Friday, April 23, 2010

Me, Jillian Michaels and Hypothroidism

I think I've mentioned before that I have a dying thyroid. I don't use it as an excuse for my weight issues. True, I gained another 20 pounds around the time I noticeably developed a big thryoid (with no diagnosis) around age 36, but I had body image issues before then and had been trying to lose what little weight I had to lose long before then. Over the past 10 years, the symptoms have really ramped up: (sleeplessness, rashes, stiff joints, mild depression or malaise, low body temp, etc.) and it wasn't until I had my first real medical issue in the form of a severely herniated spinal disc that my frightening thryoid condition was discovered during the resulting surgery. The surgeon saw nodules on my enlarged thyroid and during a followup biopsy at UW Cancer Clinic (that was scary!) the nice gaggle of heavily accented doctors revealed that I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

I didn't want to try the Synthroid, the most commonly used synthetic thyroid used to replace underactive thyroid. I did love Armour, the natural thyroid replacement, because there were zero side-effects. It's just hard to find doctors who will prescribe it, and it was taken off the market in 2009 in what  many say is a bid by the drug companies to keep their monopoly on the synthetic version which millions of people take.

This morning I woke up feeling horrid again, and what I know today for sure is that my laissez faire attitude about eating has got to change. Prior to this morning, I knew in theory I should eat better because it was good for me, but a light bulb went off this morning. This ongoing emotional funk and achy joints that are keeping me from feeling 100 percent is no longer acceptable. Kind of like when my friend had breast cancer and she related it to bad food that she went cold turkey and would do anything to avoid junk foods.

So the best I can do even after with the right medication is eat and exercise to help control my condition.  So what to eat? I checked with various Web sites and books and here's some general ideas.

No-nos include eating the following raw: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, spinach, peaches, pears, strawberries, radishes and millet (who would eat millet raw?). Now I love all of them, but the truth is that eating the veggies cooked is something I already do, so that's good. I only eat strawberries, peaches and pears in season and have no problem cooking them first. I might have a bowl of strawberries, pears or peaches for breakfast during the season, but it's only a couple months out of the year.

I also avoid most forms of processed soy. This may seem somewhat controversial, but I have been reading a lot on this topic since Nutritional consultant Tracie Hittman first told me soy is problematic for many people. Perhaps coincidentally, I was a vegan for many years and used a lot of soy products as meat and dairy substitutes. It was during this period that my thyroid was first diagnosed as enlarged and later said to be under active. Now I'm reading that the excessive use of processed soy especially has a product that can inhibit the body's absorption of iodine, something I never got a lot of anyway because I never used iodized salt. (If you use a lot of uniodized sea sal't, you should look at taking a kelp supplement.) Trainer Jillian Michaels who also has a thryoid issue, has criticized Oprah's health handlers for not notifying the talk show Queen that soy is bad for her. (Note to self: if Jillian Michaels has hypothroidism and looks like that, and so can I—in theory.) Ironically, it's reported that Dr. Christiane Northrup, who got Oprah to start chowing down on soy years ago, is now also hypothyroid. At any rate, there's lots of information about avoiding processed soy in this article, which also cites a lot of research. In this country, when we think a little of something is good, it follows that a ton of something is better. That idea is supported by the monster soy industry.

Finally, I am going to start avoiding all processed meats (lunch meats, sausages and hot dogs, prepackaged meats) and all fatty meats. I'm going to stick to chicken, fish, lean pork, lamb and beef that is free range or grass-fed. And I'm going to make sure that shellfish or fatty fish such as salmon, herring and tuna, are part of my diet at least three times a week.

There are many types of thyroid issues. To find out more, check this Mayo Clinic site.


  1. Did you see this article? Re: Thinking like skinny chicks:

  2. I've had a low thyroid problem for two years now and I take desiccated bovine thyroid . I'm glad its under control now and I can feel the difference.

  3. I have been strugglinh for years with poor diet and over the last 4 years have developed hypothyroidism to the point that i almost coma'd out as a result of the disease.

    everytime i think im on track, my thyroid crashes and i begin a new cycle of blood tests and medication.

    how does one control this disease to a managable point that the water retention stops and the weight comes off. I have tried boxing, crossfit, i was enrolled in police foundations, kickboxing, running, rowing and cycling. I have tried every crash diet though the one that seemed to make a difference was Isagenix but you had to merley starve urself to get results. my start weight from thyroid diagnoses was 211lbs. i manageed to get to 188 with isagenix and keep steady at 194 thereafter. once i stopped isagenix, i soared to 209lbs and herniated a disc. i have increased my meds again but am feeling the burn. i play ball hockey twice a week. can anyone suggest anything to me that may help me out?

  4. I happened upon your blog in a quick google search and found this to be very enlightening. Whether someone is currently suffering from a thyroid issue or not, its information such as this, that helps to prevent and help manage.

    1. Hi! I, too, stumbled upon this blog and found this post informative and supportive. I have just been diagnosed with Hashimoto's and not sure what is the best treatment in the way of drug prescription, the synthetic hormone or as a previous post mentioned, the dessicated bovine thyroid? Please respond as I am somewhat overwhelmed with wanting to understand this disease and treat it the best, and as natural as possible.