Crohn's Disease Healthy Weight?
I am 17 and I have Crohn's Disease, I was diagnosed 3 weeks ago and I weighed 100lbs, I have been on steriods and have increased my diet to around 5,000 calories a day. I am now at 120, What weight should I aim for?
- TFVLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
That's a good question, and it's one that I've grappled with myself. I was diagnosed at age 18, also 100 pounds at the time. Now I'm 21 and generally hover around 140, although lately I've let myself slide down to 135, mostly because I've been slender all my life (since long before the disease) and 135 just feels more natural to me than 140.
The most important consideration is how much weight you lose in a flare. You must carry at least enough weight that a flare won't completely wipe you out. I tend to lose about 20 pounds in a bad flare, so I'm prepared to bottom out at around 115-120. That was my weight in high school, so I know I can live at that weight if necessary while I build myself back up.
Once you have enough padding to survive a flare, you can just experiment and see what feels the best. Go ahead and gain weight as long as it continues to make you feel stronger. For me, going over 140 was the point where I felt heavier but not stronger, so I stopped and came back to the 138-140 range. (Because it's so hard for us to gain weight as IBD patients, we have the somewhat unique ability to lose any amount of weight at will. I have friends that envy this ability; these friends have never experienced a high-grade bowel obstruction.)
And just as a heads-up, in case the doctors didn't tell you, the steroids add 5-10 pounds of temporary water weight and also make it easier to gain permanent weight. In other words, gaining 20 pounds in 3 weeks is very much an anomaly and will not continue. (I also gained 20 pounds in a month on steroids; once the steroids were withdrawn, I could manage about 5 pounds a month). As you taper the steroids, your total weight may stagnate for a little bit and then increase more slowly than it does now. If that happens, don't worry that you're suddenly doing something wrong. Just be patient with it.
I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis, but the best advice I can give is to find a gastroenterologist whose style fits well with yours, and to become your own expert on the disease. Books are almost always more detailed than web resources, and most authors have some bias, so get at least 2 or 3 perspectives. There are more books about CD than you might think. If you're into web forums, I find http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?... to be rather good for support and information.
If you have any more questions, my email is linked in my profile. Good luck to both of us!