The Effect of Adrenal Fatigue,Thyroid Disease and Stress

Issue #235  September 8, 2014

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

Today, Kelly Chester is going to share her journey with thyroid disease. She explains the frustration of finding a health care professional who will listen and the long difficult road back to health again. I am sure many of you can relate to her struggles.




How Adrenal fatigue, thyroid disease and Stress effected me

By Kelly Chester

First of all I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and keeping up with your exercise and healthy eating. Since having my son three years ago I have had a lot of digestive problems, bloating and trouble shifting the last of the weight since I had my son. I have also had joint pains and fatigue. I was diagnosed two and a half years ago with post pregnancy underactive thyroid which then went on to full hypothyroidism. I was put on thyroxin and was told to get on with it. Despite being on the right dose, I was training five time a week doing a combination of weight, Pilates, yoga, suspension training and up to two hours of walking every day. My weight has stayed the same for the last three years and still had a big blown up belly.

I kept going to the doctors for more tests such as vitamin D deficiency, more thyroid tests, liver function, kidney function and many more. All came back normal. I still did not feel right and had to have up to two naps a day to function. I am not sure how I did it as I am running two businesses, four classes plus private clients. I am also a single mum to a three year old. On top of that I was experiencing financial ruin due to being bullied into getting a business loan from a well-known bank. They are supposed to help small businesses, not destroy them. I was at my most vulnerable after leaving London after having my son. I quit my job, gave up my flat and started again from scratch. I was also in my final year of studying for my Pilates diploma level 111

I had to start up in a new town and start my business again. I went through a lot of stress and did not have much money to live on and had to give statements of my spending. I was told how much I can spend on food, clothing, bills etc. and every aspect of my business was monitored as I had to go into dept management. This is a long story so will not go into details, but I won after a year and two months of fighting. At one stage I could not even afford to get on a bus and walked to all of my classes and appointments, no matter how harsh the weather was. Most people would have given up but I am not going to give up after years of studying and spending thousands building up my business.

I got told I was spending more on food than I need to for a family of two. I explained that as fitness professional it is important that I eat well in order for me to look good and do my training. I also explained I am dairy intolerant so have to spend more on alternative foods. I had just fewer than three hundred a month to spend on food, nappies, toiletries and other essentials, not easy. I shopped local, went to the market at closing time, shopped in the supermarket late at night and was still short of money. I would like the MPs to live on that amount for one month and see how they get on.

I had to have cheaper cuts of meat than I was used to and cooked with lots veggie mince as I am allergic to beef. I filled up with lots of bread products and bought frozen fruit and veg to make sure I never wasted any food. I also followed my friend’s sugar free recipes as she went through a similar journey to me with regards to food intolerances.

When my fitness training and dietary changes was not working I went back to the GP again. I even gave a food and activity to the doctor and she just said you need to exercise more and eat less. Here is a great YouTube video that shows you why this does not work if your body is low on Leptin a major balancing hormone  As a Fitness professional I hear this time and time again with my clients that they struggle to lose weight and feel well. I now know this first hand and this is why I am telling my story to help others with similar experiences.

Recently I met a lovely lady called Emma who is a medical Herbalist; I knew she could work with whatever medication I was on. I study people’s medication when I am planning exercise for my clients so this was very import for me to refer my clients to well accredited professionals. I was meeting her about referring her to one of my clients but ended up referring myself.

Before the meeting I did a very extensive food and activity diary for two weeks. The first week I ate anything I fancied, too see what triggered my bloating and systems. The second week I ate what I would normally eat. This was a very emotional and eye opening experience. I ask my clients to do this but have never done a full one for myself. It is amazing how many emotions are attached to food. The food I was eating was not unhealthy; in fact I was eating lots of raw foods and salads, Super green smoothies, plus lots of supplements.

I was even trying aloe juice which worked in the past but even that did not elevate the symptoms, but did help with the joint pain. I had a full lifestyle analysis which took about an hour and a half and then a medical examination. During the consultation I was asked about past and present medical conditions. Family history, stressful times in my life and full diet and life style questions. Then Emma did a series of test such as bp, pulse and looking at the tongue, and visual tests such as eyes, facial puffiness etc.

The results of the medical tests were the most amazing. My blood pressure on the first visit was 120 over 85 which is not a good result for someone so fit and my resting pulse was sixty. The figures did not make sense. This indicated that something was wrong. All I got from the nurse was that I need to lose weight and this will bring my blood pressure down. The blood pressure went up with the stress of seeing the nurse as they only go on BMI which does not consider fit people who have a high muscle mass and less body fat. I always measure my clients and test for body fat. Even though I weight the same as I did three years ago I was two dress sizes smaller. My body fat has gone from 29 and now around 19/20 which is a massive difference. I responded very well with the treatment as I was willing to do the work.

Just five weeks later I had lost three KGs about have a stone. My blood pressure went to what I would expect for my level of fitness 110 over 60 and a resting heart of 78bpm. My body was just not functioning at optimal level. No matter what healthy food, exercise of supplements I was putting in my body, it did not make any difference as my immune system and adrenals was not functioning properly. My body was intolerant to most raw food and salad, beans, onions, fish fingers, gluten, diary and broccoli and cauliflower. I was told to also cut most of my cardio workouts out and lift heavy weights instead. My nurse was appalled when I mentioned I lift heavy weight. I think she was expecting me to look like Arnie or the hulk, showing my age now. There is still a stigma about women lifting weights but it is very important to do weights and body weight exercises such as Pilates and yoga.

Two months on, I still have some bloating, but that is down to me still having some of the trigger foods, well I am human. I am still working on the chocolate and the bread. I am getting there slowly but surely. Most people who have been on elimination diets say it takes a while for the mind to adjust to the changes. The biggest changes are my energy levels, which are now though the roof, my stamina and endurance is back and I am feeling very strong. My goals are to keep working out what foods do not work for me, take aloe juice and my herbal medicine. I am doing lots of swimming and really enjoying aqua circuits. I am doing regular reiki and making sure I take time out and have some fun.

So if you do not feel right and you cannot get a diagnosis from a medical professional then you may benefit from trying a herbalist as they know to deal with chronic conditions and have more time to spend with you. Doctors and nurses are very pressed for time and may only have a few minutes to talk to you. Sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands and see what works for you. Always tell your doctor first though when embarking on an elimination diet or thinking of trying a treatment outside of the NHS. I found one doctor who was very understanding and was very impressed that I was taking positive steps to get to the route of my illness. If my story helps just one person then this will make me very happy.

I would love to hear anyone who has had a similar experience. Coming from a Social Care background I am used to dealing with lots of different professionals so if I cannot help you, then I will try and find someone who can. I am not an expert in thyroid or hormonal issues but can help you to get a stronger body, a better understanding of what foods to eat and also lots of personal experience of working with people with a whole range of medical and emotional issues. All of my classes are therapeutic, holistic and sometimes challenging. I always go at your pace and push you only when you are ready.

I have had most of the summer off to get my health and energy levels back and now ready to restart all of my new classes in September. So feel free to come and join me or chat to me on twitter or facebook. Please have a look at the links as these people have a lot of experience in the areas I have mentioned.

You can follow me on twitter @kckellyc All my new class times are on my events page.

Here is a list of people who helped me on my journey to full health and fitness and a few useful links for thyroid and hormonal problems.

Alison Beadle: personal trainer, fitness instructor & author of Sugar Free ME. Alison struggled with an overgrowth of candida and had Endometrioses, of which both conditions can be improved by cutting out/ reducing sugar, gluten, dairy and yeast. This led to her developing a recipe book based on her experiences which includes dinners, breakfasts and cake! She also has a website, Pinterest and twitter feed, where she posts new recipes, places to eat and products she finds. Essentially she proves life is sweet without the sugar.

Twitter @beadlealison FB

Emma Warrener

Western Medicinal Herbalist within Grimsby and Cleethorpes

Great resources for thyroid disease


Always consult your doctor about health issues. Corri Peterson is not a medical professional and the content on should not be viewed as healthcare dignosis or treatment. It is provided for general information only and no action should be taken based solely on the the information within. Always consult your doctor about health issues when beginning any new diet, exercise or health program.