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When I'm Judged for Eating to Gain Weight Because of Gastroparesis

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

“I need to lose x pounds!” 

“I need to be (insert specific jean size here)!” 

“I’m on (insert diet here) to get my summer body!”

As the weather gets warmer, these comments become more prevalent. Most of the time I just smile and nod, not knowing how to appropriately respond.

We are living in a world that is obsessed with weight, body types and sizes. It seems that everyone is trying to lose weight, but often those who are attempting to gain weight are overlooked.

I have gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying. Essentially, when I eat, food remains in my stomach too long, causes extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, and malnutrition. Stemming from gastroparesis, I also have SIBO, which is an overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine, causing similar symptoms to gastroparesis.

Unfortunately, these GI disorders have caused me to have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, and even resorted to me having an NJ feeding tube for a short period of time to help stabilize weight and labs. Though I am currently off my tube (due to complications from it), I still have difficulty gaining weight and am far from my ideal healthy goal weight. Because of this, I often am drinking nutritional supplements or eating high-calorie foods to try to maintain a few calories from what I am consuming.
But eating a high-calorie diet or higher-calorie foods often makes me stand out from societal norms. People often comment, “Wow, I wish I could eat whatever I want without gaining weight,” or, “Enjoy eating whatever you want when you are young because that will change when you get older.”

First, commenting on someone’s eating habits is never OK. As someone almost three years in eating disorder recovery, I know how triggering comments regarding food can be. However, commenting on my food choices makes me feel like I should change to meet society’s norms, which would ultimately worsen my conditions. So I have to ignore these comments and remember I am doing what is best for me.

If you gain anything from this message, please be cautious about your comments on weight, body, calories, and diets. Though we live in a world where losing weight is praised, some people are trying really hard to gain weight to take back their health. Please be considerate to others.

Getty image by Tetiana Garkusha.

Originally published: July 4, 2021
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