"It all started with the stomach ache. I had always been a slim and healthy young woman, but four years ago my body didn’t listen to me anymore. Everything that I was used to, what I took for granted; my diet and lifestyle, changed. My stomach was constantly upset and very bloated, not to mention the pain.
Finally, I was encouraged enough to visit the doctor and after several tests, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, IBS.
I was relieved that there was a reason why I felt this way, but the future gave me anxiety. What could I eat any more? I was so used to eating different kinds of foods, but now I felt that whatever I ate, it gave me a reaction. I got frustrated constantly while I was testing out different diets, but I couldn’t find anything that could help relieve my symptoms. Eventually, I started neglecting my body, I got depressed and gained weight. Simple ingredients such as onion or garlic did not cooperate with my stomach, and it was almost impossible not to find it in restaurant meals.
Eating out was difficult and if I ignored my needs I would suffer serious consequences afterwards. Although the pain was physical, it was also mentally very crippling. There was a moment when I did not feel any connection with my own body and felt like I had lost control of it.
I still suffer from pain and IBS symptoms from time to time, sometimes there are better days and sometimes nothing feels good, but I’m always aiming for a cleaner diet and a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had to do a lot of work with my body image and to accept my current body. I need to be more gracious towards myself as we have only one body and it is important to take care of it and appreciate it with all its faults."