Off the back of my last Thyroid blog post, I was really inspired to write more on the subject and the one question that came up a lot in your comments and tweets was about diet. I was asked if there are certain things I couldn’t eat anymore since my diagnosis, what I can eat that helps or if I’ve had to change my diet at all.
All important and valid questions but I’ll need to give some more background to explain my answer.
Before I had my thyroid problem diagnosed, I was really big. Like 4 stone heavier than I am now. I had real issues with my eating and controlling what I ate all through my teens years. I’d tried diets and silly things on and off to get rid of the weight but nothing really stuck. I just wanted to be skinny like my friends and not have to change my eating. It wasn’t fair.
It got so bad that there are very few photos of me from when I was at my heaviest. I refused to have my photo taken and hid away in baggy clothes. The terror and shame of having to shop in the plus size sections put the fear of God in me. I’d even been known to cry/panic in changing rooms.
Finally, I joined Slimming World, which started working. I became committed to doing it and completely changed my eating habits. No crisps, no chips, plenty of fruit and vegetables. It was REALLY hard and there’s more to that struggle than I can fit down here but it took its time and a lot of will power.
I lost about 3 stone and then stopped. Nothing more would shift but I was ok about where I’d reached. It usually happens when you diet; you reach a certain point and your body won’t do anymore naturally without more work.
Then, like magic, the weight started to come off again! AMAZING!
This was the first sign of the thyroid problem but I didn’t notice. There were more signs like excessive sweating, hand tremors, fainting and dizziness, high heart rate etc and eventually I saw a doctor and got diagnosed.
Before I had my thyroid removed, I had about 18 months of medication to try to settle it but that didn’t work so the operation was required. The whole time my main worry was about putting on weight. All I really knew initially was that thyroid problems meant you got fat. Not completely accurate but I didn’t know better. I was terrified that all my hard work would be for nothing. All because of a stupid, bloody, faulty thyroid.
I dreaded it after the operation and planned to be really strict about my eating but I’ve been quite lucky and have only ever bounced around half a stone either way. I’ve been really lucky as this doesn’t happen with most people but I think my dieting and shift to cooking from scratch lifestyle meant I set myself up with a good foundation. I know certain foods make me naturally feel better; lots of natural B vitamins are always a plus but I just watch the amount I eat and try to eat ‘good’ stuff as much as I can.
I do eat a fair amount of chocolate and cheese; I ain’t Wonder Woman. I loved ice cream and cake but only have it once in a while. I’m not a saint and you shouldn’t feel like you’re a bad person for having an extra slice of apple pie. I envy you. I just know that if I gave in that I’d be more prone to putting on the weight and it would be harder to shift too so I’m always careful.
It can be exhausting but I do it because it affects my mental health if I don’t and I don’t want to be where I was again all those years ago. I’m not perfect, I eat pasta and I’m happy.