A woman giving a copy of herself a warm hug.

Learning to Love My New, Disabled Body

Last updated: December 2021

My whole life I’ve been skinny. With comments as a child like “you’re a twig!” and “you’re so bony”, I got used to that being a part of who I was.

When I got older, I started doing aerobics in school and I fell in love with working out. I would do the program “Insanity Max 30”, which was a 60-day program where you did intense workouts for 30 minutes a day and I loved it.

When I got sick, I learned that I couldn’t do that kind of workout anymore. I was heartbroken, I loved working out and staying in shape.

What I had realized

I’ve been in therapy since I got sick. I find it extremely important that I take care of my mental health with this condition, otherwise, I would be extremely depressed a lot of the time.

Something I noticed, with the help of my therapist, was that I had a lot of disordered thinking. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the early 2000s, a lot of girls’ role models were extremely skinny, and that was normal in society at the time.

It was extremely unhealthy, and while I never fully had an eating disorder, disordered thinking is what leads to them. It wasn’t good for me at all.

Once I discovered that I liked yoga, I got right back into working out every single day. I had gone a year with no working out, just light stretches and physiotherapy, but finding yoga was like falling in love with exercise all over again.

This time it wasn’t as unhealthy, but I still saw myself in the same light I always had. I still wanted to stay fit and wanted to work out as much as possible.

I got worse

I was able to do yoga regularly for about 2 years, then 2020 came. I switched biologics, and my fatigue got a lot worse, and I was unable to do a lot of what I used to be able to do.

I spent a lot of days in bed. A day at the mall would have me recovering in bed for 2-3 days afterward. I napped a lot, sometimes 2 or more times a day.

Since I was getting worse, I wasn’t able to work out as much. Over the course of the year, I was working out less and less.

In 2021, I got put on Cosentyx and yet again, my fatigue got even worse. I bought a walker to help me when I left the house. Some days, I even use it to get from my room to the bathroom down the hall.

Needless to say, I haven’t really been able to work out much in the past 6 or so months. If I do, I’m in bed for the next few days recovering. I experience body heaviness, trouble breathing, and painsomnia after I work out.

I started gaining weight

For the first time in my life, I’ve started to gain weight this year. I’ve put on about 25 lbs, which is still normal for my height. Even if it wasn’t, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve just been conditioned by social media for so long to think that gaining weight is bad. With all of the diet fads and athletic influencers, it’s hard mentally to gain weight and be unable to work out.

That’s why I started following accounts that promote body positivity and promised myself to work to be better and kinder to myself.

I love seeing posts that show someone posing, and then what they look like relaxed. It’s okay to have a tummy! It’s okay to have cellulite! It’s NORMAL!

I still have bad days

This whole mindset is completely new to me. I went 25 years of my life thinking I had to stay skinny to be beautiful, so of course, I still have bad days. I remind myself on these bad days that I am beautiful whether I can work out or not and whether I have a tummy or not. I am not any less worthy of love because I gained some weight.

You are beautiful and valuable if you work out or not. You are beautiful and valuable if you have a tummy, have cellulite, arm fat, what have you. You are beautiful and valuable just as you are. Always.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AnkylosingSpondylitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Do you live with any other conditions in addition to AS? (choose all that apply)