Written by Adonica Nichols, LPN
How I Changed My Life Using Functional Nutrition

How I Changed My Life Using Functional Nutrition

I’ve struggled with my weight for many years.   I tried every diet that came out only to lose some weight and gain it right back a couple months later. I tried exercise, which helped some, but I still found I felt bloated and my fingers and joints were always swollen. I have had hypothyroidism since after having my first child at 25 and I thought that was normal because it runs in my family. After having 2 more children and having my thyroid medication adjusted over the next 12 years, I realized that something more had to be done. I had dieted, I occasionally exercised (though I could have done more), and I took my medication every day without fail, but I still wasn’t happy with myself. Even when the weight would come off, I was still inflamed. After going to nursing school and taking a basic nutrition course, I became more interested in what I ate. I slowly started to eat what I felt was a better diet, but it was not until coming to work at The Ultrawellness Center that I realized what I was missing.

After observing our practice and learning some of the ins and outs of Functional Medicine, I realized I needed help. What I was doing just wasn’t enough and I didn’t have the deeper knowledge about nutrition and medicine in general. I found out that my primary care doctor, although vigilant about checking my thyroid levels, only checked my TSH level. While telling me I had hypothyroidism, they never considered the root cause. Here at The Ultrawellness Center, providers like to look at thyroid health through many lenses. They check thyroid antibodies which is a common test that most primary doctors overlook if they feel medication is controlling the problem. After convincing my primary physician to test my antibodies, it turned out that mine were greater than 600 IU/ML, the reference range for thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) is less than 35 IU/mL! My primary doctor flat out told me that she didn’t know what this meant and recommended  I stop taking my thyroid medication altogether, despite the fact that my TSH was within normal range because of the medication.

At around this same time, my mother was diagnosed with Hashimotos, a condition where your immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This causes damage and can lead to hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. So, I decided to dive deeper into the Functional Medicine approach to be able to help us both. I scheduled appointments with Dr. LePine as well as nutritionist Lisa Dreher here at The Ultrawellness Center. Under the care of Dr. LePine, I began taking thyroid supporting supplements, continued taking my thyroid medication, and was advised to follow the Cardiometabolic Diet and get off of gluten and dairy, since these are both triggers for autoimmune diseases and could perpetuate the production of thyroid antibodies.

Working with Lisa helped me take Dr. LePine’s recommendations and put them into practice. We went over my diet history, my likes and dislikes, and she educated me on the importance of balancing my meals. I had been trying to change what I ate in the past, but it was during this appointment where I learned exactly what and how I should be eating for my body.. Balancing blood sugar was key to my success. Lisa designed a plan that made sure I was eating enough healthy protein and fat with each meal, which made me feel full and satisfied, while cutting out processed sugar and carbohydrates. This helped me start dropping the weight very quickly. She also helped me navigate the gluten- and dairy-free diet. With the right guidance, I was able to remove gluten easier than I thought, but dairy was tricky. I love cheese (who doesn’t?!), so this was harder for me. But I did my best and over time, I could feel my body was less inflamed. I may not be perfect at following the diet all the time, but change rarely happens overnight and I have noticed a huge and lasting improvement in how I feel since working with the team here at UltraWellness. I have lost 30lbs and been able to keep it off with this life changing diet, but it’s more than that. I no longer feel puffy and swollen, I have had fewer migraines, and I have noticed less of the chronic aches and pains that I once frequently had.

Feeling supported by my health care team has been a game changer for me and made all the difference in my long-term success. I continue to work on balancing my health and will always be on this journey, but Functional Medicine has helped me get to a place I never expected. I am so grateful for this revolutionary approach to medicine!

 

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