Female, age 56 – Obesity, stress, pain, digestive issues, hot flashes, sleep difficulties, fatigue


PS is a 56-year old female, 5’5”, 260 lbs, who presented to my office for help with weight loss. She spends 8-12 hours per day at work on a computer in a highly stressful job as a project manager. Also, she is a single mother to one high school-aged daughter. In addition, she has an aging mother in a nearby state that she helps take care of on the weekends. She complains of low back, hip, knee and leg pain as well as digestive issues, hot flashes, sleep difficulties and fatigue. 


She states that she has been overweight since childhood despite a healthy diet and active lifestyle. She notes that at least one sibling (male) was the exact opposite; he could not gain weight even if he tried. She had bladder/ureter dysfunction that was corrected with surgery as a child. At that time, it was noted that she has only one functioning kidney. In 2011, following a particularly stressful period, she was hospitalized with neuro-cognitive, stroke-like symptoms. After extensive testing, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s encephalitis. A subtotal thyroidectomy was performed due to thyroid cysts. She was treated with high dose steroids, anti-seizure and immunosuppressant medications. She prefers to follow a vegetarian diet as she has no taste for animal protein, does not tolerate fatty foods and actually notes that she is never really hungry. She has previously been treated with medication for hypothyroidism and diabetes. Currently, she is still on the anti-seizure and immunosuppressant medications. Her last medical exam was a few months previous, and she brought her blood test results from her MD. Most notable was the Thyroid AB at >3000! 


When she first came to the office, I did not offer the SHAPE Program, so I started her on an anti-inflammatory diet using a medical food protein powder as a meal replacement, snack and two other GF/DF meals/day that combined protein and vegetables. 2-3 servings of fruit were allowed per day. In treating Hashimoto’s patients, I will always recommend that they totally avoid gluten. She was 80% compliant with that. She was able to lose 10 lbs over the course of six months and continued with the food plan. Nutritional supplement support for adrenal, thyroid and digestion were prescribed as well as a probiotic, vitamin D and B12/folate. With her MD’s consent, she was able to discontinue her immune suppressant medication. Six months ago, she decided that she was ready to try the SHAPE Program. 


After being on the SHAPE Program for less than 4 months, she lost another 10 lbs and is totally gluten free. She reports that she is eating more now than at any other time in her adult life and is still losing slowly! 

The most remarkable result, however, is that her Thyroid AB was 114 at the last test and her HgA1C is in a normal range. She is thrilled with both how well she feels and losing weight for the first time ever. There is more work to do, but with the positive outcome achieved so far, I know she is motivated to continue the process. 

Submitted by Cheryl Vincent, DC, DABCI 

Dr. Todd’s Teaching Assessment 

Isn’t it amazing how sick patients can get and still survive. This patient has virtually every kind of marker that would preclude weight loss (thyroid, diabetes, adrenal, digestion). 

Kudos to the patient and physician for sticking with the program. Most would give up having lost only 20 pounds over a 10-month period. The key to this case is the patient had to get healthier before any weight loss could occur. 

We often look at patients with this health history and think, “If only they could lose weight, they could be healthier.” The exact opposite is true. She had to get healthier and now the body will allow the release of toxic weight.