Friday, December 11, 2015

What I've Been Up To

Since coming back last week, I've been thinking about what I want to do as far as writing here. I don't really have a plan, but I'll stop by and write when I feel like it. I'm not on a diet or "plan" so I don't have any weigh-in or progress type of stuff to report on each week. So I'll just wing it for now and maybe some of it will be interesting!

I thought I'd start by just sharing what I've been doing since I left in July. I already wrote about how I have been addressing the emotional stuff and how much better I feel, so I think I'll share about my eating, activity, and health over the past few months. That's what this blog has mainly been about, after all.

So, if you remember, I went 100% gluten free back in February because my endocrinologist thought it might help my thyroid disease. I have Hashimoto's and there are some studies showing that a gluten free diet may be helpful. So I did it, started reading labels and being very careful not to ingest gluten. I even got rid of regular flour and things like baking mixes that I had in my kitchen to avoid cross-contamination, and I replaced them with gluten free flours and mixes. If my kids wanted biscuits I made them gluten free. For my son's birthday he got a gluten free chocolate cake that I made from scratch. I made these changes because if I was going to do it, I'd do it correctly (NO gluten). And so it stayed that way for a long time. One of the last posts I made back in July was about how my endocrinologist did not test my TPO (antibodies) and told me to go ahead and eat gluten again because it hadn't helped. I was disappointed, and afraid to add gluten back. I wasn't sure if I should or not. So I stayed gluten free. At one point I went to my primary care doctor about my blood pressure medications and talked to him about the gluten issue. He, too, thought there was no point in staying gluten free if my numbers weren't better and I didn't feel better off gluten. Still, I wasn't sure, and I had a feeling my TPO numbers would be improved if I had them tested. I decided to get a second opinion about my diet and my thyroid medications and went to a new endocrinologist. Well, she was just wonderful! Unlike the first doctor, she really listened to my concerns and talked to me about my thyroid. She ran the TPO blood test and to my dismay my antibodies have gone way, way up since going gluten free. She talked to me about diet, said she also felt that eating gluten free was not helping me. She said if I added it back, and felt worse, then I should remain gluten free. (But I still was not ready to do that, so I stayed gluten free anyway). She also did some more tests and then had me stop taking Synthroid (but said if any thyroid symptoms returned I should talk to her about adding it back) and start taking Selenium. She also said I have bouts of hypoglycemia and that my blood sugar seems to swing wildly with what I eat or how long I go between meals. She told me to watch my carbs (but not eliminate them) and to focus on getting in lots of produce and protein (which is in line with what I have tried to do). Then she put me on a blood sugar regulator called Victoza. It's a shot I give myself in the stomach every morning.

Victoza shots

I started this medication in September at the same time I was weaning off Synthroid. I'm still on it now. The doctor said if I lose weight, the blood sugar issues will likely stabilize and I may not need to use this anymore. But for now, I do feel a lot better! I no longer feel sick and shaky if I go 4 hours without eating, and I don't crave sweets the way I used to.

Last month I went to have my fibroids/uterine issues checked and everything is looking good! In fact, things even look a bit improved from last year so there was no talk of surgery this time. Anyway, I have been seeing this doctor for about 15 years and trust his opinion. He believes in a lot of natural, holistic treatments and changes in diet. When I talked to him about my gluten free experience and asked his advice, he said he thought I should do a reintroduction/challenge and see if I had any symptoms. If not, he said there is no reason to avoid gluten. This was the fourth doctor to tell me this (yes, I am a hardhead) so I finally decided to listen. I waited until after Thanksgiving because I didn't want an excuse to overindulge with all the pies, breads, etc available. So we had a gluten free Thanksgiving and then, a week and a half ago, I added gluten back into my diet. I added it slowly and had no adverse effects. I am not really interested in eating a lot of carby stuff, so this hasn't really changed much in my eating. It just means I don't have to be as strict about what I order in restaurants, what I eat at potlucks or at friends' homes, or what I cook at home. (Like, I don't have to pass up a tossed salad just because it has croutons in it. I can scoot them aside and just eat the salad, because I am not avoiding gluten... just extra carbs). So after nearly ten months gluten free, I am done restricting.

I didn't restrict anything else, though, since I stopped blogging in July. I was *so sick* of the diet mindset, the counting and measuring, all of that. So I just decided to eat whatever I wanted with the only rules being: 1) gluten free, 2) don't binge, 3) try to be reasonable. That's it. I paid attention to how I felt and just let the eating slide into the background of life.

In the fall I was walking a couple of miles a day to and from my daughter's school. I've had a few flashes of Achilles tendon pain, but nothing like it used to be. The plantar fasciitis has stayed gone. I was swimming in the summer, but when the outdoor pools closed we stopped going. We also cancelled our gym membership (wiser financial choice for now) so there is no indoor swimming unless we go to a hotel or with a friend. I feel fine about this though; I have my bike and my weights (when I want to start doing those things again... I haven't, at all) and plenty of yard work to do.

I feel good. I am happy. I *needed* the break from thinking about weight loss and weight... and boy did I take a break! I really just stayed away from weight loss blogs, my email, anything to do with restricting. My brain feels so refreshed! I feel emotionally reconnected. As I wrote last week, I am not afraid anymore. Although let me clarify a little bit. I don't mean I never feel fear or worry... I certainly do. But I am not running scared, I am not avoiding. There are things I am afraid of. But I am *not afraid* of facing those things, of doing what needs to be done to fix whatever is bothering me. I guess I mean I feel more brave. And being brave doesn't mean never feeling fear. It means I'm not running away anymore. I will stand my ground and look into the fear and do something about it.

I am glad to be back! I certainly think I will do something more actively about diet, weight, health and activity soon. I guess the first step will be the scale. I have an idea where I am because the doctors always weigh me, but those scales vary quite a bit. Plus, I missed my last quarterly report... and quarter 4 is winding up fast. January is right around the corner!

That's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments and I'll try to answer. Thanks for coming back to read! Enjoy your holidays!


Taryl said...

Sounds like a plan. The change in doctors and new treatments are great and seem like the perfect fit for you. You shouldn't have to live with hypoglycemia.

JM said...

So true. Is this a diabetes medication? I have wondered about it since I have high sugar but not diabetes due to another med i am on.

Michelle Himes said...

So glad that you are doing okay.

Lyn said...


yes, it is a diabetes med. I am not diabetic, but my A1C was higher than the doctor would like and she said I was "heading in that direction." The shot helps regulate my blood sugar and I don't get the swings/crash I used to get. It should lower my A1C as well.

JMT said...

So glad to hear you are doing better and enjoying life! Happy holidays to you, too!

LHA said...

It's wonderful to hear the cheerful and hopeful tone in your writing. I am so glad you are finding more peace in your life. It's very inspiring! Happy holidays to you too.

Rachel rbs said...

Welcome back! I, too, have experimented with gluten free for Hashimoto's. I have no idea if it makes a difference. right now I'm gluten free just because I'm doing no grains/sugar, but mostly because I feel better in general that way. Less bloating and aches and pains, but I have no idea if it's gluten specifically or the grains and sugar in general. Who knows? Happy to see you back.

Betsey C. said...

How good it is to read these updates! I am glad you are feeling better, stronger and braver. I am also sick of the whole "diet" game, and am doing well with intuitive eating. It has helped that I have retired from my 9 to 5 job, and now I feel I can really eat when I am hungry, and not just because the clock tells me it's time to leave my desk and eat. I love healthy food, including every vegetable that exists, so I am doing well.

Good luck and good health to us all in 2016!