I spoke with Dr. Esselstyn a few months or so ago because I was losing a considerable amount of weight on this diet. He assured me that I would not disappear and offered just the right amount of sound advice and humor to relieve my fears. Since that time, though, I have continued to lose weight and in February got a physical to follow up on how well this diet has been treating me (5 months into the diet, at that time). Since my last exam some five years ago, all numbers (Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, etc.) had improved substantially, however, two of them changed negatively - testosterone and thyroid. I wish I had had my blood tested immediately before starting this diet, but I didn’t – the only numbers I can compare my current numbers to are from June 2007.
In June, 2007, my TSH was 1.246 and my Testosterone, Serum was 424.
My lab results from my physical in February revealed that my Testosterone had dropped to 293 [Free Testosterone (Direct), while unmeasured previously, was now being reported at 4.1]. My TSH levels came in at 3.730. My follow up visit with an endocrinologist last week reported my TSH level at 4.070, and just yesterday, my latest Testosterone numbers came in and now put me at 260. I spoke to my doctor again Friday and he’s pushing me to start taking Testosterone (Testim) and also consider taking thyroid medication.
What I’m really confused by is that for someone who is border-line hypothyroid, I don’t understand how I could be continuing to lose weight. As of last week, I now weigh in at only 132 pounds, and I am 6’1” and 42 years old - 34 pounds lost since starting this diet. And trust me, I eat A LOT – some days so much that my stomach hurts! For example, today I have had 2 tablespoons of Flaxseed Meal, 1 B-12 tablet, 3 cups of Quinoa mixed with 1 cup Kale, and 1 cup of beans for breakfast, 5 ½ cups of a hearty cruciferous vegetable soup which includes 1 ½ cups of whole grain brown rice for lunch, and 1 ½ quarts of a Rice & Black beans salad for dinner (featured in his book). I also ate 5 pieces of fruit (2 apples, 1 orange and 2 bananas), a calorie dense energy bar from Vega (250 calories), 3 cups of popcorn, 1 serving of Mary’s Gone Crackers Twigs & Sticks. That’s fairly representative of a typical day for me, but some days I also add a slice of Banana Nut Bread (also featured in his book).
I totally believe in this diet, and despite the problems I am having from low testosterone and borderline under-performing thyroid, I am otherwise in a much better place than I was before starting this diet. However, I am eager to know what is going on and what could be causing this type of resposne in me. In fact, as of Sunday afternoon, I have also now cut out gluten in the off-chance that I may be gluten-intolerant/sensitive which may be causing a malabsorption of nutrients. It seems to make sense considering I have found no volume of food which will trigger a weight gain in me.
I don’t want to "treat the symptoms" and simply give in to taking testosterone and thyroid prescription medication without first understanding what may be causing me to respond this way.
What, if any, recommendations do you have for me?