Ep 87. Navigating My Ongoing Hashimoto’s Symptoms: Brain, Body & Weight

Apr 13, 2023 | Podcast Episode

Navigating my ongoing Hashimoto’s Symptoms: Brain, Body & Weight.

I’ve lived with Hashimoto’s since I was around 12 (When I think it all started) and knowingly from 22. I’m now almost 49. Whilst many many symptoms have resolved or are barely issues, even when my thyroid is out of whack, there are a couple of ongoing Hashimoto’s symptoms that I’ve found I have to manage.

These fall into 3 main categories:

  1. Brain eg brain fog, anxiety, mood issues, being easily upset.
  2. Body eg muscle fatigue/weakness, aches & pains.
  3. Weight – difficulty losing it!!

In this podcast episode I go into detail about each one.

NOTE: Whilst there are practical tips for dealing with symptoms you MUST not manage Hashimoto’s purely on a symptom by symptom basis. That’s like playing whack-a-mole. Hashimoto’s is a whole body disease and requires holistic management under the guidance of practitioners experienced in thyroid health.

I have written about 30 Common Hashimoto’s Symptoms, in this little book. It’s a compilation of social media posts covering each of these common symptoms positively & practically. You can purchase it as a PDF download here for only AU$7.95.

Brain related Hashimoto’s symptoms

The biggest issues over time for me in this category have been feeling anxious, easily upset/irritated and brain inflammation.


For me, often it’s more anxious thoughts and feelings rather than diagnosed anxiety (although that can be the experience of others). This can keeps me awake at night. I can’t switch my brain off. I can have the same thoughts running over and over in my mind. I know it’s not rational but I can’t seem to switch them off. I need to be careful about what I watch, scrolling through social media etc right before bedtime. This is definitely worse when my thyroid isn’t at optimal levels.


This is sign for me that things aren’t right. Easily irritated, teary, on edge.

A number of years ago I realised that I really wasn’t handling day to day stress well. I was very easily upset – irritable. I’d yell and snap at the boys – in a way that often felt almost out of control. My doctor prescribed a week at a health retreat – honestly – and Leigh was supportive of this, but I realised that I would come home and if I didn’t address the underlying issues, nothing really would have changed. I wish now that I did BOTH – go away AND address the day to day 🙂

BRAIN inflammation

In 2014 I was diagnosed with a brain lesion – demyelination of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves. I had seen it as a separate autoimmune condition (a pre-cursor to MS) but the more research I do, I wonder if it’s perhaps a part of my Hashimoto’s? Regardless, I’m more and more aware of my need to look after my brain!

Brain related symptoms can also include brain fog, lack of concentration, mental health issues, cognitive decline, mental fatigue and  lack of motivation. In researching this topic I’ve become more aware of the extent of the impact of Hashimoto’s on the brain.

How I’ve learnt to manage these ongoing Hashimoto’s symptoms:

Look after my gut health & diet changes:

  • remove typically inflammatory foods – esp gluten & sugar. This helps reduce gut inflammation which is connected to leaky gut & leaky BRAIN.
  • Gluten can cross reaction with cerebellum tissue which can lead to autoimmune attached in the brain – symptoms include vertigo, poor balance, instability issues. See work by Dr Datis Kharrazian)
  • Look after gut flora – eat a wide range of food
  • Add fermented foods like saurkraut, kimchi
  • Read Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter (neurologist)
  • Eat healthy fats
  • Stay hydrated

Use Essential Oils.

Simply adding an essential oil to a diffuser can have a quick impact on your mood because they work very quickly on your olfactory system. Here are some of my favourites:

For focus/clarity: Rosemary, frankincense, eucalyptus and vetiver.

For calming: lavender, wild orange, lemon (or other citrus oils), Neroli, Vetiver, Clary Sage,Vetiver, Bergamot. black spruce, eucalyptus (or other tree oils) are worth exploring.

For brain health generally: Frankincense and copaiba

Manage Stress

I’m learning to be UNHURRIED. To say no and not fill my time as much.

Body Related Hashimoto’s Symptoms:


Given Hashimoto’s is an inflammatory problem, it’s no surprise that those with it have inflammatory issues throughout your body

There are many reasons those with underactive thyroid issues experience aches and pains. Here are some:

→ The body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone

→ The body is not properly converting the inactive T4 into the active T3.

→ The thyroid receptor cells aren’t working properly and so your cells aren’t ‘receiving’ the thyroid hormones.

→ Inability for the muscles to relax because they don’t have enough energy in the form of ATP (cellular energy).

I’ve dealt with aches and pains for what feels like forever. Feet, shoulders and back have been the biggest issues. I’ve done exercises, no exercises, had cortisone injections, scans, seen a wide range of professionals over many years. My tips are below.


Extreme muscle weakness was, in the end, the symptom I believe that led to my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s when I was 22. I couldn’t hold my arms up to wash and dry my hair!

Interestingly, in this study muscle weakness is particularly connected to muscles connected to the shoulder and pelvis – “difficulty in climbing stairs, getting up from squatting position, and combing hair” is common. Good to know I’m a textbook case

Fatigued muscles – can play out in tiredness  – just going for a walk can be too much. Maybe you can’t lift weights like you used to? I have times when my leg muscles feel tired just walking up my stairs and my leg muscles feel ‘heavy’. I’ve learnt to connect this to my thyroid hormone levels being out of whack.

Thyroid hormones activate muscle fibres. T3 causes ATP to be produced in muscle tissues, so if your body isn’t converting T4 into T3 you might have muscle weakness and tiredness.

Cramping and stiffness are also common as are slow reflexes.

How I’ve learnt to manage these ongoing Hashimoto’s symptoms:

Manage my exercise.

  • Work on building strength. I highly recommend the Thyroid Strong Program by Dr Emily Kiberd. I do about 3 workouts a week.
  • Working out when to push and when not to (this is an ongoing challenge!)
  • Walk – I walk daily.

Essential oils such as ginger, lemongrass, cypress, marjoram, Siberian Fir, are worth trying massaged with a carrier oil into your muscles. I do this most nights before bed and as needed.

Baths with magnesium flakes/epsom salts are something I’ve found good when my body is weak and has extra aches & pains.

See a health professional – this is important as muscle weakness can be a symptom of other things too, eg adrenal fatigue or even hyperactive thyroid.

Weight related Hashimoto’s Symptoms

As a teenager I just thought I was greedy and lazy and that’s why I was fat. Little did I know my thyroid health was declining and would have been the biggest cause. Lots of body image and negative thought patterns flowed from that for many many years. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

The impact of the thyroid on the metabolism is huge. As your thyroid health declines (often happens slowly over time) your metabolism slows and you gain weight. Even when your thyroid levels are ‘normal’, many will have difficulty losing weight.

Here are a few tips from my experience in dealing with both weight gain and the inability to lose weight…

How I’ve learnt to manage these ongoing Hashimoto’s symptoms:

Don’t take Duromine (weight loss pill) it took me 5 years to recover my health after taking this.

After I had given up gluten/grains for a while my addiction to food went away.

I’ve spent time working on my mindset from being on a diet/trying to lose weight to being healthy.

I focus on nutrient rich food. Cook from scratch. Check out whatannabelcooks.com for lots of recipes or to buy my cookbook, What Annabel Cooks.

Sugar. Don’t. I know, really hard. My Achilles Heel too. I’ve found recently removing even the ‘healthy’ sugars and gong low (not no) carb is helping me to SLOWLY shift a few kilos.

Strength training is great for weight loss.

Sleep is really important for the metabolism. Prioritise sleep.

Essential oils – I use cinnamon in my coffee to help wit blood sugar balancing. Grapefruit is great for the metabolism and I’m excited about a new oil blend from doTERRA called MetaPWR as it’s formulated for the metabolism. It’s a blend of grapefruit, ginger, peppermint, lemon and cinnamon.


  1. Have you had a full thyroid panel in the last 6 months? If not, make this a priority. TSH, T4, T3, TPO and TG antibodies.
  2. Which of the symptoms do you NO LONGER have to deal with? Celebrate this progress!!
  3. Of any of the ongoing Hashimoto’s symptoms you share with me, is there anything I’ve said you could apply, try or investigate?


related podcast episodes

If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for similar discussions, check out these episodes:

Ep 2: Meet Your Host

Ep 16: Thyroid & Brain Health

Ep 59 Thyroid Strong

Ep 49 & 76 Losing Weight

Ep 84: The Underactive Thyroid


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I’d love to help you.

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