I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I might blog about my thyroid and why it’s keeping me fat.
I’m blogging about it now because I realized it’s something I really want to get off my chest and put out there, because there’s always the possibility that it might help or interest someone.
I have hypothyroidism, which means that your body doesn’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones. This lowers your metabolic rate (meaning you burn less energy) and gives you a whole host of unpleasant symptoms.
When I first gained weight, I chalked it up to depression and the occasional episode of overeating. I felt terrible, hated myself and had a couple of panic attacks before seeking out a new psychologist. Before I went to see her, I had to have a blood test and she got the results.
After months of unfruitful therapy (she accused me of various things and I was really pissed off at her because of that) and a total weight gain of about 30kg (in 6 months or so), she mentioned that my thyroid levels weren’t quite normal.
I went to see my physician straight away and he prescribed me 25mg of levothyroxine. I took it for a few months, still struggling with depression and self-hatred, and it didn’t change much.
I had another blood test. He increased the levothyroxine to 50mg. I took it for a few months. The weight wouldn’t budge.I had yet another blood test. I got 75mg of levothyroxine, which I’ve been taking until a few days ago, when I had one more blood test.
Apparently, my TSH has risen and continues to rise which isn’t good because it means I’ll have to get tested again and again until we figure out the correct amount of levothyroxine… having blood drawn is extremely stressful and traumatizing for me because I have an intense phobia of needles, so that sucks.
My physician also told me to make an appointment with an endocrinologist to check what might be causing my TSH levels to rise constantly. It could be an autoimmune reaction (which means that my body is destroying my thyroid) or a hormone imbalance or something else, it’s important to get it checked (with another blood test. Of course.).
For now, my levothyroxine has been increased to 100mg for 3 weeks, after that I’ll take 125mg. Those three weeks act as a buffer to help my body adjust.
The main problem I had with gaining weight is that I couldn’t control it. I rapidly gained an enormous amount of weight (shortly after recovering from anorexia, by the way!) and couldn’t do anything to stop it or even slow it down. I exercised, I ate healthy food in appropriate amounts and still gained weight at an incredible speed.
I’ll mention that I was a skinny person for almost all my life, with a minor episode of chubbyness before I became anorexic. I was entirely unprepared and terribly sad because I couldn’t exercise as much as I used to, I had to stop running because my body couldn’t adjust to the weight properly and my joints protested, I had nothing (!) to wear, … it’s traumatizing, seriously. In addition to that, the weight gain also worsened my depression immensely.
Most of you can’t imagine how much I hated myself at the time. I was afraid of leaving the house because everyone knew me as the skinny, spunky, fit girl who had just beaten anorexia, and now I’d gotten fat in a very short time.
It didn’t help that I’d been pulled out of school for a year due to my depression and had to return to school in september.
I was so scared that people who knew me from the three months I spent there before I left would mock me, make fun of me for not having any self-control and getting fat after being so skinny and fit.
(I was bullied as a child, by the way, so I know precisely how cruel kids (and teens) can be.)
You cannot imagine my anxiety, seriously. The only source of self-confidence I ever had was exercise and being fit, and now that had been taken away from me.
I was so scared that I even considered fasting for a few months before returning to school to try and get at least some of the weight off, but I was smart enough not to do so.
When I eventually returned to school, it went slightly better than expected because I knew a girl in my new class from the previous year (she’d chosen to retake the courses) and we became friends, but the people from last year did make fun of me behind my back (I noticed. Obviously.) and I was terribly ashamed of myself. The teachers were ‘nice’ for the most part, but I did notice that some gave me worse oral grades than last year even though I did just as well.
To this day, I don’t dare to wear anything with short sleeves. I don’t wear shorts, skirts or dresses. I pushed myself to buy slim jeans instead of baggy ones a few months ago and still feel very uncomfortable.
I’m incredibly touchy when it comes to thinspo and fitspo because there’s a nasty, irrational little voice in my head that is pissed off at ‘normal’ people for being too lazy to get off their asses and work the weight off, while I can struggle and burn off 1300 calories 4 days a week and it doesn’t change anything. It’s a horrible thing to think, I know, but I can’t help it.
I have episodes where I’m very depressed and sad and wallow in self-pity, then I work hard to motivate myself and I’m good for a couple of weeks, then I notice nothing has changed and I become depressed again. It’s damaging and dangerous and hard to break out of, but I’m determined to fight and eventually overcome it.
I have nothing at all against chubby or overweight (or skinny or muscular) people, by the way. I wouldn’t ever make someone feel bad about their body and am entirely in favor of all the body-love campaigns and movements.
This may sound cliché, but the whole ‘true beauty comes from the inside’ thing really hit home with me, especially as I gained weight.
People come in all shapes and sizes and humanity (or more accurately, society) should accept that and not make people feel bad for being different.
(I’m done now. Really.)