A little over 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease, a form of hypothyroidism which is an autoimmune disease. Hashimotos causes to me to have very low energy, brain fog, sensitivities to the cold, and the toughest time on the planet losing weight, so it’s kind of miserable to live with. It is genetic, so I share this disease with my mom, my sister, my aunt and cousin. They however had been treated medically for their cases, while mine was considered “not bad enough” to treat. With it, my thyroid is constantly under attack, but doctors told me as long as my thyroid was fighting back, I’d have to live with the effects. I was told I basically had to wait for my thyroid to give up before they could do anything about it…which is beyond frustrating to hear and deal with!
So this past month I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was tired of having no energy! I was tired of losing direction on tasks! And I was beyond tired of working out and eating healthy and seeing very little results! So I bought a book called the Hashimotos Cookbook and Action Plan, which promised that if followed I could change my thyroid health. It was a 31 day challenge that eliminated gluten, non-gluten grains, dairy, legumes, soy, corn and sugar. After the 31 days I added all of those foods back into my diet (with the exception of sugar) to see which foods cause my thyroid to react negatively.
It’s been a crazy journey, a difficult challenge at times, but so very worth it! I don’t like to call this a “diet” because it wasn’t a diet. I’ve been on plenty of diets, and with them, I don’t eat very much! This wasn’t a diet, because I ate a ton of food! Just a ton of different kinds of food than I was used to! I was eating full on meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner…something I didn’t do prior. My diet now consisted of lots of fruits, veggies, healthy meats, eggs, and raw nuts. Oh and Coconut Oil…LOTS of Coconut Oil! And surprisingly, Lard. I was shocked that Lard replaced butter in recipes, as I had thought it was bad for you…it just sounds bad for you right?! Apparently it isn’t! And a good bit of Coconut Aminos, which I had never even heard of prior!
This new way of eating was to clean out my body and eliminate toxins from within it. I would say it did it’s job! In 31 days, I lost 20.6 pounds and 21.5 inches (biggest losses…-2 chest, -2 small stomach, -3 across my bellybutton, -3.5 in my hips, -3 across my rear, -2 in each thigh!)…that’s A LOT of weight and inches! Especially for a girl who has a tough time losing weight! Was I shocked…definitely! Was it easy…no, not at times. Did I sacrifice a lot…you bet I did! Was it worth it…100%!
For the first time in my life, I saw that what you eat really does affect you and I’m not just saying affects the scale or the way your clothing fits. I saw a lot of crazy changes that I documented as I saw them, so I want to invite you into my little daily diary that I kept along the way 🙂
Day 1 – I am so ready to start this new challenge! After nearly 3 weeks away traveling from Nashville to Pittsburgh, Nashville to Boston and Boston to Vermont, my body needs this change! I’ve indulged in way too much wonderful food! Now, I’m not saying the healthy food I’m about to embark on isn’t wonderful food! I’ve just been taking in so much wonderful easy food…going out to restaurants, eating processed foods, drinking too much Coke…you know what I mean! I’m ready for this change, because I feel different eating it! We don’t eat bad when we are home, but we over indulge when we are away. I put on 5 pounds that I fought so hard to lose over these trips…I’m ready to lose that and then some! Here I go!
Today’s food was really good! I especially liked the Turkey Picata we had for dinner! So simple and so yummy!
Day 2 – I actually made my own Cesar dressing today! And how cool is it that I can have Cesar dressing on this challenge! I thought it was so bad for you…but I guess it’s not so bad for you when you are making it yourself and leaving out all the bad stuff!
Day 3 – I made homemade mayo today…what?! Who would have thought you could have mayo that didn’t come from a jar?! I mixed it into some egg salad which was served in butter lettuce cups…so good! I’ll never make another egg salad recipe again! And I didn’t even miss the bread! Today marked my first time working out on this challenge. I didn’t want to go, but I did, and I was surprised at how much energy I had!
Today I also went to the grocery store for the next 7 days and they had to help me out of the store with an extra cart because they didn’t want me to crush all of my produce lol. Not going to lie I didn’t know if I should be proud or ashamed of the amount of food I brought home, but it’s all healthy food so I’m choosing proud!
Day 4 – I officially lost my vacation weight! In just 3 days of clean eating, and 1 workout, I’ve lost 5 pounds! I don’t think of this as a diet, because I’m not dieting…I’m eating, A LOT! I never eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day! Am I hungry, at times, yes. But I eat a healthy snack or drink some water (did you know your body sends off hunger signs when it’s actually thirsty?! Always try drinking a big glass of water before you snack or even eat a meal! It helps you feel fuller so you don’t eat as much!) and I’m good to go.
For breakfast we had a delicious sausage and egg casserole, and I had to make the sausage from scratch out of ground pork…it wasn’t hard, and just took 5 minutes! I’ve never made my own sausage before, but now I can’t say that any more!
PS…why does orange juice smell so good? I was pouring Beau a glass and wanted it so badly! But I didn’t do it!
Day 5 – Today was my first real challenge…I went to the mall and got Beau some Auntie Ann’s pretzel bites (I love those!) well he had a toddler tantrum and I had to hold them until he stopped screaming! I wanted one so badly! But I didn’t do it! Phu!
Day 6 – When on a diet, there are always going to be challenges, and tonight, we met a big one! We had a wedding to attend, and I feared how I would keep to this diet while there. I knew I could do the no alcohol thing since hello, I’ve been pregnant twice in the past three years! But could I solely stick to water? That would be tough! Fortunately, they only offered sweet tea and lemon-aid, both of which I can pass on easily, but this was a big challenge for Patrick! He wanted some sweet tea bad! Now if there were cans of Coke, it’d be another story for me! I love Coke! It’s been fairly easy for me to not have Coke though, because I don’t keep it in the house, I only order it at restaurants (especially with specific foods – spicy!) Being that we’re cooking all of our meals, the temptation hasn’t been there! The food was again, scary for me. We went into it saying we’d eat just the meat and veggies. Turned out they had a fabulous seafood bar that was perfect for us! I had fresh shrimp, oysters and crab legs, and it was delicious! I’m not a cake fan, so I didn’t fret about the dessert, but man, never in my life have I wanted a cupcake more than I did that night! We instead munched on some of the fruit from the cocktail table (that happened to be next to a chocolate fountain – eek)
Day 9 – I woke feeling good and stepped on the scale (I’m really bad at weighing myself every day) same darned weight. I got a little emotional over this fact. I feel like I’m sticking with this, why is the weight not melting off like it did the first few days?
While at the grocery store today, I looked up to find some Avocado Oil, got a funny sensation in my head and kinda saw stars a bit. I rubbed my eyes, gathered my bearings and saw things way clearer than I have. It was like the fog was lifted…could this be the brain fog lifting?! Speaking of sensations…warning, if your my mother, mother in law, father, father in law, grandparent, aunt or uncle, pastor, or anybody else I’d be embarrassed to talk girl talk with, just skip to Day 10 thanks – haha! I don’t know why I’m shy talking about sex, (hello, I have 2 kids!) but I usually just keep it private. But, greatest sex of our marriage on this night! I can’t even explain it, I mean I guess I could if you’d like me to go all 50 Shades of Grey on you haha…kidding! It was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before and I couldn’t help but wonder (after the fact of course!) does this diet have anything to do with it?! I vote we keep testing it out over the course of this challenge 😉
Day 10 – I planned a surprise date for Patrick today! It was different in that I needed to plan out what we’d eat while we were gone. I planned a simple breakfast smoothie, packed a salad and fruit for us to have a picnic (this challenge is pushing me to be romantic – haha) and had the slow cooker going with dinner. While on our way to Cummins Falls, Patrick noted that most of our date nights revolve around food….going to try this new restaurant, going to the movies and having candy and popcorn, or dessert at this place. It was a great point! It made me realize that the time we spend together is usually over food, and I was excited to have a day where it wasn’t! Instead we spent the day exercising! Hiking the 3.5 miles to the Falls, swimming in the water hole, and hiking back to the car…it was a really nice change for us! Hopefully this will encourage us to have more non-food revolved dates!
Day 11 – Still no weight change…it’s frustrating to say the least. Today I even resulted to changing the batteries in my scale to make sure it was working correctly…I’m not even joking! I know it’s not all about the weight…I went into this telling myself that, but, I’d really like to drop some more pounds…I’m keeping hopeful! The thing is, if I didn’t step on the scale, I would think I’d lost weight…so I need to base this off of how I feel and not a number on the scale, right?
Day 12 – We about gave up on this challenge today. We are SO tired of cooking and cleaning dishes! Tonight we actually went by our own rules…we just got a Rotisserie chicken and made a watermelon and mint salad recipe we got from our Whole 30 cookbook (a very similar challenge) all ingredients were ingredients we’ve used so far, so we felt okay doing that. We just needed to not cook for a night!!!
Day 13 – Finally the scaled moved! Down 1.5! Hopefully it heads in the same direction!
Day 15 – Half way there! I’ve found on the nights I pray about my health, I see a difference on the scale. Last night, I told God why I’m doing this, and asked that if it be in His will, please give me the strength to continue, and the results to make me healthier for my children. With that, I stepped on the scale this morning, and reached the 10 pound mark! I’ve been tracking my pounds and inches lost since May, and in those months, I’ve not yet had a double digit loss, so this is a big deal for me…especially because it’s not even been a whole month, it’s been 2 weeks! I’m realizing for the first time that what we eat really does make a difference! If this is the result of two weeks, imagine what a year looks like. We might all get to our goal weights if we change up our approach to food! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on never ever eating gluten, dairy and sugar again…but my intake will be much more limited now, not even because of how they make me feel (which was my initial thought process) but because I see what they do to my body, my clothing and the scale.
Day 16 – This morning I was getting ready while in my bathrobe. I crossed my leg, and for whatever reason, my hand brushed against the bottom of my thigh. I was quite surprised that it didn’t feel quite as lumpy and bumpy from cellulite. This snapped me! I flipped up my robe and looked in the mirror…the appearance didn’t vanish completely, but it wasn’t quite as noticeable! Go me!
Day 17 – Tonight, I went to my friends party for a makeup line called Beautycounter. What I learned there was shocking. So I’ve been spending 18 days watching what I’m putting into my body to eliminate toxins from my body, right?! Only now I learn, I’m slathering toxins all over my body through my beauty products. Ugh, I was completely clueless of the amount of awful chemicals the FDA allows in our beauty products! By putting these chemical filled products on our skin, we’re allowing those chemicals access to our bloodline…so scary! This change in my diet is opening my eyes to a lot of other things that need to be changed in my life as well! If you’re interested in learning more about Beauty Counter, please reach out to me so I can help get safe products in your hands!
Day 20 – Today I fit back into my pre baby jeans! This is a huge success and milestone! I could get them up before, and I could forcefully button them, but all with that came the unwanted muffintop – ugh! This is me today…
They went on easy, buttoned easily and look, no muffintop! Woohoo!
Day 28 – 4 weeks in and almost at the end of this challenge! I took pictures at 2 weeks, so I found it fitting to take them again at 4 weeks and I’m proud and kinda grossed out at the progress! That was my tummy on the left at the start of this?! I don’t even believe it! Yes, it’s fairly flat after two kids (which was my mind set) but look how fluffy it is! I need to remind you, this is with very minimal working out. I have started working out at the tail end of this challenge…Hey, Patrick is in school now and the YMCA will give me 2 hours of free childcare! I workout for an hour then work on blogs or bible studies for the next hour! I’ll take any break I can get!
Day 31 – The LAST day! YES! Patrick almost tempted me into cheating tonight, but I didn’t! I’ve come this far…! He however had some french fries lol.
Day 32 – I got blood work done today and am eagerly awaiting the results! Can’t wait to see if this diet changed my thyroid levels at all! I’m a numbers girl…the numbers don’t lie! I can say I’m feeling better, less tired, more energized, but the numbers will tell the truth of change! I will keep you posted! I also introduced alcohol back into my diet. I felt no change, so I guess alcohol is a keeper…good! I’m like that new Carrie Underwood song, “Smoke Break”, “I don’t drink, but sometimes I wanna pop that top, take a swig and make the world stop, and watch it fade away.” Yep!
Day 34 – I added legumes back into my diet. I felt no change with me. However, I strongly advised my husband to never eat them again…oh the smells!
Day 35 – Today my Endocrinologist called about the blood work I had done and would only tell me that my levels changed and they need me to come in tomorrow. I have NO IDEA what to think. Does this mean my levels got worse? Did they miraculously get better and she wants to know how?! Tomorrow cannot come soon enough! I am dying to know!
Day 36 – Well, I went to my doctors appointment, and my thyroid has given up the good fight. My doctor prescribed me a low dose of Synthroid to get me started on trying to get my levels normalized. I told her about my diet changes and she said “Please, don’t think this happened because of the diet, the diet is probably the best thing you could have done for yourself given your levels.” She reminded me that she had been telling me this was going to happen, it was all just a matter of when it would happen. Sometime between May 5th, 2015, when I had my blood work done last, and today, my thyroid decided to stop working on me, I have no clue when. It was a little disheartening to hear because I really wanted this diet to fix my thyroid, but I’m choosing to look at this positively and am thankful that even if it couldn’t happen naturally, at least my thyroid is getting the help it needs to function properly.
Day 37 – I added corn into my diet. I again, felt no change. I did however look a little more bloated in my belly after eating corn, so it may be something I just limit a bit.
Day 39 – I got to welcome back Diary today! So we went to Dairy Queen, and I got myself a small cup with sprinkles, and I ended up trading Beau for his plain kids cone (without eating the cone of course!) The sprinkles were just too much for me…they didn’t even taste good! The plain vanilla ice cream was divine though, and sat well with me, thank the Lord! However, I did again notice the look of a little bloat so I should probably limit dairy too.
Day 41 – I added in non-gluten grains at lunch, and where I thought maybe I’d have a stomach ache, I actually felt fine once up and moving around. At night, I accidentally added gluten back in when ordering a chicken quesadilla at Chipotle. I was thinking chicken and cheese, I’m good, but failed to think about the tortilla! I ate it and hoped for the best, and it too felt fine.
Day 42 – We had our first full on, no holding back meal. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, a Cajun spot called Papa Bordeaux’s. We had wanted this meal as our “last supper” before the challenge, but they were closed! So we thought about this meal for a long 42 days! It all felt fine going down, but ugh, it did not sit well at all. I don’t think I can over indulge like that any longer! It just doesn’t make me feel good! With this meal I did order a Coke. I didn’t like it. I mean it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the “Oh My God! I’m getting to have a Coke!” I was expecting. Funny thing is, I’ve given up Coke before…for a lot longer…and could jump right back into it. I guess with nixing all sugars, it really got rid of that taste for it? I’m not complaining! Coke was the source of a lot of extra calories for me!
Day 46 – I’ve been keeping our meals clean, since I just feel better that way. But after denying myself for so long, there are some things I want to try out and today I let myself go to Subway. This was my first bread, and I did well with it. Normally I’d get Lays and a Coke with it, but I nixed both. I did however treat myself to one of their chocolate chip cookies, and was so excited for it…it was a let down. If I had to take my guess, my body really doesn’t like the affects of sugar any longer. So I’m going to try to keep my sugar intake at a bare minimum.
Through all of the food additions, I haven’t lost any more weight, but I have maintained, so it’s good to know that not one food in particular tilts the scale, which I really thought was going to be the case. I’ve been amazed at all of the differences I’ve seen, things like less joint pain when waking up in the morning, and my wedding rings fitting more comfortably. It’s been a joy growing out of clothes in the opposite way that I’ve been used to. I’ve definitely grown more confident in my body again, which makes me so proud, because this is my home and I want to feel good about it and love every part of it! I would consider this not a diet, but rather a lifestyle change. I am SO unbelievably thankful for my husband who did this challenge with me! He didn’t need to do this, but he did, and he was a huge source of encouragement to me! If by reading this you are encouraged to do a similar elimination diet, I encourage you to find a buddy to do it with you! There are times I seriously think I could have given up if not for Patrick! I also suggest for non-Hashimoto friends to look into Whole 30. Like I mentioned before, it’s super similar, and way more trendy so there will be more recipes and info out there on it. I’ve read through most of this book and it offers a super detailed, tough love approach to this diet. It also has loads of yummy recipes!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, I will help you out in any way I can! It feels really good to be healthy, so I want to pay it forward, and I’m hoping you’ll be the one to keep the chain going!