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Hello folks,

I really hope this doesn't sound like a moaning post, because it's not - I'm just trying to get some answers.

To give you a quick(ish) background, I was diagnosed with Endometriois, Lipoedema and Thyrotoxicosis (all autoimmune diseases) in my early twenties. The Hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease) was horrendous, and I ended up having Neutropenia as well. After 5 bouts of thyrotixic episodes they told me I would either have to have my thyroid removed or I would have to destroy it through radiation. I didn't want either option but didn't have a choice, so I went for what I felt was the lesser of two evils and chose the radiation. My rationale was that there was a slim chance that a small amount of the thyroid would survive and would therefore be able to produce all the necessary hormones on its own. Unfortunately I was not so lucky so I now have Radioiodine induced Hypothyroidism for which I take a daily dose of thyroxine and have done so for the last five years. The more 'minor', but still troubling issues I have are psoriasis on my scalp, exercise induced asthma, mild eczema, IBS, as well as excessive chest/throat infections (5+ a year) and constant lethargy and exhaustion.

I've had a binge eating disorder for most of my adult life and have abused my body by flipping between binging on every carb in sight followed by a rigid and extreme diets (juice fasting, veganism, raw veganism - you get the idea). As a result my weight has yo-yoed wildly up and down to the point where I have gained and lost 100lbs+ over and over again. Anyway in August last year I started yet another fad diet (called Lighterlife in the UK) which is an extremely low carb and low calorie diet that is a 100% meal replacement - yes, you don't eat any food. Healthy huh??? Anyway I lost 5st (70lbs) between August and the end of December but although I was loosing weight my health started to get worse and worse (nausea, vomiting, constipation - it was delightful.) I decided to stop the diet because even though I was loosing weight I was so sick, and I also started to eat meat again after being a vegetarian for the previous 7 years! I had gone veggie believing it was better for my health, but have never been more sickly, so figured that maybe I needed meat to be healthy again.

Anyway after the fourth visit to my doctor in as many weeks, she diagnosed me with gluten and lactose intolerance. BEST THING EVER! I have been 100% gluten and lactose free from 15 January this year, and have been 95% Whole30 since. I started on the autoimmune protocol (no nightshades, eggs, tomatoes etc.) which I followed for the first 50 days or so and then slowly reintroduced eggs, tomatoes etc. As I said I am mostly Whole30 all the time, with the rare exception of a small glass of bubbly at a wedding, some dark 85% chocolate on occasion. It is difficult as I still suffer with my eating disorder so this is very typical of my 'restrictive' phase of my binge cycle. However, because I am eating low carb, and no sugar my cravings and compulsions seem to have almost gone. Many of my symptoms are hugely improved. No more vomitting or nausea. No more IBS (or very minimal discomfort), better quality sleep, better skin. I couldn't change this way of eating even if I wanted to as I feel so much more human, I wouldn't want to go back to feeling how I was before.

However after 14 weeks of eating whole, fresh foods I am still struggling with the following;

Lethargy/exhaustion - although I am feeling more rested and have made a real effort to get at least 7-8hrs sleep every night I am still feeling low on energy. I long to feel full of vitality but this hasn't happened yet. I must also add though that I am not getting out and moving my body much. Partly a combination of the exhaustion and some old sports injuries (knee, ankle and back), plus when I did kettlebell training recently it left me depleted for the full week following. I'm not quite sure what to do about this.

Psoriasis - it has hugely improved, it is not as red or angry or anyway near as painful, but it has also not gone.

Weight loss - I am still loosing but it has slowed down to a crawl, from about 14lbs per month (pre W30) to only 14lbs in the last four months since starting W30. I am not eating any starchy tubers or fruits, and very low carb with good quality grass fed meats and organic veg, nuts, coconut milk and oil. Whilst my focus has totally changed from being about weight loss to becoming healthy, loosing weight is part of that equation as I probably still have somewhere in the region of 40-50lbs to loose.

Sore throats - whilst I have only had one throat/chest infection since I started this which is a big improvement for me, I often have a consistent although low-grade sore throat.

I do take thyroxine and sertraline (anti depressant) along with vitamins (magnesium, cod liver oil, probiotics and glucosamine). It's hard to know if the vitamins make any difference as I started them at the same time as starting W30.

If you managed to read through this whole post, well done!! Sorry that wasn't exactly quick or quick(ish)!!

Anyway, any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

CaveGirl

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Whooo boy! CaveGirl...there's a TON of stuff going on here. Unfortunately, we don't have the capacity to support non-Whole30 related questions, which this kinda smells like. Additionally, because there is a bunch of medical history to consider and other competing factors that could be contributing to your issues, we also aren't set up to give you the time and consideration that you and your situation deserves. I highly recommend reaching out to Melissa and Dallas via their consulting page (http://whole9life.co...onal-consulting) and schedule some time with them.

In the meantime, I'd also head over to Chris Kresser's website and do some reading in his thyroid series. It's some good stuff.

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Thanks Renee, yes I have actually bought Chris' Personal Paleo code to see if I could get some more answers, so I was wondering if I needed to amend my W30 foods to my specific health conditions. I live in London, so not sure if Melissa and Dallas consult online or via skype to the UK? Finding a Dr in the UK who a) is open to even discussing alternative approaches and B) who even knows of a Paleo lifestyle seem hard to come by.

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond though so thank you xx

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CaveGirl - A few thoughts about your lack of energy... you might want to try eating some starchy tubers - sweet potatoes, butternut squash - and see if that helps. I'm not sure how low carb you are, but if you are very low carb, it may be contributing to low energy levels. Also, you might try 8-9 hours of sleep. An extra hour of sleep could tip the balance for you and it is not an expensive thing to experiment with.

The rate at which you are losing weight now is good. The closer you get to your ideal weight, the less you should expect the weight to drop off rapidly. I lost my last 30 pounds at the rate of 2 pounds per month.

Lastly, I would echo Renee's suggest to consult with M&D.

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and if you're still tired after eating starchy tubers and getting extra sleep, then you might want to consider getting a sleep study done. sleep apnea will cause you to feel tired all the time in addition to causing other health issues due to a lack of good quality sleep.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments. I saw my GP yesterday and she reckons it will just take time ("conventional wisdom") so I am looking for a Dr in the UK that specialises in paleo nutrition that can work with me to try and improve if not resolve my health issues. Does anyone have any recommendations?

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You could check the Paleo Physician's Network (http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/). There aren't many folks in the UK, and probably even fewer MDs, but if you contact any of those guys even if they can't help, they probably can steer you towards docs that they trust. Being a paleo MD and being a critical thinker that is willing to work with a patient rather than just dictating treatment are not mutually exclusive. :)

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Sore throats - whilst I have only had one throat/chest infection since I started this which is a big improvement for me, I often have a consistent although low-grade sore throat.

I do take thyroxine and sertraline (anti depressant) along with vitamins (magnesium, cod liver oil, probiotics and glucosamine). It's hard to know if the vitamins make any difference as I started them at the same time as starting W30.

the sore throat and your medication may be related, just a thought, While it's an uncommon side effect, it happens, and it looks like your body has a lot going on already. antidepressants have so many side effects, on deep levels, that it is almost impossible to 'fix' this with diet if it's the medication. Hope you find an MD who is able to help you sort some of that out.

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Cavegirl, I haven´t got much of an answer for you but I just wanted to send lots of light and love your way. I see myself mirrored in a lot of the things you wrote, my battles are similar: binge eating, digestive issues, exhaustion and what looks like thyroid and auto-immune issues. I´m fortunate to have an open.minded MD who works with me and we´re having even more tests done. For me, going low carb paleo has been a life saver. When I stick to my formula of non-starchy veggies, animal protein and fat I have no bingeing and no cravings! But it´s soo easy to get fixated on restriction when you have health issues, particularly gut issues as it´s directly linked to eating. Like Reneé said, Chris Kesser´s site has got some really good info on hypothyroidism. I hope you find a team to work with you. Finding health professionals you trust is crucial!

With an eating disorder it is so easy to get stuck on the dietetics and we musn´t forget that, although diet is importat, it´s not a panacea or a solution for everything. At one point you have to let go of some of that control and trust the process. I try to have patience, plenty of veggies and naps. Restorative yoga is wonderful and so is meditation! I hope you find the help you need :).

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Cavegirl, research the effects of goitrogens (i.e. cruciferous veg) on thyroid hormone production -- assuming some portion of your thyroid is still functioning, cruciferous veg can slow down the ability of the thyroid to convert iodine to thyroid hormone. Also, are you using iodized salt? If you are using all sea salt, you may be iodine deficient. (I have Graves that is partially controlled with methimazole -- my doc prefers this approach because the nuclear medicine guys almost always overdo it and wipe out too much of the thyroid, and severe hypo is very hard to regulate/bring to balance). So sorry this has happened to you, it can make you feel so crappy. Happy to commiserate any time!

 

Here's a link to some info about the veg: http://thyroid.about.com/od/symptomsrisks/a/All-About-Goitrogens-thyroid.htm

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