It’s been exactly about a year since I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in 2016. But before that, I began to develop the symptoms long before my diagnosis. Refer to Hypothyroidism: My Personal Journey to a Diagnosis. To put it simply, I was exhausted all the time & I put on weight extremely fast. Since September 2015, I had gained close to 30 pounds because of both depression/anxiety & Hypothyroidism. Losing weight has never been my ultimate goal in this health journey. My goal has always been to FEEL BETTER & to love my body no matter what my thyroid decided to do to it. It has been a tough journey so far, but after about a 1 year & 4 months, I have FINALLY began to lose weight with my condition after trying so many different methods. Like I said, losing weight was never the ultimate goal, but it does feel good to be able to stop buying a whole new wardrobe & be able to wear my clothes again. As of today, I have lost 13 pounds since January. I want to share with others what I have found to work.
First off, let me tell you what I had already tried.
When I first began to put on weight & find my clothes not being able to fit anymore, I did what anyone else would do: I got a gym membership & I watched what I ate. I want to make sure I say this clearly. I WAS going to the gym & I WAS eating pretty healthy. I’d go to the gym a few times a week & I would prep meals weekly. My Hypothyroidism didn’t seem to care. I continuously gained weight. I had low energy & felt crappy every day. I even went so far as to count calories again. At one point, I was maybe only eating 1,200 – 1,400 calories a day (please don’t do this) & I still gained weight. Once I was officially diagnosed in 2016, I began to take medication for my Thyroid. I figured, finally my thyroid will respond & I will begin to lose weight. WRONG. Just by taking my t4 medication alone, nothing happened. Flash forward to just a few months ago before I started this blog, I was close to 30-35 pounds (it fluctuated a lot) over my original weight in 2015. I was a person who was already diagnosed with Hypothyroidism by a doctor, was taking t4 medication, & was living a not so bad lifestyle. I would say I was healthy compared to the average American… I don’t eat fast food often, I don’t drink soda or coffee, I enjoy hiking & lifting weights, I actually like vegetables, & I try to stay away from tons of sugar. My thyroid did not give a shit. I still gained weight & I still felt like SHIT. I still displayed Hypothyroid symptoms even though I was on medication. WHAT. THE. FCUK.
I was frustrated to say the least. I felt like I was doing everything right. I took my meds, I worked out, I ate healthy… what more could I do to feel better?!
After much trial & error… here is what I did that WORKED. Pay attention.
- GET YOUR T3 CHECKED. I did a ton of research once I noticed after a few months that my meds were not helping. I read blogs, watched YouTube videos, & bought books. One of the consistent things I read was about T3. Basically… (Remember, I’m not an expert or scientist or health professional) T4 (the medication I’m on) is a hormone that is produced by your Thyroid, which is what I’m lacking. T4 turns into T3 which helps support your metabolism & a whole lotta other functions in your body. What I think was going on in my body, was that my T4 was not turing into T3 sufficiently. So.. I started to see a new Endocrinologist & he prescribed me T3. It’s been a game changer!
- GET A NUTRITIONIST. I did my research & began to see a nutritionist (EatingMindful) who was familiar with Hypothyroidism. I found my nutritionist on Yelp surprisingly. I found that someone left a review who had Hypothyroidism like me & she saw results. YUP. Sign me up! My nutritionist shared foods with me that could help heal my Thyroid & she introduced me to the next 3 key points…
- HEAL YOUR GUT. My nutritionist shared with me how leaky gut could cause major thyroid issues. I have been someone who has always had some gut issues going on, so when I heard this it all made sense to me! I began to follow the protocols to heal my gut with: GOOD probiotics, gelatin powder & gut healing enzymes in my smoothies, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, & fermented veggies.
- DETOX. With the support of my nutritionist, I went on a Purification Program that detoxed my body for 3 weeks & acted as an elimination diet. Refer to the link to see what I cut out from my diet. When I did slowly begin to introduce everything back in (it took FOREVER), I found that the 2 problematic foods my body disliked was dairy (to a certain extent) & gluten. I have noticed in the past few weeks where I have been eating a lot of dairy & some gluten, that I have been breaking out way more, my stomach is not the happiest with me, & I have began to feel symptoms that I haven’t felt since before the purification program. I began to feel groggy, fatigued, & low energy again. NOT. COOL.
- DAIRY & GLUTEN ELIMINATION. Because of the last point, I am convinced that cutting excessive dairy & gluten is what made me feel a million times better. My energy improved tremendously, my face was clearing up, I started to lose weight… but most importantly, I just felt better. Period. Now, I don’t know all the science behind this, but dairy & gluten are major contributors to inflammation & leaky gut (see point #2). I also heard from my doctor that by eliminating these 2 foods, my body can absorb my medication better. Whatever it is… it’s working. I’d rather feel better, have clearer skin, & have energy than eat gluten & dairy every day. I love cheese, but I’m willing to lower my intake significantly if it means I will feel better.
- PRACTICE SELF LOVE. Like I have mentioned a million times, losing weight wasn’t my goal. To be honest, I gave up on losing weight after a year of trying. I came to the realization that if my body is going to look like this, I’m going to learn to love it. I accepted my body. I bought new cute clothes in my new size. I came to terms that my body does not define who I am & my thyroid is working against me. I feel like the moment I just started to love myself (easier said than done) everything else began to work. Instead of focusing on weight, I focused on feeling better physically. Weight loss came so much easier after I did that. When you are practicing self-love, positivity, & begin to feel happier… your body will react accordingly.
- HAVE A HEALTH GOAL, NOT A WEIGHT LOSS GOAL. Like the last point, I gave up on losing weight. I decided to focus on my health rather than the scale. So, I decided to make one of my goals to run a 5k for the first time. Refer to Running my First 5k. By putting so much of my energy into training for this 5k & just having the mindset training to run a full 5k rather than lose weight, I didn’t set myself up for disappointment. I knew I could run a 5k (even if it was hard & sucked at times) but, I didn’t know if I could lose weight anymore. So, why set myself up for disappointment? I made a goal that was attainable & in result… I ran a 5k & I happened to lose weight along the way.
- DON’T OVER TRAIN. In the past, I had points of my life where I worked out 6 days a week & lost tons of weight. I tried that with Hypothyroidism… it doesn’t work. I read from many other blogs & books not to over train. Your thyroid is not happy with you. Your body is exhausted. Don’t put it in more stress. What I found to work was working out 2-3 times a week for only about 30 minutes a workout. Most workouts were not very stressful. A lot of the time, I would warm up with a run & then lift some weights most of the time. The key was not to exhaust my body. I think my body was happy with that.
I hope these 8 tips help someone else with Hypothyroidism. Every one has a different body. This may not work for you, but it worked for me. I feel SOOOOOO much better than I did a few months ago. Even if I didn’t lose the 13 pounds, I still would be happy just to not fall asleep at 8pm anymore. Give one of these points a try with your Hypothyroid journey. You got nothing to lose but maybe a few pounds, your chronic fatigue, & your acne!