I was diagnosed with this condition at the age of 20. Since then, I have met what feels like hundreds of young women in the same boat as me. That boat was accepting hypothyroidism for a lifetime and accepting taking little pills before breakfast every morning to “fix” the issue.
For those of you who don’t know, hypothyroidism is an under-active thyroid. Whether it isn’t enough of the hormone T3 or your body attacking your own thyroid (Hashimoto’s), they all cause the same signs and symptoms: fatigue, cold, hair loss, weight gain, etc. The thyroid is responsible for metabolism activity. Under-active thyroid = under-active metabolism. Every young women’s dream – to be bald and fat. HA.
So before explaining how I “fixed” my hypothyroidism, let’s dive into how I was diagnosed in the first place.
I originally went to my doctor because I was not having any periods. I was not pregnant, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay. I had blood drawn and urine samples taken. During this time, I was prepping for my first ever NPC Bikini Competition. My coaches at the time had me on a few fat burners and estrogen blockers (ya know, just suppressing the hormone that makes me the woman that I am, no biggie LOL so naive). Hence why my body fat was too low to support a period.
What I didn’t share with anyone at the time was the number of extra stimulants I was taking.
I was in clinical for full-time nursing school at the time, doing fasted cardio for 50 minutes a day, lifting for at least an hour, another 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of posing, 20 minutes of tanning, and 6-12 hours of being on my feet as a server at Texas Roadhouse. I played around with Aderall and Vyvanse, and I drank a pot of coffee a day on TOP of my other stimulants prescribed by my coaches.
Overuse of stimulants and being over dieted caused my thyroid (and many other things, topics for another day) to go to crap. After my competition, more weight fluctuations and poor habits caused my thyroid levels to drop even lower.
I ended up on two different medications: Synthroid and Armour Thyroid. I took those pills religiously for 3 years. After some experiences that made me distrust Western medicine/doctors, I eventually got curious. I basically ruined my body and made this happen, I bet I can reverse it.
At my next appointment, I asked my doctor if it’s possible to get off of the medication. Her answer? “No, once you take it, you take it for life.” Excuse me? That’s it? I said okay, and I walked out knowing I would have to do this myself.
Your gut and your thyroid are directly related.
I was already eating pretty well, but I cleaned up my diet some more. More vegetables, less refined carbs, no little treats throughout the day. This is when I truly began eating for my health and not my outside appearance (really healing my gut was a completely different story). I was never into energy drinks, but I liked my coffee. However, stimulants were one of the culprits that got me into this mess, so I cut it out completely. I drank green tea once a day with cinnamon, ginger, and lemon. I made sure I got at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I began to meditate and find peace within the chaos of life. Did you know stress and anxiety can mess with more than just your cortisol levels? It makes your hormones whacky!
I started chopping up my Synthroid pills into halves and eventually into quarters. It took me 6 weeks to wean off of those. I took another 6 weeks before I began to do the same with my Armour Thyroid for a final 6 weeks. This one I couldn’t split, so I took the pill every other day, every third day, twice a week, and so on. While I was at it, I stopped taking my birth control pill.
I also took quite a bit of crap from ‘friends’ telling me I shouldn’t be doing this. Because it’s dangerous. C’mon. I consider myself a smart girl, I know bro. But this is my life and my hormones. I will do what I want with them, and I will share my experience transparently.
When I went back for my 6-month check up with the same doctor, I explained what I did and why.
The results? My thyroid levels were perfect!
The nurses were supportive, my doctor was pissed. So pissed that she disregarded the fact that I successfully weaned off of my thyroid meds. Instead, she looked me in the eye and scolded me like my mother for not taking my birth control. She actually said she would see me in about 14 weeks when I am pregnant.
I said okay, I walked out dissatisfied again, and I never made another appointment with that doctor again. My doctor of 5+ years – peace out girl scout. I actually haven’t been to the docs since that day.
Moral of the story – my soul was screaming at me to get off my medication. I knew I could do it. I truly believed I could normalize my hormones naturally. And I did.
Food is the best medicine.
Again, I do not recommend doing something like this completely on your own. However, I had to do so for myself and to prove a point. Never accept anything you don’t want to accept. If taking some pills before breakfast every day feels right, by all means, continue. Heck, some people out there really do not have a choice. But if it doesn’t feel right, let your curious self wonder what you could do to help yourself eliminate those pills, then go do something about it.
P.S. My next doctor will be a functional medicine doctor. If you haven’t heard of those, do yourself a favor and check them out! If your doc isn’t on your side, don’t be afraid to kick them to the curb. You are paying them too much money to be disrespected and pushed aside.