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The Difficulty of Accepting How My Body Has Changed Due to Illness

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Dealing with a chronic illness can make it difficult to love your body. Even the simplest day-to-day tasks most people take for granted can cause us pain.

One thing I feel people often take for granted is choice. Anyone can choose what to do or what not to do in all aspects of life.

For me, it’s been very difficult to come to terms with how my body looks due to illness. Weight loss or weight gain is often a symptom of many illnesses and I have been on the receiving end of both, combined with the famous “endo belly” (bloating).

Earlier this year, “Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland took to social media to address the physical changes her illness has put her through, during which she stated, “My circumstances have put me in a place where I am not in control of what my body looks like” – and I couldn’t relate more!

This year I dealt with major issues as a result of endometriosis on the bowel. I haven’t been able to eat as much as I should or work out as much as I’d like, and that has been very difficult to come to terms with. In a world of Instagram hashtags such as “strong not skinny,” skinny-shaming has become more present, and although I am happy to see healthy body image being promoted, I envy those big bums and strong women all over my social media. It can be difficult not to compare yourself with others at the best of times, especially those who aren’t ill. I made myself sick trying to eat more than my body could handle, trying to work out when battling extreme fatigue and trying to be “normal.”

I have realized that striving to achieve the impossible is not healthy, beating yourself up for not looking a certain way is not healthy and forcing myself to “just eat” or put in hours at the gym is not healthy! Body
image in the media has taken a turn in recent years, but fact of the matter is, whether you’re strong or skinny, big or small, you have to find what feels good for you.

I am happy to say that post excision surgery I am back in the gym a bit more, but now I go for the sake of my physical and mental health, not for the sake of trying to look like someone else. As Sarah Hyland said in the same post, “Be the best version of yourself. Be healthy.”

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Thinkstock photo via Maria Kuznetsova.

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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