In today’s episode of the Love Your Gut podcast, we’re talking about all things gut health relationships with relationship expert (and my friend since childhood), Dr. Christie Kederian. We dive deeper into how digestive issues impact your relationships, and how your relationships might impact your gut health.
Dr. Christie is a nationally renowned relationship expert who specializes in helping clients create lives they love and find love they deserve.
Topics we cover:
- Stress and gut health
- Fostering healthy relationships
- Realtionships dynamics
- How to advocate for yourself/Relational health
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Dr. Heather Finley and Dr. Christie Kederian
Heather Finley 00:01
Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting into the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now, I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformative changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your gut so it loves you back right here on this podcast. I am so excited to share today’s episode with you I am joined by my dear friend, Dr. Christy Hilarion. We’re talking about all things gut health and relationships and how your digestive issues actually impact your relationships and how your relationships impact your gut health. So this is not one that you want to miss because it is such a common occurrence and struggle for so many of our clients and I hope that you find this episode super helpful. It’s packed with so many actionable tips and you guys are gonna love Dr. Christy just as much as I do. Dr. Christie is a nationally renowned relationship expert who specializes in helping clients create lives they love and find love they deserve. With an extensive career as a professional matchmaker and Relationship Expert for E harmony and match.com affiliate company. Christie has helped 1000s of people create lives they love and find love they deserve. She is a triple Trojan receiving her bachelor’s and master’s and doctoral degree at the University of Southern California in psychology and marriage and family therapy. She has been a featured expert in ABC NBC KTLA, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, cosmopolitan and many more. She is also a professional speaker and provides trainings with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband and cocker spaniel lady and loves playing music, writing poetry and writing the peloton. Welcome back to the next episode of the love your gut podcast. You guys today is a very special day I have my friend lifelong friend Dr. Christie Canarian with me and she is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and we are going to talk all about gut issues and relationships. And I can’t tell you how full circle of a moment this is. Christy and I grew up together in California, we actually went to school together from kindergarten all the way through high school. And she’s been just the best of a friend to me. And it’s been crazy how our journeys have just mirrored each other on this entrepreneurship journey and so many other moments in life. So thanks for joining me, Christy.
Dr. Christie Kederian 03:00
It’s so great to be here. Thanks, Heather.
Heather Finley 03:03
Who knew that from Miss dois class? We wouldn’t be here today. So well, why don’t you just start off by introducing yourself. Tell us a little bit about you what you do and why you’re passionate about what you do?
Dr. Christie Kederian 03:19
Sure. So my name is Dr. Kristina, Darien, I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and psychologist and a big part of just my life and my work. My identity just really centers around relationships. And since I knew Heather in kindergarten, I’ve just always been fascinated by relationships. My background is m and Armenian. And my faith background is Christian. And both of those identities really kind of center on how our relationships impact who we are, what we believe about ourselves. And ultimately, like who we become and what we do, and just kind of living out our purpose. I’ve always just kind of follow that path. And when I was studying in college, I was researching around relationship patterns and kind of what connects us to each other what disconnects us to each other. And I really wanted to pursue marriage and family therapy and help people on that journey. And so I’ve worked with couples, right now my specialty is working with singles, specifically, really high achieving women that feel like they kind of have the life that they want in many different areas. But for some reason in that relational area, it’s not connecting, and they’re have a hard time translating that success. So what we really help them do on our team is to help them identify, you know, what are some of the blocks that are keeping them from finding the love and relationships that they desire? And that’s really a big part of what I do. I’ve worked as a professional matchmaker for eHarmony I’ve done a lot of research and seeing kind of what makes people connect what types of people we should be with who’s compatible and who’s not. And so I’m really passionate about helping people. My personal journey also mirrors that and like been dating and learning about online dating and working with online dating companies. And I feel really called to do this work and really help people in this area.
Heather Finley 05:10
Why I love it. And I think that our clients that we both serve, although different sectors of the internet have a lot of parallels, which is why I’m so excited for you to be here. So let’s talk a little bit about stress and your relationships and how that impacts gut health. Because I think a lot of the clients that we work with, as well as a lot of people that listen to this podcast and follow me on Instagram, really struggle with this, having a gut issue, but also in their relationships, how it’s impacting their relationships. So let’s talk about how that can kind of be a self fulfilling prophecy and how the two kind of feed each other.
Dr. Christie Kederian 05:52
Right, so what we really see it a lot of relationship dynamics, or when people are pursuing health, like you might be, you know, in your physical health journey, if you have relationships that are really almost sabotaging that it’s very difficult to reach that ideal health that you desire, physically, emotionally, spiritually, so holistically, we really want to make sure that everything that you’re doing is supporting health overall. So the relationships that you have, you want to make sure that they’re ones that that really support your physical journey, and you want to be able to acknowledge your needs, and make sure that they’re getting met in healthy ways within those relationships. So if you’re single and kind of navigating this path, I know something that I hear a lot of times, and I know we’ve shared clients and people that have worked with us as well, is that it’s very hard to kind of go through the dating process when you’re having such significant stress or gut issues, or you’re really stressed at work. And there’s not a lot of time to devote and invest in the process of getting to know someone. And so that’s one thing that I see really frequently. And then the second thing I see if clients are already in relationships, or have been in past relationships that were really toxic dynamics are just not healthy for them that’s affected every area of their life. So that connection is really strong. And sometimes the symptom that we get is physical. So we feel those gut symptoms, but then the root oftentimes, is that stress, or is that emotionally unhealthy dynamic that we’re in and we face every day. So it’s really important to get to some of those root causes emotionally so that you’re not impeding your physical health journey in any way.
Heather Finley 07:35
Yeah, we tell our clients that all the time, you know, there’s stress in so many different forms on your body, and stressful relationships can definitely be something that holds people back from truly finding full relief from their symptoms. So what would be one, what would be some ways that people can identify if their relationships are causing them stress, because sometimes, we may not even be aware that certain people in our lives are inhibiting our physical health as well.
Dr. Christie Kederian 08:03
Yeah, one question I get asked really frequently, especially from single people is, you know, what’s the most important thing to look for in a ideal partner. And while some of those things are very different values, etc. One character trait that I really recommend to everyone, and people are surprised by this is making sure that your partner is flexible, someone who is flexible or agreeable. And this really parallels what you’re talking about around stressful relationships. Because if someone is able to work with you towards a goal or work with you, if you’re having some of these health issues, they’re flexible, they’re going with the flow, and they’re allowing space for you to grow, change, even, you know, struggle and suffer, but there’s that safe space, then you’re going to feel safe to express your needs, help them really hear you and understand you because that not feeling misunderstood, is a very large part of that dysregulation. And so we see that a lot. And so if you’re single, and you’re kind of looking for a partner, keeping that in the top of your mind, so let’s say there’s a specific type of food, like spicy food that you can’t go to, and they recommend going to that place for a day. And you’re like, actually, you know, I prefer not having that. Pay attention to that a reaction isn’t like, Oh, why are they judgmental? Or they, you know, whatever, that’s really important, because you want someone who’s like, yeah, no problem. Let’s do this. And they can kind of work with you, rather than just having you there really rigid expectations or preferences, and they’re not going to allow space for you in the relationship. So that’s the first thing that I say to people that are dating and then if you’re in relationships, really noticing, being aware of your body and not just when your body is feeling uncomfortable, but when it’s feeling comfortable and safe, and communicating that to your partner so that you’re working with what is working and not just maybe criticizing them with what’s not working. That could really help them feel like they then partner with you on this journey and there can be part of the solution rather than feeling like they’re just part of the problem.
Heather Finley 10:08
So communicating your needs and like expressing that flexibility on the other end, too. I think even mirroring it can definitely be helpful as well. Yeah, exactly. Okay, so kind of on that note, obviously, you’ve given really great examples of if you’re single if you’re in a relationship, but what about other relationships? So what about like parent and child relationships, friendships, etc? How do those impact our physical health as well? Or what’s the importance of those relationships? Both on the positive side as well? How can those actually enhance our physical health? And then what are some ways in which those can affect our gut health specifically?
Dr. Christie Kederian 10:54
Yeah, so I think that so many relationships that we have, we have to really assess like the health of those relationships, both in meeting our needs, and being people that are supportive or kind of have that connection to a lifestyle or an overall goal that’s similar to yours as well, I think and there’s been a lot of research around this, that the traits and the type of people that you’re around really influenced like who you are even around health issues, as well. And so I think that, as difficult as this can be, you know, as therapists we’re always talking about, like boundaries, and self care. And boundaries aren’t always what we assume that they are, it’s not like cutting people off or you know, being mean, because you’re most the most important or you’re being selfish in any way. But it’s really seeing how you can create that safety for your body for yourself, you know, maybe for your primary relationship or your relationship with your, your child, and then creating that kind of lifestyle that’s safe from other more toxic dynamics. And being really clear on let’s say, you’re going to, you know, family members, or in laws or people that you know, have a really different lifestyle than you that maybe in the past had been judgmental, that you can’t eat certain foods or, you know, you don’t always feel up to doing certain things that really are aligned with their dynamic, it’s really about say, Okay, I know kind of what I’m going into, I’m able to communicate with, you know, my partner, or even with myself around like, Okay, I know what this situation would be like, and preparing yourself setting yourself up for success. So you’re not putting yourself in a situation that’s going to be really uncomfortable, and dysregulated. So maybe it’s like, okay, I need to put some boundaries around the amount of time that I spend with this person, what type of time I spent with that person, maybe we’re not eating together, maybe we’re doing something else, like I’m walking around somewhere. Or maybe it’s not, I’m not staying at this person’s house, when we’re visiting, we’re going to a hotel. So that’s really in service of you, as well as in service of those other relationships, even if it might feel like oh, this is different than what they expect. You’re ultimately doing what’s best for you and that person.
Heather Finley 13:07
Yeah. And I think like you said, ultimately, it’s better for that person as well, even though they may not understand that in the moment. So what are some ways that someone could communicate that let’s say they were going on a trip, and they decided to stay in a hotel versus staying with someone because that was better for them. And that situation was easier to navigate? How can you communicate that?
Dr. Christie Kederian 13:30
I think honesty is the best policy. And the reason that I say that people, it’s better for them to is because if you build resentment, because you’re really doing what you don’t want to do, as much as people think that they can hide that resentment, it will bleed out so that you will be you know, it’ll come out passive aggressively, or it’s just going to be another hindrance to that relationship. So I would really be honest, like, if you are having some if your main concern is some around some health issues, you know, bathroom accent, whatever it is, that’s getting in the way of Your Comfort, just communicate, hey, you know, we’ve recently I’ve recently been having some, you know, health issues, maybe it’s nothing serious, you can, you know, let them know, it’s nothing serious, but I think it’ll just be more comfortable for us. If we could stay at this hotel. You know, I’ve loved your hospitality, thank you so much for offering or always hosting us, but I just want to really enjoy my time with you. So focus on those positives, be honest. And I think the most reason that people get offended by it, they think it has to do with them. So if you can be really clear that, you know, it doesn’t really have to do with them or the parts that don’t have to do with them that can really help preserve the relationship and preserve your comfort in that situation. So you’re not triggering those stress responses.
Heather Finley 14:43
Yeah, definitely. And then ultimately, everyone ends up having a better time. Exactly. So we talked a bit about relationship dynamics, but let’s dig into that a little bit more as far as like, okay, like for most of our clients, bloating Constipation, acid reflux, potentially diarrhea, these are all common common concerns and the some that you can’t hide, right? If someone is very physically bloated and very uncomfortable, or having a chronic constipation, where they’re in a lot of pain or diarrhea where they’re running to the restroom, obviously, these things can, you can’t hide them. And so it can definitely affect relationships, especially if someone doesn’t understand what’s going on if they’ve never had digestive issues. So how do you how do you navigate the conversation with a partner or a family member about what’s going on? If it’s maybe something that you haven’t spoken to them about before? Or you might be a little bit embarrassed about? What’s the best way to do that? Obviously, there’s a lot of nuances there, depending on the relationship, but how do you why is it important to potentially communicate that to someone? And then how do you navigate that situation?
Dr. Christie Kederian 16:01
Yeah, great question. So what I would say is, what’s ultimately first important is obviously to communicate and make sure that the person knows, you know, it has nothing to do with them, whatever boundaries, you have to say, whatever self care that you have, and then I would really highlight, you know, how they can be part of supporting you in the solution, but how maybe you’re working on it on your own. So let’s say, you know, you’re seeing a doctor’s seeing Heather, you’re doing some things to help with this issue. I think what can sometimes be difficult is when people say, Oh, just, you know, take a guess at whatever people solutions that they have that feel really frustrating to you probably and stressful, because it might be that you’ve tried everything you’ve got until these doctors, you still don’t have a solution. And then to have people that don’t understand the pain and struggle that you’re in, try to kind of throw on a band aid solution, when you open up to them, I think can be one of the most painful parts of it. So I would really express, you know, have been having some health issues going into specifically, you know, how it might affect you, you can also have a lot of boundaries around like what you say. So maybe you don’t feel comfortable going into every single detail. But you can just say, you know, I’ve been having some digestive issues, sometimes it turned into, I really have to access a bathroom really quickly. Sometimes it’s just a lot of discomfort, whatever that is, let them know, you know how you’re already working on especially if it’s your partner like and seeing the specialist or I’m doing this thing. So it wouldn’t be so helpful to kind of have a fix it solution, which sometimes a lot of partners or just people that you love tried to come in with that solution, but they’re not the expert, they don’t really know what could be helpful. So just let them know, you know, some things wouldn’t be supportive, but these are things that would be supportive. So if I let you know, like, hey, I need to not, you know, commit to a friend outing for a whole day like maybe we can just do this thing with them great, or, Hey, we can’t have people over. But maybe we can do this, okay, great. So that they can just know how they can help support you, and not try to support you in ways that aren’t beneficial. And then just make sure that you communicate that you want the conversation to be open so that you can connect on you know, how about I update you when I have a new solution, or I’ve been working with something and I let you know. So you can also kind of protect from some intrusive, like comments or questions that feel like really uncomfortable to you. So like after you leave the bathroom, or like what happened, you know, like some of those things can just be kind of counterproductive to the healing process. So let people know how you want them to approach it. Or if you want to be the one to initiate kind of any updates about how your journey is.
Heather Finley 18:39
I think that’s helpful and kind of leaving it open ended, I think is very empowering, knowing for the other person knowing that they’ll continue to be updated as needed, and that you can have that open line of communication as well. Exactly. Hey, I know you’re absolutely loving this episode. But I have to interrupt real quick to ask you a huge favor. My mission is to empower as many women as possible to find relief from their digestive symptoms, and you are a part of that mission. And the best way that you can help me to pursue this mission is by going over to iTunes, and giving us a five star rating and review so that more people can find this podcast. Now back to the episode. So another thing I know that our clients really run into is struggles around intimacy, because as I mentioned, the the symptoms that they experienced can be so physically uncomfortable and can cause a lot of body image concerns. And so it can definitely affect relationships because of that lack of desire to want to be intimate with your partner. So can you speak to that?
Dr. Christie Kederian 19:43
Yeah, that’s a great question. I see that come up a lot as well. So I would say obviously, like I’ve mentioned before communication is really important. I would also focus on you know, the connection with your partner. Obviously when you physically feel that discomfort that is connection within yourself, it doesn’t really make you want to connect with your partner, especially in physically intimate ways. I also see that come up with around self image and body image, if you’re feeling really bloated, if you’re not feeling attractive, that can really hinder that intimacy as well. So working with a couples therapist can be really helpful, because that could also help you navigate some ways that you can connect and be physically intimate, that aren’t hurting you in order to, you know, help support the needs of your partner, you want to make sure that all your needs are getting met, and you’re able to communicate, maybe there are certain days or times of day that you feel better, that might be better to connect and kind of talking about it. I know, especially with physical intimacy, it feels like it’s fun, sexy to like, communicate some of these things. But ultimately, it’s going to be what’s helpful to make sure that your connection isn’t hindered by that, by that pain. And then working through that, I think making sure your partner is really understanding and supportive, that it’s not, you’re not rejecting them. Because that’s often what it can feel when people have different needs or desires. But it’s really more about you making sure you’re taking care of yourself physically, and that they’re able to No, I think sometimes people don’t want to communicate how much pain they’re in or whatever. And that sometimes it is really helpful to communicate that clearly. So they know the extent of what you’re going through and can have that empathy and explore connecting in other ways, too.
Heather Finley 21:27
I think that’s really helpful advice. And I even like the advice about time of day, because that’s a big one that our clients experience where potentially they wake up, and they feel great. And then they feel terrible by the end of the evening. And so, you know, there’s maybe a way to reverse engineer that a little bit. So going back a little bit to what you were talking about earlier about relational health, and how like different relationships can kind of repeat themselves? Can you talk a little bit about that, and potentially how we may look for those repeating patterns in people, and you probably have better terms for this. But how, like relationships in our lives might mirror other relationships in our lives? And how to potentially break out of that if we’ve previously been in a relationship with someone who hasn’t been super supportive? And how do we even know that that is a problem?
Dr. Christie Kederian 22:21
Yeah, it’s a great question. And a lot of the work that I do specifically around like adult attachment and relationships, there’s so many routes to going back to your childhood, to your caregiver, I think there’s a lot of parallels as well with like physical health. Food, I used to work a lot in eating disorder treatment, and a lot of what I saw was that a lot of this discomfort or, you know, whatever you felt when you were a kid, okay, you have to eat everything on your plate, or you have to eat things that you don’t really like, or make you feel uncomfortable, because that’s what we eat, or even culturally like, Okay, well, we always eat this, so everyone has to eat it, but you’re not really taught to listen to your body from a really young age. And then those dynamics are often paralleled also in adulthood, where, okay, well, I want to please, my parents, or I’m going to eat everything on this plate, even if it doesn’t make me feel good, okay, well, in adulthood, it’s, I want to please my partner. So I’m going to just go with the flow and eat whatever and not complain and just deal with the pain and the symptoms. And so we really have to look at some of those dynamics from early on a relationship with food, our relationship with discomfort, where we told to just, you know, deal with it, or suck it up or whatever. And then see how that’s also playing out. And making sure we’re not entering similar dynamics in adulthood, where we actually are aware, and we do have more autonomy to say, Oh, this isn’t working for me, I’m going to do this. So really looking at some of those dynamics can help you have more awareness. So you’re not replaying the same role and just doing whatever you felt like you had to do.
Heather Finley 23:58
That’s super, super helpful. And kind of on that note, really, the last question that I have is, what happens or how do you navigate a situation when your partner isn’t necessarily supportive of you investing in your health? I think that’s a common concern that a lot of our clients who are specifically women have is, well, my husband doesn’t get it or my husband doesn’t want me to spend more money because I’ve already spent 1000s of dollars and it’s a valid concern for sure. But how do you navigate the conversation if your partner doesn’t quite understand why you really need the help or why it’s important for you to get that support?
Dr. Christie Kederian 24:39
Yeah, this is a really tough thing that I know so many women and people experienced especially around their health and they in the fact that you’ve probably been investing and trying different doctors, different methods that haven’t worked, and it’s been painful to have that financial investment as well as not getting the result but ultimately, I think If you can really look at what the benefits would be, if you do find something that truly like works for you, that can really help to change the perspective. So it’s like, if I was able to find this relief, this is kind of what my life would look like, or as I’m finding some of these symptoms are being resolved, you know, through your your Get Together program, for example, it’s like, okay, now I’m able to work, I’m able to have more time to take care of my kids, I’m able to just like have more time, in general, a lot of people view investment, and the only investment as as money, but when you really look at it, your time is the most valuable investment because you can’t get it back, you can always make back money, but you can’t really get that time back and the time that you’re spending, you know, trying different things and not working out rather than investing in experts that really like know what they’re doing or have a different path and it’s worked for people, you can really see that it that return on it is life changing. So being focusing on the benefits, and how that might change your life and change your partner’s life to is really important as well. And, and personally, I always empower people as well, if they don’t have that understanding. Ultimately, unfortunately, I mean, fortunately, your partner isn’t experiencing the type of pain that you’re in. So if there’s a way another parent or you know, a parent or someone else that can really help you in financially investing, or maybe you yourself, it’s like this is, you know, ultimately, if you don’t have this physical health, you don’t really have anything else. So I think that this is, you know, a primary thing that if your husband can’t or doesn’t want to support, you know, say, okay, like, is it you know, I’m going to pursue other options, then investing in this and not just saying, Oh, well, he’s letting me so not going to do it. Like, maybe there’s other ways that you can access resources. Because ultimately, if you’re, they might not understand fully what you’re going through, but it’s still a very big issue in your life. And ultimately, you know, you don’t if you don’t fix some of these problems, I think they could create a lot of other problems down the road that can lead to even where it’s not just discount when it’s just not discomfort that we’re talking about here. So I think that it’s primary and any other investment, vacation or whatever, it’s like you’re not enjoying anything you’re doing if you don’t fix this problem. So yeah,
Heather Finley 27:24
that’s super helpful. And I think probably one of the harder conversations that people have to have is around finances, it can definitely be uncomfortable and awkward. But I think that’s super empowering. So anything else that you want to note about relationships and digestive health and just navigating these hard and difficult conversations and advocating for for yourself when you have digestive issues?
Dr. Christie Kederian 27:47
Yeah, so the last thing I’ll say is just ultimately, I think if you are able to work with people work with experts that know what you don’t know, it can really alleviate a lot of the pressure and stress that’s compounding on what you already feel. I think that’s another thing people don’t think about, like the pressure of trying to find solutions, and failing and all of that is creating even more stress, that then also creates more less emotional health as well as less physical health. So it’s almost like if you’re able to really learn from strategy, an expert that has the roadmap for you can really help you with that, then you’re not going to be putting that burden on yourself. And I think one of the hardest things about dealing with these issues is that isolation piece and just feeling like nobody understands nobody gets me I feel completely alone in this pain. And that’s so challenging. So I think whatever you can do to get that support, I know your programs like in a group format, which is great or like you know, any kind of like support group as well, I think it’s going to be really helpful. Because if you can just get someone to understand that could also alleviate a lot of that pressure and stress of feeling really alone and feeling disconnected from obviously yourself but also other people. So I think that that’s a great avenue to go through as well.
Heather Finley 29:11
Yeah, so investing in yourself can improve your relationships and can therefore improve really the rest of your life. Exactly. Okay, so last question, because this is called the love your gut podcast. What is Dr. Christy’s favorite way to love her gut?
Dr. Christie Kederian 29:30
I love this question. I would say I mean I love all like mind body connection stuff. So I do I have a Christian meditation app called ABIDE and so I do that every morning and I listen to it going to sleep and I think that really helps to calm like my nervous system and they do you like muscle relaxation, beginning and it’s like, my favorite thing. So that yoga probably taking my probiotics. And yeah, I like it. I also love eating like kimchi. So does that count?
Heather Finley 30:04
Yeah, love it. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. And I know that this is going to be so helpful. So tell everyone where they can find you how they can work with you all the things. Yeah. So
Dr. Christie Kederian 30:17
you can go to my website therapyfordating.com. So I have all my offerings there that you can check out I hang out the most on Instagram today, Dr. Christy, so you can find me there and I love sharing free resources and more information. So look forward to connecting.
Heather Finley 30:35
Awesome, and we will link all that in the show notes. So you guys go over and connect with Christie, and thanks so much for joining us.
Yay. Thank you.
Please note that this episode is not a substitute for medical advice. And you should always consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes.
I’m giving your gut a thumbs up because you just finished another episode of the love your gut podcast. Thanks so much for listening in to this episode. I hope it was helpful. I know you feel like you’ve tried absolutely everything to get to the root cause of your gut symptoms. And if you ask me, I think it’s about time we find a long term solution. My gutTogether program is a life changing program that will help you finally understand what’s going on in your gut and the steps you need to take to find relief. Visit DrHeatherfinley.co/guttogether for more information so that you can start transforming your gut today. And as always, remember to love your gut so it will love you back.