Having IBD can make you self-conscious. Maybe you’ve put on weight due to the medication, or lost quite a bit and people are commenting, which can affect your self-esteem, or maybe you have an ostomy bag and you worry people will notice.
We’ve put together a list of tips (based on information from everydayhealth.com) to help you to accept and learn to love your body, even though your IBD may make it hard.
1. Educate Those Around You
Sometimes people will comment on your weight thinking they’re complimenting you and are completely unaware that their comments are hurtful. Take the time to politely explain how your condition can affect weight. (And no, they really don’t want Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to help them lose weight. There are some horrible symptoms that come along with it.)
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps you achieve a healthy body image in two ways: firstly, it will improve muscle tone and make you stronger, and secondly, it releases feel-good endorphins which will make you feel better about life in general. In addition, many people with Crohn’s or UC often report a reduction in symptoms if they exercise regularly.
3. Give Yourself a Break
Don’t compare yourself to models and celebrities in magazines — they are not a true representation of what people look like. They’re often so airbrushed, that they’re no longer a picture of the person in the image. Likewise, don’t compare yourself to people you know in real life, most people struggle with body confidence regardless of their health status.
4. Make a Note of the Things That You Like About Your Body
Write a list of all the things you like about your body and include the things other people compliment you on. Focus on dressing to make the best of your features: choose colors that complement you and flattering cuts to suit your figure.
5. Seek Out a Support Group
Find out if there is a Crohn’s or UC support group in your area where you can meet up with people who understand what you’re going through. If you can’t find anything local, there are hundreds of online support groups, forums, Facebook pages and websites where you can share your experiences with like-minded folk.
6. Get Counseling
If your self-esteem is so low that it’s affecting your day-to-day life then you should seek out professional counseling. Find a therapist you like and trust so you can work through your negative body image together.
IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.