Did Crohn's Give Me an Eating Disorder?

I love food. I can’t stress this enough. Eating has always been an enjoyable event for me. Growing up as an athlete I never dieted in my entire life. And since I was burning tons of calories every day, I could eat whatever I wanted.

Trying new cuisine used to be exciting and something I looked forward to. Whenever someone would suggest a new restaurant, I would always be excited to give it a try. Mexican food? Let’s do it! Asian food? Yes! That sounds delicious!

Allergies? What was that? I never ever had food intolerances. Diary, grains, spicy food—bring it on! I loved it all and enjoyed it all. Food to me wasn’t just about fueling my body. It was a social event.

Going out to lunch with friends was something I did often. Attending birthday dinners was always an exciting event for me. Eating way too much at Thanksgiving was a given and indulging a little too much in appetizers at a nice gala was always my thing.

I was just the girl that enjoyed food and I had no problem with that label.

Changes with food and what I could eat after a Crohn's diagnosis

Well, without any warning, I was suddenly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and overnight, my relationship with food changed drastically. Overnight, I became intolerant to dairy and grains. Oh my goodness!

What a horrible thing to experience coming from the girl who loved her milk and bread! This was torturous. And forget it, no more spicy foods! Wait a minute, you mean no more Kimchi or spicy Mexican food? Ever? Ugh!

Of course, I was in denial when I was diagnosed. I thought eventually these food intolerances would go away and with time I could get back to eating like before. But months went by, then years and it started to become more clear that my relationship with food would never be the same.

Fearing food and how it might affect me

With time, I actually developed a fear of food in some ways. If there was something I hadn’t tried before, my initial thought would be: what if this puts me in a flare? I wouldn’t go near it. Oh but it looks so good and delicious! But I can’t bear to be sick! The dilemma was so polarizing.

Have I developed an eating disorder?

But wait, is it possible to have an eating disorder even if you love food? Because let’s face it, if it was a guarantee that I wouldn’t get sick after eating a lasagna, you better believe I would house that entire lasagna with a smile on my face. Enjoying every single bite!

I mean, there are times that I dream about food! How could I possibly have an eating disorder?

However, when I think about it logically, it is pretty clear that my relationship with food is no longer healthy. Due to the diagnosis of Crohn’s, food now stresses me out. I never know exactly what to eat, and I never know what could cause a flare because things seem to change so much on the daily when it comes to my food intolerances.

But according to Google, the definition of an eating disorder is: any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. The keyword here is: psychological. I can confidently say that my issues with food, stem directly from the physical repercussions due to Crohn’s and not because I have a psychological issue with food.

Crohn's is the reason I can no longer eat certain foods

So no, in my opinion, I can’t have an eating disorder. Because if I did, having the option of eating lasagna with no physical repercussions would still be a dilemma if I truly had an eating disorder. But for me, it isn’t in the slightest. It’s the Crohn’s and only the Crohn’s that is causing my relationship with food to change.

Overall, I think it’s fair to say that my relationship with food has had to change due to a physical diagnosis, but as far as having an eating disorder, I think it’s fair to say that I don’t have one.

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