Hashimoto, Health, Life, Weight Loss

My Crazy Hormones: Part 2

My Hormones Make Me Crazy.

Last year I wrote a post about how my hormones were making me crazy. I never really revisited that after that post so I wanted to write one. When I had my hormones tested last year I had a Mirena IUD and wasn’t having periods at all (TMI? Sorry…) I did use the prescribed creams for awhile but I still felt off. One of the problems is that Progesterone rises and falls as a woman progresses through her cycle, and at that point I wasn’t having one. I had plans to have my IUD removed and decided at that point to stop using the creams just to see what my body would do on its own. That was back in May of last year. My cycle came back pretty quickly and was pretty regular for the first few months, even with my surgery and everything. Once I got through my recovery and started to figure out what normal felt like again I was still feeling off. Foggy brain, sluggish, tired despite getting 8 hours of sleep on average, and most of all a more noticeable difficultly losing weight. I had even gained close to 10lbs since my Surgery and despite my best efforts with food and exercise I haven’t been able to lose it. I also started having some weird period issues… going from 28 days most cycles to 52 days at my longest cycle. Not too mention the PMS, cramps, mood swings were horrible. This article about the symptoms of low progesterone pretty much sums up my life lately.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

At the recommendation of my nutrition coach (after following detailed nutrition plans and seeing little to no body composition changes) I made an appointment with RevitaLive Wellness Center. I actually made the appointment last year, November I think? They were booked for 3+ Months! I decided to go to a specialist who works with hormone issues regularly instead of my general practitioner, which is what I did last time I got my levels checked. I went in January and got a bunch of tests done and went back last week to finally get the results. I absolutely loved that they did such a wide range of tests, including genetic testing for heart issues which my family has a history of. They tested not just my hormone levels, but also some vitamin and mineral levels, tested for markers of celiac, cholesterol, and tons of other things. I literally have a stack of around 20 pages of test results and explanations. A few things came back flagged. I’ll touch on each one a little bit.

Low Vitamin D and Omega 3 Levels – My Omega 3 Index came back at a 4.8% when the optimal levels are anything above 8%. This wasn’t terribly surprising as I don’t really eat fish and have been sporadic at best with my Fish Oil Supplements. My Vitamin D level came back at a 32, she said the optimal level is above 50.

Low Progesterone/High Estrogen/Low Testosterone- This would be classified as Estrogen Dominance. My estrogen wasn’t extremely over range, it was at 175 where the highest they like to see is 200. So on the higher end of normal. My progesterone, however, was super low. I had a 0.56 and she said they like to see a level between 5-10. My testosterone came back at 28 and she said they like to see it between 30-50.

Hashimoto’s/Hypothyroid- It’s no surprise that my markers came back positive for the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was diagnosed back in 2009. I’ve been on Synthroid/Levothyroxine for almost 6 years now. My TSH levels have fluctuated in that time from a 9.0 down to 0.5 and averages somewhere around a 2 most testing periods. They tested me out at 2.49. The acceptable levels are anywhere from .5-4.0 depending on the lab. I have always said I feel better when I’m closer to a 1.0. She said they like to keep patients under a 2.0. She also said because of my hashimoto’s that my body has a harder time converting the Synthyroid to Free T3. She suggested upping my dose and switching me over to Nature’s Throid, which is supposedly more easily converted to what the body needs despite my autoimmune condition.

So, what now?

The first thing we changed was my thyroid medication and dosage. I’m now taking a higher dose of Nature Throid instead of Levothyroxine. I also got a small injection of testosterone to bring those levels to the optimal range. They recommend the injection monthly, but will test my levels again so see where they are. Finally, I’m going to be taking a progesterone pill to bring those levels up to a normal range. I’ll be cycling those pills for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. I haven’t started them yet, as I have to wait for a certain time during my cycle to do so.

This is all just me sharing my experience with you. I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I know some people have very purist ideas about hormones and doing it all naturally and while I’ve tried to do that as best I can on my own I’m looking forward to seeing how this process works for me. I’m trying to have an open mind and pay attention to my body as best as I can to see what works for me. I’ve been on the new Thyroid medicine for about a week now and I’m noticing small changes, like not feeling as foggy mentally and not feeling like I need to go back to sleep as soon as I wake up. I’ll check in after my first round of progesterone and let you know if I felt like it worked or not.

Have you ever had your hormones tested?



Hashimoto, Health, Life

How to Eliminate Excess Hormones from Your Daily Life


Ever since I discovered that I have Estrogen Dominance (aka Hormone Imbalance) I have been researching how to eliminate excess hormones from your daily life. When I first started researching it I was floored at how many chemically derived hormones and chemicals were in everything that we use! It was SO overwhelming.

One of the reasons it is thought that some people have higher estrogen levels than progesterone/testosterone levels is that our lives are flooded with xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that have estrogen like effects. Basically the body processes these chemical xenoestrogens as if they are actual estrogens. This increases our estrogen levels and causes them to be out of balance with the other hormones. These xenoestrogens aren’t biodegradable so they end up being stored in our fat cells, which has been linked to increase occurrence of cancers, obesity and other health issues.

Like I said, I was completely overwhelmed when I started realizing that these chemicals are everywhere. We decided to take it one small step at a time. Here are a few things we have done to help reduce the amount of exposure to excess hormones.

1. Buy Organic/Grass-Fed/Hormone Free Meat & Dairy- This was a big one for us since we consume a large amount of protein via meat and dairy. Many mainstream meat products are fed hormones to speed up the growth process. The FDA banned the use of hormones in poultry so it isn’t a problem with turkey and chicken, however, they still use antibiotics. We have been trying different local places to get the best deal on grass fed beef, organic chicken & turkey. As far as Dairy goes, I typically stay away from most dairy anyway. I use almond milk and coconut creamer, but the hubs uses milk in his protein shakes.We have been using the Oberweis Delivery Service to get growth hormone and antibiotic free milk, creamer, and eggs. The only dairy I use regularly is Greek Yogurt, and it is in small quantities and I typically get the Stonyfield Organic Brand.

2. Replace your Teflon Cookware – I used to only use non-stick cookware. It was way easier to clean up! My mom actually bought me a whole set of stainless steel pots and pans and I barely used them because I preferred the non-stick teflon. Turns out teflon is pretty bad for you. I have started using my stainless cookware more (though I still haven’t tossed my teflon pans completely… letting go is hard to do). When heated the chemicals start to break down and release toxic chemicals into the air and your food! Not only will this have an effect on your hormones, but your thyroid function as well. I struggle with Both!
Read this article on Teflon

3. Use Natural Cleaning and Personal Care Products- We often spend so much time and energy focusing on what we put IN our bodies and forget about what we put ON our bodies. Cleaning products like laundry detergent, dish soap, and multi surface cleaners are filled with toxic chemicals that often come in contact with our skin or with our clothes which then come in contact with our skin. Personal care products like shampoo, lotion, and make up also contain high amounts of hormones and toxins and can alter your hormonal balance as well. I’ve recently started using The Honest Company for many of these products. They carry cleaning products as well as personal care and even baby products. They have an awesome bundle package that gives you significant discounts as well!

4. Eliminate as much plastics as possible- I’ll admit this is the hardest for me. I live out of tupperware. I’ve been trying to scooch my way over to the glass food storage world. I know it is way better for you, especially if you reheat food in your plastic tupperware! I’ve also been searching for a good durable glass water bottle to replace my plastic ones. The cost on this is a bit prohibitive. I know it’d be a good investment but I just can’t seem to make myself trash all the plastic tupperware that I have (and use regularly).

These are just a few areas we have been working on. We still aren’t perfect, but now I’m more aware of what goes in and on my body and the effects it can have! I never want to be one of those super crazy nazi moms about things like this. I never considered myself a “granola mom” but I think it is important to at least somewhat understand the possible health implications of the types of products you use. I’ve experienced first hand the way that hormone imbalance can impact your life, so making small changes for the better is totally worth it. I am still experimenting with hormone cream supplements but I hope to be able to get things balanced out in a more natural way. I’ll update more on that soon!

How can you eliminate excess hormones from your daily life?
Is it worth it to you?

Hashimoto, Health, Weight Loss

Estrogen Dominance (aka – My Hormones Make Me Crazy)


If you have followed my health journey for any period of time you know that I have been working incredibly hard and yet still struggle with seeing the results I think I should. It’s not that I don’t put in the work, because I do. I press my limits at the box, I follow a clean eating plan from a nutrition coach with the exception of a few meals out with family per month. Still, despite all my work I was seeing little to no progress. I mean, yea, I was making better choices for my health but as hard as I have worked I should be further along… I know everyone says that! But it’s true!

I chalked most of that up to the fact that my thyroid is whack thanks to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 98% of the time I accepted that my reality would be that I would have to work twice as hard for half the results. The other 2% of the time I threw myself a big pity party that included fried pickles, burgers, loaded fries, and ice cream. Because if I wasn’t going to lose weight I was going to eat whatever the heck I wanted anyway. This lasts for about a day before I start feeling sick. Then I get back to business and keep working. The thing that always bothered me is that since starting my medication my labs have always come back as normal. That means everything should work like it is supposed to, right? Wrong…

I started to notice more signs that something wasn’t right in the last few months. I was having crazy headaches, I was sleeping on average 8 hours most nights but still feeling extremely fatigued, generally felt “off” and “foggy brained”, and the biggest red flag was my ability to go from happy go lucky to extremely irritable in 0.6 seconds… particularly when dealing with my daughter. That was a huge eye opener. If you know my daughter you know that she is seriously the best kid ever. I’m not just saying that because she is my daughter, but she is seriously the sweetest, kindest, most well behaved child I know. So when I lost my patience with her on a regular basis that was a huge red flag. Not to mention my lack of results with hard work on the diet and exercise front. I really started to feel like I was legit going crazy. I had my thyroid checked again just to see if my levels fluctuated… but nope. Still normal. My nutrition coach, Jamie from Precision Fitness STL, suggested the theory of Estrogen Dominance. When I read the symptoms I felt like I was reading through a description of my life. Check these out…

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
  • Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
  • Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • PMS

Uhm, HELLO! McFly! This is seriously my life. Could THIS be reason why my thyroid is jacked up to begin with?!

I brought it up to my general practitioner who deals with my thyroid issues and she hadn’t ever really dealt with it, but was interested in doing so. We got my blood work done and I was on pins and needles waiting for the response. So, it turns out that my estrogen levels are normal… HOWEVER… My progesterone levels came back in the range of someone who was Post Menopausal. Meaning there was practically no progesterone in my system.

My first reaction? I’M NOT CRAZY! YAY!

Then I was a bit confused, My estrogen levels were “normal” after all… so it wasn’t that I had too much estrogen… It was that it wasn’t balanced with the other hormones in my body. One of the places I was reading about it made it make the most sense to me “the theory of estrogen dominance is very real, but its significance lies in the overall ratio of estrogen to progesterone

So, it isn’t that I have an excess amount of estrogen, it is that I am not producing enough progesterone to balance it out. So, I am going to start using a natural progesterone cream to help supplement. This is a tricky issue as too much can cause my body to swing the other way. Another complication to the issue (and a TMI alert) is that I have the Mirena IUD and don’t have regular periods. I can’t tell you the last time I had a period. I do plan on having it removed in the next few months and I hope that helps things to balance out.

I know this is long winded, but I wanted to share this with you in case any of you were struggling with the same things.

Have you ever felt crazy? Were you really crazy?

Hashimoto, Weight Loss

Weigh In Wednesday: In a Funk

Weigh In Wednesday

Oh yay. Time for another Weigh In Wednesday. If I were to be really honest with you I would tell you I’m struggling right now. Sure, I’ve managed to meet my dietbet goal and stay under it… But I have been stuck lately. Mentally I am just in such a funk. Meal planning has been hard, we’ve eaten out more than we should, indulged in too many cheats… but when I realized that I have only lost 7 lbs in the last 6 months I got kinda frustrated. I work my tail off. I know the scale doesn’t tell all, but when I feel like I work so hard and don’t see the results I’m going after it is tough. People who say the number on the scale doesn’t matter are lying. For me, it does. It’s not about being a certain weight, but it is about seeing progress. I haven’t been seeing amazing improvements in my workouts and my clothes are still fitting the same. My eating hasn’t been completely on point every day of the last 6 months, but I have more good days than bad. I have been trying to track everything I eat to try to figure out where I’m going wrong here. Something’s gotta give. More than anything I need to get my head back in the game.

Not to use it as an excuse, but it is time to get my thyroid levels checked again. Thank you, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for jacking up my hormones and metabolism. Now for the down and dirty details.


Last week: 190.4
This Week: 190.6

There ya have it folks.

Do you ever find yourself in a funk? 

Linking up with Erin and Alex

Hashimoto, Health, Weight Loss

Losing Weight with Hashimoto’s {Part 2}

A little while back I shared about my story with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis as well as Part 1 of this reoccuring series on Losing Weight with Hashimoto’s.

My struggle to lose weight, infertility, out of whack emotions, and cold intolerance helped my dr at the time diagnose my issue and got me on the right track with my medicine.

That wasn’t the cure all that I had hoped it would be. I realized that if I really wanted to lose fat and gain muscle I had to accept the fact that this was an issue and I needed to work hard to fix it. I started running and trying different “diets” and lost a few pounds here and there over several years. I still felt like I was having issues when symptoms would flare up again. My doctor kept saying my test results were “normal” but I never researched it beyond that. It turns out that I was barely on the normal scale of TSH levels, getting sometimes into the 4’s and 6’s. I decided that I needed to find a different doctor.

After doing tons of research we found Dr Grawey of Integrated Family Health. She was very straight forward, which I felt like I needed. She told me immediately my levels were too high and I needed to have my meds re-evaluated. She listened to my concerns and addressed them all. She made me feel like a person, not just number. I love that she was so excited to share other, more natural, ways I could lessen my symptoms without upping the meds.

I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to have a good relationship with your health care team when you have an ongoing health issue. I didn’t once feel put down by Dr Grawey, which I have heard happens often to overweight people who have thyroid issues. So many people are just too afraid of being told they are just looking for an excuse for why they are overweight so they don’t seek the help they really need. If you don’t like your Doctor… find a new one! If you can’t talk openly with your Doctor… Find a new one! I have been lucky to find a doctor who believes in medicine as well as more natural ways of managing health. Some people choose to go the route of using a Naturopath. We had a great twitter chat last night with Dr Brooke, a certified naturopath that specializes in PCOS, thyroid issues, fat loss and fertility. She has lots of great information on her site about fat loss and hormone issues. She knows her stuff!

You have to realize that it is YOUR health and  while finding the right doctor might be frustrating and hard and even scary… I promise that having a Doctor that you feel like is on your side will make the journey that much easier. Your doctors are there to help you, but you first have to want to help yourself.

How do you feel about your Doctor? Do you feel like having the right health team makes a difference?

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Hashimoto, Health, Weight Loss

Losing Weight with Hashimoto’s {Part 1}

I’ve been Struggling with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis since my diagnosis in May of 2009. I wanted to share my tips for Losing weight with Hashimoto’s but I knew it would be a lot of information to share so I am going to break it up into a few posts. Here is Part 1!



I have always been chubby, as long as I can remember. I started disliking clothes shopping at the time most girls started liking shopping. I never understood why I was different. My siblings weren’t really overweight. I was just always chunky. I wasn’t the most physically active kid. I considered myself more of an intellectual. At least that’s what I told people. I used academics as an excuse to avoid Physical stuff. Even when I was in NJROTC (which had a huge PT program) I would find other things that “needed to be done” to get out of it. Or just brown nose the instructor. Everyone knew we were his favorites…

I “tried” losing weight through out the years

high school: tried diets like atkins that made me throw tomatoes at my bff because she said they weren’t on our diet (love you Jacky!), went out for softball conditioning and quit after the first day because I nearly died, had to do the mile several times and felt like I was dying every time.

My internship program: included daily corporate exercise and “healthy” food options in the cafeteria.

It wasn’t until I had been married for over a year that I started to address my issues with my weight. I still struggled with the why. It didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t like I got fat on purpose. It’s just how I was. I finally began to realize that putting the blame on someone or something didn’t matter in the situation I was in. No one but me could change it, regardless of the why. I tried a few different programs and had some success. Mostly I would try something new and lose a few pounds and then plateau.

I didn’t know there was a bigger problem than just my eating and exercise habits until May 2009. That’s when I found out I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  I was relieved to have answers to so many questions. To be honest, I expected to take the magic pill (Synthyroid) and have all my issues fixed. WRONG!

Turns out, I got pregnant! I had my TSH levels monitored closely throughout the pregnancy.

oh, hi there massive belly.

When it came time to start thinking about losing the pregnancy weight I thought adjusting the levels of my medicine would make it easier. It didn’t.

It came to the point where I had a decision to make.

I could use my hashimoto’s as an excuse or a challenge.

While medication does help normalize symptoms, it doesn’t guarantee weight loss will magically happen… or that it will happen at all.

If I was going to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy (total of 43 lbs) PLUS the extra weight I had before getting pregnant I knew that I would have to work twice as hard to get half the results. 

I got serious about my fitness in April of 2010.

I weighed in at 233 lbs. Through running, making smarter food choices and counting calories I was able to lose the baby weight. It took me 2 years to get back to the weight I was before I got pregnant. Some people can bounce right back. I am not one of them.

So, my first tip to losing weight with Hashimoto’s is this: Know that while it will be harder for you than someone without Hashimoto’s… but it is possible. 
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. As with any medical issue is it important to consult your doctor for professional opinions*

Hashimoto, Health, Weight Loss

My Hashimoto’s Story

Since I’ve been taking you on my health and fitness journey I thought it would be a good idea to talk to you about my struggle with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (this could turn out to be a long post, so bear with me). It started back in 2009…

The hubs and I had talked about starting a family for a little while. We had been married for close to 2 years and I caught baby fever big time. I had always dreamed of being a mom. We decided that I would stop taking my birth control. I figured I would get pregnant right away… with the way “unintended” teenage pregnancies happened and how so many of my friends were getting pregnant without any problems. So, when the next month passed I was devastated to find out that I wasn’t pregnant. The hubs reminded me that after taking birth control for so long it would probably be a few months before my system was running normal. I was still overly emotional about it though. I had crazy mood swings, uncontrollable crying for no reason and I was ALWAYS tired. I fell asleep on the couch around 8pm every night. I thought maybe it was because I was overweight. I joined weight watchers and followed the program to the T… I couldn’t lose more than 5 pounds! This cycle continued for several months… 6 months to be exact. I remember hearing from friends and reading that you should give yourself 6 solid months of trying to conceive before talking to your doctor, so when month 6 came and went with no baby I called my doctor. I explained all my symptoms to her, telling her I thought I might have insulin resistance or PCOS. She did a whole round of blood work checking all my levels of everything. I just wanted an answer. I wanted to stop feeling like I was crazy.

She called the next day… she said that I had a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.


Man, that didn’t sound very good. Turns out it is a pretty common diagnosis of women who are trying to conceive. It is also the leading cause of Hypothyroidism. Basically… Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid. According to Womenshealth.gov: “With Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system makes antibodies that damage thyroid cells and interfere with their ability to make thyroid hormone. Over time, thyroid damage can cause thyroid hormone levels to be too low. This is called an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid causes every function of the body to slow down, such as heart rate, brain function, and the rate your body turns food into energy.”

As I read the symptoms I felt like it all started to make sense….

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Pale, puffy face
  • Feeling cold
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Dry, thinning hair
  • Heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods
  • Depression
  • A slowed heart rate
  • Problems getting pregnant

Uhhhh…. Helllllo!!!! Did you see that last one?! It also accounts for my constant fatigue, weight gain/problems losing weight, and it turns out I had a few other symptoms I didn’t even connect (I thought I was always cold because I grew up in Florida!)

My doctor called in a small dose of synthyroid to help regulate the Thyroid Hormone in my body. I started taking it early May of 2009 (right around the time of my period)… and the next month I found out I was pregnant!!

I had to have my levels monitored regularly throughout my pregnancy and they did change several times causing changes in dosage. I didn’t really have enough time before getting pregnant to see how the dosage affected me, so we were very careful in watching it.

After having Payton in February 2010 I went back to get my levels checked again and had them adjusted. I always feel great for about 6-8 weeks after starting a new dose of medicine, but then feel like some of the symptoms come back. I found a new doctor at the end of last year and have been working with her to figure out other ways to try to keep my Hashimoto’s in check. She mentioned that the hormones in the regular meat that I consume could affect my hormone levels, which can cause the symptoms to fluctuate. That made me wonder if there were links to other eating habits that could make my symptoms better/worse. Turns out that Hashimoto’s is often linked to gluten intolerance and that if you have one autoimmune disease your chances of having another, like Celiac Disease, are higher. Many people are recommending a Paleo diet to help with Hashimoto’s but I’m not sure about that yet… I’ve still got some more research to do!

So, there is my story this far… and I’ll keep you updated as I search for new ways to try to control my Hashimoto’s.

Have you struggled with a health problem? Have you used dietary changes to control it? Any advice on the Paleo diet? I want to hear from you!

Continue reading “My Hashimoto’s Story”