Grave's Disease treatment with insane weight gain: any success with low carb?
After a year of medication treatment for Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism) with Tapazole (methimazole), I've gained at least 30 pounds.
The endocrinologist did warn me that it is not unusual to gain twenty pounds when hyperthyroidism is treated, but I think I have reached the point of being an unusual case. A literally hugely unusual case.
After a year of the anti-thyroid med, my TSH and free T4 levels are within normal limits. Would a reduced carbohydrate diet work for me now? I'm also post-menopausal and about to turn age 57.
I followed the Drs. Eades' Protein Power eating plan starting at age 40 (gained weight after having Second Daughter at age 37), lost a lot of weight, and maintained the weight loss with a normal BMI for over ten years. Then I stopped carb counting: too much stuff going right after age 50 with the daughter having problems at school and my disabled Dad moving in with me while I worked fulltime and even started a new, difficult job with a lot to learn.
Gradually, I crept up to 150 lbs., still normal BMI at 5'4", but heavier than I'd been in over a decade. Then in 2011 it hit me.
I was hungry. I was starving. It was nothing to eat a bag of potato chips in one sitting in My Chair after dinner. I lost all dietary discipline. The scale began to shoot up.
My heart was racing and I was anxious to the point where I would have to hold my hands in front of me to shake them, as though I could force out the nervousness. I'd never had high BP before, but now my BP was reading 160/100. My PCP tried HCTZ, which brought me down into 140/90 BP range. Resting heart rate 90 or more. But I still was anxious and didn't like it and thought I was engaging in some serious soothing, emotional eating.
Yes, I am one of those lucky women who GAINED weight with hyperthyroidism.
Finally, the PCP ran some thyroid tests at the end of spring 2012: undetectable TSH and high free T4. RAIU showed a greatly enlarged goiter with diffusely increased radioactive uptake. Additional blood tests confirmed Grave's disease, as did my dry, yet weepy, great big eyes. I have pictures of me at my daughter's June 2011 wedding in which I looked perpetually surprised, eyes always opened wide. I had lifted weights for six months prior to the summer wedding so I wouldn't be embarrassed to wear a sleeveless dress, but I still was overweight.
I gave up the fall of 2011 on exercising and any reluctance over stuffing my face. I was exhausted. I did and now do work an eight hour day shift starting at 7:30 a.m. I would then go to bed at 7:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. and still feel as though I needed much more sleep. On weekends I would sleep fourteen hours at a stretch. When I wasn't sleeping or working, I was eating, hating myself for it, but feeling absolutely starved. Until my PCP did the thyroid blood work, he had me on generic Prozac for depression.
Now, after a year with the endocrinologist and anti-thyroid meds, I weigh 190 lbs. at 5'4". I'm not starving anymore. I don't eat more than an average person now. Much. But I am not following any specific eating plan.
I did manage to learn all sorts of bad eating habits, however.
Now for the BIG QUESTION: any other post-menopausal women here with thyroid issues who found real success following a reduced or low carb eating plan? I've read Eades, Taubes, Atkins, and others on the illogic of the low-cal diet. But can low-carb as in Atkins really work for me in my situation?
I walk 30 minutes per day now at work during break, and take the four flights of stairs, with all my huffing and puffing. Almost all my weight is in my gut, this huge protruding apple, while my arms and legs are comparatively thin. I need a sling to carry this gut around.
But this is a low carb forum, and I'd love to hear from post menopausal women with thyroid problems and their experience with seriously buckling down and assuming an eating plan that requires carb-counting.
If you haven't read the sticky thread at the very top of this section, it's a good read. "How do we hypothyroid people lose weight?"
We definitely work hard at it. Protein Power is good, as is Atkins. Whichever works for you and you'd want to do I'd think.
HI - I am not Post Menopausal - I'm getting close but not yet :) I also have Graves Disease - Only I took Radiation in 2009 to ablate my thyroid and now I take supplemental T3 and T4. With Graves Disease it seems to be crucial to get Gluten out of your diet to get the antibodies under control. If going low carb is what you need to do to achieve that then great. I bounce back and forth between low carb and just Gluten free. I stumbled across this thread when I was searching for information on IBS that I seem to have also acquired recently. My search was "IBS Graves disease and low carb diets" :)
But you can het healthy again it does take time and lots of effort. I am 5'0" and currently weight 119. Shortly after radiation I was up to 136. I have a fitness blog that I try to reach people with graves disease to help them. I really don't know how many people read it but I feel good getting my thoughts out.
kellyyonkers.com if you want to give it a look
In the gallery I have pictures from June 2010 - post RAI and some take just a couple weeks ago at 119 :)
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