Alyce Crawford is an Australian model whose Instagram feed would make even the most fit envious. But in between photos of her smiling and showing off her seriously incredible bikini body, she also gets real about a big health struggle: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“For the last three years, I have suffered with IBS,” she wrote to her nearly 20,000 Instagram followers. “The symptom I suffer with specifically is severe bloating. It began literally overnight while I was living in America. I woke up one morning, my stomach was extremely bloated and I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains. From that day on, my life was never the same. This illness is often very misunderstood and overlooked a lot by medical professionals and the general public alike. No, it is not life threatening, but it is a condition that has caused and had a severe negative impact on my mental and physical health.”
IBS is a medical condition that causes abdominal cramping, bloating and digestive issues, most commonly connected to different foods. The model admits that her symptoms kept her from truly feeling healthy for several years. Her mental health as well as her relationships were suffering due to the impact of living with IBS.
“The above photo on the right where I am bloated was the stomach I put up with 90 per cent of the time for 3 years… Looking this way was just one of the battles, the other was how I felt. Sick, nauseous, sore, unmotivated and very lethargic. Feeling like this often made the smallest things in my day a struggle (getting dressed for example). All I wanted to wear was my pajamas and not move from a laying down position, as sitting upright hurt too much,” wrote the model.
Feeling nauseous and unmotivated, Crawford described just some of the symptoms of IBS. It wasn’t until she met with a friend’s dietitian that she began to find reprieve from the syndrome. Her dietitian put her on a strict eating plan to gain control over her body. Crawford admits that the eating plan made her miss out on special moments but that it was worth it in the name of better health.
“I was so unwell physically and mentally and wanted to get better so badly that I 100 per cent committed to the process,” she wrote. “Yes, missing out at times was hard but healing my stomach was so important to me. I knew the longer I did the right thing for my health, the faster my stomach would heal and I would therefore be able to enjoy in the long run. I had a bigger goal that I wanted to work toward achieving so It would benefit me in the future, so I definitely sacrificed at times.”
While Crawford’s diet can be difficult, she says planning and preparation helps her to manage it — she packs her own foods on outings and keeps from indulging in sweets or alcohol too often. The model admits that while she sticks to her eating plan the majority of the time, she believes life is about balance and finds she’s happiest when she allows herself to have treats every once in a while.
“I need to note how much I love food! It makes me ridiculously happy! I however pick and choose the times I eat certain things,” she wrote. “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again it is all about balance and living an enjoyable lifestyle.”
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