This is my success story with Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, and Weight Loss.
Much of my life I lived undiagnosed with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Being undiagnosed left me feeling awful with unexplained health issues.
Like many people with untreated hypothyroidism, my symptoms included weight gain, high cholesterol (at a young age), mild depression, blood pressure issues, being tired and cold much of the time, in a brain fog, hair loss, dry skin, low energy, low sex drive, and so much more. If this sounds like you or someone you know keep reading!
40% of all Americans suffer from hypothyroidism yet only about 10% of the patients tested will be diagnosed.
– Dr. Broda O. Barnes M.D., Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness
The photo here shows me on the left at age 29 during the untreated years. Notice the puffiness, and general dullness of my skin and hair. These are very typical with hypothyroidism, see more before and after photos.
This is not a pity story (heck no!). It is a success story. If you are experiencing these symptoms, or you know someone who is, my journey is meant to give hope, inspiration and empowerment.
Weight Loss and Hypothyroidism
From early childhood through much of my adult life I had been overweight and simply could not lose weight no matter what I did. Weight Watchers did not work, eating 1000-1500 calories day did not work. I tried every diet! At age 11 my doctor put me on a diet program which I followed perfectly, but did not lose weight. People thought I was sneaking food and lying. It was terribly discouraging. There are so many of us who experience this issue with weight loss and hypothyroidism. It’s important to know there could be an underlying health issue.
Exercise Doing More Harm than Good
Doctors told me “just exercise more,” which works for healthy people, but for me it had the opposite effect! Exercise made me gain weight, it would exhaust me for days, and often made me sick. People thought I was a hypochondriac or a complainer. I thought I was too. Later, after treatment, I learned exercise caused adrenal crashes due to cortisol (adrenal) problems. Once on good treatment these issues went away!
Tired All the Time, Not Sleeping at Night, and Brain Fog
Sleep was another huge issue with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Other symptoms included feeling tired, groggy, in a brain fog all day. But I was unable to sleep at night without sleeping pills. Even after 8 to 10 hours of sleep I would be tired the next day.
It seemed no amount of sleep helped me feel refreshed. Waking up in the morning was extremely difficulty (which I later learned was due to low morning cortisol). Basic tasks like cooking dinner, shopping, doing laundry, or washing the dishes took all my energy.
Low Body Temperature and Hypothyroidism
My hands and body were always cold, even in the summer. My face and neck were puffy. I had allergies, asthma, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic sinus infections, severe PMS and many other seemingly unrelated symptoms. I was sick with sinus infections so often (6-7 times a year) that I missed so much work. My employers, family and doctors thought I was a hypochondriac.
Living this way had become normal. But this is not normal! Once I was treated, finally I was able to see experience a normal life. how glorious! How much fun to be in this body! How beautiful every day can be with a healthy happy body! I want everyone to know what is possible!
Trusting Your Inner Self
Through all those years, I always felt like something was wrong inside my body. Doctors always said my lab results were normal, that there was nothing wrong with me. People thought I was just overweight and perhaps lazy, but in my heart I knew there was more to it.
People would politely make excuses like “you’re tired because you’re in high school… college… working a full time job… a new mom.” People said it was normal to be tired. But the truth is, it is not normal. They didn’t understand this was a different kind of tired. A bone-deep, can’t-get-off-the-couch-even-though-I’ve-done-nothing-all-day kind of tired. Until you know what good feels like, its hard to know what is normal.
But I have this amazing sister who has tons of energy, could eat twice as much as me, easily run three miles every day, and stay slim without almost no effort. My girlfriends could do the same. Physiologically, I knew there was something going on with my body. I just didn’t know what!?!
Doctors Who Didn’t Help Me
After pregnancy I was diagnosed with a lump (goiter) on my thyroid which is considered by many doctors as a sign of Hypothyroidism. But the doctors insisted I wasn’t hypothyroid. Surgery to remove my thyroid was recommended but it just didn’t make sense!
Very little information was available at that time (2006) so I began a research journey to find answers. Eventually, I found Stop the Thyroid Madness for which I am forever grateful. Finally, there were people with similar stories to mine! People with the same symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue but with normal lab results like me. People who found good treatment and were able to get healthy. It was the biggest ray of hope!
Feeling sure I had undiagnosed Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, along with the information & symptoms to support my theory, I went to see an Endocrinologist. In the consultation she said: “According to your lab results, you are fine. If you want medicine as a quick fix for loosing weight, it won’t work. You are not Hypothyroid and I won’t give you medicine.” I was devastated. She didn’t listen to any of my research and looked only at my labwork. On the drive home from her office I cried in despair that she was right and I was wrong.
Finding a Good Doctor!
Nearly giving up, my sister coaxed me to try one more doctor in hopes that he could help. He is an Integrative Medicine doctor, Dr. Charles Brummer, who had a great reputation. Later I realized, a good doctor is vital for getting the right treatment.
As I sat in Dr. Brummer’s office explaining my lifetime of symptoms (and a little wary that he wouldn’t believe me), he said something which changed my life. Dr. Brummer said: “If your sense of well-being tells you something is wrong, we need to listen. Trust your sense of self.” Never before had I heard these words from a doctor. My sense of well-being mattered??? Finally someone who understood!!
Then Dr. Brummer took my body temperature. He paused, checked again three times, then said:
“Amazing, I thought my thermometer was broken!! So I checked three times and your body temperature is 95.5 in July. 95.5 is not normal! Your body temperature should be 98.6. No one ever caught this?”
No, no one had ever cared about low body temperature!! Doctors had always dismissed it, even though it is one of the most significant symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many doctors still do not track body temperature as a measure of health (unless you’re sick, and then it seems to matter?)
Can you imagine my relief? Dr. Brummer listened to my symptoms. He ordered full lab work — not just the standard TSH test which is unreliable — vitamin panels, hormone panels, candida test, lyme tests, and adrenal tests. He was thorough in a way I had never seen before. And he listened to me!
The journey to recovery began. With my doctor’s help and experimentation, we were able to treat my hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. To me, Dr. Brummer is more than a doctor, he is a Medicine Man. Someone we all need in our lives. Someone who always makes us feel supported.
The Success Story!
Yes, this is the good part! I am a whole new person. My life is the life I always wanted. Now, I can do the things that “normal” people do — exercise 5 or 6 days a week (at Crossfit and yoga — woohoo!) and recover just fine. I can manage my weight easily (heck yea!), easily run three miles (ahem…if I want to), work all day, have energy to cook dinner, do the dishes, read to my son, do laundry, and more.
At night, now I sleep well and never need sleeping pills! In the morning I wake up by 8 a.m. feeling refreshed, with energy. My hands, feet and overall body are warm (98.6 degrees!). All the other Hypothyroid and Adrenal symptoms — asthma, sinus infections, candida, headaches, dry skin, depression, brain fog, high cholesterol, low blood pressure — are gone. G.O.N.E.
Finally, I have energy to care about girly things like doing my hair and makeup, wearing high heels and doing my nails (and oh how I love being girly!!)
Living with Properly Treated Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue
Through this journey I learned many amazing lessons. Life is an experiment, and everything can be considered data. Be kind to ourselves, especially when other people don’t know what we are going through. Be patient and loving with ourselves. Persevere without judgement. Reach for the happiest thought in every moment. Trust your heart. Keep going!
My mission is to continue researching and experimenting, sharing what I learn, giving you hope, and cheering you on! Big love and kisses.
PS. As my son likes to remind me, children can be hypothyroid too! So if your child (or a child you know) is legthargic, has low energy, difficulty focusing, dull eyes, puffiness, trouble loosing weight, and other hypothyroid symptoms, its worth investigating. You could be saving them many years of suffering.
Where to Start
• See historical photos of people before and after treatment
• Read the Hypothyroid Symptoms
• Read about Adrenal Fatigue
• Learn about Synthetic T4-only vs Dessicated Thyroid Medication
• The Importance of Iodine