As you may or may not know, in 2009 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, put on the standard synthetic thyroid hormone treatment, and it made me feel worse. After being told by multiple doctors that they didn’t know why I was feeling progressively worse, I decided that I was going to take my health into my own hands. I read as much information on hypothyroidism as I could find and made some lifestyle changes that I had read could help those with my condition. Each change I made helped me feel a bit better, and the cumulative effect was a reversal of my symptoms and now I’m off medication.
Out of all the changes I made, my diet had the most profound effect. First I cut out gluten, then dairy (in late 2012). Those two alone made a HUGE difference. I stopped having daily bouts with swollen sinuses, post nasal drip, phlegm build up, itchy watery eyes, fatigue, confused gut, etc. When I tried adding either back in, some or all of the symptoms would return, so I know for certain that both were affecting my health. In mid-2013, I made more changes. I switched to mostly organic food, no more unfermented soy, I went full on clean – nothing processed, no refined sugar, no synthetic chemicals like dyes, flavors, preservatives, etc. These changes were implemented at the same time, and within 6 weeks I lost 11 lbs without really trying. At that time I wasn’t exercising consistently or counting calories, simply eating real, whole organic foods and having reasonable portion sizes.
One day I saw a post on Facebook that showed a “treat” made from a bunch of chemical laden junk food wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Like many others, I commented on the post. I said “I might try it if they made a version that was free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, preservatives or anything artificial.” As I was going about my day, people replied to my comment. For example: “at that point, why bother?”; “at least I’ll die happy”; “your life must suck!”. Really? At first I was offended. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw it as an opportunity to dispel some myths!
My response to “why bother”?
- Because healthy food that tastes good DOES exist! It’s possible to treat yourself without eating junk!
- Because everyone wants a treat sometimes!
- Because you care about your health!
- Because you don’t want the host of diseases that chronic abuse of these food-like substances cause to your body!
- Because you feel so much better when you eat healthy!
My response to “at least I’ll die happy”?
- Eating healthy actually helps alleviate depression!
- Being healthy doesn’t make you happy?
- Diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, etc. and all the other health problems caused by eating unhealthy foods makes you happy?
- Are you aware that people who eat processed, chemical-laden junk “food” on a regular basis are far more likely to suffer from chronic diseases? Diseases that usually make people depressed?
- That high you feel after eating processed food is addiction, not happiness!
My response to “your life must suck”?
- How my life has improved since cutting out the toxic foods:
- Lost weight
- Brain fog lifted
- Acne cleared
- Wrinkles diminished
- Migraines went away
- Less inflammation of sinuses (and overall)
- Less head/chest congestion
- I have everything I’ve ever wanted in life: wonderful family, supportive husband who truly loves me, talented stepson, two sweet dogs
- I have my health back mainly due to the dietary changes I made
- So no, my life doesn’t suck, but thanks for your “concern”!
In case you’re wondering, I didn’t reply to either comment, though a part of me wanted to. It seemed like the more constructive thing to do was to save it for this post! I’ve been eating clean & healthy consistently for two years, and I’ve never felt better. Of course, there have been a few setbacks here and there because hey, I’m human and sometimes I over-indulge! When I give in on multiple successive occasions, my body makes me pay. For me, they happen less and less frequently now because I know it’s not worth getting pimples and/or getting sick because the food I ate made my autoimmune condition flare!
The takeaway here is that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to suck. Mindset has a lot to do with it, though – if you think it’s going to suck, then it’s going to suck! If you approach a healthy lifestyle with the mindset that the changes you’re making are for your (and your family’s) betterment and that your health (and with it your life) will improve, then it won’t suck! It does require pre-planning, but I firmly believe that your health is worth the effort!