What It’s Like to Live With Hormones Demystified

[HD: I’ve been keeping this special post in my back pocket for months, waiting to pull it out at just the right time. Given that I’m sick of reading about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably tired of hearing about it, I already wrote about the mental challenges of living in a quarantined world, and I can’t muster the enthusiasm for continuing my T3 Controversies Series right now…this would appear to be an opportune time. What follows is the blog’s first-ever guest post, written by my daughter. She thought it was a fun idea, and I agreed, so I hope you enjoy it. This should go without saying, but she says it in her first paragraph and I’ll echo it: please keep the comments positive. There is a zero-tolerance policy in effect for troll-like behavior on this post.]

Hi! I am Hormones Demystified’s daughter. My dad and I thought it would be cool to give you a glimpse inside a diabetes doctor’s home life – from my point of view, of course. This post may not be like the normal, professional posts you might be used to getting, but I think that this is a great opportunity to inject some humor into this blog (humor that no one can really be touchy about, *cough cough*). That said, I would love to not see any hate comments on this post. Though I don’t think there’s anything in here that could generate hate, I know that some people always find a way. Remember, I am still a 12 year-old kid with a heart, so please enjoy!

Patient Stories

Sometimes, when my dad comes home from work, he has had a pretty normal day. Other days, some patient has come into the room saying, “I know what tests and medications I need, now sign here.” While eating dinner, we try to calm him down before his head explodes. Though, I do like hearing some of these stories. The way some people choose to talk to my dad can be extremely funny.

Sometimes, his patients also see other kinds of “doctors” who do some really wack things. Yes, I know all about these “quacks” – as my dad calls them -from my dad’s passionate rants on them. And when patients come in quoting them (usually naturopaths) to him, my mom and I will most definitely hear about it. So, please, do not do this to your endocrinologist or else their family will have to listen to them complain about it for the entirety of dinner.

Eating Healthy

Since my dad is a diabetes doctor, he always wants our family to eat in the best way that we can. He actually does like sugar, though. When I bake something highly addictive, he will have to tell me or my mom to physically take the chocolate chip cookies away from him. Sometimes, there is reason behind his healthiness.  Sometimes, it can get a bit out of hand. For example, a diet with reason would be to not eat butter noodles with garlic bread and no vegetables or protein. I can understand that. But when the serving size on a cookie box is six cookies (small cookies), and he says, “Nope. Only one,” that can get pretty annoying. Like, not even two? Fortunately, my mom put an end to that rule pretty quickly, but I was worried for a while. Whoever is reading this (yes, you), feel my pain and sympathize. 

I do want to eat healthy, but I don’t want to go crazy obsessing about what I am consuming. I still want to enjoy my meals! At times, my dad has these things that I call “health phases”. The one that he’s in right now is his potassium phase. Sure, I’d love to be healthy and eat lots of stuff that’s good for you, but I wouldn’t really prefer to eat yogurt, beets and kimchi in the same sitting. Yes, my dad did this, believe it or not.

Habits

Since being born into this family, I have developed a few habits:

  1. My tastebuds have changed dramatically from when I was little to now. Don’t get me wrong, I like sugar. While I used to love anything sweet, now things can actually be so sweet that I can’t eat it. I know. “Too sweet.” Impossible. When I went camping with some friends, we made these things called pie-iron pies. Basically, it was two pieces of white bread and raw pie filling from a can. While my friends were clamoring for seconds, I was trying not to be sick from all the sugar and carbs. D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G. 100% would not recommend.
  2. When going to the grocery store, I can’t help but check the nutrition facts on every single thing we put in the cart. Yogurt? Nutrition facts. Tomato sauce? Nutrition facts. Salt? Nutrition facts. The salt is always sort of boring. Zero, zero, zero, sodium 580, zero, zero…
  3. Finally, my last major habit is that I totally silently judge my friends’ food. They bring their own lunch, open it up, and what do I see? Bread, rice, juice. But what I don’t see I judge even more. No vegetables?!?! So unhealthy. No protein? Do their parents even care about their kid? But when they buy lunch… pizza, fruit roll up, juice, cookie, ice cream, chips… the list goes on. I find myself crinkling my nose at their food choices and saying to myself, “Even if I had the option to take those things for lunch, I wouldn’t. My friends are going to die by the age of 21 if they go on like this!” So, if you are a parent, don’t kill your kid at an early age. Feed them good, healthy choices.

Social and School Life

When my dad hears about the horrifying lunches that my friends and classmates bring to the middle school cafeteria, he threatens to come to my school and give a talk to the parents and students about healthy choices. Of course, this would do no wonders for my social life, so I always manage to talk him down. Thank goodness. 

Sometimes, I get tired of the healthy eating routine at my house, so I innocently ask my parents if I can go to a friend’s house around lunch or dinner. Once I arrive, their parents are just like, “Oh, do you want anything to eat?” And I’m here like, “Oh, if you insist.” I then proceed to eat without my dad judging me. Dad, if you are reading this, sorry, it’s true. 

This is one of my favorite stories to tell about my healthy eating, so I’ll share it with you. I’m sitting on the bus, minding my own business, while two boys are arguing whether Pop Tarts are better toasted or untoasted. One of the boys who I’ve known since second grade asks me, “What do you think?” I then proceed to reply, “I’ve actually never tried a Pop Tart.” Everyone sitting around me suddenly turns to face me and scream, “WHAT?!!!” My dad never buys Pop Tarts since there is so much sugar in them, so I honestly have no idea how they taste.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this a nice break from the deep stuff that is usually on this blog!

[HD: I took a few well-deserved lumps here, which I suppose is karma. Nonetheless, there’s one question raised here with which I think many parents struggle: where do we draw the line between causing our kids to have an unhealthy obsession over what they put in their mouths and encouraging them to have a healthy obsession about what they put in their mouths? As you can see, I’m still learning.]

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Image Credit: Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

14 Replies to “What It’s Like to Live With Hormones Demystified”

  1. Great post daughter-of-HD! I am also a parent who has tried to teach healthy eating to my kids without going crazy (though I, like your dad, might qualify as bonkers).

    Your dad asked about encouraging healthy eating without going nuts, and it sounds like you’re well on your way. My kids earned to read nutrition labels young and to think of food as fuel for brains and bodies. (For other parents) I didn’t ask if they wanted veggies, I just had cut up cukes and carrots and broccoli out. One of my sons loved eating veggie sausages frozen and veggie dogs cold. My own mom was horrified, but they were fully cooked protein. If he thought cold or frozen was a treat, who was I to take that away?

    When they wanted something that came in a box or a bag, I’d ask them to look at the ingredients (high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated anything, artificial sweeteners, nitrates?) and how big a serving was. They understood that good food is one of life’s great pleasures, so spend it on good ice cream with real flavors, not something with a 100-year shelf life.

    When snacking, I had them take some and put it in a small cereal bowl. They could come back for more, but at least they wouldn’t suddenly have an empty bag and no idea where the contents had gone.

    You may not feel lucky, but you’d be amazed at how many adults are clueless about this stuff (I’m sure your dad has a rant about this, could be amusing for you).

    Now my kids are in their 20’s and, well, 2 out of 3 eat healthfully…one has the unfailing ability to find the worst junk ever packaged. But at least she’s aware of what she’s doing. 🙄

    It may seem hard to believe, but some day you’ll realize that, rants aside, having smart parents teach you useful information is a good thing and sets you up for a healthier life with fewer bad habits to unlearn. At least that’s what mine say to my face.

  2. Dear HD’s D: delightful post. Good on you for learning how to eat well. Your knowledge and awareness truly are your best friend forever.

    1. I can’t agree more about the pop tarts, never could stomach them and neither could my kids, who are now in their twenties. I enjoyed your post. It’s all about balance, isn’t it 😀

  3. Hi, HD Daughter, I really enjoyed your post!

    I have a suggestion about your Dad’s proposal for a talk about nutrition at school. Maybe you could do one together! You know the kids would have a hard time with just a lecture, so maybe it could be more interactive, like they do on the Dr Oz show. Your Dad might not care for him, but you could check out the format yourself. It has lots of audience interaction, which would be fun at school. If you two ever do this, come back here and let us know how it goes!

  4. Dear HD’s daughter,
    I have known your dad (and mom) for the last twenty years. I always feel perfectly porcine when we dine together, since my portions are often generous and my food choices frequently indiscriminate. And yes, I know the look your pop can give……like I am engaging in some form of gastronomic euthanasia. However, as I have learned over the years, he is never judging. He really, truly cares about those around him (including you, dear readers). It’s what makes him a good friend, and an even better dad. I will confess that it is sort of fun coming up with new ways to make his eyes pop out if his head, and while I am cleaning up my act, eating is sometimes still an extreme sport in my house.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this! I especially loved hearing about your dad’s “phases.” And how, he’s now in “potassium phase.” As parents, I don’t think we recognize how our personal missions appear to others around us, especially our kids. You little buzzards are always watching us! It’s exhausting!
    Also, it looks like you and your dad have a great relationship, which I know you will treasure. In not too short of a time, one of his “phases” will be having to learn to let you grow up and into your own person. Be gentle with him during that phase–clearly he’s very fond of you! Thanks for some great lunch-time reading!

  6. Dear HD’s daughter,

    I didn’t have my first pop tart until I was 33 years old, so super old! My dad was pretty neurotic about food growing up too, so I feel your pain. I will say though, I could only handle 2 bites and to be honest, I realized I wasn’t missing out on much.

    However, a bit of advice: don’t tell your parents they were right about their food choices, especially YOUR dad. It’ll go to their heads and then they’ll really explode 😉

    M

    P.S.
    HD – I’m looking forward to the fallout on this comment 🙂

  7. This is a post that resonates with me because I have to be careful of the same thing. While I want my kids to eat healthy (11 years old, 8 years old and 2 years old), I don’t want them to obsess about food. And I find myself trying to institute the same healthy eating principles on them that I have had to do to stay healthy with Hypothyroidism. But, I now try to relax that within reason to avoid them becoming orthorexic (and myself included). But I do cringe a bit. I believe over his time blogging he’s come around a little bit on things. Thyroid treatment is pretty complex in my opinion. Diabetes is another animal (I’m hoping more strait forward). But yes, sugar is something that should be used as a small treat. You are likely to be in better shape eating mostly healthy (but try not to focus on it too much). Enjoy your childhood!

  8. Hi HDD – Great job! I laughed out loud a couple of times. My husband’s aunt put her husband and kids through a vegan phase, and the nieces and nephews always thought it was hilarious when they would spot their uncle in a McDonald’s on the sly! No food was ever off-limits in our house when our son was growing up, but healthy meals came before treats, and treats were always in moderation. I’m sure he ate more junk at some of his friends’ houses whose parents weren’t as strict, but he grew up to be a healthy eater so it all turned out OK!

  9. Dear Great Kid (even if you are HD’s daughter!)–
    My daughter is 22 this week & graduating university. She claims all her healthy eating habits came from us.

    Once, she was so tired of the ‘right’ foods, she hid them in her desk. We found that lunch by the trail of ants!

    Love your stories!

    Thai Papa & Mama
    Bangkok

  10. I’ll just say how much I enjoyed this. Nicely written, insightful and witty. Perhaps give your Dad some lessons?😛

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