Within the first two months of mine and my partner’s relationship, I ended up with some severe stomach issues. I was nauseous and just feeling completely drained most of the time, especially after I ate. And if it wasn’t that it was severe bouts with IBS. It took me a while to understand that it had to do with my stomach as such, and I did see a doctor about it after another few months.
By the time I got to see the doctor, I’d already started to figure out things to help me feel less horrible, and I remember this question quite vividly: “Have you lost a lot of weight recently?”, and my response was “Yes, but it was intentional, so I don’t think it’s a big deal”, and my doctor took this answer as “there’s no underlying cause that’s making it hard for you to eat, so you’re losing a lot of weight”. When in truth, wasn’t me limiting myself in what I ate, so I wouldn’t feel sick all the time, my health causing me to lose weight?
When I think back on it now it seems more than clear, obvious even, that that was the case. I was clearly not healthy, my stomach problems were causing me to lose weight, but I was proud of losing weight at the time. I was like “omg, finally I’m able to lose weight, and look it’s so easy, you just eat less”. When in reality, I couldn’t eat more. If I ate more I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t study, and being at university at the time meant that I needed to be able to study. I couldn’t do chores, living in student housing and sharing a kitchen with people meant I needed to be able to do chores. So the best option was to cut out all the things I couldn’t eat, that made my stomach issues worse.
Long term I also didn’t continue taking the stomach meds from my doctor, because they were exasperating the underlying problems, by unbalancing my stomach acids even more. Can I prove this? No, but it seems to be fairly common knowledge, these days, that omeprazole and lansoprazole has that effect. There is a long-term negative to being treated.
Would a doctor tell me to drink a glass of apple cider vinegar (diluted appropriately ofc) in the morning every day? Would a doctor be able tell me that an apple a day, or as an inbetween snack, not even a whole one, but just cut in tiny pieces and eating them when you can/need to, will actually help you feel better long term? One doctor was able to tell me that bananas could help with my stomach issues, specifically green ones, before i take my meds in the morning. And you know what, it did help. And the apples and apple cider vinegar did too. They are still my go to. And overcooked rice with overcooked vegetables.
Yet, I find myself today, thinking about that other doctor, who took me at my word that me losing weight was intentional. And therefore there didn’t seem to be anything clearly wrong with me, so we didn’t continue investigating my issues, and I still have them today, 7 years later. I never got any diagnosis.
The issues come and go, and if I get back on my “bad food” for too long, or too many times in a week, often I’ll think “Huh, I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately, and I feel fine, odd. let’s take another cup of coffee”, instead of not taking that next cup.
Yes, I’m sharing this because I’m struggling with my stomach again, and being reminded about me eating less. Back then, with me not having money to cover food, eating less was a blessing in so many ways, and the fact that I also lost weight at the same time. I mean that’s the trifecta right?
I have a fucked up relationship with food, disordered eating is a daily thing. Battling the world of diet culture is fucking heck. Being body positive while also wanting to lose weight, or needing to eat less, is hard. How do I reconcile those things together? In ways they seem like antonyms.
Health at every size. Maybe health looks different for different people. Maybe in some cases health means eating less, and in some cases it means eating more. Maybe re-balancing yourself, and finding what works for you and your body is what we need to think about.
And as a thank you, while writing this post my stomach sent me to the bathroom with IBS (I realize it’s not the stomach, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it always feels like it just as well could’ve been). Probably because one of the things I just had for dinner set me off. Thanks body.
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