How a Paleo Diet helped Kymberly kick her Hashimoto’s Thyroid symptoms
My husband & I married in 1994. We immediately began trying to have a baby. After a year of being unsuccessful, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism during routine testing. We headed off to the fertility doctor for help. We spent the next four and a half years trying to conceive a child. Finally in 1999, my son was born. Before and during this entire five year journey, I ate and drank only soy products. I even went vegan for one year, but fell off the wagon after giving in to a Big Mac. I continued eating soy products until my son turned four. I have often wondered if eating all those soy products caused my infertility. And I fear that all the medications that were pumped inside my body during those fertility years will come back to haunt me some day.
After my son was born, I was in heaven. I never wanted anything more than to be a mother. And I was a really great mom. Around the time my son turned two, I noticed I was flying off the handle quite a bit. I was yelling at my child and throwing things. I couldn’t control my temper. So I went to my GYN and she suggested Prozac. I began this medication in 2001. It helped. I also stopped eating soy products around the same time.
The Prozac, along with Synthroid for my hypothyroidism made a difference. I had more energy. I didn’t lose my temper as often and I stopped yelling all the time. About six years ago, that all changed. My body just wasn’t the same anymore. I was pretty much eating anything I wanted. Processed foods and eating in restaurants were the norm for me. The weight began to creep on. I began to get tired and I had trouble falling asleep. Once asleep, which usually took a few hours, I slept through the night. Problem was, I couldn’t wake up. I was tired all day. I had my thyroid checked every six months and after a few adjustments of my medicine, I was good to go. . .for a few months. And then it would start all over again.
I developed a condition called Menorrhagia, which meant my menstrual cycle was so out of whack, that I couldn’t leave the house. I eventually became so iron deficient, I had to have surgery to fix the Menorrhagia. During this treatment, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which to this day, I can’t explain it to anyone, but it is thyroid related.
I was told by my doctor that losing weight was possible, but it was going to be twice as hard for someone with Hashimotos. I’ve always considered myself a “lazy” person. If there is an easy way to do something, that’s usually the road I take. Putting time into exercise was going to be too much work. I was only about 15 pounds overweight and I didn’t think that was too bad. Problem was every time I gained five pounds, I would try to lose it, but nothing worked for me. And then another five pounds, till eventually I was weighing in over 150 pounds. But it was still okay, cause I knew I would lose it.
Hashimoto’s. Wow. An excuse. Thank you doctor! So, I didn’t work out. I just ate and ate and ate. Why not? I had a great husband, great child, great friends and what I thought was a great life. I kept on eating fast food. My freezer was filled with processed foods. I was raised on processed foods. Steak-ums, Banquet Chicken, and Salisbury steak right out of the freezer.
During those packing on the pound months, I went to Weight Watchers six times. I joined Jenny Craig. Tried Nutri System for three months. I even tried the cabbage soup diet. I have been a member at every gym in the county that I live in. I never attended more than a month. All those weight loss attempts were failures. To be fair to Weight Watchers, I did lose 20 pounds, but it was all crappy foods that I was consuming. I gave South Beach a try and lost 12 pounds in two weeks.
After my 14 days were up, my husband and I treated ourselves to a pizza. We were so proud of our weight loss, we treated ourselves to food! About 30 minutes after eating the pizza, my body began to feel weird. My back was hurting. I had trouble breathing, a feeling I had never experienced before. Within 10 more minutes, I was on the floor crying and yelling to my husband that I thought I was having a heart attack. A few minutes later, we were hearing fireworks! I was belching like I had never belched before. Whatever had built up in my body, was coming out anyway it could! My husband laughed, but I was in serious pain. It finally passed. I blamed it on the South Beach Diet and my sugar restriction.
Like always, I went back to my sugar eating ways. Another ten pounds gained. I finally reached 160 lbs. I joined a gym, yet another attempt to get healthy. I was eating a lot of salads (with dressing) and I cut out sodas. I stopped using salt. To me those few changes meant I was fine to eat all the other stuff. I was a week into a new gym membership when I had this great idea to go roller skating. I was 45 years old and I hadn’t been roller skating since I was 16. I thought it would be great exercise. While at the rink, I looked over at my friend and said, “Watch this!” And down I went. I tried to do some flip in the air that I had once did in my teens. I broke my ankle. My husband was away on business for two months, so I was on my own.
I was laid up for about two months. This became a great opportunity for me to order my food in. Cheese steaks, pizza. . . you name it. The weight kept going up. I was eventually 170 pounds. That’s when the snoring began, and the indigestion, and the heart burn, and the acid reflux. That’s when I began developing what I call fat people sickness. Every person I knew who had these issues, was heavy. I was on the sofa all the time. I was having trouble falling asleep at night. It normally took me about 2 to 3 hours to fall asleep. After my son went to school, I would get on the sofa, watch TV and fall asleep until noon.
I went to see my Endocrinologist and my thyroid levels were checked and he said everything was fine. So I went to my GYN and she told me that I was depressed, so she doubled my dose of Prozac. I truly believed that I couldn’t live without my happy pills. My husband has always been against me taking these meds. He always told me diet and exercise would cure everything. I didn’t listen. I would tell my husband that I was going to go off the meds, but I never did. I hid the prescription bottle in my purse.
In January of this year, I went to see my Endocrinologist for my six month checkup. I weighed in at 182.4. I was mortified. How could something like this happen?? I met my friend for lunch that day, and I was so depressed. I wanted to talk to her about it, but my friend was sitting there in her 115 lb. body and I didn’t think she’d understand. It was a horrible day for me. I called my mom and cried to her. She was very supportive and said the usual stuff, ”Kymmie, you have to start working out.” There was that exercise thing again!
That evening I was sitting on the depression sofa watching television and my husband was listening to something on his laptop. I turned the TV down and listened. It was from Dr. Mercola’s website and it was someone talking about eating like a caveman. I listened and found it very interesting. I remember laughing at my husband and saying stuff like, “Yeah, right! Can you imagine eating bacon?” A few days later, I went into the bookstore and was looking for a food diary and there they were, Paleo books! I picked them up and starting looking through them. I had a few in my hand and couldn’t decide which to buy. I ended up choosing The Paleo Solution, because it had recipes in the back and the guy on the back jacket was cute. Like always, I wasn’t taking this too seriously. I had my doubts.
Well, I read the book. I was like, HOLY Crap! Could this be for real? My cholesterol is up and I’m allowed to eat all this meat! I talked it over with my husband and we decided to give it a shot. We started that Monday. We took pictures and measurements. I told my husband we had to rid our kitchen from any bad foods. I’m an all or nothing gal, so we were gonna do this thing right or we weren’t gonna do it all. It was difficult to get rid of the steel cut oatmeal. We were told over and over again how good this stuff was for you. My husband ate it every morning. We cleared the pantry and threw away any product with sugar in it. High fructose corn syrup, and all the other sugars went in the trash. No more bread. I gave my mom all my pasta noodles. I gave her my bread machine and rice cooker. I cleared them all out. My husband & I went grocery shopping and we restocked our kitchen with grass fed/free range/antibiotic free foods. The only meat that ever came in my house before was already in the shape of hamburger. Not any more!
The first week was easy. I never craved sugar. I was never a cookies and cake person. I could down a bag of Doritos in one sitting, so for a few days, I did crave my salty snacks. But it wasn’t that bad. Bacon tasted a lot better. I was cooking meals that I had never fixed before. I made beef stew. I cooked a little chicken in my crock pot. That was a little difficult for me. Just touching a naked little animal like that was kind of gross, but I managed to get the bag out of its belly and wash the little creature off. I mean, this was a living thing at one time and it took me awhile to get passed that. I prefer my animals already clubbed, cut up and prepackaged. It’s funny, cause it didn’t take me long to get over it. I still can’t believe I am cooking real food!
After my first week, I was sleeping like a baby. I was falling asleep within 10-15 minutes. The most surprising thing was, and I still don’t understand this huge change, but my night sweats stopped. My GYN had told me it wasn’t my hormones and my labs were all coming back fine. Another huge, gigantic change was that in a few days, yes DAYS, the indigestion, heart burn and acid reflux were GONE. My snoring has decreased a lot. Some nights, I snore. Some nights, I don’t. But I am still packing on an extra forty pounds, so I’m sure as the weight loss keeps going down, so will my snoring.
I had read a success story before I had began Paleo and the girl telling the story told of how she went cold turkey on her depression medicine. I decided to do the same thing. I haven’t had any Prozac in over 30 days. I am not depressed! I believe that I was being drugged with all the chemicals and sugars I was putting in my body. Maybe other people can handle these sugars, but it’s so obvious now that I can’t. I wake up with a spunk. I don’t watch
TV during the day. I clean my house and I am obsessed with clean recipes and Paleo cooking. After dinner last night, all I wanted to do was get my recipes out and see what I could come up with for today. We’re having scallops tonight. I can’t wait! Scallops!
Paleo has changed my life. Do I still think about eating bad foods? Absolutely. Like I said, I’m the type of person where it’s all or nothing. I can’t have one taste of sugar and I know it. I’m an addict. Sugar is my cocaine. My alcohol. It’s what will end up killing me some day if I don’t stay away from it. I know being the person that I am, if I were to eat a Big Mac, I would be finished. I lack willpower. All this work I have done would be for nothing. And I don’t want to ever end up on the floor again thinking I am having a heart attack. I feel as if someone has given me my life back.
Robb Wolf, the author of The Paleo Solution, asked one thing from me, just one thing - Give Paleo a chance for thirty days. I committed fully to Paleo, and am ecstatic with the results. I may still be 167 pounds, but I feel amazing. And by summer I plan to be at my goal weight and riding bikes with my son. I want to kayak. I want to go hiking. I just wanna move and stay healthy and I truly believe that I will. Thanks to Paleo!!
- Kymberly Irwin
Total Cholesterol, 224
I’m having my lab work done next week. I am very anxious to know the results. I will let you know as soon as possible!! – Kymberly