(233) I am forced to diet because of a medical condition with Alissa Rumsey (Anti-Diet Series)

Julie Dillon

(233) I am forced to diet because of a medical condition with Alissa Rumsey (Anti-Diet Series)

Many chronic health conditions are invisible and include multiple medications to manage. For many, these medications are life saving, life giving, and lead to weight gain. Do you try to eat less yet the food cravings worsen? We hope this episode gives you more options. Listen as guest expert Alissa Rumsey, author of Unapologetic Eating, explores way to care for yourself leading with self-care rather than self-control.

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Dear Food, 

    You are awesome. You’re simultaneously one of my favorite hobbies, and life-giving sustenance. I love to cook, and to eat. You fill me with pleasure, comfort, and joy when I successfully cook a new recipe. I have to admit, food, you and I are quite a pair. We make awesome things together. Unfortunately, though, we have a serious problem. I have a rare and serious congenital health condition called Panhypopituitarism. I know, it’s a mouthful. It took me a long time to learn how to pronounce it properly. Anyway, with this condition comes so many complications… Hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, adult growth hormone deficiency and so many other hormonal deficiencies, I would literally die if I didn’t take replacements for all of them. 

    My medications are mandatory… and they have nasty side effects. My thyroid medication, growth hormone injections, and birth control I have to take in order to have a menstrual cycle all cause me to gain weight. The steroids I take for my adrenal insufficiency cause me to crave salt and other terribly delicious junk, and it really increases my appetite to maddening levels. To put things into perspective there, this medication is often given to chemo patients so they will have an appetite. I take 40mg daily.

    I really started packing on the pounds worse and worse a couple years ago. I tried to go on an exercise regimen to control my weight, but an unfortunate part of my diagnosis includes exercise intolerance, meaning I can’t do vigorous workouts at all, and even light exercise causes me to get weak and shaky after only a few minutes of activity. I can pretty much only walk, do yoga, and simple aerobics and pilates. Because I can’t work out sufficiently enough to lose weight, I had to do something terrible, food. I had to start seriously restricting my time with you. I pretty much starved myself on a tight portion-control diet for a while, and that inevitably failed after I had a particularly nasty craving that led to a disheartening binge. I decided to ask my endocrinologist what I should do. He agreed that my weight increase was worrisome and instructed me to go on a XYZ calorie a day diet. He also helped me get into contact with a very nice nutritionist who helped educate me on healthier choices and how to count calories. It’s been hard, but I’ve stuck with it so far. Unfortunately, I still tend to overeat and go over my calorie budget often enough that it’s really starting to make me worry I could binge again. 

    What are we going to do, food? I try my hardest. I enjoy cooking at home and making delicious meals, going for healthier options. I’ve fallen in love with Zucchini lasagna, rather than the noodle-based original. Substitutions like this are great, and a lot of fun to experiment with, but I still crave the nasty junk food. Do you know what I ate last week? Mac n Cheetos from Burger King. That’s what. I felt so guilty afterwards, but damn if it wasn’t delicious. Help me out here, food. What can I do to learn to ignore these cravings and put the health of my body first? I’m in a race against my medications, trying to at least maintain my current weight. I’m afraid this diet is going to fail like the others, but I can’t afford not to diet… or can I?

What should I do?

Much love,

Forced to diet

Show Notes:

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