I don't know how to eat! :(

Hi everyone

I used to be pretty slim until I was 14, then I was anorexic for 4 years, and then I got fat :( I'm now over 11 stone at 5'1". I can't believe this is my "set point" - this can't be healthy! A lot of the weight seems to be water or that weird solid edema from hypo, but I am not actually hypo (blood levels normal). I tried eating up to 3500 calories a day to raise my feeble metabolism as per 180 degree health and other such recommendations butI just gain more and my temperature still won't go up. I'm pretty sure that's the key here, I think unless I ate 5000 calories a day I don't think my temperature will ever get to 37 C - and obviously I am not going to eat that much!!

I've cut out PUFAs apart from a few nuts and seeds here and there, and I eat quite a bit of starch, I'm gluten free, almost grain free and I'm taking care to get choline, inositol, glycine and b vitamins every day.

What's bothering me is I can't go below about 2600 calories a day without having some massive rebound hunger pangs after a few days and I end up bingeing. Its not at all psychological, I swear - I just get really hungry! I become completely sloth like if I go below 2000 calories but that is probably how much I technically should eat. I also cannot digest protein, I get migraines (regardless of what type of protein).

This is a mess of a post, but the point is, I have no idea how to eat any more - I can't stand gaining anymore weight but no matter what I do it keeps pilingup. I have adrenal fatigue so I hope with enough rest I can restore enough energy to do more exercise, but for now I am running on a 35.8 - 36.4 C metabolism and I am scared because everything I do makes Iit worse! I don't want to be overweight forever - help?

38 Replies

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  • I glanced at previous posts which claim that thyroid results are 'normal' and 'mid range'. What are your results, with ranges?

  • If your TSH was mid-range, that's not a normal result for a thyroid blood test. What was it?

  • I had two TSH tests, one of them was 2.6 I think and the newer one (last november I think) was 1.8. Don't know if thats an improvement or not.

  • Unfortunately I no longer have the piece of paper that told me - I had to give all my printouts to a naturopath and she never gave them back! (As well as not being very helpful.)

    I do remember that they were in range and that the T4 was a tiny bit on the low side. T3 was right in the middle (I just don't remember numbers!)

    I should have written them down but I succumbed to brain fog.

  • Well, a T3 right in the middle is much too low for most hypos. Most people need the FT3 to be right up the top of the range to feel well. And, a TSH of 1.8 is still a bit high for someone on thyroid hormone replacement. Your last test was last November? I think it's time you had a new one, don't you? :)

  • Yes it is time I had a new one. Just been putting it off as it means paying through the nose ;)

    That's interesting about the T3. Perhaps I really am too low.

  • Well, obviously too low for you, because you still have symptoms. :)

  • The advice to most people is eat until they are full and not to count calories simply because calorie counting doesn't work in the long term and can lead to eating disorders.

    At the moment the advice is to eat a Low Carb High Fat diet not the diet advocated by NHS England, Diabetes UK, US government etc. However the fats in the diet are good fats such as fats from fish, avocados, nuts, eggs, poultry, full fat dairy products and meat with the fat on. The actual portions of these you need are surprisingly small. The idea is because fat keeps you full longer than refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes (not sweet potatoes) and rice then you actually eat less food overall and you don't get insulin spikes, which makes you hungry. In addition if they are coupled with carbs in the form of a wide variety of vegetables including sweet potatoes, some fruit and pulses you will will get nearly all the vitamins, minerals and fibre you need.

    There are books like the "Escape the Diet Trap" and "The real meal revolution" where you can read up more on this diet. Or you can do a simple search online as Universities like Harvard school of nutrition advocate this diet and have lots of information.

    Also the temperature average is just an average. Some people's natural body temperature will never be 37c and pre-menopausal women's temperatures vary throughout their menstrual cycle anyway.

  • Totally agree with Bluebug. Stop counting calories. It is unnatural and counter-productive. :)

  • The problem is I tried a low carb diet and I just got sicker and sicker. I can't seem to digest protein or lots of fats. I had headaches constantly for a month. I felt nauseous all the time and I would sleep for 16 hours a day! When I started eating more carbs again (just a normal amount...nothing excessive) I put on 2 stone!! It was terrifying. I have never had a problemwith carbs before Iin my life. And I honestly am not sure when I'm full or when I'm hungry. Once I actually feel hungry, I've gone all day without food! I am a lost cause. But thank you for your advice - I do appreciate your time and patience more than I can say.

  • Someone with optimal thyroid hormone levels and vitamin and mineral levels shouldn't feel unwell when eating a diet that minimises their insulin spikes. Therefore it is clear your thyroid hormone levels and/or vitamin and mineral levels are not optimal.

    GPs state in range test results are "adequate" or "normal" as they are simply not trained to understand that these things need to be optimal, plus it minimises the cost to the NHS.

    If you have print outs of your thyroid hormone results and ranges plus your results from ferritin, folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D tests then post them on here in a new thread so posters can give you advice on getting them optimal.

    If you haven't got them then firstly go to your GP and request your thyroid hormone test results and ranges plus any vitamin and mineral test results and ranges. If the receptionist is difficult remind them of their duty under the Data Protection Act 1998 and point out you will take the matter further. If you have never had vitamin and mineral tests then you will need to have a private test from Blue Horizon - link thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin... Once you have them start a new thread with your results so posters can comment.

    Finally when you are eating in a new way e.g. LCHF you are actually suppose to have one or two meals a week where you eat what you want. So if you want a slice of birthday cake or lots of nachos then have them. You just aren't suppose to eat them everyday.

  • I have been optimizing my deficiencies - I am taking b12 and all the other b's, plus vit d3 and iron for my low ferritin. I also take magnesium and milk thistle for my rubbishy liver function. I'm pretty sure my liver is the problem - I can't digest anything heavy like protein orfat because my liver just doesn't want to play. I have tried again and again to cut out the carbs, but every time I get worse. I don't think I'm deficient Iin anything anymore. I just can't function on low carb :(

    I don't really eat junk food ever, that would make me feel lousy too. I know it doesn't make sense that I can't tolerate healthy fats and protein, but I really can't unless I eat them in small amounts with carbs like potato. I do eat quite a few raw egg yolks, I can do those for some reason.

    I am a mystery, and I'm not proud of it

  • You haven't posted any results. Taking vitamins and minerals without having tests is pointless as both vitamin D and iron are toxic.

    Oh and eating raw eggs regularly isn't a good idea as limits the absorption of some B vitamins.

  • I don't have the results of my tests anymore as I was stupid enough not to write them down and had to give them to a naturopath who didn't return them. However, I was deficient in all those things at the time so it made sense to take them. My GP is not at all cooperative soshe won't consider doing any more tests, she thinks I am a hypochondriac. I don't eat raw egg whites, which do pose a problem to b vits as you say. I only eat the yolk which Iis very rich in nutrients. I'm sorry to be a pain, I have researched and researched everything and I am just stuck. I only posted here because I thought someone might have the same problem and might have a new idea. If not then no worries. Thanks for your time.

  • How long ago was the time? As you may need to be retested. For example if you taking iron supplements to raise ferritin you should be retested 7 days after finishing the course of supplements. If you are taking enough vitamin D to raise your levels to optimal you should be retested after 6 months maximum.

    GPs won't do it due to the NHS trying to save money so you have to pay for it yourself.

  • Oh, I see. Yes I thought about ordering some private tests but the cost was prohibitive for me at the time. I will have to look at it again. Thanks :)

  • SuperParrot,

    Perhaps you could write to the naturopath requesting the test results you gave her be returned to you. TSH 1.8 is euthyroid but TSH 2.6 indicates your thyroid is struggling. It would be helpful to see FT4 and FT3 results and ranges.

    I would ignore your low temperature. People often have lower than the 37C average. Eat sufficient to feel satisfied but not satiated. You may need to exercise to help with weight loss.

  • Believe itor not, when I was exercising more and eating less, I was gaining fat at an alarming rate! Yes I will write to the naturopath - good idea. I guess it would be useful to get ft4 and ft3 tested. I will thinkabout it. Thanks :)

  • It is really NOT a good idea to exercise if your T3 is not optimised! Not surprising you put on more weight. But, I doubt it was fat.

  • Greygoose is that because exercise used up more t3 and then leaves you more depleted? And then you get more myxedema from being more depleted?

    Thanks :)

  • Absolutely right! :)

  • It's only egg whites that contain avidin and shouldn't be eaten raw. yolks are OK.

  • Superparrot, the last thing you want to do is cut out the carbs. If you don't eat enough carbs, it negatively effects your conversion. You do need some carbs.

    Have you ever had your stomach acid tested? It could be low, and that could be why you have problems digesting.

    And please, please stop running yourself down, like that. You are not a lost cause, or a mystery or anything but a sick hypo, who can be made better. But, if you keep saying those things, they will become a self-full-filling prophecy! You are wonderful! You just haven't got to the bottom of your problems, yet. But, keep digging, and I'm confident you will!!! :)

  • Awww, I feel all fuzzy now :)

    Its easy to get bogged down and think you're just failing at life. I wasn't having such a great day when I posted this but I am having a better one today. You're right, I just have to dig in and get it sorted. Thanks for your positive words - much, much appreciated!

  • You're welcome. :)

    Just realised, calling someone a sick hypo doesn't sound too good, does it! lol

  • My GPS told me my results were "normal"& "mid range"for 18 years.It didn't stop me crashing into 2 a year depression,followed by 2 years of chronic fatigue after years of symptoms like hair loss,mucin,sinusitis,ever ascending weight & water retention,ectopic beats,tachycardia attacks with heart rate over double,anxiety(I could go on)

    My symptoms started to improve as soon as I added T3,most notably hair loss & swollen ankles.

    I have been much improved going gluten free & giving up thyroxine for T3-only.

    I have been GF for a year & on T3-only for a year.

    The folk on this site can help you if you start by posting your blood tests with the ranges.

  • Thank you, that is very encouraging and I'm glad you found what works for you. I have some t3 but it gave me migraines when I took it - did you experience this to start with? I really would like to try it again but I am worried I was intolerant to it or something. Thanks for your help :)

  • The first attempt at T3 was in January 2015.I added 3 doses of 5mcgs(quarter of a tablet!)over 24 hours,alongside reducing T4.After the 3rd day I had to go to A&E as an episode of double heart-rate wouldn't stop & after 5 hours the tele-duty GP said to go to A&E.I was kept in overnight & on discharge had all the outpatient heart tests.Thank goodness it wa supraventricular tachycardia,not atrial fibrillation.I restarted T3 a few weeks later,but reduced my T4 to zero ASAP.This resolved the issue & many more symptoms.

    How much thyroxine were you taking?Did you add T3 to this.My endo told me to add up to 40mcgs T3 to my 125mcgs T4.I think that could have made me very ill.No mention of reducing thyroxine.

    Thanks to this forum,I knew what to do.I now take 55mcgs T3(30 on waking,25mcgs at 6pm)

  • I have never taken T4 - only small dose t3, about half what you were taking! That sounds a scary episode - I'm glad you were okay. I do think that I probably don't tolerate the boost that T3 gives at the moment because my adrenals are flat, and T3 can somewhat take it out of them as far as I know. Maybe it would work better after about 6 months of adrenal recovery?! :)

  • Apart from the matter of the difference between normal and optimal, I suspect you are having digestive issues due to low stomach acid - a common issue with hypos.

    I'm not a lover of Stop the Thyroid Madness, but their article on low stomach acid is good

    stopthethyroidmadness.com/s...

    After you have done the acid test, you could try just using vinegar if you don't want to start on Betaine. And you need some extra digestive enzymes, pepsin in particular.

    Some possibilities

    Candida - leads to hunger, especially for sugar and starches

    SIBO unbalanced gut bugs

    Parasites - they don't all cause weight loss!

    Both high cortisol and low thyroid will tend to cause weight gain.

  • That's very interesting as I spent a month on betaine and a high protein, no sugar diet a la naturopath, and although I felt better to begin with after two weeks my symptoms all returned and I felt quite horrible. I was getting reflux every time I even took one capsule of betaine. I would actually say I went through the high cortisol phase a while ago, now I think my tempsand symptoms match with low cortisol. I do take enzymes and things - I seem to have a remarkable capacity to be ill despite all the supplements and protocols in the world! Thanks very much for your suggestions though, I appreciate it :)

  • Betaine is a bit of a blunt instrument, so you might just have needed to tweak what you were eating/taking. I would suggest that it is worth trying to work out why your symptoms worsened rather than assuming it was all wrong.

  • Oh ok - that makes sense. I will look into that more deeply. Thank you! :)

  • Hi. I also have low temp, which GP says could be due to low iron levels, and prescribed iron supplement. Have you had iron levels checked?

  • Yeah, its true I have had trouble with anemia in the past but I was fine on my last test a couple months ago and I do take iron occasionally as a top up. I don't feel like I did when I was low iron, breathless and weak - so I think I'm okay on that front - but its definitely something to keep in mind so thanks :)

  • Hello Superparrot!

    I have PMed you a little of my own story..might resonate. It looks like this is a public post and i prefer to keep my info within the group (eg private posts).

    Perhaps you are not in range. perhaps you are not crazy and doing this to yourself.

    Call the naturopath and tell her when You will be arriving to pick up your labs. Either that or ask for nother print out from doctor. The naturopath is capable of photocopying.

    Take control and get your labs. Something is not right. And that is not you...its likely something else. Like your thyroid!!

  • Thanks so much 108optimist - just checking my PMs now :)

  • Hi SuperParrot - don't know if this will be any help but like you as well as being cold I was diagnosed with anorexia (no periods etc). Always saw myself as fat, not helped by easily piling on weight and struggling to use it (undiagnosed hypo). About a year or so ago having read others' advice on here I made up my mind to stop monitoring my food intake and just eat when hungry. I was about to give up because of feeling so fat but had a hospital appointment which showed my height (also 5'1) to weight ratio and BMI were just right - so I'm carrying on.

    Just like you, I did not know when I was hungry and when not and was quite capable of going for days without eating but then like you hunger would drive me to eat.

    Recently I read that feeling hungry after eating can be an adrenal problem sign, might be worth checking.

    Anyway, really trying to say, I think forcing myself to accept myself as I am and to be kind enough to my poor body to feed it when it asks to be fed, though it feels like overeating, has resulted in this apparently just right weight and I am much warmer.

    I really don't know much though, others probably know much more, but since we seem similar I thought something here might help and hope you soon feel much better.

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