I am hypothyroid. My doc had a devil of a time balancing my thyroid. In fact, that took almost 18 months before we could get it to read balanced several months in a row. Just when I thought everything was dandy and I was only 10 pounds away from the goal I had set for myself, it went out of balance and I started regaining some of the weight I'd lost even while still trying to lose weight. 18 months after that, I started writing Doing A 180 trying to find a way to keep on keeping on.
Just imagine here I am right at the time in life when women in particular seem to be hit hardest by midlife hormones. Even the thinnest and hardest excercising of my friends suddenly find themselves wondering how it is they haven't changed a thing and yet their pants fit differently! Challenging. Add to to that a sluggish thyroid and it's a bigger battle than most.
However, I have never been one to excuse my weight gain because of my thyroid or my mid life. I know if I keep working at it I will find the right combination of things that will lead me and my body to just exactly where it should be. Which brings me to another of my recent discoveries.
Let me state right off the bat I am not an alcoholic. This has been confirmed by an alcoholic friend who, once when I told her that I had put some "leftover" martini in the freezer to be consumed at another time said,
"Oh, you're definitely not a friend of Bill's. Leftover, what is leftover? That's not even possible is it?"
Still in recent years I have found myself partaking more often. Some of this, I'm sure, is because of where I am in my life. Kids are grown and gone, lots of free time for Mr. Helen and me to go out for nice dinners or to concerts or to other social events where it is quite easy to partake.
The trouble with alcohol is that it is easy, even for a non-alcoholic, to have it become a habit. Just like overeating can be a habit, so can having a drink. There was a stretch in my post thyroid where I was so depressed from the weight gain and what it was doing to my running, not to mention a bunch of other stuff that was going on in our lives, that each night I would come home, pour 1 glass of wine and drink it while I cooked dinner. Almost overnight that became a habit. Just one glass, every day.
When I initially was able to lose some weight post diagnosis, the first thing the doctor told me to do was to remove all sweets, "whites" and alcohol from my diet for two weeks. It was then that I realized the alcohol had indeed become a habit. For those two weeks, I ate lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and when I went back to the doc to get weighed was shocked to find those simple changes had allowed me to lose 9 pounds!! I'm sure I wasn't eating that much less in terms of bulk. However, I'm also sure that my caloric consumption was way down simply because of all the calorically empty sugars removed by removing the sweets and alcohol.
Over these last 5 years I have experimented with this many times and the one thing that is true for me is that reduction of intake of alcohol equal weight loss.
Well don't you know that scientific studies have shown that alcohol slows down metabolism. This is how it works. Alcohol is full of sugar and calories which restrict your metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is restricted because too much sugar overloads your body and causes your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. This in turn makes your body go into conservation mode meaning that you will store extra fat and burn less calories. It's a vicious cycle. This doesn't even take into account that alcohol also lowers your inhibitions. Each and every time a study is done they find that when alcoholic beverages are consumed, people eat around 30% more calories. That doesn't sound like a lot but add that 30% up time and time again and it will equal weight gain, I promise. Especially in a middle aged hypothyroid woman!
Also alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. Dehydration equals slow metabolism. Peeps, I don't need a slow metabolism. I need to figure out how to get mine to work normally and then hopefully speed up!
So, my solution to this issue is that I allow myself to consume alcoholic beverages on one day per week, usually Saturdays as that is when we tend to have social gatherings. I also prepare for this the same way I prepare for when I want to participate in Bagel Wednesday: I exercise a little bit extra.
Even then, I pick and choose my indulgences. This past Saturday I went to a baby shower that was held in a hall. There was a full bar. I could have had a glass of wine, but I chose not to. I chose to save my little indulgence for a martini later on with Mr. Helen.
I'm not saying what works for me will work for you. I'm only saying after some years of going round and round, this is what is working for me, at least for now.
So here's a toast to each of us as we find our way. To your best life and to your health. Cheers!