Beating Hypothyroidism

It’s Hard To Be The Odd ‘Man’ Out…

While I’ll admit that hypothyroidism isn’t super affected by food choices, it is to some degree. But because of the constant battle against fatigue, which is mostly caused by a thyroid that doesn’t function correctly, I do have to be careful about some things…like all carbs. Except it’s mostly grain based carbs that cause the worst fatigue. I could have half a dozen Hershey Kisses and feel fine. But give me biscuit, or some pasta…doesn’t matter if they’re gluten-free or not…if I go over 40 grams, I feel like I need a nap within an hour.

And that sucks over the holidays given that the majority of  goodies available wherever you go are grain based (cookies, cakes, pies).

Gluten-free makes it even worse. There are great substitutes now. There really are. But I screwed up again at a couple of my aunts houses this week. Yup, I fell off the wagon again.

It gets really old having to take my own foods to family functions, which is why I’ve decided that since I can have gluten a few times a month without a problem, I was just going to say the heck with it over the holidays.

I just didn’t count on everyone having foods…foods that smell wonderful…every-freaking-where I go.

Clearly I like (or even love) many foods that contain gluten. Were that not so, I wouldn’t have a problem sticking with the program. But it’s not usually this bad. It’s easier to control at home, even though it’s a pain that I have to dirty extra pans and dishes to make my stuff ‘safe.’ I have to constantly nag my kids…’when you’re getting gravy, DON’T touch the spoon to your biscuit or pasta, because then it contaminates what’s left, and I can’t have anymore.’

Some people get annoyed. They’re like, have some of ‘this,’ and I try to just say no thanks, but they keep pushing…and I have to tell them I can’t, that whatever it is has gluten…which then sets them off about me being such an expert about everything, or I’m paranoid.

No, I’m not an expert, but I do know quite a bit about both hypothyroidism and gluten allergies. Jeez, I just cleaned one of the bathrooms, and my lungs were burning…all because I’ve had gluten for four of the last six days. That’s one of my symptoms, and it’s not a pleasant one.

I’ll be good after Saturday, which is the big family Christmas party. And I’ll be gluten-free until Christmas Eve/Day. And then I’m going to try to go for the entire month of January without cheating even once. I want to try to do enough experimenting where I can just never have gluten again. Ever.

But that’s going to mean having to tote special foods for me to every family function I go to for the rest of my life. And that means annoying some people forever, listening to snide comments, and just being generally inconvenienced for decades to come. It’s going to mean arguing with waitresses. “Yes someone did put croutons on my salad, and then pick them off.  See these crumbs here? Those are from croutons.”

But my health is worth it. Worth the inconvenience, worth all the experimenting so I can find acceptable substitutes so I stop acting like a spoiled brat and caving over a jelly donut or a real slice of bread.

Does anyone else run into these problems. Family and friends who think you’re paranoid? Problems in restaurants? Or just resenting that your holidays are more stressful because you have to experience side effects if you give in, or just feeling deprived if you don’t?

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6 thoughts on “It’s Hard To Be The Odd ‘Man’ Out…

  1. on january 1 it will be 31 years since I ate anything with sugar in it. cakes, cookies, pies, chocolate, sweet tea….well you get the idea. gluten was another step and it was hard too. but I don’t cheat. It makes me too sick. I am a junkie when it comes to those foods and I have to abstain from them. good luck in January.

    • You are a very disciplined woman, Louise! I think I recently read that you went paleo, too. I’m such a wimp when it comes to giving up things I’ve loved for most of my life. The worst thing about it is, a lot of those foods that cause me to cheat don’t taste as good anymore. I have a lot of trouble with processed food…as in I swear I can taste the chemicals and preservatives. And they’re not good flavors to notice in your food.

      Thanks for the good luck wishes. It took me a couple of days, and I’ve had to fight with myself a few times already, but I’m sticking with the no gluten. 🙂

      • we all have to hit the point that not changing is more painful than changing…I hit that a long time ago. I just have to find the answer to weight loss. weird that I still carry 40 extra pounds.

      • I know that taking off any weight with hypothyroidism is a challenge. I would suggest what I do sometimes, but I think you’re already very low carb, aren’t you? I try to do low carb 3-4 days a week…kind of like calorie cycling, only I cycle carbs.

        But if you haven’t tried it, calorie cycling might work. There are a lot of theories on HOW to do it. Some are like every other day…1000 calories one day, 2-3,000 the next. Some have this whole complicated schedule. For example, 1000 calories on Monday, 1800 on Tuesday, 1200 Wednesday, 3000 Thursday, 1500 Friday, etc… I would NOT want to put that much effort into it, but apparently it’s supposed to keep your body off guard.

        The only thing with getting calories too low, especially with hypothyroidism, is that it can screw our metabolisms up even more than they already are. I know, from tracking it, that most days I eat far fewer calories than it takes to maintain my weight. Which sucks. I have nearly cried trying to get my calories UP because I just don’t eat that much. It’s a pain in the butt, lol.

  2. You’re halfway there, Kristy. You’ve learned how to make diet and serving accommodations at home, and you’ve discovered that really “getting” how sick gluten makes you makes it much easier to stick to your guns in ordinary circumstances. These are huge steps forward!

    But it’s easy to fall into resentment. Getting where jumping through hoops for my health bothers me less took time for me, and it’s not stress-free yet. But regarding food, it’s almost easier because like Louise, I say no to sweets in general, so I don’t have to argue w/ someone over whether their recipe is safe or not. After a year or two, people stopped asking me if I wanted cake and started putting fruit on the table, too…and I’m not the only one who eats the fruit, either! But it didn’t happen right away.

    I’ve found it goes better when I focus on the positives instead of feeling negative about it when I tell people.

    In restaurants, I keep it short and sweet. “I have food allergies I need to tell you about so you can help me with the menu.” In the big city, this works fairly well. But I’m a lot less sensitive than you. If I had Celiac’s, I would just make my own food and take it with me because so few restaurants can really produce and serve gluten-free.

    With friends and family, I try not to say “Gluten (or whatever) makes me feel terrible so I have to stay away from it.” It has a better chance of going over well if I say, “You would not believe how much better I feel when I don’t eat gluten. It’s great to finally have found something that consistently makes me feel good! I really miss favorite foods like your [insert name of gluten-ridden delicacy], but now that I’ve realized that one piece of [gluten-ridden delicacy] sends me to bed and makes my lungs burn for a week, it has really made me sit up and pay attention. I would do just about anything to regain my full health, so I have to say no.”

    If you’re the only one in your family that has a food sensitivity, you are doing the heavy lifting on education. It’s hard to be the first. Over time, chances are good most of your extended family will either come around, or you will get used to doing your own thing and it won’t bother you – as much.

    Another way to encourage yourself: potential freedom from the sensitivity, if you are super disciplined. If you can stay completely off gluten for 6 months or a year, your sensitivities might decrease significantly.

    The holidays, when so much socializing happens around food, are the toughest times to take care of yourself. As you try to do that, focusing on the positives is key to happiness. If you’re happy with the fact that you can control your health, then all the hoops you have to jump through just aren’t as bad.

    We’re rooting for you, Kristy! XO

  3. Hi, Shelly! I actually do try to focus on the positives…usually. But I guess this being the first holiday season where I’ve actually understood that gluten-free is better for me made it tough. It’s also just a bad time of year for me, so I tend to want comfort foods more.

    I like your suggestions about the restaurants and what to tell people who try to get you to eat gluten. Fortunately I don’t eat at restaurants often, or anywhere else for that matter. The occasional family get-together, holidays, parties and reunions, but they’re not frequent. Maybe that’s why I tend to feel deprived. But I’m learning what I can bring so I can also enjoy the food part of the occasions. When I don’t just say the heck with it and have whatever I want, gluten or no.

    I’ve never actually been tested for Celiac. I only cut the gluten out originally because it seemed to go hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism. It was when I added it back to my diet that I started noticing side effects.

    Hmm about the 6 months to a year totally off gluten. I hope I can get there eventually, but I find if I can stay off it entirely for a couple of weeks, then having one meal every week or ten days doesn’t have much impact…IF I get right back on the wagon again.

    On a really positive note, there was so much other stuff going on in December, I didn’t do any holiday baking, and my daughter and I only made one small batch of fudge, which is GF. Not that I didn’t eat gluten most of the month though. I’m paying for it now. But the last time this happened, it took less than a week to start feeling better. Hopefully that’s what’s going to happen this time. 🙂

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