Thyroid, Gluten-Free, et. al.

Well, folks. What has Mel been up to?

I know how ya feel, hon. Well, except you're still sitting up.

I know how ya feel, hon. Well, except you’re still sitting up.

Promising herself she wouldn’t weigh, weighing anyway, getting discouraged, trying to restrict, binging.

You know…all the things you’re NOT supposed to do if you’re practicing intuitive eating.

What else have I been doing? Sleeping. I haven’t mentioned this very much in this blog, but I have Hashimoto’s thyroidism (underactive thyroid due to an autoimmune issue; my body is attacking my thyroid tissue…hey, that rhymes, yar har, cough, oh never mind). I have been feeling quite badly since last October. I had my TSH checked in February, and it was within normal range (1.8…not great, but it shouldn’t have been kicking my ass so badly).

After that, I was confused…and disheartened. I decided to just try to live with always being tired. I’d complete a chore, sit down, complete another chore, lie down, finish the next chore, take a nap. And I’m not talking happy, lazy little naps here, either. I’m talking sobbing, I’m-dying, my-hands-are-too-heavy-to-lift tired.

Finally, the other week, I’d had enough and I had my TSH checked again. 4.9. Not good at all. I cried and begged my doctor for an increase in my Levothyroxine and she boosted me from 75mcg to 88mcg.

This is sort of it. Except this thyroid works.

This is sort of it. Except this thyroid works.

A few days later, I had bad thoughts. Very very bad thoughts. Thoughts like: Why am I alive if this is my life? I’m not living. I’m in a waking coma. I’d be better off dead.

So I called the doctor again.

She FINALLY (holy Jeebus, I can’t believe it) agreed to “more blood tests,” which I assume (or hope) mean T-3, reverse T3, T4 and all that. She sent my lab slip in the mail and I am waiting on pins and needles for this thing to come. I NEED help. Right now.

Meanwhile, I was reading up on autoimmune thyroiditis and the gluten-free topic came up again. I’ve dabbled with the idea before, but never for very long.

But the science seems compelling. So once again, I’m trying gluten-free. I lost a ton picNoWheatof water yesterday; I was up every 45 minutes last night to pee. Has to be a good sign, right?

Meanwhile, I’m back to taking my Vitamin D, too. It’s all fuzzy right now, but it seems to me that I stopped taking it last summer-ish. That would make sense timing-wise for feeling shitty beginning in October (and the extreme weight gain I experienced starting then – 30 lbs. by January). Why did I stop taking it? I have no clue. But since I’m generally D deficient, I believe it’s possible that stopping the D has been part of the problem.

Wish me luck, folks.

And yes, I’m back to intuitive eating.




I was thinking about the water weight from the Chinese and worrying “I will never be down this coming Friday”…and I was thinking about the family gathering and thinking “I will never look even normal by Christmas…” and…and…and.

On to a new day.


Don’t Worry: You Will Get Hungry


You knew then and you’ll know now.

At the outset, this discussion may seem weird. But then again, perhaps it won’t, at least to some people, because I’ve actually seen it mentioned in two separate intuitive eating books so far.

Some of us, when we begin intuitive eating, have a fear that if we wait until we’re truly hungry to eat, that hunger will never happen. We’ll never “feel it.” We’re so out of touch with our body’s signals that perhaps we’ll never truly know.

It just won’t happen, we’ll go all day without food and we won’t be experiencing, in that time, the joy of something that tastes good.

I am the poster child for this kind of fear. Added to it is my fear that maybe I’ll “really” be hungry somewhere in there but won’t know it and therefore, eventually my body will be STARVING so I’ll eat until I throw up.

And then of course there are all the admonitions to “never get too hungry” – even on calorie-restrictive diets (ironically) – and the generally accepted guidline to eat every 3-4 hours in order to “keep up our metabolism” to put into the worry-pot.

Well, today I wasn’t hungry after lunch. I just wasn’t. In fact, the thought of eating was making me sick.

Hours went by. Evening fell. My husband produced a marvelous dinner of spaghetti and long-cooked sausages. Mmmmmmm. Could I eat a bite? No.

So I waited. Full-on dark came. The Walking Dead showed, and was over. Bedtime for my children neared.

I still wasn’t hungry.

Many times during the afternoon/evening, the fears I’ve related above came and went. But damn it, I was NOT going to eat until I was hungry. Not this time.

At last, it was 8:45. It had been seven hours and 15 minutes since I’d last eaten. I had had a stomach growl or two in the previous half hour, but no “I want to eat now” thought or feeling attached to it. At 8:45 that “I want to eat it now” feeling came.

And I ate, and it was fantastic. Delicious.

You will get hungry. I can tell you that I am someone who has been out of touch with her body literally since birth, when my mother twisted and turned my feeding schedule to fit what she thought was best and then alternately force-fed me and starved me from toddlerhood on. I have lived my entire 46 years not knowing when I was hungry and when I wasn’t.

But tonight, I waited, and I knew.

It was worth the wait.

What Sucks About Intuitive Eating

So this morning I had a breakfast burrito, and this afternoon I had tuna salad on a bagel. Right now it’s almost 7pm and I am not hungry at all.

Stop eating my fucking Birthday Blast ice cream! Jesus! Fuck.

Stop eating my fucking Birthday Blast ice cream! Jesus Christ! This sucks.

In fact, I feel so full that I literally feel nauseated at the thought of eating anything. I think right now if someone sat me in front of a plate of food and put a gun to my head, I couldn’t eat it (the food I mean, not the gun – well, I guess I couldn’t eat either).

I might get hungry tonight and I might not. I may only be hungry again tomorrow. Either way I know what I want: spaghetti and sausage, which my husband made for dinner tonight, and a scoop of Birthday Blast ice cream.

So here’s what I had to do. I put aside a plate of spaghetti and sausage for myself and instructed my husband that it is for me, whenever I want it, whether it’s tonight or not. That’s still no assurance that it won’t get eaten, and now I have to worry about that.

And then I saw my husband dishing out my Birthday Blast to our son – even though they have two other unopened half-gallons of the ice cream they specifically asked me to buy for them! So there are no guarantees that will still be there either.

And the worst (the best?) of it is…I so extremely UNhungry that even the trigger of thinking it may all be taken away from me can’t overcome the absolute feeling of BLEAH of putting any more food into my stomach right now.

Of course, all that means is that I’ll have to cook up my own spaghetti and sausage tomorrow (simple to do) and buy more Birthday Blast (Stater Bros. had plenty of it yesterday, there will still be more). But it’s an inconvenience.

There are things about intuitive eating that suck. They’re just not what you think they are.

Chinese Food: a Learning Experience

Well, folks. I haven’t had Chinese food in about eight years. Seriously. And I used to live on the stuff (ironically, when I was very thin – then again, at that time I’d binge on Chinese, then restrict to 800-1000 calories max for the next six or seven days).

So today, out of the blue, my husband suggested Chinese.

Oh, all right. Just one more spring roll.

Oh, all right. Just one more spring roll.

It was good, though not as good as my memory was telling me it should be. I had a small spring roll, a little rice, sweet and sour chicken and a forkful each of chicken fried rice and pork lo mein.

And let me tell you. I feel TERRIBLE. This just sucks. I don’t remember feeling this horribly bloated and practically dizzy from Chinese food – though in my earlier, Chinese-inclusive days, I was pretty much dizzy all the time from lack of food in general.

My stomach is sticking out much farther than it ought to given the total amount that I ate, which actually wasn’t all that much; it was nowhere near what I’d eat at a restaurant in my diet days, certainly. I didn’t even eat half my plate.

Yet I didn’t feel like this in the old days…or I don’t think I did. Was I simply used to it? Was the haziness of the binge blurring my physical feelings? Was it simply the MSG? I don’t know.

I feel like I’m about to burst. It’s a terrible feeling. I feel like I’ve just binged…without actually having binged.

Let’s chalk it up to a learning experience.

That Atkins Smell

First of all, my intention is not to diss Atkins people, nor the Atkins Approach itself. I work from home and am the parent of two boys inside the home (my eldest is an adult and lives in the northeast); I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t believe in turning on the air conditioner until the temperature hits the 95F mark. I’m 100% certain I’ve offended someone somewhere along the line wafting past as I ran out before school pickup in a panic for milk.

You don't realize it, but, yes, Mr. Atkins Man at Stater Brothers, you DO smell.

You don’t realize it, but, yes, Mr. Atkins Man at Stater Brothers, you DO smell. Truth.

And of course if an eating plan is working for any one person, that’s the more important thing, for that person, and if the program is livable the person is entitled to it.

But I have to say…that smell. That Atkins smell. The first time I ever smelled it was in 1998, when I was working at my sister’s company. Every once in a while I would get a whiff of cat-litter-and-some-unappealing-spice and I’d think, “What the hell IS that?”

Eventually my sister brought up the name of a certain co-worker, who was amazingly fit and “lived on those crazy protein drinks.” She added confidentially, “If you ever smell cat pee, look around and you’re sure to see V—a.”

I talked to this co-worker at one point (standing a few feet away). The “protein drinks” were very low carb (I believe 3g/powdered scoop, something I recalled later when I did the same brand of shakes). She lifted weights and was cutting while bulking up. I remember she said she made her drinks with water rather than milk, so, no milk carbs there either. When I asked what else she consumed, she said “Meat and a limited amount of vegetables.”

With the exception of the shakes, which by no means are a staple of the typical low-carb diet but are allowed if the carb consumption is suitable, it was obvious she was doing VLC (very low carb).

She looked great but…oh my. I will never, ever forget that smell.

I’m sure I must have smelled like that on Atkins too. I’ve been in ketosis any number of times. In fact, I recall getting a waft or two up my own nose of my very own self and thinking, “Oh my GOD.” I don’t know what it is about that particular scent. It doesn’t just offend in the way other non-pleasant smells offend. It is somehow…aggressive. It almost screams, “Get away from me.”

There may be a chemical reason behind this. Or it may simply be my perception.

Fast forward to tonight. I was walking by a group of three people, a man and two women, and there it was…the Atkins Smell.

It was clear as day, and every bit as off-putting and aggressive (to me) as ever. And it was absolutely unmistakable, though the last time I caught some was probably years ago. Either not many people around here do low-carb, or I haven’t been within a few feet of any who do. Or it could just be the fact that not everyone in ketosis smells.

Again, I’m nobody to tell anyone else what to do, how to eat or whether their scent offends me personally. To many, low carb means great health. It means both weight and appetite control. I’ve been on all the low-carb boards, including the Big Two who shall remain nameless. There are people who are absolutely THRILLED with their lifestyle. It works for them and having been caught in the diet-go-round for so many years, I say, God bless them. Keep doing what works.

But my own personal association with the Atkins Smell is one of restriction, desperation, and trying to twist and brainwash myself into thinking I was enjoying it. It brings to mind the not-so-veiled threats and finger-wagging of Taubes and Eades, Wheat Belly and Life Without Bread and dire warnings about how wheat is going to give me arthritis, lupus and MS and may even be making me “high.” It recalls every single negative thought and fear I’ve had about myself and about eating in general that I’ve ever had in my life…all rolled into one.

So when I caught The Smell tonight, it was bittersweet. I’m glad I’m no longer there. So very glad. And I’m sad for others for whom low-carb doesn’t work, either emotionally or physically, but who are hammered down by thoughts of how “bad” they are for not “sticking with it” and how they’re “killing themselves” by eating a diet that includes wheat. (By the way, yes, there’s science on this and I’m not disrespecting that, either. But one does have to weigh the health risks of eating GMO wheat – which technically all of our wheat is now, in the strictest sense – v. the deprivation-and-binge-go-round and resultant weight gain with diabetes and heart failure that comes from, well, just not being able to stick with such a restrictive way of eating.)

Definitely a moment that gave me pause. And made me grateful for what I have right now, and for having options in general.

Good luck and good health to any and all reading this post tonight, and, whatever eating plan you adopt, may you find peace.

Week Two Weight

Yeah, yeah, I know. I swore I would never weigh again.

Then, like, two days went by and…You know the story.

Hey, I’m still new at this. Sue me.

So I did weigh and was shocked – absolutely gob-smacked, as my friends across the Atlantic would say. My weight this morning, at the two-week intuitive eating mark, was 209.8. That’s two pounds gone since last week at this time.

I shouldn’t be shocked. I shouldn’t be amazed. I shouldn’t be disbelieving. This is what all those books said would happen, after all. But a lot of books say a lot of things, and I’ve been fed (no pun intended) many, many promises by many, many diets – excuse me, eating plans in the past.

Here’s the thing. I did overeat this week – I’m sure of it. I noted it quite a few times on this blog. And I had one binge.

But I still lost two pounds.

It’s too early to go crazy and proclaim all of this a tremendous success, and I know the focus shouldn’t be on the weight (in fact that runs counter to the principles of intuitive eating), and I know it’s dangerous to feel proud of a loss, just as dangerous, perhaps, as it is to feel ashamed of a gain. Like I said, I am still new to this. But that number was staggering to me, and I thought it was worthy of note here.

On to the weekend – so glad it’s here! Whew, it was a crazy week. I feel like I learned a lot this week; we’ll see how I go forward with all that.