Monday, May 23, 2016

In Which I Start a Diet

Let me say for the record that I do not like fad diets.  They tend to cause you to be strict with yourself and then people tend to binge adding back on the pounds after the diet is over.  Or worse it causes the person on the diet to develop an eating disorder.  Think Karen Carpenter

Diets come and go.  There's been Adkins, Paleo, South Beach, Mediterranean, Whole 30, and so forth.  I'm not looking for a diet so much as a life style change to the way I eat.  You see my problem is that I have an underactive thyroid which 1)makes it easy to gain weight and 2)slows your metabolism thus causing you trouble loosing weight.

I've been working out diligently three days a week for an hour each since January.  No weight has fallen off.  No change in dress size.  All this has managed to do is halt the easy weight gain.  It hasn't reversed anything.

But never fear I read a lot and I've looked into what things I've been eating that could cause issues for my thyroid.  People don't agree, but there's some consensus.

1) You should avoid soy full stop.  A lot of these protein bars and protein shakes use soy.  Asian cooking involves soy.  And even more insidious there's a number of food items that contain soy like margarine and salad dressing.  You really have to read the labels.  There's been numerous studies linking children who were fed soy formula (as opposed to dairy) developing hypothyroidism.  It's really terrible to have too much soy.

2) You should watch your iodine intake.  Iodine is a necessary component in producing the hormones that your thyroid makes.  Too much and you can develop hypothyroidism.  Too little and again you can develop hypothyroidism.  Confusing yes?  Usually in the west we get too much iodine in our diet and in less developed countries it's too little.  So watch how much salt you consume and avoid seaweed.  Yes, I basically said to avoid Chinese and Japanese cooking.  Sorry.  I'm sure that you can find something like a soup that you can eat, but no sushi.

3) You need selenium.  In addition to iodine, your thyroid needs selenium.  You can find it in eggs and Brazil nuts.  My suggestion?  Start liking eggs.   

4) Your diet should have a lot of protein and roughly only 20 percent of carbohydrates- Your body won't burn fat stores unless it has burned carbohydrates first.  So you want a heavy protein diet if your metabolism is sluggish like when you have hypothyroidism.  The diet I'm on says for the 6 weeks the only carbs I can eat are from fruit.  No grains and no potatoes.  Then after that you eat a limited amount of grains (like two slices of whole grain bread a day) and only complex grains to make your body work harder at processing them.  To compensate, it also adds healthy fats like olive oil and avocados and fiber comes from vegetables.  My protein diet is made up of lean meats, legumes, and dairy.  And yes, I'm going through the "low carb flu" and no it's not fun. 

5) Drink lots of water- This is something we should all be doing but don't. 

6) Watch the sugar content- Sugar is added to everything.  I checked my bacon labels (which is controversial as some say it's fine to eat fattier proteins and others say it's not) and it has sugar in it (or high in salt or added nitrates).  It's the same for lunch meat.  There's sugar in salad dressings which is why I make my own.  I even had to buy an expensive natural peanut butter to avoid the sugar in peanut butter.  There's sugar in milk so you want to watch how much your intake is.  Not to say that you should avoid sugar.  There's natural sugars in fruit.  But you should avoid added sugars.  The diet suggests that you can use stevia in small amounts as a sweetner so I guess that's what I'll start using when I make my birthday cake (and any other treats).

7) Avoid the over processed- In 6 weeks I'll be allowed oatmeal.  But I can't eat those with added fruit in it.  Basically it's the bulk bin for me. 

And this is how it will be for the rest of my life.  Exercise and carb restrictions.  Sucks, but this is par for the course.

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