Roughly 10 years ago I had most of my thyroid removed. According to the doctors, it was defective. They told me – in no uncertain terms – that it was working too hard and causing significant damage to my body. Hmm… working too hard. Imagine that?!

I remember the day well. I was a Network Administrator and spent most of my day running around fixing things. I had always been underweight and “sickly” looking, but most people chalked this up to me working full-time and raising two kids. As it turns out, it was my Thyroid running amok.

One day at work, I stopped at the sink to wash my hands. When I looked up and saw my reflection in the mirror…. I was horrified!

I hadn’t noticed it before, but right there – as clear as day – was an enormous lump on my throat. How did I miss that? And more importantly, what is it?

The doctors had a name for it: a Goiter. Gee, that’s a pleasent thing to have when you’re in your late 20s. Ugh! Immediately, I felt like an old hag.

To make a long story short, the doctors tested it and found it to be benign. Marginal, but still benign – whatever that means.

Their recommendation: remove it. I opt’d to go along with their recommendation.

thyroid

Gaining insight and gaining weight

Despite having most of my thyroid removed, it’s still defective. Except now instead of working too hard, it works too little. That’s right! My thyroid is lazy.

I’m also older now and I’ve slowed down quite a bit thanks to more body parts staging their own mutinies.

Bottom line… getting old sucks. But getting old and fat sucks more.

Wait? Hang on a second. Fat?

Our society has a weight management problem. And by that I mean we can’t manage to stop talking about weight.

Take a trip to your local market, watch a little TV, crawl the Internet, listen to the world around you. I bet you can’t go more than a few minutes without seeing or hearing something about weight. Whether it’s a new diet, a revolutionary skinny pill, or the most awesome workout routine on the face of the planet. Oh, and let’s not forget the tons of “sugar free” and “zero calorie” products available.

Everywhere you look, people are trying to sell you products to help manage your weight. When they’re not busy doing that, they’re plastering images of “the perfect body” all over the place. Too bad the perfect body looks like it hasn’t eaten in decades!

We are obsessed with weight (or lack of it). And it’s killing us.

You are what you eat

food-spoons

For goodness sakes, put down that diet soda!

It seems our choices are limited when it comes to food. A lot of folks are not in a position to grow their own, and organic and non-processed foods are not always affordable options. To make matters worse… more and more foods labeled as healthy options and all natural are starting to “smell rotten”.

Although I’m not the best advocate for eating right – considering a good portion of my diet consists of chocolate and carbs – I can tell you this:

A lot of our food (at least in the US) is infused with more chemicals than nutrients. Sadly, many of these chemicals are delivered under the guise of losing weight. I’m lookin’ at you, Aspartame! You dirty, filthy, wretched pig. Sorry, I meant no disrespect to pigs.

Despite my love of chocolates and carbs, I try to eat foods whose labels read more like a short story than a novel.

My soapbox moment here is to encourage each of you to read labels. Know what you’re putting into your body.

If the current product lists an abundance of ingredients you can’t pronounce, find an alternative or skip it altogether. Your body will thank you.

Walk a mile in my shoes

We all know that diet AND exercise are things we must do to stay fit, but so many of us have no idea what that means.

As I mentioned earlier, my body has staged a mutiny and my mobility is somewhat limited. I can’t do the things I used to do.

Living with chronic pain is a bitch. Living with chronic pain and giving up, however, is even worse!

Granted, I can’t exercise the way I did when I was in my twenties, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something. So what’s that something?

I walk at least once or twice a day (weather permitting). Sometimes it’s a quick 1/2 hour walk, sometimes I take as much as 2 hours or more. In either case I’m getting a work out.

Not only is this great for “weight management”, but it’s also an excellent way to clear your mind.

walking-cropped

It’s just a damn number

While it’s important to look good and maintain a healthy weight, it’s also important – actually more important – to FEEL good both physically and mentally.

How to Feel Good About Yourself:

  1. Ignore the media and their idea of beauty.
  2. Understand how your mirror works.
  3. Take a deep breath and know that you’re not alone fighting the obsession with weight.

Remember… you are so much more than just a silly number on a scale.


Interesting Fact

Last year, I showed two pictures to a group of boys and girls. One was a “before” picture, and one was an “after” picture. If I remember correctly, this particular woman lost about 10-15 lbs.

When I asked the kids which woman looked better, they picked the after picture. When I asked the kids which woman looked healthier, their response was shocking: they picked the before picture.

It’s sad that our society is teaching our kids that sick and skinny is beautiful while looking healthy is just… eh.

It was truly an eye-opening (and scary) experience.