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Please help me to figure out where I've gone wrong!

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Hi Everyone,


This is my 4th Whole30.  I did my first one two years ago and lost about 5 lbs.  My second and third whole30s, I looked different (better) by the end, but did not lose any weight.  I am currently on day 9.  When not doing whole30, I eat pretty strict paleo.  Over the past year I have gained about 20 lbs. I was recently diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.  My bloodwork indicates that I am hypothyroid.  I believe that this has added to the weight gain.  I also began crossfit last february, and have been steadily gaining more weight ever since.  I am 5'7" and used to weigh around 150ish.  I now weigh in around 175, which is just not okay with me.  I am not flabby, just bigger.  This morning, I made the mistake of getting on the scale (I know it's forbidden but everything was signaling that I am gaining and I just had to verify).  I have gained 5 lbs since day 1.  I started taking Armour dessicated thyroid about two weeks ago.  I can't help but wonder if I am on too low of a dose, or if some of the fillers in that med are causing a reaction.  In any case, I am also very active.  I was doing crossfit 6 days per week, although recently I switched to a strength program 3 days a week, two crossfit wods, and two rest days.  I try to get 10,000 steps or more in per day, and most days I reach or exceed that goal.  I am so incredibly frustrated and I need some encouragement to prevent myself from giving up and going to something extreme to lose this extra weight (like herbalife or something like that, which i know is not truly healthy).  Here is a sample day of eating for me:


Decaf Black coffee or decaf coffee with coconut milk

two eggs

Cauliflower hash

butternut squash

2 oz. of protein (chicken, beef, homemade bison sausage, etc.)




Bison Chili

Asian Pear





Buffalo Chicken meatballs



A half a serving of macadamia nuts or cashews


Post workout:

A can of tuna in water and half of a sweet potato


I Also drink lots of water and sometimes some plain herbal tea. 


Supplements:  Fish oil, vitamin d, vitamin k, l-carnitine/chromium blend, NAC, probiotic, prebiotic, betaine hcl/pepsin, gentle iron, selenium


Please, please help me!  I am in serious need of encouragement.   I am thinking maybe I should take a recovery week this week and lay off of the crossfit/lifting.  Maybe do some yoga and walking?  Get some extra rest?  Idk!


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That kind of weight gain in that short of a time probably warrants a trip back to your doctor. If you just started on a new thyroid medication, you'll need to give it time to figure out the right dosage. This doesn't sound at all like a Whole30 effect, it sounds like a thyroid effect. Whole30 can help manage symptoms, but we who have hypothyroid for any reason do need to figure out what our bodies need beyond food. And we do need the right kind and dose of thyroid hormone.


Do you know if you are hypothyroid due to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis? That can have an impact on the nuances of how your hypothyroid condition is treated.


You're certainly working out too much, regardless of your thyroid condition; and given your thyroid condition, you really need to scale back.  There is nothing you can do with workouts to make your thyroid-related rapid weight gain stop.


If your doc has given you a time frame during which you need to keep at this dose of Armour, then keep tracking symptoms and report back as soon as you can. If you are free to report that you need more sooner, I'd say go ahead and do it.


I'll leave specific advice about workouts to those more knowledgeable about them, but really, six days a week is just too much. Olympic athletes do that, but only to train for, ya know, the Olympics. It's not feasible or healthy for the rest of us.


Good luck and hang in there.

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I was doing crossfit 6 days per week, although recently I switched to a strength program 3 days a week, two crossfit wods, and two rest days.  I try to get 10,000 steps or more in per day, and most days I reach or exceed that goal.  


This is way way too much. 


I agree with Amy, there is likely something going on with the thyroid specifically, and I do know that it takes a while to respond to meds and get those meds dialed in, so you may have to just hang in there for a bit, but in the meantime, really think in terms of nourishing yourself. Give yourself plenty of rest and starchy carbs and nutrient dense foods. Things will get better. Going to extreme measures right now will likely cause your metabolism to tank; adrenal fatigue, etc. Please please please give your body some grace and work on balancing things in a healthy way.

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Thanks for the advice.  My mom and aunt have hashi's and right now my antibody tests are negative.  My bloodwork seems to indicate possible adrenal fatigue.  My free t4 is very low, reverse t3 is on the higher end, and free t3 is too low.  I will report back to my doctor, but she is out of town for the next week, so I don't think I will have any luck changing my dose.  I am thinking of taking a recovery week this week and just doing some gentle yoga, walking, and meditation.  But, in terms of returning to strength training/crossfit, what would you all recommend?  What is a good balance?  3 days/week?  I have worked out for 5+ days/week for the last 5 years, so I don't really know much else!  Thanks again!

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Finding a healthy relationship with food and exercise may require the help of a trainer and/or counselor.  You have the rest of your life to run the race. 

I don't think I have an unhealthy relationship? I've always been athletic and enjoy working out.  I eat very healthy and don't tend to overeat or binge.

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I think it's pretty normal to respond to rapid weight gain by doing physical things (like working out more and eating healthily) to get your weight back to where it was.  Unfortunately, it's also pretty normal for those physical things not to provide the results we seek, when we're dealing with thyroid issues.


Your idea about aiming for three days a week and focusing on yoga and walking sounds like a good plan for right now. This is what's generally recommended for folks who are dealing with thyroid issues (until they improve of course).


You might also spend some time browsing Melissa Joulwan's website, the clothesmakethegirl.com - she makes frequent reference to how her thyroid issues have interacted with her workouts and healthy eating, and she talks about a sudden twenty-pound weight gain when she was doing everything exactly right - because of her thyroid.


You're not alone, as you know from your family history. I'm really impressed with your doctor, most doctors are very dismissive of thyroid issues and will only test TSH and will only prescribe T4 medications. Keep up the good eating, and keep track of your symptoms and dosages of Armour, and give yourself a break on the intense workouts, and - here's where I have the most trouble with thyroid issues - try to be patient (grr) as your body edges its way back to optimal function.

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Thanks, Amy.  It's emotionally draining.  I can't handle putting on another article of clothing that doesn't fit.  It is like a slap in the face. :(  My doctor is pretty awesome, I'm lucky to have found her.

Yeah, I hear ya. I'm going back to my doctor - AGAIN - tomorrow to talk about all the issues I'm facing. My current favorite is constant getting-to-be-quite-severe hair loss.

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I've never personally gone through diagnosed hypothyroid but have a good friend who has.   She put on 40 lbs in not too many months.  When the meds got straightened out the weight came off quite quickly.  So my take home from it: you can't fight the messed up hormones right now.  Maybe buy yourself some clothes that are flattering and just try to ignore the size label for now.  Don't fight it, because really you can't.  Eat well, but not too little.  Exercise but not too much (maybe ditch the metcons for now, I honestly don't know if it would be best to stop strength as well).  Give the meds some time to adjust and just have faith that once your hormones are fixed you WILL lose the weight - just think of it as a pregnancy :)


It is very frustrating to have your body be out of your control :(  Good luck though!

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I think training six days per week is okay if you are a professional athlete who schedules a nap every day. If you hold a job and cannot take a nap every day in addition to sleeping 8-9 hours every night, you are not helping yourself by training 6 days per week. It is simply too stressful when you are not spending an equal amount of time in active recovery activities.


I personally have found that I can train 5 days per week if I limit workouts to roughly 35 minutes per day. If I train longer, I wind up needing an extra rest day at least every other week. 


I learned the benefit of short, limited workouts when I followed a muscle building program several years ago that warned the program would not work if I added extra work to my week. I was literally training less than 90 minutes per week and I got a lot stronger across the 3 months I followed the program, I added noticeable muscle mass, and I did not get fat. Since then I have made a serious effort to keep workouts limited to 30-35 minutes. Lately I have been doing two workouts per day three days per week. I do a first workout in my home gym mid-morning and then do a second workout at the gym in the early afternoon. I workout at least 60 minutes those 3 days and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays I train only about 30-35 minutes. However, I need an extra rest day every other week on this schedule. I guess really I can workout 4.5 days per week statistically speaking. :) 


When you push yourself too hard for the level of recovery activities you are completing, you do bad things to your hormones and your metabolism. This is why resting more can improve results for people like you (and me.). 

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Hi Karin, 


I've also got a thyroid condition and my first medication stopped working. I switched to a different brand (now on Synthroid and a higher doseage) and it DEFINITELY makes a difference. So, when you go back to your Dr, check for the brand as well. For thyroid, the brand of the meds also seems to make a big difference. 


Good luck!


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