My Story

Hey There!

I’m Allison, Welcome to my Wellness Land I am so glad you are here!

My story is one of exercise and finding balance with foods, but what some of you might not know is my story and journey are fueled by a gut-wrenching disease. My lifestyle didn’t have to change because of it but the change has definitely provided me with a healthier life both inside & out!

When I was a little kid you could ALWAYS find me in the bathroom with a stomach ache after dinner. My grandma would always tease me that I didn’t want to help clear the table so I would go hide in the bathroom to avoid helping out. I couldn’t tell you if that was the complete truth looking back, but I am sure I did have a stomach ache, as stomach aches were common place in my life for the majority of my life.

The Diagnosis

Then one winter my life was turned (sorta) upside down. I had been dealing with some abdominal pain for a few weeks before it got really bad and I realized I needed a “real” intervention. After a hospital visit and a {lovely} colonoscopy I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and started on some medication to help get the inflammation under control.

For those who are not familiar with Crohn’s it is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and member of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease which means the body essentially believes that the “healthy” bacteria in our GI tract are foreign invaders and attacks them, much like our immune system attacks the flu bug. The attacks on these healthy bacteria causes a chronic inflammation within the intestinal wall resulting in the symptoms that Crohn’s patients experience. The exact cause of Crohn’s is unknown but the above stated actions are what landed me in the hospital.

Like any good worried father my dad looked up all the “at home” treatments and lifestyle changes for people who have Crohn’s, including fish oil supplementation and strict diet change/restriction. When we spoke to my Pediatric GI about said lifestyle changes he assured us that there was no researched and definitive evidence that a change in diet or specific supplementation would change my symptoms and responses. He gave us the sound advice to continue living my life as the otherwise healthy high school junior and adjust my diet if I found specific food irritated me.

THANKFULLY I never had any symptoms after my initial diagnosis and round of {lovely} steroids. I did however continue to have internal symptoms which was identified through blood work, resulting in me having my {second} colonoscopy, which showed increased inflammation & disease progression ((YUCK!!)). At this time I was in Texas in PT school and my stress levels were very high (increased stress is not helpful when trying to heal an angry gut). After a year of battling with my current intestinal state (still asymptomatic externally!) I was able to start a new medication.

The medication and the initiation of my new exercise life occurred almost simultaneously. So it is hard to say which came first gut healing from medication alone or gut healing from medication + lifestyle change. Either way my medication changed, my diet changed and my activity level changed. My stress levels {unfortunately} stayed rather constant.

Noticing a Difference

After my 24 day challenge of eating healthy whole unprocessed foods, while continuing to exercise regularly I felt GREAT! I never got the sluggish feeling after a meal, and my previously regular stomach aches became very RARE (& usually occurred with vitamin/supplement intake). I celebrated the completion of my challenge with a big greasy processed meal which left me in a world of pain.

I had never experienced such uneasiness from eating the same meal before but my body was NOT happy with me. I figured this was just a one time thing and continued to eat a mixture of my newly found healthy eating lifestyle and my previous lifestyle enjoying food as it was and not worrying/thinking about what I was taking in.

I found if I ate whatever I wanted I would usually end up hurting. After a highly processed meal my intestines would begin to play the xylophone, it felt like my stomach was growling but lower in my abdomen, and I was always full. This has been my ONLY Crohn’s symptom. If I intake healthy whole foods, my intestines are quiet and avoid playing the xylophone.

I discussed my xylophone phenomena/symptom with my GI doctor in January after my {third} colonoscopy, which showed complete remission of my Crohn’s! He sorta laughed when I described how I felt and how I had noticed the xylophone action seemed to be correlated with highly processed, greasy, or high dairy meals. He explained to me that with IBD the GI system has a harder time digesting and breaking down the chemical components of processed foods, thus creating increased byproducts. This byproduct production rumbles along the walls of the intestines thus creating the feeling/sound of a xylophone. AHA!!!

The reason this is a new(ish) phenomena/symptom is because that was ALL my body knew before. I was fueling my body with BAD fuel. I didn’t get the energy from food that I was supposed to because my body was constantly working on OVERDRIVE. It never had a break from the processed food, and so never knew any different. I am not saying I ALWAYS ate processed food but I would say the amount of processed food I ate was significantly more than the amount of whole foods that I ate.

My Healthiest Self

This realization FUELED my desire to continue exercising at my maximal capacity and experimenting with WHOLE foods. I love how my body responds to eating whole unprocessed meals. I have the ENERGY to work, workout and study. I feel my level of tiredness and fatigue are now equivalent to the level that EVERYONE experiences. My body and my mind have completely embraced the new foods that I have incorporated and my Crohn’s is under control with the combination of a good medical team, medication & my internal desire to be the healthiest ME I can be! 

Everyone has a story, everyone has a battle and everyone has a decision. I could have easily let my story be “I have Crohns & take medication, and don’t have symptoms” with my battle being monthly blood work, constant internal inflammation and lack of gut healing. But I made a decision for ME to become a healthier person, initially it was a subconscious decision fueled by a friendship and gym membership, but I have made that initial decision a CONSCIOUS effort and application to my life. The results of that decision have not only impacted my self image, my confidence, and my relationships but it has helped to HEAL MY GUT and hopefully help me avoid possible complications from the disease that I have down the road.

My Wellness Challenge

I have created My Wellness Land for the benefit of myself and to help others live a healthier life. If my journey with Crohn’s can help someone else I am happy to share.

I challenge you to make your Wellness Land Decision. Find what you are passionate about in food and fitness and follow that decision & know I am here to help if you need it!

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My posts are purely my own thoughts and comprised from my own education and knowledge, I am a Licensed Physical Therapist with the educational background to back most of the information that I provide. I am not however a Medical Doctor, I cannot prescribe medication or tell you that living my lifestyle will give you specific results. I am just sharing my story in hope that it helps you find yours! 

 

 

3 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Pingback: GPP Fast & Food Prep | Allison In Wellness LandAllison In Wellness Land

  2. Pingback: 5 Tips To Finding Motivation at YOUR Gym! - Allison in Wellnessland

  3. Pingback: Keep Calm & Love Monday - Allison in Wellnessland

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