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A New "Diet" Concept for ME

May 03, 2009 - 8 comments

I've gotten very frustrated with the whole rationale behind losing weight.  As most everyone knows, because I'm sure I sound an "A, # 1 whiner" most of the time, I've got Hashimoto's Thyroiditis/Hypothyroidism.  My weight went from a very normal 115 lbs about 2 yrs ago to the astronomical figure of about 145, on a very SMALL boned 5' tall  frame.  What damage the thyroid situation hasn't done, the weight did.  I feel like a slug most of the time - fat, and barely crawling, although physically, I feel relatively well.  Some days, I get really tired and feel like I need a nap about 9:00 in the morning, but then I have to keep reminding myself that I get up at 3:30 am - what's so wrong with needing a nap at 9:00 ---- well, nothing except that's the middle of my work day and there's no way I can lay down and take one......... Another factor that I hate to take into consideration is that I'm 59 yrs old - well, for another month anyway.  

When I was in my late 20's an old country doctor in Iowa dx'd me with pernicious anemia.  I took shots for a while, but didn't think they did much - hmm, I didn't know that it takes a while to get the full effects - so I stopped getting them.  From then on, my # 1 complaint with every doctor I've seen has been fatigue.  Long story short - 2 yrs ago, I finally had the right symptoms and another doctor finally dx'd pernicious anemia again and I'm now back on shots - won't EVER give those babies up again.  Started on the B12 shots in Aug '07, which is the same time I quit smoking because of excess tissue on my vocal cords which was making it almost impossible to talk any more.  I was sent to an ENT who dx'd me with Reinkes Edema and said he could "fix it", but would do so only on the condition that I quit smoking.  

That was August 13, 2007.  I had a cigarette about 2 hrs before that appt with the ENT and haven’t had one since.  So- about 6 weeks after that initial appt, I was back with the ENT making arrangements to have surgery on my vocal cords that would remove all that tissue and let me talk again.  I had to have 2 surgeries, so they did the right one first because it wasn’t quite so bad.  That one was on Oct 19, 2007. After the surgery, I could not make any sounds for at least a week – doctor’s orders “don’t even try”.  So I carried a small dry erase board on a rope around my neck with appropriate pens in my pocket (different colored pens mean different things or varying importance).  

Because of insurance and the fact that my deductible was paid for that year (2007), I got the ENT to do the other surgery also before the end of the year, which meant that one was done on Dec 17.  I started voice therapy in Jan 2008 and continued until March 2008.   Why am I putting all this down now?  Very simple, read on.  

During all this time, I was going to my pcp once/month for B12 shot but still felt tired all the time, hmm.  Gaining weight like there is no tomorrow – we all, including me, ENT, pcp – put it down to the fact that I quit smoking…….  Made sense at the time.  

So, while all this is going on, I’m keeping a food journal (800-1000 calories/day), exercising my butt off – well, I thought I was, but unfortunately, it didn’t leave; instead, it chose to keep getting bigger and bigger AND BIGGER…………

At that time, I was still going to my pcp’s office to get my B12 shots and I was up to 2X/month rather than one.  Anyway, one day I mentioned to the nurse giving me the shot, that I still felt awfully tired and just couldn’t stop gaining weight, no matter what.  She suggested that I make an appt to see about getting my thyroid tested.  I took her advice and here I am.  Meds getting changed every time I turn around, pcp not cooperating – insisting that Synthroid is the ONLY med to take – I could go on forever with this stuff.  

Anyway, it’s been almost a year since I was dx’d with hypothyroidism, only a few months since I got the Hashi’s dx.  I feel better than I’ve felt in years, really – in spite of the tired times, aching muscles sometimes, etc.  If there’s one thing I can be sure of, NOTHING will be the same today as it was yesterday.  

So once the thyroid issue was dx’d, I was pretty much left on my own as far as the weight.  My pcp kept telling me I just “need to MOVE more” – don’t forget that I said earlier in this journal entry that I was exercising my tail off – trying to, but it wasn’t happening.  

Everyone says “calories in/calories out = weight loss” – sorry, that doesn’t work for everyone.  

So all this time – past 2+ years, I’ve been trying to get back to my pre-thyroid 115 pounds and it just isn’t happening.  

One day while I was in Barnes and Nobles Bookstore, I ran across a book by Geneen Roth called “When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair”.  The whole concept of the book is stop beating up on yourself, stop dieting, etc.  According to the book, we have to be able to accept ourselves the way we are and take good care of our bodies.  The simple act of taking good care of our bodies will allow us to lose weight.  Hmm – whole new concept for me.  

She advocates getting rid of everything we can no longer wear, so we don’t have the constant reminders.  Kind of like “declutter”/”destress”.  I’ve read this book 3 times and the first time, I thought , “yeah, right, this is gonna work for whom??”.  The second time, it started making a bit more sense.  They say “third time’s a charm” cuz I read it the third time and I’m going to try her advice.  

I started small by cleaning out the closet in my bathroom – got rid of everything I didn’t use, from old sheets to worn, frayed towels, some old meds, bandages that were yellowed from age and no one would WANT to use them if they needed a bandage, etc.  

Today, I started out cleaning my bedroom – yep, I CLEANED.  Got all the dust bunnies off the walls and everything.  Wiped down the whole room from ceiling to floor.  Then I cleaned out my dresser and threw away everything I can’t/don’t wear (yep, even the body shapers – they are uncomfortable anyway).  After I got that done, I moved on the bathroom again and scrubbed it from ceiling to floor and threw out a bunch more stuff.  BTW – still have more stuff to get rid of.  
Then I had hubby measure my closet for new shelving.  He will bring home some shelving later this week.  In the meantime, I will start going through my closet.  I have a few things that my daughter and her “almost step-daughter” might be able to wear, but my daughter has lupus and the prednisone made her gain SO much weight, I’m not sure how much of it she will be able to use.  

Today, I packed up 2 bags of stuff from my dresser – one bag for my daughter and one bag Good Will in hopes that someone else will be able to get some use out of them.  A lot of them were like brand new because I kept gaining so fast, I outgrew them almost before I got to wear them.  

It’s really hard to open the closet door and just KNOW that by this time next week, almost all of my clothes will be gone.  BUT, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it won’t be nearly so hard to have them gone as it is to have them there, seeing them everyday and knowing that I might never be able to wear any of them again.  

Just before I had the first surgery on my vocal cords, I had bought some new jeans – size 8 because I had outgrown the size 6’s.  Wasn’t too long before I needed 10 and now 12.  Well, those jeans (the 6’s and 8’s) are still hanging there and still depressing me every time I open that closet…….  Yep, by this time next week, there won’t be anything in that closet that doesn’t fit me.  

Anyway, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to forget about eating right and exercising.  My job won’t allow me to stop exercising even if I wanted to, which I don’t.  And I’ve learned to enjoy the fruits and veggies – even to the point of trying to find different stuff that I’ve never eaten and trying it.  For dinner this evening, I had a summer squash that my neighbor brought over last night from his garden.  I have many more in my own garden that are just about ready to eat.  

I’m going to continue to do the things that I know are good for my body, but I’ve decided that in order to be good to my body, I have to stop beating myself up all the time.  I never had a problem losing weight before my thyroid “wigged” out so I’ve never been through anything like this before.

It’s like a roller coaster and I really want off, but it won’t stop long enough to let me get off.  That isn’t MY fault and I have to stop blaming myself.  I also have to get rid of the things that are causing me so much stress (yep, hubby can go too if he doesn’t play nice in MY sandbox……

Well, I think I’ve pretty well laid out my plan, with permission to alter/optimize it at any time.  That’s what I’m going to allow myself the right to do.  I try to be nice to everyone else – now it’s my turn to be nice to ME.  

I feel better having made this decision and hope that I can just allow myself to relax and BE myself.  

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657315 tn?1319494987
by twehner5, May 03, 2009
Well, I'm glad I saw this on the sidebar.  You HAVE been nice to everyone else.  It IS time you were nice to YOU.  I sure hope your doctor can figure something out to help you.  I don't even have a thyroid condition, but reading this makes me get frustrated - almost angry - because doctors act like once you get a diagnosis, that's it.  You're done.  End of story.  I'm sorry that it's NOT been a happy ending YET for you.  BUT, you are tenacious and intelligent, so I DO believe you will get there (the happy ending part) eventually.  I just might have to see if my library has that book.  It sounds very good.  Thanks for mentioning it....and good luck to you.  

I guess in reading this I could wonder if there's MORE that they've missed.  I hope not, but...what if?  Let's just pray that it's still not the right combo or dosage of Rx or SOMETHING, but is anybody even working on it?  I feel your frustration and I'm with you in the fatigue department.  Oh, I'm *SO* with you...

649848 tn?1534637300
by Barb135, May 04, 2009
No, twehner. no one is working on my weight issue at this time.  The last doctor I saw was my pcp in mid March and although he was surprised that I hadn't lost anything after starting the cytomel - as he said, most people do - he did not offer any suggestions.  The consensus now seems to be that I eat too much and need to MOVE more - I guess walking 3-10 miles/day plus all the other activity I do (physical stuff at work, gardening, housework, etc) is NOT enough; although some days, it's really TOO much and I end up totally wiped out.  

I'm not due for blood work again until the end of June for my July appt with the endo, but think I'm going to have to call and ask to get it done sooner.  In the meantime, I'm hanging in there - some days - feel awesome, other days - can barely drag myself around.  

I did mention to my pcp once about possible insulin resistance since we already have several members of the family with diabetes (some insulin dependent, some not), but he "scoffed" at me and simply said "there's nothing wrong with you".  Admittedly, my hemoglobin A1C came back in the "normal" category - albeit "HIGH normal".  I do have a glucometer with which I often check my blood sugar when I first get up and it's almost always OVER 100, BUT on the day, I went for all the blood work, it came in at 91 which is "normal".  I don't know if it makes a difference that I even though I had not eaten anything, I HAD been moving around quite a bit, getting showered and ready to go for the day - not sure if THAT could bring it down or not.  

Thanks for your concern.  

428506 tn?1296560999
by wonko, May 04, 2009
Hi Barb135,

I come from a very different situation, but I can relate to this and am glad that you took the time to write it.  My weight has been changing as much as 4 lbs/day lately, often in the "wrong" direction.  I feel so very beaten up--I try to stay active and to eat reasonably through illness.  But I'm only human, and sometimes a weak one who eats more than I should.  It seems like the tiniest slip leads to a big gain, whereas nothing works to get the weight back off.

My doctor doesn't focus on my weight at this time.  But to me, addressing my weight was one of the only actions keeping me "sane" during my long period of being undiagnosed.  I was hoping that it would also be an anchor through treatment, but after months of holding steady, I'm losing the battle and gaining the weight back.

Like you, I also deal with fatigue.  I just turned 30, but feel much older than that because I have very little energy most days.  Even on days when I do manage to exercise, I still seem to need so much down time, I think overall my metabolism must be very low.  Too bad my appetite isn't!  On days when nothing else feels good or brings comfort, food still does.

I previously bought the book you mention, but never read it.  Perhaps I should get started!  I'm glad there are "friends" on MedHelp to talk to about weight management when there are complicating factors.  I've been so miserable, I know it'd be easy to eat myself into oblivion.  Being nice to myself and thinking about how best to manage the situation sounds like a much better solution.

Good luck cleaning out your closet.  I think instead of saving the old outfits, you can treat yourself to a new one when you are ready.

Take care.

483733 tn?1326802046
by TrudieC, May 04, 2009
Barb, thank you for posting this.  I understand the frustration with hypothyroidism and how hard it is to lose weight.  You are doing all the right things.  I have to say that I have really given up of late due to fatigue and pain and using food as comfort.  You have motivated me to get my butt moving again.  I'm not going to diet per say but will continue to eat healthy, cut out the sweets, and get in at least half an hour of some kind of low impact exercise per day.  My dog will thank me.  Good luck and I am anxious to have you keep us updated on your progress.

649848 tn?1534637300
by Barb135, May 05, 2009
Thanks wonko and Trudie - I appreciate your comments a lot.  Lately, I have begun to feel like *I* was the ONLY one who was not making headway with convention weight loss methods and it seems that everywhere I go or read, I hear the same "calories in/calories out" and though I know it's true to a point, I also find that I, like wonko, can vary up to 4-5 pounds/day (mostly up) when I've not even eaten very much.  

Wonko, since you have the book I mentioned, I think it would be well worth your time to go ahead and read it.  As I said, I've read it 3 times, and quite frankly, I'm going back for a 4th round.  The first time I read it, I thought, "yeah, right, this is really gonna work for me - NOT".  But the second and third times, well, I just figured that what I've tried so far (counting calories, spending every free minute working out, yada, yada, yada) hasn't worked after a year, so why not try something else?  It can't hurt anything and just might prove to be the right thing for ME.  

For myself, I think I became TOO focused on my weight, because I've always been small/thin and I got so sick of hearing people constantly coming on with the "Oh, my, have YOU ever gotten fat".  And then when my mother-in-law came to visit last month I was absolutely furious - with both her and myself.  

My husband picked her up at the airport and since they weren't due to get back home until around midnight and I have to get up at 3:30 am to get ready for work, I stayed home and went to bed; however, when they got back to the house, I was going to be polite and at least get up and welcome her to my home.  Well, I went to the door to greet her, she reached out like she was going to give me a hug, then she backed off and sort of "sneered" at me and "WELL, I can see YOU didn't lose any weight, did you?".  I was SO stunned, I simply turned on my heel and went back to bed.  

I guess that's when I realized that I needed to do something different.  It was SO RUDE of her to say that - I mean she could have at least said "hello" first, but that's just HER.  She doesn't really like me (I've been married to her son for almost 42 yrs and she's NEVER gotten used to the fact) and she's always taken great delight in keeping track of MY weight.  Well, guess what - I think I will let HER worry about how much *I* weigh and *I* will get on with living my life.  

We have a lot of diabetes in my family so I already am very careful about my sugar and simple carb intake.  We also have a considerable amount of heart problems, so for these reasons I wanted to get my weight back at least close to what it should be.  These are both good reasons to get my weight back in line.  I know that being overweight is bad for my health, but is it REALLY any worse than the stress I am causing myself worrying about it?  I guess that's a question to ponder a bit, while I'm continuing to eat well and get the exercise I normally get.  

I know nothing is going to happen overnight, but it happening overnight anyway, so what have I got to lose?  

428506 tn?1296560999
by wonko, May 05, 2009
I'm glad to read even more common sense for you two on this journal.  I've been having more and more trouble staying level-headed about my weight during my illness, and can completely relate to how conventional "calories in/calories out" seems to somehow be failing.  (I feel like my body is violating laws of nature and conservation of mass!)

Unlike Barb, my focus on my weight is pretty much the opposite:  I was always big.  But despite my beer, smokes, and chicken wings, I was also always robustly healthy!  When I got sick, no one could figure out why, and the doctors made me feel crazy.  Focusing on my weight became my anchor--I felt that if I could improve my health in this outwardly obvious way, it would help build my credibility with doctors who kept shrugging their shoulders at my health problems.  I was still too big, but I had proof on my chart that I'd dropped 40 lbs.  Like Barb, I also quit smoking.  Again, this was to try and "stick it" to the doctors, to prove to them that I was fighting for my health.  I've made it over a year now sans cigarette, so that's a silver lining.

I was finally diagnosed and began treatment for Lyme back in Dec.  I've had some weird thyroid numbers in the past (my TSH went from 2.67 to 3 to 3.35, and at one time I had the Hashimoto's antibodies, but they went away in my next round of bloodwork).  Lyme can attack any part of the body, so who knows, my thyroid could have (or currently be) malfunctioning.  I don't think I'll know until my treatment is further along.  

Whatever is going on, I seem to gain weight just by thinking about food.  That and my rooted tendency to use food as comfort has me in double jeopardy.  I want to be aware of the situation and try to control it, without resorting to starving and hating myself.

How awful for your MIL to speak to you that way!  I'm glad you turned right around.  Thankfully, no one has commented on my recent 10 lb gain (plus the 5 lbs that come and go every few days).  But I'm certainly beating myself up over it, and that's probably the last thing I need on top of the many other complications my health is causing.  That's what jumped out at me so much in the journal, the idea that we DON'T need to do that to ourselves.

Thanks for the vent, ladies.  I  will read the book.  I'd love to work on my weight and eating in a way that doesn't just make me feel guilty and unsuccessful!

649848 tn?1534637300
by Barb135, May 05, 2009
wonko - if your TSH has reached levels of 3 - 3.5, you need to get them tested again. The new range, is not 0.3 - 3.0 - you might possibly have a problem there.  Additionally, if you had antibodies before, you will undoubtedly have them again.  That would indicate Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which I also have.  Please go get tested again (TSH, Free T4 and Free T3, along with TPOab (antibody test)).  With the problems you have with the lyme disease, you DON'T need to mess around with a thyroid issue as well- you need to be on meds if you have a problem.  Here's one area that I am very adamant about because of how long it took to get dx'd myself.  By the time, I got them to even test me, my TSH was up 55.51 and I was almost literally a walking zombie because I was SO fatigued and so sick.  

For me, the Hashimoto's seems to "flare" now and then - meaning it gets really bad, my neck hurts, I get super tired, etc.  I call it a "Hashi Attack".  Makes me feel horrible and I also usually gain weight during an "attack".  

I like your expression of your body "violating the laws of nature", because that's exactly the way I feel, only I never thought of it in those exact terms.  

I think that after we have "beat ourselves up" for long enough and the conventional ideas of counting calories and exercising our butts off to no avail, it's time to try something new.  You know, with my thyroid issues, if one med or combination doesn't work, there are others I can try - why can't it be the same with weight loss.  If the strict "calories in/calories out" doesn't work for us, I think we need to try something else.  

If you read the book I mentioned in my original journal entry - she mentions doing one thing nice for yourself every day; she talks about having what she calls "fat and ugly days" and how to handle them; dressing up just to make ourselves FEEL good even if we don't have a special place to go; using the "GOOD" china for everyday just because we are SPECIAL.   In other words, just doing things for ourselves.  

I wonder how many people, like me, have nice clothes purchased "for good" and then never get to wear them because the right occasion never comes along or (again, like me) outgrew them and there they hang.  And how guilty does it make you feel because 1) you "wasted" all that money  2) YOU aren't doing something right with your diet, so it's all YOUR fault you can't wear those clothes (and in my case) shoes.  

I didn't ASK for this weight to take over my body and I'm certainly not begging it stay; therefore, It's NOT because *I'M* doing something wrong.  You're right wonko, our bodies are violating the laws of nature.  For me, I'm wondering if I allow my BODY to be the boss, if it will somehow balance back out again.  I'm not sure.  

Actually, food has never been a huge issue with me.  I eat more often lately because my blood sugar tends to swing, I don't have a lot of cravings, I generally don't tend to "eat just to eat" or because I'm depressed, etc - not a lot of "emotional" eating.  Although it does happen sometimes.  

I've always loved pasta, potatoes and rice, but I pretty much quit eating them because of both the blood sugar and weight issues.  Well, one Sunday a few weeks ago, I was hungry for mashed potatoes so I cooked a nice roast, with onions and carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, fresh rolls, etc.  And I ate until I was full.  It turned out that it really wasn't a huge amount that I ate, but I was satisfied.  The next day when I stepped on the scale, I was down 5 pounds.  The next day I went back to my veggies, fruits, salads, fish, etc and within a couple of days, I had gained the whole 5 pounds back, plus a couple more.  I think, for me, when I don't eat the things I really like, I tend NOT to be satisfied when I'm finished eating so I'm hungry again right away.  I'm beginning to think that I'm doing myself a disservice by not allowing myself to eat that type of food in small amounts.  So contrary to everything we learn about the right way to eat - I'm going to "backslide" a bit.  

Like the meds that don't work - it's time to make some changes.  

Remember - a DIET is not a weight loss tool; a DIET is the food you consume, whether it be good, bad or indifferent.  It's what you put into your stomach for nourishment.........................

657315 tn?1319494987
by twehner5, May 07, 2009
It's me again.  I've been trying to get back ever since I saw you guys posting on the journal...but I, too, am in what I call a "debilitating state of fatigue".  So, I just haven't felt like doing much other than surviving.

I just got up to speed by reading what you guys wrote.  Thanks for not getting too far ahead of me!  I'm a slow reader.  I HAVE to add my 2 cents - and that's probably all it's worth, but here goes:  When I lost 70lbs 3 years ago, I NEVER went on a "diet" (as in the conventional meaning of the word).

That very fact has made me a bit uncomfortable at times posting things on the WL&D forum.  I do NOT want to lead others astray.  Everyone knows her style.  Some people NEED the WW type of diet (like the point system, for instance).  NOT ME!!!  Stuff like that makes me THINK ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME, which ain't good for this girl!  Like wonko, I tend to use food for comfort.  In fact, I use food for all emotions.

The good news is that, with my last weight loss, that tendency has eased a bit....and I'm thinking it's because I ate whatever I wanted and whatever I cooked for the family, so I no longer DO feel deprived.  Yep, Barb, the roasts, mashed "taters" and GRAVY (!), AND EVEN DESSERT MORE THAN ONCE/WEEK!  I knew when I started my quest to lose weight that I had to do it in a way that would be for the rest of my life, and cutting out my fav foods WASN'T GONNA CUT IT!

BUT NOW....NOW I CAN'T LOSE AN OUNCE IF MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!   So, what's that about?  I am still exercising, too.  

I am going to try to get the book you mentioned from our local library.  But, I have a feeling I might be shouting AMEN, SISTER at the first read.  I TOTALLY embrace NOT depriving yourself.  

This is a SUPER journal and I hope more people swing by and read it.  I hope they are ENCOURAGED by it...that's what the intention is, I can tell.  Thanks, Barb.  

I actually came home to take a nap before driving my next school bus route.  I hope this entry made sense...

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