Beating Hypothyroidism

Archive for the tag “Synthroid”

It’s Been a LONG Month…

…and it’s only just half over. I have National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to thank for that. In twelve days, I wrote nearly 55,000 words, almost 5,000 to finish the manuscript I was working on in September and October, and then a completely new book.
Twelve days…
Let’s just say that it was a challenge in more ways than one. And I’m not finished yet. I’m hoping to finish yet another manuscript (about 25,000 words), and write a new novella to have ready in time for Christmas.
Why explain all of this? Because I got wound up stressed out and extremely exhausted. Writing is harder work than you might think. Add in way too many political recordings in the weeks leading up to the election, along with the telemarketers who don’t know what the ‘Do Not Call List’ is…or they just choose to ignore it. Yes, those calls interrupted my sleep on an almost daily basis. And once I wake up, it’s tough for me to fall back to sleep.
So…
I was tired, wound up eating gluten…for about two weeks. And kind of let the 4+ days a week eating low carb fall by the wayside. I also, when I needed it the most, started slacking off the coconut oil. Again.
But I think I’ve gotten back on track, and have maintained more than half of my weight loss, which is a miracle.
It’s also annoying, because technically, I wasn’t eating that many calories. I just started eating more carbs. Mostly carbs with gluten, but they’re actually not higher in calories than the gluten-free varieties.
So clearly my body doesn’t like carbs. At least not too many of them. So I’m back on track, and heading to the grocery store tomorrow for what will become the staples of my low carb days. Because I’ll have to treat them like people who do the meal replacement shakes…just a bunch of repetitiveness.
I do the best when I limit my low carb days to boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked in coconut oil, and a casserole of sorts. Cooked, chopped cauliflower with cream cheese, cheddar, and a little heavy cream. So most low carb days I’m going to aim to have that meal 2-3 times a day. I’m trying to force the third meal because I know the calories are just too low when I only eat twice.
I’ve also decided to change this blog a bit, and make it more of a of ‘losing weight with hypothyroidism.’ I will continue to share what I’m doing to help me with they symptoms of hypothyroidism, and how those things are working, but I know a lot of people, women in particular, struggle with losing weight, even after they begin taking Synthroid and Armour.
So for those who don’t need to lose weight, or who aren’t interested in losing weight, I apologize, because you likely won’t find much use for this blog anymore. But now that fatigue isn’t as much of an  issue it was for me early in the year, it’s time for me to change my focus to what’s next on the list…and that is getting rid of the thyroid-related weight.

After a Bit of Tweaking…

…I’m pretty excited about what I’ve come up with for this diet.

Clearly I’m not going to be able to do the 400-600 carbs very often…if ever. But in playing around with the carb cycling, I’m finding that really low carbs one day, followed by a sort of medium carb day the next (in an every other day pattern) is working.

And contrary to popular belief, I have to limit my meals to twice a day, no matter which day I’m on. I also keep them fairly small. The past two days look like this for me….

Thursday: 1 cup beef, rice and gravy (for each meal), 3 total tablespoons of coconut oil, supplements. I didn’t get in as much water as I’d have liked, but am working on increasing that.

Friday: 3-4 oz pork, with cauliflower/cheddar/cream cheese (2/3 cup with the first meal, and 1/2 cup with the second), 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 serving of swamp sludge/powdered greens, supplements (still adding extra vitamin C…2,000 mg, and planning to work up to 5,000-it also helps with alertness). I’ll probably finish the day out at 50 oz of water, but it’s just been one of those days.

What I find the most exciting, other than the fact that I’ve lost 3 pounds so far since Monday (15 total in the past twenty-one days), is that I’ve been doing a lot more walking. Either hoofing it through local stores, or on my treadmill.

Why is this exciting? Because…I feel good! I mean I’m feeling so much better I can hardly believe it. And given that as of this minute…12:16 a.m…., I’ve had 4 1/2 hours sleep since noon on Thursday. Far too little sleep in the past 36 hours…and I’m still feeling good! And I plan to start back at the pool on Monday to start doing resistance exercises. Hopefully I’ll work back up to six days a week, but at least three.

What I find so amazing about all of this is that my doctor told me in December…ten months ago…that I’d just have to suck it up and live like this. To just focus on being as healthy as I could be this way because with hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome (which has yet to be proven to me), this was the best I could expect.

Well you know what? I’ve spent countless hours researching everything I could possibly find to research about this, and have finally come up with a combination of supplementation, diet and exercise that’s working. (having said that, I hope I don’t jinx myself).

But for anyone with thyroid related weight gain, as impossible as it seems to get rid of it…don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. It’s taken me 18 months to see some great results in the weight area, though the energy has been improving as I find supplements that work for me.

You just have to find what works for you. I’ll share what I’m taking…but keep in mind that I’m NOT recommending that anyone else take them. This is what I’ve found that works for ME, not for YOU. If you decide to try any of these supplement without getting an okay from your doctor, it will be at your own risk. Sorry, I have to say that to minimize my risks.

Every day when I get up, I take my Synthroid. Thirty to sixty minutes later, I take my first tablespoon of coconut oil (Spectrum Organics, expeller pressed).

With supper (or before if I’m eating too late), I take 2 women’s petite multi vitamins (2 is one serving), 1000 mg vitamin C with rose hips, 1 B-complex, 1 timed release B12, 1 serving powdered greens, and 2 Standard Process Adrenal (desiccated) that I order from Amazon.com. The rest I just get in my grocery store. As I said, I’m adding more vitamin C at different times of the day and, because it’s water soluble, an occasional extra B12. I am taking a tablespoon of coconut oil before I eat, as well.

I’m trying to do the digestive enzymes only a couple of days a week now. Every day just doesn’t seem to help. Maybe your body adjusts to them so they don’t work as good, so I’ve cut back. Some days I also take acidophilus, and may start using that daily, since it’s so good for digestive health (helps keep good bacteria in your intestines…especially after a course of antibiotics).

Something else I’ve been doing is using coconut oil in place of facial and body lotions. If you were considering trying this, all I can say is wait until you don’t have to go anywhere. You will be pretty greasy…and believe me…a little goes a LONG way. I’m not joking. But you’ll want to clip your hair up, and away from your face, and wear grubby clothes that you don’t care about.

I’m not sure how accurate the functional age test is, but the skin on the back of my hand flattened back out in under 2 seconds…which apparently means the skin on my hands is the same as someone under 30 years old. Of course I’ve always avoided the sun, so that may have something to do with it. But my eye doctor tells me I could pass for ten years younger than my actual age (at least when I’ve had some sleep!).

One thing I forgot to mention is that I know part of the 15 pounds is due to an end to the edema…which I can control by remaining gluten-free. Although I can actually have a little bit of gluten once every week or so and it’s not affecting me in negative ways anymore. It is so nice to see my feet and ankles looking good again because, if I do say so myself, I’ve always thought I had pretty feet.

So I’ll stop now. I just wanted to share what’s been going on this week. And I hope to keep the good news coming.

Definitely Been A While…

Just to quickly explain, I might have mentioned that when the dentist pulled my tooth, it tore the side of the gum pretty bad. In addition, it looks like one of the many shots injured a nerve, so the pain still gets pretty bad at times. Last night was one of those nights and I got very little sleep. Hopefully it will continue to improve…a whole lot faster than it has been. It’s seriously screwing up my online life. Hard to make the blog rounds, or do much of anything else with stuff like this going on.

On to other…better…news.

A week or so ago, I really seemed to lose my appetite. I mean a lot. As in I wasn’t even hungry until I’d been up eight or nine hours. I also was only eating one or two small meals a day. I know some of it was water weight, but in less than a week, I dropped eight or nine pounds.

That gave me all the incentive I needed to start something I’d seriously been considering for some time now. So on Monday, I started carb cycling.

The first day I basically had a big chicken breast (boneless/skinless) fried slow in a little coconut oil with salt, garlic and parmesan cheese. In addition, for the day, I had a tablespoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon or so of butter, maybe half a dozen bites of an egg/sausage/cheese scramble, and 2 cups of V8 juice.

Tuesday it was an even larger chicken breast, prepared the same way, and split into two ‘meals,’ most of a can of green beans, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and a slice of cheese.

Those were the low carb days (4 per week…50 or fewer grams of carbs).

Wednesday was a medium carb day (2 days per week…100-200 grams), and I had…3 slices of ham lunch meat and 1 slice of gluten free toast with 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter for lunch. Supper was 3/4 to 1 cup of instant potatoes with 2 tablespoons of butter, 3 slices of chopped ham lunch meat, and a cup of V8 juice. Because I was so low on carbs, I had a scant 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and 3 marshmallows, and then 1/4 up of sunflower seeds later.

I also finally found out how to use coconut oil for weight loss…1 tablespoon BEFORE meals, so I had three of those today, too.

Yes, I know the fat content has been rather high, but on the low carb days, you’re supposed to have a 50/50 thing going on with calories…50% of them coming from protein, and 50% coming from good fats. I’m going to be mixing the butter and coconut oil for a healthier substitute, I think.

But, no matter how you slice it, it’s sugar, carbs, and processed foods that put the weight on. However, I don’t believe that total low carb is good for you either, so that’s why I went with the carb cycling. I don’t eliminate any food groups that way, and can even have fruits on the medium and high carb days. High carb days are, for me right now, 1 day a week, and I’m supposed to get in 400-600 grams. That’s going to be rough.

And I’m also going for a wider variety and more veggies and fruits when I get to the grocery store.

But get this…I’m down a total of twelve pounds in just over a week.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because it’s the first time in I don’t know how long that I’ve lost weight. And it’s a pretty significant loss, too. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Well, I could…if the jaw pain would go away permanently, but even so…this is fantastic!

Now I want to add that I never ate a whole lot anyway. Of course I had those days from time to time…you know…where you eat anything that isn’t nailed down. But usually I didn’t eat a whole lot.

Something is working. I couldn’t lose it before…no matter what I did. Now it’s coming off. And you know what? On the low carb days, I don’t really get hungry. I may have to have another snack before I go to bed today though (it’s still Wednesday to me). I think it’s the carbs I’ve eaten that are doing it. But tomorrow is another low day, so it likely won’t be a problem.

So anyway, this is longer than I planned, but I had to share it with you. For those of you with hypothyroidism, and are discouraged because you can’t lose any weight, even with Synthroid, Armour, or whatever you’re taking for it…there is hope! It’s been 18 months since my diagnosis, and this is the first time anything has come off. I’m completely amazed!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, which I expect to slow down sooner rather than later. But I expect it to also continue coming off. That’s why I’m so happy about this. I finally have hope. 🙂

Oops. Two more quick notes. Six months off the electronic cigarettes…yay! Also, I’m curious as to whether the dessicated adrenal support supplements are having anything to do with the success this time. Does anyone have any experience with them? I know I’m not stopping after the 90 days are up.

Does Coconut Oil Help Thyroid Function?

I don’t know why it took me so long to make the connection, but the answer to my question is…I believe that it does.

It’s been seventeen months since the official diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Until last month, I’d only made it into the ‘normal’ range once, and the doctor said it was just barely. That would have been last year when I tried the coconut oil for a while.

Now, months later (almost a year, in fact), I’m barely back in the normal range again…and this time it happened after being on the same Synthroid dose for a good six months. It hadn’t been raised again. But in March, when I had the panic attack, my TSH was still too high.

I didn’t begin using coconut oil again until around April 10th. So I’m crediting that with my TSH being within the normal range….because the Synthroid sure didn’t put it there. It helped some…kept it knocked down a point or two all this time, but it’s the oil that tipped the scales.

Four months on it now. I am diligent about using it…once a day. If I could remember to do the 3-4 times a day, I’m thinking maybe I could get off the meds entirely. Maybe not.

But…

If I would also be diligent about the juiced radishes/V8/hot sauce/cayenne pepper along with it (twice daily)…you just never know what might happen.

Something else is also different. For the first time since my pregnancies, I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin religiously. Along with B-Complex and B12. I’m not sure if I was taking the adrenal support then, but I’ve been using the digestive enzymes, too.

All I know is that I’m setting a goal. To shock the heck out of my doctor by this time next year. Because I still refuse to accept that this is the way my life is always going to be.

I’ve already proved that wrong…to a degree. The oh so great medicine hasn’t made me feel one bit better. But thanks to people who are willing to share their stories and experience, I’ve learned a great deal…and it’s helped tremendously. Yes, I’m still too tired most of the time…however…it’s no longer so bad that it controls my life.

Still Being a Gluten Glutton

I can’t think of one gluten-containing food that has made me glad I took a break, which is likely why that break has been longer than the two days I planned. When I eliminate it again on Monday, I’ll have stretched it out to sixteen days. The toast was better, though. The dumplings, too. I love toast and dumplings.

So…

Over the course of the past year, I’ve seen information about adrenal fatigue popping up here and there. And then I bought a magazine with an article about it. Not surprisingly, the symptoms pretty much describe me to a T. So I did a little more research, ordered some desiccated adrenal supplements that had a good rating on Amazon, and have been taking them for the past several days.

Like I told my sister, it’s too early to give credit to them, but for the past two days, I haven’t had to take a nap, or kick back in my desk chair and doze for thirty to sixty minutes because I was too tired to keep my eyes open.

One of the things that really grabbed my attention is that adrenal fatigue is caused by stress. I have been under a lot of stress for at least ten years, and major stress for the past four.

Symptoms include: excessive fatigue (check), non-refreshing sleep (check), feel most energetic in the evening (check), poor digestion (check), low stamina (check), and more. While there are a few on the list I don’t have, most are an issue for me. As well as some that aren’t on this list (difficulty losing weight and retaining fluids).

The list on the link above isn’t a complete list. For instance, it doesn’t mention edema/fluid retention. There is an interesting quiz you can take at this website to see if you might need to look into supplements.

One particularly interesting thing I’ve found in my quest to learn about adrenal fatigue is that sometimes treating this can resolve issues with hypothryoidism.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d LOVE to not have to mess with blood tests and Synthroid anymore. I told someone recently that I’d rather take ten vitamin and herbal supplements every day than one prescription medication.

 

A Controlled Vacation From Gluten-Free…

Yeah, that hasn’t worked out so well.  Partly because it’s been so blasted hot and I haven’t felt like putting forth much effort to cook…and definitely no baking.  Partly because now that I’ve opened up the food world again, nothing really sounds good.  The fatigue hasn’t been too bad, but I’m not feeling quite as good as I did a week or so ago.  So it’s back to the grind on Monday.  Sure wish gluten-free breads, biscuits, etc… were as good as the ‘real’ stuff.

I’ve made one other change, and I think it’s helping.  I’ve added acidophilus to my island of supplements.  In the past I’ve only taken them when I’m sick.  But they are for digestive health, and they seem to make the enzymes work even better.

Now I can’t remember if I just bought my 3rd or 4th jar of coconut oil since February, but the last one is getting pretty close to empty…and I’m NOT running out.  When I look at them and think…I’ve been EATING COCONUT OIL…JARS and JARS of COCONUT OIL…it’s kind of a gross thought.  But it makes such a huge difference in how I feel.

I’d also been slacking off on the vitamin C and B-complex.  Don’t ask me why, because I don’t have a good answer.  Or any answer at all, really.  But they, too, help a lot.  I was doing well at juicing for a while…I need to start the radish juice again.  It wasn’t that bad.  It wasn’t that bad…I can do it.

I did remember to get my blood test yesterday.  Same rude lab tech, but this time she managed to get it from the bend of my elbow (yes, I have another pretty bruise).  I’ll find out Monday what my TSH levels are.  If they test the wrong thing again, I’m going to spit bullets.

So we’ll see how it goes.  Seems like there was something else I wanted to mention, but whatever it might have been is gone.  If I remember, I’ll update this post.  Now it’s back to my manuscript.  Five-thousand words a day for fourteen days.  And I’m a little short tonight.  Can’t screw up the first day in.  🙂

Looking at the tag list, I just remembered.  While I’m feeling better in 85 degrees than I have since I was a kid, these 95 and 100 degree days are nuts.  I hate them.  But to be perfectly honest, miserable as they are, they still aren’t bothering me as much as they used to.  Of course, I’m using the air conditioner, and the only time I’m outside is to walk from the house to the van, and the van to wherever it is I’m going.

Been a Long Week

I’m still feeling better as far as the Synthroid schedule goes (forgot to do the blood test again though).  I’ve been doing horrible on getting to the pool (I have a list of excuses-legit and not so legit-as long as my arm). Still doing the coconut oil and some supplements (gotta do better!).

Two things, though, are giving me bigger problems than anything else.  First, I thought I’d be over the worst of the whole electronic cigarette thing by now.  It’s been nearly 2 1/2 months, and I’m STILL tempted to order more supplies sometimes.  Only the fact that I don’t get out of breath as easily is keeping me on task.  But I am going through a lot more nicotine gum.

Second on the list is the gluten-free lifestyle.  I’ve been totally resenting that for a few weeks now.  Yes, it was very nice that the Pamela’s bread dough worked out so nicely for pizza, but no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was the same…it’s not.  It’s better than the other gluten-free options, but it’s NOT the same.  I’m still on that whole raspberry Bismark kick…I just want one SO bad…

And I finally said the heck with it.  I decided I was taking this weekend and having a gluten orgy.   I am going to eat several of the foods I’ve been missing like crazy…including real pizza, real biscuits, real french toast, and real whatever I want.

Hopefully it won’t backfire, but I figured a controlled cheat was probably my best bet.  I was afraid if I didn’t, I’d completely throw in the towel like I did about this same stage last year.  If it works, I’ll plan on this periodically until I get better, more permanent control of it.

If I give myself permission sometimes, I might not be as tempted (that’s what I’m telling myself anyway).

I Hate to Say This But…

…not setting the alarm to take my Synthroid is helping.  For four out of five days, I’ve felt better.  And I’m surprised I wasn’t dragging today.  I wound up with four hours sleep, then an hour nap later in the day…and still felt better than I have in quite awhile.

I will likely be cutting back to posting updates once a week.  I’m starting a new workshop on July 7th called Fast Draft and Revision Hell.  So I expect I’ll be fast drafting…and hopefully finishing a couple of WIP’s (work in progress for those who don’t write).  I’m hoping to gain enough knowledge that I’ll actually be able to participate in NaNoWriMo in November.  Again, to explain, that stands for National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve been so focused on feeling better that I’ve let that part of my life slide for the past, what?  Four months?  I’ve got some major catching up to do to stay on schedule.  Rather get back on it.

So anyway…  I finally tried out Pamela’s bread mix…for pizza and breadsticks tonight.  All I can say is…it’s such an improvement over anything else I’ve tried.  Chewy crust that actually rises…so I don’t have to put up with thin, crisp crusts anymore.  There was even enough dough to make a small loaf of bread.  That was pretty good, too.  Much better than Udi’s and Schar’s (although in a pinch, Schar’s will be my first choice).

That’s about it for now.  My lack of sleep is finally catching up to me.  Thank goodness.  🙂

And the Changes Keep Piling Up

I have had a problem with the way you’re supposed to take Synthroid in the 14 months since it was first prescribed.  You’re supposed to take it 30-60 minutes before eating (or two hours after), but I had been staying with the 60 minutes before because I’d read something last year that made me believe it was better to wait the full hour.  Not a good thing when you have no energy, and basically no metabolism.

So I tried taking it at bedtime.  After ten days I felt so much worse that I stopped doing that.  And then I read where many women set an alarm and take it in the middle of their sleep cycle.  Why not?  That’s what I’ve been doing for two or three months now.  Along with everything else I’ve been doing since February.

Twice recently, I forgot to set the alarm, resulting in the need to take the Synthroid when I woke up on my own.  Thursday was the second time, and I realized again that I felt a bit better.

And it finally hit me…waking up a couple hours after falling asleep wasn’t working for me.  And it may be why the supplements, enzymes, coconut oil and other things aren’t working as well as they had been.  No, I don’t feel as bad as I did last year, but I don’t feel as good as I did a few months ago either.

So as of tonight, (Friday) I’m ignoring the alarm.  I’ll try to have my coconut oil and a little something more about 45 minutes after I take the Synthroid…and see how that goes.

This is all very frustrating.  Given that everything I’m doing is supposed to work, I should be bouncing off the darned walls.

So many of the thoughts in this song perfectly describe the struggle with hypothyroidism…and all it’s ugliness.  I love that it talks about not backing down and standing your ground.  It’s not always fun, but I will hold onto every little bit of ground I take back.  Sometimes it’s a major battle, but I’m not giving up.  If I do, I’ll never feel good again.

Stubbornness sure comes in handy sometimes.  🙂

***I should have added that two days out of three (once by accident, once on purpose) of taking the Synthroid when I woke up seems to have made a bit of a difference.  I’ve gotten more housework done at one time than I’ve managed to do in a while.  And I actually took the time to make a good supper tonight.

My energy is zapped right now, which isn’t cool since it’s still light outside (and Idon’tlive in Alaska).  I’m hoping to see some of it come back as there are still a few things I’d like to finish up.  If I can’t, I’m not going to complain.  Hopefully I’ll continue to feel better each day I don’t set my alarm.

At least now I think I’m at a place where anymore changes are going to come one at a time.  It’s too hard to figure out what is and isn’t helping when I tackle too many things at once.

All Out of Whine

Yes, it’s true, I’m finished being mad and whining over the screw up with the blood test.  In fact the past couple of days have been better.  Last night I went to a birthday party (and worked on the computer for the birthday girl for a couple of hours).  Afterward, with perfect timing, I managed to catch a fireworks display I didn’t even know was scheduled.  And today I walked around the Annual Dam Festival.  Yes, my mom found a write up about it and so we checked it out.  Very cool!

I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I weren’t feeling better.

So…what else is happening?  Still gluten and electronic cigarette free.  Still hit and miss on supplements and juicing…I just have felt seriously bad most days since the blood test.  I will do better with it this week.  And I’m still going to the pool…and trying to work into an every day schedule.

There is one think I’ve noticed that is a huge change for me.  I mean HUGE.  For most of my life I’ve hated summer.  I am so miserable as soon as the thermometer hits the low seventies that all I’ve done forever is count the days until October 1st.

It was ninety degrees as I traipsed around the Dam Festival.  Sure I was sweating a little (I’m not ladylike enough to perspire, sorry).  Yes, it was pretty warm.  But amazingly enough, I wasn’t particularly uncomfortable.  Usually I have trouble breathing when it’s that hot (not a lung thing, it just feels like I’m inhaling air from a hot oven).

I don’t know if that would be from the Synthroid.  Since it’s not keeping the TSH under control, I don’t know if it would keep anything else under control either.  So maybe it’s the combination of coconut oil and supplementation.  I don’t know…but whatever it is, it can keep doing this.  It’s wonderful to not dread summer right now.

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