How To Lose Weight With An Ostomy

How To Lose Weight With An Ostomy

Let’s talk about weight

Today I want to talk to you about weight loss with an ostomy… something I’ve struggled with a lot over the last few years! I hope this can give you an insight into my life and how I try to not only lose weight, but also try to make myself feel as healthy as possible when there are certain foods I have to avoid. It’s not a perfect science and I’m by no means an expert, but this is what works for me and I hope it can work for others too.

Struggling with weight gain following stoma surgery

I was one of those people who lost a LOT of weight after my colectomy as I contracted sepsis and couldn’t keep food down or really do anything for 2 months. This meant that, by the time I was starting to feel better, I had dropped 3 dress sizes from a 14 to an 8. I looked awful and felt just as bad, but I loved how my body looked as I had never really seen myself so thin since I was first diagnosed at 13. So, I assumed that everyone with an ostomy was extremely skinny and that I’d never put on weight again… how wrong I was!

I got into a really unhealthy habit of eating out all the time and eating  processed foods while at home, which did my body absolutely no good and made me sluggish. The weight started to creep back on and, between January 2015 and January 2017, I had put all of the weight I lost back on. I complained about my weight constantly but I didn’t really do anything about it because I had never been able to tolerate many fruits or vegetables before I had an ostomy. Now, however, I basically didn’t have any excuse for it other than being lazy!

I then had my proctectomy at the start of 2017 and when I was recovering things got really bad.  My diet was still terrible and, for 7 months, I really wasn’t able to do much physically. I put on even more weight so my size 14 clothes were tight on me and I was verging on a size 16, which I had never been without being on steroids. I finally decided it was time to do something about it!

Trying to lose weight with a stoma

Over the summer, I tried many different fruits and vegetables in small doses and realised that, thanks to my ileostomy and no longer having diseased large intestines, I could actually enjoy some healthier foods again in moderation. I personally struggle to digest raw vegetables and skin on fruit, so I make sure that 90% of the vegetables I eat are steamed, boiled or roasted and I also peel all my fruit and drink a lot of fresh juices and smoothies.

I’m getting my recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables in a day but in a manageable way that won’t cause any blockages or hurt my stomach. There are quite a lot of times where I won’t be able to manage this due to how unpredictable IBD is, but making an effort on the good days has made me feel less sluggish. I’m no longer instantly reaching for the chocolate and feel like I’m making some healthier choices. I still have lots of foods I have to avoid like nuts, coconut, corn and dried fruits because they have caused some really severe blockages, but I’ve opened up a world of foods I can eat so long as I’m smart about it!

It’s all about portion control

By autumn I had managed to lose about 7lbs, just by adding some fruit and vegetables into my diet, but I wanted to make a bigger difference. I decided that it was time to try living a healthier lifestyle by joining Slimming World for a few months. I’m not a person who wants to diet; I love food and I’m convinced that I have suffered enough over the years with not being able to eat due to pain. So, when I joined Slimming World, I had some stipulations like not denying myself anything - just making healthier choices instead. This meant that, if I was craving pizza, I could have a small individual oven pizza rather than a whole Dominos to myself.

I quickly learned that moderation is key and paying attention to portion sizes is the main area where I go wrong. Previously I didn’t do any kind of portion control! I still can’t really exercise due to having another surgery this January, but it’s surprising that just by making little swaps I’ve been able to drop a stone and a half since October. I stopped going to Slimming World meetings in January this year due to the surgery, but I feel like I now know how to make healthier choices that work for me and I don’t have to be in pain to be healthier.

Remember that what works for me might not work for you, but even by having a smaller meal twice a day, you’d be surprised at the difference it can make! I’ve got a long way to go before I get back to my ideal weight like I was after my colectomy, but by doing it in a healthier way I’m sure I’ll be able to maintain it.

See you next month!

It is possible to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle with a stoma

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by Jen McGregor

Jen McGregor

About the author

I'm Jen, I've had Crohn's Disease for more than 10 years and have a permanent ileostomy. I love all things fashion, animals and travelling. I'm also a student, a vlogger, and I have a dream to bring my adaptable clothing line CrohnieClothing to the masses.

Recent Comments

  • Larry Baer

    Thank you for sharing. I have had an ileostomy for going on 4 years now. I was very sick and in ICU for 2 months post op. I lost a ton of weight. Well I am very healthy now but have gained nearly 80 pounds. I did need to gain a lot back. Not that much though. My doctor told me today that I need to lose weight. Thank you for the suggestions. Larry

  • sandra wentzel

    thank you for the advice i was wondering if you know a website that helps people with an ileostomy and has ms and no gall bladder to help with weight loss im at my wits end and cant figure it out

  • SecuriCare_Team

    @Sandra we have a list of support groups who may be able to help you. Please take a look at their details at www.securicaremedical.co.uk/advice-and-support/resources/support-groups.

    Best wishes,

    SecuriCare Team

  • Pauline Saunders

    I have a permanent ileostomy I also have adhesion's and a parastomal hernia I have to be very careful with fiber in my diet but would love to lose some weight but I hate being hungry as I get the shakes with low blood sugars. HELP.

  • Beverley Samson

    Hello for the last few months I have been very unwell and iv lost a lot of weight and the skin around the stoma is pulling how long will it take to stop pulling it seems every time I move this happens meny thanks

  • Ilene

    Hi, I've had a colostomy and a urostomy for the past 12 years, and the surgeon feels it's time to remove whats left of the large colon and make an iliostomy.
    I've been able to manage my weight fairly well over the past 12 years, but worried this will change with the iliostomy.

    Is weight gain with this type of ostomy considered normal?

  • Samantha Batey

    I have a temporary ileostomy and I lost weight before it due to illness with the bowels and being in and out of hospital for nine months last year I gained nearly nine kilos back by eating junk food maccas meat platter from kebab place lollies as when I ate lollies in hospital alot I didn't put any weight back on but kept losing weight I can't eat my favourite veggies and fruits I ended up with bad blockage due to corn and worried about trying again glad you can lose weight now

  • SecuriCare_Team

    Hello all, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner if you are having problems with your stoma. If you don’t have access to a Stoma Care Nurse, you are welcome to visit a SecuriCare Nurse at one of the locations listed here: www.securicaremedical.co.uk/our-service/our-stoma-care-nurses/securicare-stoma-nurse-clinics or to give our Careline a call on 0800 585 125.

    For advice regarding diet and nutrition you could seek support from a nutritional therapist. Our nutritional advice booklet may also be helpful: www.securicaremedical.co.uk/media/Stoma-Nutritional-Advice.pdf

    Best wishes,

    SecuriCare Team

  • Lucia Pires

    Thank you for sharing my name is Lucia Pires, I've suffered with Crohn's disease since I was 13yrs of age.I just recently had a major surgery had my large intestines and colon removed got a permanent ileostomy,I’ve gained back all my weight I had lost after my surgery 8 months ago.I always been very petite but now I’m worried I might gain more weight due to not being as active and exercising.After the surgery I had multiple infections that had me admitted in the hospital many times and due to that I couldn’t get back to my regular routine.What advice can anyone give me to start introducing my body to healthy foods that doesn’t bother my stomach or my stoma or getting back to exercising again thank you God bless

  • Louise

    Hi can u tell me what cereals I can eat with a stoma bag please and how to lose weight please xx

  • Gemma Morrison

    Hi, thanks for this , it's really helpful to me. I have always been slim from having ulcerative colitis since 11 years old. I'm now 35. My weight always went up with steroids. Had bowel cancer last year and a year of chemo (thought I would loose qeight) and gained 2stone in that year. I'm struggling so much introducing fruit and veg with blockages. I'm going to try steaming longer. I'm also coeliac (recently diagnosed) so any tips or advice would be awesome. I'm desperate to loose weight

  • Carole

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I have had Crohn's since November of 2003, and an ileostomy since November of 2011. I went from a size 8/10 to a 14/16. Exercise & activity have been difficult due to my other autoimmune diseases of the spine, joints, and peristomal area. Reading your story has given me hope and inspiration. God bless you.

  • Sharon

    Hi, I have had an ileostomy for 50 yrs. and have gained a lot of weight I find that most things that I can eat have a lot of sugar. I have to be careful about blockage. But at least the appliances are better. Good luck to you all and remember moderation is key.

  • Kimberli

    Hello everyone I’m new to the site I have my permanent ileostomy surgery done a year ago on May 11 I am also a vegetarian I don’t eat any animals and I don’t need anything that comes from animals I don’t smoke with me but I’m having a hard time losing weight I am 50 years I have already gone through menopause I walked 30 minutes for days a week I’ve also had knee replacement surgery which limits me to different exercises that I can do is there any One out there tell me what type of diet to go on to lose weight my ileostomy is permanent I will have it for the rest of my life I’m having a hard time losing weight I don’t eat meat and I don’t need anything that comes from an animal I’m gonna plant-based diet diet Amy’s frozen meals

  • Nina lorraine Hemsley

    I had bowel cancer in 2012 and had to have a non reversable colostomy bag. I have after losing 3 stone gained all the weight. This is now very uncomfortable and i need help losing the weight.
    welcome to any ideas

    Nina

  • Josh S

    Please help. I can't stop the leaking bc of belly fat. I'm working from home, I don't have time to exercise. My skin is so raw right now I'm in tears. Tylenol doesn't help, stoma powder isn't helping. And bc I can't use barrier wipes with alcohol my ileostomy wafer doesn't last longer than 2 days at most. I'm at a breaking point where I'm even considering making an appointment with my surgeon. No matter what supplies I use, it's just not holding up.

  • Soozie Johnston

    Thanku so much for this article. I was diagnosed with crohns 20 years ago and then had permanent ileostomy done 6 years ago.
    This last year i have piled on the weight.. A good 22lbs overweight. There r so so many diets and thoughts surrounding losing weight its so overwhelming!!!
    Im like you.. I suffered for years with pain and up and down eating, so i don't want to necessarily deny myself of foods, but i def need to be wise and get portion and food type under control. Thanks for sharing!

  • SecuriCare team

    Hi @Josh S, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner if you are having problems with your stoma. If you don’t have access to a Stoma Care Nurse, you are welcome to give our Careline a call on 0800 585 125.

  • AlbertWeert

    In my opinion, it is an interesting question, I will take part in discussion. Together we can come to a right answer.

  • AndrewReopy

    In it something is and it is excellent idea. It is ready to support you.

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