The Emotional Struggle of Weight Gain and Thyroid Issues








The Emotional Struggle of Thyroid Issues and Weight Gain by Caroline Potter, NTP{this post is long, but if you are going to read it, please read till the end so you can get the whole picture and my true heart!}

I pulled up in front of my husband’s ship picking him up from work with tears in my eyes.  I attempted to wipe them away and shove everything inside like I typically do, but with my husband, there is no holding back my emotions.

He kept asking what was wrong and if he did something wrong, and finally I let it out, “None of my clothes fit…again!”

Those few words bring up horrible past memories and emotions for me when I was initially diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and consequently experienced horrible (and instant) weight gain.

Weight gain is something that can bring up so many emotions and reveal our raw and vulnerable self.  For me, this struggle has been an emotional battle, far greater than a physical one.

Since the beginning of this year, I have been addressing adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances (something I detail in-depth in my FREE hormone webinar).  I have been slowing down, making a conscious effort to enjoy the moment, put away the phones and technology and learning to work from a place of rest, not stress.

While focusing on my health, and not feeling guilting for slowing down, my hormones majorly improved and I saw my energy and clarity return.

But…something was still not right.  Since March of this year, I slowly started to gain weight.  At first I thought this was just me working through adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances, as weight and metabolism is a symptom of hormonal imbalances.

I did not want to put any pressure on myself both physically and emotionally to loose weight!  So I let it be.

The Emotional Struggle of Thyroid Issues and Weight Gain by Caroline Potter, NTPAfter a few months, a few pounds turned into 12. 

None of my clothes fit…again!  

Emotionally the fear started to creep in and each day when I went to get dressed I cried.  Real life, I cried.  I spend hours online looking for clothes would make me feel comfortable, but instead of buying clothes that fit, I simply felt shame.

You see, I had been taking my health so seriously, eating healthier than I have ever eaten before, and consistently working out…and not just working out, but enjoying my workout routine.  I felt more content than I ever had in life. I had purposefully chosen to take the pressure off of myself, but still the weight gain.

Why me? Why the girl who was choosing to “do everything right?”

Thyroid issues run in my family and with having Type 1 diabetes, I always knew this was a big possibility.  As someone with an existing auto-immune disease, my risk of developing a second or even third auto-immune disease is much higher than the average person.  This is just one of the many reasons why I take my health so seriously—the food I eat, the skincare products I use, and the positive outlook I strive to have.

The Emotional Struggle of Thyroid Issues and Weight Gain by Caroline Potter, NTPNow—this is the heart of the story I really want you to pay attention to!!

I went to my primary care doctor and explained this, asking for them to run a complete thyroid panel on me.  They said they would, but only tested TSH, a standard test they run for thyroid.  (Now, as a nutritionist, I know enough about hormones and testing to know that you MUST run a more thorough blood panel.)

My tests came back “normal” and the doctors said “you are perfectly fine.”  I knew in my heart something was not right.

Once again, the emotions bubbled up—you see, when I was initially diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it took 6 months of “you’re perfectly fine tests” to finally reveal a problem, so needless to say, I don’t take basic testing very seriously.

But my hands were tied, or so I thought.  A few weeks back, I went home to the states to see family and talked to my nutritionist and husband about getting more testing done.  Testing that we would have to pay for out of pocket.

I knew in my heart, something was not right and I was not ready to give up.  Thankfully my husband said, “Do whatever it takes babe.” Gosh I am so thankful for him!

We had some private testing done in July and it revealed I do in fact have a thyroid issue—my thyroid simply is not converting enough active thyroid hormones.

I say all of this because, I KNOW there are so many woman out there who struggle with this same struggle, but it goes unchecked for so long, until maybe a bigger issue arrises.  

Sadly the medical community do not take many of these thyroid tests seriously, so I want to encourage you today to get the private testing you may need and seek out people who have the knowledge and can truly help you get to the bottom of this.  I personally know women who have been told “you’re fine” but in reality that is not the case.  Keep digging.  Don’t give up.  Your health and vibrancy in life is priceless.

The past few months have been far more of an emotional battle for me than a physical one.  I have felt shame, doubt and embarrassment that my clothes just don’t fit.  My body feels out of sorts and my face looks puffy.  Besides sharing with my husband, I have kept this all inside, because it is difficult to be this vulnerable, especially with something so personal like weight gain.  

I am very guarded when it comes to my emotions, but I share this story because I want to help others.

I know SO many other women struggle and I want you to know that you are not alone.

Thyroid and hormone struggles are real—brain fog, exhaustion, weight gain and the emotional battle that comes with all of that.

I talk much more about all of this in my FREE webinar, “How to Balance Your Hormones in 3 Steps and Feel Like Yourself Again” so I highly encourage you to tune in!

But, YOU can re-write you story.  These struggles do not have to be the center of your story.

I trusted my heart and persevered to get an answer, rather than just take “you’re fine” for an answer!  Thankfully, we caught this quickly before things spiraled out of control and for that I am so thankful!

Trust yourself. 

Trust your heart and your head when it comes to your health. 

You see, when we slow down, tune out the noise and occasionally turn off the screens, we truly can get more in tune with our bodies.  YOU my friend can be your best “medical consult.”

The Emotional Struggle of Thyroid Issues and Weight Gain by Caroline Potter, NTPI am not bashing anyone, trust me, modern medicine (thanks insulin!) keeps me alive each day and I am so thankful for that, but I think that ultimately we need to take a broad approach when it comes to our health, getting a multitude of opinions and trusting how we feel in our hearts.

Now, I am sure some of you might be saying, Caroline you are still so little, but here is what I really want to emphasize.  Body size is PERSONAL—there is no “right” size, there is just you and me.  In my heart, I know the size I should be, the size I feel my best and most importantly the size God made me.  I have no desire to be super skinny, or super strong, I simply desire to be exactly the woman God designed me to be.

I firmly believe that your jean size is no reflection of who you are as a person and cannot dictate what joy, expertise and beauty you bring into this world.  Your value in this world is not measured by your “swimsuit ready body,” not at all!  

But weight gain or loss is often a reflection is what is going on internally with our health as well as our emotions, and I think we can use this physical sign as a gift to get to the bottom of our health struggles.

For me, this weight gain was out of my control, not a cause of the way I eat, but simply a thyroid issue, one that I know so many other women struggle with too.

The Emotional Struggle of Thyroid Issues and Weight Gain by Caroline Potter, NTPPlease know, it is very difficult for me to share such personal things like this, but I do so NOT to talk about myself, but to talk about something that I know so many other women are experiencing.  I want you to know today, that you are not alone, but I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to take control of your health.  Because in the end, both the journey and the destination are beautiful.

I am sure some people will look at me differently as “the nutritionist who did everything right and still gained 12 pounds,” but I also know that by opening up and being vulnerable, I can connect with those that struggle too!!

If I had not made the conscious effort to eliminate toxins from my life and purposefully slow down over the past year, I know that this situation might have been worse!   I am SO thankful that I have worked to put systems in place in my life to create a stress-less life, because that has been the biggest blessing of this all!

I firmly believe that God has a plan in everything—yes, the last few months have been very emotional for me, however I have seen God’s hand in each step of the process, so I wouldn’t change a thing.  By working on my health, especially my hormones, I have seen so much clarity and direction for the future.

I hope by sharing my story, YOU are educated and empowered to listen to your body and work through whatever struggles you may be facing.

Don’t give up—if you think something is wrong, don’t wait and don’t take no for an answer.  Trust your heart in this matter and if that means paying out of pocket for testing and natural therapies, then DO IT.  You truly only have one life to live and I want you to live that life to the fullest!

Today, and everyday, I am reminded by just how beautifully made my body is, imperfections and all! I am thankful for the struggles, because they show me how thankful I am for a fully functioning body!

Thank you all for allowing me to share my heart with you today and I promise I will have many more updates and posts on this topic soon!

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  1. Vickie langhals says:

    Thank you for sharing you feelings. I had to go outside and get test done for my underactive thyroid. I feel like you feel. I just didn’t feel right. I wanted answers. At times I thought maybe this is just all in my head. I have been eating a Paleo lifestyle and now leaning more towards a AIP eating lifestyle for a month and reintroduce some food types and see what happens. I read Dr. Amy Meyers book-the thyroid connection and got test done and now talking to her food nutritionist in Austin, Texas. I live in California. Taking B12, vitamin D and a multi vitamin. Also, I don’t eat any gluten and dairy for thyroid health. Planning to see my primary doctor with my findings and see what happens. My doctor only does TSH. testing.

    • Caroline Potter says:

      Dr. Meyers is the best! She is so knowledgeable! Glad you kept digging too 🙂 Thank you for your sweet comment!

  2. Katie says:

    Beautifully written and LOVE that you seek medical help yet you are own advocate! As a nurse I try to emphasize that in every patient I see. You are amazing, treating EVERY aspect of your body and mind. And regarding weight, completely understand the weight thing. It’s just where you feel you and comfortable and healthy???? I love following you, keep up the amazing work ????

    • Caroline Potter says:

      Love your approach to medicine too Katie, especially coming from a nurse! I am so thankful for modern medicine but have also learned that only I truly know my body the best!! Thank you for sharing your sweet comment!

  3. Janette Nieves says:

    Hi Caroline,
    I have been praying and just like you have experienced an almost 14 pound weight gain. I’ve made modifications to my diet, enrolled in a gym but not an ounce loss. Ehat other thyroid tests did you have done. Will make an appt. to go see my doctor. God bless you and thank you for sharing! I know God has used you in my life!

    • Caroline Potter says:

      Hi Janette! Ah I felt the same, diet was picture perfect and was truly just loving my workout routine! Sometimes you just have to keep digging! Thank you for your sweet words and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers 🙂

  4. Erin says:

    I also have type 1 diabetes and was recently diagnosed with Hashimotos – although my labs are normal. My endos wont help with meds and my symptoms are like yours. They say the symptoms are unrelated. I even got my sugars so perfect for two months to rule out the fatigue and weight gain as anything related to the type 1. This extra diagnosis is hard especially with one autoimmune disease already taking so much out of me. My lovely endo did inform me “just wait until your thyroid dies out more and then we will give you some meds – oh and expect another autoimmune disease to flare up eventually – they come in threes. I feel your struggle. The body image stuff is just the icing on it all isn’t it! Hard to manage weight gain when you think you are doing everything right. Hoping you find relief and gentleness towards yourself. I’m trying every day. Thank you for all you do and sharing your story.

    • Caroline Potter says:

      Hi Erin! So sorry to hear of your second diagnosis, but sadly that is quite common with auto-immune diseases! I feel your struggle over here friend! Thyroid and blood sugar are for sure connected but thankfully there is so much you can do to help the situation, as well as help preserve what cells are left functioning in your thyroid before it is too late! Please feel free to reach out any time with nutrition questions or to set up a time to chat 🙂 xo

  5. Caroline,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is difficult to be vulernable but there is freedom in sharing your story. I am too have an auto immune condition and am trying to slow down in an effort to get my period back. It is such a struggle to get back to bealth, especially when that means gaining weight. I posted someuthijg similar on my blog about not been thin enough to have HA. We hear so often that we are worth more than the size of our body. As easy as it is to say, it’s much harder to enact. Keep fighting for your healthy!

    • Caroline Potter says:

      aww thank you so much for sharing that! It is a struggle and we are all human, so I don’t think its bad to want to feel or look a certain way, just important for that to not be the only driving force of how we live! Wishing you the best!

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