Losing Weight With Hashimoto’s: Update #1

Fitbit Flex It’s been about 6 months since I started taking selenium on a daily basis and about 2 months since I started dieting and exercising. Just this past Friday, I had a medication follow-up visit with my doctor. I left her office feeling like I was walking on air. I had lost 6 pounds since my last visit with her in April and 12 pounds since I started this weight loss journey. She said my lab results looked great. I told her I’d been using my Fitbit and synched it with MyFitnessPal. She uses both as well and she gave me tips on certain functionality in the app, as well as nutritional tips like adjusting the macros from 50% carbs/30% fat/20% protein to 50% carbs/25% fat/25% protein. She was almost as excited as I was and she was extremely encouraging and motivational.

It has not been easy and I’m sure it will get harder. Have I cheated? Oh, yes, I have. In fact, that evening after my doctor’s visit, hubby and I went out for a big Mexican meal. But, I don’t kick myself when I do cheat (or celebrate). Tomorrow is another day and I continually vow to do better when I fail. I do allow myself more leeway on the weekends, with only a 250 calorie deficit instead of 500. After all, Sunday is pizza night. But I do it in moderation and so far I’ve only backslid on my weight once. I picked myself back up, hopped on the stationary bike, and worked off some of those calories.

I’ve started walking the 0.6 miles from the light rail station to work instead of taking a shuttle. It isn’t easy, since it’s uphill (both ways, there’s a hill between the station and my building). Slowly, but surely, I’m feeling stronger. I’m feeling muscles under there that I used to be well acquainted with when I was an athlete, *mumble mumble* pounds ago. I ride my stationary bike in the evenings. I make small changes to add more activity to my day. I sync and check my Fitbit app frequently throughout the day so I get feedback on how I’m doing. That spurs  me to get up and move a bit or lets me know I’m right on target. I plan my meals to stay under my calorie allotment for the day and I log everything (including coffee creamer, vitamins, etc) in MyFitnessPal. If I want to eat more, I have to earn it with exercise.

I am not pushing myself too hard yet. I know I can do more. But, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis has been devastating my body for so long that I know I need to heal a bit physically and lose some weight before I really push hard. Besides, I have to balance work, home, and my health, so I’m pacing myself.

My Fitbit is my best friend on this journey, with MyFitnessPal coming in a close second. Without their constant feedback and encouragement (yes, Fitbit will send you encouraging alerts on your cellphone and/or email), this would be a lot harder. For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful that I can succeed in taking back my health and getting back in shape.

 

Losing Weight With Hashimoto’s

scale For many Hashimoto’s sufferers, weight gain is a major problem. Hashimoto’s causes hypothyroidism, which slows down the metabolism, leading to weight gain. As if losing weight wasn’t hard enough, losing weight with Hashimoto’s seems next to impossible. Believe me, I know.

The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is exercise. After all, you spent most, if not all, of your daily allotment of spoons there. What do you have left for exercise? Plus, you hurt. So many muscles of your body hurt due to inflammation that you just want to plop down on the couch and not move. And once there, you realize you’re craving carbs, so you get a snack, and maybe another. And you do this every day. Sound familiar? It does to me.

I have successfully lost weight with Hashimoto’s, but that was when I was younger. As I’ve gotten older and the disease has progressed, it feels next to impossible. My blood glucose is slowing creeping up and I’m headed towards diabetes. My cholesterol is a little too high. My blood pressure is a little too high. I don’t want to have to deal with heart disease. So, I need to do SOMETHING.

My first step in losing weight with Hashimoto’s, as you might have read in my blog post about selenium, was to start taking the supplement consistently every day. It has helped me feel so much better. I’ve been able to do physical activities that months ago I would have passed up. I was able to travel and walk around all day sightseeing on a recent trip while barely “paying for it” the next day with soreness. It has really helped. In addition, I’ve been talking Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, and a daily multi-vitamin, since Hashimoto’s patients are prone to vitamin deficiency. Problems like leaky gut make it difficult for us to absorb vitamins and nutrients efficiently. I’ve been forcing myself to stay hydrated, which is a constant battle for me since I rarely feel thirsty.

My second step was to start wearing my FitBit Flex every day. With the FitBit.com dashboard and iPhone app, I’m able to set a daily step goal and track it. It keeps me motivated to get up and move and burn off calories. It also allows me to link up with friends and challenge them to a little friendly competition to see who can get the most steps. I used to be an athlete, so I love a little competition. 🙂

My third step was to start using the MyFitnessPal app and website to track the calories, vitamins, and nutrients in the food I eat. I also track my exercise activities there. I’ve synced my FitBit to MyFitnessPal so it adjusts the amount of calories I’m allowed daily according to my activity level. This has made me more aware of the nutrition in the food I eat and my activity levels. If I want to have a special snack or treat, I’ve gotta get my butt moving to earn some extra calories for the day! It also helps that all my siblings use MyFitnessPal too, so we can all help keep each other accountable for our goals.

This is not easy. In fact, losing weight with Hashimoto’s is hard. It takes constant diligence and awareness, something I’m not really used to. But I’m motivated by several factors. First, I want to avoid Diabetes as long as possible. My dad has Type 1.5 Diabetes, my paternal grandfather had Diabetes, and my niece has Type 1 Diabetes. I see the struggle they go through. Due to genetics, I will probably eventually have to deal with it too, but there are things I can do right now to push back that possibility. Second, since I started taking selenium, I’ve seen that there are easy things I can do reduce the impact of Hashimoto’s. I have had days where I’ve felt almost normal, where I feel like I’m in remission. I want MORE of that! Third, there are so many things I’ve missed out on because of Hashimoto’s. So many times I scrapped plans to go out or travel or join friends because I wasn’t feeling well. I want to get out and see and experience the world again. This motivates me to take care of my health and get in shape.

I hope that there’s something in this blog post for you that makes losing weight with Hashimoto’s a little more manageable for you. I intend to post regular updates as I continue on my journey, so stay tuned!

 

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Selenium

Hashimoto's and Selenium While looking for relief from Hashimoto’s pain and inflammation, I came across an interesting book. It’s called “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” by Izabella Wentz. In this book, Izabella, discusses Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Selenium. She’s a Pharmacist who also suffers from Hashimoto’s, so she knows what she’s talking about. She says many Hashimoto’s patients tend to have selenium deficiencies. Selenium is an anti-inflammatory and also helps with thyroid hormone conversion.

Izabella suggests that Hashimoto’s patients take 200mg of selenium supplements a day to help with inflammation and to lower antithyroid antibodies. Having suffered for many years from occasionally debilitating pain and inflammation, I decided I would try selenium supplementation to see if it made a difference.

I contacted my doctor to tell her my plans and get her approval first. She agreed that it wouldn’t hurt and I could give it a try. Well, I did and I have been very pleased. My average daily pain levels were usually around the 3-4 level on the pain scale. After being on selenium for a few weeks, I noticed a big difference. My ibuprofen use has been significantly reduced. My daily pain levels are down to about a 1. I am able to be more active. Getting up from a chair doesn’t result in “old person” groans. I have been able to do without other medications for my back problems. There have been days where I felt almost “normal”. I had forgotten what those felt like.

In addition, I recently had my anti-thyroid antibodies tested and they are down to 400, from over 1300! They are only a THIRD of what they used to be. I almost consider that a miracle. That’s life changing.

If you’re suffering painful inflammation, talk to your doctor about adding a selenium supplement to your diet. The smell and taste of the selenium supplement I take is a little off-putting, but the benefits are all worth it. I have found that the taste of the pill is less bothersome if I take it with a meal.

For those of you that need or want proof of the claims about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Selenium supplementation click here to read about the study.

Let us know if selenium has helped you!

The Occasional “Good” Day

pain Recently, I had some “good” days. Good is always relative when you’re talking about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. By “good”, I mean a lot less pain that usual and a bit more energy. There was still pain, of course, and my energy was still a lot less than what a normal person has, but it was good to be reminded I CAN feel good. I think I hit the “sweet spot” in my medication levels.

Of course, that did not last long. I picked up a virus from work and it’s been two weeks of feeling horrible. The virus is long gone, but I’m sure it triggered my Hashimoto’s to flare and I am in so much pain I don’t want to move, especially my right wrist, as I type this.

So… what can I do? There’s always pain medication, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. But also, there’s the choice of what I put in my body as food and drink. I have been taking coconut oil lately, and boy did it help with my sore throat when I had that virus! Also, I’m drinking green tea, gotta fight that inflammation and those free radicals. I hate green tea, but at work they have a variety of teas available for us to try and I found a green tea I actually like. It’s Bigelow’s green tea with pomegranate. So, today, I’m curled up on the couch, sipping green tea, with the pup cuddled up next to me. I don’t plan to move much today, but it’s Saturday, so I have that luxury.

I’m hoping that I will find the culprits that contribute to my Hashi’s pain and the foods that help heal it. I don’t imagine it will be easy, as I suspect gluten and dairy, which I absolutely love. But, I think I hate being in pain more than I love cheese. I want to get back to having that occasional good day, the days when I feel strong, like I could actually run, the days I used to have before this disease really had an impact on me.

Dinner Out

dinnerOUT So, for the first time in quite a while, the hubby and I went out to dinner. We split some potato chip nachos for an appetizer and then I had a very yummy sandwich, full of turkey, pickles, and cheese. I paid for it. I had acid reflux for most of the weekend. Blaugh.

And today, I’m feeling pretty horrible. Allergies. Or a cold. I’m not sure which. Since I wasn’t able to take a zyrtec in the morning, as usual, I suspect allergies. And I have more acid reflux. It occurred to me that maybe some of my acid reflux is caused, or at least exacerbated, by allergies. A quick search online and I find that others are complaining about some sort of perceived link between allergies and acid reflux. So, I will definitely be researching that.

For now, I’m going to go deal with my headache. I’m pretty sure that’s tied to my allergies too. UGH!

Healing Myself: Day 11

diary It’s been a busy week, but the good news is that I’m slowly getting to the point where I have more energy. I’ve been having my anti-oxidant smoothie every morning. I’ve been trying to be more careful about what I eat, so I’ve cut down on dairy and gluten, though I haven’t cut them completely out. I’ve also cut down on the caffeine… boooooo! But it seems to be making some difference. I’m learning what, in addition to the food I already know about, triggers my acid reflux and heartburn. Dairy definitely seems to be in that group, unfortunately. I love cheese, so I’m researching what cheeses are worst and best for lactose sensitivities. It might not be as bad as I think, so that’s a plus.

I’ve lost about 3-4 pounds. I’ve only needed to take my Prilosec twice in the past week. Things are definitely looking up. I still need to go shopping for that exercise bike. I’m just too tired on the weekends to do anything but veg out and work on some personal projects around the house. Maybe this week after work…

Day Four of the “No Prilosec” Experiment…

heartburn …and I wish I could say I feel great, but to be perfectly honest, I hit a bump. I’m definitely having some acid reflux and heartburn issues today. I had to take a Prilosec before dinner. Also, I think the culprit is probably dairy… dammit! I love dairy. I’ve never had a problem with dairy before. Ugh. I’m going to experiment to see how my body reacts to dairy. If it is indeed a problem, I’ll have to cut way back. I’m not going promise to get rid of dairy altogether because I love the occasional ice cream and cheese, but I need to not be in pain all the time. So, sacrifices will have to be made.

Clearly, I have a lot of work left to do on my digestive issues, but I’m not giving up. I’m making changes slowly so I’m not overwhelmed. The hardest thing for me is to remember all the supplements to take, the foods to avoid, and foods to eat more of. It’s a lot to keep track of when my memory is so horrible from the Hashimoto’s in the first place. I’m going to have to get organized, take notes, and stay focused. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Oh, The Pain, The Pain…

When you have Hashimoto’s, sometimes you just wake up in pain. Everything hurts. It’s a soreness that sometimes feels like you overdid it working out, but you didn’t work out because you’re too tired, hurting, etc to do so. Sometimes, it’s more than just soreness, it’s a burning pain… inflammation. Today, it’s a bit of both. I woke up several times during the night with pain in my back, pain in my arm, pain in my wrist. Sadly, I am used to this. I want to get to a point where my Hashimoto’s takes a backseat and I’m NOT used to being in pain all the time. Ibuprofen manufacturers will mourn that day. Wouldn’t that be nice? 🙂

I’m on my third day without Prilosec and I’ve had no major heartburn or acid reflux episodes. I did have a few “uh oh” moments that I thought would turn into major pain, but they didn’t. I’m pretty sure now that chocolate is a trigger. *sigh* Dairy might be too, but I still need to experiment a little with that to see.

rootcause
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

In other news, look what came today! I love Amazon. I ordered this Friday night and it arrived today… Yes, on Sunday! 🙂 I hope this book holds some answers for me. I’m hoping I can make some changes in my life that will minimize Hashimoto’s impact and allow me to do more and enjoy more. If you would like to order your own copy, click here. (Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates program and get a small commission if you purchase through my link.)

I am going to spend the day reading this book and coming up with a game plan for my own “lifestyle intervention” for my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Healing Myself: Day 3

smoothie Well, yesterday went fairly well. I started the day off with an anti-inflammatory smoothie. It consisted of banana, strawberries, blueberries, mango, acai juice, and a little bit of milk (though I might switch to almond milk in the future). It was delicious and I felt fantastic yesterday morning. I also skipped my Prilosec. I didn’t have any heartburn or reflux, even though my husband and I had burgers and fries for dinner. (Yeah, I’m still working on cutting food like that out for a while.)

I didn’t take any Prilosec today either and I had another delicious smoothie this morning. If I feel up to it today, we’re going to go shopping for an exercise bike. If I don’t feel up to it, I think I’ll just sit outside for a while in the gorgeous sunshine with the pup. I don’t get nearly enough of that in Seattle, which is one of the reasons my doctor also has me on vitamin D supplements.

On the way home from work yesterday, a shuttle I was taking to the transit tunnel went past the Polyclinic on Madison. I got excited because I was trying to figure out on a map where it was and now I know exactly where it is in relation to work. It’s only a few blocks away, in fact! It’s a short walk, but it’s all uphill. Ugh. Anyway, there’s an endocrinologist specializing in thyroids there that I’m going to try to get in to see. He’s not taking any new patients unless they have a referral, so I’m hoping he’ll accept me. I’m really hoping he can help me get my TSH stable and my Hashimoto’s in remission.

Healing Myself: Day 1

blueberries After the misery of yesterday, I know I need to seriously adjust my diet. I didn’t eat particularly bad yesterday, but I think it was a few squares of dark chocolate that did me in. So, today, I skipped the Prilosec and although I’m still recovering from the horrific heartburn of yesterday, I’m doing better.

Last night, I sat down and made a list of anti-inflammatory foods and a list of acid reflux/heartburn trigger foods. I went shopping with my husband today to stock up on anti-inflammatory foods (well, I helped a tiny bit and sat the rest of the time because I’m so weak and fatigued right now). He’s an excellent cook, so he’s really going to be my biggest help in trying to eat better. With the list of the acid reflux triggers, I am keeping them in a handy spot to refer to so I can avoid them. It won’t be easy because I love my coffee and chocolate! I will include the lists in a later post. Tonight, I’m too tired and brain dead to focus on writing for any length of time.

Wish me luck!