Category: Living with Hypothyroidism

Blog posts focusing on my journey with hypothyroidism.

Thyroid Reality Check

Thyroid Reality Check

living with hypothroidism

This week marks the “end” of summer for our family.  The football staff is back in the office, and for my boys, that means they spend time hanging out in dad’s office or in mine.  Now, granted, his office includes a weight room and mine is a swimming pool right now, but I still feel guilty.

Over the last 10 years of being a mom I’ve spent many a day feeling guilty, it’s part of the baggage most 21st century mothers carry, but for me, it is tied to the fact that for the first 9 years of motherhood every day I had to make a choice between resting and cleaning, resting and playing with the boys, relaxing and cooking, etc.   The early years were easy, I just napped when the kids napped.  When they went to school, and I entered back into working outside the home a few days a week things got a bit trickier.  This isn’t to say that we never had fun, we did…I have the pictures to prove it.  At the same time, every choice felt like a compromise.

Since finding my new endocrinologist and switching to Armour Thyroid, I have found my days of compromise becoming less and less necessary.  As long as I take my medicine, eat a healthy diet and exercise I seem to function just like everyone else.

This summer after a 2-year break I took a job back in aquatics.  Swimming can be draining, and I’ve found this summer to be a challenging one.  It’s a good job, working for good people, and right now it’s also necessary, so we’ve made adjustments at the house including the boys learning how to load the dishwasher, Coach taking care of dinner most nights and many more cleaning chores around the house.  Still, adding on this extra job has been a huge reality check.

After the first session of swimming (2 weeks long), I ended up in bed all weekend with strep throat.  There was a gap week in the calendar, and during that week I spent time creating freezer meals for the month of July and getting as much done around the house as I could.  Thankfully, this allowed for a healthier second session.  I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to wrapping up swim lessons for the summer regardless of how thankful I am for the job.

I’m also thankful for this summer because it has reminded me that I have limits, and boundaries need to be firmly stuck to.  Living with hypothyroidism means I have to make choices and prioritize tasks but it doesn’t mean I have to stop living.

Insulin Resistance and Hypothyroidism

Insulin Resistance and Hypothyroidism

health and hypothyroism

One of the first things my endocrinologist did was to have a lot of blood drawn.  3 vials to be specific.  The tests run were for my TSH, T4, hormone levels, cholesterol, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Magnesium, Iron, A1C and many other things.

A week later I was back in the office where (as I said previously) I was informed that in addition to needing my thyroid medicine changed, I needed to change my vitamins and my diet.

Women to Women.com explains:

“The body works hard to balance what is digested, monitor blood sugar levels, meet cell demands, and release insulin in just the right amounts. Metabolism plays a key role in glucose functioning–it defines how the body regulates energy. Our diets affect our metabolism, and a diet consisting mostly of simple carbohydrates found in refined and processed foods, results in the fast break down of sugars that quickly enter the bloodstream. As this occurs, the body releases more insulin to try to control the glucose levels, creating a downward spiral. However, a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, aids metabolism and its relationship to insulin, tipping the scales in the right direction.”

I had been eating a diet that I considered to be well balanced.  I was following Weight Watchers and was always well within my points range.  I ate salad for a meal almost every day, had plenty of fruit as snacks and always had vegetables with dinner.  For me, what it came down to was eliminating bread almost entirely, limiting sugar in everything including coffee creamer and yogurt and focusing on my protein intake.  I stopped counting calories and points and even stopped measuring out foods.  I didn’t eliminate carbs altogether, I only limited myself to one serving a day.  I created the “menu” shown below for my health coaching clients as a springboard to taking control of their eating. For me personally, I have found that I don’t really need that much variety in my diet, breakfast is either eggs or a protein shake with chia seeds, lunch is soup and salad or hummus and veggies 5 days of the week, and dinner is a good variety of things.  I want to expose my boys to as many flavors as I can, so dinners vary every day.

Once I started eating an egg and fruit for breakfast instead of an egg on a bagel thin, changed my Greek yogurt from one with 18 carbs to 8 and cut out wraps for lunch the weight dropped very consistently.  Part of this for me was also the adjustment of my thyroid medicines which allowed my metabolism to function.  I have some amazing friends, and I gave a few of them this eating plan and asked them to see if this way of eating worked for them as well.  Each person who stuck to the ideas below lost a minimum of 5lbs the first month.  One girlfriend has adopted this eating plan and since the first week of December has lost 2 or more lbs consistently for a total of 26lbs to date.

The reason this has been working, in my opinion, points back directly to what research has found.  Depending on which study you refer to experts state that about 25% of women or 14 million men and women are currently insulin resistant in the US alone.  So, if you are having trouble losing weight consider switching up your menu.

A Week of Healthy Eating

Breakfast:

Freezer smoothies, Frittata, Microwave Omelet or Egg, Hard Boiled Egg, Greek Yogurt, Fruit, nd nuts or nut butter or PB2, cottage cheese, protein shake**

Lunch:

Hummus and veggies, Salad with Grilled Chicken Strips or beans or tuna, Taco Salad with out tortillas, soup, baked potato, wrap or ½ sandwich BLT, Turkey, egg salad, tuna, eggs if didn’t have with breakfast

Dinner:

choose a plate that is 50% fruit and veggies, 25% protein and 25% starch*

Snacks:

protein bar, lara bar, almonds, cashews, pistachios, yogurt, fruit, veggies, Kashi Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Chia Seed Granola Bar (my chocolate fix), air popped popcorn, PB2, nut butter or dressing for dip, cheese stick

*Try: Quoina recipes (great source of protein), check out pinterest, search by ingredient. Also AllRecipes.com is a great resource. You can search for a recipe by ingredients and even omit items.

**Protein powders come in all forms, stay away from soy. Whey protein is the least expensive. For a vegan option pea protein or brown rice is your least expensive. Raw Fusion, Plant Fusion, Alive, Usana are vegans. Whey protein is your low carb choice. Read taste reviews on amazon or health food websites.

Grabbing ahold of my health

Grabbing ahold of my health

health and hypothyroism 2

Almost exactly one year ago I was in bad shape.  I had been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in 2005 my first pregnancy and had been being monitored by my GP ever since. By 2012 I had lost and gained the same 10 lbs over and over and began telling my GP that I was concerned my medicines needed to be adjusted. I was on a steady stream of caffeine and exercising regularly, yet most days I was in need of a nap or an early bedtime.

My blood draw showed my numbers were in range, so I was told to try to lose more weight.  I cut down my caffeine, which increased my need for naps, increased my exercise which increased the aches in my body and cut my calories, which increased my weight.

By December of 2013, 7 months after our move I found myself with clumps of hair falling out, the need for a nap after every 4 hours of being awake, fog brain, nails cracking, and weight increasing and increasing.  I called an Endocrinologist and was filled out a questionnaire that I was to bring with me.  The 3 pages asked questions about symptoms, and I answered yes to almost each question.  I arrived for my appointment and was given an order for blood work.  I had brought my medical records to be reviewed, and the following week came back at the Endocrinologist to discover that not only had my records revealed my thyroid levels had not been in range for several years.  Additionally, I was vitamin deficient in many areas and had high blood sugar.

I was placed on a high protein/low carb diet, given Armour thyroid instead of Synthroid, and told to be patient.  3 days on this new medicine and I was able to go the entire day without napping.  With the fog brain lifting, I began to do a little research on some of the terms that had been tossed around at my Dr. appt.  Insulin Resistance, Armour Thyroid, and even a bit on Hypothyroidism.

I began to realize how sick I really was, and with each day of feeling healthier I also noticed I could think more clearly, I had more patience, and my clothes were getting looser.  I had been told by many people that you don’t realize how sick you are until you begin to feel healthy, and that was absolutely right for me. Stay tuned for more tips and lessons about health I’ve learned on this journey!  My first tip, take charge of your health and get a second opinion!

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