Richard Simmons, weight issues, and my friend Helen

I have an internet friend named Helen Trimble. Helen is an intelligent, witty, and funny gal whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for almost a year. And recently, Helen sent several of her friends an audio of a recent conversation she had with beloved fitness guru Richard Simmons. In that delightful exchange, Helen shared that she has lost 83 lbs over the past year, and praises Simmons for the important role he and his diet tips played in her weight loss.

But Helen made a key comment in that conversation: that her long years of non-diagnosed hypothyroid played a major role in her weight gain..i.e. it wasn’t just getting older or eating wrong that was doing it. And why was she undiagnosed so long? Because of the failure of doctors and the TSH lab range to give a true picture of what was going on.

In a conversation with me, Helen stated: “For years after childbirth, I went on yoyo diets, starving myself to death, and still did not lose weight. The only thing I lost was energy, hair and eyebrows. I was gaining weight on 1200 calorie diets, whereas when I was healthy and active, I was 124 pounds and ate a 2400 calorie a day diet.” And Helen’s years of unexplained weight gain put her to nearly 300 lbs.

But the turning point for Helen was not just Richard Simmon’s contagious enthusiasm or his diet tips, even if they were and have been extremely helpful. The turning point was when Helen had many conversations with Valerie, the moderator of the Adrenals forum and whom Helen states is her hero, and finally found out about Armour a year ago, besides treating her low cortisol–the latter a common problem with many hypothyroid patients.

Says Helen: “Today, I am now losing at least a pound a week on a 1500 calorie diet and my apple shape is changing. I eat when I am hungry and put a little protein in my body every 4 hours. I had put most of my weight on in the middle…I cannot help believe that the hormone imbalance is the reason for this. As we all have switched to Armour, and get closer to optimized, our body shape changes, faces change, and the weight comes off.”

But just as striking as the above was Helen’s next statement. She works in a pharmacy at a large store, handing prescriptions to patients: “Now when I look at the obese women who come to pick up their prescriptions for Synthroid, a bell goes off. We all look the same, eat the same, and have the devastating symptoms.”

THAT was a clincher! Helen, who has herself experienced the weight gain due to untreated hypothyroid, sees mirror images of herself every day when she hands Synthroid or other T4-only meds to women–women who look just like she has! HUNDREDS OF WOMEN! And what does that say? Exactly what this site is saying: that Synthroid and Levoxyl and all other T4-only meds are leaving patients UNDERtreated, and weight gain is the side effect of a poor treatment

Richard Simmons: Helen and I have a strong suspicion that a certain or large percentage of those wonderful women and men you work with are either undiagnosed hypothyroid (due to doctors overreliance on a faulty lab called the TSH with it’s dubious range) or are UNDERtreated on a T4-only medication. These T4-only meds have been the ineffective treatment of choice by doctors for five decades, and have left millions of patients all over the world with continuing hypo symptoms, and doctors telling them to diet, exercise more, or get on an antidepressant! Stop the Thyroid Madness!!!

7 Responses to “Richard Simmons, weight issues, and my friend Helen”

  1. shannon

    It would be so nice if Richard Symonds would take up our cause, to get the word out there to the millions of patients who are on suboptimal treatment and wondering why they aren’t getting better/losing weight even thou they are doing all the things they are supposed to do to have a healthy life. Please let’s get the spotlight put on thyroid disease and get the message across to the doctors that we will not put up with suboptimal treatment of our thyroid disease!!!
    Here’s to good health and OPTIMAL TREATMENT FOR ALL THYROID PATIENTS!!!

    Reply
  2. Kiki

    Congratulations on the hypo-weight FINALLY coming off, Helen! I completely understand your struggle. With hypothyroidism I’ve gained weight on 1200 calorie diets, on Atkins induction, while exercising and with a nasty bout of a rotavirus that lasted 4 days.

    All this time I’ve tried to remain physically active, and had to push past the pain of tendinitis, the collapse of my lumbar vertebrae, and the general joint achiness that goes along with untreated and undertreated hypothyroidism. And the results of all this hard work were I managed to gain 47 lbs over the years as opposed to 100 lbs. I was one of the lucky ones.

    I’ve just now been getting workout sore from exercising again NINE YEARS after developing hypothyroidism. I started losing weight TWO YEARS after reaching optimal treatment. And TWO YEARS after that, I’ve finally lost 31 of those 47 dreaded lbs. It has taken forever, but I have a metabolism again, and I am healing. And one day, I will be healthy again, none of which is the result of a physician’s help.

    Good luck to you, Helen! May your future be a healthy one!

    Reply
  3. sheila

    Helen your story is also mine. Currently I am 57, diagnosed hypothyroid, diabetic, high blood pressure, and obese. At 19 I became pregnant did not gain any weight but baby. 130 lb starting and 150 1bs when I went into labor. With in two years I was up to 200 lbs. Doctor said you’re overeating, nothing to do with thyroid. He put me on “speed” which only made me feel angry all the time & did not lose an ounce, in fact gained. I was diagnosed with low blood sugar. I tried every diet I could find, constantly gained. My weight reached 225 lbs. I read (actually only the cover) Richard’s book Never Say Diet. It made sense so I stopped dieting. My weight stabilized at 225 till I got pregnant again at 39, this time I lost weight. That made the doctors worry. I was 214 lbs after giving birth. Dr sent me to a diet/nutritionist who after having me do a diary of what I ate said I was not overeating. ” I can not suggest any changes to your diet. Exercize is the only way you will lose”. I joined a health club and exercized 3 to 4 times a week. My weight after 6 months was 200 lbs I became ill (H Pyloric) and gained back the weight. Stayed at 225 for over ten years. When I was told you need to be on medicine the rest of your life. I was put on levoxyl. Within two weeks I felt great, lost 20lbs. Then I was hit with your sugar is too high was put on medicine and gained the 20 lbs back in 3 days. Have been gaining ever since. I am now on insulin and am close to 300 lbs. I take 150 mcg levoxyl daily along with actos, glyberide, cossar, lipitor,and insulin. I am depressed, losing hair, overtired, driest skin. How do I get my Endo to listen? she says you just overeat. sorry this so long (from Janie: fire the lousy Endo. Go here: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/how-to-find-a-good-doc and learn this page by heart: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/things-we-have-learned because YOU are your own best advocate, not any doc)

    Reply
  4. Victoria

    Great to hear from Kiki about her eventual weight loss. I keep heariong stories about those who start Armour and the weight comes off. I am a year in to the Armour journey and my weight has only increased. I am 90 pounds overweight and it is so frustrating not to see any change. Kiki’s story has encouraged me to hang on in there – although I hope I don’t have to wait 2 years to see an improvement!

    Reply
  5. Kiki

    Victoria, keep up the good work. PERSEVERE. I was absolutely convinced that I was the one person in the world who gained weight when starting Armour (22 lbs in a couple of months.) My dose was too low.

    I am feeling great and looking good too. More muscle, less fat & abdominal bloating is almost all gone. At 41 years of age, I am making up for my sexual peak that I missed because I was hypo for most of my 30s. My hubby is a happy one!

    You guys really needed to hear that, right?

    I hope you don’t have to wait 2 years too – I want to cry when I hear stories of the hypo 1 step forward, 3 steps back dance.

    Get healthy and we’ll go in-line skating some time. I’m willing to wait, but hoping I don’t have to!

    Kiki,
    By no means an athlete, but can do the things I used to like to do again 🙂

    Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Kiki. I’ve been doing the Armour shuffle too only, 1 step forward, 3 steps back since last September. I have a doc who doesn’t lab test but prescribes by symptoms. He also treated my adrenals with 15-20mg hc in the beginning. I have altered my diet so drastically to where there is nothing left to eat. It doesn’t matter anyway because my appetite is so poor from all the pain I’m in and yet, I remain over my former ideal weight inspite of 10-11 hrs of ballet training a week. Anyone with a normal metabolism would be THIN on my regime! But nooooooo….I am hypo and…on Armour. I hope and pray for the sun to break through the clouds. Every now and then, I get a remission but it is short lived; maybe a few days. The water retention goes down, the pain gets better and my mood is happy. Then…it comes back. I keep a journal trying to see what triggers and all I get is, “I don’t know.”

      Reply
  6. Marie-Anne Valente

    Janie,

    You did an amazing job. You are my hero!

    It took me 3 long years to understand the “thyroid conspiracy” and the criminal intentions of most doctors in this country.

    I am going to try Armour for the first time today thanks to Dr. Dommisse in Tucson AZ. I will keep you updated. Marie-Anne.

    Reply

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