I walk in to a room where I’m meeting some people, and they comment that I’ve lost weight. They ask how I’ve done it, and I explain that I simply got my thyroid levels right, finally, after switching thyroid medication. I explain I haven’t really dieted, cut out any food groups or taken a magic pill. I have just got my thyroid levels (TSH, Free T3 and Free T4) right, which in-turn have corrected my metabolism, now meaning I can lose the weight gained by my hypothyroidism, just by watching what I eat and exercising enough.
Then someone who is overweight makes that comment:
“I think I must have a thyroid problem then!”
No. No no no no no. Don’t belittle thyroid disease. It’s so much more than weight gain, and I doubt your thyroid is to blame since I’ve noted your eating and exercise habits.
Thyroid disease is not just about weight gain, so don’t make the hell that I and so many others have to go through, the convenient excuse for your bad lifestyle habits.
It’s understandable that someone with low thyroid function will have symptoms of low metabolic function, since the thyroid gland controls the metabolism. So some weight gain from this is expected.
Then add in to that the thyroid patients also on other medicine like anti-depressants, that are well known to cause weight gain, too, and many under-treated thyroid patients are on other meds like this. Basically, hypothyroid patients are pretty doomed when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
That is until, of course, they manage to get their thyroid levels right again.
And this is what I have done.
Whilst on Levothytoxine, I was unwell, as it didn’t work for me. I switched to NDT, worked on fixing my adrenal fatigue and getting my thyroid levels right, and the weight starting falling off pretty easily. When I reached the one stone mark, people started noticing, and asking me how I did it. When I explained the link with my thyroid and metabolism, I got blank faces, and then this one time, the above comment was made which quickly made me angry.
To throw around the idea of just having a thyroid problem is hurtful. It already has this stigma of it being an easy to treat condition, an excuse for being overweight and not a big deal. When it is actually chronic, lifelong, hard to manage and causes a whole load of other problems. Added to that the fact that most doctors won’t treat us as individual patients and medicate us properly, it means we have a horrendously difficult time ever feeling well again. It controls, ruins and changes lives forever. So don’t throw around the idea that this horrendous, lifelong, not self-inflicted by the way, chronic disease just causes some weight gain, in a flippant way. It is so much more than that, and so much worse than you can ever imagine.
Some days, I wish I could make people spend 24 hours experiencing what a lot of hypothyroid patients do.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018. Currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Diet and Nutrition, Reflexology and more, she has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.