This week we have invited Kris from The Mummy K a mother, blogger and published author, to share her experience living with a thyroid problem. All opinions and advice are her own.
I have an under active thyroid. I finally figured that one out.
For years I have suspected there was something wrong with my system but I couldn’t really tell what it was. I thought it was just normal for a mother to be sluggish, to be tired all the time, to have a hard time losing weight, to feel down.
I thought it was normal because I was getting old, because I had a child, because of this and that. Then one day I bought a copy of a magazine that I don’t normally buy all because Chris Hemsworth was on the cover. There was a full page ad about symptoms of people with a thyroid problem. It said that if I ticked three of the symptoms I could have thyroid issues.
I ticked seven.
The symptoms included things like weight gain around the middle, poor memory, feeling cold in the feet and hands, hair loss, 3pm slump, irritability, craving sugar and carbs, depression, insomnia and more.
The ad said that although I was previously checked by a GP and dismissed as ‘all good’ (which was what happened to me) I still needed a more thorough check up to figure out the real issue.
Testing for thyroid problems
I went to the clinic and got instructions on how to test to really know what was wrong with me. It was a long process, there were lots of tests, blood tests included, but I did them all. I was warned though that because of the difference in standards for thyroid problems in Australia and worldwide I may have a hard time getting doctors to take me seriously.
She was right, too. I had to insist on the types of blood tests I needed to get, some of them were not covered by Medicare. They looked at my TSH levels, my T3 and T4 levels, my muscle tissue reflex among others. One of the results showed that I may have an autoimmune problem related to thyroid but my GP wasn’t that bothered by it because my other tests showed I was okay.
Like this article from Her Collective said, globally the medical industry can’t decide where the reference range should be in these thyroid problem tests. “Depending on which country you’re in, you may be told your thyroid is fine but in another country you have a problem.”
So was it worth all the hassle and money? Definitely. I came out of the clinic with real answers. I was able to figure out why I am how I am. My resting metabolic rate is totally in the red. This means no matter how hard I exercise, it won’t help with weight loss. Instead, it will put pressure on my adrenal glands. This makes a lot of sense to me.
When I was doing a calorie counting weight loss program, I was losing weight but not the amount I was expecting. Although I cut back my food intake and exercised for an hour a day, my weekly weight loss was less than half a kilo. It made me wonder but I thought maybe my body was just like that.
Eventually, of course, it frustrated me when I hit a plateau that extended for over a year. The kilos piled back on and I had no energy to shift it.
Knowing what I know now is a very big help. Now I understand what I need to do to get back on track. The specialist immediately noticed my puffy face and neck, my irritated nasal passages, and my constant snorting because of hay fever. I kept thinking, well that’s just me. It turns out, not necessarily.
Addressing a thyroid problem
There are a lot of things I can do to help myself aside from the treatment I’m doing to fix my thyroid problem. They mentioned stuff like no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no soy and immediately I wanted to shut down. Because, like that song in The Sound of Music, these are a few of my favourite things!
Having said that, I had to reassess my eating habits. I may not totally exclude those from my diet but I have drastically decreased them. That’s how I work. If I deprived myself of everything I’m going to end up bingeing it.
I know it’s a long process. Results aren’t expected until maybe over a year from now. Aside from what I eat I also have to be careful of the activities I do – exercises that are not too boot camp crazy. I take a supplement that is thyroid specific which has helped with my iodine levels (the tests showed it too).
After a couple of weeks on the treatment and supplement, I am seeing the changes everyday. I don’t wake up totally exhausted anymore. The 3pm slump is gone. I used to sit down in the afternoon and fall asleep but now it’s not happening anymore. My insomnia isn’t that often anymore and my muscles don’t hurt as much when I exercise.
Are you tired? Gaining weight when you used to be slim? Depressed? It might just be a thyroid problem.