I’ve always been a relatively healthy person. No real diseases or conditions to speak of, I thought I was doing pretty good all through college and the years following. I probably relied on junk food a little too much, but I figured I was so busy with my studies (and later, work) and it was perfectly normal to eat out most of the time and make a few meals at home.
Right after Josh and I got engaged, I discovered through my doctor that I had an underachieving thyroid. I had no idea what hypothyroidism was before this point, but as the doctor listed symptoms to me I could see that it had been a thorn in my side for some time: weight gain, fatigue, depression, high cholesterol. My doctor suggested that stress could have been the main cause, and while prescribing a drug to help get my thyroid in shape she also suggested I visit a nutritionist. She told me that it was possible to permanently reverse my hypothyroidism through diet and drugs, but also warned me that it might be something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. Being depressed already, hearing this was pretty hard to deal with.
I wasn’t too keen on taking the drug every day, so I threw myself in to what the nutritionist had me do. We took a good hard look at what I ate, how often I ate, and how much I ate. It was a humbling experience, to say the least, but it was necessary. Around this time some friends were taking part in the Game On! diet and seeing great results. I was curious, so I got the book and read it in one night. A lot of what it had to say about food and eating habits echoed what my nutritionist had been talking about, so I gave it a go.
About a month before our wedding, I left my job. I knew that the stress my doctor had attributed to my hypothyroidism stemmed from that situation, and I had to leave. It was a huge, scary leap, but I knew my health depended on it. Shortly after that I had my final dress fitting, and between leaving my job and the diet I was frighteningly close to having my dress slide off of me at my wedding! It was a good start.
Not too long after we got back from our honeymoon, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to check on my thyroid and cholesterol levels. Through my new diet, my cholesterol had lowered considerably, and my thyroid was completely back to normal! I had been very inconsistent in taking my thyroid pill every morning, and my doctor concluded that my hypothyroidism had been a temporary condition brought on by stress from my job and relieved by leaving that job and the drastic change in my diet. Never had I thought that nutrition and stress could have had such a drastic impact on my life, but knowing what I know now, it makes complete sense. The world in which we live in leaves hardly any room for good nutrition and exercise; crappy foods are cheap and easy to get, while good wholesome foods are expensive and exclusive. This makes no sense to me.
Since then, I’ve kept with a diet that mirrors the Game On diet: I eat five small, well-balanced meals a day consisting of good whole foods. We’ve also been on a mission to remove processed foods from our diet, but that is a whole other blog post! Since early September, I have made more of an effort to exercise on a regular basis and track my exercise and calories consumed using MyFitnessPal, and since then I have dropped a dress size and am well on my way to dropping another. I haven’t been to the doctor since dropping all that weight, but I can’t wait to see the look on her face when I do!
I guess the whole point of this post is to share where I’m coming from when it comes to food. I want to get back to basics, to good, whole, unprocessed food, and I want to encourage my friends and family to do the same and feel as good as I do. And you don’t have to give up the food you know and love to do it. I still indulge every once in a while; you have to, I think, to stay on course. If you completely deprive yourself of your cravings, you’ll set yourself up for failure. I’ve found, however, that as time goes on and I continue to eat well, my cravings are changing. It’s not easy, especially in our society, but it can be done. And the benefits we can reap from it are so great!