Today I weighed in at 109 lbs. Now, before everyone goes crazy – that’s a perfectly normal weight for my stature. I am only 5’2 when I wake up in the morning. I eat plenty and breastfeed like a champ. Also, I am not telling you this to rub it in your face or make you feel bad if you don’t weight 109 lbs. I am telling you because it is part of my story… ugh, let’s just start from the beginning.
I have been thin my entire life. I never weighed over 100 lbs until after I was out of high school. I started college and busted through that freshman 15 fast with a diet of beer and pizza. I then lost back to around 100 lbs by exercising 2 times a day and taking Trimspa like an idiot. I stayed there for a long time. I went through of lot of crap we won’t get into but let’s just say I was unhealthy and had a very bad eating habit, or lack of eating habit. Also I am sure stress attributed to a lot of it. I was working at Hollister at the time and I remember having size 00 jeans that were loose on me. Looking back at pictures I was a frail thin, fragment of a girl. Even my posture suggested image issues.
You can see in the bottom right pic, my legs compared to the other girls are twigs.
Fast forward to 24 years old. I am divorced and living hard. Adjusting to being divorced at only 24 years old was stressful. None of my friends were divorced and I was pretty much alone and recovering from a slew of emotional issues. I decided to get a breast augmentation to help with my body image issues that had risen during my marriage. I know. Trust me you don’t have tell me all the different ways this was unhealthy both physically and mentally. I freakin know. Also yes I have looked into having them removed but I didn’t want to interfere with my ability to breastfeed. I will probably have them removed in the future. I am 99% sure that my implants, along with emotional trauma, are what triggered my Hashimoto’s. About a year later I met Ken and soon after started the LPN to RN bridge program ( oh look, more stress). Around that time I started having all the symptoms that I would later realize, was my Hashimoto’s presenting itself. I went to doctors who told me it was my divorce, it was my situation, it was my job, it was school… it was everything except an actual diagnosis. I was put on Celexa and other medications that I took and quickly realized were of no benefit and honestly just caused more issues. I was also on the NuvaRing contraceptive at the time and had severe side effects from that as well. Ken somehow managed to still want me to marry him, in spite of all my crazy. I think he’s a rational enough person to see that I was still me under all the issues I was having.
[Imagine starting a new relationship while becoming ill. This illness is invisible. The symptoms are so personality based that if someone didn’t know you well, and had just met you, they would just assume your symptoms were your personality. Hashimotos is weird – it’a also an asshole, pardon my French. ]
Over the next few years I would see my symptoms worsen to the point of crippling anxiety that I somehow managed to hide from most of the world. My husband (who is a doctor) just thought I was losing my mind. We fought constantly. He was convinced I was this awful person that my disease had made me into. If you are reading this and have Hashimotos, you know what I am talking about. You can literally see yourself being this person that you aren’t, and you have no control over it. It’s kind of like having an out of body experience but all the time. Things that would never have upset me brought me to my knees. I was shadow of my former-self and had no idea why or how to fix it. My personality is to be a fixer. I am a nurse for goodness sakes, but I couldn’t for the life of me fix myself. No matter what I did. I finally broke down one night and told my husband to fix me. I begged him saying ” You are a doctor. I am telling you I am sick! I am asking you to look at me like a patient and not your wife. I need you to trust me when I tell you that this isn’t the person I am! I am happy, and goal oriented and driven! I am not this miserable person who goes from the bed to the couch! I am not this person who hates to go outside because I don’t have the energy. I love adventure and I love to talk and have fun. This person you see in front of you isn’t me. FIX ME!” I think in that moment he finally heard me. He did my labs and was pretty certain I had Hashimotos even though my labs were “normal”. Given my symptoms he made the diagnosis and started me on thyroid medication. It didn’t help. I continued to feel all the symptoms I had always had. This is also around the time I told him he needed to start a YouTube channel because he had a responsibility to help women like me who were having these issues. I had been researching and digging around the internet and had found that I was not the only one dealing with all the symptoms that were ruining my life. In fact, it seemed like there was an epidemic of women who were having all the same symptoms with no help from doctors. We were all told ” that’s normal, here is a pill”. I was NOT satisfied with this diagnosis. No 28 year old should feel like I was feeling.
- Fatigue – I literally had zero energy. It took everything I had to get out of bed for anything other than work. I never got enough sleep. I looked like I was lazy. I did the bare minimum. If I hadn’t had my job ( which I loved ) I would have never left the couch.
- Depression – I remember thinking that the thoughts going through my head were inappropriate. I had everything I had ever wanted. I had a wonderful man who spoiled me with attention and love. My dream job. Dream car. I could pay my bills without having to worry if I would make it to next pay day. I was blessed. But I still would catch myself thinking awful things.
- Modest weight gain ( I got up to 145 ) – all of it was in my midsection
- Cold intolerance – I wore jeans in the summer and sweaters too.
- Dry, coarse hair – and balding. One of my first symptoms I noticed. I have always had very thick hair. One day I had my sunroof opened and I noticed I could see my scalp in the rearview mirror. Like, a lot of my scalp and that had never happened to me before.
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps – I was in constant pain
- Decreased concentration – I couldn’t even hold an intelligent conversation. If you didn’t know me before, you would have thought I was a complete airhead with no depth at all.
- problems with fertility – I had gotten off birth control in the last few months of nursing school. After 1 year, still no pregnancy, we then went to a fertility specialist as is recommended for anyone who hasn’t gotten pregnant after a year of “trying”
- ZERO LIBIDO – yay…. 28 years old is too young for that shit.
The fertility specialist confirmed my Hashimoto’s diagnosis and recommended IUI – we tried 2 rounds without success so I decided to try and change my eating habits to see if that had any effect. That’s when I tried keto. Ken had already been eating this way, promoting it to his patients, and speaking about it on YouTube. I was not convinced but I had heard that it could help with fertility so I figured, what the hell.
Within a week I saw my symptoms improve substantially as well as losing 5 lbs. I was shocked obviously. I had tried Paleo and Whole 30 with no success. I had no idea I would see benefits that fast, and not everyone will. Each individual is different. But you WILL see benefits. Benefits don’t always come in weight loss. In fact it is usually the last benefit you will see if you are extremely ill, and it’s the last benefit that I care about. I was finally happy Neisha. I could get up, have a smile on my face, kiss my husband, see things clearly, think clearly, walk without hurting, sleep, and my anxiety was manageable. Most importantly…. I was MYSELF AGAIN. You may not understand the weight of that statement if you haven’t been there. I don’t even know how to explain it properly. It’s a little like the wicked witch put a curse on you, and then you got kissed by Prince Charming. I had been kissed by Keto and the curse was lifted. I had my life back. My relationship flourished, my performance at work was better, and I had goals again. I was ready to go after life with a passion I had never had even before Hashimoto’s.
I was floored by the fact that CARBS had ruined my health. Not just “bad” carbs. All of them. After all, I had been eating “healthy”. I ate whole wheat, and sweet potatoes and Ezekiel bread. I ate freakin quinoa ( yuck by the way ). I ate the rainbow like I was told to! I had even tried cutting out gluten. All this time, I was just trading poison for poison. Those carbs were killing me. I am not saying the transition was easy but seeing my life change made it much easier. Everyday I got better and better. I was truly living again and it made me so sad that I had spent so much of my life thinking I was living without even realizing how truly ill I was. Health is something that is hard to put into perspective. Actually being healthy and thinking you are healthy are almost indiscernable without perspective. After changing my eating habits more and more – it was clear I didn’t know what healthy felt like. Every time I thought I felt amazing, I would cut something out of my diet, like nuts. I cut out nuts and guess what? I felt EVEN better. Through this time I was still trying to get pregnant. We gave it another few years before we decided to go back to the fertility doctor. I decided after doing some more research that I would convert to a full on carnivore diet. I ate only beef, butter, eggs, bacon, and a fat based ice cream with a keto sweetener as a treat. I was shocked at how even better I felt on carnivore. My energy level spiked. I slept SO well and lost more weight. I honestly didn’t care about any weight loss. My goal was ALWAYS to feel as good as possible. We started our first round of IVF about 3 months after me starting carnivore. We ended up with only one egg. We transferred the egg on Feb 5, 2019 and waited for a miracle.
6 weeks // 20 weeks // 39 weeks
On Feb. 14 2019 I got the call that I was pregnant and that my numbers were off the chart, but in a good way! I decided to go back to keto for my pregnancy. My doctors and Midwife closely monitored my labs throughout my entire pregnancy. My labs were better than ever. I ate 50 total carbs or less most days. I had a few cheats in there but stayed in ketosis. Our baby grew fast and strong. I gained from 115 to 160ish during my pregnancy. After the first week postpartum I had dropped right at 20 lbs. from fluids, blood, placenta and baby. I breastfed without issues and continued with keto. After getting back down to 120 I switched back to what I like to call “cyclic carnivore” meaning I do 5 days carnivore, 2 days keto. Still staying under 20 g total carbs or less. When the baby was 4 months old we took a trip to San Antonio where I ate rice and beans and plantains and empanadas. Lots of carbs that my sweet Puerto Rican Abuelita cooked with love. In that week I gained a fast 5 lbs. Breastfeeding didn’t save me from the carbs. I also felt like shit. When we got home, I went back to my cyclic carnivore. Now at 6 months postpartum I am down to 109. I haven’t been exercising like I want to but I plan on getting back on the Peloton soon and start lifting weights as well. I am not interested in being the frail thing I use to be. I want to be strong. I am not doing any of this for weight loss. I am doing it for HEALTH optimization. I am sure I will stop losing weight very soon, especially after integrating weights into my routine. I am not obsessed with my body image like I use to be. I give all the credit to keto and the fact that I am in a healthy, stable and loving relationship.
1 week pp // 2 months pp // 6 months pp
The moral of the story? WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING!! Doctors are behind. The food pyramid or myplate or whatever it’s called now is a load of crap. Being miserable isn’t normal. Being in pain constantly isn’t normal. Listen to your body. Do your own research. I know without a doubt that I was on a road headed for nothing but misery. Carbs tore my body apart. People who say I can’t do this way of eating longterm are out of touch. I couldn’t live the way I was living long term! How could you tell me that was ok, but this isn’t? To tell me I need carbs because I have Hashimoto’s? I. WAS. DYING. I was without life. I was headed for another divorce and who knows what else. But oh, I shouldn’t give up carbs because THAT’S what’s unhealthy? No. I did what worked. I will continue to do what works. I am the healthiest I have ever been. I am finally a Mom. I give ALL the credit to keto/carnivore. I wouldn’t be where I am without it. I don’t do carb ups. I don’t count calories. The only macro I count is carbs. I eat as much protein as I want. I cook in animal fat. I feel best when I am carnivore.
This journey has been ridiculously difficult. But, do you know what makes me the maddest about all this??? IT WAS PREVENTABLE. It didn’t have to be this way. I didn’t have to go through all of this. I didn’t have to go through it as long as I did. There are people out there who are still suffering and think they are doing what they should. There isn’t enough information out there STILL! This is why Ken and I continue to go LIVE on Facebook every Monday. It’s why we make YouTube videos, and blog, do book-signings and speak at events. We have been doing it for years and we still haven’t reached every person who is suffering unnecessarily. People can judge me, and throw stones all they want. I will take it. I will take it because this matters. I matter. You matter.
This journey isn’t over and I have to work at it everyday to make sure I don’t fall into old habits, and give in to old cravings. The difference in my past and my present is that I am educated. I know what I need to do. I know what makes me sick and what promotes wellness. I hope this helps someone find their way to a Happy Healthy Life. If it does that for just ONE person, then I am happy to have suffered to have a story to share.
Thanks so much for reading. Please feel free to share on any social media and make sure to leave a comment if you have a story about your Hashimoto’s wellness journey.
L O V E Y O U mean it,
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