I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2011, and ultimately diagnosed with Hashimoto's in 2016. Like so many others with hypothyroidism, I struggled with my weight.
It's amazing what those numbers on the scale can do to your head. I mean, for as long as I can remember, they controlled every bit of my happiness. And it didn't help how hyper-aware those around me at the time made me feel.
I know this story is or was the same for many others - weighing yourself every morning and night, always worrying about what you eat, thinking about how many minutes you need to spend on the treadmill to work off that food you "shouldn't have eaten." Just thinking about it is exhausting. For me, this obsession felt like a never-ending spiral of disappointment, which, of course, led to depression, binge eating, extreme dieting and exercise, and finally burn out. Repeat that cycle every week or month, and that was my life!
The problem is, society has invited us to believe that restriction and extreme discipline is the only way to get results. That you have to kill yourself every single workout, to the point that you feel like you're going to pass out to make it "worth it," that you should feel hungry, that eating less is better. Which I'm here to tell you, all of that is lies.
I couldn't tell you the exact day when my mindset shift happened, but all I know is, I am happier with myself now than I have ever been in my life.
What I remember is that I had been taking a boxing class for almost a month because I genuinely loved it, not because I felt like I had to. I stopped counting my calories and macros in My Fitness Pal out of pure laziness. I stopped counting how many cups of water I was drinking. I stopped weighing myself every day because I was genuinely tired of being disappointed.
Fast forward one month, I randomly stepped on the scale just out of curiosity. I mean, that was the most extended amount of time that I had ever gone with out weighing myself. To my surprise, I had lost a solid sevenish pounds without "trying." Right there, it instantly clicked for me. Maybe not focusing so much on my weight and just living my life is the key.
All these years, I had the tools, I knew what to eat, I knew what to do. But by forcing myself to follow plans to a literal T, I added so much extra stress on myself. If I ate 5g over or wasn't able to accurately enter my meal, I would freak out. But that last month, I felt the most freedom I had for the longest time, and it showed in every aspect.
I was able to enjoy my workout more because I did what I enjoyed, and it never felt like a workout. I ate what I wanted in moderation because I knew my portion sizes and balance. I was able to enjoy a change of plans or an unexpected rest day because I knew the majority of my week, I was active.
I felt liberated. Like I was finally able to enjoy myself rather than being stuck in this fitness jail I created. And most of all, I just felt for the first time, genuinely happy.
Suggestions to move beyond the scale:
Find movement that you love
Boxing, biking, rebounding, chasing your kids around the yard are all excellent options. You don't have to run or wake up before the sun to get to boot camp if that's not your thing.
Enjoy your food
Focus on primarily eating nourishing, nutrient-rich foods. And if you want some fries, ice cream, and nachos every once in a while, enjoy them, too!
Drink more water
Like I said, counting your "eight glasses a day" is overrated. Get a big reusable bottle to have water on hand all day, and drink as much as you need.
Life is so much more than counting calories, worrying about carbs, or stressing that you did or didn't work out enough this week. Life should be about balance — schedule in dinner with friends, a weekend getaway, or breaks from your daily routine.
Nowadays, I still weigh myself occasionally to get an overall check-in with myself. When I see the number fluctuate, I know it's time to assess my diet, but I no longer restrict myself, ever. Those neon numbers don't define me and my life. They don't get to delegate how I get to live or what I can and can not do anymore.
For once in my life, I feel in control. It takes work to take back control from the scale, but once you have it, it feels so good!