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Monday June 11th 2018


Fat Thigh-Roid Woes: Rockin’ the Muffin Top

Post Published: 23 July 2010
Category: Column, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves Disease Symptoms Column
This post currently has 17 responses. Leave a comment

There was a time when my stomach didn’t hang over my pants.  There was a time when I did not know the meaning of “muffin top”.  There was also a time when I was so flippin’ sick skinny that I went out and bought two pairs of $150 jeans (oh, that was also the time when the economy was a lot better) and convinced myself that I was going to stay that thin forever even after I got well.

I’m not going to delve into societal pressure and what it does to women and body image.  We all know those ins and outs, cause we’ve all experienced it on differing degrees.

What I want to get to the bottom of is our own personal shift in perspective while sick and after the sickness.

I know many of us with Graves who have lost so much weight see that as a big plus if we have to deal with the other symptoms.  Sure, I’m not going to lie that I still sometimes get that twinge of “Yeah, those were the days.”.  Even though my muscle had shriveled and I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without legs hurting and body panting – FUCK at least my thighs didn’t chaff.  I was thin!!!  Can’t walk in heels, it’s too difficult while my whole body is shaking, but it’s ok, I’ll wear these flip-flops with this dress…at least I can eat that slice of CAKE later!!

My biggest fear after the RAI was gaining weight and my eyes bugging more.  Within a month my levels had dropped so quickly my body was putting on close to 2 – 3lbs a week.  NIGHTMARE.  Even though I realized some of that was muscle mass, my belly was whispering “you are a such fat ass”.  Since I’ve been a yo-yo with weight my whole life, and I didn’t want stretch marks (yet again) that looked like I had been tortured with a blade along my love handles – I restricted my calories.  However, I started on the path of self-sabotage.  Things I had never really craved, I suddenly wanted to stuff into my fat face.

Why do you think happened?  Why was it that much harder to want to lose weight this time around, even though I was so terrified of gaining it?  All those comments in the past of “you look great”, and “keep up what you’re doing” were flashing in front of me.  Only ONE person had ever said “you look great, but are you healthy?”  Nah…I doubt their expectations influenced how well I lost weight, but I’m sure it did influence some sort of thought process.

If I was so concerned about my weight, why was I still eating more than my body needed?  I realize that weight gain after RAI is almost an inevitability, but why did I now want MORE cake than I did before?  I heard two docs say we’re so used to eating so much food while sick, and after RAI we still don’t realize what a normal portion size is supposed to be.  I don’t think doctors give us enough credit.  We ALL know what a normal portion size should be.  We all KNOW when we’re full, and that we’re not supposed to stuff ourselves silly.

It comes down to this – I was resentful.  Resentful that I once was able to eat the things I loved and not have to worry about if I burned enough calories to enjoy it.  Resentful that I was once able to stuff myself and not worry about waking up fatter.  I still wanted the perks of my disease (along with the smooth, velvety skin) but I didn’t WANT to be sick.  Why couldn’t I have both?  Haven’t I fucking suffered enough?  Haven’t we all???  Damn it, I DESERVE to have my cake AND eat it too.

However, that resentment didn’t last as long as I expected.  I gave up.  I needed to stop being so hard on myself after my body had already been through so much.  I stopped trying to lose the weight and just went with the flow.  The flow of my stomach as it pressed over my pants, and the flow of my arms as they became more and more truck driver-ish.

I didn’t indulge in junk food or binge, I just simply didn’t think about losing weight.  I somewhat expected to be depressed over this development, and saw visions of myself surrounded by cartons of Ben & Jerry’s (along with the tied up bodies of both Ben and Jerry for that matter, as I demanded they create flavors suited to my needs).

Then, something unexpected happened.  One day, I woke up and looked in the mirror and grabbed my belly flab – but instead of in disgust, I giggled.  Maybe I was morphing into the Pillsbury Dough Boy?  No, I was enjoying the flab…

WTF?  Who the hell caresses their flab like that?  It took a moment to register…I WAS HAPPY.  I was happy the flab was there, it was a reminder that I WAS STARTING TO BE HEALTHY AGAIN.

I have spent months like this.  Though I complain about my fatness, I’ve become very accepting of it…for now.  I know I’m reaching my “sick of it” point, but I just want you all to try and enjoy the blubber for a little bit.  Go with it.  Know that your body is going to take time to heal, and don’t try and interfere at present.  Don’t stuff yourselves silly, but don’t beat yourselves up over it either if you do.  Attempt to cut out the unhealthy junk, and eat as healthy as possible.

Also, PLEASE don’t do the diet thing – once you’re ready, change your eating habits to just monitor portions.  The word “diet” denotes a temporary change.  We need to really make lifelong changes so we can be healthy, and stay healthy.  Also, “diet” drinks and food taste like ass, and they make your insides look like ass too.

When I’m ready to restrict calories again so I can drop the beached whale look, I’ll make it happen and without the self-sabotage.

I will still be craving that cake love-fest from time to time, but I will no longer resent my former self and what I used to be able to do.  When I eat cake now, I know it’ll try to make its way to my thighs…and my new strength, ability to workout, and better judgement will figure out how to deal with it.  Former Nicole only knew how to digest it poorly, get sick, and be locked in the bathroom in agony.  Who is jealous NOW, biatch??

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17 Responses to “Fat Thigh-Roid Woes: Rockin’ the Muffin Top

  1. Sarah Samantha says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I completely identify. I don’t have Graves, but I did have thyroid cancer and have no thyroid, so I know the feeling. It’s been about 2 years now since my cancer and total thyroidectomy, and although I haven’t gained MORE weight, I am kind of at this plateau. I have JUST begun accepting my body as well as I can at the moment, and even posted a picture of myself in my swimsuit when I was on vacation in Miami. THAT was a big deal for me. I also was thinner before and didn’t have to watch my weight so much, but it is what it is (I keep telling myself) and to stop obsessing on what WAS, but what IS and enjoy life. Right?

    p.s. I LOL’d at the line “and the flow of my arms as they became more and more truck driver-ish.”

  2. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Sarah Samantha!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the column this week – I’m still trying to enjoy not fitting into my pants, but it’s becoming a bit of a struggle.

    Bravo for posting a pic of yourself in a swimsuit! I don’t have the courage for that, but I wish I did. In the past few years, I’ve worn tank tops (I used to NEVER show my arms cause I hated the shape and size – it’s the last spot I ever lose weight) and I just don’t care anymore. Maybe I’ll step it up to bathing suit status one day!



  3. Bee says:

    Oh, Nicole, are u sure you weren’t writing about my life? I only divert from your story in that A) i haven’t learned to grab my belly fat flap and laugh yet and B)i didn’t have Graves that i know of…but i just know that for 18 months prior to my 60 lb. wght gain, I had a 50 lb. weight loss-i thought the menopause gods were just being kind. Little did i know that i was severely hyper before the hashi’s took over-i gaind 60 lbs in 4 mos, skipped 2 clothing sizes over night and even tho i’ve been medicated for 4yrs., my weight stays the same,w/in a lb. or 2. i’ve dieted, i’ve been involved in a weight loss program where the food was provided for free for 3 mos. as an experiment- i obviously failed as i’d go in wk after wk and not budge a lb and the nurses would look at me like i was secretly eating bags of snickers

    I remember during the worst of the hypo- those drivethru fast food restaurants tasted pretty good bcuz it meant that i didn’t have to shop and cook..

    But i have learned about portion size. I don’t overeat, i rarely finish my food…and yet I AM STILL FAT. However, i don’t think i look too bad in person or when i look at myself in a mirror. It’s just when i see myself in photos I am horrified at what the photo looks like .I just keep telling myself that a picture adds 15 lbs ( iwish i could say 50) and stay behind the camera instead of in front.

    I’m getting used to the fatness of my ass. my problem is looking at my shoulders and upper arms. i look like a freaking linebacker or a distance cousin of the human race who needs these shoulders and arms to swing myself thru trees. A tip i recently learned-do not wear any tops with bold patterns when being photographed–I looked like a bedspread with a head

  4. Amanda says:

    I always love to see your articles, because I know that I can relate. And I do in so many ways. I got my “diagnosis” of Graves Disease last week and started on Methimazole. So far so good, slight changes.

    I relate to this, especially the “comments about looking great”. Why does it hurt so much when someone pulls you aside and says “HAVE YOU LOST A TON OF WEIGHT?”. I want to say fuck you. The first time, it caught me off guard and I said “I have a thyroid problem” [I didn’t have my diagnosis yet]. That led to “isn’t that what people say when they get fat”. Bam. If I wasn’t going to get fired for popping her in her crooked teeth, I would have. I tried to explain, but she already had that sideways glance thing going on. She hasn’t really spoken to me since, and I am all the better for it. Now I just say “ya” when I get the astonished weight loss comments. It isn’t an acceptable reaction to not be proud of weight loss, it seems like you are lying or covering up. But no one wants to hear the real reason. If you say it is due to an illness/disease… they think you are going for the pity vote. I don’t want pity or anything from them. I want them to mind their own damn business. I think it is rude to constantly comment and talk about weight. I was morbidly obese at one point, and I did the right thing and watched my food intake and moved around more. It very slowly came off… so slowly that no-one noticed when I had dropped almost 50 pounds. No comments, no “wow”. Nothing, and I was happy in that. But when I dropped almost 30 pounds now, by just having a deranged thyroid… my weight loss is amazing… incredible. What the hell is that about? It is cool and good to have a dramatic fast weight loss? But to slowly and correctly get your body in shape, that is not really interesting.

    So you embrace your healthier body, in whatever shape it is. We country hicks call it the “sexy swell”. Be happy in your health, or bits of good health. If we are to depend on society to make us feel good about ourselves, well… we might never get to that point.

    Thanks for your words.
    Amanda ʚϊɞ

  5. VaBeachgirl says:

    Wow….amazing….somehow, though I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, I truly believed that I was unique and the only one dealing with these ridiculous symptons….Right before I got my RAI, I remember standing at the bottom of the spiral staircase in my foyer when i came home from work and wondering how I was ever going to get up to my bedroom…It got so bad that I had to crawl up on my knees and pull myself up by the railings. Pitiful…good thing that wasnt now…as I too have gained over 50 lbs in the last 2years and 3 months since my RAI and I wouldnt have been able to drag my fat self up those damn stairs now… Please someone give me some encouragement about this weight…I have tried everything….and although vanity has reared its ugly head, the most stressful part is the way my body feels with all of this extra weight on. (they had to give me steroid injections IV and in my eye sockets for 9 months to help the bulging…Damn this disease 🙁

  6. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Bee,

    Why must you make me laugh? When I laugh these days, my gut is pure Santa Claus.

    I’m sorry you haven’t been able to drop the weight despite your best efforts…what is the solution to this mess??? How do we drop this weight? It seems like our metabolisms just want to close up shop after being jerked around for so many years.

    A fatter ass is a good thing, and I wish most of my weight would go there – but the cruel joke is that my fat is going to my back and gut. I wish my tits would get bigger too, but no, they’re staying the same. Just the rolls next to them are expanding. It’s bullshit. A cruel joke.

    We’ll find something that works one day, and whoever finds it first will have to share the info with the Fat-Fucking-Back club, okay??

  7. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Amanda,

    I am TOTALLY going to call my curves “sexy swell” from now on.

    I could punch the people who said “you look great” as your body was wasting away, yet didn’t notice when you changed bad habits for good. My huge goiter was once the only fat thing on my body, and people would also give me the “I thought thyroid stuff made you fat” when I told them I had an issue. So much about thyroid disease is misunderstood, and I’m DONE with people assuming you’re a lazy fat ass when you say “I have a thyroid disease”.

    The most important thing is that YOU know how to take the weight off with good habits you’ve put into place. I’m reaching my limit with my fatness, so I will be implementing change soon enough. I’m hoping my body doesn’t hate me enough to stop working with me. Countless hours of cardio and limited calories doesn’t sound like a blast, but like, I can’t buy bigger clothes. I’m wearing sweats everyday since I can’t afford to bust out a new wardrobe…haha. Thank you for sharing your story!



  8. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi VaBeachGirl,

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, and yes, you’re most definitely not alone. I struggled with the flight of stairs to get up to my apartment, and I too would pull myself up. A few times, I fell down to the ground and couldn’t move – my legs would just GIVE OUT. Such an odd disease…

    Give it time. We need to remember to not be so hard on ourselves when everything comes crashing down at once. I’m taking everything one day at a time, because I just can’t deal with doing everything at once. I will pull out the remaining thin hairs from my head!

    My body doesn’t feel right with the added weight, especially when my elbows rest on my rolls as I drive. That’s when I know ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. There has been a definite change in how my body reacts to food now, ever since this thyroid disease ran its course and it’s SO EASY for me to gain one pound overnight. UGH, makes me wanna SCREAM.

    Btw, are the steroid injections making you gain weight in addition to the RAI? Have you talked to a doctor about following a specific program for weight loss after all this is done? I’m thinking about seeing a nutritionist that specializes in fucked up medical marvels like myself.

    • VaBeachgirl says:

      Nicole…you do make me laugh! Im sure that the steroids didnt help with the weight gain..(and I quit smoking 7 months ago as well..grrr) but, Im with you about finding a nutritionist that can think outside the box and possibly give me some encouragement. I understand about the rolls…I have never had this in my life…was a personal trainer and phys ed teacher for years..and in great shape…but, now i am “in shape…just not sure what shape..lol! I have been doing some research at the Edgar Casey Foundation,ARE in Va Beach…there has to be something that Graves will respond to …My Endo just smiles alot and says “just give it some time…I want to smack the crap out of him….Like many others…he failed to enlighten me of the aftermath of RAI…On the hair situation…My hair is finally growing back in….I have been taking Biotin and using Tresomme with Protein (my local health food store owner gave me those tips)..It has gotten about 50% thicker…which is good…Im thinking about growing it to my feet to cover the flab..lol… 🙂

  9. Donna says:

    Thanks Nicole for another article I can relate to. Lost 17 lbs in the last 3 years, ten probably in the last six months and have not only dealt with family and friends thinking this is great but people in the medical field as well! I was never overweight to begin with. Skinny does not equate to healthy. Frustrating. I’m gaining a little now that my levo has been reduced but really wonder what damage I have done to my body.

    Thanks again.

  10. Nicole Wells says:

    Dear Donna,

    You’re very welcome! I know plenty of skinny people that survive on fast food, and yet, I’m seen as the unhealthy one when my hips get large enough to knock children to the ground. Neither do I suggest that being dangerously overweight is healthy.

    It’s hard not to think about the damage Graves has done to our bodies when all is said and done – but if anything it’s given me a reality check to do my best to eat healthier and manage stress more effectively. All we can do is move forward from here, and not dwell in the past.

    : ) xoxoxo


  11. Lolly says:


    Another great installment from you.

    Funny you mention about clothes too, I have a wardrobe full of clothes that just don’t fit my goal is to get into them I even had a charity call to ask me to donate some clothes to feed the starving children. I told them to kiss my ass; anyone who fits in my clothes isn’t starving!

    as for exercise,just finished my 6 minute upper body workout-it was pretty easy, arm down, pick up food, arm up, put food in mouth, switch arms…my arms are acheing a little, but I feel so much better for it.


  12. misti_hope says:

    Nicole, I loved your post. I’m 38 this year and have been without my thyroid for more years than I had it. I’ve decided that this is the year I accept myself, fat rolls, swollen ankles (hate!) and all.

    Screw all those people who judge me by my weight without knowing my struggles. I exercise A LOT, because I feel better when I do. I watch what I eat and how much, because I feel better when I do. And yes, I’m still a size 18/20, which I have been for the past 14 years, no matter WHAT I eat, how much I move or what my dosage is. So what if I eat cake or ice cream or a candy bar, and actually enjoy it!

    I like myself and my body. And if someone else doesn’t, then don’t fuckin’ look. Now I’m exhausted. I think I’ll have some cake.

  13. Nicole Wells says:

    Dear Lolly,

    I just finished my workout too, it was called “coordinating the mac salad, fried chicken, and rice to be all in one bite”.

    I have worn sweats daily, in between the burst of wearing skirts (my thighs can only deal with so much chaffing).



  14. Nicole Wells says:

    Dear Misti Hope,

    Live the dream, thysista! F people and their assumptions, and unfortunately, we’ve all been guilty of making them. F our own assumptions too.

    As long as you’re healthy, that’s all that matters. Glad to hear you’re working out too! I was addicted to the gym, and so many issues with Graves have made me almost afraid to get back into the routine. I start, then stop, and etc etc.

    You’ve inspired me to accept my fuckin’ wings for another week at least. I shall wear them proudly in tank tops.

    Take care,


  15. heatherh826 says:

    Thank you for this. This truly shined a different light on the healing process. Shortly after my thyroid was removed I got pregnant. So on top of gaining the weight from post surgery I also had baby weight. I have lost 50lbs so far and now im back at pre baby weight but its still post surgery weight. I feel like its been pulling teeth to get my ass up and work out and all I want is to eat chocolate. This made me feel better about the process in saying that at least im healthy now. Thank you

  16. SharonM says:

    Hi Nicole, funny – I also have 2 pairs of expensive jeans that I bought when I had lost weight my first time around with Graves. Oblivious to the impending weight gain, I figured I deserved it after all I’d been through. I was starting feel better so why the hell not?

    I tried one of them on yesterday – optimistic because I have lost 10lbs since my 2nd bout of Graves returned a month ago but alas, I’m nowhere near the weight I was when I originally purchased the jeans. I’m only losing the extra weight I’d gained after the first bout. Nope, my muffin top wasn’t having any of it, it told those jeans to fuck right off.. I had about 3-4 inches to go before I could even attempt to button & zip them up. GROSS. I am not as forgiving to my body as you are Nicole. I’m sure I’ll get there but for now I’m going to try & enjoy this temporary episode of weight loss but I won’t be going shopping.

    take care, Sharon.

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