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Food & Self Acceptance Part 1

My relationship with food has always been a complicated one. Even without taking my condition into consideration. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 17 years old and around that time I didn’t really love food, to say the least. The only thing my body wanted was sleep and I would do that constantly. No amount of food would change the everlasting fatigue, but I imagined sleep would.

Sleep and constant fatigue

No matter how much I slept, my body never felt rested. I never felt like I was ready to start my day. I never had the stamina to be active for more than a few hours at a time. And sure, you could say food played a role in this feeling. After all, “food is fuel.” It powers your body. It gives your body the nutrients it needs to push through. But at this certain point in my life, I don’t think anything could’ve changed what I was going through.

Food, steroids, and weight gain

Fast forward to my early 20s. These were the years I’d been waiting for. Or so I thought at least. Everyone makes their 20s seem like the best time of their lives so I assumed it would be the same for myself. Even in spite of my condition wreaking havoc inside of me. I thought my 20s would provide freedom and answers to the questions I had burning inside of me. But they didn’t. The only thing my 20s packed on was more pounds. A lot of them came from the torture of steroids. But a lot of them were just me. I’d become a “foodie.” Now that I had an answer for why my digestive tract was so crazy, I wanted to try things I’d never tried before. Things I was too afraid of in the past. Although I was on medications, none of them ever really “worked.” They never resulted in remission which ultimately made it harder to eat and fully enjoy a meal, although I was still very willing to try.

Weight fluctuations and self esteem

A few years into my 20s, I really began to struggle. My weight was constantly fluctuating and my body was looking more different now than ever. Not only did I have all of this newfound weight, but my surgeon placed me on protein shakes which added even more and let’s not forget the ostomy [bag] now attached to my stomach. This was one of the hardest periods of my life. I really struggled with self-acceptance because I had no idea which form of myself to accept. It was torture. Having a body constantly changing on top of the odd changes that come with being a young woman.

Food cravings with an ostomy

My struggle with food continued to get worse. Now I was moving into this new phase, a phase I hadn’t quite experienced in this way before: I was always hungry. My ostomy gave me the relief I’d never felt before. Because I no longer had to deal with such active symptoms – or living with a colon at all – my body really began to crave things. Things I probably didn’t need at the time.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.