One of the most difficult aspects of being a chick is weight. People’s perceptions of us, our own self-esteem about it, and how to deal with food in a general way.
As a mom of a thirteen-year old teenaged girl (go ahead, pray for me now), I feel as if I’m dealing with this twice.
Some history: Always athletic, I was a cheerleader and gymnast since age 9. (I can still do a mean cartwheel.) Weight and fitness was never an issue for me, throughout my childhood and into my mid-thirties and all thanks to the use of health supplements like the ashwagandha pills.
I’d never gained more weight than was normal for my frame until I became pregnant with my daughter, thirteen years ago. I gained about 40 or 50 pounds, and within a few months, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 125. Given my 5’4″ frame, this was a good weight for me. Getting postpartum depression and smoking (never a good idea), along with daily workouts, seemed to help. I just had no desire to eat. I also had to go back to work full-time so I was quite busy. Food was an afterthought.
Things changed with my second pregnancy: I ended up with gestational diabetes and gained 5 pounds just looking at a peach. So if you got diagnosed with diabetes as well, then it might be incredibly beneficial for you to be well-informed of details like “What are the major causes or risk factors of PAD?“. Once I had gained over 60 pounds, I couldn’t look at the scale anymore when my OB weighed me. Despite his protestations that it was a pregnancy thing only and the weight would fly off, there was no consoling me. Listen, intellectually I knew to eat healthy and to do whatever it took to have a healthy baby. Viscerally, though, I felt like a huge alien cow. Being put on bedrest for the last 3 months of the pregnancy didn’t help either.
Because gestational babies tend to weigh more, and he was in breech position, they decided a C-section was in order. It’s as icky and weird as you’d think it would be — your guts on a table while this live screaming thing is pulled from you. I felt like I was in the Alien movie. So did my body — my body temp went dangerously low and recovery was slow and painful. Add to that the fact that they double-dosed me on laxatives before heading home, and our first night as parents of two children will be a nightmare that will live in infamy, forever.
I became so incredibly sick from the surgery, I couldn’t even sit up without terrible nausea and dizziness. This went on for about a week and I was heartbroken that I could barely even hold this new life without horrendous problems. Meds helped and ultimately, a lovely colonoscopy (ever have one of those? Special.) revealed foreign bacteria and the need for some reconstruction. Yay me.
Add to that the extra weight put on my neck and shoulder, and I was a painful mess. It wasn’t pretty.
Two surgeries later, and a good year of recovery (plus, don’t forget, a brand new baby who was always hungry therefore I was always exhausted), I was finally able to start working out again. However, the weight came off extremely slowly and I remained exhausted. I finally ended up at another freakin’ doctor, who did a battery of tests. Turns out I had Hashimoto’s (a thyroid immune disorder) and high sugars — borderline Type 2 diabetes. (Pregnancy thing, my ass). Meds for both helped immensely and the weight FINALLY came off. I met with a nutritionist who discussed how much sugar is in everything. I had to become food racist — nothing white.
And it worked! At one point last year, I weighed only 118 — too thin for me, and my hair started falling out.
I couldn’t have been happier. Sigh. (Devil Wears Prada, Emily: I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.’)
Back to the doc, she determined I didn’t need to be on the Glucophage (for Type 2 diabetes) anymore — that if you take it when your body doesn’t need it, your hair falls out and you get too thin. Is there such a thing? I joked with her. I wasn’t anorexic, after all. Just thin. Finally, finally thin.
So, off the diabetes med, but on the thyroid med for life. Fine, I get that. Whatever.
Fast forward to now: I’ve gained back some of the weight due to the stresses of moving, writing three books in two years (fourth and fifth in process now), economic worries, stalkers, and my beloved Nutella, which is now banned from the house. *cries* My neck and shoulder are in constant pain — again. Though I’m walking every day and playing with the kids at the park, it’s not enough. So tomorrow I’m fasting and doing blood tests — again. I’m back to eating no sugar (except in my coffee — come on!) and it sucks. If I could eat anything I wanted all the time, it would be any kind of asian food and Nutella. Okay, and gum balls. (Don’t judge me.) All are off the table, so to speak.
We joined the local gym last week. My goal isn’t outrageous: lose ten or twenty pounds. I’ll feel better about myself. I’ll feel better physically. It’s simple. Regardless of societal pressure or fashion magazines, I don’t feel healthy right now and that’s inside me.
The point of this saga is two-fold:
- In explaining to my girl what healthy eating is all about (as well as being active), I realize I am her role-model and it’s my responsibility to be healthy and live long. I want to see my kids graduate from college, build a life. To me, it’s not so much the number on the scale as it is having the physical ability to exercise that I’m grateful for. There are so many people in my family, and in this world, who don’t exercise due to physical incapacities and I can. I’m thankful for that each day.
- Second, it’s not about who I see when I look in the mirror. If I look in the mirror or weigh myself and say, “I’m so fat,’ what message does that send to her? I’ve taught her to love her body as I love mine, despite all the difficulties. If I only exercise to lose weight, I’d quickly lose motivation (and believe me, I’ve done it and that alone is not fun or inspiring). It’s about overall health. I don’t smoke anymore, I joke about martinis but maybe have three a month, and I’ve sworn off sugar. Again. Perhaps I’ll end up back on the diabetes med — maybe that’s why the weight gain. We shall see.
It doesn’t really matter. Of course, it’s good to know if my sugars are high because of heart issues in my family, and diabetes is a contributor to heart disease. So yes, I want to know. But will it change anything I’m already doing (besides taking a med)? Nope. Maybe I’ll joke more about Nutella, but I won’t be eating it. And I guess it’s time to remove ‘Nutella advocate’ from my Twitter bio. (See what I put here).
Let the Columbia students have it all. They’ve got finals to study for.
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Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 10:32 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/ABSNxBQwqv
Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 11:45 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/HOLw9U6ppR I know. It’s true.
Sharon Gerlach saysMarch 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm
You’re beautiful and smart and funny. Worry about your nutrition first, weight last. It’s more important to be healthy than to be in smaller clothing. I’m sorry about the Nutella, love. 😉
RachelintheOC saysMarch 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm
Thank you, Sharon. I agree — so important to be healthy first. I’m back at the gym, just scootered with the kids and went to the park — one cannot sit at one’s desk all day! I’m looking so forward to finding out exactly what’s going on w/ the blood tests. I’m weird that way 🙂
Ray Plasse saysMarch 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm
Wow Rachel. (I really meant !) You have such an interesting life and you know what they say about an ‘interesting life’. 🙂
RachelintheOC saysMarch 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm
No idea. What do they say? 🙂
Hugs. Thank you, sweet Ray.
@TeresaKRobinson saysMarch 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Good read! –> “@RachelintheOC: Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/O1rsHz71kV”
BestSellingReads (@BestSellingRead) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/tUFNZeF6Go (& changed my Twitter profile)…
Renee saysMarch 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm
It’s hard to go through a struggle with food and eating. I’ve had to watch things with high blood pressure and cholesterol. At least you are doing something about it. Such a shame you had to give up Nutella. I love it too much and have to restrain myself to only buying it once or twice a year. I’ll eat a whole jar in no time at all.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm
oh me, too. It’s dangerous stuff! Sorry about your issues, too, Renee. Why is all the good stuff bad? 🙁
Ray Plasse saysMarch 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm
Because if there is a god he/she has a cruel and terrible sense of humor!
Sharon Lamb saysMarch 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm
Thanks for allowing us,yet again into your very real world. I find it wonderful to read so many comments from folks who adore you. Obviously your words impact us on many levels. Kudos for taking care of your health and really SEEING how important you are to your daughter and her body image.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm
Thank you, sweet Sharon. I didn’t think anyone would find this all that interesting LOL, so it’s wonderful to see I’ve struck a chord. I think so many of us can relate, and it was important to me to write it for Anya.
Toby Neal (@tobywneal) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/jxHKZHk8mO via @RachelintheOC
A.M. Day saysMarch 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Good Luck to you in your health and weight loss quests. It’s def. difficult. Thyroid and diabetes plagues, especially women (feel like we got the short end of the stick). I grew up watching Mom give injections twice a day (still does after more than 30 yrs.) and I had to learn how to administer insulin as well as a child. And she has the thyroid thing too. Don’t know how you feel about the raw food lifestyle, but it’s great to get back in shape and lose weight effortlessly with it.
When my children and I moved to S. Cali. a few yrs ago. we stayed at a Motel 6 for six months and I became intrigued by raw food and the recipes…that and the fact that I could at least keep it in a cooler in the room. It’s pretty good food and desserts…chocolaty goodness desserts. I follow Ani Phyo’s recipes. She has lots of great Asian style recipes. Oh and the raw sushi rolls are yummy. I’ll never be 100% raw, but I try to incorporate it regularly. Just a warning , but it can be overwhelming to start and might be worth finding a delivery service for a week’s worth of raw. I had to do it to finish my writing and save on time.
Good luck again and may great health and wellness follow you!
RachelintheOC saysMarch 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm
That IS an interesting option, A.M. I will definitely check it out.
I watched my mom go through many diets over the years, and one thing I’ve learned is that a super restrictive diet of any kind is destined to fail. So I approach this not as a ‘diet’ per se, but as cutting out some of the bad stuff.
Thanks for the raw suggestion. I do love sushi and salads. I could eat both every day 🙂
Ray Plasse saysMarch 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm
Karen DeLabar (@KarenDeLabar) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/6cdawUEdqM via @RachelintheOC
Sophie Sansregret saysMarch 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm
I hear you. I’m down to 200gr of carbs a day (see my FB post with my brownies)…. My New Year’s Resolution isn’t even about weight anymore. It’s about bone mass and heart. Good for you.
Long road ahead.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm
It is, but ultimately healthier as mothers. The sacrifices we make lol.
Malia Mallory (@MaliaMallory) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/7zxkmh2RtO via @RachelintheOC
Bri Clark (@Bri_Clark) saysMarch 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/JHYucvnm8e
Erica Lucke Dean (@ericaluckedean) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 12:56 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/RW4kOrNqRw via @RachelintheOC
The Masquerade Crew (@MasqCrew) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 6:56 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/0p0Je8T3Qz via @RachelintheOC
Lorca Damon (@LorcaDamon) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 7:25 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/dkFfoOh6cf via @RachelintheOC
Raine Thomas (@Raine_Thomas) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 11:54 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/0DYerWF26z via @RachelintheOC
IndieBookPromos (@indiebookpromos) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm
#MondayBlogs Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/9BTp2WZZ27 I know. It’s true.
@WodkeHawkinson saysMarch 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/iiaCnGxyHt via @RachelintheOC
Janie Junebug saysMarch 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm
I never had a weight problem even after two pregnancies. But then Dr. X became psychotic, and I took an anti-depressant that made me crave carbs. I gained about 100 pounds. I’ve been off the anti-depressant for several years but have only lost about 20 pounds. I’m doing high protein low carbs now and walking my dogs. I know it upsets my kids (they’re adults) that I’ve gained so much weight, but when The Hurricane (daughter) was younger, it bothered her that I weighed less than she did. I go back to the weight loss doctor tomorrow for my one-month checkup so I’ll see how I’m doing. I don’t think I’m losing in spite of all my efforts and it’s extremely disheartening.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm
wow, that’s so hard, I’m sorry doll.
I’m sure you’ve been through all this, but have they checked your thyroid and sugars? It’s SO common for women to have issues after pregnancy. I also finally gave in and met with a nutritionist (usually covered by insurance). It was truly life-changing. It seems like making good food choices is something that’s so commonsense, yet it helped so much to hear ideas from a pro.
ie, if you REALLY want something with sugar, have it. But instead of drinking or eating it all, take a bite or two and then toss it. Avoid fake sugars — they still stimulate your pancreas to release insulin and end up metabolizing it as sugar anyway. Diet soda (or any fake sugar product) is why so many Americans cannot lose weight.
Plain yogurt with fruit and vanilla added is wonderful. I’m a huge yogurt fan but one tiny cup (of the non-fake sugar type) has over 20 grams of sugar — which equals more than my daily intake limit of 15g.
Anyway, if you can swing it, or haven’t yet done so, that type of info really helped me learn to avoid sugar, count sugar grams, and drop weight. good luck sweetie. xo
Janie Junebug saysMarch 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm
I just got home from the doctor. I lost six pounds, so I’m off to a good start. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m not having much trouble giving up sugar. Thanks for your kind words and the advice.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm
wonderful! go you. xoxo
Kim Jorgensen Gane saysApril 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm
Excellent advice to Janie above, Rachel. My son & I can’t have cow dairy, so we eat plain goat yogurt, and I’ll even strain it to make a delicious, tangy sour cream for our fish tacos with homemade guacamole, colorful, purple & green crunchy cabbage, red peppers, and fresh cilantro. Almost makes me miss San Diego when I think about it.
I completely agree with the avoidance of any fake and liquid forms of sugar, as well. I’d lost over 20 lbs while in San Diego for two years, because it was just easier to shop and eat healthy, and I was walking my son to & from school most days. It wasn’t far, but NOT doing it since August, combined with making up for lost time (apparently) in gaining the two years’ worth of my Michigan Winter Layer I’d missed plus this one, is definitely showing. UGH! And this *spring* in Michigan is not yet feeling very springy. :/ Writing and sitting at my computer all day every day isn’t helping either.
I follow @Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up, who is a blogger with a book by the same name from right here in Michigan; only about an hour and a half from me. She writes specifically about thyroid and Hashimotos, and offers great help, whether or not you’re trying to get Naturally Knocked Up.
One of the biggest things that the Standard American Diet (SAD, indeed) lacks, is variety. Americans tend to eat wheat all day every day. I have to very specifically plan my son’s meals especially to incorporate a lot of variety, or he starts having problems with congestion. If he’s had brown rice (gf pancakes) for breakfast, then I have to make sure he has quinoa, millet, corn, teff, or buckwheat for lunch, and something all together different for dinner. He also requires protein at every meal. And his body needs animal protein to function optimally. He can’t just have pancakes for breakfast, he has to have protein with his carbs always. We do this largely for behavior and learning issues, but it helps tremendously. Yes, we’re gluten free, but much of the general public, I believe, could see great improvement simply by a concerted effort at incorporating variety into their diets (well, and by eliminating destructive habits, as you did, like soda, smoking and alcohol, which is extremely high in sugar).
*sigh* It’s a lot of extra effort in the mom department, and though I never skip breakfast, I find myself skipping lunch too often. And I’m a major chocoholic & stress eater, dammit. I definitely do better when I can remember to drink enough water throughout the day, as often I think our cravings have something to do with dehydration. What can I say…GlutenNaziMom is a work in progress, too. 😛
Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) saysMarch 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm
#MondayBlogs Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/MZSQhf9kGS It’s true. I’m a former #Nutella advocate now.
Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz) saysMarch 12, 2013 at 12:14 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/KPUvGxJKB5 via @RachelintheOC
Beth Ann Garland (@BethAnnGarland) saysMarch 12, 2013 at 1:10 am
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/mhzAJOCWib via @RachelintheOC
Cindy Brown saysMarch 12, 2013 at 8:25 am
Oh, honey, do I ever relate to this post! When my Lyme disease symptoms started coming back after the antibiotics, I started all of the extreme measures. I did a month long parasite cleanse, then I did a month of Chinese herbs, now I’m doing juicing and extremely limited diet. No sugar, caffeine, meat, dairy, fat, only fruits and vegetables at least 80% of the time – and I’m doing light exercising. I not only had to give up the sugar and creamer in my coffee, but my coffee itself! GASP! On the upside, I can tell it’s helping my Lyme symptoms and I’ve lost 12 pounds. I would literally kill someone for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Oh lord…
My thoughts are with you and I hope you have good test results 🙂
The Mommy saysMarch 12, 2013 at 10:47 am
This is my first visit to your blog (because I’m 2/3 of the way through your “snark” book…). I was recently diagnosed as “prediabetic” and was told to “read up” on it. I was at a healthy weight then (138, I’m 5’6″) and the first thing suggested is to lose weight. I am a decent runner and the reason I went for the physical was to get cleared for a half marathon. The second thing suggested is to exercise regularly. Huh. Check? So I’m down to 130 and running 20-25 miles/week. I don’t have any symptoms so I’m hoping that the results were a bit skewed (maybe from the fact that it was Jan. 2nd and all I had eaten for a week and a half was Christmas cookies). Retest after 6 months…
I don’t kow why I felt I had to overshare. I guess it’s what I do. Anyhow, good luck with your health endeavors. It’s tough being a mom. Period. But teenage girls frighten me – and I’ll have two in about 9 years (my boys are older).
RachelintheOC saysMarch 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Thanks for reading and sharing, and for reading Snark!
It is possible it’s a one-off. You’ll know if a few months when you retest. No doubt, physically, you’re in good shape. Thyroid and sugars commonly get wonky after pregnancy — it’s definitely a good idea to keep up on it and track your results.
Cutting down on sugar really makes a difference for me. I’ve already lost 5 pounds. Salt, too. It’s definitely makes you puffy.
an apple a day… 🙂
Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) saysMarch 18, 2013 at 4:25 am
#MondayBlogs Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/ifDzC0mhuR #health #Nutella #sugar
Greg saysMarch 18, 2013 at 5:14 am
We use stevia, which after a while becomes as good as sugar. I try and apply the same discipline for writing as I do for maintaining my body. Have to exercise in the morning, have to eat right – just no ways around it if you want to be healthy? I don’t think about it – just make it part of the routine. Don’t have all the pressures that ladies do (surely wouldn’t want them) but it seems to work.
For your neck and shoulder, I don’t know if it’s weight related, but maybe you should try laser therapy. My family has done it for tendinitis, strained rotator cuffs, bad wrists, and the results have been amazing.
Thanks for this post, Rachel!
RachelintheOC saysMarch 18, 2013 at 11:54 am
Thanks for the info, Greg. Will look into that for sure.
Appreciate you reading and commenting.
@PenToPaperCom saysMarch 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Love the perspective in this article. #health RT @gregmischio: Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) via @RachelintheOC http://t.co/6pjehG3s5C
Marjorie McAtee saysMarch 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Considering how much they must be paying to go to Columbia, I can’t blame them for feeling like they’re owed a few jars of Nutella here and there. Good luck with the weight loss. I will spare you all of my amateur advice since I’m about to write a blog post about how annoyed I get when offered unsolicited advice, ahahaha.
IndieBookPromos (@indiebookpromos) saysMarch 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/gSPovmhjv3
@ManlyBeardo saysMarch 26, 2013 at 5:06 am
“@RachelintheOC: Why I’ve Sworn Off Nutella (gasp!) http://t.co/TIEvDSGcSe”
Quit cussing at me.
RachelintheOC saysMarch 26, 2013 at 9:05 am
LOL. Ok, I’ll try to stop 🙂