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Diet, exercise, and Crohn's

Ok so I am having issues with my weight creeping up. I have been in remission and now that I can eat more I find myself still eating a lot of bad, high calorie foods. Sometimes I avoid healthier options because they can cause issues for example...I am able to enjoy salads, but not everyday...eventually my guts get angry. I love apples, but they give me terrible gas. I have been trying to eat other veggies, but I just can't seem to stick with it. When I am at work it's worse because I don't want to eat anything that "might" give me issues.

I was wondering if anyone has done a program like Weight Watchers and had success. What I liked about it was you don't buy their food, any food is ok, but you have to track points so that you don't over do it. I was tracking my calories in the MyFitness Pal app, but because I was tracking calories I was still eating kind of junky food. My friend (who is doing weight watchers) said for that lots of fruits and veggies are zero points. Maybe that will encourage me to eat them more...I'm good with most veggies as long as they are cooked and soft.

My second issue is exercise. I have a hard time sticking with exercise. I work full time and I just don't always have the energy to work out. Wednesday in was so exhausted I came home and slept the rest of the afternoon. I have been trying to do at least some pilates or yoga, but I know they are not big calorie burners. I have tried more intense workouts, but often end up with abdominal pain after...which seems to happen after any sort of physical over-exertion.

Any tips on staying motivated?

Just interested to hear what others have done. I spent so many years trying to gain or keep weight on that I have some bad, bad eating habits to break. I want to feel healthier. Even though I have been feeling great with my Crohn's I seem to still have limitations that don't seem to be common with others without the disease.
I do better with exercising first thing in the morning. Now that I'm feeling better after my surgery I've put on a much needed 20 pounds. I now want to make sure it's healthy weight and muscle and the gain doesn't get out of control. I track using myFitnesPal but not just calories-I have goals of fat/protein/sugar/fiber to make sure I get the right mix. I don't eat processed foods since that causes me flare/diarrhea issues. Try different fruits and veggies. For example I can eat romaine and baby spinach but not iceberg. If I eat an apple I don't eat the skin. I cook my veggies well and stay away from some of the FODMAP ones. Try to get organic to reduce pesticide exposure. Try different sports or hiking/biking instead of just the gym-you may find it more interesting then just a treadmill. Get a workout partner so you can keep each other motivated. You'll find out what works best for you.
Crohn's has caused lots of people to develop eating disorders. Don't be too hard on yourself. :)

My son walks our dogs and works in his garden (which also motivates him to eat better).
But, he will occasionally binge on something less healthy, like an entire pizza. We just don't keep a lot of junk in the house to temp him. (No soda, candy or ice cream)

I make a lot of healthy vegetable and lentil soups and things and freeze them in individual portions so he can always grab something nutritious. And he has a lot of smoothies.

He's still a little underweight at 6' 1" and 170 lbs, but I wouldn't be concerned if he were a bit overweight. I'd just see it as insurance.:)


Super Moderator
Teeny, with that kind of exhaustion, I have to ask - have you had your vitamin levels checked recently? In remission, you shouldn't be that exhausted. I'm in remission as well and I recently dealt with an iron deficiency that caused me horrendous exhaustion. Once I got that under control (via iron infusions and then a liquid iron supplement to maintain my levels), I felt so much better. I wasn't able to exercise when I was experiencing that deficiency, but now that my levels are back to normal I can exercise again.

As for the abdominal pain, my body doesn't like any sort of ab exercises as that will cause me some pain & reflux, so I just tend to avoid any exercises that specifically work the abs or that put a lot of pressure on the abdominal area. I love to lift weights, but I focus mainly on arms, legs, shoulders, back, etc and leave my abs alone. Certain other exercises can also affect my abs, like bicycling (particularly road biking - being sort of hunched over on a bike and needing to use my abs to make it up hills and using my abs for balance, that can really affect me negatively). I can still go on bike rides, but I just need to keep my rides to short-ish distances (less than 10 miles) and avoid bicycling up any really large hills if I can.

So, my advice to you in a nutshell is to get your bloodwork done to see if there's any cause there for the exhaustion, and then try various forms of exercise to see what works for your body and what doesn't. And start slowly at first, don't push yourself too much, definitely ease into it and then if things go well you can gradually ramp up the intensity, amount of time, etc.
Have you considered intermittent fasting? I.e. only eating your meals in a 6-8 hour window and being on a 0 calorie fast the rest of the day?

It works for some people to control their eating and for me it's been extremely successful in managing my crohn's. I have more energy during my fast and I can perform more activities because there's no food in my stomach to upset me.

Basically you have from 2pm to 8pm or 10pm to eat your calories for the day and you fast the rest.

There's quite a bit of evidence for its help in fighting inflammation. I've heard of Muslims who would go into remission during Ramadan because of fasting.
Ok so I have been doing shorter lengths of exercise which is much better...just have to watch too many tummy exercises at a time. Exercising everyday just isnt feasible, I have to learn to be ok with that. When I push my body too hard I always pay later.

I am due for a GI appt soon so I will for sure make sure he runs blood tests for vitamins. What I have found is that I have been dehydrated and that is affecting me. So, I have a water bottle I take to work that I know I need to drink by the time I am off. Also I need to have a snack mid day no matter what or I start to feel bad.

I have been doing good on weight watchers. Some fruits I still have issues with, but trying different types has helped and I find moderation is key right now.


Super Moderator
Sounds like you're doing fine so far! I definitely agree with staying hydrated, I absolutely can feel it if I haven't had enough water in any given day, and particularly so when I'm trying to exercise - I feel quite sluggish, nauseous, and overheated in the gym if I haven't had enough water. I make sure to carry a big water bottle with me everywhere I go. I read somewhere that if you have a job where you're sitting most of the day, that you should get up at least once per hour and just walk around, even if it's only 2 minutes of walking - that apparently even that 2 minutes has a fair bit of health benefits. So I try to drink enough water so that I'm getting up once per hour to pee. :p Sounds weird but it works! I stay hydrated and I'm not sitting at my desk for hours on end without getting up.