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When you're hypo and have an exercise allergy


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#1 AgentChupa

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 06:49 AM

I know I'm not the only hypothyroid person who has to deal with weight issues, and I know I really should be ashamed of how much weight I've gained over the last few years. I used to care about my appearance and my weight, but these last few years, I just kept getting bigger and bigger no matter what I did, so I eventually just quit trying and ate "normally." Well, eating normally (meaning when I get hungry) has led to me weighing anywhere from 283 to 290 now.

 

Honestly, I don't eat that much, or not nearly as much as my waist size would imply, and just about every conventional means of weight loss that I've tried did a whole lot of nothing for me. Exercise never did a darn thing (plus I hate exercising because I get winded too fast, but I used to force myself to do it for 30 minutes every other day), and I tried keeping a food journal on multiple occasions, but I was so hungry that I'd be counting down the minutes until midnight when I could eat again and just count those calories toward the following day's entry. Doing that whole "subtract 500 calories from your normal intake and you'll lose a pound a week" thing was useless too.

 

The only thing that ever helped me lose weight was long-term fasting. I know, it's unhealthy, but it seems like the options that are the worst for you also yield the best results. I lost 70 pounds back in high school when I would go several days without eating anything, and I'd love to do it again, but I just don't know if I've got the willpower I had a decade ago.

 

Anyway, now that I'm actually on something for my hypothyroidism, I'm wondering what I can do to maybe put a dent in this extra weight since I know these pills won't just magically make weight melt off me. My ideal weight is around 190-200 pounds, which I know is still considered obese, but I do like being a little on the thick side. Just not as thick as I am now. Thing is I feel like I have so much weight to lose that I don't think I'll ever be able to lose it. Diets suck, and it's not like you can stop being on them once you reach your target weight. You have to stay on them indefinitely to maintain your target weight once you reach it, and the second you start eating like a normal human being again, you gain most of the weight back, if not more. Certain types of exercise would also not be good for me... basically anything that would involve putting strain on my feet (aerobics, running, etc.) My left ankle is weak and very prone to rolling/spraining and it often happens when I'm just standing still. I'm scared I could break my ankle if I do something that involves jumping around. I also get so tired out so fast that I find exercise isn't even worth bothering with. What good does it do me to do ten pushups in a minute before I have to stop?

 

I just hate having to obsess over every bloody morsel I put in my mouth on the off chance that, after six months of torturing myself and starving myself, I might lose two pounds. I don't want to do a low-carb diet because it would mean giving up some of my favorite foods that I don't think I could part with (plus I've seen the results of things like the Atkins diet when other people I know have been on it and no one lost more than 15 pounds after being on it for months). It's ridiculous. I hate dieting and I hate exercise because neither one yields results. For the hypo people here, what did you do to lose weight? I'm about five seconds away from intentionally giving myself a tapeworm.


TSH 5.80 on 3/13; was told thyroid levels were not abnormal enough to treat.

TSH 14.5 on 4/13; TSH now abnormal enough to medicate.

Levothyroxine 25 mcg, starting 4/13. By 5/13, TSH was at 5.08; doctor said TSH was "close enough to normal" and refused to increase dosage. Stopped taking levothyroxine 7/13 because symptoms did not improve; insurance ran out, so no second opinion from endo.

TSH 3.76 on 10/15

Doctor refuses to medicate because TSH levels fall within normal range; antibodies not tested.

New doctor - TSH 10.5 on 1/16, FT-3 was 205, FT-4 was 0.7; taking 100 mcg levothyroxine as of 1/26/16.

TSH 0.2 on 2/16. Doctor lowered dose from 100 mcg to 75 mcg.

TSH 0.3 and T4 1.6 on 4/16. Dose lowered to 50 mcg due to alleged thyroid suppression.


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#2 Lovlkn

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:43 PM

You really need to insist they run both FT-4 and FT-3 along with the TSH tests.

 

TSH is diagnostic and although many doctors consider it the "Gold Standard" once you begin thyroid hormone replacement, FT-4 and FT-3 MUST be tested at every draw to properly dial in replacement hormone med's.

 

If your doctor is not willing to do this - then you need to find a new doctor.

 

As far as your diet - consider eating Paleo - alter the way you eat rather than thinking of it as a diet.  Also eat 6 smaller meals a day vs 4 large ones to keep your glucose levels more even. 

 

Not eating for a whole day or several whole days is not healthy, not can you sustain your weight with this sort of practice.


Free T-4 and Free T-3 are absolutely necessary to properly dose yourself.
My experience is that 1/2 - 3/4 of range is your goal for optimal treatment

My Journey... 7 years to receive a diagnosis. TT 2004 after 4.5 years on Tapazole that had to be adjusted monthly - endo ran labs every 4 weeks. Remission was never going to happen for me so I opted for surgery to remove. Final DX by surgeon was Hashitoxicosis, TPO antibodies over 2000 and TSI 316% within the year prior to surgery. I never had a ultrasound or any lab testing to rule out cancer - pathology was negative. Post surgery I was kept hypo for many years - until I figured out how to dose my self, relying on where I fell in the FT-4 and FT-3 labs. I run TSH below range due to positive TBII antibodies. Horrible time adjusting to addition of Cytomel = patience pays off when adding this drug to the mix.

The happy ending ---> Stable dose since 1/10 Unithroid 125mcg, Cytomel 12.5mcg - labs I can live with.

None of the information on ThyroidBoards.com is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information shared is based on my personal experiences and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a physician before adjusting any medication.

#3 joplin1975

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:52 PM

Well, I hope, if you read anything into this response, you'll read tough love. :) Because that's how its meant. 

 

First and foremost, yes, make sure your labs are in order as Lovlkn describes. 

 

Secondly, I think we can all appreciate how hard it is to lose weight. I'm not where I'd like to be and I certainly aren't as small as I should be, given the amount I work out and what I eat. My family is fat, plain and simple, so I come from chunky stock. And I've got thyroid issues. And I'm short as heck so it exacerbates the issue. It sucks and a lot of times I want to pout, kick rocks, and say "screw it" while I drive up to McDonald's to load up on a few quarter pounders. 

 

But the thing is that I've made the decision to love myself enough to make health a priority. Sure, I want the weight to follow. It usually does. Often not as quickly as I'd like, but...I can maintain. Truthfully, I'd like to drop another 15-20 pounds. It might happen, it might not. What does it mean to love myself and make health a priority? I means working out every single dayAnd certainly not for 30 minutes. Good gravy, I would be massive. It takes a good hour everyday in the gym. Lots of cardio, lots of weights, with lots of HITs/Interval training and lots of variety to keep "tricking" my body. Usually, after work and after the hour in the gym, I spend 30-45 minutes riding a horse. So we're talking a good 90-105 minutes of exercise per day. To maintain my weight.

 

It also means tracking every single calorie I put in my mouth every single day. Well, wait, that's not entirely true. I give myself one cheat day per month. This month, it'll be St. Patty's day. But beyond those 12 days per year, yup, I count every single calorie, every single day. I use a free app (Everyday Health) to track the calories, protein, carbs, and sugar. I don't believe it elimination diets. Atkins works for some, but I like my carbs. It's just a matter of balancing things. If I know we are going to have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, I also know I better not eat carbs during my other meals and snacks and I best get my arse on that treadmill and run for 45 minutes. 

 

You're right...diets don't work. Complete and total lifestyle changes, which require commitment and consistency, DO work. I hate to sound flat out mean, but if you are SUPPOSE to be winded during exercise. My mom always tells me she doesn't like to work out because it hurts and she gets tired and I always want to tear her hair out. I always want to yell "DO YOU THINK I DO THIS FOR FUN??? DO YOU THINK I NEVER GET SORE?" Hell, I'm always sore. It's called a work out for a reason. It's work. It's hard. But you just have to keep pushing, keep chopping wood. And if you get winded easily, it's your heart telling you, very loudly and very clearly, that it (the heart) is unhealthy and cannot sustain this kind of lifestyle long term. You keep doing ten push ups everyday, each day until one day you can do eleven. It might take a year, but you keep going. At this point, just walk. Keep walking, Try one mile until that becomes easy and then add in another quarter mile. Ankles usually sprain and break (I've done mine, trust me) because of extra weight and weak muscles. So keep walking. If you can't walk, swim. If you can't swim, join a gym and find a recumbent bike. Never let yourself make excuse, because you ARE worth it, you have people around you who love you and need you. Put yourself first. 


  • webster2 and jenny v like this
Papillary cancer with lymph node involvement
Total Thyroidectomy 8/29/11
TSH 71.17 on 9/14/11
RAI 100mci 9/23/11
Starting point for replacement meds: 50 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 121.88 on 11/8/11; 100 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 43.21 on 12/9/11; 137 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 7.88 on 1/11/12; TSH 8.38 on 2/9/12, 150 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 2.81 on 3/27/12, TSH 0.54 on 5/8/12, TSH 0.78 on 8/8/12, TSH 0.39 on 12/20/12, TSH 0.24 on 3/5/13, TSH 0.33 on 4/15/14, TSH .12 on 3/10/15, TSH 0.21 on 9/15/2016, TSH .12 on 2/17/17.

#4 jenny v

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 06:22 PM

joplin's got more will power than me, because I have one cheat day a week! 

 

But other than that, lifestyle change and making sure my Free T3 stays in the upper half of the range. I could fast forever and never lose weight if my FT3 is low. I count calories every day and track how many calories I burn, as well. I swim 4 times a week (which is great for people like us with weak ankles) and I get dragged around the neighborhood 6 days a week for 2 miles or so by a very large dog. I also do some light boxing when I'm in the mood and keep small hand weights in my office to work out my arms when I'm on conference calls and feel the need to work off some steam. 

 

I was fairly thin naturally before thyroid disease and I'm getting back down to that now, but it's a process. I'm pushing 40 and the pounds don't just drop off quickly anymore like they used to. But I'm back down into the single digit dress sizes and more importantly, I feel healthy and strong.


  • Lovlkn likes this
Thyroid problems since 2002
Diagnosed with Graves Disease 2002 and Hashimoto's Disease April 2012
TT on October 10, 2013
Currently on 90mg Westhroid and 50mcg Cytomel


Information exchanged on these boards should not be construed as medical advice. We ARE NOT doctors. Please seek a qualified physician to answer your questions before acting on any information found here.

#5 AgentChupa

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 11:23 PM

Oh trust me, I fully understand that I'm supposed to get winded from exercising because that means it's working. My issue is getting winded far too soon. Also, many types of exercise would be off-limits to me because I don't feel like breaking my ankle. In fact, I almost sprained it again last week. I just feel like it's not worth trying because I know the piddly amount of strain I'm putting on myself physically isn't enough to make a difference. I also can't do yoga; whoever said yoga is relaxing is full of crap. I got myself a yoga DVD some years ago and I was huffing and puffing about five minutes into it. I've also tried belly dancing as a form of exercise and I couldn't keep up with the beginner-level routine. I would like to get back into walking, at least, but the problem is I can even get a little short of breath doing that and I get so ashamed of myself for getting wiped out from walking that I don't even want to do it. So my inability to exercise is partly shame and partly an actual physical inability to do things because I get too tired or I could injure myself.

 

Anyway, thanks for the information! It's just I've seen a lot of conflicting information in regard to how hypo patients should be eating. Seems like there are a LOT of possible diets to choose from. I did see the Paleo diet mentioned, while others said that hypothyroid folks should actually be eating more than necessary due to improved metabolism. Many people mentioned something called the 5-2 diet, which, from what I can see, is "healthy fasting." It's a matter of eating 500 calories a day two days a week and then eating normally the rest of the week. I could probably do that, and a lot of people claim to have had success with this method.

 

When I kept a food journal before, I would only allow myself 1200 calories a day (give or take... if I went over one day, I'd eat that many fewer calories the next day to even it out), and I'd allow myself a cheat day once a week. I just hated having to keep an analog journal because my internet is so slow that online food journals would take me hours to fill out per day, and I have a basic prepaid phone on which I cannot use apps.

 

Most of the time, I just don't think the weight loss is worth all the effort. Often, I think it's more worth it to eat what I like, possibly die many years sooner and be unhealthy instead of watching what I eat, eating foods I don't like and possibly losing a tiny bit of weight in the process. It's just very hard to be motivated to exercise when past experiences have proven that it doesn't do anything but make me feel worse. Yeah, prior to the hypothyroidism diagnosis, I could easily do some light exercise if I felt sleepy and it would perk me right up. Now when I exercise, it makes me feel awful.


TSH 5.80 on 3/13; was told thyroid levels were not abnormal enough to treat.

TSH 14.5 on 4/13; TSH now abnormal enough to medicate.

Levothyroxine 25 mcg, starting 4/13. By 5/13, TSH was at 5.08; doctor said TSH was "close enough to normal" and refused to increase dosage. Stopped taking levothyroxine 7/13 because symptoms did not improve; insurance ran out, so no second opinion from endo.

TSH 3.76 on 10/15

Doctor refuses to medicate because TSH levels fall within normal range; antibodies not tested.

New doctor - TSH 10.5 on 1/16, FT-3 was 205, FT-4 was 0.7; taking 100 mcg levothyroxine as of 1/26/16.

TSH 0.2 on 2/16. Doctor lowered dose from 100 mcg to 75 mcg.

TSH 0.3 and T4 1.6 on 4/16. Dose lowered to 50 mcg due to alleged thyroid suppression.


#6 Lovlkn

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 12:42 AM

Do yourself a favor and order the FT-4 and FT-3 tests.

 

 

 

I could fast forever and never lose weight if my FT3 is low. 

 

The statement above is SO TRUE.  

 

Also - YOGA,  If you are being winded then try a different class.  I do Hatha yoga and it does not wind me.  There are several +ladies in my Hatha Class.  You might also look for "gentle yoga" classes.  Some studios have competitive feeling classes.  There are others that encourage you to stay within your physical ability.  Sweet discomfort is as far as you need to go.  Yoga had been a wonderful addition to my life - in a very low and negative part - it showed me self acceptance. 


  • webster2 likes this
Free T-4 and Free T-3 are absolutely necessary to properly dose yourself.
My experience is that 1/2 - 3/4 of range is your goal for optimal treatment

My Journey... 7 years to receive a diagnosis. TT 2004 after 4.5 years on Tapazole that had to be adjusted monthly - endo ran labs every 4 weeks. Remission was never going to happen for me so I opted for surgery to remove. Final DX by surgeon was Hashitoxicosis, TPO antibodies over 2000 and TSI 316% within the year prior to surgery. I never had a ultrasound or any lab testing to rule out cancer - pathology was negative. Post surgery I was kept hypo for many years - until I figured out how to dose my self, relying on where I fell in the FT-4 and FT-3 labs. I run TSH below range due to positive TBII antibodies. Horrible time adjusting to addition of Cytomel = patience pays off when adding this drug to the mix.

The happy ending ---> Stable dose since 1/10 Unithroid 125mcg, Cytomel 12.5mcg - labs I can live with.

None of the information on ThyroidBoards.com is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information shared is based on my personal experiences and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a physician before adjusting any medication.

#7 AgentChupa

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 06:04 AM

Unfortunately, I don't have the money to join any exercise classes, so the best I could do are DVDs I could try to use at home. The yoga DVD I got was too hard for me when I was in better shape, so I imagine I couldn't do any of it at this point. One thing that I used to do was some thing called "power centering," and that I could do almost entirely (I cannot do the plank position for very long), but apparently the "workout" on that DVD is just a warm-up. That winded me by the time I finished it, but I don't think I could do it now.

 

I also used to play Dance Dance Revolution for exercise (for those who are unfamiliar with this, it's a video game that involves hopping around on a giant mat. It's actually really good aerobic exercise; the higher difficulty levels will really get you moving and it has a "Workout Mode" too). But I can barely handle the easy difficulty; I used to be able to do it on standard and even hard sometimes, but not anymore. Plus, as mentioned before, I worry about injuring my ankle.


TSH 5.80 on 3/13; was told thyroid levels were not abnormal enough to treat.

TSH 14.5 on 4/13; TSH now abnormal enough to medicate.

Levothyroxine 25 mcg, starting 4/13. By 5/13, TSH was at 5.08; doctor said TSH was "close enough to normal" and refused to increase dosage. Stopped taking levothyroxine 7/13 because symptoms did not improve; insurance ran out, so no second opinion from endo.

TSH 3.76 on 10/15

Doctor refuses to medicate because TSH levels fall within normal range; antibodies not tested.

New doctor - TSH 10.5 on 1/16, FT-3 was 205, FT-4 was 0.7; taking 100 mcg levothyroxine as of 1/26/16.

TSH 0.2 on 2/16. Doctor lowered dose from 100 mcg to 75 mcg.

TSH 0.3 and T4 1.6 on 4/16. Dose lowered to 50 mcg due to alleged thyroid suppression.


#8 Lovlkn

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 12:37 PM

If it helps you understand - I purchased a yoga mat that included a DVD.  The DVD was an unreal workout - it had 2 of them, one more gentle and one killer workout.

 

I also HATE cardio, hubby and I are completely different in that department.  I feel being hyper for a long period of time has given my body all the fast heart rate it ever wanted so I focus on strength training and meditation.  I am tone because of it and body weight proportionate.  Muscle burns fat so try to start off slow and just walk, maybe buy some weights to swing in your arms, they also have ankle weights for more resistance walking.  If you can ride a bike to help protect your knees and ankles, join a church exercise group - they are usually free.  Don't give up on yourself - every little bit will help you.

 

I'm on a soup "thing", the basic ingredients 1 onion, 5 carrots, 5 celery stalks, simmer until slightly soft, add 2-3 cloves garlic, add 32oz of low sodium chick or veg broth, add 2-3 cups chopped kale or spinach until wilted, 1 can black beans, 1 can canelli or navy beans, 1 tsp italian seasoning and simmer.  I guarantee you - if you eat this or soups like this everyday at least 1-2 x you will see weight start to fall off.  The soups are very filling, will also help reduce your liver enzymes.  Give up all white carbs and limit animal proteins, only eating fish or chicken and eliminating beef and port all together.

 

Having just researched this for a family member, I imagine the liver enzymes alone are causing alot of issues for how poorly you feel.  I bought a book that was wonderful in explaining it all The Liver Cleansing Diet.  The soups I am making are not in this book but were found on the web and I just cannot stop eating them cuz they are so yummy.  Hubby and I are losing weight eating them and we are on the slim side so they work.  

 

Hang in there!


  • jenny v likes this
Free T-4 and Free T-3 are absolutely necessary to properly dose yourself.
My experience is that 1/2 - 3/4 of range is your goal for optimal treatment

My Journey... 7 years to receive a diagnosis. TT 2004 after 4.5 years on Tapazole that had to be adjusted monthly - endo ran labs every 4 weeks. Remission was never going to happen for me so I opted for surgery to remove. Final DX by surgeon was Hashitoxicosis, TPO antibodies over 2000 and TSI 316% within the year prior to surgery. I never had a ultrasound or any lab testing to rule out cancer - pathology was negative. Post surgery I was kept hypo for many years - until I figured out how to dose my self, relying on where I fell in the FT-4 and FT-3 labs. I run TSH below range due to positive TBII antibodies. Horrible time adjusting to addition of Cytomel = patience pays off when adding this drug to the mix.

The happy ending ---> Stable dose since 1/10 Unithroid 125mcg, Cytomel 12.5mcg - labs I can live with.

None of the information on ThyroidBoards.com is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information shared is based on my personal experiences and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a physician before adjusting any medication.

#9 joplin1975

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 02:18 PM

If you just do the warm up, that's ok!!! There's no need to compare yourself to anyone else. You will be doing laps around anyone sitting on the couch. :)

If you are on Pinterest there are excellent posts re: beginning exercise programs. They take about 15 mins and are very low impact. But, they are excellent and will help build muscle and get your heart rate up. I used them after I dislocated & fractured my ankle. I couldn't move much because my leg hurt so badly and my ekg was abnormal so I needed to take it easy on the cardio. These were all at-home, no equipment needed circuits. And don't think that consistent stretching doesn't do wonders, too.
Papillary cancer with lymph node involvement
Total Thyroidectomy 8/29/11
TSH 71.17 on 9/14/11
RAI 100mci 9/23/11
Starting point for replacement meds: 50 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 121.88 on 11/8/11; 100 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 43.21 on 12/9/11; 137 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 7.88 on 1/11/12; TSH 8.38 on 2/9/12, 150 mcgs of Synthroid, TSH 2.81 on 3/27/12, TSH 0.54 on 5/8/12, TSH 0.78 on 8/8/12, TSH 0.39 on 12/20/12, TSH 0.24 on 3/5/13, TSH 0.33 on 4/15/14, TSH .12 on 3/10/15, TSH 0.21 on 9/15/2016, TSH .12 on 2/17/17.

#10 jenny v

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 08:14 PM

Shoot, when I first started working out again after my thyroid surgery two years ago, I could barely walk around the block without getting winded. It takes a long, long time to get back into shape (which sucks, since it's so easy to fall out of shape).

 

There's a great yoga series on YouTube called Yoga with Adriene. She does all kinds of yoga workouts, from gentle to hard, from 15 minutes to an hour. When my pool was out of commission last winter due to a broken heater, I would do one of her workouts several times a week in my living room. I didn't even need a mat, just did it on my rug.


Thyroid problems since 2002
Diagnosed with Graves Disease 2002 and Hashimoto's Disease April 2012
TT on October 10, 2013
Currently on 90mg Westhroid and 50mcg Cytomel


Information exchanged on these boards should not be construed as medical advice. We ARE NOT doctors. Please seek a qualified physician to answer your questions before acting on any information found here.

#11 webster2

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 08:50 PM

The biggest obstacle is getting started.  Walking is easy.  Walk 15 minutes; that's 7.5 minutes each way and you're done, when you can - add more.  I listen to books or daydream while I walk or just enjoy the fresh air.  I have a dog that won't quit until we go for a walk, great motivator. Call someone and ask if they'd like to be your walking partner.  A woman I hardly knew called me years ago and asked me that, it was the best thing ever.  We chatted so much we didn't realize how far we had walked.  We walked 5 or 6 days a week.  She moved away is why we stopped.

 I also like Leslie Sansone's walk at home DVDs.  Biking is great too but for me it is seasonal as I live in New England.

 I love yoga.  I had a spinal fusion and before the surgery I could not move well.  Yoga made me feel better.  I could not always do the poses completely but every little bit helped. Yoga is non-competitive, you do what you can do and that is great.  The more often you do it, the more you are able to do.

 

Go to your library and look what they have for fitness DVDs.  They're free and if you don't like what you checked out, check something else out.

I am real close to 60 and I find if I don't work out, I am in pain and ache.  It is so easy to prevent that, so, I move a lot.  I am heavier than I was but I am healthy. and happy.  

 

There are some online fitness trackers that are free.  You enter your stats; they will provide you with some encouraging charts and that make you feel good enough to continue.


Thyroid Storm June 2011

Graves Disease DX June 13, 2011
Completion Thyroidectomy July 28, 2011
(right side removed 11/14/1990)
Papillary Cancer
2.25 grains Nature-throid (11/2011-8/2013)
still looking for the correct dose 12/3 (125 mcg 5 x week 112 2x week) 5 mcg cytomel  2 x day
Life is very good! :)


#12 Keba

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 09:13 PM

Look into Intermittent Fasting. It has helped me lose weight recently and so far is the only thing that has helped while battling Hashimotos.

I currently do 5:2.

Exercise can get the ball rolling but it's all about the food for me. I personally have to exercise or I would be too stiff to get out of bed.

I do a lot of working out with just my body weight. Something as simple as a push-up could be a great starting point where you will see results quickly.
Dx Graves 11/2016
11/2016 labs
Free T4 1.69 (0.57-1.25) Free T3 4.6 (2.2-4.3) TSH .01 (0.34-5.6)
9/2016 labs
Free T4 1.88 Free T3 5.9 TSH .01
4/2015 labs
Free T4 1.02 Free T3 2.9 TSH 1.75
Dx Hashimoto's 4/2012
Positive ANA, SMA and TgAb




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