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Amy Reinecke discovered she had Hashimoto’s after having her third child. She is now helping women love their body through healing their mindset.
In this week’s podcast, Amy shares her very personal story with growing up in diet culture and developing an eating disorder. And her journey back to loving her body right now, as it is.
Amy’s story is so relatable to those of us who grew up dieting and wanting so badly to have the “right” body. She gives inspiration and great tips to stop judging yourself and your body, and learn how to give it the love and nourishment that it needs.
- Dieting at a very young age and body dysmorphia
- Hashimotos and Feeling at war with your body
- Binge eating disorder
- Body positivity and learning to love where you are
- Self love and feeling at ease with your body
- Habits vs. goals with lifestyle changes
- Creating a positive body image by healing your mindset
Guest Spotlight: Amy Reinecke
Amy Reinecke is a wife and mom of three who is also a blogger and business owner. She had poor body image since the 4th grade and even started her first diet the same year. She spent many years at war with her body.
In 2019 she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s after having her third baby. She has used her Hashimoto’s diagnosis and decided to use it as a gift instead of a crutch. This diagnosis has allowed her to take better care of her body and truly listen to its needs and finally make peace with it. Her diagnosis has also empowered her to show up differently in her business, and be authentic with her story and healing journey. You can connect with Amy at loveyourbodywell.net and on the Love Your Body Well Podcast. She is also Co-Founder of Spark Media Concepts, where she coaches women to lean into their purpose and start their own blogs.
- Website: loveyourbodywell.net
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loveyourbodywellpodcast/
- Podcast: Love Your Body Well
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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
48. Amy Reinecke
Body image is a hot topic right now. And it's about time. If you ask me, I like a lot of you grew up steeped in diet culture. And what I mean by diet culture is a focus on what you weigh and losing weight to get that desired look, which usually is what models and influencers look like. There's no consideration of what our own bodies need, or even that we are all unique and different.
What I think makes diet culture extra dangerous is that it conditions us to ignore our bodies from an early age. Which can be especially dangerous when you're living with a chronic illness.
I love the body image is getting more attention now, but that doesn't mean that diet culture is dead. There's still a lot of that mentality around today, but the big difference is that now. We have people like our guests this week to help us through it. And this week's podcast, my guest and I talk about our own journey in diet culture.
Tying our worth to how skinny we looked. And we talk about how we both developed binge eating disorders. At an early age. And also how we got back to a healthier mindset and lifestyle. This week's guest Amy she is a wife and mom of three. She is also a blogger and business owner. She had a poor body image since the fourth grade and even started her first diet that same year.
She spent many years at war with her body. In 2019, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's after having her third baby. She has decided to use her Hashimoto's diagnosis as a gift instead of a crutch. This diagnosis has allowed her to take better care of her body and truly listen to its needs and finally make peace with it.
Her diagnosis has empowered her to show up differently in her business. And be authentic with her story and healing journey. You can connect with firstname.lastname@example.org and on the love your body. Well podcast. She's also co-founder of spark media concepts, where she coaches women to lean into their purpose and start their own blogs. Please enjoy this week's episode and visit Andrea Hanson coaching.com for more on Amy Reinecke.
resources we talk about in the show and transcripts from today's episode. Go to this episode description for the link. Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised
[00:02:48] Andrea: Amy, welcome to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you.
[00:02:51] Amy: I am so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:54] Andrea: there is so many pieces to your story that I'm excited to talk about from living with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder for quite a few years, handling chronic pain, feeling like you're a war with your body, and going through diet culture, which I know so many of us can relate to, and coming out on the other side with so many things that you've learned and this self love and feeling at ease with your body.
There's so much to unpack that I'm really excited to talk about. But your story started really early, like in the fourth grade.
[00:03:32] Amy: Yep, I
[00:03:33] Andrea: Tell us a little bit about that.
[00:03:34] Amy: Yeah. So I started feeling. Negatively about my body about in fourth grade, and that's the first time I realized that I didn't look like my friends, or I didn't think I looked like my friends. And that automatically meant that something was wrong with me. And now as an adult, obviously I realized that that was just hormonal changes in puberty and all of that.
But as a child, I didn't, I didn't I equated it to something was wrong with me. And so I kind of started that war with my body, you know, as an adolescent. I went on my first diet in fourth grade and I, I've unpacked that a lot. I'm now 40. And so I've unpacked that a lot over the years, and I, I know that that decision was at the time, What my mom thought was best to handle the situation.
But looking back, I know she would make a different decision as would I. And so, but when we, when we know better, we do better. And you learn from every experience. But I really do think that dieting at such a young age kind of set me down this path of always being at war with my body. And so that, that's the unfortunate piece of it, is that it did start so early.
And so from, from, you know, in fourth grade you are around 10. So around 10 years old, I was constantly telling myself that my body wasn't worthy or good enough the way that it was, and that it needed to be changed in order to be good. And I dieted. I diet actually up until 2018. So up until four years ago when I was about 36, I was a yo-yo dieter for many, many years.
And even at this, at this very last go round of dieting, I even lost over a hundred pounds on a popular weight loss program. And when I looked in the mirror after that journey and still saw fault in myself, I had the realization that the work really needed to be done in the mindset, and I needed to quit focusing so much on the body.
[00:05:39] Andrea: And you know, the irony of that is, When we come around and realize that it's not changing our circumstances, changing our situation, that's going to make us better or feel better, I should say. It's changing what we're thinking about it. The irony is thinking that we need to start working on our mindset, but our mindset has been there the entire time.
It's just that our mindset has been working us in a way because we were in that, that culture, that diet culture of understanding that it's our body needs to look like something our body shouldn't look like it does. I remember doing, I was in the same program as you, uh, not quite at such an early age, but I remember going to, I think it was my only meeting.
I think I walked out and was like, this is crap. being really busy. But I remember the you know, the, I don't know what you would call them, the leader or whatever, who was, whoever was leading the, the class or the group was amazing. Her energy was so great and she had such a great story about losing all this weight.
And then she stood at the front of the class and she put her legs together, like stood there with her feet to like, touching. And she talked about the three gaps that you should have on your legs,
between your ankles, between your knees, between your thighs. And that is what she always wanted. And once she got it, she was so excited.
And, and I remember looking around the room because everybody was like, oh, that's what I want. And, and I can't, my, my, you know, legs pressed together and I just want to have legs like that. And how did you do it? And. I don't know. It was, it was pretty amazing. And I can only imagine being, I mean, I was, I don't know.
I mean, I was in like my early twenties when I was there, so I had a little bit more understanding than a 10 year old would. But I can only imagine what was
[00:07:37] Amy: Yeah.
[00:07:38] Andrea: your mindset at that early age.
[00:07:41] Amy: yeah. Yeah. That is really sad. It actually makes me really sad to hear that that happened. And it, it's interesting how those. Um, Thoughts can become our inner dialogue. And so when we hear those things, whether we're an adolescent or whether we are, you know, a young adult that becomes like the guidepost, oh, I am supposed to look like that.
Well, my, my legs don't do that. Or for me it was, I, I don't have a gap in my, between my legs, you know, a lot of my girlfriends did. And I was like, well, that, that means I'm bigger, you know, that means something's wrong or, or whatever. Because I've never had a small lower half, I, I have always carried the weight in my lower half and that for a long time meant that something was wrong.
And, and it's not that something that's wrong, it's just I built differently and that's okay. And that's beautiful too, just the way it is. I think it's definitely been a journey to understand. Yes, there are people with the idea that beauty is just in the eye of the beholder, the way that you look and, and, and all of that.
And, but there's, for many of us, it's, it goes so much deeper than that and it's taken years to understand that our worth and our beauty is so much more than just what people see on the outside. We have so much more to offer, and we are so much more than whether or not we have three gaps , or whether or not your collarbones are popping or whatever.
You know, the collarbones used to be a huge thing for me. And so I do think at a young age, sitting in some of that stuff, just unbeknownst to me, who knows the dialogue that that was going on. Then in my head, you know, with all these things telling myself like, this is the way it should be, or this is the way you should look.
[00:09:24] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:24] Amy: that happened at such a young age.
[00:09:26] Andrea: Well, and it's such a hard age anyway. I mean, there's so many think, like you said, it's like you're going through puberty, you're going through middle school. I mean, my gosh, that's like a war zone in and of itself, . And so there's so many things going on at that age that, uh, infusing this, this other type of idea about how you should look is just another layer.
And when we're at odds like that with our body thinking that it's not looking like it should, that it's not acting like it should because maybe it's holding weight or looking different. We aren't necessarily working on connecting with our body and really hearing what our body really has to say and we can miss some pretty, I think some pretty important things.
[00:10:14] Amy: Yeah. So that, that's interesting that you say it like that because what ended up happening is I began this process of numbing through food actually, and I didn't realize it, but I, I struggled with food for many years after going on that first diet, and I want to also say here, I looking at pictures, I was not an obese child, so I want to make sure that I say that this, there was very much body dysmorphia going on at, at that age.
I had a very different idea of what I looked like. Like when I go back and look at pictures, I look like, I mean, my son, my oldest son is in fifth grade. I look very much like several girls in his class right now. So I was not a really overweight kid, but I had told myself that I was. And so, that dialogue played into food being shameful.
And I'm sure the dialogue I was hearing at the meetings was, was playing a role in that as well. But, so I used to kind of numb myself with food as well. And what I didn't realize until actually after college was that I developed an eating disorder that had started around that fourth, fifth grade time, and that was binge eating disorder.
And in college I struggled pretty, pretty badly with it, to be honest. There was a lot of restriction and then that restriction was leading to binging and private, and no one knew I was doing it. And so I don't think that anybody saw the real issue because nobody saw what was going on. But, you know, I would feel it and, and know I was an over exerciser.
I would exercise for hours a day. I got my bachelor of science actually in health promotion. And so I was actually going to school in order to help people get healthier and to live healthier lives. And then in turn, I was kind of beating my own self up. I can very vividly remember we had to fill out a form.
In one of my classes. And um, it was an exercise prescription class, and it, she asked us to fill out our workouts and what they looked like and, and all that. And she pulled me aside after class one day and said, Amy, these workouts are not something that you could ever prescribe to someone. You are spending entirely too much time at the gym.
And this is not something that you can, you know, sustain for long periods of time. And I didn't think anything of it. I, I thought I was just doing what I needed to do in order to look the way I wanted to look. And I think some of that was overcompensating for the binging that was going on. Ironically, I had gone back to that weight loss program during college, and so was doing that.
I would restrict up until way in day. And then I wouldn't eat usually on way in day. I weighed in at five o'clock at night and then after that it was a full fledged binge usually for that night and sometimes into the next day. Because honestly my body needed fuel. It needed, it needed fuel, and our bodies have a way of getting the fuel that it needs regardless if you want it to or not.
It's, it's going to send those messages to you. And so that, there was definitely a shame cycle back then that I, I was heavy into that. I didn't get help with actually until after I was married.
[00:13:23] Andrea: , part of why I was so excited to talk to you is that I share a lot of that story and so I completely I completely understand the restriction and then the binging and doing it in private and the secrecy and the, the lengths you go to, to not show anybody in your life. And I mean, it's, it's pretty, it's pretty amazing.
And the idea now that I'm looking back on it and I am reading more about, you know, we're learning about the gut microbiome and I'm realizing. Oh, that wasn't just a restricting, and then I really needed to eat, and I felt like I was you know, not giving myself what I needed, both in food, but also emotionally.
But at the same time, there's this extra layer of what my gut must have looked like, like the actual,
like microbiome in my gut must have looked like because of that dieting. And what that does, because that will feed into what your body is craving. Because I don't know about you, but I never, I, I didn't binge on spinach,
[00:14:36] Amy: no It was, it was like sugar. You know, it's, it's that, it's that quick hit quite honestly. I mean, it is a quick hit of dopamine and something to like rub up your system cuz your body is literally like, I need that. And when we're in a state of stress, which I think a lot of binge eaters feel that they are in a state of stress and that's when they go for the binge.
That's what our body's going to crave is, is that high sugar stuff that honestly, you know, after a binge or after overeating or whatever, you don't feel very good. Like you just don't, and, and, but you're looking for that. For me it was a way of escaping. It was a way of escaping things that I was going through as an adolescent.
In college it was just a way of escaping, I think, and a way of controlling a bit. I could control myself for a certain number of time. I could see a number on the scale that I needed to see and. I knew that if I spent x amount of time, I could, I could maintain that number or lose. By over exercising and looking back and knowing what I know now I'd give anything to look at that 20 year old girl and say, you're worth more than this.
And this doesn't have to be your story. And cuz the damage that you're doing, you are going to get to unpack forever. Cuz I truly believe and I don't say this at all with um, I'm not harboring any guilt and shame anymore. It's just my journey. It's my story. But I do believe all those years of abusing my body the way I did, led me to an autoimmune disease of Hashimotos that I was diagnosed with in 2019.
[00:16:08] Andrea: So you say that you are pretty sure that you had it for your Hashimotos for quite a few years before you were diagnosed. Were you and I, I totally understand that numbing that comes from both restricting and with binging and with just being at war with your body. Do you feel like part of that was your symptoms from Hashimotos?
Do you feel like part of that was ignoring symptoms from Hashimotos? How do you think those two things played together?
[00:16:39] Amy: So I don't, I don't think back then I did. So here's kind of the timeline of what happened. So, I could have had it underlying at the, at that point I'd never been tested actually. About 14 years ago is when I realized that I had binge eating. So I didn't even know I did in college. I mean, I, I had made the joke, , it's a horrible joke to say that I was the bulimic who didn't purge.
I had said that to, to like close friends in compet, in confidence.
And then it wasn't until I learned what binge eating disorder was, that I literally can remember walking into my husband, like I'd seen a ghost and said, I have a problem and I think I need help. And so I started therapy for binge eating. And in therapy I. I realized at that point it was like my world came crashing down.
I had a very traumatic relationship in college. It was abusive and did not set me up for, for loving feelings about myself at all. So, that played a big role. And then even though I was married, I was still, I still had that trauma. I mean, trauma carries with us for our entire lives unless we choose to work through it.
And so, when I went to therapy, it was like I kind of needed to face some of those things that I'd been through and the way that I felt about my body, the ideas about myself, my ideas about relationships and love and things like that. And I went into a serious depression, like the worst depression I have ever, ever experienced.
I could hardly get off the couch. I was extremely depressed. And in that they said they recommended that I get on an antide depressant. I actually ended up getting put on three different medications. They put me on an anti-seizure medication for my binge eating, and they put me on two different medications for my depression.
So I went from feeling everything to feeling nothing,
and then was also seeing an intuitive eating registered dietician who was helping me understand to listen to my hunger cues
[00:18:38] Andrea: Oh, that's interesting
because how are you doing that when you're on.
[00:18:43] Amy: mm-hmm.
[00:18:44] Andrea: these medications.
[00:18:45] Amy: well, nobody clued me into that. So here's what happened. I spent a year in therapy. At the time I was driving an hour away every week for a 30 minute appointment with my registered dietician to discuss, you know, my feelings on food and how I'm approaching my meals and things like that. And I was also seeing a therapist every week to, to discuss my body and, and all of that.
So I was very just, Engrossed in, in this healing process. I almost lost my marriage in the middle of this because I was in that, that deep depression. And we were young, we got married young and he did not understand what was happening and did not understand how to help me. And it, it was just a very, very difficult time for, for us and my, in our marriage.
And but I was on these medications and and that year I gained a hundred pounds
[00:19:36] Andrea: Hm.
[00:19:36] Amy: and it finally took my husband like sitting me down, being so mindful cuz he knew my ideas are on my body and food and all of that. And, and him saying, Amy, there is something wrong. Like, something's wrong. I know that you're trying to heal, but like you have gained an extreme amount of weight in a very short period of time.
I mean, I had very, very high social anxiety. Like to go into a public place or, or anything like that was very difficult for me because of how much weight I'd gained. I was just humiliated by the way. I loved and so.
[00:20:14] Andrea: what did you think when you were going through all of these different things, you're going through therapy, you're going through all, you know, all of this, and you were still seeing that scale
[00:20:25] Amy: I wasn't, seeing the scale so they wouldn't allow me to weigh myself. So
I was, so the scale got removed from the home and I was being blind weighed when I went in. So I had no idea what the number was at all. And I don't think the number necessarily matters that looking back, but I do think I was literally so numb.
I was on some pretty high doses of these medications. I, I really do think I was just numb cuz it was the first time that I could remember that I was not completely consumed by thoughts of food. I mean, it was the first time I was like, oh my gosh, there's space in my head for other things. Oh my gosh.
[00:21:01] Andrea: Isn't that amazing how that happens
when you don't obsess about food or anything, like when there's something you're obsessing about and, and you wrap your brain around it finally and you're no longer obsessing about it. It's like there's all this space, there's all this time.
[00:21:16] Amy: I had no idea. I mean, I had, it was the realization, wow, you are really thinking about that all the time. You know, because now you have space in your brain for other things. So that was a very crazy realization for me to realize that.
[00:21:30] Andrea: so it took your husband sitting you down and saying like, look, this is, this is a lot of weight. Regardless of the number, regardless of what it is.
[00:21:38] Amy: he was
[00:21:38] Andrea: a lot of weight over a small amount of time.
[00:21:40] Amy: and very concerned about my health. I mean, he was like, I think we need to figure out what's going on. So I said, I think I'm over medicated. And so I remember sitting in the psychiatrist office and then saying that the medication that they put me on was would increase hunger. And this is after I'd been on it a.
I'm seeing an intuitive eating dietician who's telling me to listen to my hunger cues and I'm on a medication that has increased my hunger, and so it was just not. It just, yeah, it, it, it makes me realize you always need to research the medications that you go on. If you choose to go on them to make sure that the side effects are something that you're willing to deal with, should they happen.
And that's exactly what happened is I weight gain was a huge side effect. I ended up weaning off of those and really just, I, I just said to myself, I don't want to go on them again unless I'm at a point that I feel like I need to, I want to make sure I hold space for anybody who's on any type of antidepressant or anything like that.
This is not meant to be judgmental in any way, but we're very bio-individual. Our bodies all need different things. And my body, just, while it helped my brain for a little while physically, it actually did quite a number because in that time is when I believe I developed the Hashimotos actually. So my thyroid had always been normal up to that point.
after this, I mean, I, I felt awful at gaining that much weight in that amount of time. So led me down, you know, a rabbit hole with a doctor and saying, okay, now we have some health issues that need to be dealt with because of this weight gain. And it was high cholesterol. I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I had access to those labs.
And so, when I was officially diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2019, I went back to that because I kept, I kept the things that I did during my therapy, including those labs, and I looked up my thyroid labs and sure enough, I had thyroid antibodies back in 2008. And no one, no one told. That I had it. So, that was kind of disheartening knowing that I'd gone that many years without knowing that I had an autoimmune disease.
And I, I could have been taking better care of myself. I could have had some explanations for things that might have been going on. I haven't spent much time like feeling sorry for myself about that. I could, but I just, when I got the official diagnosis in 2019, it was like, well, you can't change anything now.
You can't go back and change what your body's been through. You, you can't, so what's the point? Like, you know that that's not going to serve you well in any way. And so how can you move forward? Like, how can you take everything that you've been through in this journey that you've been on with your body and, and how can you, how can you learn?
How can you grow from it?
[00:24:35] Andrea: Yeah, I think that it's with autoimmune disorders in general, and there's so many different autoimmune disorders, and I know with Hasha Motos especially because there is, you know, the general thyroid test that your doctor looks like or looks at and they're thinking, yeah, it's good. And then there's deeper tests that look more at things like the antibodies and that's when you can realize, oh, this is something that's been developing for a while.
But so many of us understand what it's like to have an autoimmune disorder and realize either when we finally do get diagnosed and learn more about it, realizing, oh, I've had this for a while, or I remember seeing this pop up.
[00:25:20] Amy: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:21] Andrea: Years ago Or it you on the flip side, knowing something's going on and not getting a diagnosis like that can be, you know, I think that's two sides of the same coin.
I remember talking to my MS specialist and he was asking if there was things that I noticed in the past years. I think he was, yeah, I was pretty young when I was diagnosed, but he was trying to think, or trying to figure out maybe how long I thought I had had this. And I was saying different symptoms.
And he was like, yep, yep. That's ms. That's ms. And remembering really, because I went to my primary care doctor and they told me it was something wrong with a disc in my back or something like this. partially because I was overweight and they were thinking, oh, you're just, you know, lose some weight, get the pressure off of that disc, you'll feel better.
And so looking back, I'm thinking not only was I seeing people who didn't know what was going on with ms, I'm seeing someone who really, let's call it what it is, which is like discrimination about a, a patient that is overweight and not looking at a little bit more of what the source was because it was a symptom that was actually quite common for Ms. You can have a lot of anger, you can have a lot of frustration, and I think that those are all worthy feelings, and I think that's part of the process that we can go through once we're diagnosed or once we really know something's going on with our body. But I think you're right. I think it's something that is really beneficial to focus on feeling those emotions, letting that move through you, letting yourself process them instead of, you know, pushing 'em down and then moving on.
Because focusing on all the things that maybe we did, I know a lot of people have self blame, like, what if I didn't do that? What if I didn't do this? I wouldn't have happened. And. We don't even necessarily know that that's true or not, right? Like you don't know if it would've happened anyway and maybe it had nothing to do with it.
And so I completely agree that a big part of this is just looking, looking at what's going on now looking forward, but being able to process. Maybe it's a matter of forgiving yourself, forgiving other people, and moving on.
[00:27:46] Amy: absolutely. I think that there's a time for. processing it. I think there's a time for anger. I think there's a time for sadness and it's not just in the beginning of a diagnosis. It can be on a day that you don't feel is great and you know that, that's probably why. But I also think that there's got to be more focus on how can I be better?
How can I make myself feel better? What am I in control of? So I am no longer in control of having a thyroid autoimmune disease, but I am control in control of my daily choices that can help that not completely steal and rob the joy in my life. And I think that just the process with my body over the years, I think I was at a point when I received my diagnosis, I was you know, I was 37 when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. I at that, you know, three years ago I had just had my third child, I had my daughter, and so now I was a mom with children and a wife, and I just, I kind of looked at it and was like, this really sucks, to be honest, and this is really unfortunate, but there's nothing I can do now.
And so I am going to fight and I am going to control what I can and I'm going to do what my body needs in order for me to. Basically take this diagnosis and not let it, let it rob me of the joy because I, I still had young kids, you know, and so I, I just didn't want to be caught in that victim mindset of this has been done to me.
I'm not saying I haven't had those thoughts. I absolutely have. I've, I have had the thoughts of, you know, why, why did I struggle with binge eating? Why have I always been at war with my body? You know, why, why, why? But you cannot stay there. I think that we have to come to a place of honoring the body that we've been given, and that there is a reason that I was put on this journey.
And that reason has led me to help other women accept what, what they're going through. Because let's face it. No one has like nothing that they're dealing with. I mean, we, we all have something. And I think sometimes it just takes people opening up a little bit about their own story to give space for others and say, Hey, you know, we might not be sharing the exact same thing, but I can sit here with you in your grief and I can also sit with you and your healing and tell you that we can move on and we can move past this.
And I'm finally at a point in my journey that I truly am thankful, as odd as that sounds for the diagnosis, because I believe what's happened is it's given me this greater appreciation for my body. It has also solidified that dieting is never going to be the answer for me. And I I have to focus on wellness in ways that aren't.
Attached to the number I see on the scale because I'm not really in control of that number, especially with a thyroid disease. I, I do my best. But like I'm in a season now that we are not really sure why I'm experiencing weight loss resistance, but I am, and I'm choosing wellness anyways. I'm choosing the wellness practices that I know are good for my body, regardless of the number I see on the scale.
So my body, no matter what size it is, it still deserves to move. It still deserves nourishing food. It still deserves sleep. It deserves calmness. It deserves me to focus on stress. That is something I very much struggle with. It deserves all those things regardless of what it looks like on the outside.
[00:31:32] Andrea: I think. It's interesting because when there's a big event, like I would say, your body developing an autoimmune disorder, getting a diagnosis, those are really big life changing events. Sometimes it can be helpful to look back and say things like, okay, why did this happen? But sometimes it can turn into just more of that distraction and it just becomes another tool.
Uh, you know, we were using things like food. We were using things like deprivation. You could use things like focusing on finding why, uh, you know, why was it not diagnosed, why was it missed, why this? And so when we're focusing on things like that, that don't necessarily have an answer or have a good answer, it can just be another part of that distraction.
So what helped you go from when you finally realized, oh, I have these antibodies. This is what's going on. I don't want to be on these medication. Right. You were kind of putting this, all, all of those pieces together. What were the steps you took to start that process of, of coming into the healing, into the self-love, releasing the anger and the frustration and all of that kind of stuff.
[00:32:51] Amy: So, I will always be on thyroid medication. So I, I've pretty much been told that by my doctors that I, it was undiagnosed for so long that it, it will be very unlikely for me to ever go off of. So those are the medications that I do have to take for it. And I think right, right off the bat was forgiving myself for that and, and forgiving my body if forgiveness is even the right word there, but just knowing that that's one of the things that I have to do, that's a tool in my toolbox that needs to Take precedence and I, I need to do that in order to take care of my body overall.
So that was, that was the first step in knowing like, okay, you are going to have to be on medication. You know, I had already been on thyroid medication for a long time, but it really did, it helped me lean into how can I work with my body instead of working against it, which is what I've been doing all these years.
And so I really went down the route of functional medicine. I when I called my doctor, cause I was actually the person who found it was a functional med dietician actually, and she couldn't officially diagnose, but she said, you need to call your doctor and let them know about these results. So when I did, their response was, well, your, your treatment doesn't change.
And I found that very interesting that I'd just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease knowing that when you have one autoimmune disease, you're three times as likely to to develop more. And that statistic scared me as a 37 year old mom of three. I at the time had a good friend who was diagnosed with a very serious autoimmune disease that could have taken our sight it could have made her paralyzed.
And that that statistic terrified me. . I don't want another autoimmune disease. Like I, I'm stopping this here. Like the st the cycle stops here if, if I have any control. And so, when I called and got that, that when they said that they would not be changing what, how they would be treating me, it said, I just said to myself, okay, then I need to find someone who will, I need to find somebody who's willing to unpack this and get to the root cause of what's going on.
So I found a functional med doctor that I started with just a few months later and we worked together and I did go gluten-free for my Hashimotos, which I was terrified of doing as somebody with the issues of food that I'd had in my past and an eating disorder and dieting and all of that. But I think it truly, I reached this point that after having my three kids especially, I just was thankful and. I just thought to myself like, you owe it not to your, not only to yourself, but to them to do what you need to do in order to be the mom that you want to be. And so I, I really don't remember a feeling like upset that I had to give up gluten. I just remember feeling. And at that point my, the reason that I, actually, we haven't talked about this yet, but the reason that I ended up getting that diagnosis was because after I had my daughter, I felt horrible.
So I felt really great my entire pregnancy. And then I had my daughter, and as the months kind of went on, I just, I was in so much pain. I had a lot of pain in my joints. It, it hurt to walk, my legs felt swollen. I just, I really felt awful. And when she was about four to five months old, I, I just had a realization like, something is seriously going on here.
Like, I feel awful in postpartum. Like, I feel much, much worse than I did when I was pregnant. And that just doesn't kind of add up. And so that's when we ran the blood work and, and found it. And so, part of it too was I didn't want to be in pain anymore. I, I wanted to figure out like, how can I prevent the pain?
You know, if, if gluten is something that's causing the pain, by all means I don't, I
never need to eat it again. , you know, Because I just, every day I was just walking around in pain. So it led me down that functional path, which I've been on ever since. And just taking kind of a deep dive look into what I'm, what I'm feeding my body, how I'm nourishing myself, looking at the root cause of things.
It's definitely given me a lens that wellness and health is not just, you know, calories and calories out and, you know, mo move more. There is a lot of other factors that go into our health versus those two things, but that's generally what America focuses on are those two things only. And so, I focused a lot on stress relief.
I'm a, you know, I'm a business owner and a mom and so stress is something I struggle with. To be really honest, it's probably a big reason. Why? I'm experiencing the weight loss resistance in my opinion right now is because of stress. So I'm just not very resilient to it, and I'm trying to work on, on that.
And I think just knowing that this is a journey and that there's no timeline and that I don't, I always put a timeline on any other health journey I'd ever been on. Like, you know, I need to be able to run this amount and this amount of time, or I need to weigh this much weight by this amount of time.
And with this diagnosis, it's helped me understand, like, I just want to live the best and fullest life I can right now. And, and daily I have to make choices to do that. So it's not like I'm running towards the finish line. Because what I realized, you know, at several different journeys, having set those goals is sometimes when you get to that goal, it's not as like, appealing as you thought it would be.
And then, and then you're like, but what now? So I've just accepted this is lifelong. Like I want, I want to feel good. I want to set a good example for my kids. I want my kids to have a really healthy relationship with foods. I also want them to know like how to nourish themselves. Like what foods make them feel good and what foods don't, and how to be active and move and take care of the one body that God's given us, and how we can do that in the best way possible.
[00:38:42] Andrea: it's interesting that, and you know, coming from a life coach, it's . I, I don't always say we have to have goals, you know, there, yes, there's a time and a place with goal setting and I think that there's a very mindful way that we can set goals. But a lot of times when we are just looking at lifestyle changes, That's, to me, that's not the time for a goal.
Lifestyle changes are, like you said about making those decisions every single day.
It's much more about just consistency, like this low level, just consistency built into your days instead of making sure you have to ramp up to something. Because when we do number one, yeah, it's, it's never, we never really feel the way we think we're going to feel or we do for like 30 seconds of like a yay me , then it's done.
And also our brains just move the goal post on us. That's just what our brains do. So, You know, by the time you reach your goal, you already have something else in mind. And it's almost like you can't, you know, you can't stay in the yay as long as you think you're going to when you're working up to that goal to begin with.
So goals I think are really funny and like I said, there's a time and a place for them, but when you're looking at lifestyle changes, I don't think that's necessarily the time to have these finite goals all the time.
[00:40:08] Amy: Right. And I think that when we can break it down, I've learned a lot about habits over the last couple years. I've, I've really dove into that and had this realization that a lot of the habits that I thought I'd created in my past, you know, were going to lead me to, you know, lifelong wellness. And they weren't, they were completely unattainable.
They weren't something that I could ever sustain. So now my ha the habits that I choose to work on just look very different. It's, you know, making sure that I have time to like rest in the evenings and read a book. Reading is something that brings me a ton of joy. And people might not look at that as like, that's a wellness goal, you know, it's to sit down and read.
But it is actually. It's a form of self care. It's a form of stress relief for me. And so, it, it's making sure that I'm drinking my water, it's making sure I'm doing things like that. And when you break it down to those small things that we do day to day and you focus on one thing at a time, it's amazing what you can end up achieving because you're just focused on little things instead of going like all in on something and having this dramatic change that at some point our brain does go back to like equilibrium.
You know, like it goes back to what feels comfortable all the time. But if we slowly add these, like one habit at a time and we do those things and we just integrate them into our life before we know it, we're just naturally making the healthier decisions. We're, we're just naturally choosing a more grace filled way of wellness.
And I think that that's what I'm excited about quite honestly. As I've been on this journey now for three years it looks very different to not have a goal, like a, like a weight loss goal. I've never, you know, I've always had that up until this point. Sadly. And now it's just like, how can you, how can you take the best care of your body today?
That's a question that I ask myself daily. And some days that means rest. Some days that means movement. And just knowing that whatever that day, whatever your body needs that day is okay. And I, I think just giving yourself a lot of grace in this is, is necessary because we're all we have such high expectations of our bodies, I think, and we sometimes don't realize everything that we're doing on any given day.
And how can we honor it? How can we care for it? How can we appreciate it? I don't, I don't want another autoimmune diagnosis.
[00:42:27] Andrea: you.
[00:42:29] Amy: Yeah, like one's enough. And I, I truly think that, you know, on days that, you know, you might get a little down, I just remind myself like, there's a purpose behind this. Like, you want to be around for your kids, and I want to be, I, I had my youngest, you know, at 36, almost 37.
And so, I mean, wouldn't call myself like an older mom, but I, by the time she's, she's in high school, like, I'll be in my fifties and I want to be able to like hang, you know, I want to be able to go and do things with her. And I definitely don't want to be in this space of like such severe chronic pain that I'm unable to do that.
So what can I do today that can, can help me live that life that I
[00:43:11] Andrea: Something that comes up when I think about that is, If we are in a bubble, right? And we're just looking at ourselves and it's like, okay, I'm just going to do what I want because my body is saying that I need it. And I, like, for example, I the last couple of days I've just, I haven't been full on like energetic.
Like I've had moments and I've had times where I like go, like I work in the morning and I go have lunch, and then I'm like, I don't need to go back to work. I need to, you know, just rest. Or I, you know, I'm sitting and I'm reading and I realize, oh my God, I've been here for two, three hours and I should be doing this, right?
And so in a bubble it's like, okay, I know that this is what my body needs because this is kind of what it's doing before I even realize it. But we don't. We don't live in that, you know, nice blissful little bubble where we can just give ourselves what we need, right? We live with other people. We live in a community, we live with other people that have different ideas or different levels of energy, different ways of doing things.
And that comparison can just pop up and say, oh, but so and so has more energy and so and so can work all day long. And this person does an eight hour day and you know, they don't have to rest. And if you have to rest, how are you going to do X, Y, Z? And there's all these things that kind of pop up that interfere with us giving ourselves what we need.
[00:44:44] Amy: Yep. I think comparison in regards to other people's journeys can
just rob us of our own. So I think in a day and age when we are constantly seeing what other people are doing, you know, we're on social media and seeing what everybody's doing all the time. We have this idea of what, oh, that, that's what wellness looks like, or, or that's what it looks like to live a healthy lifestyle or whatever.
But I want to remind you that you're only seeing one small piece. Of, of their entire life and what's going on, you're, there's a lot more going on behind, behind closed doors. And I can say that because I am a content creator, I am a blogger, I am all those things. And so I, I can tell you that like I only show like 5%.
Like my children never come into the equation on, on my social media, do that for safety reasons. But so like I don't talk often about the stresses of motherhood or things. So if you see somebody who's relaxing or doing something, you don't really know why they need that, why they need the recharge. And to be honest, doesn't really matter cuz we shouldn't have to earn rest, we shouldn't have to earn relaxation.
We shouldn't have to earn a rest day at the gym. If that's what your body feels like it needs, you should be able to take it whether you've earned it or not, quite honestly. And I think that when we can kind of get outta that rat race of telling ourselves, well I can rest after I do this, or I can have the dessert after I do this instead.
How can we just like, Be at home with ourselves and our bodies and ask like, what do you need right now? And that was something I truly didn't know how to do for many, many years. Like how to really check in and, and ask myself, like, what do you need? I had kind of like you said earlier, stuffed down. A lot of those feelings hadn't allowed myself to really, I think I was afraid of what I was going to hear, if you want me to be honest.
I was afraid of listening to what my body needed. And so I just kind of shut her up. And now I don't like, I listen. And some days it's hard when it's like you need to rest or you're doing too much. I'll use an example of yesterday. I worked way too long yesterday or had a very long work day, and it was about eight o'clock.
All three of my kids needed to go to bed. And things like all of a sudden like came to a head, like all three of them were like fighting and arguing and I snapped. And the second I did it, I immediately thought to myself, wow, you did not have enough time to recharge today. That is why you just snapped. So learn from this.
So I gotta go into all of their rooms and apologize, you know, and say, Hey, sorry mom, mom snapped today. But when I reflected immediately, and, and that shows the growth that's happened immediately, I was like, this is on me. It's not on them. I haven't taken enough of a break today to actually be the mom that I want to be.
And so this is actually my fault that, that I responded the way I did. I needed to give myself a little more time to not be sitting at my computer and doing that, that, and then I wouldn't have responded in the way that I did. And so I think that we can, you can change that in regards to food too. So if you are restricting all day long and then at night you find yourself binging or you know, in front of a bowl of ice cream and then going for chips and whatever, all, and then after you're done, you're like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I ate all that.
Instead, how about you look at the day and how the day went? and ask yourself, did I fuel my body the way it needed to be fueled today in order to avoid the binge or the overeating at night? Because that plays a huge role. Like our, our bodies deserve fu fuel all day, not just at one meal. And so I think we can kind of set ourselves up for those times um, where we feel a little out of control, but looking back with, without judgment.
So it's just data that we're gathering with our own, with our own selves. And it's not, it's, it's looking back, like I said, as data. It's not, don't use that as like a way to beat yourself up. And I spent many years doing that. I spent
[00:48:41] Andrea: Mm-hmm.
[00:48:42] Amy: long beating myself up for choices that I made. And, and what I would just say is you don't grow from that.
You don't grow from beating yourself up. You just stay in that shame cycle and that shame cycle doesn't serve us and it doesn't serve anybody. That we love and that we're surrounded by. It just keeps you in that negative space. And when you can come home to yourself and think positively and say, okay, I'm going to take care of my body and I'm going to learn what it needs, and I am going to have an open mind with the answers that I might find that's when I feel like healing can really happen.
[00:49:17] Andrea: I think that beating ourselves up and staying in that shame cycle is another sneaky way to numb ourselves. Because
like you said, you're not learning anything about your body when you're in a shame. I mean, you're not connecting fully with your body when you're in this shame cycle and you're beating yourself up for all of the choices you made or didn't make.
And I think you're right. It's the key is, is looking at things without judgment. And I know that's easier said than done. I know. I mean, I know you know that that's easier said than done as well, but it can be done and I think it must be done because there are things there to learn. I mean, I always say like very rarely are we binging at breakfast.
Right. Usually breakfast is a pretty easy time to have a pretty normal, good for you type of a meal. It's as our day goes on, and that's always a really good clue to look at and say, okay, let's look without that judgment. And I think that is you know, I, I often I'll ask guests, what is one thing that our listeners can do?
Because a lot of times our listeners are, are here and they're, they're listening to the podcast thinking, oh my gosh, that's me. That is something that I want to do. That is something I want to try. And I always say, okay, what's one thing that they can do? But I think you, you answered that before I could even answer that before I could even ask the question.
It's look without judgment, I think that's a really good place to start.
[00:50:47] Amy: Yeah. And I think that you have to understand too, that that's going to look different every day. It could look different at different times throughout the day. It could, I mean, as women, it can also look different at different points of, in our cycle, you know, that we're going to be able to forgive ourselves a little easier than others.
And so just knowing that, knowing that if you, you know, beat yourself up really bad yesterday, it doesn't mean you have to do it again today. If you beat yourself up for lunch choice, it doesn't mean you have to do that at dinner. You know, you can, every, every moment is a new chance and opportunity to start again.
To start a new, to say, okay, I was a little off there, but how can I make it better now? How can I move forward now? You know, how can I, how can I set my path in a more positive light? Now, we don't have to stay in that negativity just because a certain choice was made on any given day or a week or month.
[00:51:38] Andrea: I love it. Well Amy, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story and all of these ways that we can make these choices every day that can help us both with our health, but also with our mindset and really creating a new culture of self-love.
[00:51:55] Amy: so important to me. Thank you so much for having me here. I really appreciate it. If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit AndreaHansonCoaching.com. Thank you for joining me And until next time take care
About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis
Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.
I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.