You’ve lost so much weight! What diet are you on? You’re looking great!
These are things that EVERYONE with Gastroparesis has heard at one point or another. Everyone wants to know how you’ve lost weight so quickly and how you stay so thin. They want in on the next latest and greatest diet fad. Responding to all of this is a delicate situation. On one hand, you want to take the opportunity to educate them about Gastroparesis (if you’ve accepted your fate & are ready to fight to make a difference. more on this in future blogs). On the other hand, you know they are not wanting to hear that the reason is that you can’t eat, you’ve been vomiting for days (maybe months) and that you would give anything to keep weight ON. So what do you do?
My approach has always been to disclose as much as I feel like dealing with that day. Some days I just want to go through the motions, get the day over with and therefore get in/out of this weight loss conversation as fast as possible. Other days I am feeling fiesty and wanting to take the time & energy to educate. It really all depends on the person, the day, the hour, the minute, and the second. The one thing that is constant is that it is hard to hear that “you look so good” when you know it is because you are so incredibly sick and barely functioning. It is hard for them to understand that you are so incredibly sick when “you look good”. (Check out the blog on “But You Don’t Look Sick” https://adventureswithgastroparesis.com/2013/02/01/but-you-dont-look-sick/)
The flip side of this (that no one really talks about) is that you also go through periods of inexplicably gaining weight. No one come rushing up to you saying “how did you do it? how did you put all of that weight back on?” However, it takes a toll on your emotions. Your body is so out of whack and changing dramatically day to day that it is hard at times to feel comfortable in your own skin. It is hard to feel confident when the pants that fit perfect yesterday are now following off and might not button tomorrow.
However, you have to look at yourself and say “I made it out of bed today. I managed to wash my hair today. I got out of my pajamas, so who cares if my pants are following off? Who cares if my pants are unbuttoned under my shirt & no one can see? I have accomplished a great thing today by going out and facing the world and continuing my life. I am beating GP today, so take that!”
You’ve got to find a way to keep those pesky Gastroparesis depressive thoughts away and celebrate what you have conquered. The more you celebrate what you have conquered, the more likely you are to say “Thank you. I do not have a diet plan, but have a rare condition called Gastroparesis. Let me tell you about it.” Because knowledge is power and the more people we educate, the more powerful the Gastroparesis community becomes!
(Fortunately, my weight has been level for the past few months so I have not been asked about my diet plan since last spring! However, I ALWAYS take an opportunity to politely educate others.)