Click here to listen to a reading of this blog:
I walk in to a room where I’m meeting a group of 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 optimal, 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) optimised, which, in-turn have corrected my metabolism, now meaning I can lose the weight gained by my hypothyroidism, just by eating healthily and exercising everyday.
Then someone who is overweight makes the 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 just weight gain and to flippantly suggest you might have it isn’t helpful.
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 less than perfect 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 understandable.
Then add in to that the thyroid patients also on other medications, like anti-depressants, which are well-known to cause weight gain, too. Basically, hypothyroid people can be somewhat doomed when it comes to maintaining a stable weight.
That is often until they manage to get their thyroid levels right again.
And this is what I have done.
Whilst on Levothyroxine for hypothyroidism, I was very unwell as it didn’t work for me. I switched to NDT, worked on fixing my adrenal dysfunction and got my thyroid levels right, and the weight starting falling off pretty easily as a natural result.
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 particular 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 a chronic health condition, which can be hard to manage and causes a whole load of other symptoms.
Added to that the fact that a lot of us struggle to ever feel fully well again, it means we can have a difficult time.
Hypothyroidism can control, ruin and change lives forever. So don’t throw around the idea that this difficult, lifelong, not self-inflicted by the way, chronic illness just causes some weight gain, in a flippant way. It is so much more than that, and so much worse than you could ever imagine. It’s tough sometimes.
Some days, I wish I could make people spend just twenty-four hours experiencing what a lot of us thyroid patients do. It might make them think twice before making silly comments.
Have you heard comments like this before?
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.
There is also the online thyroid course ‘Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue’, which walks you through how to overcome thyroid fatigue and flare up days with a personalised approach. You may benefit from this guidance if you still experience ongoing fatigue and low energy.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
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 authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a board member for The American College of Thyroidology and The WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and many more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. She has authored two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Rachel is British, but advocates for thyroid patients on a global scale.