Crohn’s disease? Congrats on losing weight during a flare. . . .

Rachel writes:
(I really appreciate your blog! I am not very overweight, but I still get judgment for it all the time, so I can only imagine what reality is like for other people. Ugh.)

I’m a 21-year-old woman and have somewhat struggled with my weight since hitting puberty (I was a 14/16 US in ninth grade). I’m not obese, but I’m tall and big-boned with slightly odd body proportions, making my current 10/12 size look bigger than it really is, though I’m really only a few pounds over my max healthy weight.

Anyway, I was diagnosed in the summer of 2012 with Crohn’s disease, a serious digestive disease that affects the way my body digests food and absorbs nutrients. Many patients lose massive amounts of weight because they literally cannot digest food. The way I cope with the debilitating pain and diarrhea is by overeating between flares – my body’s way of trying to make up for malnutrition while I can handle eating solid food. In other words, I look healthier than I really am.

After my diagnosis, I had a major flare that lasted the second half of the fall of 2012, and I was very sick.

However, when I went to see my gastroenterologist in December 2012 for a follow-up appointment, the intake nurse (his medical assistant) took my weight and then CONGRATULATED me for losing 10 pounds!

She is a specialist in gastrointestinal diseases! She of all people should know that such rapid weight loss in a Crohn’s patient is a sign of serious complications!

I still struggle with guilt because I have Crohn’s disease and yet am still overweight.

(PS: She was not exactly thin herself, either!)

Leave a comment


  1. Don’t struggle with guilt! (I know, easier said than done.) But that extra weight is really a blessing.

    Your body is trying to protect you by storing those extra calories. You should be grateful to your body for trying to do that for you. It’s trying to keep you as healthy as it can when you have those flare ups. Your weight loss is evidence of that, your body is burning through that fat when you are having a flare up. The calories your body is storing as fat are just a protection against the time when it cannot store any more. Try to see it as a positive thing, even when nurses are being jerks.

    Fat storage is something our bodies evolved to do because we were not always in a food secure environment. Though now having a body that is more likely to store excess calories as fat is viewed as a terrible health hazard, that was not always the case. Still in some cultures where food is scarce fat people are revered. Try to remember that society has twisted our view of fatness and totally divorced themselves from the biological necessity of fat storage because we live in a food rich environment. You sortof don’t.

    I wish you all the best managing your condition, and other people’s stupidity.

  2. There is a reason why the pre-historic “venus” statues – statues of what the artists in those pre-historic societies considered beautiful women – are fat. Fat women were the ones who could not only survive a famine, but could reproduce, and bear healthy children during tough times. Fat women were a boon to society, in that respect.

    So, I second the previous comment. Your body is doing you a favor, and some people are so caught up in “thin is in” that they cannot see the truth.

    Good luck.

  3. Rachel, if you haven’t done this already, please type ‘gmo foods and crohn’s disease’ into your search engine. You may find that avoiding genetically modified foods will ameliorate your symptoms. Worth a try, anyway.

  4. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    More damage done by the inane thin equals healthy paradigm. Someone is trying to live with a debilitating disease and the M.A. shows their ignorance by congratulating on an undesired weight loss from illness. Way to go!


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