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The Healing Process (Part two of the thyroid post)

If you have not read post #1, Playing Doctor, click here.

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey. This post is not meant for readers to self diagnose themselves, and for that reason I will not be listing any supplements I am taking to restore my thyroid health. If you think you may be suffering from undiagnosed thyroid problems please seek a medical professional like I did.

I can’t remember exactly when I weened myself off of armour thyroid, but it was several months before we were contacted by Victory Belt Publishing to write a cook book. I felt pretty okay for a while, although I was starting to notice that it was a lot harder for me to drop weight after a splurge. At that point in our blogging career we were still making a decent amount of grain free desserts, so usually I would clean up my diet by cutting out all sugar after eating treats and feel back to normal. We even participated in a Whole 30 for the new year, and I really didn’t see any results with my weight for that. I figured I must have been doing something wrong, been eating too much, or eating too much fruit. I tried to push any thoughts of resistance to weight loss because of my thyroid out of my head, but there was this voice of regret in the back of my mind telling me I caused this to happen by going off of armour thyroid.

I made it through the book process okay. We had a great time at AHS, and I felt pretty good while we were there. When we got home from LA last summer was when things really started to go down hill for me. We finished copy edit for our book and sent it off to print. After that it seemed as though all of the stress of the book and the editing process hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t really control my food cravings, I could barely make myself create new recipes for our blog, and my energy was pretty low. I was starting to get depressed as well. I put on a happy face until the release of Make it Paleo, but Bill really knew how down I was. I put on some weight, and couldn’t take it off no matter what I did. I was miserable. To try to fix things, I sugar detoxed, I cut calories, I tried high fat- low carb, I tried higher carb-lower fat, all of this and NOTHING worked.

After a few months of feeling really low, a family member of mine suggested I try an antidepressant. I really resisted the thought of that, and had several temper tantrums about having to take the meds. Knowing that there is some depression and anxiety in my family, I thought maybe this was partially out of my control, I couldn’t fix it with food, and I needed some help. I gave in to the prescription and decided to try it out for a few months. I initially (and by initially I mean a week or so) felt a bit better from the antidepressant, but that quickly faded. I was back where I started. Miserable, not able to lose any weight, exhausted all the time with little to no desire to really do anything much more than hang around the house. It wasn’t until we went to Austin for Paleo FX that Bill and I realized what was going on. We sat there listening to Nora Gedgaudes, and Chris Kresser talk about thyroid health and we both looked at each other and said…”holy ****!” Here I was miserable, on a dangerous prescription drug, when what I really needed was to be back on thyroid hormone. Interesting how that happened. The reason I took myself off of thyroid in the first place was because I didn’t want to be on ANY prescriptions–and here I was on a prescription I didn’t actually need because I took myself off of a hormone my body couldn’t properly make.

All of my symptoms pointed toward my thyroid– depression, fatigue, weight gain, resistance to weight loss, dry skin, constipation, the list went on. As soon as we got home from Austin I called my grandfather. “Grandpa, please don’t get mad at me…” was how the conversation started, and then I told him everything. Of course he was unhappy with me for taking myself off of thyroid, but he was right there to help me with whatever I needed. I immediately made an appointment to see my cousin Franne, and after taking one look at me she said, “You need thyroid hormone, I can tell just by looking at you”. She called in my script for armour thyroid, wrote me another script for blood work, and told me not to start on the thyroid until I had my blood work done. She also sent me home with a boat load of supplements, and my protocol began.

Six weeks passed of heavy supplementation, thyroid hormone, and the beginning process of weening off of the antidepressant. My whole world started to shift. I was finally starting to feel human again, and most importantly, I was happy. My grandpa had sent me a ton of serotonin precursors so that I could safely come off of the antidepressant, and Franne had me all stocked up with what I needed to support my thyroid. After the first six weeks I went back in to see Franne. She had my blood work with her, and it didn’t look too good. My fasting blood sugar was a little high, iron slightly low, vitamin D low, serotonin levels VERY low–16 when they should have been around 165. No wonder I was miserable. The only slightly odd thing was that my thyroid levels came back normal. My grandfather expected this. He told me he wouldn’t be surprised to see normal thyroid levels in my blood work, and told me it was pretty common. I knew this already. Lucky for me I was being treated by doctors that don’t just look at numbers on a sheet of paper to determine how a person is feeling on the inside.

Franne wrote me another script for blood work, this time with a lipid panel because of my slightly high blood sugar, and sent me home with more supplements. After a few more weeks I was completely off of the antidepressant¬†(with zero side effects thanks to the supplements), my appetite had pretty much diminished, sugar cravings were gone, and to my surprise my attachment to food had completely changed. For the first time in my life I wasn’t thinking about what I would eat next, when that meal was going to happen, or whether or not I was eating too much. I wasn’t thinking about food at all! I started losing some weight, slowly, but it was happening, and without me really trying at all. After about 8-10 weeks of being on armour thyroid, all of my brain health supplements, and completely off of the antidepressant, I lost a pant size without doing anything besides taking my supplements and my thyroid medicine. I was actually doing the exact opposite of everything you hear in this community to lose weight. I was eating a lot of fruit since it was a crazy humid summer here, and not worrying about it. I was barely working out, and not even sleeping that well, but things were shifting. My biggest concern was really to just relax and heal. We get 8 hours of sleep a night in a pitch black room, but usually we are in bed way too late.

As far as the food was concerned, I considered myself to be eating like a “normal” person. I had wine or grain free treats if there was an occasion for it, but for the first time in my life, I didn’t have much desire for them (the sweets, not the wine, I’ve never been much of a drinker), or much desire to consume more sugar following “dessert.” Previously, eating a treat would result in a downward spiral of massive sugar cravings and too much indulging, not anymore. I stuck to the basics, meat, fat, veggies, fruit. I wasn’t really eating nuts because they upset my stomach. The only goitrogen I completely removed from my diet was fermented cabbage, but I made sure not to eat any goitrogens raw. Cooking lowers the goitrogenic properties, fermentation increases them. I stuck to cooked veggies except for salad greens. I was continuing to eat a good amount of fruit, and still dropping some weight. This I couldn’t believe. I was also eating sweet potatoes here and there, and all of this was without much exercise. I was really on a mission to heal myself, and I wasn’t focusing on weight loss. I was trying to lower stress by not exercising too much, or for long periods of time, and I was making sure not to eat too low carb because that is another factor that can influence thyroid function. It was still a little scary for me in the beginning to really let go and just focus on healing and try not to think about weight loss, but somehow I made it happen.

A few more weeks passed, and I was ready for my second round of blood work. I was terrified that things wouldn’t be good enough, but I was feeling completely back to normal–better actually than I can ever remember feeling. When I walked into my appointment with Franne she was thrilled to see me looking like myself again, and she was happy to report fantastic blood results. Another interesting factor was that after coming off of the antidepressant and taking the brain health supplements my serotonin levels went from 16 to 250! Franne told me I should probably cut back on the 5HTP after that report! I left the appointment almost in tears of joy. I finally felt like I had been fixed.

Since my last appointment with Franne I have continued to drop weight, slow and steady, and my memories of how rough this past winter was are slowly fading. The most miraculous thing out of all of this is what has happened to my thoughts. I thought that I would be a victim to self loathing thoughts, and a slave to sugar for the rest of my life due to a poor relationship with food and health in my younger years. I thought I would never feel what I thought to be “normal” ever. Or that I would never be able to be that girl who has one (grain free) cookie, and doesn’t want more (I still like having more than one cookie, but now I don’t put any negative meaning to it–I enjoy and move on). I thought I was the all or nothing, strict or cheating failure forever. I’m not that person anymore. I’m healthy, happy, and I couldn’t be more confident that Paleo, Primal, Ancestral, or whatever you want to call it is what helped get me to this place. I really feel so grateful to have found this way of eating. It has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and healed my body and mind. My journey is no where near finished, but I’m excited to see whats next.

**I am not one to post “almost naked” before and after pictures and you can bet your back squat booty that you’ll never see me post a cell phone picture of myself in a bikini to Facebook, but since it’s hard for some people to visualize health results without before and after photos, here are a few that I took before starting thyroid hormone back in February (I started back on thyroid in April), and along the way ending in August. I do not own a scale, and do not weigh myself since I consider the scale not to be a reliable source of progress, especially if you have less than 20 pounds to lose. I will say that I have to thank Diane Sanfilippo for encouraging me to take these photos or I really wouldn’t have had a clue as to the progress I was experiencing physically.

COMMENTS

  1. csp2429
    September 17, 2012

    All I can say is thank you so much for sharing this. You have no idea how much it means to me know that someone has been through even some of what I have and come out on the other side a better person for it.
    I to have Hypothyroidism ( after having a partial thyroidectomy) and am on armour thyroid meds. I am also starting HCG next week with a plan to move right into a life of paleo after HCG. I am nervous but excited for the possibility of FINALLY moving in a positive direction.
    Having been down this road yourself, is there anything you would say to someone like me before moving forward on this? What can I expect? In hindsight would you do anything differently?
    Any input would be much appreciated! Thanks again for your story =)

  2. kchalbi
    September 17, 2012

    Wow, that’s an amazing story! I have had my doctor check my thyroid levels in the past due to similar symptoms of fatigue, depression and inability to lose weight without extreme calorie restriction. Like yours they came back normal-but I didn’t know to ask about the other factors and she didn’t seem to think there was anything else to consider. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I either have to be a slave to measuring/weighing/tracking food or eat more intuitively, but be overweight. I’d been hoping that Paleo would be the answer, and though I do feel better in some ways, I’ve only gained weight for the past 2 years of eating this way. I know you can’t give specifics of your personal treatment plan, but do you have any thoughts on what to do when you don’t know the right people who can help? Are there any specific questions to ask or ways to find doctors who will consider other factors?

  3. September 17, 2012

    After reading Part 1 I immediately picked up the phone and made the long overdue appointment with my doctor to have my thyroid level checked, I am fortunate to have a medical doctor that is also into natural healing methods as well…I feel confident that he will look at my symptoms in addition to my blood work and treat me accordingly. I have known I needed this for a while but like you didn’t want to be on any medication and was sure I could get things in my body under control by tweaking my diet…again like you I tried…higher fat/lower carb, ketosis, higher carb/moderate protein/lower fat…I even started thinking that maybe my body needed grains (holy cow???) Anyways, again I appreciate you posting your story, it truly sounds like it could be my own. And it’s pushed me to realize that we can be healthy, eat right, exercise enough and still need some medication to boost things that might not be working quite right in the body. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I feel hopeful and not dreadful…

  4. September 17, 2012

    Wow, thank you for sharing this! I have had quite the similar experience. After being diagnosed with Hashimotos, instead of taking medication I attempted to heal myself by eating Paleo. Although I reversed lots of damage incurred by 10 years of Veganism, I was still having a hard time and in denial about needing medication. Fortunately I found a great naturopath who was willing to give me Naturethroid although all of my blood work is “in range”. She also tested my neurotransmitters, and I was also very low in serotonin and GABA. I had been struggling with the same food cravings and weight gain, which was extremely frustrating as I am a chef and constantly around food. After taking the Naturethroid, 5-HTP and going on the autoimmune protocol I finally feel like myself again.

    I am so happy I got over my extreme aversion to medication – hypothyroidism contributes to so many other illnesses that it is really quite dangerous to go too long without the right amount of hormone. Unfortunately for some people, this balance is very difficult to find. Congratulations on your success and your guts to share it with others. :)

  5. September 17, 2012

    Oh, and I wanted to ask (if you don’t mind sharing), since you didn’t go by blood work to monitor how much hormone you were taking, did you use body temperature, or symptoms?

  6. September 17, 2012

    @csp2429- I would say DO NOT do HCG. The biggest lesson I have learned from all of this is that health and happiness does not happen from an extreme weight loss plan. We all convince ourselves at times that we need a “jump start” or something a little extreme to get us going until we can just maintain, but that’s not reality. Reality is that most develop distorted eating patters from extreme diets, and will be on a roller coaster ride of up and down weight loss and gains trying to maintain an extreme diet. Slow and steady wins the race, and heals the mind along with it. I got really really small from HCG, but it took me a long time to feel normal at a smaller size, and not be scared to become the size I used to be. The way I looked also was not realistic. It was not healthy for me, and I don’t think I could be that skinny again eating normally in a way that makes me feel good. The only real positive thing that came out of doing HCG for me was finding Paleo. Women are supposed to have a healthy amount of body fat. It is vital to our health. You can heal your body and improve yourself just from Paleo. I have learned that my second time on thyroid. If you want to tweak your diet a little to see different results than that’s fine, but an extreme weight loss plan is not healthy for anyone in my opinion.

  7. September 17, 2012

    @Mickey- Thanks for all the kind words! It sounds like you are on the right path yourself. This time I have been monitoring with blood work. The second round I had showed great thyroid levels as well. I take 1 grain of Armour ( 60 mg) a day in the morning along with T-150 supplement and that has been perfect for me. I don’t have any symptoms of having too much thyroid.

    If you were asking about the first time around, I did check my temperature and just was aware of how I felt. I tried to increase my dose and remembered feeling jittery and like I was having rapid heart beat when I was relaxed, so I made sure not to do that again.

  8. September 17, 2012

    @kchalbi- Chris Kresser is available for long distance treatment if you absolutely cannot find a doctor in your area. I would also suggest looking at the primaldocs website so you can find a doctor close by where you live so that they can help you. Good luck!

  9. elizabethclements
    September 17, 2012

    I have had the exact same struggle for years! You are so lucky to have a family member who is a doctor. And, one that treats symptoms not test results. Every time I see a new doctor for odd symptoms they want to do a thyroid test, it ALWAYS comes back normal. I want to cry. I started taking an over the counter thyroid supplement, my doctor acted like I needed to come off of them immediately. They just don’t listen! Ugggh.

  10. chavonneelizabeth
    September 17, 2012

    This is so encouraging. I have been at a weight loss plateau for over a year, and nothing I have done seems to help. 15 pounds doesn’t seem like a lot, but my frame is tiny and I am a size 6-8 right now, when a 2 is most comfortable for me. Most of my physicians have long suspected thyroid (quite enlarged on the left hand side), but but labs always seem to be in the normal range. I have an appointment with a local holistic thyroid specialist, and am so happy to read your story and know that there is hope for me to be back at my healthy weight. Thank you so much for sharing your story Hayley.

  11. krissylou42
    September 17, 2012

    thanks so much for sharing your story! i was AMAZED to read it because i swear it could have been my own story – right down from the anxiety and phobia of throwing up that started to age 8, to the dieting and weight swings throughout college, vegetarianism, disordered body image/eating disorders (i’ve dealt w/ both anorexia and continue to deal w/ binging/emotional eating/restricting), extreme anxiety/panic attacks, etc… although i will say i unfortunately can add TEN YEARS of on-and-off antidepressant use to add and can FULLY identify w/ the weight gain and bloating that come w/ those :) i’m happy to say that i just came off of my antidepressants FOR GOOD and i’m finally ready to deal w/ the real issue, which im 100% sure is my thyroid (there are tons of thyroid issues in my family). regular doctors (even one who i found through the paleo physicians network) tell me time and time again that i am fine b/c of my TSH and that i just have anxiety and need to take my antidepressants, despite having EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM OF HYPOTHYROID! ugh! after reading your story i was absolutely determined to find a doctor in my area (Northern VA) that has experience with treating thyroid disease in a holistic way and i think i found a good one! appointment is in 2 days. thank you so much for your story and im so glad you are doing so well. i can truly empathize with you and i really hope my story turns out just as well :)

  12. September 17, 2012

    Thank you so very much for sharing this. After doing strict paleo and adding CT and feeling semi decent for me (my baseline isn’t great), I to decided that I would start weaning off meds for my thyroid and adrenals……let’s just say that I was “ok” for a couple of months and started fading end of May…..stubborn and in denial I continued and unfortunately have crashed and burned in a bad way…..I’m just now getting back on meds and hoping it won’t take as long as it did the first time to gain some health. I do hate that good nutrition and habits may never take me off meds but glad to see someone with such a following (LOVE your cookbook, Whole 30 guide and iphone app!!) write this so let us know that we aren’t alone and it is not necessarily failure to have to be on meds when organs fail to thrive and don’t come back as much as you’d hoped eating/living well……I hope to have a full recovery like you! I must say even after the book and your pic you did not look like you’d gained and always look great!

  13. BlessedBlogger
    September 17, 2012

    I had a very similar experience and just last year convinced my GP to switch me from the artificial thyroid replacement to the natural one (Armour Thyroid) and then switched to a Paleo Diet after first trying a Keto Diet. It’s taken me a year, because I have several other health problems that affect my metabolism, but I’ve lost 35lbs so far and feel a million times better!

    For all the people who got ‘normal’ TSH levels on their blood work, I’d check to make sure that’s true. For years doctors told me my levels were normal or just slightly off and didn’t warrant medication and that led to a whole host of much more dangerous health problems. After doing the research myself I discovered that most doctors are still using the old score of .5 to 5.0 when in fact the normal range has been lowered to .3 to 3.0 and will be lowering even further in the near future to .5 to 2.5. So check your paperwork and see what your numbers actually are and then fight for your health! It may take some research and some time but you CAN find a doctor who will prescribe a natural thyroid replacement (which is also much cheaper!) and will get you to a TSH level that doesn’t just ‘fit the numbers’ but also makes you feel better.

    Check out http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ for more information.

  14. sunshinee19
    September 17, 2012

    Thank you so much for this article! I have had the exact same problems you described for about 3 years now. I’ve told my doctor time and time again that something feels “off” with me. Blood tests always come back within “normal range” yet I feel exhausted all the time, seem to never lose a pound despite eating Paleo for past 6 months and working out 5-6 days a week regularly! I have every single symptom of the hypothyroid checklist. They keep telling me to exercise and eat healthy (if I did anymore than I do now, I’d likely in fact be NOT healhty for my body). I think it’s time for a new doctor, just no idea where to start. Thanks again though, you’ve given me hope!

  15. caitlin3
    September 18, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your story!! My mouth dropped when you described your early years. I have a 4 yr-old who went through several months of having severe anxiety and fear over throwing up. That has passed but she still has terrible separation anxiety.

    I’ve also wondered if I have thyroid issues for a long time as I have all the same symptoms you mention. It’s great to hear how things have worked out so well for you and I hope it only gets better.

  16. September 18, 2012

    @Christi Lynn- The one thing that I learned from Diane Sanfilippo when I was starting to realize I needed the thyroid hormone, is that it’s not a medication. This is a hormone that you body can’t make properly. I might have to be on it forever, and maybe you do too, and that’s okay. What I’m taking is not synthetic, it’s a natural thyroid hormone. I don’t feel ashamed to be taking it, I feel grateful that I have it so I can feel healthy and happy.

    Also I think those photos are just good angles. There are definitely pictures of me from this past winter that are not as flattering! haha.

  17. tinyme
    September 18, 2012

    Does anyone know of a good, thinking doctor in the south shore Boston area? Desperately in need of one. I just found out my TSH levels are quite elevated.

  18. tinyme
    September 18, 2012

    This is such an encouragement to me and my daughter! It took courage to post such private information, but it is such an encouragement to those of us who are struggling. I have gone for years undiagnosed and only got diagnosed when I asked my doctor to check my thyroid levels. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  19. readingyourlips
    September 18, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I have also experienced many of the same things you went through. I however let my weight spiral out of control and become over 100 lbs overweight! I am now in the process of losing it all, but it is a slow journey of healing and relearning good habits and overcoming stress (I like you, didn’t think I was stressed, but apparently I am). I found the Paleo way of eating about 6 months ago and found I felt much better, but like you I also thought, I should be able to eat grains and be healthy like other people. Since I have been doing a Whole30, I’ve come to realize I feel so much better without the sugar, grains, dairy and nightshades that I will continue eating this way indefinitely!

    Good luck to you Hayley, I hope you continue to do well and please continue sharing your stories, they are inspiring!

    Steph

  20. sunshinee19
    September 18, 2012

    @tinyme- I live in the South Shore as well and trying to find a good one as we speak. It’s a tough process. If you hear of anyone, I’d be interested to know. Thanks!

  21. Diane @ Balanced Bites
    September 18, 2012

    Hayley- you are so brave for sharing your story! I’m so proud of you for doing what you knew you needed to do, being patient with yourself, and just letting time and the proper balance of what your body needed to help heal you. Women today try SO HARD to DO SO MUCH to heal themselves, when often the answer is doing a lot less. Clearly this was with the help of the thyroid hormone, which, as anyone who listens to me long enough hears me say, it’s not a prescription medication like others- it’s a hormone that you may need to take for forever depending on your own situation. It’s not something to feel badly or “sick” for taking- it’s a hormone that, if your body can’t make it, taking it puts you back to normal, not over or under activating normal body function.

    If people have trouble finding a doctor who works comprehensively, try looking for a Certified Nutrition Consultant who specializes in thyroid health- Mary Vance is one who comes to mind. She can help you get directed, most likely, to a doc and then work with nutritional supplementation to complement that care- http://www.maryvancenc.com

    Keep up the self-care, Hay, I’m cheering for you! xo

  22. JHarrell
    September 18, 2012

    This is great to hear. I have just been told that I have hypothyroidism, despite eating a nearly perfect Paleo diet for the last year. I don’t have alot of symptoms – abnormal period, depresseive tendencies (that also runs in my family), and fatigue – but no real weight problems, or any of the other things that are said to come along with the condition.

    Since my doctor told me this news, I’ve just been researching and trying to figure things out on my own. I’ve been taking an iodine supplement because I wonder if I’m low on idodine (and I’ve heard that this deficiency can affect thyroid numbers), and I’ll be re-tested to see if that has helped when I go back for testing in a few weeks.

    But I’ve been in a constant state of confusion about how I should eat – should I go the autoimmune approach, should I just chill out and eat normally since I don’t feel any negative effects with any particular food… it’s all so confusing!

    I’m glad to hear that you had success with Armour. I’ve heard alot about that one, so maybe I’ll go that route if the idodine hasn’t helped.

    I wish that I had good, naturopathic, trustworthy doctors like yours! I’m with a traditional MD, and there are no Paleo Physicians in my area. :(

    Thanks for sharing your story!!

  23. Lissa
    September 18, 2012

    For those who are searching for a doctor or other practitioner, here are some sites that could be useful:

    American Board of Holistic Medicine
    http://www.abihm.org/search-doctors

    American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
    http://bit.ly/zsVfK1

    Institute for Functional Medicine
    http://bit.ly/x3MUhs

  24. rrwoodman@gmail.com
    September 18, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been on Synthroid for close to 7 years and I don’t think its helped me with anything. I am at my heaviest, ‘feel crazy’ most of the time, thinning hair, terrible periods, etc. I just have begun to learn about paleo, sadly I didn’t know anything about avoiding soy/gluten, etc. I am reading everything, bought several paleo books. My endo Dr doesn’t measure much regarding my thyroid. You are very lucky to have such a great holistic team helping you! I try to self medicate with all the supplements but I have to be honest it gets very overwhelming and I just don’t remember…sounds crazy doesn’t it? That I can’t remember to take supplements that do make me feel better…sigh. I will have to search harder to find a holistic dr in the Northern Va area. Thank you for sharing your story!

  25. MaryVance
    September 18, 2012

    Hayley, thanks so much for sharing this. I loved reading your story! I can personally attest to the challenges of dealing with hypothyroidism, which is why I decided to make it a focal point of my nutrition practice. Thanks to Diane for mentioning me :) I’ll be a guest on Beverly Meyer’s Primal Diet-Modern Health radio program discussing all things hypothyroid tomorrow (9/19) if you want to listen in!
    http://bit.ly/SvTNVc

  26. glorindiel
    September 19, 2012

    Hayley — Thanks so much. Due to your story, I’m finally attempting to find out if my family history of thyroid problems is part of my own life and health history. My bloodwork has always come back normal, and so doctors stop worrying about it. But I’ve had issues with depression, fatigue, weight gain (though some of that was probably due to discovering good food, and I’m healthier than ever through Paleo), and irregular periods. When my bloodwork comes back fine I just get meds to force cycles. So now I’m reaching out through my local crossfit box (which also is a wellness center and our owner’s husband is a doctor), so we’ll see. I’m uncomfortable going to someone I find on the internet, and want to know that everything will be done with what is best for me and my health in mind. Not turn me into a total science experiment. Thanks for being so inspiring!

  27. allisonjones@hotmail.com
    September 19, 2012

    When it comes to thyroid testing, “normal” is meaningless. The tests do not measure how much thyroid hormone is actually hitting the receptors and does not take into account Reverse T3 – of this is too high in comparison to Free T3 (T3 is the active hormone which many doctors won’t even order anyway), then you will have hypothyroid symptoms.

    A great resource is stopthethyroidmadness.com and there are also lists of Good thyroid doctors out there.

    It’s very important for people to educate themselves and not rely blindly on doctors. So many people are kept sick when it doesn’t have to be so. There are many treatment choices and it’s important to find a doctor who will look at the person sitting in front of them, listen to them and not just look at lab tests and tell them everything is “normal”. If that were the case, the patient would not be there in the first place!

  28. lucreciah
    September 21, 2012

    I really enjoyed reading your 2 posts on Thyroid Health. I have spent the last year really struggling with my own Thyroid. Before I found Paleo style eating I was taking all of my thyroid meds and not seeing any results. I felt so depressed and discouraged and sooooo tired! Then I learned that my gut was so inflamed from food allergies that it was just sending everything right on through without absorbing anything. When I started eating Paleo everything started to really fall into place. Finally I am feeling and seeing those changes that I so desperately needed. I plan to stay on my hormone therapy especially now that I know that it made things worse for you to go off of it even with a Paleo diet. Thanks for sharing :-)
    p.s. I really think that the allergy test that I did would do wonders for Bill and his stomach issues. The company that performs the test is http://www.elisact.com If you go to their website you can find someone in your area who does it. It’s pretty amazing! I was shocked to find out that I was allergic to Olive Oil and apples (staples in my everyday diet!). Being able to pin point exactly what is causing upset is a huge help.

  29. ChristaJeanne
    September 21, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your story, Hayley! I can sooooo relate. AMAZING the difference it makes, isn’t it? I’ve had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (hypothyroid) for over a decade now, and while I’ve been pretty on top of it, a lot of stress/trauma earlier this year caused it to drop again. The symptoms came back so gradually that it took me five months to figure out what was wrong – and only another couple months to recover once my doctor upped my prescription. It’s definitely sooooo crucial to stay on it and on top of it! I try to do as much as I can with homeopathic/natural remedies, but there are some things where a prescription really is needed.

    This post makes me so encouraged to get back to eating Paleo. I ate Paleo this summer and haven’t felt so great in ages! Then life got crazy between traveling and moving, and I’ve been eating the standard American diet for a couple months and can TOTALLY tell the difference. Thrilled to get back to cooking some of the amazing recipes you guys post here!

  30. skystwrt
    Supporting Member
    September 27, 2012

    Hi Hayley, thank you so much for sharing such a personal journey. Your past experiences mirror my own in many ways. Aside form your thyroid medication and your supplementation what would you say the biggest mental transformation was for you in letting go of the food obsession and healing your relationship with food and your body? What transformation in thought process allowed you to let go and move into a more natural, healthy and balanced place for yourself? Now that you find yourself in this healthy balanced place what does a normal day of eating look like for you? What is your balanced normal? After spending enough time in the paleo sphere you read so much about extremes and absolutes that it would be nice to see what balanced and healthy looks like for someone else? Thank you again for sharing your amazing journey and thank you for all that you do for this community.

  31. leahm
    November 24, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your story, Hayley! It’s inspiring that you’ve recovered so much. I’ve been on thyroid hormone for over 6 years and have been paleo for about a year. My TSH level is normal, but I am still experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and have been unable to lose any weight for months now. What blood tests do you recommend asking my doctor for? He just does the generic TSH test every 3-6 months. There are no paleo/primal doctors anywhere nearby so I need to stay with my current doctor and perhaps just lead him in the right direction. :)

  32. Chelsea.Andreana
    December 8, 2012

    Hello, love! I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism and my doctor prescribed Armour…and I instantly remembered this post you wrote a few months back. I was wondering if you have any updates?

    Thank you so much for your bravery, support, courage and beauty! There are so many that appreciate you.

    Hugs!

  33. christyfike
    February 22, 2013

    Yes I too would love to hear a more recent update on how your doing/feeling. I was very inspired by this post and felt like it was soo freeing. Especially the part about how you were necessarily doing what everyone in the industry tells you do to do (as far as diet and exercise) – you were resting and letting the Armour do it work. Would love to hear more! Please update us when you get a chance of how it’s all been – ups and downs!

  34. September 30, 2013

    My biggest problem is how to deal with the fact that blood work is often wrong when it comes to thyroid health? I have long had issues with fatigue, difficulty losing weight, wanting to just curl up and make the world go away. Yet never have my blood panels ever shown an issue with my thyroid (they have also been doing ultrasounds every year because I have nodules on them and have had since at least 2000). I’ve also had issues with iron levels and though they are now “normal”, I find I still have to take an iron supplement or else I get severe leg cramps at night. One doctor I talked to said that there is no set “normal” range for everyone, that “normal” is determined by averaging the test results of people in that region. Which seems like a totally bogus way of determining what is correct.

  35. nuttmegs17
    October 10, 2013

    Add me to the list if people who would like an update? Have you had to adjust meds? Are your thyroid levels stable or all over the place? Are you sympton free?

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