Here we are with one month of 2018 already in the books, and we’re delivering an article on New Year resolutions. A little late? Not at all. In fact, it’s more timely than ever, given that 80% of new year goals are forgotten by February . So now that we’ve got the timing right on your resolution refresh, we can dive into why it’s so very important that you (a fellow ostomate) take this age old practice of goal-setting to another level.

You see, far too many people living with a stoma are under the impression that they have to miss out on many of life’s sweet adventures, with their appliance becoming a literal cross to bear. Thankfully, this way of thinking couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, some adjustments need to be made when compared to what life was like before, but isn’t that what new year resolutions are about anyways? By realizing what you are capable of, you will be able to set new goals that will not only improve your quality of life, they may very well inspire others to do the same. Let’s get to it!

5 Awesome Goals That Those Living with Crohn’s and Colitis Can Achieve with Conviction in 2018

1. Get Super Fit

One of the most common new year pledges is to improve physical fitness. But the whole dramatic “before and after” photo comparison feels more like a pipe dream for many ostomates. Instead, gym goals tend to be more about sustaining a certain level of fitness, given that one is now living with “a condition”. Sound familiar? Well, we’re here to tell you that you can do much more than maintain. You can in fact realize the vision you had for yourself, before your procedure.

Need proof? Look no further than fitness guru Blake Beckford (this ileostomate is in shape!) and Zoey Wright, a colostomate who just became the 2017 Pure Elite Overall Pro World Champion. Their tales are inspiring and may certainly kick your motivation into first gear, but before you head to the gym, you will need to consult with your physician. In addition, you may want to consider working with a trainer who has experience in post-operation rehabilitation and fitness. To get you started, have a look at this OstoFit guide from our friends at Inner Good.

Your goal doesn’t need to involve rock hard abs, pectoral striations, and bulging thighs, but it can if you want it to. The point, is that you can achieve the level of fitness you’ve always wanted, no matter what that may be, with dedication, a smart fitness plan and a wise nutritional regime. Keep reading.

2. Eat Better

Naturally segueing from the goal above, we now look to one of the other most popular New Year resolutions. This one is especially important for ostomates, given that we have more unique nutritional requirements. You can’t just cut from or add to your diet without accounting for the vitamin, mineral, and nutrient deficiencies common to ostomates. Therefore, in order to eat better and provide yourself with the fuel you need optimize life, you need to make sure you’re getting enough of the following:

● Vitamin B-12

● Folic Acid

● Potassium

Those are among the top nutrient deficiencies, but you will also need to consider Vitamin B1, B9, D, and K in addition to calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. You will also need to work a healthy balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids into your nutrition plan.

Your physician will help provide guidance on the matter, so be sure to run any new supplements by them before purchase and consumption. One thing is clear however, ostomates simply can’t jump into the same new year diet fads that most of your friends and family may be bandwagoning. And come to think of it – that’s a good thing!

3. Travel More

By becoming healthier (the two goals above) you’ll be primed and ready to take on one of our all-time favourite resolutions – globetrotting. I find nothing more empowering than setting out on fun adventures to far off places. When I have a pack on my back I am free to follow where my inner compass leads me. Take a look at my blog and you’ll see a life filled to the brim with wanderlust. Follow me on my treks through far flung spots from Mexico to Thailand, destinations that have average Janes and Joes fretting about where the nearest clean facilities may be.

The world map has no limits when your an ostomate. You just need to prepare by packing a few extra supplies, prescriptions, and nutritional supplements in your suitcase and carry-on, while doing some research on the medical clinics and resources available at any given destination.

The world is your oyster, so what are you waiting for? Shuck it!

4. Dare To Do More

By being healthier, and exposing yourself to different people, places, and things, you’ll have the opportunity to do some pretty cool (and even crazy) stuff. We’re not just talking about going for hikes and bike rides along the countryside. Our friends at Inner Good have shown us that ostomates are skydiving, surfing, extreme snowboarding, and even climbing the Seven Summits, stuff that most so-called “normals” don’t do. As long as you commit to a superior health and wellness plan and put yourself out there, you can dare to do more than most people could ever dream.

5. Hide No More

All of the above leads to one inevitable conclusion. You’re going to be more awesome than you’ve ever been. Sure, friends and family will be impressed, but coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers alike will all take note of your feats. It is within that latter lot that you’ll find your next goal. That ever-growing population of coworkers, acquaintances, and most certainly strangers may not know about your “condition”. Given the unfortunate stigma that often follows a stoma around like a broken spinner wheeled suitcase, you may have kept your cards close to your chest in the past. But with your new found powers of fitness, health, passport stamps, and fearlessness, you have adopted a great new responsibility– to be a proud example for other ostomates out there. Yes indeed, it may be time to come out.

No, you don’t have to buy your partner an “I’m with Ostomate =>” t-shirt, but you no longer need to hide. That means you can wear a two-piece bikini or go shirtless in board shorts at the beach if you feel like it. You don’t have to whisper the reason for having stoma pouches in your carry-on bag to airport security. You don’t have to dodge the topic in conversation if it comes up naturally, and you don’t have to be afraid to share an article like this on your Facebook page.

There are an estimated 90,000 people in Canada living with an ostomy, and up to 800,000 worldwide . You’re not alone, but many feel alone. By not being afraid to acknowledge who you are, you may inspire others to do the same.

Whatever you decide to do, just know that we’re proud of you!