I have thought about this long and hard.
I have resisted this change for years.
I continued to tell myself that I needed a different mix of foods and an exercise regime. I continued to tell myself that it was just because I wasn’t being “healthy” enough that I wasn’t losing weight.
I was constantly battling myself, trying to push harder and harder to be healthy.
And I was burning out.
I was in a vicious cycle. I was hospitalized for what was suspected to be Crohn’s (but never confirmed – they couldn’t find any conclusive results). I was told my stomach and intestines were inflamed. I was told to eat probiotics. But it wasn’t actually registering that my weight problems were potentially stemming from my gut.
Then I recently started (or rather, re-started) a 30 day PCOS diet challenge. I have done it before, and admittedly, saw the best weight loss with it. But this was years ago. I didn’t stick with it before because I felt like I “couldn’t” have anything. At that time I was surrounded by unhealthy food to begin with, so the transition from Subway sandwiches to salads for lunch was a bit of a shock. At that time I wasn’t “that” overweight…
This time is different. Because I have been through program after program, the majority of the food I’m used to eating is healthy. The PCOS diet challenge has a few adjustments – the elimination of gluten and dairy, combined with a low GI diet. I felt that with the inflammation I have (confirmed hashimotos, potential Crohn’s, PCOS) that making these changes couldn’t hurt.
I thought that this would be a huge change, but to be honest… It’s not. The only dairy I was having (basically) was cheese. I switched rice for quinoa. I am mindful of how my meals are structured and balanced, so the sugar doesn’t spike.
Since Monday (the day I decided ENOUGH is ENOUGH) I have lost over 4lbs. I’ve been stuck in a plateau for months, eating healthy meals with high protein and veggies and everything you would find in practically any healthy eating plan… And the minor change of eliminating sugar, gluten, and dairy has broken that plateau entirely in less than a week.
My stomach isn’t swollen anymore. My face isn’t swollen anymore. My mind is clearer (though I definitely think I had one day of detox effects because it was headache Hell). The swelling of my thyroid in my neck has gone down substantially and I don’t feel like I’m choking on it anymore.
I feel a bit foolish for having what seems to have been the answer – right in front of me FOR FREE (the challenge is free) and choosing to ignore it. I feel guilty for not listening to my body sooner.
But knowing what I know now, I don’t think I can go back.
Everyone is different. My body seems sensitive to basically everything (sunburns, medications, weather, bug bites, cat scratches, carbonated beverages, caffeine, cardio…you get the picture) and trying to crank it into gear in the name of fitness (PROTEIN & WORKOUTS YEAH!) just makes it more inflamed. After doing strength/cardio/HIIT workouts every morning for 2 months, I ended up with a chronic wheezing cough that lasted for that only steroids could cure.
A one size fits all approach doesn’t work for me. Frankly, I don’t think it works for a lot of people who struggle with thyroid issues and/or PCOS. And it still frustrates me that the “solution” to these issues is a pill (thyroid medication and/or birth control) which doesn’t address the underlying cause. You are told to lose weight with a Mediterranean diet – but you aren’t given any more guidance than that.
Yes, I understand that I probably won’t “cure” my thyroid. But I can help my body by treating it in a way that allows it to function at its best ability. I can heal my gut so I can utilize my own hormones better. I can work WITH my body instead of AGAINST it.
When I began this year, I told myself I wanted it to be my healthiest year yet. I wanted to lose weight and take care of my body. I thought that being admitted to the hospital and having a tube shoved through my nose and into my stomach was a cruel joke from the Universe. Oh you want to be healthy? Have fun in the hospital!
What I realize now is that it was a wake up call. If I was going to actually make a change, I needed to address the underlying cause. I couldn’t keep trying the same things and expecting different results. I wouldn’t have considered cutting gluten, or even pursuing the PCOS diet challenge again, without that happening. It took months for me to realize that the approach I was taking (while being a perfectly logical and sound approach) was not the right approach for me.
So yes – I make jokes that I eat bird seed. I don’t eat bread (though I’d love to try to make some homemade!). I don’t drink milk. I opt for sweet fruits over candies. I will now be that person that prepares for restaurants in advance to find gluten free options.
Perhaps my vision of becoming a free spirited hippie dancing in a field is coming to fruition?
But in all seriousness, we all have one body. One body to get us through our short time on Earth. If I have any hope of getting through the adventures I desire, without developing heart conditions or type II diabetes or popping pills every few hours… I need to take care of myself.
So here’s to a new lifestyle. A new, more purposeful way of living. I’m finding the balance – slowly but surely – and that’s what this blog is all about.
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about the 30 Day PCOS Diet Challenge, you can visit https://www.smartfertilitychoices.com for more information and to get signed up!