Prior to this morning I had NO intention of writing this. In fact I had every intention to keep this a secret but somehow, this morning was different. I wanted to tell you my story about the dark side I kept a secret. You see sometimes we try to keep a brave face because we don’t want to let others see us sweat, but sometimes talking about it can be therapeutic. I hope that if you’ve been struggling, that this post just might inspire you to keep going.
Let me start out by saying this: Last quarter the shit it the fan.
I made some massive business decisions that were incredibly tough and I wasn’t well. I kept the entire thing under wraps as my dark little secret until I was willing to talk about it more openly. So today I’m doing just that and have decided to tell you what I’ve done to recover and actually have energy like I haven’t had in years.
Other than at the start of my career when I was trying to build Sexy Food Therapy out of a $20K deficit and struggled monthly to pay my bills, the tail end of last year was one of the most stressful times in my business yet. At that time, I made some pretty major business decisions that I felt intuitively I had to do but it would mean taking a massive cut to our reoccurring monthly revenue. Leading up to that point, there was a moderate frequency of stress and by the end of last year I was unwilling to let it continue because my health was being sacrificed and I felt I was compromising on who I was for the sake of others. This decision wasn’t easy, a part of it left a bitter taste in my mouth and a part of it was a bit sad.
Either way: I have zero regrets.
Making these decisions meant taking a leap of faith because it was time to up-level the business in a big way and trust that it was possible despite the hits it was about to take.
In addition to these developments, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (stage 2) in September and by the end of 2017 I had suffered with two Hashimoto’s attacks of which I told no one about other than family and my team.
But before I go on, let me be clear when I say this: not everyone who has Hashimoto’s will experience these attacks.
When I had these attacks my antibodies (when I checked them for the second time in December 2017) were at 98 and I felt worse than I did when they were originally checked in September when my antibodies were actually higher. I’ve seen women with antibodies at 700 or greater who thankfully never experienced one of these episodes. When I did experience these attacks I would go from shaking with the chills in bed to having hot flashes. My muscles ached and the fatigue was debilitating, I lost weight rapidly and then within two weeks gained almost 15 pounds.
So here is truth #1: Not every person who has Hashimoto’s will experience it the same way.
At that time I wasn’t open about having Hashimoto’s because a part of me didn’t want to be found out. I felt that telling others would take a hit to my credibility and that my supposed superhuman status of as a practitioner would be put into question.
But here’s truth #2: When you get diagnosed, you’ve actually been working towards it for a while, nothing with your health ever just happens.
This is the time where I went inward like never have before. I leaned heavily on my husband (who’s my rock), my team (who’s frankly like family) and set much needed boundaries with other people.
When I got rechecked in December during these episodes I noticed I felt a lump in my throat that felt almost like a golf ball was lodged in there. So after getting my blood work redone, I also got a thyroid ultrasound which revealed that I had two thyroid nodules and one cyst on my thyroid. Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of women will get a thyroid nodule in their 30’s and 40% of women will get a nodule in their 40’s.
After feeling incredibly alone during this period where so much change was happening all at once, I got to a point where I mustered all the strength I could and made the decision that enough was enough. And today I wanted to tell you what I did to allow the light to come in.
But before I do, here’s truth #3: There is no magic bullet. So if you’re serious about getting better you have to make a change in every part of your life and drop the notion that a supplement that worked for your cousin, co-worker or friend will cure you because chances are, it won’t.
Here is what helped me:
1. I got updated blood work, kept records and was diligent at getting retested.
This is one of the number one issues I see with women today. They want to get better but they’re unwilling to get or prioritize a plan to get testing done. Blood work needs to be done every 3 months when you’re trying to heal and you need to keep records of it. I received a full thyroid panel done which includes:
- TSH, Free T3, free T4, reverse T3, thyroglobulin, thyroid peroxidase antibodies
If your doctor is giving you pushback on getting a complete thyroid panel done, then get a another doctor or go to an independent lab like Direct Labs. In Sexy Lady Balls (SLB), I suggest that women order their “10 Most Popular Tests” and “Thyroid Complete + Thyroid Antibodies”. Once they have, me or one of my practitioners in SLB will perform a blood chemistry analysis (as an upgrade) where the test results are read functionally to look for optimal functional ranges, address any patterns and look out for the root cause. If I had a penny for every time a woman has told me that her thyroid results are “normal” I’d be rich. Remember your doctor reads the incomplete markers tested (usually just TSH and T4) from a lab range perspective (very broad) versus functional ranges (more specific and honed in).
By testing, I was able to get a baseline and work towards tracking my progress and frankly, that’s power.
2. I got my stool tested.
One of the tests we offer in SLB as an upgrade is stool testing and it’s incredibly extensive. With Hashimoto’s if you haven’t gotten your stool tested, you’re missing a lot because Hashimoto’s is rooted in a leaky gut. There are many co-infections seen with Hashimoto’s like H.pylori, yersinia enterocolitica and Epstein Barr virus to name a few. If you don’t address those than you can take desiccated thyroid hormones but you’ll soon have to up your dose as your gut will continue to get worse leading to higher antibody levels. In my poop test results, luckily I didn’t have H.pylori, but I did have a level of gut dysbiosis and a the parasite cyclospora. I quickly put a plan in action to address it while I continued my investigation.
Please note: If you are going to ask me what supplements I take, please refer to truth #3 above.
3. I did get myself on desiccated thyroid hormone.
And yes, it did helped. I was put on a low dose of 30mg daily and while I don’t plan to stay on it long term, it certainly did help initially with energy levels back in December. However, the initial pep that I received has dropped a bit but rather than upping the dose, I’ve turned towards other methods to get energy and repair myself.
4. I put myself on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
Here’s the misconception people have about AIP: it’s not long-term and the diet alone will not cure you. The purpose of this diet is to reduce inflammation in your system while you heal the gut and address the root cause which leads me to this…
Truth #4: We have been so conditioned for immediacy but healing needs to incorporate a holistic approach which includes appropriate testing, food, supplementation and major lifestyle changes.
The AIP diet is not a cleanse and alone it will not heal you. Rather it’s a way to give your gut a break from foods that could be creating inflammation that you may have otherwise thought were benign like: eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes or beans, cacao (**sniff!**), alcohol, coffee, peppers, mustard, mushrooms, tomatoes and various spices like cumin and chilli powder.
The amount of time that one stays on AIP will be individual and currently, my plans are to be on it for at least 90 days and then I’ll reassess. Until then I will continue to consume carob – cacao’s ugly sister.
5. Taking exogenous ketones has been my saving grace.
I RANT about ketones because frankly they’ve been a God-sent. I realize there are a lot on the market but the only ones I trust are by Pruvit. It’s helped with my energy levels and concentration. This allows me to be on the AIP diet and still get myself into ketosis (within an hour) which puts me into an anti-inflammatory state – good news for when you’ve got thyroid nodules and cysts. I do take the ones with caffeine and don’t find them nearly as stimulating on my adrenals as coffee would be, so I continue to take them and I recommend them to almost all my patients. If you’re sensitive to caffeine then you can take the caffeine free ones that even children can safely take for improved neurological function.
6. I take a couple of key supplements
While I’m not going to give you my whole protocol (because it won’t make sense for YOU) I will tell you that across the board anyone with Hashimoto’s should be taking probiotics. And let me be clear that I have ZERO affiliation with this brand and I’m not paid to tell you about Just Thrive probiotics. Frankly I just like them and the promising research which is being done on their probiotic regarding Hashimoto’s.
I also would strongly suggest taking Wobenzym Plus. Remember when I told you I felt like I had a golfball in my throat? After taking 4 tablets of Wobenzym Plus three times a day 1 hour away from food, that feeling was gone completely in about three days. When I dove into it further, there has been evidence to suggest that Wobenzym helps to lower thyroid antibodies as well.
Lastly if you’ve ruled out H.pylori through a doing a stool test (the doctor’s breath test isn’t entirely accurate), then taking an enzyme with HCl in it can prove to be incredibly helpful at digesting your food and not feeling like you have to take a big nap afterwards. The one I’ve been taking is Super Enzymes by NOW.
Again: zero affiliation to all three supplements mentioned.
7. I got my minerals tested.
Other than understanding your gut’s health, the thyroid can be greatly affected by an imbalance of minerals. Copper toxicity is quite common in many women which can raise estrogen levels (and impair the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3) and it can shunt away zinc which is needed for the thyroid. Plus many women (like myself) who live in the city can have higher levels of cadmium which can impair iodine from reaching the thyroid gland. One of the things that came up on my results was very low levels of sodium and potassium (which shows a strained adrenal profile) which meant I had to really be consistent with adding sea salt to my water and getting food sources of potassium like coconut water and avocados (easy peasy!).
Before even attempting to do a heavy metal detox, I would need to nourish the mineral deficiencies or doing a detox of any metals could greatly harm me. I’m so grateful for this knowledge as we bring on a practitioner into Sexy Lady Balls where we are now offering hair trace mineral analysis to members as an upgrade.
And side note: Not all labs are created equally. Some of them actually wash the hair prior to doing testing.
8. My self-care has become more like self-parenting.
This is a non-negotiable and everyone else can frankly wait. I am in bed by 9:30 or 10pm LATEST and my meditation game is on point. If you’ve ever tried to meditate don’t be discouraged if your mind races because mine does too. I look at meditation as the opportunity to get it all out so I can think clearer throughout the day and respond to life versus react.
9. I focus on movement not exercise.
I used to think I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough previously but now my focus is on movement every damn day whether that’s a long brisk walk for an hour, yoga or even a workout with weights. But I listen to my body and drop the guilt if I couldn’t push harder. This has been a massive game changer for my body and my mental health. So if you’re doing even a 15 minute HITT workout and you feel more tired afterwards, it may not be the workout for you.
So where does this leave me now?
Well, let me start out by saying this:
Truth #5: Healing isn’t linear.
This means I take the fucking pressure off. Yes, I have more energy than ever before, my skin is clear and glowing and I dropped 10lbs but I know that there may be a moment in the future where I will feel like shit. Why: because healing isn’t linear and that’s okay. I mean what can I, or any of us expect when it didn’t take us a day to get here? I mean we can cast stones at one another in judgement but it’s important to remember that thou has fucked up also. We have abused ourselves with food that we subconsciously thought was stuffing down our pain when it really was years of anorexia for the soul. Some of us have drank a bottle feeling we were deserving after a hard week or given our hatred head every time we lit a cigarette.
I’m sure you have dreams of places you want to see and things you want to do, but none of it is possible without your health. I once had a aesthetician at Nordstrom’s who told me all about her hormonal struggles and when I gave her much of the advice I’m giving you today she replied, “Well that sounds expensive!” I then looked at her as she was adorned with brand names like Louis Vuitton and I remembered that people will always operate and make decisions according to their values.
You can try to self-diagnosis or immerse yourself in books and take supplements that you think will help but unless you test and get to the root cause, you’ll actually spend more money in the long run trying to figure it all out.
And listen, let me be clear and tell you this: none of us are perfect – myself included. But as my husband has always told me, “you can’t sit on the throne without going through battle.” And I hope to God that my battles will leave you with a road map so you can create for your very own survival guide. Because just when you think that you’re being swallowed by darkness, remember this: roots grow the deepest in the dark.
Sending you much love in the meantime,