The Top Four Misconceptions Behind Weight Loss Failure

by Konstantin Monastyrsky April 4, 2013

 

Three-and-a-half-lies behind obesity epidemic

By Konstantin Monastyrsky, the author of Fiber Menace

CORRECTIONS: I changed the original title and updated the content of this post to reflect the voluminous feedback from the readers affected by the disorders mentioned in this post. Thank you to all for your well-meant comments and suggestions. 

There are four prominent endocrine and metabolic disorders that not only contribute to obesity, but also make weight loss difficult. These conditions – “bad metabolism,” hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, and “adrenal fatigue” – are frequently misdiagnosed by doctors, or incorrectly self-diagnosed by patients. As a result, healthy people may think that they have them, while truly affected – may miss them. Both groups suffer needlessly. Let’s review some of the long-held misconceptions about this paradox. 

The first misconception is about “bad metabolism,” and it is the most common, approaching a near 100% popularity. Medically and nutritionally speaking, it is a complete opposite. What you may think is “bad” is, actually, “good,” and here is why.

Bad Metabolism

The truly “bad” metabolic disorders concern water balance and fluid volume; the balance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate); acid-base regulation; disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, such as hypoglycemia, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, diabetic and alcoholic ketoacidosis; and lipid disorders, such as dyslipidemia and hypolipidemia [1].

steve-jobs-before-death-bad-metabolismThese conditions affect people of all ages, genders, and body weights. Some of them are outright deadly, while others – such as diabetes or dyslipidemia – are chronic. Within the same group of conditions, some are associated with obesity, such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Others, such as type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis, result in profound and life-threatening weight loss.

Consequently, any time you mention “bad metabolism” in relationship to your weight, your doctor will know exactly what you mean, but may still chuckle at your misinterpretation. And if you continue insisting that you may have it, he or she may also tell you that when it comes to body weight, a true “bad metabolism”  is a sign of impending death, and that a precipitous weight loss, not gain, is one of its primary symptoms.

The emaciated gentleman on the left is Steve Jobs of Apple fame, shortly before his premature and unfortunate death. Take a hard look at this heartbreaking picture. That is what an actual “bad metabolism” – meaning the body’s inability to properly metabolize nutrients essential for life – really looks like.

Not so long ago, the dominant thinking and attitudes toward metabolism was a complete opposite. When my mother met my dad, a tall and handsome man with manners to match, she was short and moderately overweight, with big hips and large breasts, an ideal body shape for the 1950s. Single men would look at her thinking: “Gosh, this lady is so attractive! I want her to become my wife and the mother of my children.”

Today’s young men, conditioned by the Victoria Secrets’ standards, are more likely to pass over someone like my mother in favor of a waifish girl like Calista Flockhart (32A-23-30), who just three generations ago would have had a hard time finding a marriage partner because of prejudices typical for that era:

  • Her appearance would reflect probable malnutrition or chronic illness throughout early development. In that rough era of near-zero upward mobility, malnourished children came predominantly from impoverished households, and no man or woman wanted to marry into a poor family.
  • Before the near universal availability of on-demand C-section, her narrow hips would be considered life-threatening during natural childbirth.
  • Her small breasts would be assumed inadequate for motherhood because she might have difficulties breastfeeding her numerous offspring. This isn’t, really, entirely correct, but that’s, unfortunately, how it was and still is in undeveloped societies.
  • Back then, her small body would be deemed too weak to chop wood, milk cows, carry buckets of water, and cook, clean, and wash from dawn to dusk for the entire family.
  • Personality-wise, a person of her shape would be considered a “cold fish” because underweight women have lower levels of estrogen and are believed to be not as libidinous as normal weight or, even better, overweight women. I don’t know if that is true, but that’s how it was.

All of that primitive, misogynistic, and mostly unconscious thinking – to find a partner who will last you and your children through thick and thin – was, essentially, a basic “animal” instinct in action, honed over hundreds of thousands of years of pragmatic and merciless natural selection.

konstantin_parents_smallNaturally, that’s exactly what my father did without giving it a second thought – he married a woman with a good metabolism. He knew instinctively what my mom’s doctor told her after every check-up: “Polina, you have a fantastic metabolism!” For her generation it was an asset, not a curse. (The photographs of my parents on the right are from 1958, four years after my birth. They are, respectively, 43 and 37 years old).

True to form, my mother had an accidental pregnancy at the age of 45, while the usual rate of conception after age 40 is less than 5%. And that is after surviving the horrors of starvation and backbreaking labor during the four years of World War II as well as the devastation of postwar Russia.

Calista Flockhart, on the other hand, finally married actor Harrison Ford at the age of 46. In all probability, natural selection wasn’t on the mind of Mr. Ford, who at the time of their marriage in 2010 was already 68 years old. The couple is raising her adopted son Liam, who was born in 2001. Any way you look at it, the laws of evolution remain as tough today as they have ever been, even to someone as beautiful, talented, and famous as Ms. Flockhart.

So, if you too are endowed with a good metabolism just like my mother was, the problem isn’t with you, your genes, or your body, but with the times we are living – the sum of abundant food, minimal physical exertion, and all conceivable creature comforts is behind obesity epidemics on one hand, while the incorrect believe into “bad metabolism” causes many people to drop their weight loss diets too soon, or  discourages them from considering one in the first place. 

THE TAKEAWAY: Since it’s too late to get another set of genes, or become a lumberjack, or give up comforts,  concentrate on the two factors that are still under your total control – what you eat and how your “burn” it! In fact, your “good metabolism” will work in your favor – the better it is, the faster you are going to lose weight.

Hypothyroidism and underactive thyroid

The situation with thyroid-related disorders is a lot more complicated than with bad metabolism. A true “underactive thyroid” – a vernacular for subclinical hypothyroidism – affects up to 10% of women and 6% of men, many of them over 65 years of age. The rate of clinical hypothyroidism is under 1.2% of women and 0.4% of men [2]  predominantly among older adults, 33.3% of adult Americans are overweight and 35.9% are clinically obese, or 69.2% .

As you can see, the number of overweight people is significantly greater than the number of people affected by subclinical or clinical hypothyroidism [3], even though many people who are affected by adiposity ­­­– a shorthand for “overweight or obese” – believe they may have this condition because of weight loss resistance or weight gain on a moderate diet.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are people who are misdiagnosed and untreated because both conditions are challenging to manage even to specialists. According to The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the early stages of this condition are associated with the following symptoms:

“…cold intolerance, constipation, forgetfulness, and personality changes. Modest weight gain is largely the result of fluid retention and decreased metabolism. Paresthesias [tingling  – KM] of the hands and feet are common, often due to carpal-tarsal tunnel syndrome…[4]”

Please also note one significant detail in the above quote: “Modest weight gain is largely the result of fluid retention…”  This explains why some people who are affected by this condition can’t lose weight even on a very low calorie diet – most of that extra weight comes at the expense of water, not body fat.

Women with hypothyroidism may also be affected by menorrhagia – an abnormally heavy bleeding during menstruation, or amenorrhea – an abnormal absence of menstruation. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get evaluated by a board certified endocrinologist.

Because clinical hypothyroidism isn’t as common as some other disease, non-specialists may not be able to properly diagnose and treat you, especially during the earlier stages while the symptoms are still subtle, and the tests aren’t as definitive. If your diagnosis or treatment outcomes are  not satisfactory, you may also consider working with alternative providers.

Things get even more complicated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune inflammatory condition of the thyroid. In addition to the transient symptoms of hypothyroidism during early stages, it is distinguished by painless enlargement of the thyroid gland, and, in some cases, a feeling of fullness in the throat. It may or may not be associated with adiposity.

The prevalence of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis ranges from 0.1 to 0.15% of the population (1 to 1.5 cases per 1,000 people), and it affects women 10 to 20 times more often than men. It is most common between the ages of 45 to 65, and it often runs in families (i.e. it has a genetic component).

The same immune mechanisms which cause Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may also cause Graves’ disease (thyroid enlargement, goiter), Addison’s disease, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease (an autoimmune inflammation in the small intestine), vitiligo (skin depigmentation), premature graying of hair (same mechanism as in vitiligo), pernicious anemia, and connective tissue disorders.

If you suspect that you may have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, GET TESTED. The level of thyroid hormones T4 and TSH may remain normal during early stages, making its diagnosis difficult in non-specialized clinical settings. Seek out a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating this relatively rare condition. 1 case in 1,000 is, indeed, rare for an internist who treats on average 2,000-3,000 patients a year, and may not encounter a single patient with Hashimoto’s in years.

I do not recommend commencing any type of weight loss diet until you are properly diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism. A reduced calorie diet may deny your body from getting essential nutrients, and may exacerbate the progression of the disease. Besides, it isn’t likely to be effective anyway because of fluid retention.

As clinical hypothyroidism progresses, the symptoms become more severe and obvious, including precipitous weight loss. You can learn more about other manifestations of clinical hypothyroidism in countless online resources.

THE TAKEAWAY: Do not rely on outdated misconceptions about clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism. If you are experiencing any symptoms related to either condition, seek out the best treatment money can buy. Continuous weight gain in healthy people isn’t always a symptom of hypothyroidism.  As epidemiological statistic – however flawed it may be – demonstrates, the majority of people with adiposity are not affected by hypothyroidism. If you are in  this fortunate majority, you earlier failures to lose weight weren’t related to bad health, but to bad diets.

Adrenal fatigue

What you may think is “adrenal fatigue” endocrinologists call primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. Both conditions are ascertained by a blood test, and treated, when necessary, with appropriate medication.

Primary adrenal insufficiency – also known as Addison’s disease – is a hard to miss condition because it is accompanied by severe skin pigmentation. Its prevalence – a medical term for the number of affected people – is less than 1 person in 14,000  (<0.007%) in population [5]. Just like truly “bad metabolism,” it causes weight loss, not gain:

The slowly progressive loss of cortisol and aldosterone secretion usually produces a chronic, steadily worsening fatigue, a loss of appetite, and some weight loss. Blood pressure is low and falls further when a person is standing, producing lightheadedness. Nausea, sometimes with vomiting, and diarrhea are common. The muscles are weak and often go into spasm. [6]

If you have any of the above symptoms, get tested immediately. This debilitating condition can be well controlled with medication.

The prevalence of secondary adrenal insufficiency is less than 1 person in 3,600, or 0.027% of the population. The symptoms of this condition are similar to Addison’s disease, but without pigmentation. Again, a blood test is required to screen it out and receive an appropriate and effective treatment.

A popular opinion exists that this condition may be substantially underdiagnosed. It may very well be correct, so let’s assume that there are 100 times more people affected by secondary adrenal insufficiency than what epidemiologists are telling us. Alas, it still comes to only 2.7%, a drop in the bucket next to 69.2% of the population with adiposity.

THE TAKEAWAY: Just as with “bad metabolism” and hypothyroidism, don’t rely on outdated misconceptions about “adrenal fatigue” and its relations to weight loss or gain. Seek out expert help to screen out primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency, and, if necessary, obtain adequate treatment.

Next post >>

 

References


[1]   Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders; The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, online edition;  Last accessed March 30, 2013; [link]

[2] Vanderpump, Mark P.J., “The epidemiology of thyroid disease.” (2011) : 39-51. [link]

[3]  This calculation is based on the following numbers: percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 35.9% (2009-2010); percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight (and not obese): 33.3% (2009-2010).  Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Health, United States, 2011, by Kathleen Sebelius, et. al., 2011, [link to PDF]

[4]   Hypothyroidism; Symptoms and Signs; The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, online edition;  Last accessed March 30, 2013; [link]

[5]   Division of Medical Sciences, University of Birmingham, and Department of Medicine, Endocrine and Diabetes University of Wurzburg, “Adrenal Insufficiency,” Lancet, 361 (2003): 1881-93; [link to PDF]

[6]   Margulies, Paul, MD; National Adrenal Diseases Foundation; Addison’s Disease – The Facts You Need To Know; “What are the symptoms of Addison’s Disease?” Last accessed March 30, 2013; [link]

Previous posts from  the “Why Diets Fail?” series:

1. The Real Reason Diets Fail and What You Can Do About It

2. How Long Will It Take Me to Lose the Weight?

3. Why One Calorie For Her Is Half a Calorie For Him

Please subscribe to FREE UPDATES at the top of the page, so you won’t miss the next post.

 About the Author

konstantinKonstantin Monastyrsky graduated from medical university in 1977 with a degree in pharmacy. He is an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.

In 1978 Konstantin’s family emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the United States, where he decided to pursue a career in the high-technology field, taught himself advanced programming languages, and his eventual work has had a major influence on the development of the modern user interface that has become ubiquitous with the introduction of iPhone- and iPad-like devices.

In 1996, Konstantin began to suffer from type 2 diabetes and a host of related ailments, including the debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome. Unable to use the keyboard, he turned his attention back to his roots in medicine and nutrition to find solutions for his rapidly deteriorating health.

Since then, he has written four books about health and nutrition, including the acclaimed Fiber Menace, and is a past speaker at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions Conference.  He is the principal writer of GutSens.org – the web’s leading resource for people affected by colorectal disorders, such as constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and colorectal cancers.

For your health and safety, please read these important Weight Loss Common Sense Warnings and Disclaimers before commencing a reduced calorie diet.

Photography credits:
Steve Jobs’ photograph: © PacificCoastNews.com
Cover illustration: © 2013 iStockPhoto LLP;

 

Comments (379)

  1. Interesting! I thought for sure I had hypothyroidism – I gained weight, was tired all the time, etc. Turned out my thyroid levels were actually high! I did have adrenal fatigue, mineral deficiencies, severe anemia & lots of other problems, though. I’m losing weight slowly, more slowly than I’d like, but losing it nonetheless :)

    • Leilani,

      Thanks God, you hadn’t. I don’t believe you had adrenal fatigue either unless it was confirmed by a blood test. All other issues — mineral deficiencies and anemia are legit causes of adiposity, and I’ll be talking about them a lot in future posts.

          • A saliva test is way more accurate. Not to mention that there are plenty of doctors who have NO CLUE on how to interpret the blood tests for adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism.

            I had those blood tests, with my doctor telling me they were ‘perfectly normal’. But when I went to my native Germany to visit my brothers and saw my brother’s doctor (who studied to be a regular MD, a naturopathic doctor AND a homeopathic doctor, not that unusual for Germany) and showed him my blood tests, he was alarmed by the low number for aldosterone and cortisol, saying that especially the aldosterone was so low it was dangerous, promptly diagnosed me with Addison’s disease and put me on hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone. Which finally brought my blood pressure from values as low as 74 over 45 (which is life threatening) to more normal levels (even though still low at times).
            Turns out that I have calcium deposits on my adrenal glands, thanks to ignorant doctors not recognizing that I had Celiac disease all my life, causing systemic inflammation from the age of three until I figured it out myself at the age of 52…… too late to prevent permanent damage to my adrenal glands, thyroid, intestines and causing asthma (now COPD).
            If you would read Dr. Mercola (who is a holistic physician) you would find out that he disagrees with you on quite a few points.
            Most doctor only rely on blood tests for hypothyroidism, which are notoriously inaccurate and miss a great number of people who are actually hypothyroid. The same goes for the adrenal fatigue tests.

  2. Wow, I am really pondering my response to this – you think all overweight people are just making excuses and you’ve never met one that hasn’t blamed themselves for being weak? You haven’t talked to a woman lately who constantly berates herself for being a failure and not living up to society standards and eating perfectly and exercising all the time.

    • Coleen, yes, I have talked to a lot of women, and not just lately, but for the last fifteen years through my books, seminars, emails, and in person. That what it takes to develop this kind of expertise. Thanks to these conversation, I am providing actionable information about weight loss failures and side effects.

      Please stay on subject. This and other posts isn’t about me, but about helping women who struggle with weight. If you don’t need this help, there is no point in berating me for providing essential information.

      • While some of your points are valid, it seems you are very under-studied about hypothyroidism, and possibly the endocrine system in general. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Dr. Brownstein, a very respected MD and ND who has published a book and many presentations on how the rate of hypothyroidism in today’s society is actually much HIGHER than what is caught in standard medical society, and not much lower, as you suggest. This is due to many factors, but I don’t see how you can logically think that the rate of hypothyroidism is in fact lower in today’s society. I don’t know if you’ve ever studied the proper way to test for an under-active thyroid which is a common misconception in today’s medical society, (proper thyroid testing should be for the hormones produced by the thyroid only, which are FREE T3 and FREE T4, etc.) instead of just testing the standard TSH, which is actually a hormone our pituitary gland sends out, and not actually put out by our thyroid. I respect you for your areas of expertise, but this is obviously not one of them. For more information on the current rates of hypothyroidism, and how to be tested properly, AND treated properly (most synthetic forms of thyroid which are distributed in the medical world today, such as synthroid, etc. are not natural and only work to change standard TSH blood tests, but not Free T3, Free T4 blood tests, or symptoms) I would refer readers to Dr. Brownstein’s book and blog: https://www.drbrownstein.com/Overcoming-Thyroid-Disorders-p/overcomingt.htm

        • Thank you for your comment, Lynn. I agree, the author of this piece seems to be totally off base with many of his claims. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and my problem is primarily with my T4 to T3 conversion. Synthetic T4 made me sicker. Armour thyroid helps. Further, autoimmune issues in general have been on the rise, most likely due to the toxic stew we live in and the crap in the food supply.

          Sarah, I’m disappointed.

        • I agree, Lynn. The reliance on TSH only testing has left many people with serious thyroid issues undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed, often for many years and resulting in many secondary health conditions developing. Accurate testing is crucial in confirming or ruling out any thyroid condition and to suggest that TSH only is sufficient is both misleading and potentially harmful.

          • Good points Lynn. There are also the studies of Dr. Broda Barnes which totally contradict the above article. Low metabolism is extremely common – it is a stress response to our modern lifestyle and diet.The only people I have heard saying that adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, and low metabolism are rare are modern medicine doctors. I normally love all of the HHE articles, but this one is under researched and under par. What a disappointment. I’d advise readers to go to Matt Stone’s site,180 degree health, if they want to really learn something about metabolism.

          • If this post isn’t about people with thyroid disease,then why do you even talk about it? It doesn’t really make sense. You are the one posting facts from who knows where and claiming that they are true. You are the one saying that thyroid disease is rare. It’s not rare, it’s pretty common these days. If you don’t want to be questioned by thyroid patients about the facts you state are true, then why have you posted openly for people to question? Those of us here that are thyroid patients are telling you we believe you are wrong, and you answer with “this post wasn’t about you, so move along”. This post most definitely about thyroid patients and, personally I find it offensive and dangerous for people who should be getting proper treatment, but aren’t recieving.

          • Leanne, if you doubt the facts presented in my post (the references are at the end), please post better facts. This page is open to anyone who has anything to say on this subject. Please, say it!

          • I was slowly dying because of my undiagnosed Cushings disease. I kept going back to my doctor and my hypothyroid [which i had suffered for 30 years] blood results came back as ‘normal’ ‘!!!!! She asked me to pick up a heavy box of books and said ‘thats why you feel so awful, you are carrying that weight around all the time’ My body was being pumped full of cortsol from a tumour on my pituitary gland and my bones were breaking and I had NO muscle strength. AND my weight was piling on too no matter what I tried to do. There must be so many sufferers out there who go undiagnosed. I was ‘lucky’ – I saw an endo privately and as soon as he realised what was wrong with me – sent me to St Barts in London and they saved my life !

          • I completely agree Lynn. Especially for someone, like myself, who has Hashimoto’s, the fluctuations between hypo, normal low, and at times hyper make the TSH completely unreliable. For years as my list of symptoms began to grow, along with my weight, I was repeatedly told my tests were “within normal range” and there was nothing wrong with me. The last time I got this response I left my Dr’s office in tears, my legs had developed adema so badly they were like playdough, you could dent them and they just stayed that way, I had plantar fasciatus, I hadn’t slept through the night in almost 18 months, I had “brain fog” so badly I was afraid I was going to lose my job, my hair was like straw, my skin was like leather, my scalp was constantly breaking out in eczema patches, I had tingly in my hands, constipation, and last but not least I had started with 1500 calories and reduced my intake by 100 calories a week for 7 weeks, and at no point during that time – the last week with a daily intake of 800 poiunds, did I lose an ounce of weight. My MD told me that he should probably run a lab panel to make sure there was nothing wrong with my kidneys due to the swelling, but he had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with my thyroid, and perhaps I should enroll in the clinics medical weight loss program and start taking a combination of phentermine and topiramate to stimulate weight loss.
            I left his office and went “shopping” for a new Dr. I ended up in the office of an HMD who ran my Free T3 and Free T4 levels (which aren’t even acknowledged in this article). My Free T4 was at .5 and my Free T3 was just below 1, my actual usable hormones were completely bottomed out but my TSH never got above 4, which is still within “normal range” for many labs, even though the recommendation from the American Association of Endocrinologists is a range of .3-3.0 with anyone who is symptomatic with a TSH over 2.5 be further evaluated. My HMD’s best guess is that my hypo status started shortly after the birth of my daughter, with the numbness in my hands, skin problems, etc – I was 21 at that time, it took me until 39 to get a diagnosis. This article sells short every patient who truly suffers with a thyroid disorder (the numbers of which I believe are much higher than this article indicates).

      • Konstantin Monastyrsky, I really enjoy what you wrote in the second part of this article called “Fantastic metabolism, wrong times to live it”. Very awesome!

        Also…thank you so much for updating the article and adding some more thyroid-related information. That’s very helpful for people who visit this blog and are sincerely wondering if they have thyroid problems or not. It will help them to have some of the information you updated this with.

        Thyroid problems can be very difficult for people to get diagnosed with and receive the help they need. Thyroid problems can be quite serious and can even result in death if not treated. And of course, life can be difficult for people who continue to have thyroid problems.

        Both doctors and endocrinologists can treat thyroid issues. A regular doctor may suffice with some of the treatments, but endocrinologists can be helpful for more in depth help, as well as help with thyroid cancer (try to find an endocrinologist, who is also proficient in oncology for this), Graves disease and some other thyroid-related problems.

        Before the 1960s, I think, the standard for diagnosing thyroid problems was done by observing clinical presentations. Doctors would have their patients keep a log of their basal temperatures (upon waking up in the morning), check for myedema (edema) and some other things.

        When blood testing came about, the numbers of people who had thyroid problems was drastically reduced. Blood testing was not (and still does not) find some thyroid problems in people. And many doctors will only do a TSH test (which actually tests the pituitary gland) and maybe the free t4 (which tests the thyroxine that is available to be converted to free t3). Meds like Synthroid and L-thyroxine can help people who have low levels of free t4.

        It can be very difficult to get a free t3 test. Free t3 tests how much thyroid is available for use by the body. If that number is low, a synthetic t3 med like Cytomel can be prescribed.

        Sometimes, people used dessicated thyroid that has both t3 and t4 in it and it helps. Some people better taking only synthetic t3, t4 or a combination.

        Besides it being difficult to get a free t3 blood test, it can be difficult to get labs to check for Hashimotos. Finding a good doctor who will do these tests is very important.

        And if anyone feels like they have a thyroid problem, get help from a doctor. If that doctor won’t help you, find another one who will.

        There are some very good resources for thyroid information. You may not have the time to research this, but perhaps it will help someone who sees this comment and can be benefited by this.

        Dr Broda Barnes is considered a pioneer in the study of thyroid-related issues.

        http://www.brodabarnes.org/

        Dr Mark Starr wrote a very interesting book about thyroid-related stuff called “Hypothyroidism: Type 2″. It is a fascinating read and has pages and pages about thyroid symptoms. It’s very thorough.

        http://www.21centurymed.com/?page_id=12

        Another good site is run by an advocate for people with thyroid problems. On this website, there is a list of doctors all over the world that many people have had good results with. She’s written several books about thyroid illness.

        http://thyroid-info.com/topdrs/

        Thank you again for updating your article.

        • Beth,

          Thank you for reading, and you are very welcome. Also, thank you for sharing your experiences with testing, and the links to resources for people who may be affected by thyroid-related conditions!

      • I’m going to have to agree with Colleen on this one. If the article is about helping women women who struggle with weight, as you say, then saying upfront how you haven’t yet met one who wasn’t making excuses seems to be contradictory to the cause. It’s a very “I know you better than you know you” tone, and it’s kind of off-putting. I’m not (currently) even a woman who needs to lose weight, and I was still turned off by the article’s tone.

        My viewpoint on this is based on the fact that I am a person with confirmed low thyroid, and before I got help, I was eating about 800-900 calories a day and going to the gym twice a day for an hour and a half each time just to keep from gaining weight. Losing weight was out of the picture. If someone had told me then that I was making excuses (and yes, people did tell me that) I’d have wanted to smack them. However, what if I had just believed them instead, like I’m sure some people are doing after reading this article?

        And “getting help” doesn’t have to mean getting medicated. I’ve improved my thyroid levels through diet modification and supplementation alone. I wasn’t looking for an easy fix. And I’m sure a lot of the people who suspect they have a thyroid issue aren’t either.

  3. Although you do make some good points here I struggle with a few. I believe that metabolic rate has very much to do with people becoming overweight, and even worse, obese. For example, the popular conception, not based on solid research but, rather tradition, that 8 glasses per day of water is necessary for good health is misleading, to say the least.

    There are untold numbers of people faithfully gulping down volumes of water their bodies are not telling them they need and thus, slowing their metabolisms. The end result is weight gain.

    Also, your comment about not getting “another set of genes”, totally overlooks what we now know about epigentetics and how that really does affect our progeny. Diet has a very significant effect on which of our genes, regardless of which ones we inherit, actually are expressed.

    • Jim,

      I was the first medical writer in the United States to address the issues of 8 glasses. That was 8 years ago, see Fiber Menace, Chapter 3: Water Damage.

      I addressed the connections between energy metabolism and obesity in my prior post. Please read it.

      As far as the epigenetics goes, my post isn’t addressed to prospective parents, but to grown up adults with weight issues. If you know how to change genes with diet in my age group, please teach me.

      • Konstantin,

        I have read your book and I loved it, but you seem to have changed a lot of your recommendations since writing it.
        You seem to think grains are beneficial now which you claimed to be damaging in your book Fiber Menace.

        • Lucas,

          Thank you reading Fiber Menace. I am not sure I follow you on changing my recommendations. Please point me to my writings where I recommend grains?

          My position is fairly simple: If you are healthy and normal weight, what you eat is none of my business. If you aren’t, the only “grain” that I recommend is white rice with free-range butter because it is near pure starch (96%), it isn’t sweet, it is the least allergenic of all grains, it is quick and easy to cook, it doesn’t incite appetite as grains that contain plant proteins, and it doesn’t interfere with gastric digestion. I wrote on this subject extensively in Fiber Menace, and haven’t changed my thinking since.

          • Konstantin,

            Thank you for clearing up my confusion. I thought since you were writing for a site that promotes HEAVY use of grains, you were also promoting their use.

            I agree, no matter how much you soak and or sprout your whole grains, they are in no way part of a healthy diet. Traditional people may have done this, but it was because they would of starved otherwise, not for any nutritional benefit.

          • Lucas,

            This site is about healthy nutrition for healthy people who would like to remain that way for the rest of their lives, so that they can enjoy a variety of foods, and take advantages of their benefits. There are absolutely no reasons why people shouldn’t consume non-GMO organic grains, especially while still healthy and normal weight. They are wholesome, nutritious, and delicious when home-cooked.

            I am not talking here about factory-made supermarket junk (cereals, pastas, breads, cookies) with additives. That is, in fact, what has ruined the reputation of otherwise perfectly healthy grains, not the grains themselves.

            My work that you are referring to was addressed to people with digestive disorders related to certain food allergies. Please don’t confuse these two absolutely different “target” audiences.

            Sprouting is done to release certain vitamins prior to cooking. This preparation technique has nothing to do with starvation.

  4. Great post! I am slowly figuring all this out. I slowly put on weight and by time I had my third child I was at my heaviest, about 40 pounds overweight. No fad diet could ever really help me as I just put the weight right back on. I’ve been on the traditional diet for 60 days and I have taken off 15 pounds and keeping it off. I just started adding exercise and I will start focusing on portion control. However my main issue is fatigue. I am about to turn 30 and I am just tired, all the time. In fact, today I decided I would take a nap because I was so tired, yawning, eyes felt heavy, very sluggish but I couldn’t nap. I just laid there, my mind racing. I do sleep at night, at least 7 hours, usually 8. So I don’t understand why I am so tired all the time! I hate the feeling of sluggishness. :(

    • Kara, it takes a lot of energy to have three kids, and to take care of them. The only non-medical recommendation that I can make from reading your post: learn to meditate. If your mind is raising at night just like it does during the day, your quality of sleep is probably subpar. This factor may contributes to weight gain and cause your fatigued state. You really need to turn off that stream of subconscious thoughts from compromising your sleep and energy, and mediation is the best method for accomplishing it. The rest I will handle in future posts.

    • Kara,
      Try some magnesium or diatomaceous earth or both. You are probably mineral deficient.

      • Is meditation a sanctioned FDA approved medical response to fatigue? Is being a 30 year old woman with kids a medically proven diagnosis for fatigue? I’m quite sure, last I checked, that neither of these were true. Last I checked, pharmacists weren’t even allowed to make medical diagnosis.

        Kara, it’s been a common thing among thyroid patients to become hypo thyroid during and after pregnancy. In fact, quite often, it’s usually a major change in the body that spurs the antibodies for Hashimoto’s and Grave’s. This is a time in your life when finding a good doctor who will care about you and your well being properly is vital. If you have thyroid disease, it will only get worse the longer it’s untreated and the complications will pile up, considerably. Please do what’s right for yourself and find the answers to figure out what your real problem is, because as much as someone will tell you it’s just your kids running you down, at 30 years of age, you should still be able to keep up with them.

    • Kara, my friends and I have benefited immensely from the addition of not only dietary coconut oil but experienced it as being also valuable for proper brain funtioning, skin improvement, oral health, etc.: if anyone is interested, please refer to http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org (Bruce Fife, N,D. seems to be the world health expert). Also, it is suggested that you google “coconut oil Altzheimer’s.” . I believe you too will be amazed how much more energenic you will feel in a very short time, especially if attempting to follow a low-calorie diet. Dr, Fife will advise re proper dose (very slowly buildup), specific qualities of best oil, etc. Hang in there, help is on the way…

  5. Very interesting. I am an under-active 24-year old mother of two toddlers. I have never lost much weight post-partum, though according to my BMI I’m not considered overweight, and at this point I would like to lose twenty pounds or so. Not because I want to see a certain number on the scale, but because I think I would feel better if I lost a little weight. I come from a very unhealthy family, with a history of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, among other things. I want to learn how lose weight now before I’m older and it becomes even more difficult. I’m looking forward to your future posts!

  6. This post has a ridiculous amount of misinformation and sensationalism in it. I’m very disappointed that Sarah is allowing her platform to be used spout this mainstream medical nonsense that has kept thousands of women under-medicated and/or undiagnosed with life altering diseases.

    I was a slim and very active woman my entire life until I had my second child at 30. I grew up eating a close to traditional diet and continued that into adulthood. Within days after having my 2nd child my hair began falling out, I was exhausted, I experienced “post partum” depression (or maybe just had no T3 thyroid hormone which mimics depression) and I GAINED WEIGHT while eating the same traditional diet I ate before. I was also nursing this entire time – which takes extra calories. With my older child I’d had trouble keeping weight ON while nursing. Taking a walk in the morning was enough to land me in bed for the rest of the day. I ended up gaining 60 lbs beyond my *pregnancy* weight. All while going to doctor after doctor who though I was vainly trying to lose weight to look good. In reality I just wanted to feel like I could make it through a normal day! Eventually, I gave up going to the doctor and just focused on trying not to be a terrible mother despite needing 12 hours of sleep and not being able to keep up with my kids for more than an hour at a time.

    According to the author, I and other women like me must have just been making excuses since it could not have been our metabolisms, hormones, thyroids or adrenals. We are just all vainly seeking the “waif thin” look. Oh, maybe I was “accidentally” eating too many calories as suggested by other medical “professionals.”

    Because of uninformed “doctors” like the author of this article – who ignore what women are telling them about their physical symptoms and focus only on lab tests and what they believe the rarity of these diseases are – my celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue went untreated for six years despite my near *textbook* symptoms until my husband and sister staged an intervention and dragged me to a doctor who tested more than just the standard labs. I had to drive two hours to find one.

    Hypothyroidism is much more common than the medical establishment chooses to admit and there are MAJOR issues with the supposed test ranges. L-thyroxine is a joke of a drug, but is still IN THE TOP TEN prescribed in the US for the “rare” cases of hypothyroidism out there. That doesn’t include all the people taking natural thyroid.

    Please people do your research – these diseases are considered rare only because the medical community refuses to properly diagnose them. Check out the research coming from functional and holistic doctors (and some MD’s who actually practice medicine rather than relying on 30 year old medical school information) and you’ll find that these ignored patients are receiving treatment and recovering after years of being told there was “nothing” wrong with them that some more sleep, a better diet and some exercise would fix.

    Or heck, go back and read some articles that actually address these issues on this very site!

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/6-little-known-signs-of-adrenal-fatigue/
    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/shallow-breathing-common-in-thyroidadrenal-dysfunction/

    • Laurie,

      For starters, please review my work on other subjects as it pertains to medical doctor, Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Media. If anyone is as much hated by these establishments, me it is… So your analysis of my motivation is way off base.

      Secondly, there is absolutely no excuse for ignoring and berating well-established academic facts about these conditions.

      Thirdly, you contradict yourself — on one hand women don’t get enough attention, on another — L-thyroxine is one of the most prescribed drugs in the US. So what is what?

      Fourthly, medical community is crazily eager to diagnose and overdiagnose these conditions because it leads to more tests, more visits, more copays, and more prescriptions.

      In regard to the related posts: These post say: if you do those stupid things, you may eventually develop adrenal dysfunction. I say: If you are between 20 and 40, and you are overweight, and your blood tests can’t confirm primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency — YOU DON’T HAVE IT. Please don’t misconstrue my post. Seriously…

      • Some adrenal tests are saliva-based and tested at least four different times of the day, so cortisol levels can be monitored throughout the day. Saliva tests are a MUCH more accurate way to test the adrenals. Someone can have a normal blood test and their adrenal problems can be missed because a blood test just gives a “snap shot” of what the adrenals are doing, while the saliva tests show what is happening at different times of the day.

        • So what I’m saying is…a negative blood test can’t confirm you don’t have adrenal insufficiency because blood tests aren’t as effective as saliva testing.

        • I recently had that saliva based test you mention, Beth!

          When I read this article I did get pretty upset, essentially like he said readers would. I am NOT OVERWEIGHT. I want to lose some pounds around my middle, maybe 10-15 at the most. I have never been OVERWEIGHT, but have been at the high end of my BMI range before. Right now I am in the middle of it, but still have the weight around the middle. I wouldn’t mind if I had a big chest and big hips… like “the old days” he talks about… I am just a bit annoyed right now and will try to write coherently, but I may not be able to.

          My tests showed quite a few things… Chronically high cortisol levels — that spike when I sleep at night when they should be going down. As a result, I don’t get good sleep, no matter how hard I try. I am unable to sleep during the day, due to my work schedule and also due to me not having the ability to take a nap no matter how hard I try (on weekends!)

          The Saliva test also showed very poor immune function. the SiGA saliva test on my immune system — the normal range is 25-60 and mine was 6! The reason for this is because of CHRONICALLY HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS.

          I also had some deeper thyroid tests done. My TSH and T3 and T4 were always fine whenever I went to the doctors complaining about fatigue and exhaustion. (They just wanted to put me on anti-depressants!) Finally this ND took tests to measure free T3, reverse T3, etc and found my reverse T3 was way too high compared to my Free T3. It just took a real doctor to do the right tests. Even though my hair is not falling out or any of those other symptoms of an underactive thyroid…

          I HAVE NO ENERGY! So what is making me put one foot in front of the other each day? Responsibilities. Because I HAVE to get these things done. I have too much responsibility on my shoulders and I can’t just stop although sometimes I want to have a nervous breakdown and I dream about going into a cave and hiding for a week (sounds like the perfect vacation for me).

          So, I don’t care what Krackinston (sp?) says is my issue for having excess weight around my middle (vs. the healthy bigger breasts and hips! not once did he mention whether his mother had a fat stomach or an hourglass figure)… because I am only a size B cup! But I DO have adrenal fatigue. And my thyroid IS underactive. And probably the cause of all this is TOO MUCH STRESS!

          I have been treating it now thanks to my ND, for 12 days and I have already lost 2 pounds. I am using the Immrama.org meditation CD Insight, to listen to before bed, and am taking some cortisol manager pills before bed. along with offering support for my thyroid, and other things to support my adrenal fatigue. Even on the NES and energy testing systems my adrenals have ALWAYS came up very low. I don’t know how those tests work…. but something is REALLY off in my endocrine system,

          I also am trying to learn to say no to people, and not let things bug me. I am only 38 years old. I should have an abundance of energy. I am reducing and simplifying my life and I am confident that I will have my energy back, and with it, my weight around the middle will be gone. Which will just prove Krakinstin’s theory he wrote about wrong.

          So, here I am, at 5’8″ and 153 lbs. I will pretty soon be a nice 140-145 lbs, and it will be awesome. I eat a TON of healthy fats, including my own rendered grassfed beef tallow, coconut oil, raw whole milk from grassfed Jersey cows, tons of beef and pastured eggs, fermented veggies, kefir, etc etc. And I will be the perfect weight for my body because my endocrine system will be working CORRECTLY!! WOOHOO!

          I also don’t put toxins into my body if I can help it. Homemade shampoo, natural soap, natural laundry soap, body butter, etc etc. No toxins are coming in from any of my beauty products. Homemade lip balm… only thing not natural is mascara. I think I am doing ok…. except for my ADRENAL FATIGUE And UNDERACTIVE THYROID !!!

      • Of course you love thyroxine! Maybe you should also tell these lovely people the real reason thyroxine is considered the best on the market right now, even though with patients it gets a big fat F for failure. Stating the proper drug history of both thyroxine and porcine (Armour) would be a good start. Since your a pharmacist and all, you should very well know this history.

        Chapters 1 and 2 of “Stop the Thyroid Madness explains all of this in a nutshell.

        Thyroxine was originally given to two patients in 1920 and 1926 intravenously. The changes in the two patients at the time were incredible changes. Weight was shed, adema went down, basal metabolic rates went back to normal, pulses raised, as did basal temperatures. Wrinkling and drying of the skin and hair had even changed with both patients as well as moods picked up.

        Both patients had posative results on injected thyroxine. It never became a positive treatment because intravenous injections are not practical. In pill form it was found that thyroxine was known to have instability in the presence of air and light (pill form). Thyroxine was not used because of this and the fact that desiccated thyroid was doing it’s job well at the time, too.

        Desiccated thyroid was widely used at this time and was doing well because it contained not just T4 (storage hormone) but also live T3, T2, T1 and Calcitonin. All of these are what a normal live thyroid will produce to keep a person healthy. Every organ in the body has receptors that work with thyroid hormones. We all know that if there is not enough of one or more of those hormones the body starts to fall apart.

        Many like to claim that dessicated thyroid is unnatural, and unstable/unreliable, but the truth of the matter is that there are strict USP standards that must be fullowed by makers of prescription dessicated thyroid, ie: unstable and unreliable are not in the dictionary of a USP standardized product, which means that these claims are an outright lie.

        The reason that these lies were spread was a clue given in the 1970 4th edition of Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. What had apparently occured was that a large batch of material came into the hands of a number or distributors in the US and Europe. Although it was of proper iodine content, it later proved not to be thyroid at all. This of course gave dessicated thyroid a bad name because several publications about the unreliability of thyroid appeared before the hoax was even uncovered.

        Keep in mind that this came out in 1970. Years after it had actually happened. Back in 1955 was when Knoll Pharmaceuticals developed the (unfortunately) well known Synthroid tablets. Dr. David Derry (graduate in ’62) was one who openly noted, that by 1963 thyroxine was in full swing with treatments. How the pill form was OK’d to use even though it was originally the “unstable” medication in pill form, I have yet to figure out.

        With all this said, it’s been proven time and time again with patients, that thyroxine has at some point during their disease failed them and the only things I can ever agree with about it’s usefulness is that a bottle of it makes an awesome doorstop or prop for my DSL modem and that’s it.

    • Shawnicy Barnhart April 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

      As a woman with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism this to makes me a bit angry. I also had to fight to get tested. And when I went in with a VERY swollen thyroid gland, unexplained weight gain, brittle hair with hair loss, depression, and voice voice changes I was told that it was postpartum depression even though my son was 6 months old. I didn’t take that and TOLD him to test me and sure enough I was very Hypo. It took another 8 years before they u’s my thyroid and found a few nodules and that it is very irregular. To this day I still can’t stand anything against my neck cause I feel like I am being choked.
      I have been fighting with hypothyroid since I was diagnosed 9 years ago! I work hard and take a bunch of supplements to help but I still fight tooth and nail for every pound. It is VERY hard but I am slowly succeeding. I think this is one of the worst articles I have read here and I HIGHLY value Sarah and her information. But this is just going to keep many women from believing that there is something wrong and continuing in the hell she is in with her own body. If you suspect a problem GET IT CHECKED!!! DEMAND IT EVEN!!! I don’t like the medical community either and I do everything I can holistically, herbaly or homeopathicly that I can but KNOW what you are fighting!

      • Shawnicy, what does make you angry? My article says exact same thing as your comment: “Don’t presume that you have hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency – GET TESTED!” We are in total, complete accord. Don’t live your life off hearsay and self-diagnosis. GET IT CHECKED!

        • Shawnicy Barnhart April 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

          No your article doesn’t say to get checked and how to get tested. It also doesn’t say that what is “normal” may not be normal for you. Right now my thyroid is being “controlled” by meds but has slowly been creeping back up despite diet and exercise. My “dr” thinks it is fine because it is in the “normal” range and yet I am still fighting the symptoms. Forget the fact that it has raised a half point in 3 months. Also it doesn’t point out that so many people are told it is normal but in fact their doctors aren’t even going of current info on what normal is. And that is when they only test TSH which ranges WIDELY for even the same subject with 2 different samples taken at the same time! It took YEARS for me to even get to see an endo for treatment and even then I STILL had to fight with them for good care (and I am still fighting!). I am glad I didn’t read this before my dx 8 years ago. I just urge women with the symptoms to demand testing and stop thinking it is all in their heads!

          • When these symptoms started creeping up on my in my 40′s the first doctor would only do a TSH, patronizingly told me I was in “normal” range and offered me and antidepressant. The second one did Free t3 and t4, put me on Synthroid and within 2 weeks I felt much better, but not great. I finally found a doctor who would put me on Armour, and checked my other hormone levels and I feel fantastic. After reading these comments I think I understand what you were trying to say, but in my opinion it minimizes the thyroid problem which I beleive is greatly underdiagnosed and ill treated with most physicians. I have a sister in another state who won’t even consider the other thryoid tests because she doesn’t beleive in them. Very frustrating. It is hard to be taken seriously in many cases.

          • Janice,

            I realize how sensitive this issue is for people affected by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, so I updated my post to address this condition. I hope this is will bring back the calm. I also explained there why non-specialists are having such a hard time to properly diagnose this condition.

  7. Your article really bothers me. I do have hypothyroidism. The symptoms you listed- I can check off almost every single one, plus many others. But you know what? My blood tests came back normal except for one number which was just under normal so that for 5+ years I’ve dealt with obesity, depression, cavities, and horrible apathy (a very bad thing to have with little children). And I thought that is how it was. Finally I begged a doctor to let me try some thyroid replacement (I take natural dessicated thyroid by the way, which is superior to T4 only……which I also tried). Less than a week in, I felt a huge difference. I have now been on my prescription for about 5 months, and guess what? All those horrible symptoms are going away. I am still overweight, but I dropped 10 pounds without trying…..because I finally had a metabolism again (my body temps are now in the 97 Fahrenheit range instead of the 96s).
    For all those readers out here who really are struggling with weight, it may or may not be thyroid related. Hypothyroidism is NOT just a weight issue- and it is true, the weight would be one of the least of your worries, trust me. But if you have some of the symptoms listed for thyroid disease, you need to get it checked. The best resource I have found (and I’ve gone through many) is the Stop the Thyroid Madness website- so helpful!

    • There is a myriad of other conditions that may cause “obesity, depression, cavities, and horrible apathy,” and they have little or nothing to do with the thyroid gland function. By convincing your doctor to prescribe you l-thyroxine, you are overstimulating your body the same way people do with energy drinks, so you feel better. Unfortunately, the conditions that caused your problems in the first place are still there, unaddressed. So, just like with energy drinks, taking a synthetic drug is a temporary solution. Hopefully, my posts will help you to identify and reverse those conditions.

      • I completely disagree with you. I am not taking L-thyroxine, by the way, I am on natural dessicated thyroid. I had the myxedema, dry, scaly skin, hoarse voice, hair loss, puffy face, low basal temp, apathy, depression, fatigue, weight gain…….I could go on. And my T3 and TSH were NORMAL. My T4 was very slightly under range, but it was consistent for at least 5 years, so the dr considered this to be my normal range. I do still have some symptoms (although not nearly as severe), but many have improved or gone away since being on thyroid replacement. I will continue to read your articles, and perhaps you can convince that my hypothyroidism is a secondary condition and will resolve itself if I get to the root of the problem. But I am so thankful that I can function again after many years of feeling only half alive.

        • Heidi, I write my initial comments based on the information you provided. Still, all of the above symptoms aren’t exclusive to hypothyroidism, which is a diagnosis based on a very specific blood test. If your blood test is negative — you don’t have it, period. It isn’t a point of debate, but it is what it is. It isn’t my opinion, but a medical canon. If you don’t like it, don’t like it, but it will still remain what it is. Just like I don’t like getting a speeding ticket, the laws will not be rewritten to accommodate my dislike.

          Have you had some serious health issue? Without a doubt. Have you been able to reverse them somewhat with natural means — absolutely. So keep doing what you have been doing and I am thrilled about your recovery. That said, I can’t write a post around “Heidi.” It is intended for a lot of people, and I am sure along the way there will be some exceptions that I will not be able to cover, anticipate, or explain. That DOESN’T mean that I don’t have a right to explain my point of view to the best of my abilities, and that is what I am doing here.

          • When those blood tests became the norm, the GOOD doctors were saying that from now on many people with hypothyroidism would go undiagnosed, because those blood tests are NOT accurate and would miss a lot of patients. Which is exactly what is happening.

        • The truth is that many things can screw up with the thyroid tests on which doctors rely (and most of them won’t look beyond the tests to symptoms if the tests show normal).

          Fluoride, chlorine, and bromide – all of which are very available in our current culture – replace iodine and have a stronger bond. This will MAKE the thyroid tests appear normal, but the body isn’t able to properly utilize the resulting hormone. I have yet to see a doctor address this. “Your tests are normal. (You are just lazy.)” is generally the response.

  8. I hope you are right. I do not want to be on thyroid replacement. And you may be right, actually. There could very well be a different, primary problem that is causing thyroid issues, or perhaps keeping my body from utilizing what should be a normal amount of the thyroid hormones. And doctors are quick to prescribe thyroid replacement rather than figure out why the thyroid is struggling. I know getting more thyroid hormones has helped my health tremendously so far, and I feel like I have my life back. I will continue to read your articles to see if there might be another approach to all of this.

    • Thank you, Heidi. I am so glad that we have found a common ground, and I look forward to do my best to provide you with information that may further help in your recovery. Thank you for sharing your story!

  9. Thank you for the post Konstantin Monastyrsky. If you met me I would not use any of those as to why I am overweight… though I *have* heard those excuses from people who probably haven’t been to a doctor in ages and just guess that that is their problem. But of course there are exceptions.

    When I was told I had PCOS (4 yrs ago), my doctor said, “just lose weight so you don’t get diabetes.” Not very helpful. I had no idea about PCOS other than it hurt horribly when a cyst collapses. Last year I found this blog and learned that what I was eating was all wrong. And from this blog, lead to other blogs and research and I’ve become more educated on what I should be eating (and not eating!) to help me. Being very low income and having to go to a food pantry to get food makes it hard to eat real food all the time. But I try my best.

    Don’t mind the negative comments. This blog is famous for them. I look forward to your coming articles and will be checking out your previous ones here as well.

    • Jessica, you are very welcome, and thank you for your kind words about my work. I don’t mind “negative” comments. They, and the people’s stories behind them, are tremendously educational. Considering the amount of “screw ups” with prior diets and medical sector, I expect a lot of frustration and distrust. Also, my posts are clearly polarizing and controversial, I don’t shy away from hard subjects, and I appreciate all kind of feedback — kind, less kind, angry. It just comes with the territory.

    • Jessica, if we are negative, it is because we have been hurt in some way. I lost 5 years of my life to what the symptoms show are some type of thyroid problem. My children suffered along with me- the guilt is so thick. And then I read a post saying that because my labs were normal, I didn’t really need thyroid replacement………hmmm……….when that is what has given me back my life…..yes, I have words to say about that!!!! But I’ve also done enough reading to realize that there may very well be a different primary problem for why my thyroid is functioning poorly. And thank you Konstantin Monastyrsky for understanding how raw these topics can be. I truly hope you can help us get to the root of the problem.

    • It doesn’t really help when people call these things “excuses.”

      Even if the problem for the person is poor choices in eating, many people don’t know that and do not understand why they can’t lose weight when following conventional wisdom for doing so. So then they look for reasons why the weight won’t come off, and these seem to be reasonable explanations, not excuses.

      Calling it “excuses” indicates the person isn’t interested, rather than they are misinformed.

      • I did not write or send the above. Are there two “Kat”s? Please correct this situation because I do not want to be blamed/credited for something I had nothing to do with.
        1st Kat

          • The two above that I commented next denying it was mine:

            Kat April 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm
            It doesn’t really help when people call these things “excuses.”

            Even if the problem for the person is poor choices in eating, many people don’t know that and do not understand why they can’t lose weight when following conventional wisdom for doing so. So then they look for reasons why the weight won’t come off, and these seem to be reasonable explanations, not excuses.

            Calling it “excuses” indicates the person isn’t interested, rather than they are misinformed
            Kat April 5, 2013 at 11:59 am
            The truth is that many things can screw up with the thyroid tests on which doctors rely (and most of them won’t look beyond the tests to symptoms if the tests show normal).

            Fluoride, chlorine, and bromide — all of which are very available in our current culture — replace iodine and have a stronger bond. This will MAKE the thyroid tests appear normal, but the body isn’t able to properly utilize the resulting hormone. I have yet to see a doctor address this. “Your tests are normal. (You are just lazy.)” is generally the response.

        • Two people of the same name. I have an avatar with a squirrel. Yours shows with an anonymous person.

          • Aloha, dear Kat,

            Mahalo for your kind explanation. Also, I believe it will work fine now, as you see, I added a “1″ to my “Kat.”

  10. You give valid points. But if I had read your post before starting replacements, it would have just been one more bad blow to an already unstable person. This isn’t a Heidi post, I understand, but there must be others out there who might also benefit from thyroid hormones even though they fall in normal lab ranges. SO if my voice speaks to them, then GOOD! I don’t want anyone to go through those awful hypo symptoms.
    Also, you suggest for those testing under range to just go and get started on L-thyroxine. I would suggest that they start on Natural Dessicated Thyroid instead, if possible.

    • Heidi, I don’t suggest starting with L-thyroxine. Here is what I wrote:

      “If you still believe that it isn’t a lie in your case, just do a blood test. If it ends up positive, switch over to a traditional diet, take the supplements that may help to reverse this functional condition, or, as a last resort, get a prescription from your doctor for L-thyroxine, and be done with it.”

      What supplements? The usual: liquid cod liver oil, iodine (from kelp), sublingual B-12, vitamin C, high quality B-complex. Along with traditional diet, that’s the most economical and fastest acting option.

      If natural dessicated thyroid works for you — great. I don’t have any expertise with these supplements, and stick to what I know.

      • Yes, I noted you started with a traditional diet (which is where most of us probably go wrong- skip that step and go for the drugs). I was suggesting that instead of getting prescriptions for levothyroxine, try the natural dessicated thyroid. Anyway, if you haven’t researched it, I wish you would, but I understand why you suggest what you have researched.

        • Heidi, I am not a researcher, but a medical writer. That said, I am planning at some future date to establish a research center in partnership with open-minded and forward-looking medical doctors, clinical nutritionists, and registered dietitians in order to create holistic protocols for reversing lifestyle-related disorders such as prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, infertility, insomnia, and many others. It will come!

          • How can you be a writer without being a researcher? That sounds like your simply writing fiction then.

          • Dr. Monastyrsky,
            It’s disappointing to me that an expert such as yourself doesn’t know a bit more about metabolic disorders. We absolutely need someone of your expertise to study these in more detail.
            Maybe instead of telling overweight people that they don’t have metabolic disorders and just need to exercise more and eat less, you could explain why two people of the same age, gender, gene pool and activity level have vastly different metabolic rates. Because of course, this is true all over the world. If weight loss were as easy as you describe, a lot more people would be able to manage it.
            In Dr. Simeons’ book Pounds and Inches, he is very respectful and understanding when describing the agony his patients have experienced over decades.

          • LJ, I didn’t say anything like that. Here is a direct quote from my article:

            The truly “bad” metabolic disorders concern water balance and fluid volume; the balance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate); acid-base regulation; disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, such as hypoglycemia, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, diabetic and alcoholic ketoacidosis; and lipid disorders, such as dyslipidemia and hypolipidemia [1].

            These conditions affect people of all ages, genders, and body weights. Some of them are outright deadly, while others – such as diabetes or dyslipidemia – are chronic. Within the same group of conditions, some are associated with obesity, such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Others, such as type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis, result in profound and life-threatening weight loss.

          • Dr. Monastrysky,
            Thank you for your reply. I was referring to the content of your last few articles on the subject of weight loss, when I said you were telling people to eat less and exercise more to lose weight.

            This latest article seems to be embracing the strict definitions of metabolic dysfunction and using those narrow parameters to dismiss people whose conditions may be on a spectrum outside conventional medical testing. This article seems to be telling overweight people that unless they’re really sick (and have doctors’ test to prove it), they don’t have any legitimate reason to be overweight.

            You know so very much, and it’s all tantalizingly close to useful information, but so far the only advice I’ve seen is to eat less and exercise more. And sadly, it seems there is a tone of contempt in several of these articles.

            Dr. Simeons’ book Pounds and Inches is the only treatise I’ve ever read that had a tone of respect for the patients and a full appreciation for their circumstances.

          • LJ,

            Unfortunately, eat less (a shorthand for reduced-calorie diet) and exercise more (a shorthand for physical activity) is the only known way to lose weight, unless you are willing to consider bariatric surgery, stimulant drugs, or a range of other medicines that interfere with CNS and digestion

            My book is about the techniques of accomplishing this elusive goal — how to eat less without failures and side-effects, and particularly for people past middle age (i.e. 35+), who may already have a range of digestive and endocrine disorders that make it hard.

            This work is based on about 15 years of study and research into the physiology of endocrine functions and digestion. I don’t have any training or expertise in psychology of weight loss.

          • Konstantin- I hope you imagine most of your target readership will be people with the undiagnosed & mis-diagnosed range of digestive & endocrine disorders. They’re the ones that need help, as you can see by the responses you got to your latest article here. Illustrates how frustrated and misunderstood we are.

          • >> Konstantin- I hope you imagine most of your target readership will be people with
            >> the undiagnosed & mis-diagnosed range of digestive & endocrine disorders.
            >> They’re the ones that need help, as you can see by the responses you got
            >> to your latest article here Illustrates how frustrated and misunderstood we are.

            LJ,

            I am well aware of what affects my readers and why. Over the years, I had to deal myself with late stage type 2 diabetes, obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic respiratory disorders, gastritis, severe enteritis, 20 years of IBS-C, insomnia, clinical depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

            The last one [PTSD] was related to 9/11 — we live few miles across the towers, so I’d seen most of it “upfront and personal.” My mother got diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer on the same day, and my dad passed away two weeks later. Another year-and-half of caring for my mother and a loss of business [because I could no longer work] really did me in. It took me three years to pop out of it.

            I am not seeking sympathy here, but am just making a point in response to your well-meant comment. And that point is — I am not a stranger to physical, emotional, and mental anguish related to wrong diet, poor health, lost wealth, and bad luck. Because of all of this, I understand well not only my field of expertise (digestive, metabolic, endocrine, and mental disorders), but also their impact on my readers, current and future.

          • Konstantin,
            I’m sorry to hear you have suffered through many difficult things. I’m sure your life experience will make you compassionate to others like ourselves. And hopefully conveyed well.

          • LJ,

            Thank you. My life is just like everybody else — c-o-m-p-l-i-c-a-t-e-d… But my work isn’t based around my life experiences. They provided a strong impetus to dig in deeper, but what I do or write have little to do with my health. The problems that I had experienced definitely enriched my understanding of certain conditions, but that’s not a substitute for rock-solid medical education, 15 years of ensuing study, research, and writing.

            And as far as compassion goes, I have plenty of it, but it isn’t a substitute for professionalism and for telling the hard truth — effective weight loss is hard work regardless of your thyroid or adrenal glands. And even harder when said gland are under duress.

          • LJ,
            Konstantin: “Unfortunately, eat less (a shorthand for reduced-calorie diet) and exercise more (a shorthand for physical activity) is the only known way to lose weight, unless you are willing to consider bariatric surgery, stimulant drugs, or a range of other medicines that interfere with CNS and digestion”

            Gary Taubes, science-writer author of “Why We Get Fat” would not agree with the above statement. Or just google: youtube “LCHF is the” and hear another known way in an amusing nutshell, Try it; I bet you’ll like it.

          • Kat1,

            Feel free to post the summary of Mr. Taubes’ “another known way.” Anything that is worthwhile and effective deserves recognition. Please also note that my book isn’t about “my way” of losing weight, but about “Why Diets Fail?” I am a complete agnostic in this respect. And considering the fact that there close to 10,000 weight loss books on Amazon, and that 33.3% of adult Americans are overweight and 35.9% are obese, and that these two numbers keep up growing, I must be onto something…

          • Konstantin,
            By googling the youtube video: “LCHF is the” this is the best short, funny version of what a LCHF (low-carb,highfat lifestyle) which Gary advocates is all about. (This amusing vudeo was translated from Swedish to English, so that may explain the one rude word… Sorry about that…) Also, I could not possibly explain and do justice to Gary’s book “Why We Get Fat”; however, it is all about what actually makes us accumulate fat on our bodies and how to go from having your body be a carb burner to a stored fat burner and the transition period while this is happening…

          • Konstantin,

            Your open-minded willingness to have us share information relating to what has worked for us in improving our health is deeply appreciated.

            A wow statement for me made by Gary in his book which I had never heard before: “We don’t get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we’re getting fat.”

          • Kat1,

            Thank you! In the era of the Internet sharing is the best approach to all of life’s issues.

            I agree 100% with Mr. Taub. Here is what he meant by this:

            – Obesity and distended stomach go hand in hand, hence the tendency to overeat because the hunger doesn’t go away until the stomach is filled to capacity;
            – Obesity and hyperinsulinemia go hand in hand, hence the tendency to overeat because of low blood sugar;
            – Obesity and hypoglycemia go hand in hand, hence the tendency to overeat carbs because of sugar cravings;
            – Obesity and low-quality nutrition go hand in hand, hence the tendency to overeat because the body craves for missing nutrients;
            – Obesity and emotional issues go hand in hand, and since foods have a calming down effect, there is a tendency to overeat;
            – Obesity and fatigue go hand in hand, and since foods provide a temporary boost in energy, there is a tendency to overeat to address this particular problem.

            All of these aspects (and lots more) are the part and parcel of my program, and I’ll be addressing them in future posts, particularly when dealing with transitional (preparatory) debt.

          • Mahalo for the opportunity, Konstantin, here we go:

            youtube: Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat: An alternative Hypothesis of Obesity”

          • Kat1- that’s such a fun video! Thanks for sharing- I’ve sent it on to my HCG friends who are all WAPF folks, some are also GAPS people like myself. Awesome- cheers :)

          • LJ,

            Be sure you and yours also watch youtube: “Enjoy eating your saturated fats, they are good for you. Donald Miller, M.D.” (cardiac surgeon) Also “Fathead” Netflix Instant… both outstanding docs… Thanks also for letting me know my advice was helpful because I am motivated to help others now that I continue to be in excellent health, normal weight, with no need for meds, fantastic energy and 76 yrs. old… I do practice what I preach… best wishes! Please tell me what you think about these too…

          • Some people like my self need to know portion size because we can eat a lot of food and not feel full. I eat like the LCHF WAPF but I need to know how much is to much because I was not losing weight. The good thing was I could go a long time without eating if I had to, while the people I was with where getting the shakes and moody. The video was hilarious.

          • Sara,

            People were “getting the shakes and moody” because of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — one of the most immediate side effects of all weight loss diets. I will address this particular aspects in future posts that will address the proper transition to low calorie diet. It is next to impossible to commence a long term weight loss without an adequate preparation and transition. “Famous” diets don’t do it because they are sold on the premise of an near-instant weight loss, the subject of my first post.

          • Sarah, if you don’t want to read Gary’s book in which he explains your situation in detail, then google him on youtube or go to his free website. I assume you were referrng to “LCHF is the” video. It’s great how the Swedes managed to cut to the chase in an enjoyable, humorous manner albeit short time span. Fun! Fun! Fun! We all need a good laugh while searching for answers re difficult circumstances…

          • Kat1,
            I’ve seen Fathead, it’s very good. Will try to catch Donald Miller sometime soon. thanks for the recommendations! So great to hear of your robust health, awesome!

  11. there was a time, ironically before i had kids, that i was tired all the time and I gained weight and I thought, what’s wrong with me! I went to a doctor and fortunately all testing came back normal so I have never thought of my metabolism or those types of things as the reason why I had a hard time losing weight. I did eventually lose that weight. Looking back I think it was very poor diet and off sleep and not enough sleep, and no exercise. duh! I have a lot more energy now that I eat right. I could exercise more, but I do chase kids and clean house quite a bit which is a lot more exercise than I ever got at my old desk job. Anyway, I have different, post babies weight to lose now and just wanted to say good post, looking forward to next week.

    • Rebecca,

      I am with you. My suggestion to everyone reading this — before you start thinking about “doctoring” yourself from real and imagined diseases, think about your past and current diet, your sleep qualities, your lifestyle, and your attitude(s). All of these aspects will be the subject of the next several posts. There is much more to health and normal weight than diet or exercise.

      • Thank you so much for your willingness to share your wisdom and experience; that is what is important in all of this. We all have some, and it would behoove everyone to be “slow to speak” and just think about all the possibilities, before deciding to disagree. Truth will stand on its own. I am tired of everyone trying to charge for every little nugget of information; thank you for letting us have this information that will undoubtably help some. I appreciate your patience with those who are not polite in disagreeing. (A definite indicator that something is out of whack!) Like when I don’t get enough sleep or my blood sugar drops…oooh! I am a bear! Thanks again and keep it coming!

  12. I LOVE THIS SERIES! I would love to get an audio version of these posts and just play them on a loop in our bariatric office. Thank you, thank you, thank you for cutting through the malarky and telling us the facts. Now if you can just do one for “I can’t exercise because I have a bad…(back, knee, cold, hangnail, etc) LOL

    • Amanda, thank you!

      In regard to exercise: It is a well known fact that about 80% of people with diabetes are overweight. Inversely, it can be said that about 80% of overweight people have prediabetes or diabetes, many of them undiagnosed, just like I was back in in 1990s. And guess what — during that stage I could barely drive and walk because of… bad back, ingrown toenail, devastating carpal tunnel, gout, knee pain, severe sinusitis, vertigo, depression, insomnia and ensuing fatigue so bad that I was literally falling asleep while driving.

      After that experience I have a lot of empathy for people who say they can’t exercise because the majority of them aren’t making it up. And, unlike most readers of this blog, I didn’t have a bunch of kids on my shoulders to take care off, no full-time job (other than writing books in bed), or any other time-demanding familial obligations.

      What’s a way out? Lose weight, normalize blood sugar, reverse functional disorders (as above) related to prediabetes and diabetes, start exercising as you get better. It took me about a year of strict diet before I was able to resume walking, and several more years before I could go to the gym without a fear of hurting myself.

      All that said, I do encourage everyone who can to be as active as their health allows, and I will address exercise in one or more future posts.

      Re: Audipodcasts: I have been thinking about making them since the inception. I’ll think again…

      • You’re right. I need to be more empathetic. It’s just frustrating to hear the excuses (like the ones mentioned in your post). I feel like they (our bariatric patients) aren’t looking for things they can do, but reasons they can’t do them. Thank you for your insight, as always :)

        • Amanda,

          From what I see, bariatric patients, particularly past middle-age, may have an even harder time to exercise than people who are simply overweight because their diets are so limited and void of essential nutrients. And that’s on top of all other problems accrued up to surgery. I don’t beleive this particular aspect — i.e. nutritional deficiencies following bariatric procedures — is being seriously addressed outside of academia.

          I also want to highlight another important point: This series (and my future book) is intended primarily for relatively healthy people with moderate adiposity (i.e. not clinically obese). Although weight loss is an incredibly effective therapeutic tool, it isn’t a viable option for do-it-yourselfers with pre-existing endocrine, metabolic, neurological, digestive, or cardiovascular disorders.

          If you noticed, I take the most flack from people who are already in that unfortunate category, even though my work isn’t really intended for them because it is near impossible to account for all possible contingencies that they may encounter while on extended reduced calorie diet. (I actually say that much in “Common Sense Warnings & Disclaimers” link (http://goo.gl/bgyC2) after each post, but I am not sure all people are reading it.)

  13. Your article this time was interesting. I can see where your arguments come from, and why you would post them. To help people become more ok with how their bodies are, and to stop the excuses that overweight people carry. I think what your article missed was how the body reacts to a sick gut. I am on thyroid meds even though my blood tests said I do not have a thyroid problem. My doctor made sure to tell me that I did not have thyroid but my body needed support. I needed to be able to think clearly, and have the energy to begin making the food my body needed. This was a hard adjustment to me mentally to cook this way, from being raised on fast food. As the thyriod gave me the support I needed to think clearly, and have a small amount of energy, I was able to do the research to figure out how to eat. :). (My thyroid was producing enough, but not enough was being properly converted for me to function, due to the leaky gut). I think your article left out a point of sometimes your body needs support in order to being healing. Thank you.

    • Sarah,

      Thank you for your feedback. You may be surprised to learn that as the author of GutSense.org, I know a bit more about digestive disorders than I know about weight loss. This particular article was about these particular four conditions. Rest assured, I’ll write a lot about the gut…

  14. Hi. My name is Kelly and I am an emotional and compulsive overweight overeater. Nice to meet you.

    So now that you’ve met an overweight person who does not claim to have a thyroid or metabolic problem, please don’t generalize about us. There is a whole world of overweight people at Overeaters Anonymous, Weight Watchers, Tops, etc., who are not claiming to have a medical problem that you would find “amusing.”

    I’m sure you are a very intelligent and knowledgeable researcher, lecturer, and author, but I recommend you rethink your leading paragraph.

    • Kelly,

      Nice to meet you too. Glad that you are well and healthy and self-aware. You see, overweight people that I happen to meet and discuss this subject with, come to me for help. And that’s what I hear all the time: “I am overweight because I have a medical condition.” And, in fact, most of them do, but these aren’t the medical conditions discussed in my post. And the only way that I can help these people to normalize their weight and improve their health is by, first, dispelling the predominant groupthink, and, next, by focusing them on the real culprits of their weight-related problems. Bad metabolism — it ain’t.

      Also, this is a blog, not a medical reference. If I’ll write the way you want me to write, nobody will read it.

  15. Dr. Monastyrsky, I think one thing that seems to be missing from the post is that we are all unique. When you say, “test positive” for hypothyroidism, what exactly do you mean? The TSH level is a continuum and different people can function better or worse at different levels. I have had many clients struggling with weight issues with “normal” TSH levels of a range from 2.5-4.0. After slightly upping the Armour dose the pounds just melted away. I have seen other clients fine at 2.5.

    I myself was slightly “hypothyroid” (in how I felt) with sluggish adrenal function (total salivary cortisol of 15 for the day) with a TSH of 3.5. I have no weight issues. I upped my Armour and any tiny residual problems went away and my cortisol levels increased to normal levels as well as my DHEA and sex hormones. And this is after years of eating a quite stellar diet and seeing my adrenals spiral down. Now my TSH is at .8 and I feel this is a good place for me.

    Then there is the question of reverse T3, which you don’t mention in this article. For those clients with “normal” TSH but that are experiencing “hypothyroid” symptoms I always look at their Free T3 to RT3 ratio. If it is low then we look at cellular level issus such as mineral deficiencies or fatty acid imbalances. These are the people that go to the doctor for years with all sorts of issues that are dismissed because TSH is “normal”.

    And I do believe that people can have suboptimal adrenal function without Addisons. I have seen it in myself and many, many clients. Of course we rely on testing. It’s not just a guess. But we have seen over and over, if a client addresses stresses and supports the adrenals with supplements, the issues resolve. Weight is a very common issue that gets resolved.

    The body is very complex and there are subtleties involved. To say that very few people suffer from hypothyroidism based on national statistics is not very practical on a clinical level, imo. I look at each individual as unique and we work together to get to the root cause. We look at adrenal and thyroid function as well as gut function, nutrient levels, stress, physical activity, etc. I agree that the thyroid or adrenal hypofunction is not the “root cause”. That is the end result of deficiencies and toxicity. But it needs to be addressed. Some people do need a little T3 or herbal support to get them through. It is part of the whole picture.

    And look at this study where those testing positive for gestational hypothyroidism was about 15%…much higher than expected 2-3%. http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/97/3/777.full?sid=47fb3c24-41c8-4ebb-9e12-b8fd93b42500

    • That is me!! The reverse T3 to free T3 ratio was WAY off, but no doctors have diagnosed that until just the past couple weeks!!! I don’t have brittle hair or other classical symptoms of hypothyroid except the inability to lose my stomach fat, and extreme fatigue. I eat super healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of good fats, fermented foods, etc. I do not eat processed foods (maybe go out to eat once a month so I bet I get bad things there but I still try to choose something somewhat healthy on the menu). I don’t eat gluten or sugar. I have great skin and hair, and overall look extremely healthy. Except my exhaustion!!!

      Thanks for pointing this out…

  16. This has given me a lot to think about. I am 40yr, have had three kids (youngest is 4). I am struggling with something right now and am not sure what. I have so many of my “healthy” friends throwing herbs at me for adrenal fatigue, but it didn’t sound right. I listened to another seminar that suggested to ‘reset’ your ecosystem. Start by sleeping enough, eating better(listening to what my body needs), and for me, dealing with Candida problems. Doing the right thing for your body takes time and listening to it and sometimes there isn’t an immediate cure, but a change of lifestyle or mindset. I really appreciate your willingness to put out your finding and question these myths. I eagerly await your next post.

    • Hillary,

      Thank you for reading. I’ll do my best to help you to get well.

      Stimulating herbs don’t do anything for adrenal glands. If anything, they actually stress and overstimulate the body even more, just like caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulating drugs.

  17. Thank you for another fascinating, but challenging, post. I am a 40-something homeschooling wife with 5 sons (none of whom were good sleepers, now ages 4-14) who is overweight after many years of low-fat, high-carb, not much sleep but still happy living.

    I have managed to lose some weight doing fairly restrictive things, but when I start eating at all “normally” (read: traditional diet with small amount of junk thrown in) the weight comes back rapidly with more. My BBT is low 97′s and I used to take synthroid, found my cortisol levels were disrupted (saliva testing) and moved to a couple of years of natural whole-food supplements for those things and am trying to learn to sleep again. My thyroid function is “normal” now according to the tests, but although I eat better than ever, I weigh more than ever in my life. Very discouraging!

    With 5 active boys I don’t live a sedentary life, but I prefer walking a couple of miles in the mornings with a friend (I don’t like “exercise” so it has to be social for me to do it) to intense workouts. My lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to gyms or exercise clubs.

    One of the things I haven’t understood that looks like will be forthcoming in this great series is how much food do I really need to eat – portions, calories, whatever description? We now eat grassfed meat, raw dairy (bought our first cow in December!), organic fruits and veggies, only sprouted or soured grains, drinks like kombucha and kvass, and soaked & dried nuts. There are occasional exceptions, and we have been moving into that diet for about the last 3-4 years. At the risk of repeating myself, “but I weigh more than ever!”

    I would love, once and for all, to know what really works to lose weight permanently; what and how much I need to really eat and drink (can’t stand all the water; don’t particularly like veggies (shocking, I know!)); what supplements are REALLY necessary to nourish my family and self; and how much of an active lifestyle is active enough to live a long, healthy life. Sarah’s blog has been a lifeline in many of these areas, but there are remaining questions.

    I am hoping this series may finally be the “final answer” in a world chock-full of conflicting misinformation. Here’s to you and your work, Konstantin Monastyrsky! I look forward to more….

    • Thank you, Louise! I am sure by the time this series will be over, you’ll have much more clarity. Meanwhile, please keep doing what you are already doing, so you can concentrate on your boys and teach them the habits of health while they are still pliable.

  18. I am following these posts with interest. I would like to know what “the answer” is, but I guess I will have to wait for it. I eat a strictly whole foods diet, with plenty of good fats but not overboard, have counted calories for months to stay in the 1800-1900 range, exercise with heavy strength training 3x a week and high intensity intervals 3x a week, and have been s-l-o-w-l-y losing weight but I continually have to change things, or I plateau. It did not use to be this hard to lose weight. I am getting to the point where I don’t know what there is left to change, and I have about 40 more pounds to lose! I hope your information will help me. I have four children and struggle with fatigue, even though I get 7 hours of sleep most nights.

    • Rebecca,

      Sorry, I don’t have any ready answers. This is a very complex subject, and as we go along you’ll certainly find the “answers” that will apply to your particular situation.

  19. I just wanted to drop a line saying how much I am LOVING this series!!!! Thanks, Konstantin for sharing this information, even if it a hard pill to swallow for many people (including myself), and thanks to Sarah for providing a means to share this info.

    I also wanted to share some interersting observations that I have made. I am a second generation American with ancestors from the Middle East where being slightly *overweight* (in american terms- over there they call it “healthy”- I swear…If a guy wants to describe a curvy woman, he says “she is of good health”!! Like you said, Konstantin, a Middle-eastern woman only 30 years ago who was skinny was regarded as unfit for marriage and childbearing! I think it is the same in many other European countries as well, such as Italy and Greece….

    Konstantin, I wonder what your opinion is about this whole realm of self-diagnosis that is going on these days. I feel that it can be potentially dangerous. People are looking for reasons for their problems on the internet, and when you read a list of symptoms, almost all of them will seem to fit you!! Then you are convinced that you have a specific disease state that you may or may not have, and the more convinced you are the more you will explain everything that is going on in your life according to that explanantion. I think it is very important to find a good doctor that can run the appropriate tests to make a diagnosis. THEN, you can decide how you want to approach your treatment (naturally, homeopathically, allopathically, etc…)

    Another observation regarding this society when you look at it from the outside and compare it with many other societies around the world, I also feel that our psychology plays a HUGE role in our well-being, as well as stress. We are overworked in this country, we don’t have time to take care of ourselves, let alone get enough sleep and meditate. Most of us don’t even have that money to spend. In other parts of the world, taking care of yourself by slowing down, meditating, taking a siesta (still done in many parts of the world), home-cooked meals, and sitting down for that afternoon tea with th family, etc…..that is all a normal part of life. In no other country are people so negligant of themselves. We only wake up to the fact that we are in such bad shape when are bodies can’t take it anymore, when we are obese, depressed, and in debilitating pain.

    Just my two cents.

    • Benaan,

      Thank you for your astute comments. People who aren’t familiar with Middle East can probably related to this analogy: Some of the top belly dancers may be considered overweight by Western/American standards, while at home they are considered a pinnacle of female beauty and sexines.

      Closer to home, the obsession of American men with large breasts (and some women with implants), is from the same “opera” — body fat attracts opposite sex. And if you start thinking about arranged marriages, weight discriminations (i.e. anyone, but not the skinny one) is even more pernicious than in dating situations.

      What do I think about self-diagnosis? Well, I am for the equality between doctors and patients. That said, people who are highly self-suggestible may pay a heavy price for having access to too much information and imagery. Still, overall, I think having access to the same info as doctors is an asset, not a liability. What some do with that information — that’s a different story.

      You are absolutely correct that there are so many other factors that contribute to obesity epidemic. These very factors will be the subject of my next post.

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for contributing!

  20. Aleta Schrock Ellsworth April 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

    As a child and teenager my weight fluctuated 5-10 lbs. I ate healthy meals and a fair amount of deserts (perhaps a few too many deserts, but I wasn’t fat and was active). I never concerned myself much with my weight. It just came and went seemingly on its own. Then in college I ate mostly yogurt, granola bars, pastorized milk and cereal (I’d grown up on raw milk), along with several McHamburgers per week. I also went through some very traumatic emotionally difficult experiences in my twenties. By my late twenties/early thirties I had graduated from college and had my dream job, so I began to eat better meals and lots of deserts like I had in my pre-college days. After about five years I was gaining weight and battling depression. The doctor said my thyroid test was a little off. I started on 60 mg of synthroid and after awhile uped it to 90. I later switched to Armour Thyroid. Several years ago when the Armour brand was unavailable, I tried natural supplaments in place of thyroid and within four weeks I was physically exhausted and my formerly strong, healthy nails were curling up at the edge and breaking. I found a source of Armour thyroid and went back on it. It took 6 months for my energy levels to return to normal, but my nails got worse and geletin pills are now keeping my nails from breaking. I’ve struggled with weight since my 30′s and diets were temporary fixes. I’ m slowly learning how to eat a truly healthy diet and controlling portions, etc. But… having said all this… I have already wondered if taking thyroid masked a deeper problem and has caused me to be permanently dependent on a thyroid hormone. What is your opinion on this?

    • Aleta, non-iron deficiency anemia is the first thing that pops into my mind based on your account. Many people don’t realize that there are more “anemias” than the one related to iron-deficiency. And the same factors that may cause anemia may also cause underactive thyroid. I am going to address this subject in my future posts.

  21. My name is Adrian, and I am overweight. Well, obese actually. But, it’s not because of hypothyroidism, nor is it because of an underactive thyroid, nor is it because of bad metabolism, nor is it because of adrenal fatigue.

    It’s not exactly because I’m weak either. It is a contributing factor, but it’s not the most important factor. I’m obese because of poor nutiriton, pure and simple. Since the brain constantly monitors blood nutrient levels, we’ve evolved to become hungry when blood nutrients dip below a certain threshhold. Clearly, this self-correction mechanism evolved to prevent starvation, and is a good thing! BUT, we now live in an abundance of cheap, junky fattening food, and buckets of refined sugar. When you don’t know any better, what do you do? You stave off starvation by stuffing yourself full of things that aren’t good for you, and will undoubtedly make you gain weight. If on the other hand, one trains themselves to reach for things that ARE good for you and nutrient dense, weight loss, or at least, weight stabilization is the expected result.

    This is exactly what happened to me. I’m still obese, BUT I managed to lose 50 pounds of fat, and have since put on 10 pounds of muscle through replacing garbage, packaged, store bought food, with nutrient dense home-made broth, raw-milk, eggs, and meat. And the best part is, that after a week or two, all of my temptation for junk-food melted away and disappeared. I used to be unable to walk through the snack-food ailse without picking up a family-sized bag of chips, which I could finish in one afternoon! I’m no longer tempted to do this at all, simply because I’ve replaced garbage-food, with nutrient dense food.

    I’m not much different from anybody else who’s overweight or obese. I have no illusions about the true causes of my weight issues. The only difference between me, and millions of westerners is that I was willing to make the hard changes, and give up the culture of convinience. This is something I’ve found that most people simply aren’t willing to do.

    Mr. Monastyrsky, you have now met someone, if only online, who isn’t or is at least trying not to lie to themselves. I’m overweight and obese because I WAS hungry, and didn’t understand how to deal with that effectively. Now that I’ve learned, thanks to the work of the Weston A. Price foundation, I have been able to do deal with my issues because I learned how to feed myself, and NOT BE hungry. It’s that simple, and I sincerely hope that you’ll have greater success in treating the obesity issues of others, than I have in persuading them to try and make the hard changes necessary.

    Please keep up the good work!

    • Adrian,

      I am honored to meeting you! Your story is quite poignant — it all boils down to realistic acknowledgement of one’s own responsibly for his or her weight. By “realistic” I mean — if in doubt, get tested. If not, pay attention to what you eat just like you did!

      And that was a point of this article. Of course, it is intentionally provocative. I mean, if you want to wake people up, you have to be loud, right?

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

  22. I find all of this so interesting and I am always trying to learn more so that I can take responsibility for my body and health. Up until 3 years ago(I was 47) I had never struggled with my weight. I grew up on a farm eating a good whole foods diet. We ate well and worked hard and no one in my family was over weight. I continued on with that diet into adulthood. I also remained very active between raising my own 5 children and running a full daycare out of my home. All of us were very healthy also. So fast forward through a divorce, getting physically attacked by a client in a group home I worked at and thus having a neck & skull injury and PTSD and normal life stressors and the bad habit of smoking to cope with it all. Then I met and married my husband. 3 weeks after we got married his daughter gave birth and right from the beginning we became parents of her and her brother who is 14 months older. So yes, we had some stress in dealing with all of this but I can say happily they are doing very well with us now.

    Three years ago this month I quit smoking for good :) and when I did that, I stepped up my exercise intensity and length. I detoxed and juiced. I worked out 40 minutes in the morning. An hour working out in a pool with a client I cared for. During this I started to become so very tired and my sleep became worse. I started to feel and look puffy, felt depressed for no reason, urinating a lot, dry skin and worst of all I gained 30 lbs in less than a month and then gained another 10. I literally went from a size 5/6 to a 12/14. As I gained I tried to exercise more and I ate even less. I did this until I crashed. I finally seen a doctor and he said it was aging and raising grandchildren and to eat less and to get back to exercising and sent me on my way. My husband convinced me to see another doctor. She took one look at me and said I was hypothyroid. Tests confirmed it. She put me on synthroid and told me to take some supplements to help heal what she thought was also adrenal fatigue. So I did and it still got worse. More tests revealed I have Hashimoto’s.

    I tried armor thyroid and that didn’t seem to help much either. I tried to diet again and gained more weight. I eventually found my way to a naturpathic doctor and she did salvia tests for my hormones and adrenals. When those came back they said my adrenals are exhausted. For most of the day my cortisol levels were so low they did register and at night came up higher. So she put me on a lot of supplements. She took me off my thyroid meds. Told me to sleep as much as I could, to try to stay away from stress and to not exercise. That was 6 months ago. I have been taking the supplements religiously, juicing, trying to get sleep…ect. Had them retested recently and they haven’t improved very much and this time in addition by sex hormones are completely crazy which explains why my entire body will go instantly on fire(yet my hands and feet will be ice cold). Blood tests for my thyroid all came back super high or low. The bottom line is I feel sick all of the time. Achy, flu like, exhausted, sad, puffy, dry, hot, cold(my body temps when I take them before rising are around 96, foggy brain and I don’t look the same. It’s hard to explain, I look like a different person. I hate being fat. I cry about it every day. I watch every single thing that goes into my mouth and my husband says I don’t eat enough.

    I am going to a new doctor with all of this next week even though we really can’t financially afford it. I have had to quit my job because of not only increased pain and raising the grandchildren but because of all of this. I cannot keep feeling like this as I have a lot of life to live and little’s to raise and bigs and grandchildren to enjoy. I tell you all of this because I am desperate for answers. I am crying out for help. I am researching as much as I can. I would really appreciate any wisdom you might have for me. I look forward to reading further posts of yours. Thank you!

    • Lori,

      Sorry to learn about your sufferings. Consider getting help from a board certified endocrinologist. You shouldn’t consider weight loss until your thyroid and adrenal functions are stabilized. These are mostly autoimmune conditions, and once they happened, hormone replacement therapy is your only viable option. People who specialize in this kind of therapy know what they are doing, and this isn’t terribly expensive. Please give them a chance. Ignore the Internet fixes until you aren’t stabilized. Sorry for not being able to assist you more.

    • Please consider reading “The False Fat Diet” by Elson Haas. (can get it through Amazon) This is NOT your fault. There is a section in there about hormones and women and how eating allergenic foods completely messes up your hormones AND neurotransmitters. The depression thing I believe is caused by low serotonin which is addressed in this book. Good luck… I highly also recommend doing affirmations by Amy Koppelman, also available on Amazon. My favorites are: Gratitude, Forgiveness and Weight Loss… Do not assume this is your fault. Forgive yourself for bad habits and move on! I will pray for you!

    • Lori- You should read this article on Matt Stone’s site written by a woman who suffers from fried adrenals. I’ve been house-bound from adrenal fatigue for 4 years now and have read and read and read about it until I’m blue in the face. Hers is one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject. (they throw cuss words around quite a bit over there, if that bothers you please don’t let it take away from the importance of the text!)

      Once I started following advice from Matt’s site, I was finally able to leave the house again. You just need to eat! Like you, I got so concerned with my weight that I simply wasn’t eating enough to give my body energy to function, let alone heal as well. So I started eating, resting, eating and resting. Yes, I gained a few more pounds at first, but now that I’m feeling better (not 100% -but definitely better) I am able to go to the store, run errands and cook lots of meals from scratch and the weight is starting to come back off. This is huge for me because at one point I couldn’t get out of bed and I had to crawl to the toilet.

      Here’s the link to the article. You’ll be in my prayers for a speedy recovery. Now go eat!! Remember: stressing out over your weight and what you are eating is still putting stress on your body!!

      http://180degreehealth.com/2013/03/adrenal-fatigue-getting-back-to-basics

  23. First off I want to say I have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Endocrinologist’s I have gone to have said I tested positive for the antibodies and my TSH was a 5 instead of within the 0. whatever to 3.0 range it should have been in. I am not overweight nor have I ever been. They tested this while I was pregnant with my second child and said I had to go on synthetic thyroid medication due to problems it could have caused my son had I not gone on the medication. After the delivery I asked for me to be tested again and asked if there was anything I could on my own to help my supposed condition. Always told and still told do not stop taking the medication for the damage that it can cause. I feel in western medicine we aren’t given many options nor any information ourselves as patients to understand about these supposed “conditions” that you say are rare. Seems to me they are becoming quite common amongst the population. My mother seems to think they always seem to come up with a disease du jour. I am inclined to believe her. If in fact this is so how do we find good medical professionals that can help us help ourselves instead of just taking medication every single day?

  24. Oh and I almost forgot to say when I asked if there was anything I could do for my own condition they said NO … a big fat NO and just take the medication.

  25. I’d be interested in hearing what you think about underconversion and pregnenalone steal. This is my recent diagnosis, along with anemia and PMS. My bloodwork (TSH & T4) has indicated hypothyroidism for 15 years, but it was not until recently that I found a naturopath who ordered T3 and Reverse T3, along with Ferritin and several others. I’ve been taking Synthroid for years and have still felt weak among several other symptoms. What I learned was that TSH measured the message my brain sends to my thyroid regarding how much hormone my thyroid should generate. T4 measures how much my thyroid actually makes. It’s the T3 and Reverse T3 that give you information on whether your cells actually metabolize the hormone. My results and my symptoms indicated that while the medicine was doing it’s job to boost my T4, my cells haven’t been optimally using it. This is called underconversion. So, why is that happening? Because my adrenals are basically idling too low (my words, based on the explanation from my naturopath). Because of this, my adrenals are stealing from my pregnenalone which is compromising other hormone function. While thyroid/adrenal problems my be “rare” according to your research, I certainly hope that people reading your post don’t decide to NOT get tested if they are really feeling like crap, gaining weight, etc.

      • The reason that I posted my comment was because I *HAVE* been seeing an endocrinologist for years! He has never tested my reverse T3. Most doctors (whatever kind), when you raise concerns about your thyroid, only test T4 and TSH. You may get bloodwork and be told that you are FINE, but you aren’t. If you cells don’t accept the T4 that your thyroid is sending out (converting it to T3), then you still have functional hypothyroidism. The good news is that just like you can take synthetic T4, you can also take synthetic T3 or a blend of T4/T3. Many medical doctors will not even test for the right things and therefore won’t prescribe the T3 or T4/T3 either.

        Konstantin, I would suggest that this is an area that you should look into, if you are going to make such strong statements about the lies that people are believing. For those interested, this is a very easy thing to learn the basics about by googling “underconversion” and “pregnenolone steal”. You just need to be forewarned that your doctors (even specialists) likely aren’t doing postgraduate research/reading to know about this. Thankfully, my naturopath is connected with a doctor who will treat this. For those of you who are suffering, don’t give up. Keep searching for someone who will help you, and don’t just believe the lies that this is all in your head.

        • Thanks, Rachel. This is what great about the Internet — you are empowered to making sure that doctors treat patients responsibly, and it improves care for all involved. This is subject is hotly discussed in medical community, and a lot doctors are adjusting to dealing with patients as with equals. Very glad that you found someone who can finally help you!

  26. I am not overweight, but I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid when I was 51 years old-female. In my neighborhood of six homes, five of us women were diagnosed with underactive thyroid. I being the oldest. My one neighbor was only 30 when she was diagnosed. She is not heavy at all. Two of the neighbors are in their early 40′s and they are overweight. I don’t see where age made a difference. I probably had the best thyroid, with my 30 year old neighbor, basically without a functioning thyroid at all.

    • Roxann,

      The United States is notorious for endemic iodine deficiency. It is exacerbated by intense anti-salt propaganda, so people don’t get enough or any of iodized salt. The deficiency of iodine may cause thyroid issues, and not just iodine. And, yes, this condition is location specific because people living in the same locales drink water from the same municipal supply, and eat foods from the same supermarket.

  27. Have you read the book Adrenal Fatigue by James L. Wilson, ND, DC, PhD? I would love to hear your comments???

    • Elaine, no I didn’t. I am sure it is a meritorious book, but this subject is completely outside of my “sphere of influence.” My work is addressed to relatively healthy people with moderate adiposity. I do not pretend that it will help all people or intended for all people. This particular post was address to healthy people who may think that they are overweight because of self-diagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed conditions.

      (ADDED ON 04/07: I ordered this book, and will be reading it as time allows)

    • I have read this book recently and the tests in it that he says for us to do, put me at a moderate adrenal fatigue level (even before the saliva stress indicator test results were back) so I sort of figured out what I would be dealing with, thanks to this book. :) I think he is the leading go to person on adrenal fatigue… :)

  28. As I skim through a lot of this, it reminds me of a book I am reading called “The False Fat Diet” It really explains how allergies and a sick gut are at the root of all of these problems. Most interestingly, it points to compulsive eating. It is not done because people cannot control themselves, people are literally become autointoxicated from a leaky gut. They get “high” off the food they eat and then when they are not eating it, they crash and are compulsed to eat more. The doctor who wrote the book states that when you eat allergenic foods, the body holds on to fat and water as a way to buffer the system from a perceived attack. I found this to be the most compelling evidence for sudden weight gain. No one can gain 10 pounds of fat in a matter of weeks, but certainly can gain 10 pounds of water in a matter of days. I believe that this is why people appear to be “fat” When they take out the allergens, the weight comes peeling off. I can say from personal experience when I eliminated the foods that were causing “reactions” my cravings went away, weight peeled off with NO exercise and I slept better. In addition, my hormones automatically regulated. Everyone’s allergies will be different, but the most ubiquitous are dairy, soy, nuts, and wheat (all things that people need to take time to properly prepare, but are too lazy to)

  29. The thing I find odd about this article appearing on this website is that Sarah Pope, herself, has written articles that cause people to wonder about their thyroids and adrenals.

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/6-little-known-signs-of-adrenal-fatigue/
    and…
    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/shallow-breathing-common-in-thyroidadrenal-dysfunction/

    If actual adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism are so rare, why do people like Sarah Pope, and many other health bloggers, write articles to get people wondering? When I met Sarah in Dallas in 2011 I mentioned to her that I enjoyed a millet bread from a bakery in her state, and her immediate reply was to caution me that millet is a goitrogen and very dangerous in that if eaten frequently, will suppress my thyroid. Apparently there are a number of other foods that are goitrogenic.

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/think-raw-veggies-are-best-think-again/

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/beware-of-millet/

    Perhaps I read through this too quickly, but it seems to me, given Sarah’s well-established position, it would have been more appropriate to find it on April 1st.

  30. Interesting that the post I just wrote seems not to have survived “moderation.” In it I questioned why Sarah would post this article when she has so frequently written her own articles causing readers to be alert to not mess with their fragile adrenals and thyroid. I provided links to her articles. But, for some reason, it was not deemed post-worthy.

    Very interesting.

    • Pacha,

      I, not Sarah, am moderating comments under my posts, and I didn’t see your previous post. Also, I already addressed the questions of other articles appearing on this forum on the subject of adrenal insufficiency in early comments. And let me state again, and again, and again: THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT PEOPLE WITH ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY, BUT ABOUT PEOPLE WITHOUT ONE.

      As I said before, I sign under every single word in Sarah’s post on what not to do if you would like to avoid ever dealing with primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency.

  31. I think 10% with hypothyroidism is high. That is 10 out of 100 women. And how many out there are not diagnosed? I have Hashimotos. My daughter has Hashimotos (At 12 her tsh was in the 90′s and it was already affecting her heart). My aunt has Hashimotos. My mother had Graves disease. My mother in law was hypothyroid and my grandmother (don’t know about Hashimotos because they probably weren’t tested). I know lots of friends with it. I know woman who haven’t gotten pregnant because of thyroid problems. All of the above were young or middle age when diagnosed. It is real.

    • Kristin, 10% refers to women who are mostly over 65 with subclinical hypothyroidism, meaning their blood test demonstrates a low range of relevant hormones for their age group, but they don’t display any clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism.

  32. I heard Dr. Jerry Tennant speak at the last WAPF conference and bought his book Healing is Voltage. In his book he addressed the inaccuracy of the thyroid tests and how someone can have a thyroid issue but normal test results. This is especially true if the person has consumed fluoride. Dr. Tennant’s book (although not the easiest read due to formatting and style) is excellent. I wish I had the book here to quote and reference the section on the thyroid and why the test is not as accurate as Konstantin Monastyrsky would have us believe, but both my copies of the book are currently lent out.

    • Barbara,

      We are addressing two completely different issues. Being trained as a chemist, here is what I can tell you about the accuracy of these tests: when done right, they are 100% accurate. If in doubt, just do another one with a different doctor and clinical lab.

      • I don’t think we are addressing two completely different issues. Dr. Tennant explains in his book what doctors are trained to look for and why the tests aren’t accurate. He has an entire chapter in his book related to this issue. It’s definitely worth looking at. I don’t need to be a chemist to know a paradigm shift in the way we view information or the revelation of new information, can completely change all the “facts” that someone thought they knew.

    • If I trusted my doctor and didn’t question, I would still be so sick. I HAD to push and beg, because the endocrinologist blew me off, and the doctors only cared about certain symptoms of mine instead of finding a problem that might address multiple issues I was having. I am a different person than I was 5 months ago because I pushed and questioned until they took me seriously. They wanted me on antidepressants and a bunch of other stuff, but instead I got to start taking thyroid replacement………and that took care of the other issues! No antidepressants needed now! I actually enjoy my kids and my life again. Trust doctors who are often influenced by big pharama, overbooked and rushed to get through all the patients, and who aren’t living in my skin and experiencing what is going on in me? No thanks. No doctor knows everything.

      • Heidi,

        It is very sad that paying patients have to beg for proper treatment. The system is seriously sick when you can’t get help from a specialist in this field. I am glad you have found the right doctor, and are back “on-line.”

  33. You know, I kinda like this guy. Straight forward, black and white, it is what it is–that’s my style. I think it’s time we all got real with ourselves and stopped with the excuses and supposed “conditions” we have. I see articles all the time now about “signs you have adrenal fatigue” or “why your weight gain may be thyroid related.” How do so many people suddenly have these issues? I think people want to believe that there is an issue with their bodies beyond their control, because then we don’t have to admit the truth. Food is good, we are eating too much, and too many of the wrong things. I’m guilty of this myself! I know there are people who do have legitimate issues, but for the most part, I think many of us just overindulge. I look forward to more weekly posts.

  34. In the African American Community being skinny is not celebrated. I have been trying to gain weight all my life and literally am disgusted at being so small. My friends of other races all love my size and think that when I complain I am doing so for attention. I try to explain to them that being curvy is something that makes you a woman. I think I may show them this article so they can see that skinny was not always something that equaled beautiful. At one point I actually hoped for a thyroid issue, my thinking was “At least that could be reversed, and I would gain weight after treatment”, but after my tested levels came back normal, I don’t know what is the blame. I guess I am one of those people with a poor metabolism.

    • Ebony,

      If you are well and healthy, then your metabolism is perfectly normal. You are what you are because God and genetics made you that way. Just accept it, and be happy. If you would like to get curvier, weight lifting is the best option to accomplish this task — it will increase your muscle mass, your appetite, and your confidence, so you will not need to think of blame, but of what you can accomplish with what you have rather than with what you could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

  35. I think that when some of us say we have a faulty metabolism, we don’t mean it in the strict medical sense. We know “something” is wrong, or likely more than one “something.” Another blogger likened all the hormonal and other processes to a “black box.” Those of us who have extreme difficulty in losing weight despite following all the rules and guidelines know there’s something wrong, we just can’t name it. That’s why we say it’s our metabolism, for example.

    Also, I think that “health” is more a continuum than a well/not-well scenario. Just because someone doesn’t test positive for a certain ailment doesn’t mean that they’re not on the road to that ailment, and that if they could be treated early on instead of waiting until they reach a full-blown positive reading on a blood test, maybe they could nip it in the bud before getting that full diagnosis.

    • Bawdy,

      You are right. I don’t take “bad metabolism” 100% literally.

      You wrote: “Those of us who have extreme difficulty in losing weight despite following all the rules and guidelines know there’s something wrong, we just can’t name it.”

      Please always consider that these rules and guidelines may be wrong, you are well, and just need a different set of “rules”…

      Great point, by the way! Thank you!

  36. Hi Konstantin,

    I appreciate your direct communication. Our society is constantly fed an ideology of “go to the doctor”, “get a prescription”, etc. When I was overweight, I had depression/anxiety, no energy, frequent illness, etc. It was no easy task to change my lifestyle. Looking back, it’s almost as if I was a completely different person.

    Thank you for your posts, I respect the strength it takes to provide honest information.

    Anthony

    • Anthony,

      It is my pleasure and honor to be a part of this site and this community. Yes, it isn’t easy (or profitable) to row against the current, but that’s the way Sarah, you, I, and many other contributors are… Hopefully, one day what we do will become a current! Until then, we’ll just do what we do best, and to the best of abilities.

      Thank you again for your encouragement, and my congratulations on taking control of your health. The whole point of this article is exactly what you’ve just described — if you wish to take control over your health, weight, life, etc., don’t chase chimeras.

      True, there are plenty of people with serious and legitimate problems, and, thanks God, most of them can still find a competent care from medical doctors.

  37. Speaking of the true definition of “health”. The word gets its roots from the word “whole” or “unified”. Hopefully our medical system will recognize that our body works in a united fashion. If we keep treating symptoms or body parts disjointed, people will never attain health.

    • Jeanette, I am with you 100% on that. That’s what I am trying to accomplish with my work here — weight loss/gain it isn’t just a diet, or exercise, but also your mind, your environment, your attitude, etc., etc., etc., and the best way to lose weight for good is… by making yourself “whole…” I know it sounds a bit corny and trite, but that is what it is.

  38. I’m not sure I agree with the adrenal fatigue bit. Not as it relates to weight gain/loss, but rather just the condition itself and its accompanying symptoms. Can’t adrenal fatigue be seen on a continuum…with what you’re referring to as “primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency” on the more extreme end of the continuum? You mention blood testing for this condition…I’ve read numerous articles stating that blood testing for adrenal conditions is often inaccurate and the most accurate way to test is saliva testing. I myself have done 3 rounds of saliva testing of the adrenals. Initially, my cortisol levels were way too high, and particularly at times they should be low. My doctor warned that if this continues long enough the adrenals will become fatigued and unable to produce adequate cortisol. Sure enough, the next time I was tested, my cortisol levels were lower than they should be. By the third testing (after treatment with bio-identical hormones and herbal supplements) they had come back up and I was closer to the normal range. My weight has always been healthy, so I don’t necessarily feel the adrenal issues have contributed to weight problems (5’5″, 120-125lbs). But I’ve been plagued with other symptoms, many of which fit the description of adrenal fatigue. Thoughts?
    (P.S. I’ll note that I think my adrenal issues are actually symptoms of a greater issue which is the health of my gut.)

    • Holly, elevated level of cortisol will cause a severe fatigue because it compromises the quality of your sleep, so you are rarely well-rested, even though you may sleep enough hours. Can this condition wear-and-tear the adrenal glands? I don’t know.

      • If I understand your response correcctly, you are saying adrenal fatigue is not a continuum, rather there is only the clinical diagnosis of “primary adrenal insufficiency” and “secondary adrenal insufficiency.” Correct? I suppose, if this is true, it can be comforting on one level, but disconcerting on another.

        How could overproduction of cortisol (overactive adrenals) NOT wear-and-tear the adrenals?

        I will say I like your overall position on weight issues — although I agree with some of the other comments that some of what you say seems to align with conventional medicine and contradict what we’ve learned outside of mainstream medicine, and even some of the things Sarah preaches.

        • Holly, please see my answers in-line:

          If I understand your response correctly, you are saying adrenal fatigue is not a continuum, rather there is only the clinical diagnosis of “primary adrenal insufficiency” and “secondary adrenal insufficiency.” Correct?

          – That’s what medical references are saying. I am simply repeating what I am reading there.

          How could overproduction of cortisol (overactive adrenals) NOT wear-and-tear the adrenals?

          – I don’t know. The body doesn’t work in the same way as mechanical devices, particularly endocrine organs. Most of the conditions discussed here are related not to wear-and-tear, but autoimmune and degenerative (tumors) conditions.

          I will say I like your overall position on weight issues – although I agree with some of the other comments that some of what you say seems to align with conventional medicine and contradict what we’ve learned outside of mainstream medicine, and even some of the things Sarah preaches.

          – If a person is seriously sick, the person is sick, period. I am not “aligned” with anyone, but responsible and realistic. And so is Sarah. We are both trying to help healthy people remain that way, and that has nothing to do with medicine regardless of its orientation (i.e. mainstream, integrative, alternative, etc.)

  39. Sarah, you may have just alienated some of the people you intended to help by allowing Mr Monastyrsky to post on your blog. I am about 25 lbs overweight however, I do not tell people that I am overweight for any of the reasons your guest listed. I overeat due to a number of factors and I’m not as active as I should be – but I am constantly working to improve both of these factors. I have not and do not tell people that I have hypothyroidism, a slow metabolism, an underactive thyroid or adrenal fatigue. Perhaps if this wasn’t the main point of the author he shouldn’t have come across so narrowly at the beginning of his article.

    Over the last year or so I have been reading your blog regularly for encouragement and ideas to implement positive changes into my diet and my exercise regime.

    When I read your guest’s post I fell judged, generalized and offended. I am surprised that you hosted him. There have been other times that I felt some of the ideas presented on your blog are rigid and sensationalized. For these reasons I have unsubscribed from your blog.

    I wish you the best.

  40. I just have to say that I am a little confused by this article. You seem to deal with absolutes. I am puzzled by that. Do you see no possible exceptions?
    I have been tested for adrenal dysfunction. I was so sick I could barely walk. My adrenals were barely functioning. My doctors were shocked and ne said I was a mere margin from my adrenals totally not functioning. It is an awful thing to live thru. But, according to your “facts” I should not have been overweight at this time. Instead of losing weight, I continued to gain weight thru this horrible episode in my life. My one doctor and I even had a chuckle about how my body doesn’t realize that it is supposed to be thin now and not be gaining weight. He was so kind and told me not to worry about the weight at all. He told me to focus on the healing and that my body will eventually get the message. The weight, he said, would probably come off later when I felt better. (My diet was phenomenal thru this.) Fast forward, and I am grateful to say I am HEALING! It is a long road, and honestly, I might not ever recover 100%. But, this past year I lost 25 pounds without even trying or changing my diet!!!!!!!!! I definitely started getting more energy after I lost about 20 pounds. My doctor was correct. My body eventually got the message. I’m not a perfect size 6, but I am thrilled to be living again. I have two boys; they need their mother.
    So, I am just wondering where I fit in to your above scenario? According to the evidence you offer, I couldn’t possibly have had true adrenal dysfunction. And yet, I did. I had all the other symptoms to scary degrees. I could barely walk. I had muscle spasms that made me weep for relief. I had the tests to prove it. (I had never heard of it before I was diagnosed.)
    I just think you should be careful in offering absolutes when it comes to the human body. We are all so complex in our body makeup and chemistry. We should never assume we know exactly what is happening inside of another human being. The body is constantly surprising us.

    • Jess,

      I don’t deal with absolutes, but with facts. My article is factual. I provide references to all of my conclusions. If these facts don’t apply to you, that’s unfortunate, but facts remain facts.

      Back to your case. The human body isn’t exactly a mechanical device with a simple architecture. There are always exceptions, and you were one of them. That’s what the doctors are for. My work is for 99.973% of people who aren’t exception, and may still think/believe that they may secondary adrenal insufficiency (0.027%)

  41. Love your article! 45 yrs. ago my mother radically changed her diet due to health concerns. She’s currently 76 and moderately overweight. However, her health is, and the doctor told her her body is like that of a woman 10yrs. younger. Don’t stress over those who disagree with you just keep focusing on those of us who truly appreciate your wisdom. I’m looking forward to more of your articles.

  42. Kara, you sound like you are low on iron! Get a supplement and take it with a citric fruit juice or with vitamin c! You sound like me a number of years ago! I was anemic and iron made a huge difference in two days! Good luck!

  43. i cant believe you had the gall to write this terrible article, are you a medical Dr? just talk to people who truly suffer from this autoimmune disease. You have no idea what you are talking about! i cant wait anymore time here.

    • Lindy,

      No, I am not a doctor. My bio is right under the article, and it plainly indicates that I am not. I have “the gall to write” it because it isn’t addressed to people “who truly suffer from this autoimmune disease,” but to healthy people with weight issues. Your outrage is completely misplaced.

  44. I realize this may not be specifically your area of expertise, but I wonder what you might think about folks with Down Syndrome? I have a son, age 2, who has DS I have been almost paranoid that he will end up obese or at least overweight as an adult. I breastfed him until his second birthday. We eat whole, healthy foods, and make it a point not to overheat, although we occasionally have “junk food” for special occasions. He is a very normal, healthy weight and is energetic and very, very healthy. If you read the research on DS, which I rarely do as it tends to be very negative and depressing, it frequently mentions thyroid problems in combination or directly causing obesity. I have researched as much as I can tolerate and there seems to be virtually no information specifically related to kids with DS or even adults except that which is all “doom and gloom,” suggesting that there is basically no outcome other than thyroid issues and obesity. I would be thrilled to get your opinion on this!

    • Melissa,

      You are correct — not only I don’t have any expertise related to DS, I also have near zero expertise related to children in general because, among other things, I wasn’t a parent. All that said, by the end of these series you’ll have plenty of actionable information to take good care of your son, and to make sure that he stays normal weight.

      Also, I don’t believe that DS somehow makes children overweight. As I see it, the problem is with the lack of opportunities to be active and engaged that is often “compensated” with unlimited foods. For as long as your son will consume a diet that will provide all of the essential nutrients, and without excesses, he will be healthy and normal weight!

  45. Do you have any recommendations for someone who has been diagnosed with hashimoto’s and who WANTS to discontinue thyroid replacement. I have no symptoms anymore (but I did years ago when I was diagnosed), but my blood tests show a need to maintain medication. I am not overweight and I eat a whole foods diet with no artificial ingredients, etc. I exercise regularly. I avoid soy (i occasionally eat organic edamame or miso) and raw cruciferous vegetables and I eat sea vegetables. What am I missing? I would like very much to be medication-free.

    • Tricia,

      Sorry, I don’t have any recommendations. I will write a post on reversing functional underactive thyroid, but, until then, I don’t have any simple solutions, and what I know in regard to iodine, l-tyrosine, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C you probably know as well, or can easily google.

  46. I feel you should do your homework, before writing about something you know nothing about. Most of us with thyroid issues, are fighting a losing battle with doctors, for our health. Doctors don’t understand the thyroid, so I guess, why would you? The system needs to change and with help from across the world (look up Scottish parliament thyroid on youtube!)
    It is estimated that 20% of the population has some sort of thyroid issue. It is a fact, that halides are unavoidable in our environment. These halides, along with GMO’s and iodine deficient soil, in which our food is grown, are destroying thyroid health. People with thyroid issues strike people of ALL ages. In fact, more and more younger people are being diagnosed with thyroid disease! Try having an invisible illness and suffering, because of insensitive people out there like you!

      • Yes, this article is intended for those who have thyroid issues…undiagnosed. Those who DO have thyroid issues and don’t know it. You are just as ignorant as millions of the doctors who, also don’t believe in hypothyroidism. It IS a real condition. It IS a serious problem and has TONS of symptoms, including inability to lose weight. You put some of the symptoms of what happens, when thyroid disease goes undiagnosed for a very, very long time. Being diagnosed CANNOT go by the TSH test alone. You will need FT3, FT4, TPOab, just to start. Even when those tests are, ‘normal,’ yet you have high antibodies, you need to be treated. Are you even aware of those who have problems converting T4 to T3, on levo alone? Even mild hypothyroidism has major consequences on the body. Did you know hypothyroidism causes mental issues? Maybe you should be checked.

  47. Spoken like someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about! There is the big question as to what “normal” range is in the blood work. Had I read this years ago and listened to you,I would still be very sick. For years my blood work was “fine” but my individual levels we not checked. I was so very sick. By the way,I was first hyper and lost over 30lbs eating the same things I always did. When I went hypo, I gained,eating the same diet. You point out that so many people are over weight but not all are hypo. You failed to mention that over half the people with thyroid issues are left undiagnosed because of the poor testing. Grant it, there are people who gain weight due to poor diet and lack of exercise. However, there are those of us who work hard at keeping our weight down. When my meds are balanced I lose weight doing the same things as before. Please do some more research before writing these things. You may be keeping many people not only hurt but sick too.

    • Laura,

      I am not a medical doctor or endocrinologist. What’s a point of berating me for the errors of others? If you are so frustrated, and need a beating bag, please be a bit more objective. And don’t presume that people are stupid, that they will read this article, and do nothing. They will not, definitely not the “people” who are reading this particular “not for dummies” site.

  48. Marie Cadavieco April 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Stick to what you know something about. I find your comments insulting and demeaning. One day you will likely eat your words. I have no thyroid and the most distressing thing for me is that no matter how I eat, my weight remains stable at 11st 4lbs give or take two pounds. I have exercised, reduced my intake, increased my intake, you name it. Until my thyroid was removed I was never over 7 stone 4lbs. I have not changed anything apart from having my thyroid removed.

    • Marie,

      My article wasn’t intended for you, it wasn’t about you, and if this unfortunate disease touched you, it doesn’t mean it applies to everyone, or, somehow I can’t write about it. Please be a bit more sensitive and tolerant to people who may have this conditions (or are oversold on this condition), and instead of doing what needs to be done, they are taking drugs that they may not need, or not taking care of a real culprit while chasing a wrong rainbow.

  49. are you freaking serious?? I have hashimotos, i am hypo thyroid, TSH will not help you! every doc has a different range, and it rages MASSIVELY what people feel best at. I am on Armor thyroid and finally feel like a human being. If i listened to what docs/endos have said, i would be SEVERELY hypo and near death. The thing is, FREE T3 & FREE T4 are very important in knowing what is really going on. TSH is a request from the pituitary and not a TRUE indication of what is going on. Sure, its elevation is something to help a doc start, but if all they ever test is the TSH, its not going to help anyone. EVER. I went 3 years with a “normal tsh” (which can range from .5, at the time, to 5.0) But was severely hypo. Does everyone wear a size 5 shoe? Does everyone wear the same size clothes? NO, everyone is individual and you can not go on an outdated range to diagnose someone with something important, especially the thyroid which DOES control a WHOLE lot of body functions. This article is HOOEY, written by a pharmacist, who did not and has not, and probably will not do any actual research on thyroid issues.

    Postpartum thyroiditis is something that is real, that was how my hashis presented itself. Dry skin, dry hair, hair that falls out waaaay too much, painful joints, depression, and lots of other symptoms ARE symptoms of under-active *hypo* thyroidism. EVEN some psychiatrists will test thyroid function before giving anti depressants, they seem to be more informed than some docs, and especially this guy who thinks that some med I’ve never heard of is the only thing to give for thyroids… When you get tested, get tested for FREE T3, FREE T4, antibodies, VitD3, Ferritin, iron. D3 is important as well, not to just be “in range” but to be over mid range, it can also cause depression and it goes hand in hand with normal thyroid function.

    Now that I’ve typed a book, cause i’m so SICK and tired of docs trying to say “your fat cause you’re lazy, the tsh test is all you need and i know it all” junk, I mean seriously, don’t you think if there was an easier way, we’d take it? do you know how much i hate being on a med for the rest of my life while my body continues to attack my thyroid killing it?? I’ve had 3 open heart surgeries, and take no meds for that, but, if i had to, i would. The heart needs your thyroid running efficiently so it can run efficiently, and if the thyroid is off YES it WILL mess with your heart eventually. Take this guy with a grain of salt and many other experts that tell you that you can “heal yourself” by taking “natural supplements” do your own research and know you don’t have to stay feeling awful when you know something is wrong.

    • Yes, I am “freaking” serious. That’s exactly what my article is saying: “If you suspect having “symptoms of under-active *hypo* thyroidism,” get tested, period.”

      If these tests are bad, or doctors are wrong, what exactly this has to do with my article? Please reserve your outrage to someone who wronged you. I have nothing to do with your condition, diagnosis, or care, and your attack is uncalled for.

      • “:To hear these claims is quite amusing because a true underactive thyroid – a vernacular for subclinical hypothyroidism – affects less than 10% of women and 6% of men over 65 years of age, while the rate of real hypothyroidism is even less – under 1.2% of women and 0.4% of men [1] predominantly among older adults.

        In other words, the number of overweight men and women is, respectively, a whopping 58 and 175 times greater than the number of people affected by hypothyroidism [2], even though practically all people who are affected by adiposity ­­­– a shorthand for “overweight or obese” – believe they may have this condition.” – quote from you, saying its uncommon, saying its rare, i call BS!

        “The “underactive thyroid” is an equally minor factor in the obesity epidemic because this condition is rare among young and middle aged adults, while most affected seniors keep it in check by taking a daily dose of L-thyroxine, a synthetic hormone that brings the balance of T4 hormone back to normal range. Thus, whatever you may have that caused you to gain weight in your early thirties, forties, or fifties, it isn’t likely to be an underactive thyroid either, and that was the second lie!

        If you still believe that it isn’t a lie in your case, just do a blood test. If it ends up positive, switch over to a traditional diet, take the supplements that may help to reverse this functional condition, or, as a last resort, get a prescription from your doctor for L-thyroxine, and be done with it.”

        There is no misconception about what i’m saying is BS in your article, and what i’m saying. YES i’m outraged, because of “doctors” like you that just want to say that its easily diagnosed with a blood test and easily fixed with a synthetic pill. If its so “rare” why do the rates go up every year? why is it COMMONLY tested and treated? the fact is, you touched on a very very very very raw nerve for a lot of people. The fact is, one blood test is not enough for alot of thyroid patients, the TSH is not a true thyroid function test, and your l-thyroixine or whatever script you are talking about is not enough for most people. there is no supplement that can “fix” the condition of hypothyroidism. people that prey on people with problems, handing them an “easy fix” is just sad and it should be against the law as a malicious act against the person with the illness they did not ask for, nor create. What it has to do with your article is that your article is giving false information and basically lying to people that expect to come here for help.

  50. I can understand why some people are angry. But if you think about it, it makes sense. I can blame sleepless nights and fatigue all I want…. but in the end the truth is I do find myself reaching for that second piece of cake.

    Don’t get mad people. Yes, life is not fair, some people can have that extra piece and are fine. But every “body” is different. Either eat the cake and enjoy it or stop complaining.

    If you guys remember Konstantin did say in a previous article 1 calorie might be 1/2 a calorie to another person. Something along those lines. Clearly he understands that some people have to work harder. He is also someone who has been there and struggled with a weight issue. He knows what we are going through.

    • Sofia,

      Thank you! Couldn’t say it better:

      “Don’t get mad people. Yes, life is not fair, some people can have that extra piece and are fine. But every “body” is different. Either eat the cake and enjoy it or stop complaining.”

    • Virginia,

      It does and it doesn’t. It all depends on the causes, circumstances, body morphology and weight, ambient temperature, time of day, nutrition, activities, the make-up of your central nervous system, dehydration, anemia, heart disease, atherosclerosis, medication, and a lot of other factors. At the most basic level, low temperature may suggest underactive thyroid, the very subject of this discussion. It is best to address this question to your doctor, and it definitely can’t be resolved via the Internet.

      • Actually, I think it CAN in some cases be resolved via the internet.

        I was overweight and healthy…according to the tests. But at 45 I needed to have both my hips replaced. After the surgery, I was still testing healthy, if somewhat anaemic (due to surgical bloodloss). I hadn’t slept well in years, despite being healthy, according to tests. Did I mention I was overweight?

        My visit to the specialist resulted in a recommendation to lose 40 lbs. I’d feel fantastic.

        Well, suddenly for the first time in my life, I DID manage to lose that 40 lbs…then 50 lbs…and I felt utterly crappy. The weight loss was not in my control. Going for my sleep study, I had to use my health card to give my home address…as I couldn’t remember it (I’d had the address for 4 years). But the tests said I was healthy.

        It was on the internet that I managed to start sifting through my horrible brain fog and start finding answers. I was healthy…according to tests…and hypothyroid. WHY I was hypo was really irrelevant at the time. Being treated for it (when I found a doc who saw what I saw) helped me get off the antidepressants, and get my brain functioning enough to be able to try to solve the problem. I now have the ‘luxury’ of being able to question why I am hypothyroid, although at this point I’m happy enough to have a reasonable body weight and some functioning brain cells. Funny thing is, my thyroid test, if it were only TSH would show me as hyperthyroid, which I am definitely not.

        Mr Monastyrsky, I would respectfully suggest that a great many overweight people may actually have underlying issues which keep them that way. The tests show them as healthy. The tests are probably 100% accurate…in what they are testing…but are not being interpreted properly. TSH is a fine example of this problem. I believe ACTH testing (the adrenal test…had that one too) is also easily skewed. But that might just be me.

        • JP,

          My post says word-by-word what you are suggesting:

          “If you suspect that you may have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, GET TESTED. The level of thyroid hormones T4 and TSH may remain normal during early stages, making its diagnosis difficult in non-specialized clinical settings. Seek out a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating this relatively rare condition. 1 case in 1,000 is, indeed, rare for an internist who treats on average 2,000-3,000 patients a year, and may not encounter a single patient with Hashimoto’s in years.”

          Because clinical hypothyroidism isn’t as common as some other disease, non-specialists may not be able to properly diagnose and treat you, especially during the earlier stages while the symptoms are still subtle, and the tests aren’t as definitive. If your diagnosis or treatment outcomes are not satisfactory, you may also consider working with alternative providers.

          Thank you!

  51. Two years ago, when I told my former doctor that I wanted to be tested for hypothyroidism, he told me that I just needed to exercise and go on a diet. I told him what my symptoms were, and insisted on being tested. Very reluctantly, he agreed to do so. When the test came back showing that I was indeed hypothyroid, he put me on Synthroid and told me how fortunate I was, because if he could choose any lifelong disease to have, he would choose hypothyroidism because it was the easiest to deal with. Then he recommended that I take iodine supplements. When I left his office, I started doing some reading about hypothyroidism and found a new doctor. He had my blood tested for antibodies and found that I have Hashimotos. I believe the statistics you quoted are not accurate, and some people are not being correctly diagnosed and treated because doctors look at them and judge them based on their appearance and don’t want to run tests.

  52. I completely agree with what you’re saying. I have severe Hashimotos that has caused my vitiligo but I know it has nothing to do with my current weight. I didn’t get diagnosed with Hashimotos until my early 20′s because of misdiagnoses when I was a teenager. I had tested positive for under active thyroid twice but the third test showed fine. I’ve heard it depends on the time of day and month that they test you. When I was a teenager I talked incredibly slow (got called “slow motion” which was very embarrassing) and my hair fell out constantly but I was a size 3-5. My friend Laura has Hashimotos as well but is usually around a size 6 I think (since I’ve known her). We’ve both been on GAPS because I have Aspergers and she has Bi Polar. She also has adrenal fatigue as confirmed by a test and I suspect I may but am not too concerned with it because I figure it’ll prolly work itself out through the way I eat. I’ve gained weight through the yrs (I’m 29 now) but its because of my former very crappy diet. I’m currently a 12/14 so not gigantic but I’m not comfortable with it and I’m continuing to change it by focusing on my gut health. I also haven’t taken thyroid medication since the end of December and have lost a couple pounds since then and I haven’t felt any different for prolonged periods of time (I get tired on occasion I’m human lol). If I do start to get overly sluggish and can’t get rid of it then I’ll go back to my dr but until then like I said I’m just focusing on my gut. Thanks so much for this series it’s very interesting:).

    • Natalia,

      Thank you for sharing. Your story is very instructive. These disorders aren’t as black&white as they may at first appear. There are a lot of gray areas that befuddle doctors and patients alike. Glad to have you aboard, and am hoping these articles will help you focus on maintaining your optimal weight and health.

  53. I’m very happy the author is a pharmacist and not a clinician.

    The whole tone of this article is negative and condescending.
    Basic medicine is ignored by the author and he takes a very simplistic
    view of complicated topics like obesity, thyroid dysfunction and it’s treatment, and
    adrenal insufficiency and let’s not forget that he totally ignores topics such as
    leptin resistance, inflammation, hormone imbalances.

    This author has or at least writes with an arrogant, “know it all” attitude that would not go far to promote healthy choices in a patient.

    I do agree with the author that most over weight patients aren’t hypothyroid and people should definitely get tested * correctly* (not as easy as the author makes it out to be) to find out if they have medical issues impacting their weight. I feel the author misses the boat on so many points I can’t take the time to correct them all but will comment on a few.

    Obesity is a very complex issue.
    thyroid issues, adrenal issues, inflammation, leptin resistance, hormonal disruptors… the issues go on and on.

    Per the author:”The “underactive thyroid” is an equally minor factor in the obesity epidemic because this condition is rare among young and middle aged adults, while most affected seniors keep it in check by taking a daily dose of L-thyroxine, a synthetic hormone that brings the balance of T4 hormone back to normal range.”

    I find that thyroid issues are relatively common in middle aged women.
    T4 is an inactive hormone and correcting it doesn’t necessarily correct hypothyroidism. Many people are not good at converting T4 to T3 (the active hormone). T4 can also be converted to Reverse T3 which is also inactive.
    Studies show that most patients feel better on T4/T3 preparations rather than T4 only meds like L thyroxine even though there is no difference in their lab values. *Feeling better* is more important than lab values. Correct evaluation and treatment of thyroid disorders is much more complicated than “get a TSH and prescribe synthroid” mentality that is so prevalent in today’s medical community.

    The medical community admits obesity is multifactorial and we don’t know all we need to know about it.

    I would recommend the readers here educate yourself and do not rely on the word of this author, me or any one medical provider. With topics like obesity and thyroid disease it is hard to stay on top of new information. If you are interested in obtaining more information about thyroid disease I would recommend thyroid.about.com

    As for secondary adrenal insufficiency you might want to consider saliva testing over blood tests. In this day and age of ongoing high stress levels adrenal insufficiency is becoming
    a more common problem.

    The author states “The misconception about “bad metabolism” is just as irrational as the one about hypothyroidism. Just ask any doctor or nurse, and they will tell you right away that a true “bad metabolism” – not a make-believe one – is a sign of imminent death, and that a precipitous weight loss, not gain, is its number one symptom.”
    I would disagree and state that most informed doctors and nurses wouldn’t say this and instead might actually measure the patients basal metabolic rate and then measure hormone levels including vit D 25 oh (which is actually a hormone not a vitamin), and optimize nutrition, supplements, and exercise and correct any underlying hormonal imbalances.

    Optimizing hormone levels, nutrition, sleep, Vit D, exercise and supplements can go a long way to correcting obesity but ignoring the fact that we don’t know all that we need to know about obesity is foolish. So is equating Steve Jobs death from cancer as the only definition of bad metabolism.
    So is thinking obesity is all about calories in equals calories out, humans are much more similar to a chemistry lab than a math equation.
    So is blaming the patient which is what many in the medical community continue to do instead of looking at the real underlying factors.

    Susan

    • Susan,

      I am not a pharmacist, but a medical writer. I am not a part of any medical community. My article is based on academic data. All of your commentary is based on what you see around you. If you have better data, feel free to write your own article on this very page.

  54. thanks for all your well said info. i love the straight talk. i have never said i have hypothyroid or adrenal fatigue. i don’t understand why i am 20 lbs overweight at 47. i was always thin regardless of what i ate and i ate very poorly till my thirties and my diet has only improved. i like to blame it on having two of my three children after age 40 but i know that really isn’t it either…though i don’t know what it is. i eat a traditional- more paleo for the past year- at least 95% of the time. i do drink wine each night but even when i didn’t for a 4 week trial the weight didn’t budge (maybe a pound?) i do cross fit three times a week and do an interval run for 20minutes two days a week. i’m reading your post for some insight. i feel like i am always going to look like this and i don’t like it yet i feel as though i need to accept it. HELP!
    one other question- slightly off topic but perhaps you can address at some point- i don’t eat rice or oatmeal anymore but i do soak them in whey (that i make from raw milk). i also soak the beans (that i don’t eat anymore). is it ok to eat beans and grains if they are soaked? the paleo wold says no but the traditional world says yes. very confusing.
    thanks for taking the time to answers all our questions.

  55. The author of this article doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Hypothyroidism is much more prevalent than his 1.2% of OLDER adults. I myself went hypo at age 37…and I don’t consider that as an older adult. Once I was finally diagnosed my doctor did put me on synthetic thyroid hormones (T4 Synthroid and T3 Cytomel). I took these for 2 yrs and could never get myself regulated. Then I found a group of gals on a board that clued me into NDT (natural dessicated thyroid…made from porcine thyroid glands) and I got some and started taking it. I was over 40 lbs overweight (weight gain caused by my hypo condition)…but that was the only symptom I had. I had none of the other symptoms that the author describes as hypo symptoms. No hoarse voice, no drooping eyelids, etc….nothing. Once I started taking the NDT and was optimized (my Free T3 and Free T4 numbers were right where they should be) I lost all the extra weight that I had gained over the years of being hypo. Now…I keep myself fit and don’t have to worry about weight gain any longer because of my thyroid meds. Don’t let anyone tell you because your TSH (which is basically a worthless test for thyroid function because it is a pituitary hormone test) is “normal” that you don’t have thyroid disease. You very well could. My TSH when I was diagnosed was only 1.2 (well within the “normal” range of 0.3-3.0) but my Free T3 (which is the thyroid hormone that your body needs) wasn’t even registering on a blood test scale. And yes…many people are overweight because of having hypothyroidism. I belong to a group of people who are hypo (7,000 of us) and the big majority of them are overweight and trying to get their hypo condition under control.

    So I say to you dear Mr. Konstantin Monastyrsky…you better take a good long look at the statistics again and know that hypothyroidism is far more widespread than anyone thinks. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people here in the US that are undiagnosed because of stupidity on the part of doctors who don’t know how to diagnose or treat thyroid conditions. It is people like you who keep all of us suffering from hypothyroidism sick!!!

    • Char,

      Medical community in the United States has zero incentive to underreport and underdiagnose this condition because as more people get diagnosed, they stand to make more money. And since our medicine is money driven, the predominant thinking is that most of the diseases are overdiagnosed, a complete opposite of what you believe.
      I am reporting on the best data that is available to me from “blue chip” sources. If you have better data from better sources, please show it to me, and I’ll be glad to update my article.

      • I’m sorry…but I don’t have to show you data from better sources. It is out there on the internet and you can find it as easy as I can. Your data is either outdated or just simply stupid and wrong. When the Endocrinology society updated their TSH levels about 10 yrs ago….they themselves stated that there were many hundreds of thousands of people who were either undiagnosed or undertreated. And I have absolutely no love for Endocrinologists…because it was 10 of them that kept me undiagnosed and all because my TSH (which is a worthless test because all it does is test a pituitary hormone) never went above the “normal” levels.

        You don’t know what you are talking about and as I said…I have a group of 7,000 of us who will stand with me and say the very same thing. Our group is growing day by day with people who DO have thyroid disease and can’t get diagnosed because of idiots like you who don’t believe that 90% of the symptoms that we suffer with are real. So they give us anti-depressants, they give us pain pills, they give us every kind of drug except the one that we need to get us well.

        And I would stand up anywhere and debate you because as I said…you are deaf, dumb and blind to the fact that thyroid disease IS REAL and it is becoming an epidemic disease.

        • Char,

          You don’t need to debate anything with me because I don’t disagree with you on anything. Besides, how can we debate anything if I am “deaf, dumb, and blind?”

          And if you believe that the Endocrinology Society is mistreating you and your fellow sufferers, let all of 7,000 of you to donate $100 each, and I’ll donate too. Hire the best attorney and expert witnesses these $700,100 will buy you, and “sue the bastards.” I am sure no jury will be able to resist your furry.

  56. So Konstantin Monastyrsky since you think you know everything explain this to me..
    how did I a woman of 5 feet 10 inches tall.. someone who ate healthy, ran 3 miles a day, avoided all types of fats in my diet at all costs all my life end up putting on 30 pounds? I mean clearly you being a thyroid expert must know what you are talking about right?
    Oh wait no sorry you are not a thyroid expert. You are merely voicing an opinion about what you think is happening and clearly you have no clue what you are talking about.
    Before you decide to answer me.. let me clear a few things up for you. No I did not change my lifestyle, no I did not get up and eat cake in the middle of the night and even if I did it would not be enough to gain 30 pounds. After essentially starving myself for 30 straight days and still not losing a pound I ended up passing out during my jogs and being brought to the hospital. Diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism I was put on synthroid where unfortunately nothing has changed for me.
    You sir, have no idea what you are speaking about. You have issues with overweight people and you have thoughts and opinions on issues you know nothing about. Steve Jobs had cancer. It’s appalling you would even reference him in this article.
    It’s narrow minded people like you who make this world unbearable. You write articles like this clearly to cover up your own personal insecurities.
    Until you know what this disease entails. Why not stick to things your good at, because clearly this is not one of them.

    • Leela,

      Sorry. I have no clue what’s going on with your health and weight, and I am not a clairvoyant to make guesses.

      I don’t have any issues with overweight people. In fact, all of my closest friends happen to be overweight or obese, and so are their spouses and children. Also, all of them happen to be either medical professionals or medical entrepreneurs. And not so long I was pretty overweight myself.

      My wife is the only exception — she is normal weight. We met back in 1976, when she was 21, and I had no way of knowing if she’ll be that way at 58. Her sister and her mother are both overweight. My dizygotic (fraternal) twin cats are normal weight too because I monitor their nutrition since we adopted them 14 years ago.

      Steve Jobs didn’t die directly from pancreatic cancer, but from malnutrition related to either liver failure, or pancreatitis, or both. I believe it was liver failure because he was eating normally (per os) until at least few weeks before his death (according to what was written about it in the media). As any medical professional will tell you, people don’t die directly from cancer, but from multiple organ failure related, among other things, to “protein energy undernutrition” a.k.a. “bad metabolism.”

      The liver, the blood, and our digestive organs govern energy and structural metabolism. Thyroid and parathyroid glands regulate the body’s thermogenesis, and play a secondary role in energy and structural metabolism.

    • Leela, your problem is, that you starved your body… your body NEEDS fat, especially saturated fat, to be healthy.

      Cutting out all carbs and eating enough meat (organic) and saturated fats will help you lose weight in a healthy way.

      • Leela and Ursula,

        I could not agree more about our need for saturated fats. Again, I recommend (cut and paste into) “youtube: Enjoy your saturated fats, they are good for you. Donald Miller ” (cardiac surgeon) After you view this important health doc, you will understand how much we have all been subjected to the low-fat scam along with the statin scam and been human guinea pigs for our goverment, the Ag industry and Big Pharma. We have all been fools! Best wishes, dear hearts!

  57. Your “information” on hypothyroidism is so outdated it’s dangerous. Your knowledge about secondary adrenal fatigue is almost as scary (it does indeed cause weight gain, unlike primary addison’s which can cause rapid weight loss). . I was reading this article out of curiosity..now I am horrified.
    Both of these diseases are far more prevalent and affect a far greater demographic than you poorly researched article represents. I wonder how many people will have to go through another round of feeling like failures before they find help with the right medications and diganostic studies.
    This article does nothing to promote help for the rising legion of us that spent years misdiagnosed because of lack of updated research and information. Visit any support site for hashimoto’s or addison’s and you will quickly realize the references you cite are the same tired and ineffective treatment guidelines that are killing people (mostly women) and keeping them sick, undiagnosed, and incapable of achieving health. Shame.

    • You are speaking in generalities. Please show the data to support your assertions or debase mine.

      Please don’t refer me to commercial sites that sell alternative diagnostic kits or supplements to correct thyroid and adrenal deficiencies. They represent their particular point of view because it suits their business objectives. I don’t sell or promote anything and have zero benefits from standing behind my articles.

      My article didn’t suggested anywhere that “adrenal fatigue” causes (or doesn’t cause) weight gain. My article made a strong recommendation to GET TESTED for people who suspect they may have these condition.

      I cite data from the sources that are available to me. I have no reasons not to believe these sources until someone will produce better sources.

  58. You still have not addressed that you incorrectly labeled Steve Jobs, “bad metabolism”!

    The man had undergone a “Whipple procedure” and suffered from neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.

    You are seriously misleading your readers with your information regarding “bad metabolism”.

    • We don’t know what Steve Jobs was suffering from at a time of his death. Neither his treatment history nor autopsy were disclosed. You can read my take on the causes of his death in another response.

  59. As a woman who was diagnosed hypothyroid based on a TSH test in my twenties, I find your description of hypothyroid symptoms and the ease of diagnosis and treatment misleading.
    The usual symptoms for hypothyroidism is *tiredness*, cold intolerance, neck sensitivity, goiter, moodiness, bad PMS, outer eyebrows thinning, low libido, infertility and others.
    You entirely skipped the fact that 5-10% of women have thyroiditis postpartum and thyroid issues run in families with other auto-immune conditions.
    A big problem people have getting diagnosed is that most doctors & labs still use the old range. So, if your TSH is around 5, they say you’re fine. But the AACE recommended many years ago that the normal range be changed to 0.3 to 3. And the TSH test won’t tell you how much free T3 and T4 you have available.
    When I saw an endocrinologist 5 years after my diagnosis, she said I was incorrectly diagnosed as hypothyroid because my initial TSH of 7 wasn’t high enough and I didn’t have a family history of hypothyroid… she usually sees TSH of 300+. So, I switched endos and requested a thyroid anti-bodies test and what do you know? it confirmed Hashimoto’s. I am so thankful to that initial GP who listened to my symptoms (I had no clue it was a thyroid issue) and caught my condition early. Since then my aunt has also been diagnosed.
    As for the ease of treatment… You’re probably noticing a lot of angry hypothyroid patients here. We continue to have lingering symptoms that healthy eating and synthetic T4 doesn’t fix and doctors say everything is fine based on one test result number.

    • Dena,

      Yes, I did notice a lot of angry “patients” here… It is quite regretful because my article has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with a treatment and diagnostic of hypothyroidism, or tiredness, or postpartum thyroiditis. I will though, update my article to indicate that some people are having a very hard time to get a proper treatment. Thank you for pointing this out.

      • Yes we are upset because now our labs show we are “normal” and so we should be fine, yet we often are still sick and dealing with hypo symptoms!!!! So that weight that won’t come of, or the lack of motivation, can’t be hypo problems anymore since we are supposedly optimal- instead it is just character flaws, like laziness and gluttony. That hurts. So to read an article that talks about similar issues- being overweight with normal thyroid function, well, it sure sounds like you are speaking to us! And it is a touch subject. But the nastiness on this makes me sick. I mean, really, calling you deaf, dumb, and blind, or needing mental help? I’m ashamed of us!

        • Heidi, thank you. What I am getting out of this discussion is this: most medical doctors have zero to no experience with complex cases involving thyroid-related disorders, and that the stand-by diagnostic protocols are too simplistic in their approach. Hopefully, this discussion will help a lot of people to find specialists who are more thorough and up-to-date, and I already made that accent in my assay.

          Yes, it is unfortunate that some people resort to insults instead of being helpful and constructive. Fortunately, the number of helpful comments exceeds the number of nasty ones, and we all learn from the experience. Thank you again, Heidi.

  60. First, let’s get the facts straight. The author of this blog studied pharmacy and was in computers/IT. He is NOT a medical doctor. But what shocks me is that he says he is “not familiar with natural desiccated thyroid medication (NDT). As a pharmacist, in addition to the Synthroid that is the most recognized (and most ineffective) thyroid hormone medication, NDT is also a pharmaceutical medication, approved by the FDA, and prescribed and dispensed at pharmacies around the country. And yet, this pharmacist doesn’t know anything about it?

    As a public health communicator and medical writer who also serves as a patient advocate for hundreds of misdiagnosed and/or under treated thyroid patients, this article is appalling. It is clear that the author has no personal knowledge or patient knowledge of thyroid and adrenal conditions, but only has read books and pulled information from otherwise uninformed or outdated sources.

    Sadly, a large number of patients continue to suffer from thyroid and adrenal disorders without diagnosis or treatment, and many become severely disabled. The author appears to be incredibly arrogant, not only in his article, but also in the way he responds to the comments. In one example, he writes “Thirdly, you contradict yourself – on one hand women don’t get enough attention, on another – L-thyroxine is one of the most prescribed drugs in the US. So what is what?” … but interestingly enough, the commenter never mentioned that “women don’t get enough attention.” Is this a freudian slip revealing the author’s bias toward women?

    Sarah, it’s sad that this article does such an incredible disservice to your readers by promoting a long outdated way of thinking about thyroid and adrenal disorders. Even the image used at the top is insulting. There are so many good doctors out there who are known for their innovative treatment of thyroid and adrenal disorders, weight issues, metabolic problems, etc, that you have so many better options than an author such as this one. Because most readers will assume that posts on your website are indicative of your own beliefs, you have turned away many people who might have become readers, and you have likely alienated a large number of existing readers.

    Even worse, you are allowing this person to promote their book using your blog, with a promise of 40 more posts to come in ramp up for his book launch. What a travesty, and what a sad shame. If you want to preserve your reputation and your readership, you might want to consider letting this author pay for publicity rather than using your site as a platform.

    If this site truly is about healthy nutrition for healthy people who would like to remain that way (as the author says), then why even post an insulting, demeaning, uninformed, dangerous article such as this on your site? Perhaps it’s better to leave the true health-related issues to people who know what they’re talking about. With articles like this, you are perpetuating a dangerous cycle of misinformation and lack of proper care for patients who suffer from these disorders.

    • Holly,

      I don’t know anything about the application of “desiccated thyroid medication” because (a) I don’t work with patients; (b) I don’t practice medicine; (c) I don’t dispense drugs, and (d) this isn’t my specialty.

      I also don’t know anything about plumbing, but that doesn’t stop me from writing about the disorders of the large bowel, and what comes out of it.

      I will repeat yet again as loud and as clear as I can: I do not know anything about any of the medical conditions that are addressed in my post outside of what I can read in medical references for the following reasons: (a) I don’t work with patients; (b) I don’t practice medicine; (c) I don’t dispense drugs, and (d) this isn’t my specialty.

      And my post wasn’t about these conditions but about their prevalence in overweight population. All of the information in my post is duly references and believed to be reliable. If you have better one, you have the same page to publish it as I have.

      I am publishing my entire book for free on this site. In what way this is a “promotion.” To the contrary, it is a valuable service to people like you who will not buy it because they know what to expect.

      Insulting, demeaning, uninformed, misinformation, dangerous? Please…

  61. As a hashi hypo sufferer, I know there are much more to it than you said. THS, FT4 and FT3 have to be in optimal ranges, not just in range to make sure you have normal metabolism. In addition, even on T4 replacement, some patients have T4 to T3 conversion issues. T3 is the active hormone your body needs to function. There are also low/high cortisol, low iron, etc many issues which stop hormone replacement to work properly. Hypo is not as simple as you thought. That said, as a very severe and complex (all my endos said that) hypo case, I still maintain normal weight. It is doable, just very very difficult.

    • Jessy, sorry I don’t have any relevant thoughts on this subject. My article is about completely different one: The prevalence of hypothyroidism, underactive thyiroid, “bad metabolism,” and adrenal insufficiency in overweight population. That’s all about epidemiology, not about diagnostics, treatments, symptoms, etc., etc., etc.

      And throughout the article, I said as firmly as I could at least four times: “If you suspect having any of these conditions, get tested, and get treated.”

      And your own account beautifully illustrates my point: you can maintain normal weight even with these unpleasant conditions. I couldn’t say it better: “It is doable, just very very difficult.

      Thank you!

  62. My experience is similar to many others’ on this site. For years, I suffered from debilitating fatigue, to have doctor after doctor tell me my thyroid was”fine.” Eating a WAP/GAPS diet helped me somewhat, but Armour Thyroid was a LIFESAVER!! I would not want to live without it. I highly recommend the book, “Stop the Thyroid Madness.” If you are tired, find a doctor who knows about Hashimoto’s.

    • Sandy,

      Thank you for extending good advice to people who are affected by Hashimoto’s. This is exactly the point of my post — get tested, get treated, — except I am not familiar with this topic as well as someone who has been affected by this malaise, and can’t render medical advice because I am not a medical doctor.

  63. I strongly beg to differ. And no, I’m not making excuses for being obese. I am not and have never been. There are many far reaching symptoms of thyroid disease. Please read Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic. 50 years ago when we listened to our bodies Hypothyroidism was treated based on symptoms, not blood tests, which are widely known to be inaccurate in measuring Hypothyroidism. Especially, in Type 2 where you may see normal levels, but your body is producing it in a form it can not use.

    Now doctors are so fixated on blood tests they are taking people who were healthy and functioning well on thyroid medication off because of these useless blood tests and watching them fall apart piece by piece. My sister was losing all of her hair, couldn’t lift her limbs after she exercised, was steadily gaining weight on a calorie deficit and couldn’t get enough sleep. And don’t tell me she didn’t know what she was eating or wasn’t working out enough. She is a fitness instructor teaching eight hours a week, burning an average of 500 calories/class and eating 1,200 calories a day until she found Dr. Starr who turned her life around.

    I have secondary adrenal insufficiency from years of steroids used to treat Lupus. There are many other factors in our modern lifestyle, diet and environment that also overwork our adrenal glands. I WAS diagnosed by saliva testing. I don’t know how you can claim to do it by blood test since your cortisol levels are designed to ebb and flow with your circadian rhythm. Do you test at 2 hour intervals for 24 hours? And in consulting with my Rheumatologist he explained to me that yes, they know this is a byproduct of these treatments and no, there is no traditional medical treatment. He advised me to try natural alternatives.

    And don’t get me started on what “normal” levels are. A range of .5-4.5 makes no sense. The reference ranges for all blood tests are determined by taking a sampling of the population. Can you really tell me a sampling of the American population right now will give you a good idea of a healthy level on anything. A full decade ago the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, that doctors “consider treatment for patients who test outside the boundaries of a narrower margin based on a target TSH level of 0.3 to 3.0.” Studies have found that using this new range they believe a full 20% of Americans would be diagnosed as Hypothyroid.

    • Janae,

      Even with your numbers (i.e. 20% of Americans are affected by thyroid disorders), there are 80% who aren’t. My article is intended for this 80%. For the rest I recommend to find the best specialist they can first, get TESTED second, and get TREATED third. If that’s, somehow, unreasonable position, please offer something more reasonable.

  64. Been there done that April 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Konstantin, firstly congratulations on speaking what most know is the truth. Many are all too happy to find something else to blame their obesity on rather than look at facts. Yes, being hypothyroid can lead to increased hunger, think bear ready for wintering, however if you are aware of this you learn to curb it rather than blame it.

    Secondly, I must disagree in part. In the USA thyroid blood testing reference ranges are narrow, here in Australia they are very wide. Too wide.Which leads to many who have real thyroid issues walking away feeling confused. Their bodies are saying one thing but the magic numbers say another. Only one pathology here uses the US range. I was just outside that range and was told I was normal for many many years (even after saying that true thyroid problems run in my family and many are on medication for it). Many years of struggling to have doctor’s believe my issues were thyroid related came too late, I lost my thyroid due to severe Hashimoto’s. Had I not insisted to use the ‘other’ pathology for once I would be dead now. ( I also had a thyroid cancer but was told I was suffering from anxiety)

    Now that issue of lab testing is still a biggie here. Many are underdiagnosed with both hyper and hypothyroid. BUT!!! It still does not account for those who have been proven to be not hypo who still are overweight and still tell me ‘Oh, my doctor doesn’t understand about thyroid’ Well, I DO, and I look at their pathology results and shake my head. Nope you are TSH 1.5 or what ever not even close. FT3 is all good and so’s your FT4! What’s that you say? Starving? It’s not even lunchtime and you want to go to get coffee and cake coz you quote ‘deserve it after such a long morning shopping’ unquote.

    Now I used to be one of those who believed the garbage touted out but now use logic and learned about the human body. I shudder every time I see certain information on dodgy sites touting adrenal fatigue. The Stop the Thyroid Madness book is supportive in some areas but downright dangerous in others. I pushed doctors when I first read this book, believing how wrong they were, now I was to be humbled when meeting the most eminent scientist (who has also done double blind studies and research into thyroid and all it entails) here who patiently explained how and why the adding of T3 for some people leads to a lovely adjustment for a while i.e. weeks or months, then they will crash and feel lousy and never tell anyone they had to stop, due to the embarrassment of finding they were wrong. Some even ending up in the ERwith disasterous effects. Very few people truly need that supplementation of T3. I thought I was right, I was wrong.

    Thirdly, Addison’s disease does not always present with the tan, and can be shown to be true by reading medical journals. Many of the A.D. patients have severe illness without the telltale ‘tan’. So it is an unreliable ‘test’ to prove an illness.
    Fourthly, with the advent of the internet many people have now become armchair doctors. Whilst self educating is a good thing, total denial is not. I urge those who say they are hypo and can’t lose weight to be honest and keep a food journal for a week. You will be surprised at how many hidden calories are in certain things you eat. A calorie is a calorie. Expenditure needs to equal input. You over eat and not move, then the calorie stays. Simple pure facts. Yes, being hypo/Hashi makes you feel hungrier and yes it is difficult to not eat. I, too, was one of those people who believed I was overweight due to being undiagnosed hypo (well, I was undiagnosed, but the truth was I was eating more than my fair share of food at the time!) I have no place for those who wish to jump up and down and blame a disease for their woes. If people truly believe they have a problem -GET TESTED! Get the food allergy testing done, don’t just ASSUME you have one. You may be missing out on nutrition and vitamins which can upset the thyroid. Get the thyroid testing done, don’t assume you have a thyroid problem. Be honest with yourself! Facts are what matters!
    Again, congratulations on speaking out. I do not want to use my real name as I am sure I will be inundated with people telling me I am wrong or a traitor. My thyroid/adrenal levels don’t need that stress right now. (wink wink)

  65. This blog has some easily offended readers! They act like you’re trying to UNdiagnose them! LOL! Reading the comments has been quite entertaining. This is my summary of what they’re saying:
    “How DARE you say that some people don’t actually have ____ (bad thyroid/adrenals/metabolism). I, and others that I know, DO have ____. Since you are not an expert on diagnosing and treating ____, then you shouldn’t be allowed to even mention that some people do NOT have ____.”

    As somebody who does not have any of these disorders, should I be offended that you also said that some people DO have them??

    • Trudy,

      It wasn’t my intent to offend anyone. And don’t be too tough on people with a different point of view. The disorders that polarized people so much are very hard on the body and mind, I understand their frustration with a “system,” and don’t mind being a lightening rod for as long as this discourse is civilized. And it mostly was.

  66. Well, you have done a great job keeping up a good attitude in the face of so many angry overweight people!! :). As the day wore on I thought about your post more, and I think a good question would be, “If your thyroid is causing your weight gain, then why are you still fat??” My Grandma was around 250 pounds and found out she had thyriod problems. She dropped over 120 pounds. That is true thyroid problems. I think everyone gets so cranky because we have this “thyriod/fatigue” problem from Leaky Gut. Only Leaky Gut requires a TON of work to fix, and it’s “easier” to say it’s Thyriod/fatigue rather than change our habits. How many people who have complained have drank the 3+ cups of Bone Broth a day and still had these problems? Also, I have been dissapointed in those who complain so loudly, and the lazyness in finding facts to prove you wrong. I was looking for some one intelligent to rebuttle you. Since that has yet to happen, and I have no proof you are wrong….. I guess that makes you still right. :)

    • Sarah,

      Thank you for noting that. My job is to help, not to fight. This is an emotional issue, and I understand people who are so frustrated by being misunderstood, misdiagnosed, or ignored. When this reaches a boiling point, things happen. I find this discussion very helpful, and updated my post accordingly. That is, incidentally, why I have decided to write a book in this very public manner — I crave for feedback of all kinds. Thank you to all!

  67. This is for Been there done that:

    I beg to differ with you on a few points. The ranges for thyroid testing here in the US are fairly broad too. They are supposed to be 0.3-3.0 as set my the Endocrinolgoy society…but my last tests came back with a range of 0.35-5.5. So don’t say that the US has narrower ranges. Also you say that just because someone doesn’t have a TSH that falls out of those ranges that they can’t possibly be hypo. Well my TSH was only 1.2 when I was first diagnosed (well within “normal” ranges)…but my Free T3 wasn’t even registering on the blood test range. And everyone I know personally who is Hypo needs their T3 because they don’t convert T4 to T3 properly. Myself is case in point. I was 40 lbs overweight…but after finding NDT (natural dessicated thyroid) and getting my Free T3 and Free T4 numbers optimized (and may I add that since starting to take NDT my TSH hasn’t been above 0.009 and I am in no way hyper)…I lost those 40 lbs without dieting or even watching what I was eating. In fact I was laid up in bed with a broken ankle for 3 of those months and wasn’t even allowed to walk. So your idea that the TSH tells all about if you are hypo or not and your idea that most do not need T3 is pure BUNK!!!

  68. It would be impossible for me to over-emphasize HOW STRONGLY I DISAGREE with this writer. U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E! Pease readers, DO NOT believe or take as fact what has been written here by the author concerning thyroid issues.

    I highly, highly, highly recommend Dr. Starr’s book instead, get the edition that was updated in 2011 if Hashimoto’s or Graves is (or might be) a concern; the 2005 edition is fine for everyone else. There is also a kindle edition. I have read 2005, and am getting the 2013 edition ASAP.

    By the way, the word “Epidemic” in his book title, is in regard to the clinical definition of the word epidemic.

    The entire book is written with great medical depth, extensively footnoted, etc.

    Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic, 2011 Edition
    Mark Starr, MD
    http://www.amazon.com/Hypothyroidism-Type-Epidemic-Updated-Hashimotos/dp/B006S2OW30/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365226580&sr=1-4&keywords=Hypothyroidism+type+2+the+epidemic

    Publication Date: March 4, 2005 | ISBN-10: 0975262408 | ISBN-13: 978-0975262405 | Edition: Revised 2013

    Book Description:
    An astonishing book revealing the cause and successful treatment for the plague of illnesses affecting western civilization; including obesity, heart attacks, depression, diabetes, strokes, headaches, chronic fatigue, and many more.

    In Dr. Starr’s description of Type 2 Hypothyroidism, he presents overwhelming evidence showing a majority of Americans suffer this illness, which is due to environmental and hereditary factors. Laboratory testing used to diagnose hypothyroidism is completely inadequate, and current treatment for hypothyroidism is ineffective. Groundbreaking research shows how persistent environmental toxins prevent thyroid and other hormones from working properly. This book will lead you to understanding more about your health than anything you have ever read.

    Many of the more recent patients who have sought help from Dr. Starr have come to him with Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases. As a result, the updated 2011 version added a chapter on Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease.

    Revised for 2013 with a contribution by Jerry Tennant, M.D.

    • I stand behind Carol’s recommendation: If you or anyone in your family is affected by thyroid-related disorders, consider reading Dr. Starr and Dr. Tennant book.

      I personally have not read it yet (already on order, there is no Kindle version), but since it has been written by two practicing physicians with expertise in this subject, and referred by several people on this forum, you may find it helpful.

  69. By linking being overweight with thyroid disease this article has conflated body size with health. Rapid fluctuations in body weight are frequently indicative of health issues. However, body size is indicative of nothing more than the size of the body. I understand that the overall point of the article is that the perception that larger bodies are bad may simply be function of social perspective. What the author fails to ask is why larger people feel the need to justify their size irrespective of having a medically diagnosed reason. Could it be due to the fact that many medical professionals, despite the evidence, insist on weight-loss being a magic bullet for everything from sprained ankles to heart disease mortality?

    My main problem with this article, however, is the misguided assertion that thyroid disease is so rare and anyone who suspects their thyroid is a contributor to their weight should “… just do a blood test. If it ends up positive, switch over to a traditional diet, take the supplements that may help to reverse this functional condition, or, as a last resort, get a prescription from your doctor for L-thyroxine, and be done with it …” It’s that simple, huh? Why then does the accepted “normal range” vary between countries? My doctor initially tested me for hypothyroidism in the late 90′s as he, not I, suspected there might be a problem. According to the accepted “normal range”, at that time, my thyroid was fine.

    Fast forward 13 years. My ‘thyroid symptoms’ had become so much worse that I was no longer functional. However, I put the my symptoms down a to combination of fibromyalgia (medically diagnosed) and perimenopause. In discussion with my dr, he suggested retesting my thyroid. This time, I was considered to be clearly hypothyroid despite the fact that my test came back with only marginally higher numbers than the previous one. The range considered to be “normal” had changed. If the current “normal range” had been applied when I was originally tested my hypothyroidism would not have been unrecognised and untreated for over a decade.

    It is definitely not a case of get a blood test and then you’ll know. The Australian “normal range” for TSH is lower than that generally accepted in the USA. Many Americans with underfunctioning thyroids are not receiving appropriate treatment because they have the misfortune to be subject to the American “normal range” for thyroid hormones.

    Simply eating a traditional diet and taking supplements may help but cannot either prevent nor cure thyroid disease. Even by the standards of this blog, I have eaten well, used appropriate supplements and exercised ‘right’ for more than 3 decades. Yet I unaccountably gained weight and had my thyroid deteriorate. Even once diagnosed, it was not as simple as getting a prescription for L-thyroxine and being “done with it”. With everything else already being ‘right’ my dr did prescribed L-thyroxine. As a result my TSH increased at an alarming rate and I rapidly became more unwell. Increasing the dosage made thing worse. My body was not able to convert the synthetic T4 to T3. Even though I had numerous blood tests, it was not until my thyroid was scanned that became obvious I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

    There is nothing simple about thyroid dysfunction. The flippancy with which which it is assumed, in this article, that a blood test result is the final arbiter of diagnosis irrespective of symptoms does a huge disservice to everyone who is trying to find out why they are feeling unwell. As is the implication that most doctors are more interested in writing prescriptions than finding the underlying cause of the problem. If it is simply a case of blood test results and prescription writing the job could be done by a computer. Maybe medicine is simply practiced differently in the USA.

    You know your body better than anyone else. No numbers on a report can define your quality of life. If you are not feeling well and your doctor dismisses your symptoms on the basis of blood tests find another doctor.

    Excellent resources for anyone who has reason to suspect their thyroid is dysfuntional are:
    http://thyroid.about.com/bio/Mary-Shomon-350.htm
    https://www.facebook.com/thyroidsexy

    • Cheryl,

      This article does a complete opposite of “conflating body size with weight.” It is actually conflating body size with diet and a host of other primarily socioeconomic factors, and making a bold statement: “healthy body — lots of weight.” Unfortunately, the theme and core message of this article has been detoured by people affected with various severe clinical pathologies who were neither the “target audience” of this article or my future book, and I regret allowing this discussion to turn away from the core message:

      “Healthy people with genetic predisposition (80% of the population) and financial means to eat as much as their hearts desire gain weight. For about 70% of these people, weight gain isn’t a sign of a disease, but a sign of eating too much, moving too little, and living in the wrong era.”

      In any event, thank you for your feedback.

    • thank you cheryl. i was goint to say essentially the same thing, but i see you already did. no sense beating the same horse.

  70. I am enjoying this series. I am a mom of 5 and have about 10 lbs that I would like to lose. This is going to be a challenge since I spend some days entirely in the kitchen. I look forward to reading more about mineral deficiency and how you can identify which minerals you may be lacking or just not absorbing.
    I enjoy your voice. My parents are from Eastern Europe (my father is from Kiev) and we lived in NYC. I have many fond memories of family gatherings with heaps of food and disbelieving looks if anyone said they were full.
    I had thought low thyroid was a root cause of certain problems but you mention there are factors that can cause low thyroid function and I look forward to reading more about this too.

    • Thank you, Irena. Same was in our family — heaps of foods and lots of vodka on holidays and weekends, fairly moderate diet during the week. Lo and behold, all of my relatives (except some men with demanding physical jobs) were overweight or obese. And so were their friends. That said, I had a blast growing up and managed to stay normal weight until my second dog passed away in 1989. But what really did me in was a switch to vegetarian diet in 1991. By 1996 I had BMI two points shy of obesity (28) and type 2 diabetes so severe that I could barely walk or drive.

      So, as you can see, this subject is “near and dear” to me much more than I would like it. I normalized my weight around 2000-2002, and has been stable plus/minus few seasonal kg in both direction since then. With 17 years of experience (1996-2013) behind my belt researching this subject, discussing it with thousands of overweight people, performing in close to 1,000 live radio talk shows (Russian-language), writing hundreds of newspaper articles, publishing four books, and producing one massive web site, I am finally ready to tackle this subject.

      Being 58 — that’s close to 60 — also a great help. I see a lot of younger authors — 35-45 — working with this subject with too much self-confidence and too little compassion. Alas, as we get older, the body’s response is drastically different, so what worked great at 40 is near useless at 60.

      Thank you again for your comments, and welcome aboard!

    • Michelle,

      Please note that (a) I am not a medical doctor, and (b) I don’t dispute with anyone that the testing and diagnostic of thyroid and adrenal disorders may be completely, utterly wrong. I simply report on what information is available to me, and urge people who believe otherwise to seek better information, better doctors, and better labs.

      Thank you for sharing your information. I am sure it will be interesting and helpful to many people, particularly in the United States because most of its regions are known as “endemic zones” for thyroid disorders.

      • if the u.s. is “endemic” for thyroid disorders…how can you claim, in your article, that thyroid disorders are rare…

        you failed to provide ALL of the relevant information from merck by leaving out the paragraph previous to the one you quoted:

        “Symptoms and signs of primary hypothyroidism are often subtle and insidious. Symptoms may include cold intolerance, constipation, forgetfulness, and personality changes. Modest weight gain is largely the result of fluid retention and decreased metabolism. Paresthesias of the hands and feet are common, often due to carpal-tarsal tunnel syndrome caused by deposition of proteinaceous ground substance in the ligaments around the wrist and ankle. Women with hypothyroidism may develop menorrhagia or secondary amenorrhea.” (from the same source as stated above)

        the mayo clinic web site states:

        ********** Copyrighted content removed by the moderator *********

        seems to me you need to do more research before you write…

        • Undrgrndgirl,

          “Endemic” doesn’t mean “more frequent” but means that the prevalence of hypothyroidism related to iodine deficiency in the US may be slightly higher than in other locales.

          Regarding “you failed to provide ALL of the relevant information…” As you may know, it is against the law to liberally quote from copyrighted materials. I quoted a relevant snippet under the “fair use” doctrine, and provided the link to the source, so people can read the rest.

          What you call “research” is actually called plagiarism. That I don’t do, and suggest that you don’t do it too.

  71. You SOUND like you know what you’re talking about, but perhaps you’re a bit under-educated on how thyroid testing works. Did you know that the TSH normal range was set by one single study of 90 nurses, none of them were excluded for thyroid disease. All they did was knock off the outliers and go with the median clump…and that’s pretty much the last word on what the AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) have officially stated.

    So best not to say what’s sub-clinical and what’s REALLY hypothyroidism if you’re not aware of that simple fact.

    If you’re at all curious, perhaps you should go to Medline or Google Scholar and learn a little bit about T3 (tested by the free T3 test) and find out what the last 20 years of research is telling us; that the lack of availability of T3 to cells causes a huge range of neurological and metabolic problems. Obstetricians have been on board with a much narrower range of normal and test both Free T3 and Free T4 because of how devestating low thyoid is to the developing fetus. Guess what, it’s not so great for healthy women, either.

    As far as your assertion that every fat person blames their thyroid; unfortunately, in my work as a thyroid advocate, I’ve found that people (and most of their doctors) are woefully in the dark about thyroid disease. I’ve talked to scores of people claiming to have no thyroid problem who, once they learned how to look at their tests, found that they could indeed benefit from thyroid meds (and not just T4/levothyroxine, newer studies show that often that’s inadequate.

    I’d have been more gentle with you if I had any inkling that you were capable of evolving on this issue, but it’s obvious you have no interest in educating yourself on this issue since you’ve spouted off without doing even a modicum of research; you’re just parroting the entrenched old guard at the AACE.

    By the way, I’m 5′ 5″ and 130 lbs; I don’t have a dog in this “fat excuse.”

    • Kit,

      Thank you for your feedback. I didn’t make the assertion that every overweight person blames their thyroid. Please don’t confuse what I hear from a limited number of people that I encounter during my weight loss seminars and radio talk-shows, and the community at large.

      Also, I don’t imply that the linking of obesity to medical conditions is, somehow, a blame game, or a denial of personal responsibility. Not at all. As you and I know, a lot of overweight people indeed consume moderate diets without much success of containing/reducing their weight. I addressed this very problem in the previous post: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-one-calorie-for-her-is-half-a-calorie-for-him/

      • “As a weight loss counselor, I’ve yet to encounter an overweight person who wouldn’t tell me upfront: ‘I am overweight because I have a bad metabolism,’ or ‘I am overweight because I have an underactive thyroid,’ or ‘I am overweight because I have hypothyroidism.’”

        So, what you meant here when you said that you haven’t yet met any overweight person that didn’t blame their extra weight on a medical condition is really just “a limited number of people”?

        • That is correct. Just a limited number of people that I had a chance to discuss this condition with. Well, it is no longer true because a very nice lady introduced herself on this forum, and she said something along these lines: “I am perfectly healthy but overweight because I am a compulsive eater.”

  72. Adrenal insufficiency is seen as rare in the medical world, yes. However, that is because it is under diagnosed. I am not even talking about diagnosing it beyond the conventional criteria. According to the leading Addison’s disease expert in the world (Professor Wiebke Arlt), adrenal insufficiency should be dx when a person has a morning cortisol of <5, yet most doctors do not know this, and hence do not diagnose based on this criteria. Professor Wiebke Arlt also states that the patient should reach a certain point during a stimulation test. Again the vast majority of enods do not know about these guidelines and continue to tell patients they are fine even when they do not fulfil the criteria of the leading global expert on the subject.

    As for pigmentation, it used to be seen as the classic sign. However many patients with nocfirmed AI do not have this symptom.

    • Lynn,

      Please bring this issue with medical doctors in that particular field. I work with what I have, and urge people to be aware that what they are getting may not be best or optimal. My field of expertise is “Why Diets Fail?”, not “Why Doctors Fail” This particular subject is a domain of other doctors, the FDA, and tort lawyers.

      • Yes, but you asserted that adrenal insufficiency is rare and that it always presents with hyperpigmentation. It is nowhere near as rare as doctors think, and it does not always present with hyperpigmentation. Hence why I wrote that comment.

        • Lynn,

          I did not assert anything, but cited the stats from some of the top flight academic sources.

          Even if the prevalence of adrenal insufficiency is 100 times higher than what these sources claim, it still makes only 0.7% (0.007% * 100) of the population, not exactly an earth shuttering number as you believe it is.

          And if you don’t like these sources, bring your argument to them, not to me. There is no point in beating the messenger because you don’t like/agree with the message.

  73. There is no way hypothyroidism is being over-diagnosed. Doctors are more likely to prescribe antidepressants for thyroid symptoms than to test thyroid function and try to get to the bottom of the cause of the symptoms… extreme fatigue, etc. Even WHEN thyroid tests are run, many doctors ignore the importance of keeping track of T3 levels, etc.

    After 13 years of thyroid mis-management by many doctors, I have seen it all. The most recent was being prescribed too much thyroid medication for at least two years… raised to a level that put me into a hyperthyroid state (doctor raised Synthroid meds instead of lowering…oops). Oh yes, and before doctors realized what was causing heart palpitations and extreme fatigue (also found in hyperthyroidism, btw) and realized that my dose was too high, they just wanted to prescribe me Xanax and move on, even though I kept insisting something was up with my thyroid.

    I suggest people do their own research, talk to other patients. Check out websites like thyroidchange.org and stopthethyroidmadness.com. Ask your doctor about Armour and other natural thyroid meds. Find foods that help with thyroid function (coconut oil, etc.), many of which are often dicussed on this facebook page. Avoid Fluoride. Switch doctors if you need to.

    I don’t know, it may be possible to avoid thyroid meds if the disease is caught early enough, but I’m pretty sure the synthetic meds have taken away that chance for me. Take charge of your own health be your own best advocate. IMO, don’t accept prescriptions for antidepressants, etc, until they test all of your Thyroid levels, B12, Vitamin D, Adrenals, etc, and what Lisa mentioned above.

    By the way, I don’t think adrenal fatigue is being over-diagnosed either. I have been to many doctors for my thyroid problems and not once has anyone suggested testing my adrenals. I only learned about adrenals through research and talking to other hypothyroid sufferers.

  74. I would also point out a wide variety of people view this web page, many of whom are trying to find their way to better health. It is not only HEALTHY people who are reading these posts. Many are trying to find out what to avoid (GMOs, fluoride, pesticides, processed foods, etc.) and what to consume to find better health. Many people are just now becoming more aware of all of the endocrine disrupters luriking in our food and water. My takeaway from that article is that you believe people are self-diagnosing hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue as an excuse for weight gain. I just cannot get on board with anyone implying that we are overdiagnosing these these serious health conditions that are so often ignored and mis-managed by otherwise qualified doctors. The good news is that this post is bringing out lots of good information in the comments section — information that will hopefully be beneficial to those suffering from mis-managed thyroid health. Sadly, this affects mostly women, often new mothers, and can disrupt life in horrible ways.

    • Marcy, I agree with most of your points, but you are also misreading my article. I simply cite available stats, and also add that some experts doubt these stats. If doing that is, somehow, wrong, offensive, insensitive, uncaring, ignorant, stupid, or arrogant, very sorry to all who feel offended, but I work with what I have, not with what I wish I could have.

      • Thank you. I don’t recall using any of those words, but I understand your frustration. I think the problem is that many of us with thyroid issues believe the stats are so far off and the disease is so mis-understood and under-reported; it’s also very frustrating. I think it’s easy to get offended by feeling like someone is implying that we are somehow making up our condition. I understand when you say this was not your intent. The problem is so many doctors out there are very quick to discount women’s health struggles and it takes a great deal of energy to manage thyroid disease. We have probably all encountered doctors who roll their eyes and discount our struggles with weight loss, fatigue, etc. Whether or not the statistics show the high prevelance of hypothyroidism seems beside the point when so many of us are surrounded by others who are also struggling with this disease.

        • It is also my understanding that there are no national statistics kept on autoimmune disease (hashimotos thyroiditis, celiac, diabetes, etc.) There is a cancer database, but not an autoimmune database. Someone should start one — I think we would all be shocked by the numbers.

  75. I’m trying to understand how this post entitled “Ugly Lies Behind Obeisity Epidemic” is “geared towards healthy people”. Is it meant to make healthy people feel better that they are not obese by stating stats implying that there are a bunch of obese people out there hiding behind made-up diseases? How does one self-diagnose themself with hypo-thyroidism or adrenal fatigue? Doesn’t it take a doctor to diagnose these serious/real health issues? I don’t know, I think the points could have been made without throwing a whole bunch of people under the bus; especially those struggling with thyroid disease. One can find stats out there to write about many things; that doesn’t make it right.

    • Ella,

      I am not a medical doctor, but a medical writer with medical education. For these reasons my work is addressed and geared toward relatively healthy people who also happens to be overweight. By “relatively healthy” I mean people who aren’t being treated for clinical conditions with prescription medicines. On this site, these people are in the majority, or so I hope.

      I bet you wouldn’t bring your sparkling new Camry (a metaphor) to a rag tag mechanic for a check up. Why, then, you or anyone else would want to be “treated” for serious clinical disorders by a “rag tag” (a metaphor) medical writer.

      So if you are seeking a proper diagnosis for thyroid or adrenal disorders, you need to go to a “proper” doctor. And if you find her diagnosis lacking, seek out a second opinion for your utmost safety and peace of mind.

      And, incidentally, I don’t throw anyone “under the bus.” Nobody can through you under anything until you do it to yourself.

      • Thank you for responding. I must say, it is nice of you to take the time to address all of our concerns. I think you may have misunderstood; I was not seeking medical advice. My point was that I’m not sure how people would self-diagnose thyroid disease or adrenal fatigue without seeing a doctor. I think the main reason people are tested for these things is because of unexpected weight gain, fatigue, or depression. Most-often, I believe, from my experience, doctors do not test for thyroid or adrenal function first–they prescribe anti-depressants (which often causes more weight gain–oops!) So, I think the reason people may “feel” offended is that it is a real struggle to even get doctors to pay attention to thyroid disease, or to manage it properly. And if you are tired, depressed and, in a fog, it is unfortunately difficult to get up te energy to do the research on your own. In my opinion, it is depression that is over-diagnosed, not thyroid disease. And I worry that people may be discouraged from getting tested for thyroid disease if they read this article and “feel” someone is implying that their weight gain probably has nothing to do with their thyroid. P.S. I feel like I’m a pretty “healthy” person, even though I’m on thyroid meds (Armour). I definitley DID NOT feel healthy when I was on Synthroid. So I guess I have a different outlook on what makes a person unhealthy. But, again, thank you for taking the time to respond and spark the discussion.

        • Ella,

          You are very welcome. As I said before, it is my pleasure and privilege (courtesy of Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist) to participate in this forum and answer questions from you and other readers.

          Back to your comment: I don’t recall suggesting even once that people should self-diagnose themselves. To the contrary, I urge people to seek out specialists and get properly tested (and retested) if they suspect that they may have any of the conditions discussed in my article.

          As far as all other issues in your comment — depression vs. hypothyroidism, best medication, etc. — sorry, I have zero expertise in this subject. That’s why I encourage readers to describe their own experiences, and help others by sharing.

          Somehow, this good intent turned into flagellation and name calling. This not only doesn’t help anybody, but also turns away people who may actually benefit from this kind of constructive help.

          Thank you, Ella, for being civil!

          • Thank you. I don’t mean to talk in circles, but I did not mean to imply that you were suggesting to self-diagnose. My takeaway from the post is an implication that people are somehow self-diagnosing thyroid disease or adrenal disease as an excuse for weight gain–and I just don’t believe that is the case. So we can agree to disagree. Unfortunately, I think it takes women (and men) a lot to even go to a doctor and describe their problems with weight gain, depression, etc. I think most people just suffer on their own without medical care. The same I would assume is true with adrenal fatigue. I just don’t believe this is on many doctors’ radars. And I have heard that testing your adrenals is kind of involved (I have not done it because no endocrinologist has mentioned it). I would bet that most people do not take the steps to complete the testing, so accurate statistics would seem pretty difficult to come by.

          • Ella,

            You are very welcome. It isn’t my intent to imply anything. I am simply recounting my professional experience. If it isn’t pleasant to hear or read, sorry, but I don’t have another experience, and I am not a fiction writer. If anyone needs a good feel read, there is an app for that…

            I don’t know anything about the epidemiology of “adrenal fatigue” outside of what’s published in medical references. Judging by the amount of hatred toward me on this forum, no one who accused me of all mortal sins has it.

  76. Could you do an article for the 20% who do not have weight issues, but do have a family history of the diseases of affluence? As far back as I can go on both sides of my family, the women are very petite, even into old age. However we are no more healthy than our overweight neighbors.
    I wonder at your broad strokes regarding natural selection. One of my grandmothers was raised doing manual labor on a farm, being a similar size to Mrs. flockhart, but six inches shorter, did not keep her from doing her share of the work. My other grandmother was raised in poverty but despite her petite frame (4’11″) caught the eye of a man from a well to do family, in the early fifties. Didn’t Audrey Hepburn become popular in the 1950′s as well? All my grandparents came from large families, having six or more brothers and sisters, it seems unlikely that being petite was preventing the continuation of the family line. There has as yet been no c-sections in our family either. I fit in my grandmothers wedding dress and have given birth four times without medical intervention.
    Perhaps the belief in ‘good birthing hips’ is just an old wive’s tale?

    • MKC,

      In general, people who do not have a genetic ability to gain weight are more likely to succumb to liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke because their bodies can’t absorb excess energy as efficiency as of people who can accumulate fat easily. Also, genetically skinny people are less likely to survive a serious trauma, surgery, or infection because they don’t have enough internal resource (proteins, fats) to assure survival while their digestive organs are “shut.”

      In terms of safe pregnancy, it isn’t the shape of the mother that is so critical, but the size of the fetus. When there are plenty of foods (especially carbohydrates), fetuses tend to get larger, and this may lead to a great deal of mortality during natural childbirth not only due to the obstruction of the fetus, but also from a blood loss related to vaginal tears. Of course, these concerns aren’t as acute in countries with modern perinatal care as they were just a few generations ago, and are still today in underdeveloped countries.

      Also, if all family members are petite, fetuses follow the proportions of their parents. That’s just genetics. On the other hand, a very skinny woman among other petite women in her tribe with normal build will still carry a greater risk of stillbirth (due to trauma in a narrow vaginal canal) or maternal death during pregnancy (due to bleeding or obstruction) than her better developed peers.

  77. Thankyou for updating your post in regards to Hashimoto’s.
    From experience, it is very hard to hear from doctors and experts that your inability to lose weight is all an exuse, when you know for a fact you are following all the mainstream conventional advice to the letter.

    I originally lost about 20kg – the first ten by just cutting out junk and adding exercise, the next ten by attending weight watchers and a LOT of running.

    With about, 3kg to go of vanity weight, I got engaged, and decided to ramp up the diet and exercise to get them off for the wedding. I continued to measure, weigh and count every calorie that passed my lips, and ran for 50mins per day 5 days a week, one day per week I did a 2 hour run, and also weights twice per week. Minimum. I ran two half marathons in this time.

    In spite of this, I gained 5kg by my wedding, and was diagnosed with Hashimotos somewhere in there too.

    After my wedding, I went on honeymoon, and in spite of being quite restrained – very little alcohol, dessert maybe twice in over two weeks, salads, exercised every day etc – I gained another 5kg.

    My GP told me that I would always struggle with my weight, and that all I could do was eat even less + exercise more. I tried this for another few months and the weight DID NOT budge.

    Eventually I started researching on the internet, and tracked down a GP in another city who didn’t just look at the mainstream facts – i.e. t4 levothyroxine does NOT work for everyone, and that you can be hypothyroid even when you blood tests are ‘within’ range.

    She did a variety of tests, including testing my reflexes and detrmining that my metabolism was severely supressed, and I also had a high reverse t3 level – meaning that my body was taking all the t4, turning it to reverset3, which is both inactive and BLOCKS the active t3.

    I trialled a number of different drugs after that – combinations of t3 and t3 and slow release t3. Still had trouble losing weight – i.e. I did not lose any.

    I think did a 24hour salivary test for cortisol, and determined that I was very low in cortisol in the morning, and slightly too high at night – helped explain the tiredness and inability to sleep.

    Now that I am on a combo of low dose cortisol + t3 only, I FINALLY have started to lose weight (still counting my calories to 1300 net + exercise, no where near as much exercise as before, no running at all). It is slow – 1kg per month, but at least it is moving.

    My point is that there is a large movement of GPs etc who no longer buy into the mainstream thyroid advice, and understand that patients needed to be treated based on symptoms not arbitrary ranges in blood tests .

    • Lucy,

      Thank you for sharing this important information. Please let others know the name of your doctor, so they can consult a specialist who is well versed in this particular condition.

  78. This article was a bit of a let down. I was enjoying it, until he ended with saying basically that if you’re overweight you should just be happy that your metabolism is so good and be happy that you’re a vision of the picture of health during his mother’s generation. I get that this society worships stick figures as a picture of health and beauty, which is definitely wrong, but there was no “answer” for those struggling to lose weight, who really do need to…not just the pleasantly plump and healthy.

  79. Jodie Hagan via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    “The true “underactive thyroid” is a “can’t miss condition” because it refers to the inadequate levels of thyroid hormones. It is properly and objectively diagnosed not by measuring your basal body temperature, or evaluating your complaints, but by performing a blood test that determines the level of thyroid hormones in the blood.” This is COMPLETE AND TOTAL MALARKEY, BOLOGNA, BS AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKE REGARDING HYPOTHYROID.” I can’t stress enough how totally ignorant and dangerously stupid that comment is. The doctors who use blood tests as the “gold standard” leave many hypothyroid patients undiagnosed, and suffering for no good reason other than they don’t know how to think past seeing some ink dots on paper. Broda Barnes, MD diagnosed and treated thyroid conditions long before blood tests were developed. After the tests came out, he found that his “normal range” patients still had all the symptoms of hypothyroid and he treated them despite the blood tests. And with proper treatment with natural, not synthetic, thyroid medication, they all did very well under his care with complete elimination of their symptoms. Thank GOD for the Broda Barnes Institute and shame on all doctors who don’t treat the patient but instead treat numbers on a page.

    • Jodie,

      My post addresses three thyroid-related conditions that are codified in medical literature. The first one is called “hypothyroidism,” the second “sublclinical hypothyroidism (i.e. underactive thyroid),” and the third — “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.” These three conditions have a well defined set of diagnostic criteria. The epidemiology of thyroid disorders is based on these criteria, and so is their treatment.

      There may very well be other thyroid disorders that some people (or many, many, many other peoples) may have, and since I am not one of them, I can’t describe what I don’t know and what I can’t study from mainstream academic literature. Just like any other field, medicine is an evolving one, and new discoveries are quite possible thanks to the pioneers like Dr. Barnes.

      None of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are exclusive to this condition. Other conditions may have similar symptoms. It very well may be that by administering natural and extremely potent thyroid medications, the patient body is stimulated in the same way many people stimulate themselves with caffeine.

      Using successfully alternative approaches doesn’t mean that everyone else is involved into “COMPLETE AND TOTAL MALARKEY, BOLOGNA, BS AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKE REGARDING HYPOTHYROID,” but simply means that a disorder that you may have hasn’t been yet described in mainstream clinical literature.

      If Broda Barnes Institute can accomplish these excellent outcomes, I am sure their methods will find its way into mainstream medicine. Until then, I can only write about what I know.

      • I think you are opening up a huge can of worms by comparing natural thyroid meds (Armour, etc) to steroid use in athletes. If you read previous comments, you will see natural dedicated thyroid has been used for over 100 years to successfully treat hypothyroidism. Synthroid and the TSH test are the newcomers and are obviously not working very well for some people. And, yes, people taking natural thyroid meds have been diagnosed through thorough bloodwork (not just TSH) and obtain these meds via prescription. Synthroid has the backing of big-pharma, which has not served many of us well as far as finding open-minded physicians not clouded by pharma perks.

        • Ella,

          I am not comparing anything to anything. I am simply stating that any therapeutic substance, natural or synthetic, may have an effect just like [...name your favorite substance...] here.

        • Natural dessicated thyroid is used to treat all of the thyroid conditions you mention. It is not used to treat some newly imagined thyroid condition that has somehow just appeared on the scene. It is used in the same way as Synthroid to treat the same thyroid conditions and is prescribed by doctors who run bloodwork to check for the same conditions. The difference is that it contains both T3 and T4, not just the T4 that Synthroid contains and hopes we will convert into t3. So people taking natural thyroid meds are not just confusing our symptoms with other diseases–we have been diagnosed and have chosen Armour (etc) over Synthroid. I just wanted to clarify this.

          • Ella,

            My article doesn’t discuss or recommend any drugs or treatments. It is strictly between you and your medical provider. Take whatever is best for you.

            Let’s stop running a medical clinic here, and concentrate on the essence of my post: if you have misdiagnosed endocrine disorders — get the best treatment money can buy; if your are healthy — stop blaming imaginary conditions, and concentrate on modifying your diet and lifestyle.

  80. James Chanelle Neilson via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    This guy is a joke and I can’t understand why you are giving him a forum on your blog. If his post wasn’t bad enough, he is so condescending in his comments. Sarah, get back to what you do well and don’t let this clown drive your readership away!

    • James, I just checked, and there were 3665 Facebook shares, and 4125 other shares as of 12:18 am on Apr 7th. This is much better “social lift” than 95% of the articles on Slate, Huff Post, Lifehaker, and other national publications. Apparently, a lot of people don’t share your opinion, and they find this material engaging enough to share it with their trusted friends, some of whom will become new and welcome readers of this site.

  81. I’m not overweight, nor do I suffer from any of the health problems discussed in the article, but I still found it to be disappointing and inaccurate from a functional medicine/holistic perspective. The tone of the author, especially in some of the comments is a huge turn off.

  82. Jodie Hagan via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Seriously, no such thing as adrenal fatigue?!?! WHERE did you get this incredibly erroneous bunch of hog wash?? Talk to any certified naturopathic physician who has graduated from an accredited school of naturopathic medicine and get the whole story next time. As a person who has been treated for adrenal fatigue and has tests to PROVE that I had it, and also a person with hypothyroidism that was left untreated by stupid MD’s who offered me antidepressants (which have a terrible track record for working no better than a sugar pill placebo and having terrible side affects) because I was in the “low normal” range, I am deeply disappointed in this lopsided article that will only further serve to keep people with hypothyroidism untreated and keep people suffering needlessly. Such a shame! Three and a half lies written by Konstantin Monastyrsky! I’ll stop short at calling Konstantin a liar, and just call him ignorant.

    • I don’t believe you read my article. I never said anything like that (i.e. that “adrenal fatigue” doesn’t exist.) What I said is that many people with weight problem incorrectly believe that they may have this condition, and urged them to get tested.

  83. Elizabeth Bivens via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I’ve decided that I am no longer going to follow your page. Being healthy is my goal, not propaganda or misinformation.

  84. Konstantin,
    I’m confused. Earlier in this thread you stated you were a medical writer and implied you didn’t have other experience relevant to these topics. Are you referring to your experience as a medical writer or to something else.?

    Thanks

    Susan

    • Susan,

      I am referring to not having any experience in epidemiology and treatment of thyroid and adrenal disorders. There are total of about 10,000 endocrinologists in the United States who were specifically trained to treat these disorders.

      At best, there are 50 to 100 epidemiologists who track these conditions for academia, insurers, government agencies, and drug makers.

      The rest of the people in or near medicine have just as much experience with this subject as I do, and all of that “experience” comes from whatever we learned while in medical schools 10-20-30-40 years ago, or picked up in bits and pieces from medical journals, continuous education courses, conferences, and so on. That isn’t called expertise, but basic knowledge.

  85. These so called “lies” are probably not lies at all for anybody suffering out there, but indeed very real. It was my understanding when I was severely overweight that whatever the underlying cause, it would do me good to get much more deliberate about what I was consuming, and to exercise more and commit to it. All signs pointed towards limiting or removing sugar and grains. My result was a 63 pound loss in 8 months that has stayed off since. I blog about my lifestyle, for any interested, at http://www.facebook.com/truemarrow

  86. Karen Hobson via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Nuts. What most people mean by “bad metabolism” is that they have metabolic syndrome. This guy didn’t even address that.

    • Karen, a “syndrome”, isn’t a disease, but a medical term that means “a collection of symptoms.”

      Obesity happens to be one of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. My post mentions both conditions, and I will address them in future posts.

  87. Leanne Samuel via Facebook April 6, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Why are you posting this crap, yet again? I’ve about had it with the garbage that’s been posted here lately and this just tops it all.

  88. I’m really glad that someone else commented about how bloodwork is not an accurate depiction of hypothyroidism and about the work of broda barnes. I was so obviously hypothyroid, which I realized after the book Hypothyroidism by Mark Starr, but had never been diagnosed because my bloodwork looked normal. Hypothyroidism is actually an epidemic! It’s great that other readers were able to see the flaws in the article, and a relief to see people who are intelligent and think for themselves!

    • Mari,

      I am glad too. This diagnostic problem, however, has nothing to do with the essence of my post. And I updated my post to indicate that there may be errors in diagnostic of thyroid disorders. I also ordered Dr. Starr book, will study it as soon as it will arrive, and will update my post accordingly.

  89. This is too much, time t unfollow you.

    You are spreading dangerous misinformation and have gone from being someone that contributes to health to someone who threatens health by spreading woo and not science.

    I hope it was worth the readers you will lose.

  90. Rebekah Jones via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I will say that this particular article is very discouraging. I am trying to be patient and wait for the rest of the story but it is very hard. Sarah, you are normally very vocal with your commenters why are you silent now? This doesn’t seem like you.

  91. Kristine Smith Cocchiarella via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I am personally healing from adrenal fatigue, so I agree with you, Jodie!

  92. Kristine Smith Cocchiarella via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Again, I agree. SEVEN doctor’s misdiagnosed me and ended up causing my body to stop producing THREE major hormones on its own, burnt out adrenals, and I was slowly dying because they couldn’t look past their darned “ranges and tests”.

    It was a nutritionist that discovered what was wrong with me, and she hooked up with Dr. Diana Schwarzbein a good friend of hers, and together, they worked to heal my body.

    I still have to be on bio identical hormone therapy, but that phase in my life is coming to an end soon and I’m getting better and better every day and feeling so much better!!

    Women are SCREAMING to be heard and articles like this just push us back 50 years.

  93. Tracey Ginter via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 3:44 am

    I didn’t read this, yet, but thought I’d share. Going gluten free helps correct thyroid issues, as well as most other health issues. Going gluten free has helped gradually correct my hypothyroidism, and eliminated several other health issues. Going GF has ultimately lengthened and saved my life.

  94. Terrible, misinformed article, I have hashimotos, the most common cause of hypothyroidism. I’m not going to rant and rage but seriously? Go on to chriskresser.com and he will explain and inform you much better about the complex issue of autoimmune thyroiditis and other endocrine disorders. Just keep this blog to traditional foods which is what I like(d) it for. Your silence just says to me, that you think you’re right – which is a worry!

    • Have you ladies eaten one too many sprouted donuts that’s got your emotions in a tizzy? Give the guy a break and listen to what he’s saying. If I read the article correctly he is not saying that thyroid and adrenal problems don’t exist just that they are rare and limited to approximately 10% of the cases. The other 90% of issues with these glands generally stem from an autoimmune problem–like he said. And like chriskressor.com’s site states. Thus the immune system and lifestyle/nutrition need to be addressed rather than treating the symptoms. Unless perhaps it is too late and the gland has been destroyed then meds may be needed. Go get tested/treated, like he said, that’s not what he does.

      I am a CSCS and I too have heard “it’s my thyroid/adrenal/bad metabolism” from at least 9 out of every 10 female clients who are overweight over the years. Never heard it from a dude. And 10 times out of 10 it was their nutrition and sloth like behavior.

      I am enjoying the series; please keep telling it like it is.

      • Thank you, Paula, for sharing your experiences with the same subject. What’s interesting, when I was growing up and studying medicine and pharmacy, these autoimmune conditions were practically unheard of because all kids (and that’s Soviet Union some 40-50 years ago), were getting their weekly tablet of iodine to prevent thyroid problems. Technically speaking, we all suppose to get our iodine from iodized salt, but the same Government that puts iodine in salt tells everyone not to consume it. Go figure…

        • Unfortunately fluoride interferes with iodine in the body, in addition to being an endocrine disruptor and enzyme inhibitor. This is why so many people with hyopothyroid conditions try to avoid fluoride and so many others are iodine deficient. Unfortunately fluoride is in many things besides fluoridated water–it will be in any food or beverage processed with that water, any food treated with fluoride-containing pesticides, some teas, dental products, etc. Most of the rest of the world does NOT fluordiate their water. 98% of Europe does not fluroidate (some countries ban the practice) and yet they have the same rate of tooth decay as the US. Just another thing to ponder about our lack of iodine.

  95. Robin Kelman via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 6:31 am

    As a Geriatric RN and a sufferer of Hypothyroidism myself I find myself upset that you chose to post this article. I can say my personal and Professional life has proved to me metabolism issues are far from “rare”. The poor quality of life metabolic diseases/syndromes cause in the average population is rampant. I take excellent care of myself but still suffer from many issues from my Hypothyroidism and obesity is not one of them. If your trying to be controversial your succeeding, if your trying to be informative and help people quality of life, not so much.

  96. I think his perspective is challenging to the conventional mindset about weight loss. I can understand that some dont’ like his style or his perspective so please feel free to just not read his articles. They are only once per week. Some folks don’t care for the fitness articles either. I am trying to present a mix that will appeal to a wide range of readers. It is not expected that all articles will appeal to everyone.

  97. Unfollowing and removing my high praise and link to your blog from my website…this is dangerous to be messing around with. I am so disappointed with this article…if you think you may have a thyroid disorder PLEASE disregard all the dangerous information in this article and get yourself to a ND for testing!

  98. Karen Hobson via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Actually, it doesn’t need to be considered at all; if this is how he starts out, I’m simply not interested. He may be right about the thyroid issue, but not about metabolism. But you’re welcome to post what you wish; it’s your page, and I can choose not to read it. And I do.

    By the way, I have Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid that usually leads to hypERthyroidism, and oddly enough, I’m not thin. Nothing is simple.

  99. This is intriguing. I gained a lot of weight after I turned forty… 30 pounds over the course of 8 years. My traditional methods of tossing off the weight no longer worked… smaller portions, more lower fat meats and more vegetarian meals. I finally decided to do something about it when I had to buy the largest pair of jeans I’d ever had to wear. I researched diets to help with metabolism, assuming that something changed after I turned forty and picked up the South Beach Diet book. After cutting back on carbs in my diet I discovered something else. I’m gluten intolerant. Cutting out foods that contain gluten solved my intestinal issues, eased my chronic back pain, and cleared up my adult acne. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost almost all the weight I’d gained. Besides low carbing, I also cut out most processed foods, began eating whole foods, and cooking from scratch so I could be certain what I was putting into my body. My good triglycerides are so good, my MD told to keep doing whatever it is I’ve been doing. My hubby has been able to give up statins for his high cholesterol. Oddly enough, no one could accuse me of over eating when I gained my weight. It was not unusual for me to skip breakfast and lunch. Forcing myself to eat small portions of healthy food several times through the day was key in my weight loss. Face it. Our caveman ancestors didn’t say, “Ugg…sun say it 6:00 PM. Must eat meal now.” They foraged and ate through out the day, and they certainly didn’t eat Hamburger Helper.

  100. The purpose of this series is to ultimately help folks get results. I certainly do not want anyone to feel judged or feel bad about themselves. We all deserve to experience our best health and my hope is that this series can help in some way with folks resolving some of their weight challenges (including me!). I apologize if any of you have felt that way. That is certainly never was the intention of this series.

  101. Sarah, I am sticking with you and waiting to see how things pan out because I have learned so many incredible things from your blog. However, I consider this article to be tantamount to an article extolling a low fat diet or vaccines. It completely contradicts several previous articles on your site. I am not a big fan of the fitness articles either, but at least they are not promoting overtly inaccurate health dogmas. The above article could really set someone behind and I can think of dozens of natural minded doctors who have scientific proof that hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, and low metabolism are very common and usually don’t show up in blood tests. Please do not continue to spread the misinformation and potentially harm others.

  102. Agreed. The author is parroting the conventional medicine crowd, who also don’t believe in adrenal fatigue. The only thing recognized by conventional medicine is Addison’s disease because that is what can be revealed through blood tests. Adrenal fatigue is actually much, much more common than what the author states and it cannot be tested through typical blood tests. The author is so misinformed that this is painful to read. It’s disappointing.

  103. Laurie Williams Broucek via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

    This guy is offensive at best. He may have some truths in what he says, but who wants to weed through the insults to find them. You are losing a lot of credibility by having him continue to post this nonsense on your site.

  104. Thank you for such an enlightening series on weight, weight loss, and obesity! It has been so wonderful to read each article. I am looking forward to the future ones you will write. In particular, thank you for addressing some common lies we hear and then attribute to weight gain. The previous article you wrote in particular (one calorie for him, half calorie for me) was so incredibly common sense yet eye opening – I CAN’T eat the same amount as my husband who weighs 80+ lbs more than me, even if I am eating healthy and nutrient dense foods, and I shouldn’t be trying to. Thank you!
    Nourished for Free\’s last post: The Almond Flour Sweet Treats Cookbook: Favorite Paleo Desserts is Now Available for Immediate Download!

  105. Lacie Parker via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

    The only people offended are people who’s way of thinking/lives are being challenged. I loved the article and i love his style and straightforwardness. I wish everyone threatening to unlike this page would hurry up and do so, so i wont have to read their whiny comments.

    • Lacie, thank you! The people who got so offended have a legitimate beef with the system. It wasn’t my intent to rub them off the wrong way, but that’s what has happened. Didn’t realize that this subject is so sensitive and raw. I revised the content of my article to reflect their concerns.

  106. Dee Ellen via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Synthroid is the 3d most prescribed drug in the US. So, yes, hypothyroidism is common. And a common result of hypothyroidism is weight gain. And a common problem with synthetic thyroid drugs is that many patients continue to be symptomatic, meaning they continue to struggle with weight, fatigue, depression. So, yes, maybe (if they have the energy), they turn to diet experts for help. And so then to have these experts discount them seems like a really cruel twist. It is not some far-fetched thing that someone would associate their inability to lose weight with their thyroid issues. Maybe a diet expert could say “Yes, this is very common in people with thyroid disease and some people have trouble converting t4 only drugs, and here are some resources and some other tests your doctor may want to run to make sure your thyroid and adrenals are functioning priperly.”. Seriously, there are so many endocrine disrupters in our environment these days. I don’t think you are going to find many medical professionals who would claim endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism are not on the rise. I was in a group of 4 women the other day and 3 of us had hypothyroidism, all of us in our 40s. Yes, there are many foods to eat and foods (and fluoridated water) to avoid to help thyroid health, which is why many of us follow Sarah’s blog. But please don’t push people down the hill who are struggling everyday without much help from the medical community.

  107. Dee Ellen via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

    And maybe the author did touch on some of this in his article, but not before first implying that most of us are basically big fat liars.

  108. “Synthroid is the 3d most prescribed drug in the US. So, yes, hypothyroidism is common.” oh yes, it must be true, because doctors NEVER prescribe drugs people don’t need nor do they misdiagnose people on purpose for the almighty $. /sarcasm

  109. They all have these disfunctions because of overweight. I have read this Monastyrskyi before, im not a follower of his, not because he is straightforward, but because he is a low fat diet guy, so it is a contradiction to WAPF. I think she is discrediting herself.

    • Davia,

      This is simply not true. I myself get 50% to 60% of my calories from fat. Here is my public position on fats. It is exact same as WAPF:

      Q. Why dietary fat is important for health and longevity
      People who don‘t consume adequate amounts of fat regularly may develop the following disorders:

      – Constipation, because dietary fat is a primary stimulant of the gastrocolic reflex.

      – Gallbladder disease, because dietary fat is the sole stimulus for the release of bile. If bile isn‘t regularly released from the gallbladder, bile salts may form gallbladder stones.

      – Acute cholecystitis, because unused bile salts or gallbladder stones may obstruct the hepatic (bile) ducts – the outlet tubes that connect the liver to the gallbladder and duodenum [link].

      Weight gain and obesity, because dietary fat is a primary substance behind the control of satiety, hunger, and appetite.

      – Enterocolitis (inflammatory disease of the small and large intestine) because underutilized bile causes inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and diarrhea.

      – All forms of bone and joint diseases (tooth loss, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rickets, scoliosis, and osteomalacia, rheumatoid arthritis), because dietary fat is essential for absorption of vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium in the small intestine.

      – Rapid vitamin D deficiency and all related disorders, because an absence of dietary fat prevents the absorption of dietary vitamin D and reabsorption of the endogenous vitamin D secreted with bile.

      – Heart disease and hypertension, because vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium regulate contraction and relaxation of smooth (blood vessels) and cardiac (heart) muscles.

      – All kind of skeletal-muscular disorders, such as fibromialgia, for the same reasons as above.

      – Blood disorders, because dietary fat is essential for absorption of dietary vitamin K a coagulation factor, and because essential fatty acids are required in the “manufacture” of blood cells.

      – Impaired immunity, night blindness, and skin disorders, because dietary fat is essential for absorption of vitamin A.

      – A broad range of cognitive dysfunctions, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory disease, infertility, amenorrhea, nerve damage, cancers, and other conditions, related to acute deficiency of essential fatty acids.

      – Cellulite and other skin disorders, related to overconsumption of vegetable fats to satisfy cravings while avoiding animal fat.

      – Undesirable exposure to unstable trans and rancid fats in all vegetable oils, which are considered the primary triggers of inflammatory diseases (digestive, cardiovascular, atherosclerosis, joints, asthma), and cancer.

      Why, then, is Uncle Sam telling you not to consume animal fats? It‘s simple – vegetable fat costs a penny a pound to produce, while quality animal fat is much more expensive. Ages ago, the agro-industrial oligopolies funded academic research to “prove” the benefits of vegetable fats, lobbied the government, and spread enormous amounts of disinformation through the trade groups. This has been going since the beginning of the 20th century, with the advent of margarine and related technologies to package and resell vegetable fats.

      At one point everyone began to believe their own lies, and they became the “truth.” This happening has two names – groupthink and mass psychosis. The advent of vegetable fats and the disgrace of animal fats very much parallels the advent of dietary fiber. And, just like with fiber, its affects aren‘t immediately apparent, and take a long time to develop. It‘s not really a conspiracy per se, but more like a collective stupidity.

      You won‘t find a reputable scientist or doctor attacking these points, because all of the above is broadly taught in every biology, physiology, and medical biochemistry class, and isn‘t a subject of debate. Yes, some paid PR flacks from trade groups may shill and shrill, but their opinion in this debate is just as relevant as angry barks behind the fence, particularly in the Internet era.

      What you‘ve just learned isn‘t an invitation to consume unlimited fats, animal or vegetable alike, as Dr. Atkins once recommended. Dietary fat digests almost completely and the excess is deposited under the skin as fat for storage. The “excess” is the difference between the fat used by the body for energy and plastic needs (to make cells, hormones, etc.) and all digested fat.

      Your energy needs vary, depending on your carbohydrate consumption. The plastic needs are in the ballpark of 1 gram per 1 kg of body weight. In other words, if you consume adequate amounts of carbs and proteins, and weigh 70 kg, consuming about 100 g of fat will not increase you weight. (The extra 30 grams are for losses from stools, cellular uptake in the intestines, and inefficiency in digestion.)

      The longevity diet (i.e. basic nutrition) is naturally moderate-to-low in fat, because natural meats, fowl, fish and seafood, and fermented dairy are relatively low in fat. In fact, most of the excess of fat consumption in the American diet is coming from vegetable oils well hidden in fried foods, sauces, dressings, and mayonnaise. If you exclude all vegetable oils from your diet, you aren‘t likely to consume excess animal fat, unless you do it consciously and intentionally.

      Also, note that sometimes I recommend an increase in animal fat (butter) consumption because it‘s essential to overcome digestive disorders and related conditions. Once you normalize your situation, you can resume moderate fat consumption.

      Finally, if you are overweight, then, with the exception of essential fatty acids from liquid fish oil, you don‘t need any additional fat. Your body will supply all the fat you need for energy and plastic metabolism. This is, in fact, the most reliable method of weight loss. Still, you need to consume moderate amounts of fat to prevent hepatic and intestinal dysfunctions, listed in the bullet points below.

      Excerpted from the “THE INGREDIENTS OF LONGEVITY NUTRITION” essay http://www.gutsense.org/gutsense/nutrition.html

      Please don’t spread the falsehoods.

  110. Dee Ellen via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I don’t know, I have never met anyone who was able to fake thyroid disease, nor have I read anything (before this) claiming that people were doing so. All of the literature I have read points to the fact that thyroid disease is being under-diagnosed (and treated as depression) and mis-managed.

  111. It is very disappointing to read all of the negative comments, I thought we were a group of people who are always looking outside of the box. I too disagree with this article and feel it is contradictory to most of the lectures I was at at the Detroit MI WAP conference, but to stop following ones blog cuz of one article sounds like something mainstream people do not us Westy’s.

  112. Dee Ellen via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    IMO, if people believe they have thyroid issues or adrenal fatigue they should find a qualified doctor and get a complete bloodwork panel done ASAP. I do believe if you catch it early enough you might be able to control it without meds. Overall good diet and exercise will help either way, I think. But if people wait to get checked because someone makes them feel like it is all in their head, thyroid health may continue to deteriorate. I’m now on Armour, but I continue to look for ways to help my thyroid through diet, etc. I would love to avoid meds, it may be too late, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Avoiding gluten seems to be helping, but make sure you get tested before starting this if you suspect Celiac–going gluten free before testing can affect this bloodwork. Unfortunately mainstream doctors may not be able to give you much nutritional advice; that’s why it’s nice to find supportive thyroid health forums.

  113. I find several problems with this article. For starters, the pictures above it are demeaning and insulting to anybody who has tried, without success, to lose weight for much of their lives (face it, people don’t WANT to be overweight).

    As a child, teenager and young woman I was a stick and seriously underweight. Then, when pregnant with my first child, I kept gaining weight, and was completely unable to lose it again. I’ve had five live children, and eight miscarriages, meaning I was for much of my adult life either pregnant, nursing or recovering from miscarriages.

    It turns out that doctors missed the diagnosis of Celiac disease all my life, until I figured it out myself when I was 52.

    The reality is, that unexplained weight GAIN can be a sign of severe malnutrition too, but most people think that malnutrition always causes weight loss.

    But eating food that for me was pure poison for over fifty years wrecked my adrenal glands and thyroid, as well as my lungs. And it did mess with my metabolism, in fact, it slowed it way down.

    As a result I am not just gluten intolerant, but carbohydrate intolerant. I can’t eat any grains or starches (other than carbs from non-starchy vegetables) without instantly gaining weight. That took me a while to figure out. Right now all I am eating is meat, fat and some vegetables, to (as my naturopathic doctor says) ‘reset’ my metabolism to function again as it should.

    BUT I LOOK perfectly healthy, which will fool people into thinking I am just fat because I overeat. In fact, I’ve found out over the years, that the less I eat, the more I gain. On the other hand, eating lots of meat and saturated fats is the only way for me to lose weight.

    The biggest problem in today’s society is the government’s food pyramid, which is all wrong. It is the cause of the obesity epidemic. People that follow this ‘healthy’ eating chart will end up not so healthy.

    As for you advice of only eating white rice….. you might as well tell people to eat sugar with a spoon right out of the sugar bowl. White rice (as well as other white grains) will be turned instantly into sugar by the body, which is NOT a good thing!

    I am not only intolerant to gluten grains, but to ALL grains, including rice. Rice (even white rice) isn’t as hypoallergenic as you think it is. Not to mention, that if I would eat white rice, it would make me gain weight (and I’m not the only one who has that problem).

    And no, my family never ate junk. I have five slim kids (and now 17 slim grandchildren)… I’ve always been the ONLY one in my family who was overweight. When you have one overweight person in a large family, who all eat the same healthy foods, then it has nothing to do with what that person eats, but it shows that something must be wrong.

    • Ursula,

      Consider the following quote from the research paper entitled “Why Is the Obesity Rate So Low in Japan and High in the U.S.? Some Possible Economic Explanations“:

      “More than one billion adults are overweight worldwide, and more than 300 million of them
      clinically obese, raising the risk of many serious diseases. Only 3.6 percent of Japanese have a
      body mass index (BMI) over 30, which is the international standard for obesity, whereas 32.0
      percent of Americans do. A total of 66.5 percent of Americans have a BMI over 25, making
      them overweight, but only 24.7 percent of Japanese”

      http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/14321/1/tr06-02s.pdf

      White rice happens to be a main staple of Japanese diet from crib to grave.

      My recommendations to eat rice are intended for people with severe digestive disorders because white rice is the least allergenic from all grains, it is unprocessed, it is easy to cook, and it provided 96% pure starch essential for people to prevent muscle wasting. If not rice, what else?

      • NOBODY needs any grains or starches to prevent muscle wasting. The Inuit used to eat NOTHING but meat, fish and blubber, and they certainly didn’t suffer from muscle wasting. In fact, they were perfectly healthy until they started adopting a western diet, including loving tea with LOTS of sugar.

        There are lots of people like me who eat no grains or starches, and I have never heard that without starch you would suffer from muscle wasting, that simply isn’t true.

        http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/

        • Ursula,

          Technically speaking, that is correct. Humans (non-Inuit) can live on fat and proteins alone for a while, assuming they get supplemental vitamin C. In fact, my next post will be exactly about this subject.

          Alas, I am not Inuit, and neither 99,99999999% of my readers. To eat like Inuit you also need to be born Inuit, live like Inuit, and have the same evolutionary adaptation as Inuit to a diet with minimal or no vitamin C.

          According to the mortality records of Inuit population between 1822 to 1836 (way, way, way before Western influences), the life expectancy of Inuit in traditional settings was 43.5 years excluding infant mortality. It may had been higher if not for their contact with outsiders (who brought along infective diseases), but not significantly higher. (Source: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/07/mortality-and-lifespan-of-inuit.html)

          Also, one must be relatively young or super-healthy to live on meats and fats alone, because most adults over age fifty don’t have good enough teeth to consume only meats, or suffer from the condition called “atrophic gastritis,” or their bodies are no longer producing sufficient amounts of gastric acid and digestive enzymes to properly digest and assimilate animal proteins, or all of the above.

          • I don’t know how old you are, but I will be sixty years old in a month. And I do quite well on the above mentioned diet. In fact, when I eat anything other than meat, fat and a few vegetables, I don’t feel so good, and I gain more weight.

        • Usula. you would be amazed at the amount of lichens, berries and greens that are consumed by this people group. It is a mistake to perpetuate this myth that they never ate carbs.

      • An explanation of the situation relating to the Japanese diet you mention (cut and paste): “youtube: Gary Taubes on carbohydrates and degenerative disease” (only 6.11 mins.)

  114. I found your comments about nutrient metabolism very interesting. I had Grave’s Disease in my late 20ties. I was off the charts but thankfully my endocrinologist worked with me and got it under control without touching my thyroid. At the same time my cholesterol was below the “good” range. I was wasting away. All is well with me now except I struggle to get my vitamin D level up and I think it’s because I don’t metabolize cholesterol well. Any advice on that?

    Also, I love your comment “there is no point in berating me for providing essential information.”

    • Hi Sheena,

      I used to always have vitamin D levels in the lower end of the recommended range (in the 30s)… but since I started to take vitamin K2, my D levels have skyrocketed. Look into this. I have always taken Vitamin D3 supplements, but only until I added my K2 supplement in did my D levels go up. I have read that D3 doesn’t work without the K2. There are a few foods that have K2 in them, specifically natto, and I know raw milk and dairy has some, but not in the amounts of natto. Good luck.

      • We do take FCLO and consume raw dairy. But I can see how it could be a K2 issue. On occasion I have had signs of a K deficiency.

        • Sheena, I really don’t know. Sarah has written a lot on this subject. Please try to go through her posts. She also talks about it a lot in her book, and cites relevant literature. I highly recommend reading her book. Hopefully, you’ll find relevant information, and share it here.

    • Sheena,

      Thank you. Please don’t try to “chase” the blood test. Just take fermented or cold pressed liquid cod liver oil, or supplement with natural vitamin D, and you’ll be fine. The current consensus is that up to 2,000 U.I. is safe. If you’ll be getting all of your vitamin D from liquid CLO, watch out for exceeding safe levels of Vitamin A.

    • Ella,

      You are very welcome. I am not after a scandal or ratings, but after providing quality information. Didn’t realize that people with endocrine disorders are so under-served by medical community, or that the treatments may be ineffective for so many.

  115. Jodie Hagan via Facebook April 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Traci, it takes time! I just listened to a story of a gal who went to her naturopath every 6 months for 4 years and is now doing great. I still take adrenal supplements (Cytozyme-AD and Drenatrophin) and your B vitamins are very important, especially B5. Find a good naturopath and keep going – it takes a lot of messing around every few months for the proper dosages.

  116. thehealthyhomeeconomist: I don’t feel judged or bad. I feel that this information is not scientific and is just woo made up by this person based on anything BUT science.

    Nothing they say affects me in any way, but I know bad science and bad information when I see it and I don’t waste my time on things that are detrimental to my (or others) health.

    He can change the way he says things and it still won’t matter, he is wrong and can cost people their lives if they follow his advice.

  117. thehealthyhomeeconomist: I don’t feel bad or judged. I know this is nothing but nonsense and has no basis in actual science.

    He can reword and say things differently but the fact is that he doesn’t know what he is talking about and he peddles dangerous advice that could cost people their lives.

    If it’s true that you get messages believing this nonsense I worry for the health of those people because following this advice is a sure way to make yourself worse, not better.

  118. People…y’all are freaking out and not really understanding the intent of this article. Perhaps it would be better to work on your reading comprehension skills before you eviscerate someone….who has not said what you are screaming that he has said. I find reading these irate comments absolutely hysterical.
    Konstantin…I am intrigued and in it for the long haul. Thank you for your honesty.

    • Chrissy,

      Please note that I updated the article with extra information to make stronger accent on things that other readers have found lacking, and rearranged it’s sequence somewhat. So some of the earlier negative comments are justified.

      In fact, I’ve decided to write this book in this very public way because I don’t work directly with clients, and crave feedback from people who are the prospective readers if my future book.

      I am looking forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations with the rest of this series.

  119. I’m no specialist in any of these issues and can not take a stand on the scientific content. But if your goal is to be read in the future, I would strongly suggest that you partner with a ghost writer or somebody like that who could soften the way you deliver your message. A more respectful tone would go a long way. I do not believe that you intend it that way but never the less it is comes out and is perceived by many in that sense (disrespectful and inconsiderate). This is a communication problem first and for most.

    • Marie,

      Thank you for your suggestion. Please kindly point out the lines/paragraphs in my article(s) that sound disrespectful and/or inconsiderate, so my editors and I will know what to look for. I welcome all other readers of this forum to point out to anything that you may perceive that way as well. Thank you to all.

  120. You are still wayyyyyyyyyyyy off the mark in your percentages of people who are hypothyroid. You need to go do some more research.

    And as for you comments about Clarista…you are completely off the mark there also. I myself only weighed 89 lbs (I’m 5’3″ tall by the way) when I got pregnant with my first child. I too have a very small frame and had very narrow hips. It only took me 4 hrs from the time that my labor started until I had my daughter (she weighed 7 lbs). My second child…I weighed 90 lbs when I got pregnant with him and it only took me 2 hrs to have him (he weighed 8 lbs). My third child…I weighed 95 lbs when I got pregnant with him and it only took me 1/2 hr to have him (he weighed 5 lbs).

    So don’t go blowing smoke up your butt because you just don’t seem to know what you are talking about. I can refute almost everything that you say with experiences of my own or someone close tome.

  121. Thank you for your post. I will be buying your books right away:) I am 28 yrs old and have always been confused on what a good weight loss diet plan should be.I have been on the WAPF diet for two years off and on but still not sure of how to break it down and what size portions I should be eating and how much exercise I should be doing. These post have made me get off my couch and start moving. I have lost 16 lbs and joined a crossfit gym, I go twice a week and love it. Being a stay at home mom of two very active little girls should have been enough motivation but your post just made a light go off for me. Like, this is how it’s done, you took the guessing out of dieting and broke it down for me. Thanks, Sara

    • Sara,

      You are very welcome. I hope everyone who can, will follow your example. Nothing turns on weight loss as well as good mood. And nothing delivers good mood as well as good exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be gym or anything intense — just a quick 15-20 minute walk twice a day and some basic stretch-ups in the morning. They turn on metabolic burners for the rest of the day and night, and improve sleep, mood, energy better than food, sex, or anything else.

      Portion sizes — we’ll come to that… I can’t jump into this subject until you understand the strategy behind my program, or the “why?” part. Once the “why?” is clear, the “what,” “when,” and “how” parts are easy.

  122. Konstantin,

    I am really enjoying your posts and learning from you. I am anticipating learning more and look forward to reading future posts. As a mom of 2, in my early thirties, nursing, and overweight as long as I can remember, your posts are very applicable to me.

    I appreciate your thoroughness and honesty as you post and respond to comments.

    Thank you,

    Rachel

    • Rachel,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I look forward to hearing more of your feedback. Safe and effective weight loss is a challenge and hard work. But it can be done with a right framework, right technique, and right attitude. I’ll do my best to help you and others to attain this goal. Attitude and fortitude are the things that I can’t influence, but they are just as critical, if not more, than what to eat and what not.

  123. How the heck do I unsubscribe from the comments. I wanted to only subscribe to replies to my original comment, not listen to this whole babble goopedy goo going on. I get so upset and frustrated with each new email, knowing how wrong and “holier than thou” the author is. I will make sure not to ever comment on the Healthy Home Economists’ blog anymore.

  124. Also, the “4″ misconceptions… you DO understand that hypothyroidism IS under-active thyroid? cause you have it listed in the pic as 2 separate things.. So, if you’re going to keep “correcting” your wrong article, it should be 3 things, not 4.

    • These are two different conditions. What you refer to as “underactive thyroid,” clinicians refer to as “subclinical hypothyroidism.” My article addresses both conditions in separate subsections because they have different symptoms, different diagnostic criteria, different epidemiology, and different treatment. Have you read the article, or just seen the picture?

  125. Joanna Katherine April 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Konstantin,
    Regarding all of these conditions, I’m wondering if you have information on the affects of heavy metals, particularly mercury from amalgam fillings, on these systems of the body. In his book “Amalgam Illness” Andrew Cutler, PhD, PE discusses how mercury sits on the binding sites of the thyroid affecting it’s communication with the other systems of the body in a way that would not be detectable via thyroid testing but would affect function. (Those are not his exact words but my takeaway from reading his book.) The other systems of the body would be similarly affected by the presence of mercury or other toxic heavy metals. Cutler is a lot like you in that he had health issues and did his own research (he’s a chemist) to find the answers. Anyway, I’m picking up what your laying down in this article but I’m wondering how many people my be affected by dental mercury in the body and don’t really know it because it is so elusive. (Myself included.) My hope is that the strategies you will present will be successful even in the presences of what could be “hay wired” systems.

    • Joanna,

      I am well familiar with this issue since I had numerous amalgam fillings myself, and wrote about them extensively in my Russian-language books. Also my current dentist was one of the pioneers in using composite filling materials, and he removed them back in the early 90th. And it isn’t just mercury that is a definite endocrine and metabolic disruptor, but also lead, aluminum, copper, cadmium, and some others.

      They all may impact the rate of weight loss in the same way they impact the rest of the body, but, unfortunately, there are no strategies to know to what extent or how to remove them from the body with methods other than IV chelation with EDTA. Some people take oral EDTA, but it isn’t likely to be as effective in removing heavy metals from the bone, adipose, and brain tissues as IV therapy.

  126. Is this a joke? So hormone imbalance only becomes a problem when it reaches the point of disease or disorder? Isn’t it better to address the issues before they reach that level of severity? Cortisol drives glucose into the bloodstream, so sustained high levels can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually diabetes. Further, we can develop resistance to other hormones as well as insulin, so even if you body is producing the hormone(s) in sufficient amounts, you may not be able to process it.

  127. While I commented in length in a previous post, as to many ways I thought this article was lacking, the article also failed to address undernourishment issues that go hand in hand with Hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroid patients (Hashimotos, Graves, etc). These patients, like myself, often have issues with nutritional absorption – among the most dominant of these is iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D, pernicious anemia is common among Hashimoto’s patients and ferritin levels should be checked. Because many autoimmune patients have compounding autoimmune issues, it is not uncommon for a Hashimoto’s patients to have a gluten sensitivity at minimum or celiac’s disease at worst. However most MD’s will want to run a blood test for gluten sensitivity, which is fairly unreliable due to the fact that one has to have reached a progression of the disorder to have developed a leaky gut for a blood test to show positive, and a stool test is far more reliable.
    Patients with prolonged untreated hypothyroidism, no matter the cause, also have a large risk of leptin resistance. Once a patient becomes leptin resistant the body no longer moves fat out of adipose tissue properly to be used. Once a patient has progressed to this level of metabolic disorder it is not uncommon for a hypothyroid patient to metabolize 600 to 800 less calories a day than would be normal, at this level of disorder a hypothyroid patient can put on significant amounts of weight very quickly.

  128. To anyone reading the above page on this blog please don’t ignore your symptoms. Research much more current information than is presented here. I find the above article to be quite damaging and am very disappointed to see it here.

    For much better info re Thyroid and Adrenal Health try ‘Stop the Thyroid Madness’ ‘Thyroid Power- Dr Shames’ ‘Mary Shomon’ ‘Dr Sara Gottfried’ ‘Outsmart disease’ Gena Nolan’s Thyroid Sexy facebook page for info and support’ ‘Magdalena Wszelaki’ etc etc etc

  129. I recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hormone-Cure-Naturally-Gottfried/dp/1451666942 to the author of this post, and to anyone reading this article who might be discouraged by the misinformation presented here. This book was written by a Harvard-educated, holistic gynecologist who has suffered from hormonal imbalance herself, and found a way to heal from it. Honestly, I don’t think a man should be writing on this topic anyway. Women are tens of times more likely to suffer from hormonal imbalance than men, and a man will never understand what it means unless he himself has been through it.

    • Bailey, it would help a great deal to me and to other readers if you’ll point out what you consider “misinformation.” Besides, my book isn’t about hormonal disorders, but about weight loss failures, and it is intended for men and women alike.

      Will it be helpful to all women who are affected by “hormonal imbalance?” Yes, it may when it comes to the issues such as constipation, insomnia, hypoglycemia, anemia, dehydration, and similar othres.

      Will it fix their hormonal problems? It may for some because what some people consider the symptoms of underactive thyroid or adrenal fatigue may also be the symptoms of hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, overhydration, and undernutrition. I am sure in many instances all three or two conditions run concurrently.

      I do encourage everyone to read recommended books. If they’ll work for you — great, but, by themselves, they will not solve your problems with weight loss, but only enable it.

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