14 November 2007

Back to Normal

I come from a family a relatively small people. I think the tallest person in my entire family is my great-uncle Ray and he's not exactly a towering specimen (he's also 85 so I'll cut him a little slack). That being said, we also tend to get a little round except for my paternal grandmother who seemed to exist solely on coffee and cigarettes until she was diagnosed with emphysema.

I had always been what's called "petite" - I'm 5'1" (yes, that 1 inch is important) and when I graduated high school twenty years ago I weighed 113 pounds. Instead of gaining the "freshman 15" in college, I dropped 10 pounds the first semester. I didn't actually set out to loose weight, but a combination of disordered eating (like making a small pizza from Domino's last a week, fear of eating in front of people due to a hyper-critical, abusive step-father), not eating in the dining hall because of acute shyness and the fact that the food was pretty gross, and lots of exercise (walking everywhere including up and down 7 flights of stairs to and from my dorm room several times a day, a dance class, and participating in an extra-curricular modern dance troupe) took its toll. I honestly didn't see the weight loss until Thanksgiving break when my then-boyfriend put his hands around my waist like a hula hoop. After that my weight went back up to what would be "normal" for me and stayed that way for about 5 years.

After college I was out on my own, enjoying my single life when I met the man who would later become my husband. I didn't have to eat by myself anymore and, more importantly, I didn't have to fear Frank would ridicule my eating; he accepted me and loved me as I was. I could relax with him and enjoy food. And enjoy I did. I started to gain weight (we both did) and became rather sedentary. We were fat and happy.

Fast forward 13 years, 2 kids and 30+ pounds later.

At a routine physical last summer, my family doctor palpitated my thyroid and felt what he thought was a nodule. After a sonogram and an appointment with an endocrinologist to rule out cancer, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, a fairly common autoimmune disorder (the immune system goes haywire and attacks the thyroid). My choices were to a) start taking thyroid hormones now to stave off the inevitable (my thyroid going kaput) or b) wait until my thyroid goes kaput and then go on the hormones. My choice was easy; I decided to be proactive. So, now I'm on medication that I'll take for the rest of my life.

This put things in perspective for me - get it in gear or you'll never, ever loose the weight.

Jan. '07 saw me at the gym for the first time ever as I began implementing what I came to call my "getting back to normal" plan. I started walking on a treadmill for a minute then I would run for a minute. I did this for 30 minutes. I kept this up - gradually decreasing my walking time while increasing my running time until as of today I can run a 5k in just under 31 minutes. On the days I don't run, I try to get in some strength training (although I loathe lifting weights). I also adjusted my eating habits (eating meals off a salad plate, choosing nutrient dense food, upping my water intake, still making room for chocolate). Those extra pounds are now gone, I lost my "ass shelf" and, more importantly, I feel great.

Now if I can just stay there. Especially with Thanksgiving next week (mmm... turkey, my sister-in-law's pumpkin torte and her sweet potato & leek casserole, my mother-in-law's everything).

Well, at least my mother-in-law has a treadmill and I intend to use it.


Anonymous said...

girl, don't i know it! i've been struggling since after college. plus - with yo-yo weight gain/loss i LOOK like i've had kids (stretchmarks). i have a big emotional connection with food and have really really struggled since 9/11/01 to get a grip on my weight & health. so, kudos to you for making the connection! exercise does make all the difference. (hey, i'm gonna do that salad plate thing! thanks!)

Leeanthro said...

Thanks for writing about this. So many of us struggle with weight for so many reasons.

I needed something to post about today and I think I'm going to write about my thyroid and issues surrounding my diagnosis.