Knowing what she knows now, and looking back on her life, Sarah Schilling thinks she started having thyroid issues as early as age five. “I was diagnosed at seventeen with hypothyroid, but I know I had symptoms a lot earlier than that. By then, though, it had become extreme. I was a senior in high school and I didn’t have the energy to keep up with my routine. I was exhausted all the time and had gained 10 pounds despite playing volleyball and weight training.”
Her doctor put her on a synthetic thyroid medication that she assumed was working, and she didn’t think about it. She went to college, maintained a busy schedule, and to deal with the 10-pound weight gain, Sarah started over-exercising and severely restricting her food intake, which tilted into dangerous territory and she lost about 20 pounds. “I had anorexic tendencies, though I never qualified for an official diagnosis. I went to therapy, but I can’t say it helped. Instead, I overcame the eating disorder with the help, support and prayers of my friends. Working through it, I decided to concentrate on eating better, and I started on what I thought of as a healthy diet.”
Still, over the next few years, she slowly gained forty pounds, even with ‘eating right’ and exercising. “I didn’t make the connection to my thyroid problems. In my mind, I was on medication, it was taken care of.”
“It was so frustrating,” Sarah reflects. “At one point, my mom and I were working with a personal trainer together. My mom was dropping pounds and inches like crazy, but even though we were doing the exact same workout, my scale and my clothes didn’t budge.”
Meanwhile, she felt her health was deteriorating in other ways. “My brain was fuzzy. I’d have a conversation with someone, and I couldn’t remember details about it moments later. It was impacting my work and my relationships. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do.”
About two and a half years ago, Sarah’s business partner recommended Tracie. “His sister had recently been diagnosed as hypothyroid and was working with Tracie, and he thought maybe I should give it a try.”
One of the first things Tracie did for Sarah was help her talk to her doctor. “A lot of people who have obvious clinical hypothyroid symptoms still don’t fall into the tiny little range of blood test results that doctors consider diagnosable as hypothyroid. That was me.”
Sarah’s low point with the medical system came when, after starting work with Tracie, she asked to be placed on a natural thyroid medication rather than the synthetic one she’d been on for nearly 10 years, and a male physician’s assistant told her, “Wouldn’t we all like to have a weight loss pill?” After that discouraging encounter, Tracie coached Sarah on writing an e-mail to the PA’s superior to make her case for the prescription she wanted. She got it.
“Tracie has been such a great advocate and guide. She helped me, coached me, really, on how to talk to my doctors, to get them to look at me, to see me, instead of the numbers or what my blood tests indicated. I feel like I really had to battle my way through, but working with Tracie made it possible.
“It’s not just about food and nutrition for Tracie. It’s about health in every way. She really listened to me, I never felt like she was fitting me into a mold. Of course, Tracie’s been through thyroid issues herself, so that was helpful. She knew what kind of frustrations I was dealing with in not being able to lose weight, having to deal with condescending or oblivious doctors, not being properly diagnosed. She’s an amazing resource, in terms of knowledge and experience, and she’s so empathetic and sincere, too. Working with her is very empowering, because she has faith her system will work for you, and so you start to have faith, too, even when nothing else ever worked before.”
Sarah loves how truly natural Tracie’s plan is, and found integrating it into her life was easy. “Eating this way is such a habit for me now, and when I look back on all the eating restrictions and exercise regimens I put myself through over the past 12 years, I am amazed at how satisfying Tracie’s guidelines are. It’s back to basics, and I’m really eating. Good, filling, tasty food. I’ve learned so much from her, both in-depth nutrition, like gluten, and things you don’t really think of as nutrition, like skin care. I really recommend her supplemental and ‘veterans’ classes. There is so much value there!”
She has lost weight, yes – nearly thirty pounds – but for Sarah, that’s a smaller part of the story. “Honestly, the weight didn’t bother me nearly as much as all the other things. I feel lighter, but in ways that reflect much more than a number on a scale. I have more energy, more positivity, more clarity of thought, more hope.
“I just feel a lot more like me.”