Day 52: I ate a mountain of french fries

The last few days, I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself. I am on a 5-day step goal streak, I’ve been hitting the gym, and I’ve managed to get more mindfulness and water into my daily life. I’ve also been doing pretty ok with the whole avoiding gluten and dairy thing – it hasn’t felt as hard as I expected it to be.

Until today.

Today sucked. Or rather, this evening sucked.

The day started out all right. I had some bone broth soup for breakfast. I went to the gym. I did some work and a little meal prepping. I even volunteered at my daughter’s school for a couple of hours. It was turning out to be a nice, productive day. Then we went out for dinner after visiting the poop museum (yup, you read that right, a museum dedicated to poop). My daughter wanted a burger and I figured I would be able to find something I could eat there too, so we went to the burger spot.

Well, it turns out they only serve cheeseburgers at this place, and asking for a burger with no cheese or bun just isn’t a thing. That’s just not how it works here; so while everyone else had what they described as the best burgers they’ve tasted since moving to Japan, I ate a mountain of fries.

I have never wanted a burger so bad in my life.

It was awful. That meal was a slap-in-the-face reminder that having to avoid gluten and dairy sucks big time. It legit hurt my feelings.

I know I should focus on the fact that I managed to resist the temptation. I should be proud of myself for staying strong and all that; but truthfully, I sort of feel a bit down about it instead.

I keep telling myself that it’s just food and that cravings are really just mind games your brain plays with you, but it still feels crappy. It still makes me feel kind of sad. I mean, I love food. It means all sorts of things to me. I also love doing whatever I want – I don’t do well with rules and restrictions, just ask any of my previous supervisors from back in the day.

But, I’m going to bed tonight without stomach pains. I’m not running to the bathroom every few minutes. I feel good physically, even if I don’t feel so swell emotionally, and that’s a good thing. I can’t expect it to always be easy. It’s going to be hard more often than not, but in the end, despite the suck, it will be worth it – even if I can’t take comfort in that fact right now.

Day 49: Am I crazy?

One of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism is how my doctors have chosen to treat it (or not treat it). My care has been limited to just enough medication to get my TSH, T4, and T3 in the “normal range,” without regard to whether or not my symptoms are actually improving.

My current doctor has been a welcome change to that sort of previous care. She believes in ensuring I am taking enough medication to reduce my symptoms, regardless of where on the range I am. Unfortunately, like other doctors, that’s about the extent of her treatment plan for me.

I don’t want to be that person who goes online, reads blogs and articles, and then believes they know more than a professional. I don’t want to claim that I’ve earned my MD from Google university, but I can’t help but wonder if there truly is a knowledge gap in conventional medicine when it comes to basic lifestyle changes and how that influences the body.

We know the foods we eat can make us sick. Overeating can lead to obesity which can result in all sorts of health conditions. Diabetes can be caused by improper diet. Heart attacks by clogged arteries, stuff like that. So, why wouldn’t we consider how the foods we eat and our activity levels affect our health?

The same goes for our mental health. There are studies that have shown that a positive outlook can influence a patient’s recovery from an illness or injury. Couldn’t our mental state have an impact on our health as well then? I’m pretty sure it’s been confirmed that stress can cause illness.

I don’t intend to stop taking my medication or stop going to my doctor. The truth is, all the lifestyle stuff is up to me, so I don’t really need her to try to eat better and be more active. As long as I’m not going against her guidance (which is to keep taking my medication) there’s no harm in trying to make positive lifestyle changes in hopes of improving my health.

That being said, I would like her to run a few additional tests for me, just to see if I have any of the nutrient deficiencies associated with Hashimoto’s. I don’t want to supplement recklessly and make myself worse by taking stuff I don’t need. I do want to be able to make educated decisions on what supplements to take, if any, and for that I need her help.

Therein lies the problem though, how do I ask her, and possibly convince her, to run these additional tests without coming off as “I know more than you do because I know how to Google?” We have the same goals, which are to make me feel better, so that’s a positive start, but I don’t know where to go from there.

Day 47: An unwanted reminder

Last night I decided to drink the chuhai a friend had left in my fridge after our weekly Taco Tuesday dinner this week. Chuhais are these canned, fruity, boozy drinks they sell here in Japan. They’re delicious, but they have a lot of carbonation in them, so I don’t drink them often. They fill me up really quickly.

I’ve been trying to cut back on how much alcohol I drink though, so instead of making myself my usual Maker’s and Coke, I decided to drink the chuhai instead.

Fast forward to now, I’ve spent the day with some slight nausea, dull headache, and a little stomach cramping. I’ve been going over what I’ve eaten since yesterday in my head, trying to figure out what’s triggered this sudden backwards slide in how I feel, but I couldn’t figure it out until just now: it must have been that chuhai. I didn’t even stop to consider whether or not it has gluten in it when I grabbed it out of the fridge and took that first sip.

Granted, the ingredients are all in Japanese, and my Googling has yielded no results in terms of confirming or denying the existence of gluten in chuhais. But, everything else I ate was safe – it’s the only outlier. That had to be it.

Regardless, this has served as a reminder that I need to make more of a conscious effort if I’m going to be successful at avoiding gluten and dairy. It’s going to be a bit harder than I thought, and I already figured it wouldn’t be easy. Fortunately, I’m still feeling positive about my chances of doing it successfully. Now if I could just make myself feel better today.

Day 46: Challenges

One of the many challenges of trying to walk 15,000 steps a day is the initial streak hurdle. When you’ve only hit your step goal for one, two, or three consecutive days, it’s easy to blow it off and start over again if you’re too tired or cranky. You haven’t gotten very far just yet, so no big deal right?

That’s the challenge I’m facing right now. I’m exhausted and I want to go to bed. My step goal seems out of reach since I’m only at 5,842 steps for the day. Hitting 15,000 would require over an hour and a half’s worth of living room laps, and frankly, it just doesn’t seem worth it right at this moment.  I’m so tired! Isn’t getting a good night’s rest more important?

When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter what excuse I come up with or how I justify it. What matters is what I choose to do or not do, and the only person it really matters to is me, right? Why all the drama? Sometimes going to sleep is the right answer. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself tonight.

Day 45: Walking the walk

I committed to avoiding gluten and dairy in my last post with the hopes of improving my overall health, but truthfully, I didn’t start avoiding it right away. Although I said I would do it, and I truly believe I should, I just don’t think I was ready to pull the trigger yet. So, I didn’t; but, I did take some small baby steps to prepare for it.

For example, on Friday after my metabolic assessment appointment, I spoke to the wellness counselor about scheduling a few weekly coaching sessions. Although I understand the value of coaching, I’ve never given it a try. I guess I just didn’t think it could help me or maybe I didn’t know how to make the most of it? Regardless, I decided that with the changes I want to make, now would be an ideal time to give it a try. Food tends to be the area in which I struggle the most, so I’ll take any help I can get. What’s the worst that could happen anyway?

After that was all done and scheduled, I swung by the library and happened to notice they had cookbooks. No duh, right? A library with cookbooks, who would have thought? Anywho, after browsing their selection, I decided to borrow two: Nom Nom Paleo (the yellow one) and The Science of Cooking. I skimmed both books, did a little meal planning, and made my first meal from the Nom Nom Paleo book tonight. I have to say, it was really good. Even my family liked it. I’ll be buying a copy of it for myself.

On Sunday, I decided to make some bone broth – specifically seolleongtang, a Korean bone broth soup my husband really likes. I’ve read on a bunch of blogs and in magazines that bone broth is good for gut health, so I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon and see if drinking a cup of broth daily has any benefits for me. This is another one of those, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” things.

Finally, on Tuesday, I took some new progress photos and body measurements. Although I’m making these changes for overall health instead of weight or fat loss, I can’t help but feel curious about what changes might occur if I stick with it. I had my first coaching appointment that day as well, so I decided to consider it my “day 1” of avoiding dairy and gluten.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing great at avoiding it since then, but truthfully, it’s been a bit harder than I expected it to be. I’m not craving breads or cheeses, but I’ve struggled with the “hidden” gluten and dairy in stuff. Especially in a bunch of the common ingredients I use when cooking, like gochujang and soy sauce. So disappointing.

I don’t feel discouraged though. It’s challenging, but in a good way; and I’m really looking forward to seeing how creative I can get with this. Hopefully I can share some fun finds on this blog in future posts. Wish me luck!

Day 21: Climbing back on the wagon

I’ve already managed to blow off my gym plan, but I’ve got a 5-day step goal streak going, so I’ll take that as a win. Unfortunately, I don’t feel as excited and pumped about this as I should. I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately. I’m stuck in some sort of funk or rut, or whichever is the best way to describe it.

The thing is, I’ve gained some weight back the past couple of months. Realistically, it’s probably only about 5 lbs, but when you’re as short as I am, that translates to anywhere from one to two clothing sizes. In terms of measurements, my waist size has increased by a whole two inches. My super comfy jeans are now super tight jeans, and the muffin top I’d finally managed to get rid of, is back with a vengeance. I feel gross.

But, instead of feeling motivated by this to climb back on the wagon, I feel stuck. I’m in that spot; you know, the one where you know you need to make a change – and you want to make a change – but you just can’t get yourself to actually do it. So, instead of making positive changes, you just make worse choices.

I have a Bod Pod appointment tomorrow. I’m hoping my latest results will give me the kick in the ass I need to shake this funk, but I don’t feel confident about it. I know I need to change my mindset about it, but that’s just not where I’m at right this moment. Hopefully, I’ll feel differently tomorrow.

Day 18: Jinx

So, I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself with Wednesday’s post. Despite getting off to a good start and walking most of the day’s steps earlier in the morning, I still managed to lose track of time and miss my goal by about 2,500 steps.

On the bright side, I’ve been a lot more open about what I’m doing with friends this time around. Before, I would anxiously glance at my watch during our weekly group dinner, trying to find ways to discreetly get my steps in before just giving up altogether or running out of time. On Wednesday though, I told them I had a daily step goal I was trying to reach, so I was getting up to walk around. No one batted an eye or looked at me like I was crazy.

That being said, I don’t want to spend our weekly dinners walking laps while we chat after eating, so I really need to work on hitting my goal before dinner even starts.

The same goes for my workouts. Instead of getting up early and exercising first thing in the morning, I procrastinated and then ran out of time. Fortunately, I had two rest days left this week, so I just shifted my workouts over by one day and did Wednesday’s workout yesterday.

Now, I’m back on track and determined to keep my new streak going. Happy Friday!