Despite chubby cheeks that lasted into my early teens, I had always been slim. A dairy fanatic, I would eat oodles of butter slapped on white bread without a second thought. I never had to worry about weight gain. I never weighed myself either. I just knew, validated by friends and cousins that I was slim and that was all there was to it. There was no need for any maintenance. As I got older and listened to friends talking about weight gain and diet, I would merrily say, “Oh I won’t diet for the life of me! What’s life without food?” Immune to weight gain, I would eat whatever and whenever my greedy heart desired.
The winter of 2012 was finally drawing to a slow end when I first noticed a significant weight gain in myself. I went to a party with my friends and took photo’s. I noticed that I was looking rather plump in the photos. As soon as I reached home, I searched frantically for a weighing scale I was sure we had somewhere in the house.
I weighed myself and was shocked to find that I was quite above what I had known myself to be. Ok earlier I had mentioned that I never weighed myself but come on … we all have an idea of what we weigh – the trips to the doctor and other tests remind us of it. I blamed it on the fried bread (a traditional bread) I had been eating every morning. It had been a long, cold winter and science proves that we eat more in cold weather. After blaming my weight gain on this little fact, I put my mind at ease. However everyone noticed and commented on my significant weight gain (and I could swear some were happy about it!). Besides this, I was also struggling with sadness and short term memory loss.
After a few months I visited my doctor for a rash on my thumb. “You might have bigger problems than this rash.” My doctor said, pointing towards my neck. She sent me for blood tests and it turned out that I had hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a rather common condition in which the thyroid gland, situated on the neck, starts slacking. Responsible for metabolism amongst other important bodily functions, a slow thyroid gland can make a person unable to lose weight as easily as they previously did. Other symptoms are impaired memory and feelings of sadness. That was my “Aha” moment.
My thyroid was slacking big time but the medication my doctor prescribed gently eased things into control. But once back to my normal weight, I realized that I could not be as careless in my eating habits anymore. I still gain weight easily. But the good thing is that I have started taking care of my diet. I have cut down on rice, flour and soft drinks. We all know that carbohydrates and refined sugar contribute to a number of health problems. As a person who never touched fruit, I have started incorporating them into my diet. I don’t starve myself nor do I miss out on goodies. I fulfill my sweet tooth but in a more disciplined way.
I am more careful about my choices and more knowledgeable about foods and how they affect us. As a result, I have more energy and better skin. If I had not been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I probably would still have been set in my old, undisciplined ways and that’s why I call it a blessing in disguise.