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Those of us with thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto’s are especially warned about fad diets and intermittent fasting. There is definitely some mixed information out there about whether they can help us or make things worse.
Jeanna has Hashimoto’s and wanted to share her shocking experience and reality of what intermittent fasting and fad diets did to her health. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same experience (many people find success with various diets), but she felt it was important for others to be aware of certain dangers.
Written by Jeanna, Hashimoto’s Patient
A Warning About Fad Diets and Intermittent Fasting
The past eleven days of my life have been crazy to say the least. I went from having coffee with a friend, then hours later being admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery. This was not in my weekend plans to say the least.
Apparently, the reason why I had been dropping weight and unable to tolerate food was because I had a massive gallstone preventing my stomach from getting the bile it needed to break down my food.
What was particularly odd was that I had scans done of that area for something unrelated less than a year before that and had no gallstone whatsoever! The doctors narrowed it down and determined that my ‘Intermittent Fasting’ diet and rapid weight loss caused my gallstones. Lame, right?
So take my story as a cautionary tale to put a lot of research into these fad diets and quick fixes.
It started with a local woman selling drink mixes in conjunction with intermittent fasting to lose weight quickly. Sure, I dropped weight and felt great seeing the results, but at what price?
I wish I had a time machine to go back and start the process all over. It led to an unbelievable amount of complications. I still don’t have all the answers on what the trauma of this surgery and everything else has done to my body, but I trust my group of doctors with my life.
I trust them far more than the internet experts I listened to in the first place. Nothing, and I mean nothing can replace a well-balanced diet and exercise. No fad diet or fasting.
These things might not impact some people the same way as it did for me, but I promise you that a plate comprised of 2/4 fruits and veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 whole grains is not going to send you to the hospital in agony and almost cost you your life.
Please understand, I’m not blaming anyone or anything for what happened to me. It’s 100% on me for not caring enough about myself and my health to do a five second internet search and read up on the countless medical studies from doctors and researchers who have dedicated their lives to studying the human body. I fed into the social media experts mumbo-jumbo.
I joined the group, I saw the pictures of women who used to look like me now (bigger), who now looked like what I used to (slimmer), and I wanted so badly to have my old body back because I believed my weight defined me. I was more concerned with how I was perceived for having a fat ass and chubby chin, as if people wouldn’t bother to get to know the real me.
This is where I would normally list off all my achievements to prove that I’m not a fat lazy slob, as most would think. That I didn’t just sit around eating bonbons all day, watching TV until I got this big. That I had a legitimate reason for not being able to run, let alone walk, like I used to because my knee was literally torn to shreds.
I had this horrible idea in my head that the only way to earn the respect of my peers was if I fit into society’s mould of what a woman should look like. That the only way I could be accepted was if I fit in.
I wanted to be someone my kids could be proud of, not embarrassed of, when my kids already adored me just the way I was. I wanted to be arm candy for my husband, even though he’s always told me I already was. I thought, wrongly, that it meant my outward appearance needed to match the beautiful person I know I am inside.
This poor body of mine was so starved of the nutrients it needed that when I had the surgery I needed to save my life and prevent my body from going septic from an infected gallbladder, it couldn’t heal itself the way it needed to. The infection spread, required more surgery to fix, more procedures to drain out more infection, and has now triggered an immune system response so strong that I am facing some very, very serious and life changing medical conditions I will be forced to live with for the rest of my life. All because of vanity. I put my looks and other peoples opinions of them before my health.
So, my hope is that by sharing my story, that by putting myself and my vulnerabilities on full display, that it will light the fire in someone else’s spirit and give them the strength to put aside the judgments of others, and put forward their own needs. You need to be healthy. You need to be happy. Everyone has different needs, and your happy/healthy will be different from mine.
Whatever way you chose to achieve your happiness, do it with the support of people who care about you. Whose only gain is the satisfaction of seeing you be your best self. Not someone trying to meet a monthly quota and is paid by your participation. Instead, trust the research. Trust science. Don’t be like me and spend what seemed like an endless amount of days in a hospital bed fighting to heal the damage done by a stupid fad diet.
I want everyone to do what is best for them and their health. If you and your doctors feel that a certain type of diet is something you can do safely and it works, than more power to you! But I wanted to share my experience so that it may help other people make more informed decisions about their health.
Jeanna, Hashimoto’s Patient
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Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.