I stood on the scale and looked down in dismay. I knew I had made some bad decisions that week, but I didn’t think it had been THAT bad. As I stepped back, I wondered once again why I was even trying.
It felt like I had been trying for years, with no result. Well, that wasn’t really true. I was seeing a change. Every week the numbers on the scale went up, no matter what I did. Sometimes, if I did everything exactly right, I could lose two or three pounds. It might take a month for that to happen, but every time, it felt like hope. And then one day I would skip a workout, because I was really tired or my legs hurt, or just because I was human and a skipped workout sometimes happens, and in one day those three pounds would come right back. It was like there was a magnet attached to my body, and those pounds would just latch on.
It didn’t used to be this way. I used to be the girl who could eat anything and never gain an ounce. To be honest, I vascilated between loving it and hating it. I liked my body, and I liked being slender. At the same time, I didn’t love the passive aggressive, and sometimes straight-up aggressive, comments I’d get about my slim frame. I was told my body wasn’t womanly, that I looked anorexic, and that I must be a size zero (I was, occasionally). Those disses didn’t feel good, but I understood that they came from jealousy.
When my ability to lose weight in the blink of an eye disappeared in my mid-thirties, I didn’t even notice it for months. I hadn’t stepped on a scale since my youngest child was born, because why would I need to? I trusted that my body would do what it was supposed to do. It always had. But as the weeks passed, I started getting really tired. Not just regular-mom-tired, but I-slept-all-night-and-I-feel-like-I’ve-been awake-for-two-days tired. I was nauseous most of the time, my muscles were sore, I was really irritable, my skin was getting dry patches, and I couldn’t think straight. I felt like I had the flu, without the fever. Eventually I went to my doctor, and after a blood test, I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.
Essentially, this means that I don’t have much in the way of metabolism. Everyone associates metabolism with weight loss, but there’s so much more to it than that. Metabolism is really just a way of referring to how your body burns energy. An underactive thyroid means that your body struggles to use energy efficiently. I was feeling so terrible because my body was not getting the energy it needed to function. If a body goes long enough without the energy it needs, the organs begin to shut down.
Fortunately, I can take medicine that helps my body to produce the energy it needs to function. But that was only the first step. Turns out there’s a lot more involved in taking care of a body with an underactive thyroid than just taking a pill.
Over the next months and years I began learning so much about how to take care of my body. I had to change my relationship to everything, from how I dressed to how I approached sleep, what I drank, what I ate, even how I talked to myself about my body. Suddenly I had to rethink every bite I put in my mouth. I could no longer just grab something because it sounded good. And even though my energy level improved and my mind became clear again, those pounds still were not coming off.
It is now about 5 years later, and I am finally starting to find things that work. Really, truly work. When I stick with them, I can lose a pound or two a week. It’s not a lot of progress, but it’s slow and steady. I’ve had to give up coffee entirely, and strictly monitor my sugar and gluten intake. I walk three miles four times a week, and work out the other three days. I drink more water now than I ever have before. I remind myself often that my body is healthy, strong, and functioning beautifully, because I want my brain and body to soak in this message and truly believe it. I only wear clothes that feel good on me, and I take joy in using beautifully smelling lotions. I want my body to know that I am committed to taking really good care of it, because I appreciate all it does for me. And I know that if I give it what it needs, I can (still) trust it to do its job.
Hi there, I'm Amy. I'm so glad you're here. I'm a writer, photographer, mom, wife, and highly sensitive introvert, just trying my best to show up fully for myself, my family, and my life. It all gets a little crazy sometimes, and it helps to have a place to connect honestly about what's really going on. This is my place.