My Story

My Success Story with Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, and Weight Loss

Miss Lizzy Before and After
Posted by Miss Lizzy
April 4, 2014

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.

before_after_lg

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.

 

before_after2_lg.fw

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.

Miss Lizzy!

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 how TSH lab results can be inaccurate

• Learn about Synthetic T4-only vs Dessicated Thyroid Medication

• The Importance of Iodine

22 Comments

  1. Shanae' D. Scott July 8, 2014 4:39 am

    Great story or encouragement!!
    What was the path that you followed after seeing the Dr?
    Like what was the treatment plan for your situation? How did you get back to “normal”???

  2. Bernadette Andrada July 20, 2014 1:38 am

    Hello Lizzy. Thank you for sharing your story. Did you start with HC? If you did, how long? After HC, were you then introduced to the thyroid meds (t3, t4)?? How soon did you feel the diffrence?? I started on HC but had to discontinue so I now use progesterone cream for my body to convert it to cortisol. After a month of using this, he started me on bioidentical t3 and t4 but it made me feel tired, depressed and achy. He told me to stop it for a week and continue taking it again every other day. Im afraid to try it again …

  3. Sigrid Tanner Sailers October 31, 2014 5:09 pm

    Reading your “before” story, could be my story!…being completely tired, energy-less, not being able to lose weight, or exercise like normal people, etc. I’m teary eyed because for the last 3 years, I’ve been tested for everything, was told I’m “normal” and yet, I KNEW something wasn’t right. Recently, I went to a nutritionist who ran a different panel of blood work and said my thyroid and adrenals are out of wack. YAY!!! Someone with an answer! I got the supplements yesterday and am excited to get back to a healthy way of life. My husband will be so happy that I can cook dinner AND do the dishes. 🙂 Oh, and fit back into my skinny jeans.

    Thank you for your story!!! You understand the way I feel and you’ve given me hope!

  4. Kate Weaver December 16, 2014 7:47 am

    Hi
    am wondering if you can help.. my aunt just emailed me saying she has myxedema.. her TSH level is 135 and according to the doctors, a woman of her age level should be 0.4.. they say she should actually be dead.. do you know how I can help her????l.. she has been misdiagnosed 5 years beforehand and they just thought she was depressed… sigh..please help..she is 60 ad has gaied much much weight, and a host of other conditions too..
    kate

    • Miss Lizzy December 29, 2014 7:12 pm

      Hi Kate, I am not a doctor but it sounds like her practitioner is on the right path. Hopefully they will give her a prescription for (NDT) natural desiccated thyroid medicine (many folks like Armour, I prefer NP Thyroid by Acella). Many doctors will prescribe synthetic medicine like Synthroid and Levothyroxine, which for many people only does part of the job. For this reason many, myself included, prefer the NDT medicine. It’s available through the regular pharmacy, and usually costs less than the synthetics. I hope that helps! xo! Lizzy

  5. Darlena Dee Inlavongsa January 4, 2015 3:52 pm

    HI! i’m glad you’ve found a way to shed those pounds and feel more energized. about a year ago i’ve gained weight since having a total thyroidectomy. with exercise, what is your diet? do you avoid certain foods?

  6. Ramj Raju March 11, 2015 7:54 am

    hi mam,

    im frm india i wan to buy lugol 5%soln hw much for shipping cost(i think amazon.com shippin cost is high) n delivery time? nd pls tell abt DIRECTION TO USE(internally n externally),tanq

  7. Michelle Lovisa Hopkins April 23, 2015 4:15 am

    Hi miss Lizzy, your story sounds exactly like me, thankyou for sharing. I haven’t been so lucky to find a dr that takes notice or even comprehends what I am saying, they all just treat the symptoms and not the cause but I’m not giving up there must be a dr out there for me.
    Thanks again you have given me more hope.
    Kind regards Michelle

  8. Brook Jones May 23, 2015 9:56 pm

    Hi, this was a great read! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 5 months ago. Since then I’m on Levothyroxine, which has I suppose “leveled out my thyroid” I’m not really sure all of the ins and outs of the disease as in what my medication has “leveled out.” With that being said, I went from 160lbs – 220lbs in 1.5 yrs, I’m 21 yrs old. When I was diagnosed I was 195lbs and everyone told me that being on the meds would help me lose weight, seeing as it’s always been SOOOOO hard for me to lose weight, but Ive gained 25 lbs. I still have VERY bad anxiety and mild depression, so the doc put me on a different prescription for that. Just don’t know if I should still feel like this and not be able to lose weight very well. I’ve started kicking butt in the gym and have lost 7 lbs so far, but I still feel like it should come easier. My doctor just tells me that maybe I’m not working out as hard as I think I am or my diet isn’t as clean as I think, or my favorite “maybe this is just your normal.” So I guess what I’m getting at is, do you think this is my “normal”, what should I do. Just accept it and be on depression/anxiety pills for the rest of my life? What would you do?? Please help! Thanks!

  9. Cindy Chan June 2, 2015 10:05 am

    thanks for being upfront to share your story. im currently diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as the “added” bonus. finally my GP decided to start me on levothyroxine but there are times im very tired and my skin becomes dry and all. hopefully the next follow up and adjustment of the pills will make me feel better!

  10. Mary Klemenok June 17, 2015 5:10 pm

    Hi Lizzy… I have hit my lowest point and am extremely frustrated, discouraged, and now becoming extremely unmotivated because I am getting nowhere. I run marathons and the past year, my health has declined little by little and I have yet (after MANY doctors and tests) been able to have a clear diagnosis, but am always just treated for my symptoms. I am now at my last straw trying to goto a naturopathic doctor to hopefully put an end to all of this that is draining me more and more every day. However, your story is much like mine and not many people are out there that I could ask questions or just talk to about this all. Is there anyway you could message me on Facebook or email me so I could possibly call you? I can’t keep going like this. Email is mklemenok17@yahoo.com and # is 254-230-2017

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  11. Kadambari Venkatraman June 19, 2015 11:55 am

    Hi miss Lizzy,
    I got my 24 hour salivary cortisol and tested very low on 5th June this year. I am on around 27.5 mg HC per day. I felt better immediately. But when I raised my NDT from 2 grains to 2.5 a week later, I experienced palpitations. I’m also going through a bad phase – divorce, that is. What do I do?
    p.S.
    I think the HC is increasing my appetite. Do you think it will cause heavy weight gain?

  12. Wyona Bridges July 10, 2015 4:11 pm

    I read a testimony of a lady who said she would lie on the couch with no energy after very little walking or standing. This is my story too. I have almost lost my ability to walk. Four weeks ago an endochronologist double my synthroid. Yesterday for first time I woke up and did not feel I had to drag myself to the couch. It is wonderful. My body is so out of shape I know it is going to require exercise. I would like to know how this lady is doing. Can anyone tell me how to find her testimony?

  13. Catherine Perry July 15, 2015 11:51 pm

    I was directed here from another website and reading this is like reading about me now. I don’t recognise the person that I am now. My major symptom is fatigue, which I first noticed had got bad around summer 2013 after a period of extremely high stress, although I have others that are just as detrimental, e.g. total loss of libido. Two years later and the fatigue has gone beyond being debilitating. My issue is complicated by being unable to find a doctor in my area for the last 5 years!!! Having read your post, I think I’m going to go down a similar route and see a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor if there is one. I don’t know if my thyroid is the issue but there are so many symptoms that fit that it’s a good enough starting point.

  14. Stephanie Pedro Yinger July 28, 2015 3:52 pm

    Please please help me. I am desperate. I have your same story. I have been dealing with this for 20 years. My symptoms got worse after each child that I had. My labs are always normal. I have 250 of 300 hypothyroid symptoms along with adrenal symptoms such as a Dowagers hump (buffalo hump). I have lost 1/3 of the hair on my head etc. I could go on and on. I have spent a fortune over the years going to different doctors and trying everything. I can no longer justify spending the money out of pocket when I pay so much for insurance. I am currently going to Duke Integrative Medicine and I just don’t feel like I am getting anywhere. I have to tell my doctor which labs to order. He doesn’t even know what to do with me but at least it is covered by insurance. In the meantime I am ruining my family’s life too. Please someone help. I keep hearing everyone telling me to not give up. I am a registered nurse. My brain fog is so terrible that I am almost to the point that I should not be doing my job. I cannot focus or remember anything.

  15. Becky Burton October 17, 2015 2:49 pm

    Hi,
    I like the last poster, feel desperate. Been dealing with these symptoms way too long, 20 years. I’ve tried doctors, so called functional doctors that want 3,000 to even begin.
    I have most symptoms on the list. I am wondering if you treated the Candida symptoms or did they just resolve? Seems like grains, dairy and sugar all effect my symptoms levels.
    I tried Armor before but experienced tightening in my heart.Just started an Adrenal supplement.
    20 years Anemia, now getting iron infusion every three month really sucks. Always told Thyroid is normal….
    Thanks

  16. Hosai Yonoszai October 24, 2015 11:05 pm

    Hi Lizzy,

    Please share your story of how you solved your hypothyroid. I have searched your site high and low and can’t find your actually story of what you did to cure or “fix” your hypothyroid symptoms. I have done and read all the same research that you have posted links to here regarding symptoms, iodine, bromine, fluoride, diet, and so on. What I would like to know is what combination of these things started you down the right path? I have Lugol’s iodine and have used it but maybe I wasn’t using the right amount or maybe my diet was off while using lugol’s. I don’t know what it is, but it would help all of us if you could share you entire story not just what was initially wrong as we already know how it feels. And if you already have shared your full story please forgive my crazy mind and if you can just post the link for me. Maybe I totally missed it.

  17. Corrin Perry March 3, 2016 4:23 am

    Lizzy, you shared your story with us, however you’re neglecting to share your treatments with us. We are all obviously having much difficulty with our hypothyroidism. Can you be kind enough to share your how your doctor treated you and got you better??

  18. Arlise Fletcher April 18, 2016 4:19 pm

    Hi.
    Thank you so much for sharing your success story. I’d also like to congratulate you on your success!
    However, can you share how you were able to reach your wellness goals? More specifically, what does your treatment plan consist of? Many of us are experiencing the same issues and would love some advice and guidance. I look forward to your response.
    Cordially,
    Arlise
    arlisefletcher@gmail.com

  19. Amber Jordan July 23, 2016 2:37 am

    I cried reading your story. Not out of sadness, but out of joy. I finally got a doctor to take my family history and symptoms seriously yesterday. We started blood testing this morning and I will have my thyroid ultrasound on Monday. I can’t believe the amount of doctors who dismissed every thing i said as me being a hypochondriac or just fat/lazy. My doctor now is amazing and had actually listened to me (i totally cried in her office out of relief… i cry a lot apparently) she even felt my neck (no one else even checked before) and the first words out of her mouth were, “Wow! Your thyroid is huge!”. She believes I have Hashi’s and just wants blood work to follow up. Thank you for sharing your story. Seriously, you have given me so much hope for the future and not feeling trapped in my own body. Just.. thank you.

  20. Janice Shirley August 27, 2016 5:40 pm

    And finding a doctor that listens instead of blocking out a patient’s knowledge is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I have gotten shut down and shut out by 6 doctors in the attempt to find one that knew what they are doing.

  21. Karla Valadez September 22, 2016 4:28 am

    It is amazing to see your story. I currently am struggling to get all of my symptoms and side effects under control! Since I was diagnosed I gained 30 pounds and I have not been able to loose any weight in the last 7 years. How did you get your exercise routine going? I struggle to get out of bed and go to class???

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Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition. Always consult your professional health care provider. DISCLAIMER: I AM AN ORDINARY PERSON, NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, SO THESE ARE MY EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS ONLY. EVERYONE IS INDIVIDUAL, AND WHAT WORKS FOR ME MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU! NOR IS MY STORY MEANT TO REPLACE WHAT YOU WHAT YOU AND YOUR DOCTOR DISCUSS. ANY INFORMATION AND WHAT YOU DO IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF AS BEST YOU CAN AND CONSULT A GOOD DOCTOR.