How To Date While Having Ulcerative Colitis

couple walking and holding hands

Dating is tough in general, but when you have ulcerative colitis, it can be even tougher. All hope is not lost. Many people with UC date successfully, enter marriage, and have children successfully. Below, I will discuss the importance of not being a whiner, being confident and honest, partnering with a nurturer, and focusing on gratitude.

Don’t Be a Whiner

Take it from me; nobody is going to completely understand your predicament with UC except for others who suffer from the same malady. Nobody wants to be around a whiner no matter the circumstances. Try to remember this when you really want to whine about your current suffering. Instead of complaining to your partner consistently, you can go to an online forum or call a friend who also has UC. They will understand and may have a larger tolerance for current complaints. Many people in general are simply not aware about their complaining because it is second nature and its been utilized as a coping method most of their lives. How about you? Are you aware about your level of complaining with your partner? This isn’t a reason to feel guilty or beat yourself up; it’s simply a new level of awareness that can help you become healthier while developing effective relationship skills.

Be Confident and Honest

My experience is that most people are very tolerant and non-judgmental about ulcerative colitis as long as you present yourself as a capable, nice individual who offers a lot of attributes. People quickly look past UC if they see positive attributes, which resonate with them. Consider that you “look normal” on the outside for the most part so visually people have no reason to judge you negatively. I don’t like hiding the fact very long from someone I am dating. I let them know relatively soon that I’ve had surgery and I’m healthy most of the time. I usually say something like “I used the bathroom a little more frequently than most people.” Again, I’ve never felt judged unfairly. If anything, I’ve probably always judged myself more harshly than others. This is a wonderful reality that others can be so tolerant and I’m grateful for this kindness in the world, which I sometimes overlook.

Find a Nurturer

Some people are naturally nurturers and some people don’t want to be bothered. Now, you have to be careful when considering this idea because you don’t want to enter a relationship with a co-dependent caretaker. This sort of dynamic creates difficulty for both individuals and there are many therapeutic modalities and recovery groups that address this type of caretaking.

A nurturer is someone capable of empathy. They care when you are having a flare up or when you’re in pain. They offer to do simple things or just listen when you need to express your current health. There are many people in the world who possess this wonderful, natural quality. How about you? Do you tend to gravitate towards nurturers or people who abandon you when you need them most? Journal about your past relationships and notice a pattern. Do you need to raise self-esteem and begin attracting people who can give and receive with equanimity? I hope some of this makes sense. As someone with ulcerative colitis, you deserve to date someone with natural compassion, who can possibly become a long-term partner in marriage or another arrangement.

Focusing on Gratitude

Life is about attitude. Even though you have ulcerative colitis, think of the ways you are incredibly blessed. What have you noticed today that is wonderful and worthy of gratitude? There are so many small things. Right now it is July and there is one tree near my home that recently has a bird singing amazingly beautiful songs every day. I stand there and lookup at this bird and can’t believe the songs it composes. I swell with gratitude when I pay attention because it feels like heaven on Earth. This is just an example of slowing down and realizing all the miracles, which fosters gratitude. Your dating partner will sense this gratitude in you. Why? You are not needy. You are already abundant with gratitude and blessings so people naturally want to be around you.

Embracing Your Appetite

photo of food platter

Archetypally, women can feel deep shame and guilt when desiring something strongly like a sweet food. This is partially caused by a misrepresentation of old Biblical stories such as Adam and Eve, which depict the treacherous downfall associated with strong desire. For example, indulging and eating a brownie is seen as bad and something experienced as a “guilty” pleasure. You can really begin to analyze these little negative messages that bombard our consciousness throughout life and culminate in complex neuroses and shame.

What is Appetite?

Appetite is a biologic phenomenon, which is necessary to keep us alive. When I’ve explained the 20-minute meal and how you can eat “anything” when adapting to this meal period, people initially panic. How can we eat anything we want? As I explained in a previous post, how you eat is just as important as what you eat.

The Collective Fear of Appetite

If you love sex, you’re a whore. Have you ever felt bad about your sexual desires? Why? Where did you learn this message? Has sex caused you heartache in the past?

If you love food, you’re a glutton. Where did you learn this? What kind of food makes you a glutton? If you crave sugar, is that “bad” or just a temporary craving that will pass?

If you love money, you’re greedy. All of us need money to survive in most of our modern world so why would we stigmatize this subject with morbidity or scarcity? Isn’t money a common, every day need that we should openly discuss without guilt or preconceived angst?

By invalidating our own appetite and ourselves, we create a false inner prison that must be deconstructed under this new paradigm of acceptance associated with our natural desires.

Trusting Ourselves

In addition to trusting our appetite, and ourselves what if we also trusted ourselves, especially our body, to communicate that we are full? What if we started paying attention to messages from our body that are saying “enough, I don’t need anymore”? As I’ve mentioned before this is a continuation of the slowing down process, which enables us to become more “aware” of what is really going on and consequently reacting to the present need.

Some people will binge eat instead of asking love ones to help fulfill their desires. Men and women often use sweets as substitutes for physical touch, love, and sex.

Conclusion about Appetite

In conclusion, begin to assimilate the idea that appetite is natural and healthy. Yes, sometimes you will crave sweets or something unhealthy. If you do, just practice eating the food slower. If you have to eat a bowl of ice cream, take a full twenty minutes to eat that bowl. Over time, this will change “what you eat” in addition to how you eat because you are increasing presence and awareness.

In addition, pay attention to new appetites for new foods. Are you beginning to enjoy a spinach salad more than in the past? Are you slowing down and paying attention to the multitude of flavors in that salad, which you never noticed before because you were in a hurry?

What area possesses your strongest appetite? Is it sex, food, money, etc.? Why do you have a strong appetite in this area? What is the real need you are avoiding? Can you find the clarity and courage to voice your need? These are things to consider moving forward.

The more centered and present you become, the more your appetite will become moderated. The outer always follows the inner. Unfortunately, we get trapped into the habit pattern and belief that says outer things create our inner peace. This is a false belief, a delusion that most of humanity embraces.

“Be still and know that I Am God” is a great statement to investigate and imbibe into your soul. The simplicity behind the message can lead us to a healthier appetite and awareness about our current appetite.

 

Eating Slowly Can Change Your Life

monkey eating peanut

Yes, when you eat slowly, you are engaging in a process to lower stress hormones, stress response, and you’re creating peaceful emotional state that will create an environment allowing your health to thrive.

Almost all of my IBS issues disappeared when I slowed down and started chewing more and eating mindfully. How do you eat?   Do you know if you’re stressed when you eat normally? Are you in a rush normally when eating meals? Your saliva has powerful enzymes to break down food and aide in digestion. The increase of chewing also increases dental health

Rules of the 25 Minute Meal:

  1. You can eat anything you want.
  2. Watch the clock and see how long it takes you to eat a meal normally. Write it down.
  3. On your next meal, spend 5 extra minutes to eat the meal.
  4. Write down how many minutes after starting that you start to feel full and satisfied.
  5. Keep increasing each meal by 5 minutes until you are spending at least 25 minutes per meal. Do you feel better eating slower?

Training the Brain to Eat

There is a constant stream of stress in our body and feeds our stress hormones. This causes 80% of health problems. We can weaken the neuro transmitters that are wired for stress and cause anxiety, depression, overeating, and other unhealthy habits. It is not enough to only “think differently”. We need to get to the emotional root buried in our subconscious and help change this root pattern.

Putting Your Fork Down

Is it common for you to let go of your fork while you are eating and place it down between bites? This is a simple way to slow down your eating and aide your digestion. Try placing your fork down on the plate about 3 times during a meal. This is an effective trick to help slow the eating process. If you eat too quickly, your body doesn’t have time to digest and send the message that you are already full.

Breathing Between Bites

Breathing speeds up your digestion. When you exercise, you are increasing the intake of oxygen, which helps burn fat. Calmly take a few conscious breaths while eating.

Be a Sensual Eater

When you slow down and eat more with your senses, you are triggering your dopamine reaction, which is your “pleasure center. If you eat too quickly, this doesn’t happen so the natural reaction is to “eat more” to trigger than dopamine reaction until you are “satisfied”.

I’m explaining ways of increasing “awareness” while you eat. You are missing 30-40% of your digestive power if don’t slow down, become more aware, and reduce stress while eating. There is a cephalic digestive response that is engaged during healthy eating and this maximizes our nutritional input from foods.

You can engage your sensations more fully while eating. First, turn off your electronic devices such as TV, radio, phone, etc. Now, pay attention of the diversity of tastes involved with the food you are chewing.   How does it smell? Are there any pleasant sounds while you are eating? What is the texture of your food? These are some things to consider while eating and engaging your eating process more mindfully.

Checking In Before You Eat

Next time you’re about to eat, check in with yourself. How do you feel? Are you stressed? Are you comfortable? Are you eating because you are hungry or is food a way for you to “check out” of the daily stresses? These are things to ask next time you sit down for a meal.

Hopefully, some of these strategies will help you create quality digestion and maximum bowel health. This can alter your life dramatically since your gut is connected holistically to your overall well-being. Your gut is your center and it’s an intelligent, complex system integrated with your emotions and thinking processes.