Living with IBS – I always feel fat
I feel fat. Always. There I said it. As long as I can remember I have been hating my belly. My pants never feel comfortable. They are ALWAYS tight around my belly. I always look at other people wearing jeans wondering if they actually feel comfortable in them. “Do they really feel as comfortable as they look?” or are jeans actually comfortable to them? Am I really the only one who feels like jeans are horrible?
As long as I can remember, I have been telling myself that this is because I am fat. If I simply lose a few kilos, my pants will fit comfortably. Only recently I start to realize that this might not be the reason why my pants are uncomfortable. My weight has been going up and down in the past few years, 5 kilos less, 5 kilos more. But my pants never felt comfortable. Maybe I feel like I could lose a few kilos, but I do have a healthy weight. So probably my weight isn’t the reason.
It was a few months ago when I read on a blog from a girl with Coeliakie that she wears pregnancy jeans when she feels bloated after she accidentally ate gluten, that I thought: “Wait a second, am I not the only one who has this?”. Are there more people whose pants feel terribly uncomfortable because they are bloated?
And for the people who don’t have IBS and think: but Karlijn, you already follow a strict FODMAP diet for your IBS, how can you still have a bloated stomach? Well.. firstly the FODMAP diet can really diminish your bloating, but this doesn’t mean that you are bloat-free. Secondly, people with IBS only need something very small to get stomach problems anyway. For example: a hidden FODMAP in a dish where you didn’t expect it, eating several limited low FODMAP products in a meal which gets you over your threshold, stress, nervousness or just something random like the weather. Jup, when you have IBS you never know when you will get bloated.
It often happens that I go to work and I feel perfectly comfortable in my clothes. A few hours later I am sitting behind my desk, feeling super fat and bloated and I wonder what I was thinking in the morning when I put on that outfit. Because it doesn’t feel comfortable at all and I look fat. I have been struggling with my body and accepting my body as long as I can remember. And I am starting to realise that my IBS might have played a pretty big role in me not managing to accept my body.
Because it is really hard to find yourself beautiful when your belly looks like a balloon, when your pants are always tight, when it always seems like you ate way too much, even if you have been eating super healthy foods all day. If you can never go overboard on a party and eat lots of cake and chips or have few drinks without being punished for it the next morning. I remember the hundreds of attempts that I did to lose weight. After a day of healthy eating I almost never felt satisfied. Because no matter how healthy I ate, my bloated belly still made me feel fat and unsuccessful. And if I do have a day where I really eat too much, my belly is always there to make me feel extra full.
I think I never wrote such a personal and open blog on Karlijn’s Kitchen before and I did feel a bit nervous about sharing this. But I really want to share this with you because I know that I am not the only one. And I know that it would have helped me so much, if I would have known earlier that I am not the only one who struggles with this. This is something that is part of having the chronic disease IBS and having a bloated stomach shouldn’t make you feel ugly or bad about yourself, however hard that might be.
I have made a vow with myself to try to only buy clothes that I actually feel comfortable in from now on. I won’t buy jeans because everybody is wearing them, because they make ME feel horrible (unless they are super stretchy). I bought two pairs of pants with elastic waistbands last summer and I have been living in them ever since. I LOVE IT. I refuse to let bloat rule my life any longer, so I am going to have to find ways to live with it. The low FODMAP diet is one way, because it reduces my bloat a lot and finding bloat-proof clothes is a second way.
In my next blog about #livingwithibs I am going to search for the perfect pants for a bloated stomach. If you have any tips already, please let me know!
I am very curious what you think about my story. Do you recognize this?