August 12, 2016 by Lauren Grider
So here I am, approaching the one year anniversary of my complete thyroidectomy, and my overwhelming feeling is disappointment. I’m alright, don’t get me wrong. This is way better than the constant racing heartbeat that kept me from dancing and Crossfit and impacted my ability to be the best veterinarian I could be. But I miss my old body composition. It’s difficult to look at photos from late 2014 and early 2015. I wish I was there again.
I can honestly say that the past year has been the single most difficult time in my life. In the spring, my father passed away. His sudden decline and death was an unexpected twist in a long journey through managing chronic disease related to his military service. And though I certainly didn’t handle the bulk of managing his care (my brothers are wonderful), it was stressful. The veterinary practice was picking up steam, and I was suddenly traveling on every day off to help with my dad’s care. Every bit of my vacation time for the 2015-2016 work year was spent on family emergencies. I have been exhausted.
On top of some other issues in my personal life, I had also regained about forty pounds from my lowest weight, the result of no longer having a thyroid gland combined with an insane appetite. Apparently the changes in brain chemistry and appetite regulation brought on by uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can linger for years, or forever, following treatment. (My endocrinologist warned me about this beforehand, and she told me to focus on eating less, that nothing else could be done. This is possibly the worst advice ever for someone with a history of an eating disorder, but that’s a topic for another day.)
By the time my dad died, I weighed in the 270 lb range again. And during this time, as I felt like I was literally coming apart at the seams from the stress of handling my life, I found myself falling back into old habits. It started slowly at first, but before long my struggle with binge eating was back with a vengeance. I would put all of my effort into eating well, succeed for a week or two, and then succumb to a binge episode. This resulted rapid weight gain, and now here I am, back up to 290 lb just like that. Before this spring, I had been free of major binge episodes for years.
I let the blog slide in the mean time because, honestly, I felt like an imposter. Who am I to blog about a healthy lifestyle when I can’t maintain one? The way we look is less important than how we feel. Be strong, not necessarily skinny. True, but not so easy for me. Especially now. I don’t like being overweight. I don’t like being embarrassed by photographs. I don’t like feeling like a failure. And I don’t really know, it turns out, how well I can maintain a favorable body composition on my own. Hyperthyroidism was likely aiding my weight loss for a while before I became clinically sick. It took months of 100% perfect, clean nutrition, an intense workout schedule… and a chronic disease that causes weight loss in order for me to reach my goal weight. That is really depressing.
I’m in a much better place now; don’t worry. I see my therapist regularly. I am working to separate the concepts of weight and worthiness, though I have to say that is not easy with the premium our society puts on thinness. I have had a really good week nutritionally. And it’s not all bad news: My strength is better than it has ever been. I have started competing in powerlifting and have been steadily improving. I now back squat 295 lb, bench 132 lb and deadlift 355 lb consistently, with competiton-level technique. I won a Crossfit competition, setting a personal best in performing Grace (30 clean and jerks at 95 lb) in under five minutes. My body composition is not as good as it was, but it is also not as bad as it was the last time I weighed this much. I’m a somewhat leaner version of overweight, and a smaller jean size than during my previous time in this weight range.
Needless to say, I have not been showing a lot of self-compassion. Perfectionism is my enemy. Being kind to oneself is part of wellness, after all. I’m trying, and strangely (or maybe it’s not strange at all), the more room I give myself for error, the better I tend to do. I’ve had time to meal plan and prep again. And who cares if I have gained weight? I can still post my progress. That has been the whole point. So what I’m going to try is setting a goal: at least one new recipe a week for the next month. Baby steps.
Liberated Specialty Foods Coconut Bread, 2 slices, defrosted
Prosciutto, 2 slices
1 tbsp or goat cheese (or mozzarella if you are of a primal bent)
1 tbsp grass fed butter
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