The biggest problem for those of us living with Thyroid issues is that medical schools no longer teach the doctors all of what they need to know to detect a "low" thyroid problem. Even if the rely only on the TSH test, there are different ranges/levels in play, so which one is "right"?
In 1991 my doctor did a thyroid test and the results showed that I had a pretty bad problem. He prescribed a T4 only medication. Followup appointments showed the lab results getting better, but there was no improvement in how i felt. In 1998, I persuaded my doctor to give me a one-month trial of "natural" thyroid replacement. Within a couple of weeks, I no longer needed an antidepressant. My psychiatrist was the doctor who had contacted my doctor to encourage him to make the change in Thyroid medications. I am forever in his debt.
As for the weight problems, I still have them, but have also found out that there are some things that aren't all that good for anyone, but are worse for those with a Thyroid problem. Gluten is a problem. Excessive sodium is another problem. Soy-based products are really not good and interfere with the Thyroid's function.
For those who live a sedentary lifestyle, there is a need to increase physical activity, but it is not a matter of spending hours in fitness training. It only means being more active and not planting one's self in front of the TV or computer. If we only did today what our parents did before all of the TV and computer stuff entered our lives, we would be looking better and feeling a whole lot better. If the Thyroid is to blame, it is not the only cause of being overweight.
I have found that, overall, eating less is better, but there were other considerations. Breakfast is a must and the better "rounded" the breakfast is, the more I benefit. Lunch is a necessary meal -- especially if you want some energy for the second part of your day. If any meal could be reduced, for me, it would be dinner. While protein is a portion of the meal, it is not all there is to eating well.
Cut back and cut out the junk food and begin eating healthy foods. Do NOT rely on "Diet" foods for nutrition or for reduced calories because they contain more sodium than is needed. Reduce the portion size of pasta and potatoes. Increase the portion size of vegaatables. Eat earlier in the evening. Grill your foods to avoid having to use extra fats. Stop using anything but olive oil. If you are in the habit of drinking soda, then you need to read the labels! There is nothing in there that is helpful and most of it is fattening.
My cholesterol is normal now because I am taking Armour Thyroid (by prescription). At age 68, I have no signs of osteoporosis. My hair and nails are no longer dry and my skin is smooth.
There are three basic tests for Thyroid: Ultra-sensitive TSH, Free T3 and Free T4. If your doctor is not ordering those, then you need to insist that they be done. If the tests show that you do need Thyroid medication, insist on taking a combination T3/T4 medication. The pharmaceutical industry likes to us artificial things, but our bodies are not artificial and while the numbers on the lab tests may change, it is how you are feeling on any medication that really counts. If your doctor cannot understand that, then change doctors.
Sometimes, despite everything you do, you do need some help. If a supplement can help, then talk to your doctor about it before using it. Why? Because you and your doctor need to know about any possible counter-indications. That is especially true if you are taking any prescribed medications and other supplements.
I will be trying Iodine Plus 2 for a month. If I do not notice a difference in how I feel, I will stop it for a month and see if there is any difference in how I feel without it. Why? Because sometimes the differences arrive so slowly that we just do not notice them, but we do notice the changes when we stop something.
I am already using the usual supplements and have been for years. I feel "okay". I want to feel just a bit better than "okay".