Four months ago my twin sister and I decided to make a yearlong goal to lose the 40lbs that we’ve gained together over a 6 year window due to menopause, thyroid disease and just being too busy to follow a healthy diet. Nobody likes dieting and lifestyle changes but “you have to start somewhere!” Summing it up with one of my saucy sister’s #Cindyisms would be “dieting- your first failure should never be your last attempt!”
Gaining weight isn’t something that happens overnight and for us it happened slowly but progressively with one day realizing that your favorite pants don’t fit to changing closets altogether and creating a fat closet, a skinny closet and the usual “in between” closet. Stretchy pants and blouse styled tops became my new normal after a lifetime of my modeling clothes went into the skinny closet.
My twin sister Cindy began wearing stretchy pants too and we both silently accepted our fate of being overweight and unhappy about it but having no real plan in place to change it. Luckily, our husbands never said a word about our joint weight gain although I’m certain they noticed.
I’m going to be honest and admit that we both love gummy bears, bread and starches so fast food while traveling to an Appraisal Appointment or event was previously “how we rolled.”
We focused our attention on our clients and put our weight gain and unhealthy eating habits “on the back burner.” Finding the time to grab healthy food options the past 6 years was at the bottom of my “important list” as we branded and expanded my businesses to help over 600 families enjoy a Dream Event.
Women everywhere understand the midlife weight gain issues associated with menopause (unless you’ve been skinny all along). If you’ve ever been overweight- menopause will hit you hard with the scales tipping more and more if you fail to take action.
My thyroid cancer took 2 years to properly diagnose since my primary care physician decided that difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath were attributed to dysphasia. For those of you unaware of this health condition, it involves difficulty swallowing foods or liquids and can range from mild difficulty to painful blockage.
For two years I struggled to take my usual long morning walks or basically any physical activity that left me winded and exhausted struggling to breathe. Over the course of 24 months, my “condition” deteriorated dramatically and although eating became difficult for me, I continued to gain weight for no apparent reason.
As my hair began falling out and my fingernails continued to break, I took to Google for answers and discovered that my initial diagnosis was inaccurate and found that although I may have GERD, the problem was my left thyroid which was covered in tumors discovered by a thyroid specialist here in Fort Worth.
I was so “freaked out” and fearful of dying that when I found a surgeon to perform the thyroidectomy, I requested that he remove my right thyroid during the surgery since the fear of tumors attacking it as well scared me to death! Here’s what I didn’t know- without a right or left thyroid- I was destined to gain weight and have no metabolism. Did my surgeon tell me this? No.
I left the hospital with a prescription for Synthroid which is one of the most over prescribed medications on the planet. It would take six months for me to gain 60 lbs on this medication with every day the depression of feeling helpless regarding my obesity haunting me.
Meanwhile, Cindy had been prescribed hormones to deal with her menopause. My twin sister suffered an identical weight gain although we had not changed our eating habits.
Medication can make you fat. Maybe you’ve never considered this and if Google didn’t exist, I’m certain we would never have put two and two together either.
I would learn that “Synthroid Sucks” when taken alone and I would discover that although Cytomel is a well known thyroid medication, finding a doctor would to prescribe it was like finding a needle in a haystack!
One year after my full thyroidectomy, Cindy had stopped taking her hormones (due to weight gain) and I had finally gotten a prescription for Cytomel. The weight gain stopped but the weight loss would take years for us to accept and willpower to change it.
Humpty and Dumpty- As children, my twin sister and I were often victims of bullying for a number of reasons but being overweight along with being twins didn’t help matters. For over 25 years we kept the weight off by monitoring everything we ate and starving ourselves. The only times we put weight on prior to menopause and thyroid disease were during our pregnancies. Back then we starved ourselves to lose weight but never considered joining a gym because we were often busy raising children and working two or three jobs.
In it to win it? For the past four months, Cindy and I have been “hitting the gym” along with keeping close tabs on our diets and although we’ve had success on our weight loss journey, we’ve also had setbacks.
If you’ve ever been overweight, you understand the yo-yo of the scale and the depression of gaining a pound or two back after losing them.
Currently, I’ve lost 21 pounds over the past 4 months and Cindy 11lbs. While we have “started off with a bang,” we’ve learned that early weight loss is easier due to a number of factors but mainly water weight.
Everyone hits a plateau where your weight loss stops flat if you’ve ever been on a diet. This “flatline” of your weight loss journey can be disheartening when you’re working hard towards your goals but “changing things up” can get you back on track.
Changing your lifestyle is a journey on it’s own. We no longer hit the drive thru because “it’s convenient.” We don’t count calories because we count carbs.
Being a twin gives us each a “diet buddy” and if I see Cindy eating something “off the grid” I ask what she’s doing and she does the same.
Do we do everything together? Yes we do from spending time with our family to my event businesses at Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners to refurbishing and selling our bartered finds at Texas Twins Treasures, my sister and I are together nearly everyday and when we aren’t, we are talking to each other.
We’ve got this weight loss challenge? Well, Christmas posed a setback and I’m certain it was because we had both “successfully sailed” through Halloween and Thanksgiving without gaining and maybe even “thought” a bite of this or that wouldn’t hurt.
Back on track to getting fit in our fifties has had its ups and downs but when we have a setback, we learn from our mistakes and move on.
We are thankful to our twins, friends and followers who continue to cheer us on and offer advice or insights on our weight loss journey and like you- understand that you can’t win if you don’t play the game of dieting which is the only thing we’ve ever done together that required losing in order to win.
Ya all keep us motivated with your before and after photos on Instagram, FB, and Twitter. We enjoy your smart choices recipes too and we’ve learned that we aren’t alone on this lifestyle transformation because we are all in this together.
I will forever be grateful for Google and questioning my doctor about Dysphagia and Cindy would’ve continued taking Progesterone too not knowing that a drug prescribed to “ease menopause” was instead making her gain weight.
We live and we learn as we continue to get up, get going and continue our transformation as a TwinTeam.
Wendy M Wortham