I’ve been battling my weight my whole life. I remember when I was young, maybe eleven or twelve, my mom told me if I didn’t gain any more weight in a month, she would give me ten dollars. I wasn’t obese or anything, just a little chunky but I guess she was worried that I would get heavier. (Another warm and fuzzy mothering memory.)
After puberty and by the time I graduated high school in the early 70s, I was 5’6″ and weighed 145 pounds, but I had what I called “thunder thighs”. Back then if you couldn’t wear a size 14 (which is about a size 8 now) you might just be out of luck trying to find a pair of jeans in a size 16.
Throughout the next ten years, I had two children and with each one of the pregnancies, I keep ten pounds. When my first husband and I divorced, he told me I was fat and unattractive. Boy that really hurt, because I wasn’t. I would see overweight women wearing a wedding band and thinking “somebody loves her, why not me?” Talk about a self-esteem crusher. As the years went by, I added two more children and a little extra weight with each one.
So life went on and on life and the scale went up and down, until after the “m” word and I retired. Just think, if it hadn’t been for Eve eating that apple, maybe women wouldn’t have to go through thirty-plus years with our monthly friend only to find that when that friend finally went away, so would our waistlines.
In 2019 I weighed a whopping 230 pounds. The scale just kept creeping up on me and I fooled myself into thinking it still didn’t really show, that is until I saw a photo of myself and the realization hit that I needed to do something.
I’m not a stranger to Weight Watchers, or WW as they call themselves now. I’ve successfully lost weight on their program twice before but, I’ve always eventually gained it back because it is a lifetime commitment. I knew it was time to go back and I lost over thirty pounds in five months. I was back in “onederland”, that place we WWers refer to as weighing under 200 pounds. I stayed that way through the pandemic and 2021, but in 2022, I got complacent and I left “onederland”. I knew I needed to start living the program again and I managed to take off a few of the extra pounds in August and returned to “onederland”.
But suddenly in October, the weight just started falling off me. The Great Hunter said it was because I was eating less and exercising more, but I’d never seen the scale fall so quickly. I’ve weighed myself every morning for most of my adult life, and suddenly, every morning the scale read two to three-tenths of a pound less than the day before, until it had dropped a total of ten pounds. I should have been ecstatic, but I knew I hadn’t been working the program that well so it had me concerned.
I turned to the god of all knowledge, Google, and found that lung cancer and diabetes are two common reasons for unintentional weight loss (described as five percent of your body weight in six months or less.) I’ve been prediabetic for several years and I’m a former smoker, so I got really concerned.
I called my primary care doctor and waited several weeks for the appointment. I told the doctor I wanted to have blood work and a chest x-ray. She agreed and also wanted to test my thyroid since it hadn’t been done in a while. Several days later I had the results of the tests . My cholesterol was lower than it’s been in several years, my chest x-ray was normal but my thyroid hormone (TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone) was almost nil. 0.01 is about as low as you can go. (Normal values are .50 to 5.0. This means that my thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone and that is probably what has been causing my weight loss.
The thyroid gland produces and releases hormones. It acts locally on glands or nearby organs or can travel through bloodstream where they do their work. The thyroid hormone goes all around body and tells the cells to do an action such as growth, brain function, and ovarian function. The thyroid’s function is to control our growth and development, brain growth, stimulates hormones, and controls how fast or how slow our metabolism runs. (Thank you, podcast On Health for Women, Aviva Romm, MD.) So the lack of enough of the thyroid hormone has caused my metabolism to speed up.
So now that I know it’s not a life-threatening problem and I really don’t think I have any of the other symptoms, I’m going to enjoy the unintentional weight loss while I wait to see the Endocrinologist in a couple weeks.