The Beginning of a Long Journey to Thyroid Health

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  • By Susan "The Wife" Bartley
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The Beginning of a Long Journey to Thyroid Health

The last time I was able to lose weight with a normal amount of diet and exercise was in 2009 prior to our wedding.  I weighed around 175 lbs. when Marc proposed in August and by November of that year I was a svelte 145 lbs.  I kept the weight off until after our wedding and then it started to creep back on.  In late 2010 I got an IUD to make managing birth control easier.  At the time I thought I was choosing an option that would not jack up my hormones…but I was wrong.


Now, in 2018 I am a solid 190 lbs. and no matter what I do the weight doesn’t budge.  And I mean no matter what.  I can diet, no carb, low-carb or I can binge and eat everything and anything I want, and the scale stays at about 194 on Monday and 189ish on Fridays.  You can ask my husband because at first, he didn’t believe me, but he has seen me try everything and still not get any results.  Neither of us really understood what was going on and what to try next.


Then, marc got diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, a side effect of the chemotherapy drug he took to fight throat cancer.  Although we knew this was a possibility, it was a real bummer to get the diagnosis.  At the same time, he had listened to a 10 Talk by Stan “The Rhino” Efferding about adding salt to your diet to help increase your health.  Since that seemed counterintuitive based on all of the medical literature out there, Marc texted Stan and asked if his salt protocol would be helpful even with the chronic kidney disease.  Stan said that absolutely it would, and he gave us some more advice and told us to google Dr. Ray Peat and listen to what he had to say.


Down the rabbit hole we fell…………..


If you have never heard about Dr. Ray Peat then you should google him now and listen to everything there is on Youtube.  You can also go to his website and read countless articles.  He is a scientist, a biologist, and he comes from that standpoint when talking about nutrition and the human body.  His view points are different from almost everything you have been taught but they are all rooted in science.  They will be shocking.  They will be confusing.  They will make you scratch your head.   They will turn everything you know on its head.  But for me, they gave me hope that maybe whatever was going on with my body was NOT just a matter of “I wasn’t good enough”.


Rewind about 15 years


When I started working at the gym and getting into the world of training and dieting and everything that comes with it we used to laugh and laugh whenever anyone would come in to the gym and say they had a “thyroid” problem.  “Nope” we would say later “that guy didn’t have a thyroid problem, he just had a I can’t stop eating problem”.  We were so certain that thyroid issues were much less common than people said and everyone only used it as a crutch instead of just admitting they ate to much.   We, the fit and healthy, knew that as long as you dieted and exercised strictly you would never have a thyroid problem.  Losing weight was just a matter of control and discipline.


Fast Forward to the Present


The almighty google says that 22% of Americans are hypothyroid.   I am sure that is far below the actual number.  Once you take into consideration all that Dr. Peat says reacts negatively on your thyroid and realize how common all of it is in the typical American diet, you can see how many people must suffer from low thyroid.  We had no knowledge of the thyroid and how it works early in our careers, but we do now.


After listening to Dr. Peat I became intrigued about my own Thyroid health, and if that plus other hormone issues could be the reason why my weight didn’t budge.  One of the radio shows that Dr. Peat is a guest of is with a husband and wife team who are certified herbalists.  They help patients dealing with similar issues and they use a lot of Dr. Peats teachings.  About 6 weeks ago I reached out to these doctors and have begun working with them.  I have learned a lot.  I am not fixed yet, but the journey plus continued study have me much farther along in my quest to get rid of some of these unwanted pounds.  I am going to write about my journey, most especially how I have changed my eating and how I monitor my thyroid.  I am going to give numbers from my blood tests.  I hope that maybe this information can help someone else.  There is a lot of information so I will break it up into several blog posts so that we don’t get overwhelmed.


Until the next post, here are some cool resources you can check out.


Stan Efferding Talk:

Ray Peat Articles page:

Ask Your Herb Doctor:


  1. Cheryl Cheryl

    I feel your pain. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 8 years ago. Looking back, I had symptoms probably three to four years before that. I've always been active, been lifting since I was pre-teen, as I was a competitive gymnast. Even with thyroid medication, I have gained weight and struggle to get it off. Not that long ago, a hardcore month of two-a-days would yield results, whether I watched my diet or not. Now...nothing. In addition, for reasons that remain unknown, my levels never stay stable for very long, so I'm on a roller coaster with that. I have started reading about some of the environmental things (pesticides, fake scents in air fresheners, etc.) that can affect the endocrine system and have been weeding those out of our lives as well. I also do not eat soy when I can help it/am aware of it, but there is so much soy in foods these days it is hard to avoid completely, which leads to eating more whole foods, etc. I have not read up on the herbals, but will certainly read the info you have given links to. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to following your progress.

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