Back
Community Experience Submitted by Gali Member
Jul 09, 05:07 PM

Body confidence

By Molly - Gall Ambassador

I have struggled with my body image since elementary school. It started with being the first girl to develop breasts, getting my period at age 11, and having a thicker body then my peers. I picked up quickly the messages I was receiving from family, friends, the media, boys/men, and bullies, that my body wasn’t good enough and needed to be changed. As I grew older the messages changed slightly and the way they were subliminally delivered evolved as most things do over long periods of time, but deep down the message was always about fitting a mold I won’t ever fit. Body confidence takes massive amounts of work, especially if you have been trained by a society that says your body is wrong or not beautiful. Most of the messages I received were unsolicited. Someone who I thought was a friend once told me, “you just need to tone-up a little.” A man I went on a date with touched my stomach and told me I could “lose a few pounds and that my boobs should be bigger.” He proceeded to say even nastier things to me when I didn’t associate with him any longer. I will never forget the first time I was called a “fat-ass” that was high school. The list goes on but you get the point!

I dieted and “yo-yo-ed” for years, which left me with more invisible scars and plenty of stretch marks. I tend to get compliments when I lose weight even if it is the result of me being sick and no one says anything to me when I gain weight other than those bullies. Why are we always commenting on people’s bodies? We need to cut that out! I feel like I have been trying to accept myself while I work to change my body, which was working against me and my pursuit of body confidence. I am learning and growing which is a beautiful thing! 

In 2012, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and later IBS and SIBO. Talk about a blow to your body confidence when you are left running to the potty. It’s hard to be 20-something I need to stay near the toilet at all times. There are so many layers to IBD and how it impacts how you feel about your body. IBD causes weight fluctuations that can be hard to adjust to in addition to feeling gross or undesirable since poop/potty problems are far from glamorous. Most 20-year-olds aren’t mature enough to not laugh, much less understand and hold space for compassion, which forces many IBD and IBS warriors into isolation or at least a place we don’t feel we can share what’s really going on with ourselves. Dating was interesting, I hid that side of myself until I met my amazing boyfriend De! I am so glad I grew the confidence I have now to speak about my IBD and body so that others don’t have to go at it alone. I no longer care if someone thinks I am gross because I have IBD which is major progress! That being said, the struggle is real y’all! I feel you, I see you, I believe you and support you! I have been there and still am. As I head toward my 32nd birthday this fall I still to this day struggle with my body image and confidence. However, I am so so thankful I have learned so much about the underlying messages society tells us and how ridiculous trying to be what society wants you to be is. I am thankful for all the wonderful body-positive bloggers setting us straight. I am thankful for all the IBD warriors inspiring us all and my amazing boyfriend who helps me love my body every day. 

It can be hard to have a healthy relationship with a body that has a chronic illness but it is also empowering as hell to stand up for your body and become proud of what it can do instead of dwelling on what you want to change. Body confidence doesn’t come overnight and takes a significant amount of effort for me to keep trying to re-write the narrative for my body and life. I am dedicated to re-learning and nourishing the relationship I have with this body of mine. I am a work in progress. #bodyconfidence ❤️

For more information and tips on living with inflammatory bowel disease from the medical and patient communities, download the Gali friend for IBD mobile app and she will create a personalized feed of articles just for you!

www.instagram.com
Next Insight Previous Insight
The importance of hydration & functional movement for ostomates 
Nov 04, 02:11 PM
What is phantom rectum? 
Jul 09, 01:07 PM
Surgery: Why I chose a permanent ileostomy for Crohn's disease 
Jul 09, 01:07 PM
Ostomy tip 
Jul 09, 01:07 PM
Hydration help with an ostomy 
Jun 09, 02:06 PM
When to empty your ostomy bag 
Jun 09, 02:06 PM
Sleeping with an ostomy 
Jun 08, 10:06 PM
Ostomy abroad: What to bring and how to bring it 
Jun 08, 04:06 PM
Ostomy Outdoors: When Nature Calls 
Jun 08, 04:06 PM
Sexuality and IBD 
Nov 24, 04:11 PM
Bum medicine positions 
Jul 09, 01:07 PM
What to expect at your first infusion therapy appointment 
Jul 09, 01:07 PM
Injecting Stelara 
Jun 09, 02:06 PM
Dealing with hair loss from biologics 
Jun 09, 04:06 PM
Remembering how to be sick 
Oct 02, 09:10 AM
Learning to live well with a persistent illness 
Nov 24, 02:11 PM
Picking a college dorm with IBD 
Nov 24, 02:11 PM
5 tips for a healthier gut microbiome with IBD 
Oct 13, 05:10 PM
10 words of wisdom for my younger self 
Oct 08, 12:10 PM
IBD vs IBS 
Oct 08, 12:10 PM
Navigating the ER as an IBD patient 
Jul 09, 02:07 PM
Preparing for and dealing with accidents in public... 
Jul 09, 02:07 PM
Securing ADA accommodations 
Jun 18, 01:06 PM
New year, new insurance, same headache 
Jun 16, 12:06 PM
Allergic to adhesive tips 
Jun 15, 08:06 PM
Transitioning back into work after surgery 
Jun 15, 08:06 PM
On the go bathroom kits 
Jun 15, 08:06 PM
Commuting with IBD 
Jun 15, 08:06 PM
Partying with IBD 
Jun 15, 08:06 PM
5 tips to make blood draws and infusions less painful 
Jun 10, 02:06 PM
Me and my mouth ulcers 
Jul 10, 05:07 PM
6 suggestions from a UC veteran with joint pain 
Jul 09, 04:07 PM
Invisible illness and joint pain 
Jun 18, 01:06 PM
Advocate for yourself 
Nov 10, 12:11 PM
Dealing with a frustrating doctors appointment 
Jul 10, 09:07 PM
IBD and relationships at work 
Jul 10, 09:07 PM
What does advocacy mean to me? 
Jul 10, 09:07 PM
I don't know how to tell you this, but... I have Crohn's Disease  
Jun 18, 02:06 PM
Be your own health advocate 
Jun 18, 01:06 PM
Sh*ts and giggles episode 1 
Nov 16, 11:11 AM
On the road to gaining my life back 
Nov 24, 02:11 PM
Managing life with bloating and constipation 
Nov 16, 03:11 PM
Colonoscopy awareness 
Oct 28, 02:10 PM
UC fighter finding the silver lining in every day 
Oct 21, 04:10 PM
Self-compassion 
Oct 13, 05:10 PM
The ins and outs of the NG tube experience 
Jul 10, 05:07 PM
Living with UC so far 
Jul 10, 05:07 PM
You don't have to wait for the other shoe to drop 
Jul 09, 04:07 PM
A day in the life of an IBD supermom 
Jun 26, 04:06 PM
Telling my boss about my invisible condition empowered me at work 
Jun 26, 03:06 PM
Flare plan 
Jun 26, 03:06 PM
Chronically vigilant 
Jun 26, 03:06 PM
Donating blood with IBD 
Jun 26, 03:06 PM
Pelvic pain and IBD 
Jun 18, 05:06 PM
My Crohn's story 
Jun 18, 04:06 PM
My IBD journey 
Jun 18, 03:06 PM
Today I tried 
Jun 18, 03:06 PM
Reflection 
Jun 18, 02:06 PM
Top 10 stress-relieving tips 
Nov 24, 04:11 PM
Stress management is hard 
Nov 16, 04:11 PM
11 hidden hardships only patients understand, and ways to cope 
Nov 10, 12:11 PM
Can self-compassion improve your health? 
Oct 28, 02:10 PM
Benefits of human touch: What is the impact on our health? 
Oct 21, 03:10 PM
6 daily habits that can make your anxiety worse 
Oct 21, 03:10 PM
A positive outlook on life with IBD 
Oct 21, 03:10 PM
Chronic illness is mentally exhausting 
Oct 13, 05:10 PM
Here's the truth about mental health: It's OK to not be OK 
Jul 09, 05:07 PM
Denial and acceptance 
Jul 09, 05:07 PM
What happens when you call a crisis hotline? 
Jun 29, 09:06 PM
Celebrate the small wins for better mental health with IBD 
Jun 29, 09:06 PM
Therapy is so important I won't stop talking about it 
Jun 29, 09:06 PM
Coping with the unique mental health challenges of IBD 
Jun 29, 08:06 PM
3 tips for managing stress during the holidays 
Jun 26, 05:06 PM
Loving yourself 
Jun 26, 04:06 PM
IBD and Invisibility 
Jun 26, 03:06 PM
Diet 
Nov 24, 02:11 PM
The brain-gut connection 
Oct 28, 02:10 PM
What foods are OK to eat after J-pouch surgery? 
Jul 10, 10:07 PM
Designing your diet 
Jul 10, 10:07 PM
My relationship with food 
Jun 29, 10:06 PM
Yummy meal tip to help you during a flare 
Jun 29, 10:06 PM
Managing life with chronic abdominal pain 
Nov 04, 02:11 PM
Managing anxiety about pain 
Jul 09, 05:07 PM
Managing pain while on the toilet 
Jul 09, 04:07 PM
Tip for sore booty with a j-pouch 
Jun 30, 04:06 PM
Rectal pain 
Jun 30, 04:06 PM
Exercise and IBD: What you should know 
Oct 13, 05:10 PM
Four benefits of exercising with IBD 
Jun 30, 05:06 PM
COVID-19 (coronavirus) and holiday celebrations: Tips for gathering safely 
Nov 24, 04:11 PM
IBD COVID-19 financial support resources 
Jul 10, 09:07 PM
Tips for Telehealth appointments during the pandemic 
Jul 10, 05:07 PM
Tips for taking care of my mental health as an IBD patient during COVID-19 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
International resources on IBD & COVID-19 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
What it's like to have IBD and COVID-19 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
Real talk from an immune compromised 30-something during the COVID-19 pandemic 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
COVID-19 and IBD 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for people with IBD 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
What IBD patients need to know about 2019 novel coronavirus 
Jul 01, 02:07 PM
A Tweetorial on coronavirus and IBD 
Jul 01, 01:07 PM
Risk of coronavirus nCoV-19 in IBD patients on immunosuppressive therapies 
Jun 30, 05:06 PM
00-12 in 12 months 
Jul 10, 05:07 PM
Body confidence 
Jul 09, 05:07 PM
Learning to love my new body 
Jul 01, 03:07 PM
Vulnerability 
Jul 01, 03:07 PM
Positive body image with IBD 
Jul 01, 03:07 PM
Body image after an ostomy bag 
Jul 01, 03:07 PM
Research studies & clinical trials in IBD roundtable 
Jul 10, 10:07 PM
Ulcerative colitis: bacteria findings raise hopes for new treatment 
Jul 01, 03:07 PM