Chronic Illness & Body Image

I have a complicated relationship with my body.

I have never loved the way I look, which probably has something to do with my parents view of their own weight. I have bad genetics, and no that isn’t an excuse. Both of my parents struggled with their weight since they were kids, and I have watched them go on and off diets; gaining and losing weight.

Since as long as I can remember I have always been thinner than everyone in my immediate family. I haven’t had a completely flat stomach since I was around 8 or 9, but I’ve always been small. Still, most of my friends were skinnier than me, which always made me feel bad about myself. Not to mention tabloids, and TV shows only displaying beautiful skinny girls, is enough to make everyone question their own beauty.  This time last year I was the thinnest I had been in a long time, due to losing weight super fast from some medications I was on.


Now, a year later Gabapentin, and amitriptyline have caused me to gain 45 pounds, making me the fattest I’ve ever been. Seeing pictures from last Christmas makes me sad, and I feel like I look gross most days. I know that I didn’t gain all this weight because “I’m lazy” or “eat too much,” but it is still hard to accept. I don’t want my picture taken, and I don’t like to look in the mirror; I don’t want to remember looking this way. My confidence was boosted so much when I lost weight, and now I feel worse about my body than I ever have before.  I’m trying to accept my new figure and stretch marks, but no one wants to gain weight if it isn’t the goal.


The problem with being chronically ill, and gaining weight is that the answer to losing weight isn’t just “eat better, and go outside and run.” I can’t go outside and run unless I want to spend the afternoon incredibly dizzy, and the next three days in pain and asleep. In the new year I am starting yoga since its low impact, and won’t raise my already constantly racing heart too high. Yes, I too have been told “just try yoga, it will fix all your health issues,” and I think that’s bullshit. It is however a good option to keep me in a routine of doing light exercise. Most days I am too exhausted to walk downstairs every time I want to, so exercising seems completely out of the question a lot of the time. Doctors never seem to understand this, and say  “you just need to push through,” or “getting out more will make you feel better.” *insert eye roll*

Eating healthy also isn’t easy when many things upset my stomach, or I don’t feel well enough to cook a nutritious meal. Chronic illness and weight loss isn’t A+B=C. Many of us gain weight solely due to the meds we’re on. They cause our appetite to spike, or just “pack on the pounds.”


I am definitely a hypocrite, because I think everyone should love their bodies, and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel negative about the way they look. Loving yourself isn’t an easy process; especially when you’re chronically ill. It is also easier said than done. Everyone deserves to feel attractive, and love their bodies, even when they don’t feel like they have the ideal body shape.

I never imagined I would weigh this much, but I know I should cut myself some slack. My body has been through so much in the past five years, that the fact I’m still alive seems crazy some days. I know I’ll lose weight; it just may take a while. There are good days when I love myself, and think I look good, but recently there are more bad days, with lots of negative thoughts. The only thing I can do is to try my best to eat right, and exercise to the best of my ability. If you’re chronically ill and have/are dealing with excessive or rapid weight gain, let me know what has/is working for you!

Lots of Love and Positive Body Thoughts,




2 thoughts on “Chronic Illness & Body Image

  1. I have the weight gain issue, and the not being able to exercise isuue, but I haven’t found a way to make it better. Sorry no help. I’m sure you already knew it, you aren’t alone. But I haven’t given up.

    Liked by 1 person

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