System Check For The Gut

I've been living with Crohn's disease for 45 years. During that time, food and I have been friends and enemies.

I love food. Growing it, cooking it, and eating it are all favorite pastimes of mine. But when I am angry, I eat carbs. When I am lonely, I eat carbs. When I am feeling decadent, I eat whipped cream. In each case, I suffer for those decisions, sometimes mightily. I've had four abdominal surgeries and three blockages, and I am 30# heavier than I would like to be. Until recently, I felt trapped by my relationship with food.

I woke up the day after Thanksgiving and realized that some of the food I had eaten the day before was still in my stomach. I had pushed myself too hard and my digestive system seemed to have shut down. I wasn't in pain and it wasn't a blockage. It just felt like my gut had gone on strike. I recognized that this could be potentially life-threatening. It scared me.

I decided to take stock of the situation and use what I know about the disease and my body. I put myself on a clear liquid diet for the day. And I started performing mental "system checks". How does my gut feel? Am I bloating? Is my tummy rumbling or bubbling? What about bathroom use? Am I staying hydrated? Does my body need fuel?

That system check has become an emotionally neutral way for me to be in greater control of how I treat myself each day. I am eating smaller portions, not because I am on a diet, but because that's what my system check tells me my gut needs. I don't feel like I'm doing without. I feel like I am in control.

Changing my mindset about how I approach food has helped me make better choices. I hope it helps you, too.

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