So you think you have a thyroid problem?
Weve all heard about thyroid problems being a cause of weight gain and preventing weight loss. Mostly you hear people suggest they have a thyroid problem to take the responsibility away from themselves for thier weight. I have never known (to my knowledge) an actual person struggling to lose weight who had a thyroid problem. Which has turned these issues into a kind of mythical thing. Like the last excuse someone could stand on. Until recently.
My cousin was diagnosed with a thyroid issue. Specifically her thyroid had completely shut down. It made sense asI have watched her work her ass off, consistantly, and not see the results she should be. I asked her to share her experience for those whomay be ignorant (like myself) to what it is like to have a real-life, actual thyroid problem. So my cousin (being awesome and all), Allison (@knssntxs) wrote the following:
My cousin recently went through a metamorphosis. She lost almost a hundred pounds by changing her lifestyle. I thought hey, if she can do it so can I. I had already lost close to thirty pounds and was ready to hit it hard. Eventually the stars lined up (I got off my bum) and I was able to truly dedicate myself to becoming healthy. I was living in a community that had a free workout 5 days a week. I started going to that workout. These workouts are truly community-wide. Anyone and everyone is welcome. You can do the exercises at your own speed and to the best of your ability. If you are told to do 10 push-ups and only complete 5 thats fine. Noone will laugh at you or mock you. In fact there is nothing but encouragement at these workouts, which works out well as during the summer there will always be at least one ridiculous hill that you are told to run up; sometimes youve got to run up it backwards.
I started these workouts with the summer session, June 1. I had recently put on about 10 pounds, but I chalked it up to moving, stress, and actually eating three times a day as opposed to my former twice a day regimen. So doing some sit-ups, push-ups, volleyball jumps, burpees, mountain climbers were definitely on the menu. I attended the workouts regularly; meaning 4 or more times a week. After a month I had gained 4 pounds. I decided those were all muscle.
Now I had also modified my diet. I was eating fairly well. I would have cereal or oatmeal for breakfast and a mid-morning snack of grapes. Lunch consisted of a turkey sandwich on low calorie wheat bread and an apple. I had an afternoon snack most days that consisted of a bag of chips and a Coke Zero. Then I would go workout for an hour. Dinner wasnt ever healthy. Sometimes it was chicken, or tacos, but most times it was homemade pizza. In theory they weighed in around 500 calories, but Im sure they were more as I really like cheese. During this time I was averaging about 4 liters of water a day.
So here I was working out, eating fairly well, and what was happening. Everyday I felt a little worse. I was tired all the time. At first it wasnt all that obvious. I was napping over my lunch hour, but hey Id just moved and started working full time again. Thats tiring. Then things changes so that I couldnt take that nap. I was going to bed around 9pm and getting up at 6am. Then it was 6:30am, finally I was lucky to get up at 7am. That definitely put a cramp in my breakfast routine.
Did I mention that the summer heat didnt bother me? I was wearing long sleeves to work. Now I told myself it was because they were the most professional things I owned (true) and that it worked out because the air conditioning was ridiculous. It is true that we would turn on the air conditioning in the morning and let it run till just after lunch. At that point I would turn it off for the day. By the time I left it was usually around 84 in my office, which was just fine. During my lunch hour I was outside soaking up the sun and warming up. Most days it was in the 90s with a week in the triple digits. I barely broke a sweat. I would sweat when I worked out, and it was clothes soaking, but again I was hitting it hard. So I really didnt think anything was wrong.
So after 3 months of the same routine there was a week break of the community workout. I needed it. I was exhausted. I went to bed early and let my body recover. I knew that I was stronger and faster than I had been in March, but I didnt really feel like it. It seemed that every week I had a harder time doing what I had done the week before. Push-ups werent getting easier, they were getting harder. The fall workout was only three days a week, so I started just running on my own. I found a training program for a half-marathon, not that I was going to run one, but it seemed like something to do, and started following it. So I started working out 6 days a week. The community workout became my easy days and on some occasions I didnt finish those workouts.
Now my life was far from pretty. Much like the rest of America I had no money and owed a bunch. So I was ridiculously stressed out about that so it seemed natural that I would be a bit melancholy. I realized that something was wrong the day that I was told that my position had been made permanent and I would be getting benefits (insurance and everything) and I knew I should be happy, but I just wasnt.
I would go to work and fall into hazes. My boss would be talking to me about something and I would have to concentrate very hard on what he was saying as it was like listening to everything through a fog. I thought it was strange, but figured it was part of aging and normal. Because isnt 98% of the things you experience well within the normal range?
On the more personal side, I had decided not to date for a while. Since I didnt have any money it was easy not to go out and I was so tired that most days I didnt want to go out. What I didnt notice was that my sex drive had disappeared. I hadnt thought about it for a while and I had abstained in the past, but this was different. I had no urges at all. Which was really fine as I wasnt feeling pretty. My hair had completely dried out and was a mess. I had always had very healthy hair, even when I dyed it; but lately it was horrid. Perhaps from the lack of fat in my diet? I wasnt sure. My skin was also dry. My skin had only been dry once before and that was in the dead of winter, this was mid September with 70% humidity and I was scaly.
All of these things I didnt really worry about until I broke out in a rash on my shin. My insurance had kicked in so I made an appointment. I decided to get a full physical because I hadnt had one in a while. My doctor immediately diagnosed the rash as a result from being fair skinned and dry. Steroid cream and recommendations for lotion. Otherwise I was completely healthy aside from my weight. I should lose 20 pounds.
I said, but Im running 6 days a week and Im really tired. He said hed run some tests. As it turns out I do actually have a thyroid problem. Just gaining a wee bit of weight does not make for metabolism problem, but in combination with all the other things you might have a problem.
Big thank you to Allison for sharing her story. To all of you with diagnosed thyroid problems I am sorry for my prior ignorance. And if you think you may have this struggle yourself please check with your doctor as there are measures to take that will help you.