An ultimate goal of any hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s treatment is to become thyroid symptom-free and live a happier healthier life despite thyroid disease.
However, I often see that both patients and doctors focus more on the patient’s lab test results hoping that optimizing TSH, T4, T3 and other labs will bring desired outcome.
In fact, many spend years to find a better brand of thyroid medication, optimize their dose and bring their lab results into the “normal ranges”.
While this is important and can bring some symptom relief there is another strategy that could alleviate some symptoms within days and support your efforts in making your medication work.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Thyroid Health Coach Lisa LeVerrier, FDN-P, MPsy, CWC who is a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and the author of the Thyroid Kickstart program: The busy mom’s blueprint to discovering her own thyroid diet in just 17 days.
Lisa has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease for over 10 years now. As a busy mom living with thyroid disease herself she has overcome many challenges that you as a thyroid patient are also facing on a daily basis.
She knows exactly how women with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s feel and this is why she made it her life purpose to help them get better. Lisa provides women with practical tools and proven solutions that help to make their busy and stressful lives happier, healthier and thyroid symptom-free.
And today she is going to tell us how she does it!
Outsmart Disease: Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s patients are facing many thyroid related challenges. Some have difficulties to get a proper diagnosis while others struggle with symptoms and cannot find a thyroid treatment that works for them. What was your biggest challenge with your thyroid condition?
Lisa LeVerrier: For me, it was getting diagnosed. I was a new mom and about 7 to 9 months after, I started having an array of symptoms: sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, achy joints, dry skin, dry hair, and I couldn’t “think straight.”
I thought to myself, “these symptoms have to be hormonal,” so I dialed up my gynecologist’s office. I spoke to the nurse practitioner who didn’t really help much and didn’t even offer an appointment. I then spent about two years going from one place to another looking for answers.
All this time, I was continuing my work in consulting while taking care of my little one. It’s difficult to feel so poorly when you are faced with all the new responsibilities of parenting.
OutsmartDisease: I am sure many moms with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s can relate! So many women spend years to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. What was your turning point?
Lisa LeVerrier: I finally worked with a chiropractor that used a functional medicine approach and through a blood test, he confirmed I had Hashimoto’s disease. After all the suffering, I was relieved to know my instincts were right – there was something “off” – it just took a long time to get that validated by someone in the medical / health community.
OutsmartDisease: Many women learned it the hard way that getting diagnosed doesn’t always mean that a conventional treatment with thyroid prescription drugs is going to help…
Lisa LeVerrier: Yes, another challenge was believing that thyroid hormone alone was the answer once I had the diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong, I felt tons better after starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy. But I also found that there were some things I could do on my own to restore my health and feel even better.
OutsmartDisease: Your personal thyroid challenges lead you to become a Thyroid Health Coach. Do you approach thyroid disease differently than conventional medicine? What health goals do you set with your thyroid clients?
Lisa LeVerrier: Most of my clients come to me with a number of “complaints” or symptoms that are bothersome. It’s important to understand these complaints at the start of the coaching relationship and their severity.
Helping my clients become symptom-free or seeing a drastic improvement in symptom severity is the ultimate goal.
Symptoms are a sign that there are imbalances in the body. By working with my clients to uncover healing opportunities and restore normal function and balance, I find that the symptoms start to improve as a result.
So, my approach is not to focus only on the symptoms, but as a result of the work we do, the symptoms tend to disappear. And that is what most clients want – to feel like “themselves” again so they can enjoy life and be fully present with their children.
Other health goals include helping clients discover the right foods for them or the right thyroid diet. While food is a requirement for life and we all need to eat, we all need to dial in on which foods work for us and which work against us – causing unwelcome symptoms and further inflammation.
Determining a personalized thyroid diet is an important goal for each of my clients. Without this personalized prescription, we can be worsening our thyroid condition with foods we eat every day and not even know it!
Finally, I also work with my clients to identify ways to reduce stress. Stress comes in many forms – it can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or even existential (feeling as if we don’t have a purpose). There are also positive forms of stress, which I refer to as eustress, and negative forms of stress, which we most commonly think about when we hear the word “stress.”
I work with my clients to identify any negative forms of stress and put into play a plan or protocol to reduce those stressors – as these get in the way of thyroid healing and recovery.
OutsmartDisease: What did you learn on your thyroid journey from getting sick and finding your way back to health that could help Outsmart Disease readers to become symptom-free?
Lisa LeVerrier: As I said before, I learned there are things I could do on my own, including dietary and lifestyle changes that could help reduce symptoms.
At first, I didn’t realize the tremendous impact food can have on my thyroid. In fact, I always thought I ate pretty healthy – I was often in the gym, and kept track of my protein intake, carbs, and fat.
What I learned is that many foods that I ate regularly and were considered healthy by many that may have resulted in symptoms on their own and in fact, may have contributed to my Hashimoto’s (served as a trigger).
What I know for sure is that we are all unique and our genetic makeup and biochemistry is not going to be the same as someone else’s.
Therefore, it’s important to find out which foods are right for you and which ones your body can’t tolerate. If you continue to eat foods your body can’t tolerate, you’re likely to gain weight, feel poorly, and look older than you actually are. Who wants that?
Thyroid symptoms are such a complex and comprehensive subject that I actually offer a 90 minute workshop where I go in to a great detail about how different foods can affect the way how we feel. I called the workshop Understanding Your Symptoms because without understanding what triggers them, it is difficult if not impossible to become symptom-free.
Outsmart Disease: Do you think women with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s should follow a special thyroid diet and why?
Lisa LeVerrier: Yes, but a special diet that is unique to them. This means discovering which foods work for them and which ones don’t.
While we can’t do anything about the genetic makeup we have been born with, we can control which foods we eat and which to avoid.
Reducing diet-induced inflammation is a foundational therapy that I recommend for everyone because it is completely within our control.
What I’ve found to be true is that most of us with thyroid disease have one or more food sensitivities. This means that after eating a certain food, we can experience symptoms such as: gas, indigestion, fatigue, mental or brain fog, irritability, moodiness, and weight gain.
Outsmart Disease: What happens to a woman with hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s disease when she has food sensitivities? How does it affect her?
Lisa LeVerrier: The body is unable to process a certain component of the food – sometimes it is the protein in the food. Usually, it is because we are lacking a certain enzyme, nutrient, or organism to digest the food.
What this means is that each time the food is consumed, more undigested food particles build up in the body causing additional problems with our digestion and absorption and add to the additional burden we already have on our immune system.
It’s important to identify what these foods are (it will be different for each of us) and remove them for a while so that our bodies can rest and repair.
Outsmart Disease: What common mistakes do women with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s make when it comes to a thyroid diet?
Lisa LeVerrier: I think a common mistake that is made when it comes to diet is thinking that a popular thyroid healing or autoimmune diet protocol which worked for a friend, may also work for you.
Unfortunately, this is just not the case. Many of my clients have tried these approaches only to find they can’t stick with them, due to many food restrictions and they just don’t feel good on them anymore.
Outsmart Disease: Why do you think this is happening?
Lisa LeVerrier: This is because we are unique human beings – with unique one-of-a-kind genetics and biochemistry. What works for one may not work for another. The only real solution is to develop your own unique customized thyroid diet that works for you. This is what I help my clients achieve by helping them become “diet detectives.”
Another common mistake is that developing a personal thyroid diet is difficult and takes a long time to discover. This is not true – in fact, I help my clients develop their own personal thyroid diet in 17 days which is just a little over two weeks.
When you think about it, that’s not long at all given at the end of that period, clients walk about with a personal thyroid diet plan that is specific to them.
Outsmart Disease: What would you recommend to Outsmart Disease readers to do on a daily basis to support their thyroid?
Lisa LeVerrier: I think it is important for women and especially for busy moms who suffer from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease to know that there are simple things they can do for their body and mindset that can shift their health for the better.
It does take time to form a habit, so although none of this is rocket-science, the practices I recommend don’t take long but the repetition is what will make them “stick” as healthy habits.
There is a natural rhythm for the day, so I like to divide each day into morning, afternoon, and evening. I like to focus on activities that help get us off to a good start, keep our energy going throughout the day, and then help us wind down at night.
For example, I always encourage my clients to set an intention for the day and use positive affirmations. For myself, I always found that I was running around on emergency mode, and always felt rushed running from one thing to the next. I never felt like there was enough time. So I started to set my intention each day to slow down. My affirmation was, “There is no emergency. There is no need to rush.”
Eating nutrient-dense foods that are anti-inflammatory helps feed the body and keep blood sugar balanced is an important step. Never skip breakfast – it is the most important meal of the day and after a period of rest and fasting, blood sugar is likely low.
Eating breakfast raises the body’s energy and restores the body’s blood sugar level to normal.
The afternoon is where many of us feel our energy dip. By planning ahead and having healthy snacks available (like a half an avocado with salt or a little turkey with some cut up veggies), you avoid hitting Starbucks for that quick “pick me up” or sugary treat that can result in the blood sugar “roller coaster.”
Getting outside for a little fresh air and sunshine is important too, ideally close to high noon. This all helps keep us connected to the natural circadian rhythm of the day.
Finally, evening is a time to wind down and slow down. As moms, it’s hard to find little moments of peace but we must make the time to nurture ourselves. A nice Epsom salt bath or a night-time yoga routine or doing slow breathing can help us relax as we ready for sleep.
Outsmart Disease: Thank you for your valuable insights! We all learned a lot today. You mentioned that it is possible to develop a personaized thyroid diet to get faster and better results. Where can we learn more about how to do it?
Lisa LeVerrier: I work with my clients 1-on-1 and help them to get to a point when their symptoms stop bothering them and gradually disappear or at least become manageable. We all heal differently.
However, there are only so many hours in a day and only a limited number of people I can take as clients. I wanted to reach and help more women with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s to stop suffering and become symptom-free.
So, I just created my new online program “Thyroid Kickstart: The Busy Mom’s Blueprint To Discovering Her Own Personal Thyroid Diet In 17 Days.” This is a 17 day program that gives you a step-by-step plan and guides you through the process where you create your personal thyroid diet and experience first symptom relief very quickly – within days after starting the program.
For those who feel that they need more help in overcoming their thyroid challenges, flare ups and set backs or are just looking for more personal support I also offer a complimentary 1-on-1 Thyroid Kickstart Coaching. You can learn more about the Thyroid Kickstart program here
Outsmart Disease: This is great because 17 days is not too much time and you get your own personalized thyroid diet as a result!