It was three-thirty in the morning when it happened. That same clawing hunger that I thought I’d tempered came back with a vengeance. And it doesn’t just come at three-thirty; sometimes it happens at two. Has it been weeks since I’ve slept over six hours at one time, or months? Regardless, I haven’t slept a full night for quite some time, simply because the hunger pains are relentless. It’s like all I do throughout the morning is eat, and then after dinner before bed I eat. I eat and I snack and I graze. I feel like a black hole that’s always empty, or a pot that never fills, even when you’re making rice for the whole family.
It's never enough.
I eat and I eat and I’m frustrated. Actually, I’m not as frustrated as I was on Monday (or on Wednesday, when I started writing this post), but still I’m frustrated.
A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my doctor regarding the bone density scan I had done in February. The results weren’t alarming, but they weren’t rays of sunshine either: my bone density was below average.
I remember watching the machine scan my hip, and how humbling it was to see my bones on the computer screen. It occurred to me how little I thought of what was under the skin, the muscles, the veins, and the blood. Beneath all that I never considered how real my bones were, how instead of being the body of a small universe there were these white masts I used as foundation. It was so grounding a thought that when I received that letter, I felt unreal, deflated, like I could feel the very things that were my foundation giving in to the weight of what it held together.
I was no longer immortal, and I was suddenly aware of my humanity.
The results could have been worse. They could have shown that I had the bones of a one-thousand-year-old mummy with no way of fixing it. Instead, it just merely pointed out that my bone density was below average, and the good news was that there was treatment. (The Doctor had mentioned that too much Armour Thyroid could cause bone loss; however, I think my low bone density was the consequence of years of disordered eating.) So with that in the back of my mind, with some of my early hypothyroid symptoms returning and being Hungry with a capital “H”, you can see how it can leave a girl frustrated.
The hardest part for me is not knowing why I am so hungry, and whether is has to do with: my thyroid condition or some other health factor I haven’t considered (hypoglycemia, mineral/vitamin deficiency, etc.); my fitness regimen of exercising six days a week; or, even with additional meals and snacking, I’m still not eating enough.
And there is the matter of considering that it’s all three.
I usually get emotional when I talk about having a hypothyroid condition. I feel really vulnerable when I do, and that is probably why I don’t write about it very often on Meals With Morri (I’ve talked about the treatment, but rarely the condition itself and how it affects me). I am not the condition, and I don’t view it as part of my identity as a person. There are days, however, when I can’t explain this overwhelming fatigue or when I’m suddenly intolerant of the heat or the cold. I get embarrassed of my cold hands and the yellowish hue when both symptoms flare up. I get discouraged because of the added complications that make it harder to keep weight off or lose weight in general. The biggest fear I’ve had as of late is if I eat more, despite my very active lifestyle, I’ll become the next incarnation of Budai (without the jolliness).
So this week I’ve been experimenting by writing out what I’ve been eating, taking my pulse before I go to bed and after I wake up, and working on balancing my active lifestyle with my calorie intake. I’m still waking up early, and I weigh no more than I did when I was weighed before my bone density was scanned. But if getting my bones in tiptop shape means weighing more, or if eating enough to sleep a full night in peace means I am destined to weigh (on average) 125 pounds, I accept those terms.
To be honest, fighting your body for what you believe to be best is hard work, especially when there is more than one way to being right. I could fight (and have been fighting) against my health’s shortcomings or I could work with them and accommodate those needs accordingly.
I’m done being my worst enemy, and I’m finally ready to be my best friend. I’m ready to work with my whole self to finding what works and what doesn’t work for me. Sure, I may get frustrated and I may have days when my symptoms flare up. And yes, there will be days I think it’s unfair that I can’t wear a size 4 dress. But having the health that I have has taught me the importance of pacing myself, being honest, going with the flow, and to never give up trying. It shows how marvelous life truly is in all of its twists and turns and complexities.
I may have gotten up earlier than I wanted to today with a sniffle and a sneeze, and I may have “a rumbly in my tumbly” like a certain Silly Old (Taoist) Bear, but I smile and I enjoy the beautiful spring day as it is.
And really, that’s all we can ever ask for.
Simply Green Brown Rice
360 g Sprouted brown rice
500 ml Water (or more if you want a creamier consistency)
15 ml Unrefined apple cider vinegar
3 tsp. Minced dried onion
1 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 tsp. Herb de Provence
1/4 tsp. Whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. Cracked pepper
1/4 tsp. Dried tarragon
1 bunch (126 g) Curly leaf parsley
Juice of 1 Lemon
30 ml Olive oil
1 Lemon, cut into wedges and served as garnish
Combine the rice, water, vinegar, and spices into a pressure/rice cooker or medium saucepan and cook until the rice has softened and taken a creamy consistency (time will vary based on how you usually prepare brown rice and how much water you put in).
Place the parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients form a pesto-like quality.
Fold in the parsley mixture with the rice, and then serve warm with the lemon wedges on top.
Makes 8 servings.