Combating internalized fatphobia when Cushing’s causes weight gain

How I learned to love my body, despite the effects of my disease

Noura Costany avatar

by Noura Costany |

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Cushing’s disease is known to cause weight gain, among other symptoms. While dealing with my first pituitary tumor, which was surgically removed in 2020, I gained 70 pounds. In the first few months after my second tumor developed, I gained 50 pounds. My body changed, warped, and shifted so much that I no longer recognized myself.

And it wasn’t just my weight that changed. Thanks to Cushing’s, I have striae up and down my stomach, acne scars on my breasts, and a hump between my shoulders.

I hated my body when I first got sick. I would wear large clothes to hide any visible fat and constantly tried to combat the weight gain. Eventually, though, through therapy, I realized that my habits were unsafe. I wasn’t eating, I was counting calories, and I was hiding out in my room. I needed to make a change.

Internalized fatphobia can be very difficult to unlearn. I grew up with WeightWatchers, diet fads, and media that perpetuated the idea that fat equals ugly. Every time I looked in the mirror, a tiny voice in my head told me I was unattractive, disgusting, and unworthy of love. I had to work really hard to learn how to love my body.

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I’ve learned how to handle unsolicited advice on my Cushing’s

Changing my mindset

I started by shifting my media intake. I unfollowed celebrities and followed beautiful, fat content creators as well as disabled and chronically ill creators. I followed people who looked like me. I saw them living their lives, being happy, and feeling beautiful, and it helped me change the way I felt about myself.

Next, I bought new clothes. I had waited patiently for my weight to go down so that I could fit into my old clothes, which left me with nothing to wear. Buying clothes that fit me and my new body helped me to embrace it. I used to hide my body, but now I’m posting pictures of me in swimsuits online.

Of course, I have insecurities. There are pictures of me that I’m not fond of and moments where I don’t like how I look. However, I love my body now more than I did when I weighed 120 pounds. I’ve talked to a few other people with similar stories and the common denominator is that losing weight doesn’t help you love yourself. Embracing who you are and shifting your mindset does.

That being said, I am working to lose weight for health reasons. I gained 120 pounds as a result of my tumors and that has put a lot of stress on my body. The additional weight is hurting my joints and puts me at a higher risk for heart and liver issues. My goal isn’t a number or to get to where I was before I got sick, however. My goal is health, my goal is happiness, and my goal is to love myself.

How do you feel about weight gain with Cushing’s? Let me know in the comments below! You can also follow my journey on TikTok and YouTube.

Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


carrie c avatar

carrie c

Noura I would love to chat sometime I am days away from being formally diagnosed with which type of Cushings. Your articles are starting to inspire me that I can get through this. But being a normally extremely vain person consumed with appearance, this has been especially hard. Keep up the good articles please!

Noura Costany avatar

Noura Costany

Absoluely!! I am so happy that m articles have been inspiring. <3 It really means the world to me to hear that

Cindy hendrickson avatar

Cindy hendrickson

I was diagnosed in April of 2020. Had surgery to remove tumor and yes I gained like 80 lbs but had to have 2 surgeries cuz the first went bad. My carotid artery busted so that was a 12 hr surgery then 2 days later they removed most of the tumor. I have tried everything to loose weight and can only seem to loose 4 or 5 lbs! It’s frustrating of all of it. I would like to know how you deal with all the disappointments cushings has! Thank you for posting makes me feel like there is hope!!

Noura Costany avatar

Noura Costany

Hi! First of all, sending so many good vibes your way. You've been through a lot, and you're such a warrior for getting this far.

The disappointment can be so hard, believe me, I know! I would say I let myself be sad, give myself a time period to feel everything, and then I choose to move forward. therapy has helped me a lot as well! I'm losing weight now, but its slow, and there are weeks where the scale doesn't move. I try to see those as neutral weeks, and remember that neutral is better than bad.

There's always hope!! Always here for you <3


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