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‘How I Lost 50 Pounds Despite My Thyroid Condition’ – Women’s Health

Aug 31st, 2017

I was only 9 years old when I realized I was big. I watched my athletic brother and sister score runs and goals while I kept packing pounds onto my small frame. I would hide food in my room, scared that anyone in my family would see me eating, and I started to dislike my body more with every bite. Years later, at 16, a routine blood test revealed that I had hypothyroidism. The doctors didnt really explain to me then what I know now: I have an underactive thyroid gland that doesnt produce enough thyroid hormone to keep my body running normally. They prescribed me synthroid, a hormone that can help normalize thyroid production, and Ive been on it ever since. For me, and some of the 12 percent of women who also have hypothyroidism, that meant a slowed metabolism, low energy levels, and at my lowest points, depression and thoughts of self-harm.

For years, I let my condition convince me that I just couldnt lose weight. I resolved that I would never feel happy in my own body because it was fighting me at every turn. But at just 411, when I saw the scale hit 170, I knew I couldnt let it win anymore. It was time to start fighting back. It was time to feel healthy, confident, and happy for the first time since I can remember.

For over a decade, my weight yo-yoed. I got pregnant with my first son when I was 21, and I gained 35 pounds. After he was born, the weight stayed on. I lost 10 pounds before my wedding two years later, but my weight hovered between 150 and 160 for almost eight more years. At my height, that range was considered obese, my doctors told me.

Every time I started working out and eating better, Id stick with it for a while and lose about 10 pounds. But I always found an excuse to stop, and I always put the weight right back on. When my husband was deployed, I was parenting by myself, so how could I possibly find time to exercise (or make anything other than cereal) with two young boys and a full time job? When we moved every few years to a new military base, I was uncomfortable seeing new people at the gym, so how could I work out if I was scared to be seen? When Canada winters rolled around every year, my progress halted. When I was missing my husband or feeling more depressed than usual, I gave up.

If all of those excuses werent enough to stop me, this one was: I am hypothyroid.

I told myself that my body just couldnt lose weight, and I resolved that Id live at an uncomfortable 150 pounds forever. That was until gallstones attacked my gallbladder in 2015. At the time, it was a painful, miserable experience, but giving up greasy, fatty foods so that I didnt have another attack helped me get to 136 pounds. That number, despite everything, showed me that I could lose weight. It wasnt my thyroid stopping me, it was my mind. I knew I could succeed, I just didnt know how.

While scrolling through Facebook one day, I saw a post for a weight loss accountability Facebook group. Ive never been a very social person, but I knew if I wanted to really lose weight this time, I had to have people to encourage me. I clicked join.

I took my measurements and photos of my body from all angles. I posted them on the page, introducing myself and sharing parts of my long battle with my weight. This time, I wasnt alone, and I wasnt going to quit.

Thirty minutes a day. Thats it. For 30 minutes, I would do a workout video from the 21-Day Fix program at home. I had started the program before, but could never complete it. This time, though, I had my accountability group waiting to see my sweaty selfie for the day. I was waiting to see their selfies, too. I knew that I couldnt let them down.

The workouts were nowhere near easythey even made my husband, an active member of the military, break a good sweat. There were jump squats, planks, burpees, and pushups. When I wanted to give up, I had the trainer on the screen encouraging me, a whole group online that I didnt want to disappoint, and, for the first time, a mindset that told me I could really do it this time. Even after 21 days straight of workouts, a victory I had never achieved before, I wasnt finished. I switched to P90X, and Ive been doing different high-intensity at-home workouts ever since.(Torch fat, get fit, and look and feel great with Women's Health's All in 18 DVD!)

Along with those daily sweaty selfies, my accountability group leader asked us to post pictures of everything we ate on the page. Yes, everything. My days of serving cereal for dinner ended when the posting began.

Ive never really been much of a chef, so it was great to see photos and recipes of other peoples lean proteins and surprisingly tasty-looking vegetables on the Facebook page. I even got my whole family, 9- and 12-year-old boys included, to try spaghetti squash. It was a hit.

Learn the RIGHT way to make spaghetti squash:

I still let myself eat one higher-carb food every daywhether its a small serving of ice cream on a family movie night or exactly 18 potato chips for a salty snack. Slowly but surely, food started to become something I enjoyed, not something I needed to hide behind. The girl who used to smuggle food into her bedroom was finally free.

Staying motivated to lose weight is hard enough for women with perfectly healthy thyroids, but when yours is slowing your progress and sucking your energy, its not so easy to be positive all of the time. While I saw other people in my group losing five to 10 pounds per month, I was only losing three to four, even though we were all following the same plan. It didnt seem fair that I could work just as hard as someone else, but only get half of the results. When I had the same doubts that always led me to quit before, I shoved them out. I told myself that although my hypothyroidism would make weight loss harder, it wouldnt make it impossible. I was stronger than the antibodies attacking my thyroid and slowing my metabolism. I reminded myself of that every day.

When my hypothyroidism did slow me down, I never let it stop me like I did before. Just last April, I started to feel depressed again as my energy started depleting. It got to the point where my husband had to drive me to work because I couldnt find the strength. I had thoughts of harming myself, and I knew that wasnt me.

I went to my doctor, who tested my thyroid levels and said she wasnt surprised I was feeling so down. She increased my synthroid dosage, and I was back to my daily workouts, steady weight loss, and sweaty selfies in no time.

About 30 inches and 50 pounds of weight loss is nothing compared to what Ive gained since joining the accountability group. Now I can run around with my energetic sons. I can post photos of my progress online without asking myself if I should delete them seconds later. I can spend time working out with my husband, and our relationship has never been better.

I never thought I would feel this good about myself. For the first time, Im starting to like what I see in the mirror, and Im loving how I feel.

You are strong enough to lose the weight you want to lose, but you dont have to do it yourself. If I hadnt joined the group, I probably would have thrown in the towel before reaching my weight loss goalsjust like I had so many times before. If youre ready to stop giving up, surround yourself with people, in person or online, who will keep you going. After seeing for myself what a community of supporters can do, Ive started up my own accountability group. Now Im the one checking those sweaty selfies, liking those meal pictures, and helping my members stay motivated.

To the women in my group, and around the world, trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism, remember that your mind is your most powerful tool. It might take you longer to reach your weight loss goals, but if youre ready to stay committed, get ready to love the body you always thought was fighting you.

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'How I Lost 50 Pounds Despite My Thyroid Condition' - Women's Health

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