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Thread: Weight loss on HRT or thyroid meds? page

  1. #1
    Laural's Avatar
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    Weight loss on HRT or thyroid meds?

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    I lost all my baby weight (and then some) following the PB way of eating. I reached my goal weight and was, believe it or not, ready to submit my success story. I'm not sure I had ever looked better in my LIFE, but my energy was still waning. I was then put on bioidentical hormone replacement in July and then thyroid meds a couple months later. As of yesterday, I have gained everything back and then some (just shy of 30lbs total)!!

    I never veered from Primal eating; however, my amounts DID change (I actually had to hide the coconut cream from myself). My carbs never went above 150g, either. Calorically, I was a disaster, but I tried to convince myself that it didn't matter. My two physicians are happy with my levels now, but I'm miserable with all this extra weight I'm carrying around!

    Has anyone had success with losing weight on these meds, and if so, would you pass along your suggestions? I have been eating less than 50g of carbs for several weeks now, little to no dairy now (butter/ghee and occasional bite of Fage full-fat yogurt), have all but eliminated my nut consumption (had a few mac nuts the other day for a snack), and may eat a few blueberries from time to time now (used to be every night). No budge in the weight.

    Continue with lower carb? Lower calorie count (gasp!)? Simply be patient? I feel like I'm starting all over again...

    Thanks for any/all suggestions!

  2. #2
    Rodulu's Avatar
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    Hi Laural,

    I don't have any advice, but I wanted to say hi, cause I'm about to start estradiol/progesterone/testosterone as of tonight. I'm nervous about how it will affect me. The doc thought my thyroid was low, but fortunately the tests came back that it was o.k. Today is the beginning of PB for me.

    The only thing that comes to mind is that sometimes eating too little (depending on your workouts) can trigger your body to hold onto weight.

  3. #3
    jo's Avatar
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    Just curious - were you put on the meds due to your waning energy? Have they resolved the problem as far as how you feel?

    My two physicians are happy with my levels now, but I'm miserable with all this extra weight I'm carrying around!
    It's one thing to have great lab results, but you have to FEEL healthy too. What do the docs say about your weight gain?

  4. #4
    Laural's Avatar
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    Rodulu: I wish you luck on your hormone adventure. I am in my early 40s, so I don't have many friends who take all this stuff; therefore, I don't have many people to bounce ideas off of. My MOM'S friends (ha!) all take estradiol/progesterone/testosterone like I do and they all love it. That said, they also don't seem to really mind that they carry around a few extra lbs either. They claim it helps with hot flashes, slacking skin, libido, etc. That hasn't been the case with me, but I didn't have a choice. For whatever reason, my body ceased making sex hormones. It was crazy! And I haven't had a cycle in over 3.5 years....

    As a side-note, I didn't gain the majority of weight with the hormones. But once I added in the Armour into the mix, forget about it. It skyrocketed! You should be fine and I wish you only the best.

    Jo: Even before going Primal, I was going to physicians because of my lack of energy, feeling cold, etc. All the docs said I was "within range." It was the amenorrhea that got a couple of the doc's attention. I sincerely believe they thought I had an eating disorder or something as I was pretty lean and vascular. I had heard on more than one occasion that perhaps I should "eat more fat." If they only knew!! I was eating sticks of butter at that time--ha!

    I do feel better in the energy department, though nowhere NEAR where I used to be (running, hiking, kayaking, etc.). I walk my dog and that's about all I can do now. BUT, at least I can make it up my stairs without stopping and crying.

    Oh, and my docs? They could care LESS about my weight gain. My gyno (male) stated that I needed to gain few (and also hinted I may have body dysmorphic disorder. I do not). When he casually stated I may gain "ten, fifteen, twenty pounds...One never knows how one's body will react..," I almost dropped over in my chair. My Endo (female) doesn't say much except "it happens." I'm on my own, it seems.

    So, not sure if the cure is better than the disease.

  5. #5
    marcadav's Avatar
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    Laurel, do you have test results you could share?

    I've been on thyroid meds for 11+ years, HRT for about 10 years. I was in my mid forties when I started both. I had undetectable estradiol levels, yet regular periods.

    I, too, gained the majority of my weight after starting hormones. I was, however, kept undermedicated for years. Finally, in 2008 I found a doctor who listened and increased my meds. I lost almost 50 lbs in 2009. A few more in 2010. Gained a few in 2011 and found I needed a thyroid med. increase.

    Other things I found that needed to be considered/addressed:
    1. Vitamin D levels
    2. Selenium--getting enough helps thyroid function. My multi-vitamin has 200mcg
    3. Ferritin levels
    4. Not going too low carb-- for some people going below 50 grams/day hinders T4 to T3 conversion. Eating too little can also hinder conversion.

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    Laural's Avatar
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    Marcadav: I am so glad you wrote and am fascinated by your experiences! I would be glad to share my latest test results. Don't think you would like to see the ones from way back when, but can tell you I had undetectable levels of every sex hormone. It was so bad that my gyno stated he was surprised I even made an ink mark on the page.

    My most recent sex hormone levels are (minus the progesterone):

    Estradiol: 109 pg/mL (Follicular phase...27 - 122 pg/mL; Mid-cycle phase...95 - 433 pg/mL; Luteal phase...49 - 291 pg/mL; Post-Menopausal...<41pg/mL
    Testos, Female/Child: 42 (9 - 55) ng/dL

    My most recent thyroid results (after one month of Armour--switched from Synthroid, thank goodness):

    Free Thyroxine: 1.14 (0.53 - 1.43) ng/dL
    T3 Free: 3.1 (2.4 - 4.2) pg/mL **This is the first time I have been in range in...forever. I was below or at the 2.4 for ages...

    I had been referred to the "Stop the Thyroid Madness" website and had my GP order a few more tests. Seems I'm low in Vitamin D, Ferritin, and (in my opinion) Potassium. My doctor wasn't concerned with ANY of these results, but I will post them anyhow.

    Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy: 34 (30 - 100) ng/mL (I am supplementing about 10,000iu/day now)
    Ferritin: 22.5 (10.0 - 291.0) ng/mL (I am supplementing about 100ish mg of iron/day now)
    Iron: 84 (40 - 170) ug/dL
    Total Iron Binding: 391 (250 - 450) ug/dL
    % Saturation: 21 (15 - 55) %
    Potassium: 3.7 (3.6 - 5.5) mmol/L (I am including a few 99mg tabs/day...though it is simply a drop in the bucket)

    My Magnesium and B12 were both high, so that's good, I assume (I have supplemented with these for a long time). I don't know what my Selenium levels are.

    I had no idea that going too low carb could potentially cause certain people problems. I can tell you it makes me shaky, but I feel like that's what I'm supposed to be doing to lose weight. Have no idea now. When I began the Primal lifestyle, I tracked my macros, weighed food, yadda-yadda, but was very successful with the weight loss. Even after I gave up all the "anal-ness," , I maintained my weight (eating lots of fat, dairy, nuts, fruit, etc.). But after beginning the hormone treatment, it didn't matter WHAT I ate or how much. The scale was (and still is) shooting upwards.

    Thanks for your input. Maybe I just need to stay longer on the thyroid meds to see if I level off? I guess time will tell. Again, I so appreciate your taking the time to help me out!

  7. #7
    Jovana's Avatar
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    I take Thyroid medication, Cortisone Meds, and don't produce Estrogene, Progesterone and Human Growth Hormone. I lost these hormones because of a brain tumour and i gained 20kg in a year... I'm not sure if the weight gain was from the loss of the homones or from taking the medication or a combination of both.
    I haven't taken Estrogene and Progesterone for 3 years because it gives me mood swings but around the time i stopped taking them i also lost a lot of my weight so it's very possible it was a factor in my weight gain.
    Other than that Cortisone, which is a steriod also would have caused weight gain.
    I rarely bother taking my thyroid meds because I don't notice any change in energy levels and i don't lose or gain weight whether i take it or not- it makes no difference to me at all.

    I guess my advice is to experiment with different doses and with different brands and if you're not gaining anything from taking estogen and progesterone, why take it? Estrogen & Progesteone did absolutely nothing for me other than provide me with a fake period. It made my life a nightmare (serious mood swings & didn't help at all with sex drive)..... I chose quality of life, and if that means I need to have regular bone density scans than that's a sacrifice i'm willing to take.
    Hope that helps a bit....

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    You mentioned a 'caloric disaster,' and I'd suspect that's your problem (if you've lowered your carbs--150g is too much for weight loss, IMO).

    I've never done HRT, but I'm post-menopausal and have Hashimoto's and been on thyroid hormones for years. During that time, I managed to lose 200 lbs, but that was with severe calorie restriction in addition to low carb. As we age, metabolism slows, and hypothyroidism slows it further. Despite the meds, we never have the metabolism we did with a healthy thyroid.

    You may have to restrict calories more than you're initially comfortable with, but here's what I discovered--my body actually needs (and wants) much less food than my 'head' wants to feed it. Once you figure this out, the calorie level is fine--even if it may 'shock' some of the folks on this board. My doctors are totally fine with it, and my lab results are spectacular.

  9. #9
    Laural's Avatar
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    Jovana: Thanks for your input. Yeah, I have on NUMEROUS occasions thought about quitting everything! But then I look at both my parents who have osteoporosis and I hang on a little longer. I'm like you--I get pretty moody with the hormones AND have yet to even have a cycle! The doc wants to increase my estrogen even more and I say "no way!" I appreciate you writing about your experience. I may be right there with ya sooner than later.

    emmie: I'm SURE eating all the excess calories contributed initially. I didn't explain well enough above, but I stopped eating as much (after the initial shock of all the hormones on board) and have since lowered my carbs to around 50g or so--sometimes much less. Still no budging on the weight loss. I do agree with you, however, that I should probably hang in there longer with the reduced calories/carbs and see if it makes any difference. Perhaps I will have to use the ol' FitDay again. I'm so glad things are working for you and, perhaps, I will have a success story to share soon.

    Thank you both for sharing your thoughts.

  10. #10
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    A group of very wise women on another forum told me something that not only stuck, it was invaluable.. They said, when you are diagnosed with thyroid issues and begin treatment your body needs time to heal. During this healing time, dieting/trying to lose weight only adds stress to an already stressed system. They recommended focusing on getting thyroid hormones optimal, giving the body time, and making healthy choices on a daily basis.

    When I was finally optimally medicated-- both my frees above midrange--I gave myself around six months to allow healing to take place. After that time I really cleaned up my eating, as I had energy to do so. I also started exercising very slowly by walking on the treadmill. I started with 5 minutes and increased daily.

    I also made a conscious decision to NOT make the focus of my journey weight and/or weight loss. I chose to focus on my health and for me that meant avoiding diabetes, getting off the numerous meds I was on for painful arthritis, and avoiding other issues that run rampant in my family. I told myself that if I got and stayed healthy, measured by medical markers and better quality of life, then I could stay obese and still be happy.

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