So what was your life like overall before we started working together? Did you feel like IBD held you back at all or interfered with your life?
One hundred percent. I mean i don't know anybody who has IBD that would says ‘oh it didn't interfere’, until they got help. I was in the restroom around six times, up to eight times a day, and usually my commute into work is in 45 minutes to an hour and that was always my issue. I was always very nervous because i never knew when i would need to use the restroom. There's many times that I wouldn't make it [to the bathroom] on time so i always had my emergency kit [with me] with my extra pants, wipes, etc. - it was like everything extra just in case - because it had happened and it really did interfere with work and with [my] social life. You know, in the pre-covid days, we would go to malls and do stuff and the first thing I would always look for is where's the restroom? ‘Where's the restroom?’ It was like my first go-to [thought] so it definitely interfered a lot before I finally realized I needed help.
So actually that leads me to the next questions like what areas did you feel like you needed help with or where where were you struggling?
I felt like I needed more help with my food and stress because I definitely noticed that stress was my first indicator that would worsen all my symptoms, and then of course, just making sure that my breakfasts were something I had a game plan on what to eat. Lunch and dinner was never a problem - I always made sure I ate [then], but usually breakfast was always my issue. I [also] needed more help with trying to control how many times I use the restroom and which would help with my stress and my eating.
What do you think was your biggest hesitation to working with me?
Knowing that I needed to commit the time - [and asking myself] ‘am i ready to move on and forward to a solution?’ - that was where it started and where it ended for me, really needing that help. It's like I tried to do it all by myself, I looked at blogs, looked at instagram of other people, followed other people who have IBD, I kept reading so many IBD diets and [read about] things to eliminate and the FODMOP diet, but it was just so intimidating and I kept questioning and asking ‘is that for every IBD person, [or] is that for is that for me?’. Knowing myself, I never liked diets - I’ve never been able to follow one so I’ve never cared to start one. So, when I learned about you on Instagram, I followed you and [it] was really fun. I loved everything you kept saying - [like] that you never [go] straight to a diet and I was like ‘I like her, she's not a diet person!’ You talk about all foods and yes, maybe one type of food's not good for you but doesn't mean that you can't just make it at home versus always ordering out, so I feel like that's what intrigued me and [encouraged me to] get help. Because i felt like [you would be] the better source [of information] for myself and my lifestyle because I didn't want to diet.
So where do you feel like you'd be now if we didn't work together?
Oh dear! I’d still be using the restroom too many times, I would still feel this anxiousness, and I would honestly have a fear, call it a kind of ptsd, of needing to use the restroom all day every day. You have definitely helped with my anxiousness, my stress levels - making sure I have always a game plan for my breakfast because, like I mentioned, my breakfast was always an issue and I know that was a big deal with my ulcerative colitis because I need food in the morning.
Well I’m glad that was helpful for you! So what did you like most about the program? Was there one thing that you felt helped you be more successful?
Yes. So what I like the most about it was that I never felt like I was being asked to do something I didn't want to do or, [never asked to] buy this product [because] it'll make you feel better. I never, ever, felt pressured and what I needed, personally, the most was that accountability and you were one hundred percent always there [for me]. [You were] always [available through] the the app, I could always message you a question. That's what I needed the most when I realized that I couldn't do it on my own. Even after looking at so many programs and blogs and whatnot, I feel like I needed that one person to make sure that I [stayed accountable]. As I mentioned at the beginning of the program, even though we're in two complete different states and [you’re] nowhere near me, I just needed that [accountability] like “she can see me, she knows that I’m not doing [my goals]”.
[Because] you knew I would ask about it! Was there anything about working with me that surprised you?
You always had some kind of work around plan. I loved that! I never felt like [a challenge] stopped you and [you never said it] doesn't matter, I need you to do this [next] step [in the program]. For example, with my breakfast options, I kept trying to meal prep breakfast on Sundays but, once again I kept stopping myself because I just felt overwhelmed by needing to prep for five days worth of food. Instead of Brittany saying ‘just do it’, you gave me an option of - ‘what about if you think of just prepping for two days or one day, maybe that will feel better instead of trying to think a whole five days worth?’ And that 100% worked! Even though it's just like a mental game, I mean that was an option! All those mental [tricks], that's what I loved. You were flexible with how I am and when something was a roadblock for me, you always found some way around it and it worked.
Is there anything else you know you'd like to say or add? If someone had IBD and they watched this video what would you say to them?
I would say give Brittany a try, definitely. If you feel like if you've done everything under the sun or maybe you're just brand new to IBD - you just got diagnosed and you don't even know where to even start - definitely get Brittany’s help. Everything I’ve learned in the program I’m 100% going to take with me and still incorporate it [into my life]. It definitely has helped me and I can't even thank you enough. With all the help that you've [provided to me], I feel like I don't have that PTSD [anymore] and that has taken this huge weight off of me. I don't have to rush and look for the nearest restroom because I have better control now of how many times I use the restroom because we've worked on these small steps. Time flies by in this program but I mean I’ve learned so much!
It just makes me so happy to see that like you're now don't have to worry about like the commute to work and things like that and I’m just so proud of you and all the work that you put in. It's been wonderful working with you and thank you so much for sharing [your story] today.
More IBD Resources:
The Flare Fighter Recipe Book
We've put together this 40+ page recipe book to give you some ideas for what to eat when you have IBD. These recipes are designed to be quick, simple, and delicious. We hope you enjoy them! Download the recipe book at the link below.
The IBD Starter Kit
An essential self-advocacy guide for people with IBD and their caregivers. We designed this Starter Kit with you in mind, to save you time and give you the tools you need to be your own best healthcare advocate. Download the Starter Kit at the link below.