Thursday, October 15, 2009

you are (quite sadly) what you eat

Yesterday I had my annual checkup. Actually, the last time I had a physical was in 2004, so I can't quite count it as a yearly visit. I faithfully go to my gynecologist every year, am pretty sure I'm up to date on mammograms (I tend to block those out), and see various doctors should the need arise. But, I've been feeling so exceedingly tired lately, sometimes slammed with a fatigue that's so intense there's nothing I can do but lie down and sleep, too groggy to talk or even hold my head up. It's been happening more frequently lately and my sister, who's got thyroid issues, suggested I might too. Going over a list of hypothyroid problems, I certainly had many of the symptoms. But the dry skin, cold hands and feet, and fatigue could certainly be something else. My mother thinks it's because I "DO TOO MUCH." Not the skin/feet part, but the overwhelming exhaustion. She's right, I generally have more on my plate than I should, but it's certainly nothing new, so why am I falling apart now? Meanwhile, she's got thyroid issues too and as it's genetic, it was worth checking out.

As the doctor drew blood, she asked me what I had eaten that day. It was around 5 and I went backwards from then. A couple of slices of whole wheat toast with fresh mozzarella and olive oil (which was particularly yummy). Some pineapple. A luna bar. A pop tart . . . I was so mortified at that point I didn't mention the orange, brown and white ghost-shaped marshmallows I had scarfed early morning, to the point I had Jon hide them so I wouldn't eat more. I realized, in that moment, that I pay just about no attention to what I eat anymore. So way too much sugar and processed carbohydrates are now regulars in my diet. Some days I'm so busy I eat leftover pasta, cold from the fridge, just to make it through the late afternoon, as I hadn't had a chance to eat yet. I rarely get hungry—a holdover from years of anorexia.

Part of being in this dismissive place about my diet is actually healthy for me. After years of minutely cataloging and analyzing every morsel I consumed, and berating myself over an extra bowl of lettuce or bowl of plain brown rice, it's a positive thing to not obsess about food. I've recently started eating butter again and know what? Butter really is better. I munch on the banana chocolate chip muffins I bake that for years were only for everyone else. Food tastes delicious. Half and half in my decaf? It's like a caribbean vacation for my tongue. Warm and sweet and rich. And yes, I've rediscovered pop tarts. Nothing can match a brown sugar cinnamon straight from the toaster, gooey on the inside with the frosting crackling up top. I'm making myself hungry just thinking about one.

But what is this doing to my body? Maybe this complete lapse of nutritional attention is causing my malaise. My lightheadness, my inability to concentrate, these insane mood swings. Maybe my period being off track is my body's protest against the processed sugar that's now a regular part of my diet. Can I blame skin breaking out and frizzy hair on it too? Hey, why not. Maybe it's time to take responsibility and start paying attention, at least at bit more, to balancing what I eat. And sadly, I don't think chocolate fudge pop tarts will make the cut. As for butter? Don't know that I'll completely give that up.

Day 17 . . . in the can.


Reese said...

I can relate to this. First of all, I just had my physical today. Secondly, nothing hits the spot like a slightly burnt blueberry poptart. Be careful, they will catch on fire in the toaster...I know!

Elissa Stein said...

Pop tart fire? Haven't done that. I did set my toaster oven on fire trying to brown marshmallows. Pregnancy craving gone awry.