Often, when talking to other patients or caregivers, I am asked “What are you doing?” , in regards to staying healthy. My workouts may vary, so may the food depending on how active my gut is, but the one constant is I journal. Not like a “Dear Diary”. This is more like notetaking.
I literally keep notebooks of 1) what I eat each day (and the time), 2)any effects it may have had, 3) current meds and whether or not they seem to work, 4)exercise including intensity, 5) bowel activity and 6)disruptive behavior (troubling signs or side effects).
I know it may seem like a lot, but for those newly diagnosed and those trying to figure out what your issue may be, this is so helpful! Do you have to log every-single-day?? No. I forget all the time. However, it’s better if you don’t. No one knows better than YOU what is going on from day to day. Sometimes going to the doctor can be like taking your car to the mechanic. Your car shakes and sputters all the time, and as soon as you get to garage repair, it runs impossibly smooth! Having a log of when and where symptoms occur is beneficial to you and your doctor at pinpointing the root cause. Note: this habit is helpful not just for crohns or colitis patients. If you have other health concerns like high cholesterol, diabetes or want to get your weight under control, this is a great way to track your habits. Now you can go back and see what needs to be addressed.
For my people who are better with a smartphone than I am, there is now the GI Buddy program. This is basically everything that I do but in a database! This same program is available as a free mobile app through iTunes. With GI Buddy you are able to input all of your information, it will track it for you and even graph tendencies in your health!