For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my weight. I have lost and gained, restricted, counted calories, scanned barcodes, lived on preprepared meals but nothing has stuck. Almost five years ago, we decided to start trying to have children and build the family we had imagined for so long. We tried for just over a year before seeking medical advice. Despite my being overweight, all my blood results returned normal with the exception of one. My Throid Stimulating Hormone. A normal reading is 0.4-4mmol/L, mine was 28mmol/L. At the time I didn’t have a regular GP and the lady I saw for this one check up decided that my issue was actually Polycystic Ovaries and referred me to an IVF clinic.
Incidentally I was discussing the TSH with one of the doctors at work who quite literally said to me, “your thyroid is f*cked” and got me into an endocrinologist that afternoon. Within six weeks of that appointment and starting treatment for hypothyroidism, I was pregnant. I remained on medication throughout my pregnancy with monthly checks and at four months after J was born, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome was confirmed.
Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, affecting its ability to function correctly and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. The symptoms can include fatigue and sluggishness, weight gain, poor memory aka “brain fog”, swollen face, dry hair/skin/nails, high cholesterol, hoarse voice, hair loss and heavy menstrual bleeding. These combined with the symptoms of polycystic ovaries (irregular menstrual cycles, obesity, sleep apnoea, excessive facial hair, hair loss, mood changes and reduced fertility) make for a whole pile of really fun symptoms one can enjoy. The kicker is that although these conditions can be medicated for symptom relief there is no true cure, and a significant risk of developing serious health issues such as diabetes in the long run.
As time has progressed, and I’ve been medicated for both conditions I’ve found that while some symptoms have improved, others remain unchanged (hello brain fog). I’ve also heard a lot of anecdotal outcomes where people have found significant improvement and even resolution of symptoms with diet changes alone. A number of posts in journals, blogs and alternative health pages suggest a number of patients have reported benefits in a gluten and dairy free diet, low in sugar.
Now I’ve been writing this post for a few weeks, thinking I’ll share it once I’ve started cutting these things from my diet. But as I sit here eating a puff pastry apple jaffle, washed down with a hot choccy I realise I need to bite the bullet and just get started. It’s not an easy diet change, especially when also factoring in meal prep for my three fussy men, plus egg and nut allergies. I’m hoping that by actually sharing the change I’m planning, it will motivate me to follow through in the day to day.
My diet generally leaves much to be desired, but eating for my health with the dual purpose of reducing plastic use in our household should see a vast improvement. I’m not silly enough to think it will be easy, so if we cross paths IRL any time soon, smack the sourdough from my hand and steer me away from the chocolate aisle because I’m pretty sure I’ll need all the help I can get in these early days.