…on how I feel about food.
At my very heaviest in my early twenties, late teens, I was well over 200 pounds and I am 5’4. My triglycerides were off the charts, my cholesterol was high, my HDL was very low and LDL was way too high. It was a wake up call when my then primary care physician had the heart to say you have to stop what you’re doing or you’re going to be morbidly obese or dead in your fifties.
Something had to give.
I stopped eating fried foods and drinking soda and I thought that was sufficient – while helpful it was not enough. When my then husband and I started trying to get pregnant with our son we went through extensive fertility testing and a couple rounds of fertility drugs to try to help things along. It was just not happening. My then OBGYN very gently told me there is definitely evidence to support losing body fat, most especially in the abdominal area, a more healthy maintained estrogen level for maturing eggs.
I wanted another baby badly enough and knowing I was the “problem” by scientific testing that I dropped 40 pounds in four months. Boom. Pregnant. After 1 year 11 months of trying.
Fast forward to today, I had lost 100lbs and over the last 3-4 years, I gained about 15-20 of it back. As I have gotten older fighting my thyroid disease has been a losing battle… a painful… tiring….emotional…. losing battle and those 15-20 are about 75% thyroid and age… because in reality I eat genuinely really healthy. I have yoyo’d back and forth… I have tried all sorts of things to try to jump start my metabolism. I overdid it on the workouts and ended up needing another injection in my L5 where my degenerative disc disease is worst.
And then… there is the elephant in the room that I never wanted to talk about. I love food – I love food a lot. I am part of the Yelp community – for nearly 10 years now – and we spend a good portion of our discretionary income to eat out and review the hottest restaurants and try fun new things… it is our hobby.
I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Extremely. I weigh myself incessantly. The scale changes my entire mood for the day… changes my entire outlook on life. It literally has controlled everything for a very long time. I do not have a healthy relationship with food. I beat myself up every time I eat food out that is on bread or any type of carb. I restrict to the point where I am so irritable and shaky by the time I come home and not because I am desperate to “be thin” (though as someone who used to be 100lbs overweight it becomes an overwhelming *need* that never goes away) but because I am so frustrated and angry from fighting my thyroid even though it is beautifully controlled on medication. Sheer. Blind. Frustration.
I felt like I “had it under control”… No, Alyssa, you didn’t have it under control – you know a lot but you do not know enough to change your own poor behaviors with food.
Friday I started seeing a registered dietician and I have to change how I feel about food. I have to change my extreme anxiety over carbs – even the most basic carbs. I have to be more structured 95% of the time so that when I do go out I don’t call it a “cheat meal” or me “being bad” – its just me eating what I choose to eat that night. This is going to take a very long time to adjust this mindset. I will still make healthier decisions even on nights when I decide to take a night off tracking macros and calories. I will just not emotionally EVISCERATE myself the next morning after torturing myself by getting on the scale.
…in the coming months I will be tracking everything that I eat/drink and categorizing it. Protein/Fat/Carbohydrate and aiming for certain macros but ensuring those items in the category come from a pre-defined list of whole foods. This is to shift my psychology forcing me to think of food as fuel again and not as the ‘enemy’. I will also have specific exercise goals that I aim to meet each week that are based on my energy level as it improves with fueling my body properly and reintroducing more weights and strength training to help shift my metabolism. It sounds like the most basic, healthy, human, thing… but for someone like me… its not. I will not be skipping meals. I will not be eating hard boiled eggs for lunch and nothing else during the day. Hopefully, I won’t be skipping workouts anymore because I am quite simply completely sapped of all energy. And I will not get on the scale every day… I will start with every few days and try to move out to 4 days to a week at a time… to eventually only getting on the scale 1-2 times between visits to the dietician or not at all in between.
This will be a slow process but I am determined to make it work. I have staying power and motivation if I can see some tiny light at the end of a long tunnel. I feel really optimistic and I like that my dietician is helping cater to my needs, my abilities, and is adjusting around my thyroid disease based on how unique my needs truly are because of it.