Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Do you ever have that nagging feeling?

I have been doing very, very well at losing weight. A little too well...

My latest weigh-in, yesterday was 211. That's down, what, 20 pounds in 6 weeks or so. Officially, since January 15th, with weigh-in of 234, it's officially 23 pounds, but that first weigh-in was on a heavy scale (one that is always 5 pounds over) and after a hefty meal the night before.

So that's doing pretty damn well. Which makes me worried. I feel like, yeah, I've made some changes. I eat smaller portions. I eat more vegetables. I have only a small lunch. I eat fruit for snacks.

But other things are sneaking back into my diet--like a cookie here and there, a candy here and there. I worry that before I know it, I will stop being on a downward trajectory. I want to lose 30 more pounds, but I don't want to have to get there kicking and screaming (internally) over some extra calories here and there.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Vulvar pain

I'm looking for a recommended gyn--and I wanted to find a listing of doctors recommended for their treatment of vulvodynia. However, as opposed to thyroid.about.com which has a number of doctors recommended for thyroid, there do not seem to be many who deal with vulvodynia, or that have been recommended...

Worse still, the medical directory at Vulvodynia Support is developing a Hall of Shame for:
"emails from doctors who have been listed here on this page, because of a good referral from a patient as well as patients who have emailed me reporting that a doctor listed here has indicated to them that they no longer wish to treat patients living with Vulvodynia"

It's not like we're talking about flesh-eating bacteria, ie, vulvar pain is not contagious. Doctors just don't want a challenge, I guess.

This article-- Fire Down Below-- is also interesting--it says patients typically visit five doctors before a proper diagnosis for vulvar pain. And apparently doctors are not properly trained to treat chronic pain, as one patient in the article attested: "After trying treatment after treatment, her doctor admitted that what they’d taught him in medical school wasn’t working. “At first you trust the doctors,” she said. “You think, OK, I’ll just go in and get a pill to fix this.”"

Doctors, typically, are good. They want to help. But if you are seeing a general practitioner for specialized information--you have to read up on your illness and be prepared to question what they tell you, especially if they tell you there's no treatment and send you home with no strategy for combatting your illness.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Who reads this anyway?

So I have been keeping at this new diet plan for 3 weeks. I would say I've lost about 9 pounds over the three weeks. I did switch which scale I will count as my official weight---because weighing in on a scale that average 5 pounds over a normal scale is psychologically demoralizing. That accounts for a little of the weight loss---but most of it is real.

The major changes I have made:
1800 calories a day, not including vegetables (in other words, probably 2000 calories/day)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil per day (averages 360 calories of diet)
sides for meals are salad or vegetables- very limited pasta.
Limited red meat.

Basically, I am eating balanced meals---a little protein, fat, and carbohydrate at each meal. And I would say that this strategy is kicking ass. From October 31 to January 15 or so when I started this, I had lost about 9 pounds. Yes, that is pretty good, but until I really revised my diet, I didn't SEE very much in the way of results. Now I can see the difference clearly. And it makes it that much easier to imagine the next ten pounds coming off...and then I'll start to really feel like my old self. I'm very psyched!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And the total is...

So Monday's weigh-in was good. Down 6 lbs to 228.

SW: 240

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cautious optimism

So far so good. I have stuck to plan since last Tuesday, with the addition of coconut oil to diet on Wednesday. Some important points about the coconut oil.

I am too lazy to compile the links right now, but in summary of all that I've read about coconut oil use in diet:
1) Make sure you are using non-hydrogenated coconut oil. No healthful benefits apply to processed coconut oil (maybe not NO...but it will clog your arteries).
2) The coconut oil use does reduce available calories to eat other things. I don't know if you'll lose weight or not, but it seems entirely likely that if you add coconut oil over and above what you usually eat, you could gain weight. If you are just replacing it as your cooking oil, I think that is less problematic.
3) It may increase your cholesterol. My plan is to have mine checked in about 6 weeks.

That all being said, I am cautiously optimstic for weigh-in tomorrow morning. On Friday, the scale at the gym read 226 (at 5 pm, so not a first thing in the morning read). Of course, that scale is kinder than the weigh-in scale--but when weigh-in scale read 231, the same day the gym scale said 229. So we'll see. I'm rooting for 228. However, if that is the case, I cannot say coconut oil alone is responsible. I have totally revamped how I eat. However, coconut oil makes it easier because I am much less hungry than I would typically be with this much vegetable action.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A weekend of debauchery--now hard core attention to plan

I'm participating in a little contest, with first weigh in yesterday---so I went a little nuts over the weekend. Hence the starting weight of 234 on the above ticker thingy.

However, now I'm back on plan. But I'm revising my plan. I had just been worrying about calories, but what I did 3 years ago that worked much better was to count all calories except any vegetables---those are freebies. Aim for 1800 calories/day. Aim for 1/3 fat, 1/3 protein, 1/3 carbs in terms of percentage of diet. I use a fitday software on my computer, as opposed to the online version. I love it...very good features for weight loss program. My biggest obstacle is that I live with a meat-itarian. However, it turns out that if there is more meat for him, he's fine with that. I'm not so good at limiting myself to a "deck of card" size piece of steak. Better to forego it for now.

Also, inspired by mivox, I am adding coconut oil. The only reason I had never added it to my diet before is that I couldn't find it. I found some at Whole Foods today, but there was only the Virgin Coconut Oil, which is very coconutty. As it turns out, I love coconuts, so this isn't a problem, but I imagine I might get sick of it after a while. Mivox claims there is another kind of coconut oil that is less flavorful, and I will be on the lookout for that.

I guess I feel that apprehension many people do about adding something fatty to a "diet"---I worry, what if it doesn't do what it's supposed to. I'm just brainwashed about FATS. I also worry because it tastes too good to be good for me. My first two uses:
1) Melt 1 Tbs of coconut oil in pot, add bean sprouts, onions, can of Amy's Organic black bean soup. Simmer. Very faint taste of coconut, hardly there at all. But if you don't like the smell, I'm gonna say right now, virgin coconut oil is not for you.
2) Traditional oatmeal. Boil water. Add 1 Tbs of coconut oil. Add oatmeal. Mmmmmm. This was really good. No need to add milk, and though it's not too sweet, it was easy to also not add sugar because it was not tasteless oatmeal, it was coconut oatmeal.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Losing weight with hypothyroidism

By far the biggest challenge as someone with hypothyroidism is weight. In 2003, I lost about 30 pounds over the course of 4 months. I watched what I ate very carefully and exercised regularly. This was before I had any (obvious)problem with my thyroid.
Some might say the fact that I gained the weight back is typical. Often people lose weight only to regain and then some. But I don't agree.

At the height of feeling bad before I was properly diagnosed, I could barely do anything. I tried to go to the gym. I would become exhausted after 20 minutes of exercise. I would practically fall asleep during yoga (not just during relaxation!). Thus there was no way for me to keep up with the "keeping in shape" part of my health/fitness strategy.

I also craved sweets. I remember starting in October 2004, I would actually crave candy (something I'd never really had an issue with before) and when I started to eat, I couldn't stop. I really physically felt like I needed that sugar. From the moment I started thyroid replacement, the sugar craving subsided.

At any rate, even after getting on thyroid hormone replacement, the weight didn't come off, more came on. I have never, in my life, been able to lose or maintain weight without regular exercise, and I was too tired to regularly exercise. It's as simple as that. Obviously, I didn't have food portions under control either. However, I have been on a "plan" since October 31st. I am down 10 pounds over 2 months. While this is good, in the past, I have lost more like 8 pounds a month. I guess as long as the trajectory is downwards, this is positive, and especially considering I started cutting back food on Halloween (who does that?)...and on through Thanksgiving and Christmas, I should be grateful to have lost weight at all.

But it is slow. Now that I have energy to do so, I exercise almost every day (step aerobics twice a week, yoga-like practice twice a week, and 45-60 min walks twice a week). One would think the weight would be coming off a little faster!!!

SW: 240

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What's the right TSH?

Jo's post: TSH Battle: Thyroid Info makes a great point---the normal ranges of TSH have shifted, and most doctors are aware of this. She also points to a great resource, Mary Shomon's: thyroid.about.com.

I agree about the TSH levels, but I believe that many people do better to ask for free T4 and free T3 to be tested. TSH is a great indicator of potential problems to begin with, but once you have an obviously high TSH (I'm talking about Hashimoto's only because I don't know enough about hyperthyroidism) and test positive for antibodies, the goal is then to get free T4 and free T3 in the proper range. I say this because even when my TSH was at the very bottom of the range, say .3, I was still a slobbering, fatigued, cold, sluggish, hungry, crampy mess. The important thing is to find what's normal for YOU. Get all indicators measured at the outset of the problem and record your symptoms: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and antibodies. When you find the place where you feel good, get tested again. You should not be sleeping 10 hours a night, finding it difficult to get up in the morning, and also be unable to exercise due to fatigue! (Fatigue and brain fog are, for me, the most difficult symptoms to live with, because I have always been an active person!)

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