I first discovered I had thyroid issues back in 2009 when I was in Ultrasound school. We were learning about thyroids and scanning one another in the lab. When my instructor scanned me, she recommended I go see a doctor because my thyroid was enlarged. Boy was it!
I made an appointment with an Endocrinologist and after having an official u/s as well as doing blood work, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid. It is the most common cause of hypothyroid (under-active thyroid) and is often associated with an enlarged thyroid, such as in my case. Some of the most common signs and symptoms are fatigue, constipation, dry skin, hair loss and difficulty losing weight.
You’re going to have to work HARDER. It’s going to take you longer than it takes your friend at the gym.
Chances are if you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease you have done a google search on it. You can definitely find your fair share of blogs about how losing weight with Hashimoto’s is nearly impossible or that it can’t be done unless you exclude all dairy and grains from your diet. I am here to tell you that it IS possible to lose weight with Hashimoto’s while still eating the foods you love. What’s the secret? You’re going to have to work HARDER. It’s going to take you longer than it takes your friend at the gym. And it’s going to take you longer than it takes your coworker. Will it be worth it? Yes!
What I’ve learned since being diagnosed 11 years ago.
Have you recently been diagnosed and wondering if it’s now impossible to lose weight? Have you been struggling with Hashimoto’s for some time now and frustrated with your success? After being diagnosed 11 years ago I now have learned some tips to share with you!
- Get your levels under control. Make sure you are getting your thyroid labs (TSH, Free T3 and Free T4) checked every 6-12 months once they are in normal range. Until they are stable your Physician should be checking them more often. I am currently pregnant and have to get my levels drawn every 6-8 weeks. It is important to learn to recognize when your levels don’t feel “right.” This took me a few years but I now notice a difference in my energy levels when my TSH is creeping up. Also, ask your doctor if you need an ultrasound to check the size of your thyroid or to see if you have nodules.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Krista wrote about her journey with hypothyroidism and how she had to stop comparing herself to others. It’s worth the read and so important! This is one of the most crucial parts of weight loss with Hashimoto’s. Everyone’s journey is different. And your journey WILL be longer than almost everyone else’s!
- Be consistent. After I had my second child in December 2017 I started counting my macros 6 weeks later. I am still tracking my macros now while pregnant, but with more leniency. For those 2.5 years before I became pregnant again I HAD to hit my macros nearly every single day in order to see progress. And I’m not talking about progress on the scale because that moved SLOW. I am talking about progress such as my clothes fitting again, getting stronger in the gym and feeling confident. I sometimes tracked my food while on vacation and skipped out on the food at the holiday family BBQ in order to meet my goals. You cannot expect to see results without hitting your numbers 90-100% of the time when you have a dysfunctional thyroid. It’s just not going to happen!
- Move your body. Everyone knows there are countless benefits of exercise but if you suffer from Hashimoto’s then you NEED some in your daily life. It has been proven to help thyroid function when 60 minutes of exercise are incorporated daily, specifically strength training.
- Don’t let it become an excuse. This one is my favorite of the 5 tips. For over a decade I have seen my weight loss progress be slower than everyone else’s around me. I have wondered why I was wasting my time logging my food every day when the scale wasn’t even budging. But I put my head down and kept working. I kept working harder than those around me. I had to work harder than my friend who had cheat days once a week but still was losing twice as fast as me. And sure enough, I eventually lost 30 pounds of fat. Don’t let Hashimoto’s be your excuse. Let it be your motivation!
If I had a choice, I would still choose my Hashimoto’s. It was worth it to lose the weight even when my Endocrinologist thought I never would. It’s been worth it to now be able to cheer others on without comparing myself to them. We all have our own battles and just remember you will have to work harder than other people to get the same result when you have Hashimoto’s. But it will be worth it!