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Subclinical Hyperthyroidism – Now what?

English: Scheme of the thyroid gland. Français...

Scheme of the thyroid gland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I wrote about going to our military hospital to request some lab tests.  (Click here for previous post.)  That Thursday, my PA’s nurse called me to see if I could come in before my scheduled follow-up appointment to discuss my thyroid test results.  I figured something was up, but of course, she couldn’t tell me anything about the results, so I had to wait and ponder until Tuesday after Memorial day to see my PA.

At the day of my appointment, I sat in the small room where the Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs again.  I was nervous, because of my recent elevated blood pressure readings and having to go back onto blood pressure medication if my numbers didn’t improve.  But as it turned out, my reading that morning was only 124/82, much better than the reading from the week prior of 154/105.  Relieved that I was almost back to normal, I could now return to worrying about my possible thyroid issue, while waiting for the PA.

Thyroid Panel Results

She didn’t waste much time and told me my thyroid panel test results.  I added normal ranges in parentheses:

♥  Thyroxine            10.0               (4.8 – 10.4)
  T3                      1.32               (0.970 – 1.69)
  FT4                    1.29               (0.78 – 2.19)
  TSH Sensitive     0.245   Low     (0.465 – 4.68)

The PA then explained that a low TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone value accompanied by normal T3 & T4 values is a sign for subclinical hyperthyroidism, which could eventually turn into full-blown hyperthyroidism.

I must have given her a blank stare, so she continued questioning me about symptoms, and if I noticed any of the following:

  Hair loss (notice more hair on the brush)
  Fatigue
  Palpitations
  Weight loss, etc…

Yes, I have these symptoms, but figured that the hair breakage was due to the dry air in Colorado, the palpitations due to the altitude, and the weight loss, yet slow, was intentional with eating low-carb.

The PA checked my neck again for any growths, but did not feel anything abnormal.

The plan for now is to repeat the blood test in 2 weeks, and if the results are the same or worse, she will order a scan of my thyroid and we’ll go from there.  If the test comes back normal, we’ll just follow-up with tests in 3-month increments.

Lipid Panel Results

My lipid-panel wasn’t that great, either, but the PA said, that we’ll keep an eye on the numbers.  There is NO WAY I’ll go on statins for cholesterol, because of the horrible side-effects they cause and science has proven, that especially women see no improvement in taking them.  Chris Kresser has a lot of resources and scientific backup to prove this point.

Here are my numbers:

  Cholesterol         206         (<200)      okay, a bit up
  Triglycerides         86         (<150)      thanks low-carb
  HDL                     36         (40-60)     gotta work on that
  VLDL                   17         (5-40)       not bad
  LDL Direct          154         (<100)      oh, oh – but I do not have particle size
  Risk Ratio           5.7         (0.5 – 3.5) high

A1C Results

My A1C was excellent with 5.3.  I’m down by .3 points from 2010, when I had it tested the last time.  It should be under 6.  Yay!

Outstanding Test Results

I’m still missing the Vitamin D and the standard test results.  I also do not see LDL particle size on the report, which I requested.  Maybe this test is not done at this hospital – the PA gave me a confused look when I asked her for the LDL particle size as we were discussing the results.  Instead, she kept referring back to the risk factor value.  I’ll ask her again at the next appointment. Stay tuned for updates of my next Dr. visit.

To be continued….

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A Low-Carb Friendly Military Healthcare Provider – Really?

English: Blood pressure measurement.

English: Blood pressure measurement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic of our new duty station to get some blood work drawn, mainly to have a baseline to measure my progress for next year’s low-carb cruise.  I was so inspired by the success stories of this last cruise, that I made a promise to myself to make this year count.  I was particularly inspired by the stories of Andrew DiMino from Carbsmart, Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Susan Winkler, Kent Altena, Kim Eidson, and Vanessa Romero, just to name a few.  With all this motivation, this is definitely the year to get healthy!

At first, I was worried about the reaction of my new doctor, because every time I went to see one at the military clinic at our last duty station, which was usually a different physician each time, and mentioned that I was eating low-carb, they were appalled that I did not eat any HEART-HEALTHY GRAINS and that I ate SATURATED FAT.  Of course, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.  At that time I didn’t have any ammo to counter with yet.  But this time would be different!

Before my appointment, I made sure to do my homework.  I asked my new expert buddies at the Low-Carb Cruise Facebook Group, which additional blood tests I should get done, and made my list:

  Standard tests
  Full Panel Thyroid
  LDL Particle Size
  A1C
  Vitamin D Level

 I also played out in my mind what I’d say to the doctor, when the low-carb thing would come up.  None of my previous physicians were open to this lifestyle, so I wanted to be ready.  Some things I wanted to say were:

  I eat more veggies than ever in my life.  What’s wrong with that?
  Isn’t this how diabetics should eat?
  Isn’t this how food addicts in recovery eat?  Nobody says that that’s unhealthy.  Why can’t I?

So, confident that I was ready for my appointment, I drove to the post hospital, ready for battle, if the need would arise.

At the clinic, a Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs.  I was shocked that my blood pressure was 154/105.  What?  It’s never been that high!  Yes, I had high blood pressure for years around 145/95, which was easily controlled by meds.  Then, after I lost some weight by eating low-carb, I stayed off my low-dose HCTZ and monitored my blood pressure, which was usually fine.  When I returned from the cruise, it was still normal for a few days, then shot up to the 150s/90s and I thought my machine at home was broken.  Since I had no way to test it, I just waited a few days for my appointment to verify that my blood pressure machine indeed went belly-up.  But I was wrong.  We checked twice.  Yep, I was really up there.

The volunteer then told me that my physician assistant will be with me shortly and left the room.  What?  I’m seeing a PA?  Nothing against PAs, but I really expected a doctor.  Oh well, nothing I could do at that point.

A few minutes later, the PA came in.  After some small-talk, she asked me why I was here.  I told her that I’m due for a physical and that I just came off the Low-Carb Cruise with a lot of experts and that I wanted some blood work done, so I can compare results right before the next cruise.  She nodded and got her pen ready:  “What tests do you want?”

Really?  No push-back?  I like that lady!!!  So, I rattled off my list to her.  She repeated the tests to me to make sure she got them all, did a quick physical and then we discussed the blood pressure issue.  She thinks that it could be the altitude, since I just came from a week at sea-level back to Colorado at 6200 feet.  She wants me to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and to see if my pressure goes back down.  We’ll then discuss my test results and if I need to get back on blood pressure meds.  As I went down to the lab, I was still amazed about my PA’s reaction, or non-reaction.  That was easy!

Update:  Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the nurse.  My PA wants me to come in sooner to discuss my thyroid test results.  Great, now I have to wait until Tuesday to find out what’s off on my results…

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Me, exercise, who would’ve thought?

Bgpictures yoga 01

Image via Wikipedia

I hate exercise, can’t stand to sweat, and don’t like to feel exhausted.  Yep, that’s me.  Sound familiar?  Imagine the surprise when, one day out of the blue, I had a strong urge to do some yoga – not the strenuous power-yoga, but more like the stretching type.  Ya know, a girl gotta start somewhere.  So after work, I cooked dinner as usual and after we ate, I still had yoga on the brain.

Determined to do a short, mild session, I scoured my shelves for old workout tapes and DVDs, when I remembered that I still had that WiiFit Plus game floating around in our guest room.  I know, it’s not the perfect tool, but for my purposes it was great.  After changing the batteries in my controller and board, and figuring out how to setup my workout, I did two short sessions of basic yoga poses.  To my surprise, it felt very good to stretch out and I noticed that especially my arms and legs seemed to have gotten a bit of a workout in that short amount of time.

Once I finished my programmed sessions, which lasted only 15 minutes or so, I didn’t want to stop “playing” just yet and decided to try my skills with a few of my favorite balance games (ski-slalom, balance table, etc.)  Considering that I haven’t played this game in a couple of months, I did pretty good.

What do I credit this burst of energy and weird behavior to?  I may be wrong, but I think that changing to a grain, sugar and starch free diet, and consuming mostly whole foods (again, did not kick the diet coke habit yet), not only helped me to shed some pounds (almost 20 so far), but I also feel like I need to move around more often.  My legs are no longer swelling up like balloons and for some reason my body is so much more flexible, probably because the swelling is gone.  This lifestyle really works for me and I have no plans of going back to my old bad habits.  I’m going to stay primal for life.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Exercise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Weekend Binge Danger Zone Reframed

Calendar

Image by studiocurve via Flickr

Not staying low-carb on weekends has been my downfall in my weight-loss journey so far.  As soon as I ate something high-carb, my entire weekend turned into a food fest, which undid all of the body-healing progress I’ve made throughout the week.

My Binge Pattern:

As I mentioned in several of my posts, on workdays, I hardly have any cravings at all.  I can even walk by the sweets and cupcakes people leave by the coffee paraphernalia for others to enjoy.  Actually, all unwanted treats from coworkers land there.  “Someone will eat it.” is the common attitude.  And indeed, someone will eventually eat it … just not me.

The trouble starts Friday evening.  Here’s what usually goes through me head: “Weekend!!! It’s time to relax.  Let’s do something special as a family.  Let’s eat out!  I’m going to eat whatever, just for this meal and I’ll get back on track after we leave the restaurant.  Okay, I’ll have some sweets, that’s it for tonight.  I’ll reset over night, let’s go to the store and grab some stuff.”  Saturday goes sort of like this: “Hmmm, I didn’t eat those snack cakes last night.  Let me eat them and get them out of the way, then start over afterwards.  Heck I already started, might as well keep going…”  Once Monday comes around, I’m about 3-4 lbs heavier again, I feel puffy, swollen, and lethargic, combined with a mild, annoying headache and the question looming over my head: “Why the hell did I do this again?”

The bad thing is, there are many places where I could actually break the binge-cycle, but my mind is on overdrive and I go on autopilot.  I don’t seem to have control anymore of what goes into my mouth.  Sweet stuff is all I can think about and I am driven to fulfill that need. The sad thing is, it is never enough. So, my only solution is not to start at all.  But how can I do this?

Reframing:

Back in the old Weight Watchers days, I’ve learned about a tool called refraiming, where you replace a belief or thought with another, more positive one.  Here is how I want to change my thinking for now:

  • Weekends are danger zones – turns into – Weekends are opportunities to learn more about healing my body (more podcasts to listen to, reading, try new recipes that I don’t have time for during the week, etc.)
  • I can have just one of these – turns into – I rather stay on the straight path I’m on right now.  (I imagine the path of binging to be loopy with many d-tours).  If that doesn’t work, walk away and the cravings will diminish.
  • Whatever. I don’t care. I don’t want to do anything – turns into – What do I really feel?  Am I blocking something out?

So for this week, I’ll be practicing my reframing skills and post about my progress as I go along.

Next, I’d like to hear from you readers if reframing has worked for you.  What thoughts have you changed? Have you noticed any changes in your thinking, your mood, your behavior?  Just leave a comment below to share your experience.

Until next time,

Nickie

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Sunday – Day 7 Back on Low-Carb – Danger Zone

It’s not over yet – I’m still in the danger-zone for binging, since I have another day off tomorrow for Columbus day. But it’s not all doom and gloom.  My plan is to stay busy and productive and spend some time out of the house.  Usually, a change of scenery does wonders in lifting my spirits.

So far, this is day 7 back on low-carb after an all-weekend binge last week.  I’m not back to my pre-binge weight yet, but I can’t change that, so I’m not stressing over it.  Today I was 99% on track (other than drinking diet coke, but that’s something I don’t really want to give up just yet), and I’m happy with that.

Today’s project was to spend some time learning about blogging.  Wow, I still feel like a newby when it comes to writing a decent blog and getting people to read it. I’m going to cut today’s post short, so I can add some of my favorite low-carb blogs and podcast links to my blog page.  I meant to do this for a few months now, just didn’t get around to do it yet.  Feel free to click on a few of them.  Maybe there’s something you like.

What I’ve learned: 

Using better tags and categories, writing better headlines, searching and following other blogs & tags. Wohoo, watch out WordPress, ’cause here I come!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Food Addiction, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Low-Carb Waffles (or Pancakes)

 

Brussels Waffle (known in the USA as Belgian W...

Brussels Waffle (known in the USA as Belgian Waffle) with Strawberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hmmmm… pancakes, waffles… I miss all those foods, especially when my family wants them for breakfast on the weekends.  This is a very dangerous time for low-carbers, well, at least it is for me.

As I was browsing the web, I found this German low-carb forum.  I skimmed some of the topics and found a thread about low-carb pancakes and waffles.  Hoping that it was not just another recipe with protein powders and baking mixes, stuff I can’t get easily where I live, I clicked on it and found that the dough only has simple everyday ingredients in it.  That’s just what I needed!   In Germany, Mandelmehl (ground blanched almonds) is very common and can be found in little bags in the baking section.  But, should you have trouble finding it in your store, you can make it yourself, per George Stella, by grinding your own almonds in a blender or food processor).  Anyway, here’s the recipe:

LOW-CARB WAFFLES (or PANCAKES)

Yields about 5 Waffles

  • 2 medium eggs (I used large)
  • 100 g blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp. Splenda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • a little water, heavy cream or soy milk (I used cream)
  • a little vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and slowly add liquid until it has the consistency of pancake dough.  Then cook as usual with butter in a pan for pancakes or in a waffle iron for waffles.

Carb counts vary based on liquid used.  Plus, I’m not getting too hung up on carb counts – I get too obsessive about those when I do – reminds me of the old Weight Watchers days when I had to count points.

Prep Experience:  I made the waffle version this morning.  It was actually really simple  to mix all the ingredients together.  The almond meal already comes in 100 g packets, Splenda is a staple in my kitchen, and so are eggs and heavy cream.  I added the dry ingredients first, which took half a minute, then added enough cream until I had the consistency right, not to thick, but not too thin so that it’ll run out of the waffle maker.  I was done in 2 minutes.  I put a bit of butter in each of the squares of the waffle maker and added a ladle full of dough in each square, closed the lid and waited for the steam to slow – I don’t trust the light in my old machine.  Oh, they smelled so delicious and looked just like real waffles.  I couldn’t wait to try them!

Culinary Bliss: Once the waffles were cooked I put them on a cooling rack, so they don’t get soggy, and helped myself to 2 squares.  Out of curiosity I broke off a small corner and nibbled on it cautiously.  Wow!  It tasted surprisingly like the real thing, sweet and bready, except for a tiny bit more of a crunch, as the almonds are a little grainier than normal flower.  The mouth-feel and the flavors were all there!  I melted a small bit of butter on top of my waffle and drizzled some sugar-free maple syrup on top.  Oh, I was in heaven!  And because of the almonds, these two squares were extremely filling.  I was fully expecting my blood sugar level to crash, as it would with real waffles, but 3 hours later, I had no issues at all.  Way to go!  This is definitely a keeper!!! (and I still have 3 waffles in the freezer for days I’m running late in the morning).

I think next time I make waffles, I go with the whipped cream and berries variation, just to step outside the box of eating it the same way.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Low-Carb Diet, Recipes

 

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Burger King’s Low-Carb Whopper Review

Yesterday evening after work, I had dinner at Burger King on our military installation before going to the movies.  I had to eat something substantial, or I would’ve caved in to the seducing aroma of movie popcorn – of course, drenched in butter and a bit of popcorn salt on top.  In my opinion, that’s the ONLY way to REALLY enjoy popcorn.  Yet, it’s still a No-Go for me, as I can eat almost an entire bag on my own.  Can you say CARB-CITY?  I just don’t want to ruin the progress I’ve made in my health so far.

The Old Way: Since starting on Atkins, I’ve eaten at Burger King a few times for lunch.  Normally, I order a double whopper with cheese, leave off ketchup (and pickles – just because I don’t like them), and buy a bottle of water, since the German diet cokes are way too sweet of my taste.  If I must have some soda, I just grab a small bottle of American diet coke in the PX next door before I get  my lunch at the food court.   When I sit down to eat my burger, I just toss the bun to the side and eat the burger with a fork and knife.  I’ve gotten some odd looks here and there, but I ignore those… heck, I’d probably do a double-take, too, if I’d seen someone eat a burger with a fork & knife.

My Find – The LC Double Whopper: So, yesterday when I went to BK, the manager was working at the register.  What a great opportunity to ask about this low-carb burger they had advertised when I arrived in Germany a year ago.  “Can I help you?”, he asked.

“Yes, do you still have these low-carb burgers you were selling a few months ago?”

He punched a few buttons on his register. “Let me see if we still have it listed in here.  Ah, there it is!  Yes, I can still get that for you.”

“Yay! I want one, please!”

He punched some more buttons.  “Would you like this to be a double whopper with cheese?”

“Sure,” I answered, “no ketchup, no pickles.”

“No problem.”, he said. “It doesn’t come with mayo, as it gets messy, but I can give you a packet, if you like.”

“Sure.”

I paid for my burger and small bottle of water and patiently waited for my low-carb whopper.  I expected a little confusion from the kitchen area, since I’m probably the only person in the last 6 months who ordered one of those things.  Sure enough, a head poked out from behind the warmer.  “Dave, what’s a lc double whopper?”  So the manager gave the guys in the back a quick crash-course on how to put together my low-carb burger.

My number was called 3 minutes later and my lc whopper was presented in a little salad bowl with a lid.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I sat down and opened the lid.  At first glance it looked like a salad, but yes, I found the meat on the bottom as I poked my fork into the veggies.  I squirted some mayo on top and I was ready to eat.

Culinary Delight: The first thing I noticed was that it was a little bit difficult to cut, since it was in a rounded container, but I didn’t mind that too much, because it was presented very well and people don’t stare at you, since it looks like you’re eating a salad.  Loved the tasted, too!  You have your meat to fill you up, the crunch of the veggies, and the creaminess of the cheese and mayo.  Once I was done with my burger, I was pleasantly full and was able to go to the theater without being tempted to eat popcorn.  I didn’t even miss it while watching the movie.

Toss the Bun vs. LC Whopper: I think, I prefer getting the low-carb burger instead of performing surgery at the table on a normal whopper.  Maybe they have a flat plate next time instead of the bowl that I can eat out of… Hey, have it your way, right?

One final thought on BK fries: The funny thing is, I used to be a french fry addict, but I can leave them now – they don’t have the power they used to have over me.  Sure, I’d love to eat them, but sometimes, when I’m out with my family, I’ll sneak just one for the flavor off of their plate and while I’m sitting there chewing it, I realize, that they don’t really taste as good as I remembered them.  Weird…

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet, Reviews

 

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