Loving My Body When My Body Doesn’t Love Me

Loving My Body When My Body Doesn’t Love Me
According to the calendar, summer is half over. But here in Texas, the fact that meteorologists are predicting temperatures above 101 degrees for the next seven days means swimsuit season is not ending anytime soon. Having a body ready for a bathing suit is difficult enough for a healthy person. For IBD sufferers, maintaining a positive body image can be close to impossible with the effects of the disease and the side effects of medications taken to ease symptoms. I am 4 feet, 11½ inches tall — and that half-inch is important at my size. I bring up my height because when I talk about a change in weight of 5 to 10 pounds, that can be 5 to 10 percent of my body weight. My average healthy weight falls between 110 and 115 pounds. When my Crohn’s was at its worst, my rate fluctuated between 100 and 130 pounds. Both extremes made me self-conscious for different reasons. I was my thinnest when I was first diagnosed. The obvious culprit was incessant diarrhea. When I could eat, everything went through me. As my symptoms progressed, I lost my appetite when nausea and abdominal cramping made eating unbearable. I forced myself to eat frequent, small meals until my disease worsened. In a previous column, I wrote about how I lived on a liquid diet of protein drinks like Ensure after getting multiple mouth ulcers or canker sores. Within months, I was down to 100 pounds if not less. The last time I weighed that little was in mi
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