I felt very tired, generally unwell, like, all the time. It was preventing me from training. I had a sore throat that lasted for weeks, and it was also affecting my voice. I became really concerned. Someone suggested thyroid, because I was ‘at that age’ so I looked it up. I found a list of thyroid related symptoms. I could tick off over half of them.
So I went to see the doctor. He referred me to a specialist. After some examination, some tests, and umms and ahs, he said he wasn’t sure. There were thyroid anti bodies present. That usually meant it was going into failure, but I would need to be monitored, and we would have to wait and see which way the thyroid went, hypo or hyper, under or over active. I was examined for nodules, but there were none present.
With symptoms that could include muscle weakness, weight gain, exhaustion, and memory loss, was almost beside myself. I couldn’t possibly just WAIT for something, I was an athlete for goodness sake! I thought we’d never come back from that one. I felt my life was, at best, on hold, and at worst, over.
I was told to get on with it, and go back for 6 monthly blood tests.
At the same time, coincidentally, I decided to to using the weight watchers diet for weight maintenance. I couldn’t sustain it, and still train at the level I wanted to. Little did I know:
“…the caloric content as well as the composition of the diet, specifically, the carbohydrate content, can be important factors in regulating the peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones.”[Danforth 1979]
Carbohydrate actually modulates thyroid function, and the symptoms of thyroid disease are all many of the same symptoms as severe thyroid hormone deficiency. This excellent article by Dr Cate explains how going very low carb can trigger thyroid troubles in more detail.
What I didn’t know was that my decision to step off the very low fat weight watchers diet, actually saved my thyroid.
After going back onto a full fat diet, I decided to complete a nutritionist course to learn more about all the other elements to nutrition, weight maintainable, health and fitness.
For two years now I have had 6 monthly thyroid blood tests. My tests are clear. I no longer have thyroid anti bodies, and I no longer have any of the symptoms that I used to have. I effect, adding fat into my diet cured me.
Take this as a warning, people. It is vital for long term health that you sustain a well balanced diet, full of all the nutrients that are required. Your body needs fat in order to work properly.
Make sure your diet isn’t the death of you.