Saturday, August 21, 2010

the biggest change

My wife and I were talking about the changes I have made in this diet. She surprised me when she told what she saw as the biggest change. There were several large changes to consider.

I started counting calories. This prompted me to pay more attention to what and when I eat. This was new. Before, I would 'graze' most of the day. I would eat a little here and a little there. I would hit most of the major meals, but most of the day was a grazing thing. This was a major change.

I started eating healthier. By paying attention to calories, I began making healthier choices. I realize that low calories doesn't always mean healthier. I began looking at protein and fat and carbs in what I was putting in my mouth. This was a major change.

I began walking for my health. I walked before, but not just for the sake of my health. I would begrudgingly walk if I had too. I have arthritis in my back and it was easier to say, "My back hurts" than to go places where I would have to walk or stand for any period of time. Anyone that has ever had a backache will empathize with you when you say, "My back hurts when I do that." It is a great and necessary excuse. So, for me to voluntarily go for a walk was unheard of. This was a major change.

I have a thyroid issue. I have Hypothyroidism. I am taking a large daily dose of synthroid. When i was originally diagnosed, my thyroid count was over 200 (normal is 0.5 to 5.5.) My doctor was amazed that I was still working or even walking. For those uninformed about the thyroid, let me give you a brief medical lesson: The thyroid regulates your metabolism. Your thyroid tells your brain how to 'fix' what is perceived as 'wrong' with you.

My thyroid is telling my brain that I am starving to death. This, of course, leads to my brain telling my body to eat more and more. I was always hungry. Since my body was starving (or so my brain thought) it would shut down at times to conserve energy. If I sat still for more than a few minutes, I would fall asleep. Dieting was and is very hard because my body already thinks I am starving to begin with.

My doctor started me on 25 MCG of synthroid about 6 years ago. Since then, on most visits where my blood was tested, my dosage has steadily increased to as much as 350 MCG and has now dropped to 300 MCG. Every time my doctor increased my dosage, I had a surge of energy for about two weeks until my body adjusted and then the appetite and lethargy returned.

I could commonly be heard to say, "Dieting doesn't work because my thyroid fights against it." This was a true statement.

My wife told me the biggest change she had seen was that I had put away my excuses. Now, mind you, most of my excuses were good and legitimate reasons. But even the best reason can become a crutch and an excuse if you try hard enough.

Am I still hungry a lot? Yes, I am.
Do I eat (graze) all day? No, I do not.
Does my back still hurt? Yes, it does.
Do I still get out and walk? Yes, I do.

Since beginning two weeks ago, I have not brought up my thyroid or TSH levels until this post. I have complained about my back hurting. Well, not really complained. I have stated that my back is hurting after my walks. I walk around my block. It is just over tree tenths of a mile. I try to walk it two to three times a day. I know it doesn't seem like much. However, it is two to three times a day more than I walked before. The muscles in my lower back begin to get stiff about two-thirds of the way around. At that point i have no choice but to finish. I have to get back home to cool down and sit down.

I would love to tell everyone that changing your eating and exercising habits is easy, but it isn't. It is tough, and tougher some days than others. The results, however, are worth it ten times over.

The hardest part was giving up my excuses.

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