It's easy to tell me how to lose weight.
Not so easy to actually achieve it - when you have an underactive thyroid!
You know the drills right - eat less, exercise more!
Or low fat - everything!
Or low low carb - keto will do it!
Or shakes all the way!
Don't even get me started on Weight Watchers.
I first joined Weight Watchers when I was 13 years old.
I told my step mum I thought I needed to lose weight and at the time she had a weight problem so we ended up at Weight Watchers.
I know she thought she was helping but in reality, this was the beginning of my yo-yo weight issues - probably aggravated by my Hashimoto's later in life too.
I wasn't overweight!
Weight Watchers didn't tell me that though and got me counting calories or points. I ended up living on crap food until I reached 1000 calories for the next few years because - well I was still a kid and I wanted to have an Eskimo Pie for lunch!
This started the yo-yo weight loss and regain cycle which ultimately led me to where I was when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's in 2008, 18 years later. I was by then 25kgs overweight and had tried every diet under the sun.
I went back to Weight Watchers and actually gained weight!
100% on their program.
I tried Jenny Craig too... was ok while I was forking out for the meals but I was craving proper food instead of what was like dehydrated re-heated meals and snacks. As soon as I didn't have their meals on hand I gained the weight back on by just trying to eat normally.
No one had addressed the "how do I eat normally without gaining weight?" issue.
I actually did lose some weight after finding out the reason for my stubborn weight gain - I used Herbalife shakes, they were actually a great way to replace two meals a day and dinner was the one meal you still had as food - and really - it's hard to not eat a normal healthy meal for dinner. In my opinion lunch and breakfast are way harder. I can't have them anymore though as I am allergic to soy and now choose not to eat soy unless it's fermented.
Weightloss Jackpot I thought!
Weight was off and I was not focusing on food anymore.
Now the dreaded maintenance.
How do you adjust what you are eating on a daily basis so you don't gain the weight back? Everyone's worst fear right!
I was not wanting to go back to gaining weight after dieting again! It just was not what I wanted. It's hard losing weight and it's not really that fun - let's face the facts!
Trial and error after you have lost what you want to lose is my big tip. Take it slow. Don't go crazy.
Add things back in slowly that you would like to reintroduce and see how your body copes. Don't go crazy. Keep really good notes on what you have eaten each day so you can see if something reacts badly with you.
If you gain 1/2 a kilo overnight something has reacted badly with you.
Try using my Hypothyroidism Tracker Journal to record what you eat and react to - it's the fastest way to figure out what your body cannot tolerate (for now).
Because we have an underactive thyroid and often-times an auto-immune disease version of that like Hashimoto's, then we are not normal when it comes to losing weight and maintaining it - we need specialised help.
How to get off the diet cycle.
I got off that bike once I realised that what I eat now has to be a lifestyle change. Not just while I am losing weight. There is a saying that goes like this and it applies... "if you always do what you've always done you'll always get the same result" - why expect a different result by going back to eating what made you gain weight in the first place?
Once I accepted I had to change what I ate 100% of the time and for good- I was more at peace without dieting and more thinking about eating healthily.
Don't think of food as something you are not allowed or can't have. That's a spiral to failure. Reframe the food you eat as nutrition and nourishing your body as opposed to harming it. Once you do this you will think very differently about everything you put into your body.
I actually attended some therapy around this in my early twenties. She suggested I think of my adult self as my toddler self - or my baby self - and feeding junk food to her was not a nice thought. Try it and see. It really does help you re-frame the idea of feeding yourself junk.
Lastly you need to figure out what food choices will work for your body.
For this, I suggest you start recording everything you eat now as well as all your symptoms on a daily basis. Again you can use my Hypothyroidism Tracker Journal to record this quickly and start to see where the patterns of bloating and weight gain/loss are.
Eliminate foods that seem to be aggravating your body and see what difference it makes (again by recording daily). You will quickly see how different foods have a good or bad effect on your system.
For example - when I eat dairy I usually get a cough, postnasal drip and I gain weight overnight. It's not normal to gain 1/2 kilo in one night - so you know if you do your body is reacting to something. It's usually water but still - water retention can be a bitch if you struggle with it on your legs as I did.
So break it all down and do some deep diving into your daily food. Try taking one thing out that you eat daily like grains or sugar and see if any symptoms improve. Record everything.
And don't give up!
I decided to get to the bottom of this and I succeeded. I have kept off my 20-25kgs for over 10 years now and I feel liberated by food not imprisoned by it anymore. It can be a long lonely road and you may need some guidance and support so don't be hard on yourself. Take baby steps.
You can do this!
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