Written by Barb135:
I know there are a lot of members here who have various medical conditions, such as thyroid issues, insulin resistance, PCOS and other health concerns that cause weight gain and/or inability to lose. Many of these conditions go hand in hand.
These conditions, in turn, can set off even more adverse issues, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, which, in their own turn, can cause heart attack or diabetes, kidney and liver problems, along with brain function issues and dementia.
I, personally, have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which causes hypothyroidism; I also have pernicious anemia, which is inability to absorb vitamin B12, which causes fatigue, tingling/numbness in the extremities. In addition, I quite often have higher than normal fasting blood sugars, and my latest hemoglobin A1c test came back at the high end of the range, which indicates insulin resistance; however, my doctor (at the time) refused to consider the record I'd kept of my fasting blood sugars and insisted that because my A1c test was "normal" there was no need to go further.
I know these medical issues (particularly hypothyroidism) are contributing factors to my weight issue. I never had trouble controlling my weight until I was about 58 yrs old, which was about a year before my hypothyroidism diagnosis. I gained about 30 pounds in a matter of 3-4 months and it seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn't control it.
I cut back on my food intake and changed my diet, to include more fruits and veggies; I switched to whole grain breads and cereals; I switched from sugar to Stevia or agave nectar for sweeteners. At that time, I was also going to Curves 3 days/week, and walking with my neighbor on a daily basis. I still continued to gain!! I had to literally "beg" my doctor to check my thyroid levels.
Once I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and put on replacement hormones (snythroid), I stopped gaining, but couldn't lose. Then my doctor (at the time) decided that I had gone hyperthyroid (over medicated), when I wasn't, so he began decreasing my med dosage. I, again, began to gain. In a "round about" manner, I eventually got sent to an endocrinologist, who is experienced with thyroid issues. I was given a different type and higher dosage of thyroid hormone and once again, I stopped gaining, but was still not successful in losing.
In addition to my thyroid hormones (I currently take 2 different ones), I am on weekly vitamin B12 shots, and 2 kinds of blood pressure medications. My cholesterol levels seem to go hand in hand with my thyroid levels; thyroid levels go up, cholesterol levels go down; thyroid levels go down, cholesterol levels go up. I have resisted cholesterol medications because I honestly believe that if I could get my weight under control, my cholesterol issues would diminish or go away. On the recommendation of my doctor, I do take a fish oil supplement daily, as well as red yeast rice.
Why am I writing this post? As I said at the beginning, I know there are quite a few members in this community who have some of these health issues, or others. I believe that these issues make losing weight considerably different for us, than for those who don't have these conditions. I also believe that before we can lose significant weight with these conditions, we must get them under control. I suspect there are more people who have these issues and don't know it; those who think they can simply cut back on the food and weight will fall off.
Everyone says the key to losing weight is diet and exercise - yes, I say it myself, over and over. Healthy diet, with portion control, and moderate exercise are essential to weight loss; however, you can't exercise properly when you are fatigued to the point of not being able to stay awake, or when you feel like every bone/muscle in your body is screaming in pain every time you move; eating properly is difficult, to impossible, when you don't have the energy to shop and fix suitable meals. Many of us hold down full time jobs and/or families, that consume every bit of energy and time we have, so there's nothing left over for ourselves. Carving out that "me" time is often impossible.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to take possible health issues into consideration, before starting a weight loss program. Because of the difficulty I had losing weight prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and pernicious anemia, I had already pretty much lost confidence in ever being able to lose the weight. I had a lot of trouble getting my thyroid issues under control - thanks to my former doctor. The only advice he ever offered, in regards to my weight was -- "there's nothing wrong with you, you just need to MOVE MORE!!"
How discouraging this is, when you are exercising daily and eating well, in spite of being fatigued to the point of exhaustion.
In my case, I'm still trying to shake off the discouragement and get back into a healthy lifestyle. I do feel like I have yet some undiagnosed health issues, namely, insulin resistance; along with some others which are possibly kidney/bladder related. I am currently in the process of seeking diagnosis and treatment for those. I believe them to be somewhat weight related, so in order to treat them properly, and prevent further issues, I'm going to HAVE to lose the weight.
If you find yourself with symptoms that you've never had before, such as fatigue, sudden weight gain/loss, bowel issues, skin/hair problems, aches/pains and others, don't just "assume" it's because you are getting older or that you are beginning menopause. Research your symptoms and go see your doctor. There are specific tests that can/should be done in order to diagnose problems.
I suggest that you check out some of the many forums available here on MH, that might help explain possible symptoms, and may offer guidance in the diagnosis and treatment of any you might have. The thyroid forum is one I have extensive experience with, because of my own thyroid condition; please feel free to check it out and learn as much as you can.
Health and happiness to all.