My name is Margesella Garza, and I have been an RN for over 15 years and I’m currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. My reasons to maintain a healthy diet have definitely evolved along with my understanding of nutrition and its healing powers. I wanted to write this blog to keep myself accountable, share my nutritional experiments bringing what may be health victories and failures, in order to empower you to make better lifestyle decisions resulting in optimal energy and health. Feeling sluggish, foggy and depressed are NOT normal ways to live life. It is NOT a part of getting older. I have lived through that on my journey which started with humble beginnings and a roller coaster ride that might sound familiar to many of you…
Coming from a large, Hispanic family of 6, I quickly learned that meal time was competitive. The phrase, “You snooze, you lose” would penetrate my subconscious for the rest of my life. At my heaviest, I was 180 pounds and at my lightest, I was 138. I went on my first diet at 5 years old and was a chronic yo-yo dieter for many years. I struggled between phases of healthy eating to phases of emotional unhealthy eating and I could not seem to connect consistency with my eating as easily as I could connect consistency to my exercising.
I have also always LOVED reading the top fitness magazines and learning about new diets. If I heard about a respected nutritionist coming out with a new book, I would be on amazon ordering it and subsequently trying it out! I struggled to find something sustainable even though I was known for having the ‘healthiest’ lunches in the many break rooms I had passed through as a travel nurse. In 2009, I was at my leanest weight- super fit, healthy and happy. I was dominating in the weight room and had even considered competing in bikini competitions…that was until I was blessed with a surprise pregnancy!
During pregnancy, I became tired, lazy, moody, and did I say tired? I would sleep over 10 hours a night and I was told this was normal. I went from eating well, to eating terribly in my last trimester. Think Jack-in-the-Box shakes and fries at midnight after work on many nights of the week. Yikes! Not sure how my impeccable habits from earlier in the year turned into that, but I’m chalking it up to hormones gone awry and I gained 50 pounds during the pregnancy.
After having my baby girl, not only did I not feel better- I felt significantly worse. I was supposed to be happy but I was afraid and embarrassed to admit it (only my significant other (SO we’ll call him) knew this) but I was really depressed. I was lucky our daughter let me sleep all night and my SO would take care of her in the morning after she breastfed, but I would go back to sleep, totaling 10 or more hours a day. I would wake up in a fog, not wanting to talk to anyone for hours and needing coffee, yet it did nothing to revive me. I wanted to go back to the gym so bad, but I felt so tired. Sometimes I would get the energy to go to the gym but I would walk in the door only to turn around and walk out crying even though my heart wanted to be there. Something was very wrong and I needed to find out what this was because as a NICU Nurse, I knew that postpartum depression was most common in the first three months after birth but after suffering for 9 months, I asked my doctor to test some of my levels to determine if something else could have been triggered with my pregnancy. I was diagnosed with ‘Subclinical Hypothyroidism’. “Great, I have an answer” or so I thought…
My doctor’s recommendation was to ‘take this thyroid hormone and check back in 3 months. Three months?? I have to wait that long? I did…and I still felt completely horrible. There were no changes in my symptoms at all. I was still super depressed (crying on a daily basis), not losing weight, not able to go to the gym, but alas, I was told, “you have normal thyroid levels, you are normal!”
NO, I’m NOT! I know my body! Something is still wrong!
Like many, I was told to seek therapy to get on an antidepressant. Getting on Prozac was not exactly what I wanted to do while breastfeeding. My HMO mental health therapy only allotted 3 one-on-one sessions and my only choice to continue was through group therapy. I wasn’t even certain why I was depressed so I didn’t move forward and was now back to square one.
I began to research depression, pregnancy, and thyroid symptoms and discovered Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis also called Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks your thyroid, and hypothyroidism eventually results. Everything that was going on sounded like it could be this, but I questioned why was I not tested for it? My doctor even hesitated when I asked her to draw the titers (antibodies) that would identify Hashimoto’s, saying that ‘it would not change my course of treatment.’ It is not on a standard thyroid panel to have your thyroid antibodies tested. I learned online that I had to change my diet and heal my gut first! No doctors practicing in the conventional western medicine model understood what I was learning or could validate it. After wrestling with the conventional model of medicine for months, I realized I was not going to get the relief I needed and I sought out an alternative doctor to guide me back to health. And you know what? I did a complete 180!
I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s after my titers proved positive. We began a strict diet and supplement regiment immediately. It took me a long time to change because I was so ‘addicted’ to the foods that were hurting me like so many people. I pulled out of that downward spiral of depression naturally because I stopped my thyroid from continuing to be attacked through this process. It took months of patience and ‘clean eating’ to get there but I can tell you now that it is an incredible feeling of relief when you have achieved optimal health and reversed the disease process by yourself! As an RN with real world experience in both the conventional model of medicine and holistic model, I realized I have a calling to reach people who felt the same way that I did, but who may have surrendered when their doctor said, “You are normal” just because we’re supposed to based on their medical degree.
I am excited to be a health coach and help others through their weight loss or Hashimoto’s struggles using some of the hard lessons I’ve learned on my journey. Having a child has given me a new motivation to teach her healthy habits and be more consistent with my own. Hashimoto’s makes it harder to lose weight and I’m still on my journey to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds but I’ve learned that YOU are the only one responsible for your health. Your doctor, parents, spouse and friends are not. Only YOU have the power to change from here on out, no one will do it for you. It is not easy, I assure you of that. If I am sick, tired and depressed, do you think I will want to wake up in the morning and make a difference in other people’s lives, including my daughter’s? No, I’d be an energy vampire like I was to my SO in that first year of parenting!
I am very fortunate that my circumstances are improving and my future is full of energy, health and happiness. Will you join me on this blog so I can help you do the same?