just. let. go
This blog post is in response to several questions I’ve gotten lately about my health since Thyroid Cancer. We have quite a few new followers lately (THANK YOU and Welcome!) and they’re catching up on all things phoodmoose… one of which is the recent podcast on my cancer and recovery.
Sadly, looks like Thyroid Cancer is on the rise. I’m not entirely surprised, knowing that it’s mostly an environmental cancer and our environments can kinda suck. With pollution, phthalates, parabens, gluten and soy attacking us at every turn, it’s no wonder, really. Thankfully, as I’ve mentioned before, the Papillary kind is not known to be extrodinarily deadly, but it still no day at the park.
This post is a little long, and -ish gets a bit REAL, but stick with me.
So? What am I asked most frequently, both in DMs and by potential mentoring clients? Good question. The answer: “Am I ever going to lose weight again?”
Well… the long and short of it is… maybe? Wait… don’t get discouraged and run away. I’ve learned a few things and I want to share what’s worked for me… and, maybe more importantly, what hasn’t.
First and foremost - YOU ARE AMAZING. Battered, bloodied and bruised you may be, but you’re amazing for just being you. It took me a long time to realize (the last year, really) that my life-long battle with myself over some arbitrary number on the scale does not make me, me. I’m me because I’m smart, funny, caring, loyal, fierce, ridiculous and a whole host of other things that have nothing to do with my pant size.
How I got to this realization? It took a lot, really… a lot of letting go. About a year ago, I was keto-ing “hard.” I felt fantastic, at first. Then, I didn’t. The carb flu hit be hard after the holiday splurge and I felt like a bag of dog poop. But I’m a professional, right? I know this is to be expected, I just gotta push thru. And then it hit me. Why? Why do I have to push through? What’s my end game here? Is this going to be my life? NO! I had a bit of a breakdown and decided I just wanted to be me.
I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but I was just done with the cycles of “being good” and “being bad.” How did I get to the point in my head that eating a gluten free English muffin is bad? It’s not like I’m murdering people… that would be bad (very, VERY bad!). But my head was not on straight. So I DECIDED in that moment that the English muffin was good. And it was. It was all buttery and toasty and delicious.
Then, later that day, I DECIDED that I was going to get fries with my lettuce-wrapped burger and they were going to be GOOD. It was really weird to eat them and try to not feel guilty about it. It was really hard, too. But, as I was sitting there having a dialog in my head about how they were delicious and how I was enjoying them and not at all feeling guilty (fake it ‘til you make it!) I realized I was finished with them. Not “done” as in I ate them all. I was “finished.” The ones I had were great, but I didn’t want any more.
Again… super weird. So this snowballed into a time where I DECIDED to not think about my weight or what I ate. Not in a “ANYTHING-GOES-BEGIN-THE-GLUTTONY-WHOO-HOOOOOO,” kind of way; but in a “If I want some fries, I’ll have them” kind of way. Yes, there was frozen custard.
You know what else I gave up? Listening to every Paleo, ancestral heath and Keto podcast; reading all the blogs and books; living on PubMed for the latest nutritional science.
It was REALLY hard to stop thinking about all the food-related things that I had burned into my brain my whole life. After a couple of months of not focusing so much on food – like NOT meal planning, NOT food journaling, NOT weighing myself, NOT taking my blood sugar every morning – I started to realize I wasn’t eating as much. Leftovers I brought to work for lunch were lasting 2 days instead of just 1. We were skipping dinner a couple of nights. I wasn’t SO FULL after every meal (just some really good ones).
Then, some things changed in our schedules and I was able to go back to the gym. But this time, it wasn’t with the intent that I was going to go “every day for an hour” and “get super skinny.” It was with my dear friend Tammy and it was to (gasp) be healthy.
Those of you that listen to the podcast know, I’m not a fan of working out… especially at 5:30 in the morning because that’s the only time I can consistently commit. But going without that pressure of HAVING to go and if I skipped a day it was going to be OK, totally put things in a different perspective.
I kind of felt free. I kind of felt like me.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I noticed those familiar feelings of being overmedicated with my Tirosint: Rapid heartbeat when I would lie down, super cold hands and feet, etc. So I contacted my doc for some lab work and, yup, I was overmedicated. But because it had been a year since my last visit, he wanted me to come in before writing a new script. What’s the worst thing about going to the doctor? THE SCALE!!!
I was actually going to turn around when the nurse weighed be so I wouldn’t have to see and start that whole war in my head again. But then, I thought, NO! Put your big girl panties on and look at that number that means NOTHING except how much gravity is putting force upon my skin and bones. Look at it and feel nothing, I told myself.
Then the number came up… with heavy sneakers and jeans, mind you… I had lost 12 pounds in the last year. THAT’S why I was now over medicated. It never even occurred to me that could be why.
Now sure, I was eating less SOME OF THE TIME and I was going to the gym FAIRLY REGULARLY, but I wasn’t being a crazy devotee like I had in the past. But I had made WAY more progress on the scale.
Sure, some people may think that 12 pounds in a year is no big deal, and some might even ask how a Wellness Mentor who helps people be healthy isn’t trying to lose the other 30 I probably should. But you know what? It was a big deal for me. It happened without me making myself (or my husband) crazy. It happened because I finally let go of the expectations and the pressure.
You know the hardest part right now? Trying not to celebrate so much that I go backwards in my head. I almost didn’t have a glass of wine with the boy last night because I knee-jerked back to saving calories. I’m actively trying to keep that “whatever, I’m breezy” attitude. 25+ years of agonizing over every morsel, reading every blog, listening to every podcast and doing all the things is REALLY hard to give up - But I had to.
And maybe, if you’re like me, you have to, too?
Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash