People pleasing, unprocessed emotions, your favorite pasta – who knew that any of these things could impact your thyroid? As a follow up to last week’s episode on hypothyroidism, take a listen to hear how my client Amy took steps to free herself from Hashimoto’s symptoms.
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Burnout happens like this…
It begins when we’re living in a constant state of fight or flight.
We have trouble calming down. We don’t feel safe. Danger-danger, all the time.
Sounds like a lot like 2020, doesn’t it? But chronic stress often traces back years, decades, even to childhood.
Eventually, our body waves a white flag and says, “we can’t do this anymore.”
And THAT is when we go into a truly burnt out state – muddling through, needing a nap and barely making it.
For example, my client Amy
I met Amy when she was in a truly burnt out state. I’m surprised her eyes were open.
Amy had been through major stress – major CHRONIC stress – throughout her life. By the time we met, her voice was monotone and she seemed only about half awake.
(I shared more about Amy’s story in last week’s episode, which was Part 1 on hypothyroidism.)
Basically, Amy had every classic symptom of hypothyroidism — brain fog, feeling cold all the time, feeling blah, exhausted, carrying extra weight, thinning hair, infertility, IBS…
That seems like a lot of different problems to solve. But, turns out, she really had just one main issue.
Lots of health problems, one root cause
To get at the reason behind her health problems, I asked Amy to talk to her doctor about getting a full set of thyroid tests.
This changed everything.
Like MOST women with hypothyroidism, it turned out that Amy has Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune hypothyroidism.)
If you know you are hypothyroid, if you’re on some sort of supplemental thyroid hormone but still having symptoms, it would be helpful for you to get the same panel of tests.
ALSO, if you have never been diagnosed with low thyroid function, but you have those classic symptoms I mentioned…it could also be useful for you to have the same tests done.
Wondering which tests I’m talking about? Go to ShesGotPower.com/thyroid and download a free cheatsheet you can take to your doctor. It lists the full panel of tests that I recommend.
Amy represents millions of women suffering without proper diagnosis or treatment.
Let’s change that.
The deal with Hashimoto’s
If you’re like Amy and have Hashimoto’s disease, that means your immune system is consistently mounting an attack against your thyroid gland. It’s mistaking your thyroid as an enemy and slowly destroying it.
That explains why it’s not working properly, huh?
But with Hashimoto’s, you can change your diet and lifestyle and actually halt these attacks or at least bring them down to a dull roar.
While, yes, you may always need to take supplemental thyroid hormone…it’s possible to finally feel normal again.
Amy’s healing steps
It’s going to look different for everyone, but seeing Amy’s journey will help you envision what the path might look like.
Please note: What worked for Amy may not work for you. This is just an example of how ONE woman healed.
The kindling that starts the fire
The first thing that Amy and I talked about was her story…going back to childhood.
As with so many women, she had experienced trauma and abuse in her early years.
Because unprocessed emotions get stored in the body, they eventually reveal themselves as physical issues. (I know, that’s sort of woo woo. But the connection between mind and body is real.) So Amy sought out a therapist to properly confront and work through the trauma held in her body. That was #1.
I have no doubt that these events were the kindling that started the fire of inflammation in her body in the first place.
If this is you…if you’ve lived through trauma or abuse…very often we push it aside, we forget about it, or try to forget. I can’t encourage you enough to get support to deal with the remnants of such experiences so that they don’t take hold and negatively affect your health. And if you think you’re the ONE person that doesn’t apply to…you’re not.
Removing dietary triggers
The next thing Amy did was make some changes to her diet.
This is really interesting…
Gluten is the protein found in wheat. And gluten JUST HAPPENS to look like, and be molecularly similar to the cells of your thyroid gland.
It’s called molecular mimicry.
Well, whaddya know? When you have Hashimoto’s, your immune system will often see gluten and mistake it for your thyroid. And what does it do? It mounts an attack.
Because they look the same.
Terrible! But if you know what’s happening, this is a straightforward fix:
Amy went off gluten.
It helped that she found different brands of GF pasta (like Tinkyada.) We found some easy muffin recipes using almond flour instead of regular wheat flour. And we looked at different types of meals that are already gluten-free – like butternut squash soup or this 10 minute salmon.
Within 2 weeks, Amy’s IBS symptoms were gone and she was no longer taking acid reflux medication.
Dairy is also triggering for a large majority of people with Hashimoto’s. So, as a next step, Amy went off dairy.
I’m never a fan of restricting diets beyond what’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes it IS necessary to remove other triggers. But Amy stopped here and we waited and watched for improvement.
More downtime, less people pleasing
Another thing that became apparent was that Amy needed to cut back on her commitments.
She was a classic people pleaser and didn’t know how to say NO. That’s something we worked on…and eventually she let go of extra responsibilities, quit a committee or two and gave herself time to, you know…relax. Spend time with her hobbies, just for enjoyment. Read a book, go to bed early.
This is hard for a lot of women. But it makes a huge difference.
When you’re in a mode of go-go-go, your body feels constant stress.
In response, your thyroid will purposely turn down your energy. It’s an attempt to slow you down.
I was super impressed with how well Amy took to slowing herself down. And it paid off!
Within another couple of weeks, Amy was sleeping better, losing weight to the point that she had to buy new clothes and with so much energy she felt like a different person. Her voice finally had life in it again!
There were a few other details to Amy’s healing…a couple of supplements, adding in more nutrient-dense foods, more time spent with her therapist…
Ultimately, in 3 months, Amy lost so much weight that her co-workers were commenting and her thyroid medication was reduced.
She felt FREE.
Your next steps
It’s easy to see what worked for someone else and want to copy it. But healing is going to look different for everyone.
It starts with identifying your symptoms…understanding that it’s NOT normal to be exhausted all the time, to feeling foggy and dull, to be losing your hair and dealing with digestive pain and discomfort.
Whether you’re on medication for your thyroid or not, go to ShesGotPower.com/thyroid and download my cheatsheet of tests to talk to your doctor about. This will be your first step to understanding the “why” behind your symptoms.
And that’s power.
If you enjoyed the audio version, be sure to subscribe to the She’s Got Power podcast on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. Love what you hear? Please share with your friends and leave a review on iTunes so more women can finally overcome the health issues associated with chronic stress and burnout.