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My Story (so far)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

As part of the Weekend Challenge for BLC23 and National Storytelling Weekend we were asked to share our stories about our weight loss journey, this is mine.

I have been battling with my weight my whole life. I did Weight Watchers with my mother at age 10. I thinned out a bit in my teens and twenties but I was always heavier than my 100 pound friends. I was also walking around with an undiagnosed case of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis for 25+ years. My thyroid went wonky after the birth of my oldest son (at age 25). They called it post partum thyroiditis, they never tested my antibodies. My tsh was monitored by whole adult life but they didn't test my antibodies. Between an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, my malfunctioning thyroid and peri-menopause I packed on 60 pounds during my late 40's. I couldn't stop it no matter what I did. I had no energy and was sick most of the time.

In 2009, several things happened that led up to my diagnosis. In April I quit smoking, I went into menopause and I had a series of Hashi "flares" that couldn't be ignored. I was sent to an allergist that ran a full thyroid panel including antibody levels. Mine were through the roof. On Christmas Eve, my doctor called to tell me I had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. It was the best gift I received. It meant that everything I had been going through was not in my imagination and it gave me something to fight. So armed with a brand new laptop and a library card I became a research "junkie".

In 2010, I found a doctor that knew about Hashi's and how to treat it, he changed my medication, I gave up gluten, started taking supplements and joined Sparkpeople. I started exercising. 10 minutes a day at first. I kept stopping and starting. Eliminating gluten was tough at first, until after 6 weeks I reintroduced it and realized very quickly that gluten had been contributing to my digestive issues and brain fog as well as causing joint swelling and pain among other things. It is much easier to say "no thank you" to something that makes you sick.

In early 2011, my teenage son was diagnosed with allergies to corn and soy (among other things), so we eliminated those along with gluten from the house. I learned how important it is to read labels. (Corn is in practically everything processed in the US!) I also leaned how to make all kinds of things from scratch, that what you eat really does affect your health and that my youngest son can do anything he puts his mind to. As a family we started eating "clean".

I would love to tell you that magically all is right with my world and that I have healed myself and my family. But I am still battling Hashi's, and unfortunately since then, my mother, sister and daughter have all been diagnosed with it too. There are lots of good things, though. Because of all the dietary and lifestyle changes we have made things are much better. I haven't (knock on wood) had a serious flare in over 2 years. We don't seem to "catch" everything (colds, flu etc) anymore. Our family doctor thought we had changed doctors this April, when we went in to get an inhaler refill prescription for my son. We hadn't been there since November! My husband went all winter with no sinus infections. That had never happened before in the 20 years we have been married! My son is healthy, he doesn't get sick often and his asthma rescue inhaler expires before it is used up! Another first for us.

As for me, I have lost 20 pounds so far, I am stronger, have more energy and stamina than I have had in a decade, and I just got back into size 14 jeans! I have learned a lot about what works and doesn't work for me, it is on ongoing study. I exercise most days and I have joined a gym (never thought I would do that!), I even walked my 1st 5k last fall. I love hiking and this summer we went waterfall hunting while on vacation. I couldn't have done that 4 years ago. I didn't have the energy, the stamina or the strength back then.

So my journey has been full of fits and starts, ups and downs, but things look good right now so I am going to continue on learning and making changes, eating "clean" and exercising, getting stronger and losing some more weight, a little at a time.
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