Mikaela, she decided for her, the worst challenge at the moment was #1. She was sick and tired of feeling awful every time she ate—it was leading to her skipping meals, a very limited diet, and weight loss. She wanted to address that first. To be really clear here, know that the other problems bothered her too, but knowing that we’d get to those too, and that we’d have a much bigger shot at tackling them successfully if we took them at one baby bite at a time, she went with it, she wasn’t so overwhelmed ,and she felt more hopeful for success in diving in to this one issue.
Mikaela and I spoke about some of the things that can be helpful when IBDer’s have bloating, gas, and a cramping feeling after meals—remember my role as coach isn’t to prescribe, I leave that to the doctor, but instead I offer suggestions on well researched things I see working right now in the realm of Crohn’s and colitis.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT BLOATING, GAS, AND CRAMPING AFTER YOU EAT
In the case of bloating, gas and cramping after meals, there are several things I’ve seen work in research studies as well as with actual IBDer’s . Things like taking digestive enzymes (which are a supplement that helps break down the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in your food so you digest and absorb more nutrients) AND with your food digesting better, you then have less bloating, gas, and cramping after meals.
Other things that can work for this common IBD challenge are sipping peppermint tea after meals to relax the digestive system as it digests, making dietary changes to stay away from food sensitivities or common allergens in our foods that can cause bloating and gas after eating. Also being very conscious about not just what you eat, but HOW you eat. Chewing your food 30-40 times in your mouth before you swallow. I promise, it doesn’t take as long as it sounds, but it can big a huge factor in proper digestion. Digestion and food breakdown begins in the mouth and you can help your inflamed gut digest and absorb nutrients better by breaking them down where you have more control—with your teeth. Further broken down food particles means less gas and bloating after meals. Also in the HOW to eat realm, eating at the table with others in community with conversation and not in the car or at your desk or watching TV can be helpful. Enjoying the company of others while you eat even if it’s on zoom can help reduce gas and bloating after meals as well.
With all these ideas in mind, it was time for Mikaela to narrow down her goal into even smaller baby steps. I mentioned a lot of ideas and there’s no need to try them all for you or for Mikaela. Pick the ones that call to you first and don’t overthink it. Mikaela chose digestive enzymes and staying away from gluten and dairy. She was ready for the immediate relief enzymes can provide and she also felt strongly that foods with gluten and dairy had a negative impact on her as well, so she started there.
For you, this baby step might look completely different, even if you have the same symptoms as Mikaela. Her choice might seem too small or too big for you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 10 years coaching, it’s that everyone with IBD is truly different and what helps one mama heal is completely different than another mama- even ones with similar symptoms.
And while we’re talking about digestive enzymes, I want to mention that this supplement is not for everyone so I’m not necessarily recommending them for you—especially if you have gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach lining)—but for Mikaela this was the right first step.
Step #1, check. And if you’re following along on your journey too, you’ve already completed the most difficult of the 3 steps. You’ve whittled down, and refined, and choose a baby step, knowing you’ll come back for the rest due time. You’ve set yourself up for success!
[24:24] In Step # 2, we embrace your choice, get started on the journey, and keep track of your progress. We don’t need to do this for very long because we’ve chose the baby step approach and when we do this, patterns and changes will start to emerge quickly. In step #2, we look for patterns for about 1-3 weeks depending on the change. For the change Mikaela was making, 1 week was enough as enzymes tend to work right away if they’re going to work. The removal of dairy and gluten took a little longer for her to track, closer to the 3-week mark.
For you to successfully complete step #2, it’s important to know how to track your progress. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it’s actually really simple. Once we get started with our baby step, we track our progress in whatever way works for us in our mom life. We can journal- free hand—in a notebook for this specific purpose. I personally love this type of tracking because I’m a sucker for a cute journal. But you could also tap into the power of your phone, in the notes section, or in a notes app like Evernote, or you can get saucy and leave yourself a video selfie to tract how the change is going.
My job as a coach is being a partner with my clients to help them stay top of this tracking and to help them see patterns in the results. With Mikaela, I helped by checking her journal weekly and pointing out patterns I saw like the enzymes working well in general, but especially on days when she ate with her family as opposed to on the go when she was cooking dinner standing in the kitchen and also noticing that on mornings when she took time for her morning routine of a 10 minute deep breathing and grounding session, she had less bloating and gas after meals. This was a massive ah-a for Mikaela to see that what she ate was just as important as HOW she ate.
The bottom line in this step is to track your baby step and look for the patterns to decide how that step is working for you.
IS IT WORKING? IF NOT, IT’S TIME FOR SOME TWEAKS.
[27:51] Step #1 and 2, check. Time for Step 3—The Tweaks.
No matter what baby step you decide to make, there’s always going to be tweaks involved, after a short period of time and over the long haul too. For Mikaela in the short term, she ended up realizing that how she ate actually mattered as much as what she ate. Mikaela is a new mom and as we know, life is stressful in the early days of motherhood. When Mikaela stopped eating at the kitchen counter for her meals and instead ate when her baby ate, it was a huge shift for her. Also, and this is a fantastic part of this, overtime Mikaela was able to get off the enzymes long term when she learned more about how her body reacts with the food she was eating. Removing gluten and dairy from her diet had massive results. And when this change became more long term, she realized she didn’t even need to take the enzymes anymore.
So there you have it, you’re Simple 3-Step Solution complete. No more resolutions, no more drastic steps you don’t stick with. A simple baby step process you can use for any change you want to make but especially for changes that impact your IBD in a positive way.
LET’S REVIEW YOUR 3 STEPS
Step #1: Break down your daydreams into smaller baby steps and once you do that, break those steps down into baby step actions you can start right away.
Step #2: Find a way to track what you’re doing. A way that works for you. Journaling, short video clips, using a notes app… whatever works for you. You can’t know for sure how your change is going if you don’t track at. What patterns are emerging here? What do you notice working and what’s not working?
Step #3: Time for tweaks. Keep the good and ditch the rest. Trial and error is your best friend and tweaking allows you do just that. Embrace the journey instead of the end result and you will be rewarded with lasting progress that sticks.
After the first round of 3-Steps in complete, now, it’s time to move on to your next goal with the same method, and interestingly, when you pick the most pressing concern first, you might notice that other challenges you used to have, have, poof, vanished as well. For Michaela, goal #3 disappeared while she was working on goal #1. She didn’t have the back-and-forth diarrhea one day constipation the next poop problems anymore. Her stool firmed up and she had less frequent poops too. With that taken care of, we were able to move on to her goal # 2: The fatigue she was still feeling.
EMBRACE THE JOURNEY FOR YOUR BIGGEST HEALTH CHANGES
Through it all, and I think the reason why Michaela was so successful, is that she made these 3 steps all about the journey, not the end result. When she embraced the day to day, the journey, no matter what, she was able to learn about how her body worked along the way—the good, the bad, the ugly.
If there’s one thing that’s been the most beneficial for me in the 12 years since I made a conscious choice to choose food, lifestyle and mindset for my IBD before reaching for medicine to help my Crohn’s, it’s that I’ve learned all about how my body works. I know exactly what foods bother me. It used to be a guessing game for me. And I know that how food affects me isn’t always the same day to day. It depends on the amount of sleep I get and how stressful a period I’m in in my life. I know that I just function better throughout the day if I start with my morning meditation and yoga. I know that I have to be strict with my kids and my hubs to not use my pans or utensils, and no double dipping in the peanut butter for their pb and j sandwiches. Just that little bit of leftover crumbs in the nut butter can give me diarrhea.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned about how my body works in the last 12 years of embracing the journey instead of the destination. I listened when my body spoke to me, I took notes and went back to look for patterns. I embraced the power of cumulative baby steps instead of big resolutions, but most importantly, I made the process about the journey and not the end result. I still have missteps and bad days with my IBD. But now, I know what to do about it and it’s all because I know my body so damn well, because I relaxed, embraced my inner tortoise, and let it flow. You can do this too. You can be the tortoise and let big results slowly flow your way.
Don’t listen to the snake oil salesman who tells you they have the “cure” for IBD. Trust me, they don’t. It takes time to really get a handle on your IBD, embrace the many ups and downs, but when you commit to the journey, the results will be even better than the promise of a quick fix.
Are you thinking about your biggest struggles and how this 3-Step Solution might work for you? I know that the regular IBD mom might listen to this episode and say, huh, interesting and move on. But not you, not you, because you are not going to let this information lie here.
[34:37] You’re going to do it like a mom.
No matter if you’re listening to this episode when it airs in January or you’re listening another month of the year, don’t leave this episode without planting the seed in your head. Remember that thought of “I want to feel better.” What does “feeling better” look like for you? Let’s concretely define it together, right now. Is it less trips to the bathroom, no more blood in the toilet, or are you like Michaela, enduring bloating, gas and cramping after every meal? There’s bound to be more than one issue you’re experiencing too. With IBD, there always is. Remember, when Michaela thought about her challenges, she had 3 main challenges she wanted to tackle.
Do you have your thoughts in your head on what feeling better means to you specifically? Good, you are off to an amazing start. And I commend you because you can’t believe how hard that is for most mamas. And if you’re still thinking on it, that’s ok too. Just don’t let the thought go completely. Keep it in the back of your mind as you take care of the kids today. Sometimes we need to consciously move thoughts to our unconscious mind for a little while and let them marinate. You never know when an answer will pop into your head. For me, the place where thoughts seem to solidify is in the shower, but for you it might be in the middle of the night or while doing the dishes. Trust in the knowledge that when the time is right, the answer will come to the surface. Once it does, you’ll be ready for it with your 3-Step Solution.
So, if nothing else today, promise me something. No more New Year’s Resolutions that are destined to bring you failure. No more big leaps into the unknown and thinking there’s something wrong with you when you don’t succeed.
Baby steps my love.
Baby steps turn into giant leaps and giant leaps turn into success stories. You’ve got this and I’m here for you as a mentor and a friend whenever you need me. email@example.com
Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey. And there’s that journey word again. It’s all about the journey.
Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.
[38:48] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.
My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.
Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.