So it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog. I needed a break over Christmas as I was so busy with family and then had exams as soon as I came back to university. I’ve done with exams now so can get back to weekly posts again!!
I’m going straight into a serious topic surrounding CF, and that’s body image.
Many people may not even realise this as an issue for someone with CF but weight gain and high calorie diets are such a massive part of the illness. We are constantly being weighed and having discussions with the dietician to make sure we maintain a suitable weight, to give us the strength to fight off serious infections.
I don’t speak for the whole of the CF community but I can speak personally and know the huge focus on weight is an issue for me. We are encouraged to eat double the amount of calories that are advised for most ‘normal’ people. This is extremely challenging and can make me feel so self conscious especially when social media is so focused around dieting and loosing weight.
A lot of people with CF suffer with bloating after eating any sort of food, a term known as the ‘CF belly’ within the community. After eating our belly’s swell and this can be embarrassing -I find it especially uncomfortable if I’m having a meal out. This alongside eating extra calories and weight gain can be a very challenging thing as we focus so heavily upon appearance in society.
On the other side of this, many people with CF also have problems in gaining weight and no matter what the eat, they cannot reach their weight goals. This is emotionally very difficult and a tiring aspect of the illness as it can hold so many people back and cause weakness. Making it harder to fight off infections.
Both sides of this can have such an impact on mental health and constantly having to think about food can be more draining than people think.
It’s such a huge part of the illness and one that I can openly admit to struggling with.
Comments made around weight can be so harmful as you never know the reasons behind why someone may be eating so much or so little. I wish there was less focus on the way our bodies looked and rather on who we are.
Within the CF youth advisory group that I am part of, there has been discussion of a magazine to be created with quotes from men and women with CF discussing body imagine as well photos, in a hope to show to younger people with CF that many others suffer the same concerns in regards to body image. They discuss other factors such as finger clubbing, scaring and posture which also all impact the appearance of those with CF. I think this is a great idea and something I wish I could have had when I was younger.
I wanted to share these issues as many people will be unaware that CF impacts these things. I particularly struggle with the body image aspects of the illness and would love for more people to talk about it positively, which is why I love the CF magazine idea so much.
For those with CF, please keep an eye out for the magazine and for those who don’t have CF I hope this was in some way informative. I just wanted to highlight another aspect of the illness.
Thanks for reading.