I have a feeling that what I am about to write may make some people feel angry or upset, I promise I am not intending to invalidate anyone’s life choices. I realize that it is very easy to become frustrated when diet and exercise aren’t doing what you think they should be doing as quickly as you would like. Trust me, I get it.

Living with Hashimoto’s has taught me quite a bit about learning to be patient with what seems to be a never ending process. As someone who looses half the amount of weight a normal person would in twice the amount of time, I can empathize with people who are frustrated with slow progress and desperate to find a way to shed unwanted weight as soon as possible. I have turned to my fair share of diet supplements in an attempt to rid my body of 70 unwanted pounds that seem to torture me every time I look in the mirror. What I have found is that these supplements, whether they be patches, oils, capsules, shakes, or extreme diet plans, are hardly ever what we want them to be. Not only that, they tend to have very dangerous side effects that we, in our need for a quick fix, gloss over and assure ourselves won’t happen to us.

These side effects may seem like a small price to pay for the huge reward associated with losing large amounts of weight. It may seem like these things will never happen to us, especially if we are very careful, if we only crash diet for a while, if we only supplement for a while, if we are smart about how much of these supplements we take. The problem is, we are not smart enough or clever enough to outwit our own bodies. Our bodies are designed to protect us from things that aren’t supposed to be in them. They have numerous defense mechanisms and warning systems in place to let us know when what we consume or don’t consume is in danger of hurting us irreparably. But we ignore them.

We insist that we will stop before it’s too late. Before too much damage is done. But what we don’t know, what we can’t foresee, is that the damage starts as soon as we turn to a supplement to do what our bodies, through healthy eating habits and dedication to exercise, are more than capable of doing on their own. There simply is no substitute for a diet of healthful, wholesome food, and a routine of consistent beneficial exercise. I know it seems odd that someone like myself, someone whose body has a habit of doing the very opposite of what it’s supposed to, would be saying that we should trust our bodies to do right by us. But that doesn’t change the fact that when I began to take care of my body the way it needed to be taken care of, partnered with my doctors who have helped me to find the best medicine to help my Thyroid function as it should, my body began to take care of me.

It came without patches, without chemicals, without starving myself, without jumping through hoops in order to force my body into doing what is not natural for it to do. My weight loss, all 7 pounds of it, may seem small or significant, but it is authentic. It is the product of hours of hard work and dedication. It is the result of making sure that nothing goes into my body that would cause it further harm. There simply is no supplement that can do what our bodies, with the help of healthy lifestyle choices, can do.

There is no supplement for dedication. For will power. For good decisions. Unfortunately hen we insist the opposite, we rob ourselves of the chance to prove to ourselves just what we can do. We put our bodies in danger, and we are even more likely to put on twice as much weight than what we lost by supplementing with these dangerous chemicals. We are twice as likely to do even more damage to our bodies, damage that will make losing the weight again seem even more impossible.

Now I don’t want anyone to think I am judging or condemning them or their choices. I do not agree with taking these supplements, but that doesn’t mean I can’t empathize with the reasons behind doing so. That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt these same feelings. That I haven’t been just as desperate and frustrated. But I will always stand by my body’s ability to heal itself. With the help of properly educated medical professionals, lots of time praying on our knees, and lots of dedication to healthy lifestyle choices, our bodies can do amazing things. We only need to give them the chance to do so. Supplements, diet pills, patches, and other unsustainable weight loss methods, rob them of this chance.