Have you been sent home by your doctor with a diagnosis and medication, and not gotten better? Unfortunately, this happens quite frequently when medical professionals can’t/won’t take the time to dive into the root cause of conditions. You have 2 options: stay sick or go out and find your own answers. That’s what thyroid expert Elle Russ did. Elle is the author of the bestselling book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution. This book has helped thousands of people around the world reclaim their health. She has also written a new book called, Confident As Fu*k which shows people how to increase their self-esteem and manifest their dreams through their own confidence. Join Dr. Lauren Lattanza as she and Elle dive into finding thyroid solutions and get confident as…well, you know.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Thyroid Dysfunction with Elle Russ
Welcome to another episode to the Healthy Heart Show, where we bring excellent guests with all different opinions and different varieties of how to get you to your 100-Year heart. We have an excellent guest for you by the name of Elle Russ. Welcome, Elle. Thank you for being here.
Thank you so much for having me.
We’ve always been looking for different routes of heart health and a unique perspective about how to get to your 100-year heart. A little background about Elle Russ. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution, which has helped thousands of people around the world reclaim their health. She is also the author of the self-help book Confident As Fu*k. Elle is a seasoned transformation and empowerment coach, TV film, writer, and host of the Primal Blueprint Podcast. You can learn more about her at ElleRuss.com. Thank you again for being here.
Thank you so much. I am starting a show after Primal Blueprint and doing over 500 episodes and 20 million downloads. I’m finally going to move on and do my show called The Elle Russia which will be launched at the beginning of October 2021. I don’t know when this will air, but all of the episodes that we’ve done over the years will always be available at Blog.PrimalBlueprint.com. It’s been fun and interesting. I’ve learned so much from all of the guests and authors that I’ve interviewed. It’s been such a joy, so I plan on continuing that. You can always go to ElleRuss.com to find out more information on The Elle Russia that’s coming out.
I look forward to it. You’ve got two vastly different books, which equally we can apply in terms of cardiac health and wellness. I want to touch first on your first book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution. As a naturopathic doctor, I frequently work with thyroid and how omnipresent thyroid disease is. Can you touch a little bit on what got you interested specifically in thyroid health?
The best-selling thyroid books are written by patients for a reason because we know what it’s like. You can learn what you’ve learned in medical school but you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been through it. Unfortunately, because of what they taught in medical school, the outdated protocols and testing, patients have been left to their own devices to solve it.
The reason I became a thyroid expert is because, first of all, I live in Los Angeles. It’s the city of some of the best doctors in the world. I went to over two dozen endocrinologists, but I could not find anyone to help me. They misdiagnosed me. They didn’t take the right tests. Even if they did, they didn’t interpret them right and this is a huge problem. Ninety nine percent of the doctors are uninformed about this situation. Including naturopathic doctors and functional medicine doctors, just because someone goes above and beyond their training, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing.
You can learn what you’ve learned, but you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been through it.
I was left to my own devices to solve my thyroid problem. I went to so many experts, no one could help me. Here I am, without a medical degree, having to be my doctor. I had to order my thyroid hormones online, black market stuff, and dose myself back to health. I did it twice in ten years. The first problem I had was general hypothyroidism. I then had what’s called Reverse T3 Hypothyroidism, which is on the rise and more doctors don’t know how to test, evaluate and treat.
Let’s talk a little bit about how it relates to health. The thyroid is the master gland of the human body not because I say so because it is. The reason is if you were born without a thyroid gland, which is one in a gajillion. I don’t know the statistics, but it’s rare. If you had a child born without a thyroid and it wasn’t caught right away, they’re mentally disabled for life. They’re intellectually disabled, whatever the proper word is or could die. Let’s say, if you don’t have a thyroid gland because let’s say it was removed because of thyroid cancer, you have to give yourself thyroid hormones. If you don’t and if someone didn’t have a thyroid gland and was taking thyroid hormone and ended up on a stranded island, they are the first ones to die.
If you cannot live without a thyroid gland, also known as, thyroid hormones, what do you think life’s like when you’re living at a subpar level of it? It is accelerated aging and it is dying slowly. That’s what it feels like. There are over 40 symptoms listed in my book. I had about 30 of them. I’ll rattle off a few. One of the main ones that most women will get is a gynecological issue and that could be a diagnosis of the polycystic ovarian syndrome. I got misdiagnosed with that.
Now, I want to stop there and say, “What dummy OB-GYN would misdiagnose you? If you saw the ultrasound, you wouldn’t diagnose me with it.” The problem was no one said, “Why is this healthy 30-year-old, who has had normal gynecological health or all life suddenly bleeding all the time?” That was my first symptom and that often manifests itself in women in the sense of miscarriages and infertility. You’re going through 3 or 4 miscarriages and no one’s figuring this out. People have had a lot of unnecessary miscarriages or hysterectomies and things like that.
Gynecologically, it’ll manifest often. It’s rare that someone doesn’t have a weight problem. If you are one of those people, you got lucky. Because it’s low metabolism, because the thyroid hormones are our only built-in fat burner, you end up getting fat no matter what your efforts are. It doesn’t matter how little you eat, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise, you keep gaining weight. That usually is the first symptom aside from your cold all the time.
I never got above 96 degrees, and I lived in California when I was hypothyroid, even in the afternoon. You know who you are because you’re the person that’s always cold. I have cooler hands and feet as we’re talking, the goal is not hot hands and feet. There’s a temperature gauge. We’re all like Goldilocks as humans, but it’s an internal chill. You’re that person and always cold. That’s a symptom, brain fog, puffy face, gaining weight constipation, weird issues with earwax, and brain function.
We have more receptors in our brain for T3, the biologically active hormone, than anywhere else. What happens is you end up having messy handwriting, you’re tripping all over the place, you’re uncoordinated even though you’re an athlete. You also feel it in the brain. The reason I mentioned this one specifically is that it’s a hard one for people to express. You get depressed not only because of what’s happening to your body but also because it’s happening in your brain and your mind.
Also, you start to feel dumb. You start to mix up words like a dyslexic when you never had any cognitive abilities. You can’t retain information, paragraphs, you’re forgetting numbers. There are people that have quit their jobs as accountants because they’re afraid of getting fired because they don’t remember anymore. It’s almost like, we’ve all been in a conversation with someone that may have been drinking and you’re seeing through them there but you can’t get in there. That’s how it is when you’re at a level of brain fog.
To describe brain fog, it is exactly like this. We’ve all had a horrible cold at some point where our nasal passages were stuffy. In those moments, when we’ve had that everyone can relate to, you’re staring into space, nothing’s fun to watch, nothing’s fun to do. You’re brain-dead staring into space and you’re like, “When is this going to end?” That is how brain fog is, minus the stuffiness. You can get into accidents, you miss things, you start to forget stuff. The other symptoms are you get overwhelmed because your adrenals will start to take over in the absence of thyroid hormones and you often will have adrenal fatigue that can lead to sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.
You become the most annoying person no one wants to hang out with because you’re like, “I can’t deal with your perfume.” The neighbor above right in your apartment and you’re suddenly like, “Why are they so loud?” when you never noticed that before. Real sensitivity to light. What it is, is also the sense of being overwhelmed. You might have been a high-achieving multitasker at some point but now, you feel that even doing a couple of things in the day makes you want to cry. You don’t have the wherewithal for much and you’re exhausted. It could take you three hours in the morning to eat. Some people can’t even get out of bed, it’s bad. It depends. There are all levels of how severe it is.
Sixty percent of the people aren’t diagnosed. That’s 200 million people in the world and 27 plus million Americans. That number is higher. There is still only one thyroid hormone prescription in America. It is a problem. The truth is that it’s solvable but the problem is that 99% of doctors are uninformed. It’s dumb because it’s no different than the government food pyramid being a diabetes-making diet. You then go to the doctor for diabetes and they will take this pill and come back and we’ll check on it versus there’s a thing that can reverse this that you can do. They don’t advocate that.
I have a friend who’s a nurse. She works in a hospital in the OB-GYN ward. There are people that come in there with diabetes and things like that. On their way out, they give them a horrible food list that is going to worsen their diabetes. As a keto person, she can’t say, “Don’t listen to this.” This is a problem and it took me all of this investigation. I’m glad I did because I solved my problem twice in two years without the help of a doctor and I fixed it. If I’m in Los Angeles and this is happening to me, how’s the person in the middle of Nebraska doing? It’s probably not well.
It was sad and scary to be left in the dust and to my own devices, but perseverance pays. I was willing to go to the ends of the Earth to figure this out. The only people that helped me at all were fellow patients who had a free online thought forum. I always mentioned Janie Bowthorpe. She has the website, StopTheThyroidMadness.com and a book of the same name, Stop The Thyroid Madness. Before she had both of those, she ran a free Yahoo group. She still has a free forum, where moderators like me and patients, who had figured this out are helping other patients for free, evaluate their labs, giving them tips.
Of course, you have to take everything at face value. They’re not doctors, they were the only ones that helped me understand this enough for me to help myself. Five to seven years of my 30s were completely ruined from hypothyroidism. I had a doctor. My first symptom was I kept bleeding. I got my period when I shouldn’t and then I tossed it off, then it kept happening. What did they do? They did what Western medicine does. Here’s a pill to patch the symptom of a thing we’re not even going to ask why it happened.
They were testing my thyroid incorrectly. He kept saying, “Your thyroid is fine. Work out more and eat less.” I’m like, “I’m working out two hours a day. I’m swimming 36 laps. I’m hiking for an hour. I’m going to the gym and doing everything,” which was probably a mistake because I was over exhausting my adrenals. In our minds, we think that when you get fat, there’s something I can do about it, so let me go try to do something.
Don’t live life on a subpar level. That is just like accelerated aging.
That logic makes sense when you have proper metabolism. When you have hypothyroidism, you don’t and then it doesn’t work. It’s crazy-making because you have no control over your body. It’s horrifying. I spent years crying multiple times a day, being depressed, not because of what was happening in my brain, but because of what was happening in my life and my body. That’s a long rant.
You hit it right on the head. It’s crazy-making and I see so many patients that are frustrated because they’ve been bounced around for many years with levothyroxine. That’s typically not the answer. They haven’t had adequate testing. Their adrenal and sex hormones get trashed. It’s this cascade of events. The power of the patient, you have to ask around because all these diffuse symptoms can arise.
Unless you’re a patient in that chair, then you might be looking in all the wrong places and getting the wrong answers. You think that this is your baseline. I’m always going to carry a sweater because I’m always cold. My menstrual cycle is completely whacked out. I’ve got this irregular heartbeat. I’ve got this brain fog and I’m not as sharp as I used to be. People shouldn’t accept that as their normal.
They shouldn’t. It’s hard to express the brain and depression stuff to people because people think you’re depressed because of what’s happening in your body but you’re like, “No, my brain is off.” It is a scary thing to think that you’re becoming dumber. That’s what it feels like. It feels I’m getting dumb. It’s hard for people to express that because then they might chalk it up to age or they might say, “My Aunt Betty was reckless.” Maybe Aunt Betty had undiagnosed thyroid problems or whatever.
Our insurance here in the United States means nothing. It is there for you in case you fall off a cliff and when we need someone to put our legs back together. When it is thyroid, it’s amazing how people will keep going to their local insurance doctor, and then you are like, “How much is your life worth to you?” “Any amount is invaluable? Why aren’t you treating it like that?” This is where you do have to pony up the money for a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor that is not in bed with the insurance companies so that they can do all the testing they want.
Let’s talk about the heart. First of all, the reason the thyroid is the master gland is that it’s in charge of the production regulation of all of your sex hormones. What’ll happen is some 25-year-old guy will have low testosterone, the doctor will give them testosterone without testing the thyroid. You always go back to the thyroid. It’s the number one thing that should be tested with every patient, even if they’re not exhibiting thyroid symptoms, because it’s the marker of wellness and unwellness in a person. If that’s off, the cascade and the domino effect go off because of this connection.
The other thing too, it’s in charge of your heart rate. When you have hyperthyroidism, overactive and too much thyroid hormone, you could have a heart attack. If it’s also too low, your heart needs T3 to work well. You often see thyroid patients with extremely low heart rates or then sometimes a combination of a higher resting heart rate because their hearts had to work harder in the absence of T3.
What then happens when someone’s mistreated, they’re on levothyroxine which is the first choice for a lot of endocrinologists and the last choice for most doctors in the know. It’s a T3, T4 combo that is usually the most optimal. For someone like me, I have to be on T3 only. There are even fewer doctors that understand that and they think that’s dangerous and they’re misinformed. I’ve been living off of T3 for over twelve years or something at some point.
We can get into the thyroid hormones if we want. Maybe we do a brief thing here but I will say that when it comes to the thyroid hormones, T4 level thyroxin or the T4 that your body makes is useless unless it converts into the thing that matters. Unless it’s converting into T3 and you’re getting enough of that, it’s useless. It’s just a storage hormone. It’s an elegant feedback loop. We want it to work this way, it is most endocrine mimicry to be on a T4, T3 combination.
Sometimes when that is a problem, like with me having a reverse T3 problem that cannot be resolved, my only choice to stay alive and on hypothyroid is me taking T3 only, the direct hormone. This goes to show that you don’t need the other, it’s more optimal. There’s no question about it. What I take as the last resort choice for any thyroid patient.
What then happens to someone on levothyroxine and they’re undertreated, the stuff’s not converting and then they start to get high cholesterol labs because they don’t have enough T3 to burn the fat they’re eating. The doctor is like, “We need to put you in a stent.” An overdone thing, as we know, you should never put anyone on a stent unless you’ve taken a CAD screen test and the score is zero, you don’t need to do that. People are needlessly being put on stents, that’s ridiculous, and they’re evaluating the lipid panels from a 1920 perspective or then you have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is often insulin resistance that goes hand in hand when you have no metabolism no matter how much you eat because you’re not burning the fat and you will become insulin resistant. The same goes for people that have eaten themselves into type two diabetes, unbeknownst to them. I’m not blaming anyone, but that’s what type two diabetes is, we give it to ourselves. When they edge towards type two diabetes, then they can also then have thyroid problems.
In that case, if someone’s reached type two diabetes and you don’t have to be obese to have type two diabetes. I was pre-diabetic myself and you wouldn’t be able to tell. Let’s say you’ve edge towards type two diabetes, in that case, a dietary paradigm, perhaps keto or modified, could get you to the insulin-sensitive point where then the thyroids work. That would be a great move in that situation if you knew that those thyroid problems came about as a result of that.
Again, these things all go hand in hand and I’ve seen all of it. It’s such a tragedy because you can put someone in the stent and the blood pressure medication, but you’ve never actually addressed the true problem. It’s because doctors are taking the wrong thyroid tests, then they’re not evaluating them correctly, then they’re not treating them properly. Even if a doctor takes the correct test, but doesn’t know how to evaluate them to treat it properly, you’re also at a loss. Your second doctor might know more than the endocrinologist who is steeped in this outdated stuff.
The bottom line on anything, if you have a disease you’ve been diagnosed with, please do not go to an MD to save you, go to an MD, go to all of them. Don’t count on it, learn about this yourself. There are millions of people out there in the world who take a pill every day that’s thyroid hormone and they have no idea what it’s doing to their bodies. You then get a doctor who doesn’t know how to treat the thyroid patient.
Let’s say, you can be on thyroid hormone and still be hypothyroid, just because you’re taking a thyroid hormone pill and you’re going well, “This should have fixed it.” It may not be getting to where it needs to go, it may not be metabolizing correctly, it may not be the right dosage, timing, or combination. That’s frustrating because the patient’s like, “I’m depressed.” The doctor who’s the dummy, who doesn’t know better goes, “It’s not your thyroid. Maybe you need to do this or maybe we should give you Prozac for your depression.”
The Prozac will work for a couple of months and then it won’t work because you never got to the root of it. Anyone in the psychiatric profession should never give anyone anti-depression medication unless they have already ruled out the thyroid because if you correct the thyroid, you will correct the depression, most likely. That’s the baseline of where you need to go. My doctor and the doctor in my book, Dr. Foresman, test everyone that comes into his office for reverse T3 and all these other things doctors don’t, even if they don’t even have a thyroid problem because he knows how important thyroid health is to the whole picture. If that is not optimized, then you’re screwed.
If you want to solve a problem, always go back to the root of it all.
Someone will be like, “I have a hormonal imbalance.” Like I did. I had the polycystic ovarian syndrome. No one said why. They were ready to put me on Metformin and treat the problem and patchwork it. You then end up like a quilt. You’re all patchworked up and you never got to the root of it. That sounds cliché but the root is the case is the thyroid. There’s no bigger root in our body. To exemplify that, people gain weight because T3 is the fat burner. Bodybuilders pull some dumb moves. When they need to lose fat as quickly as possible before a competition, they will take a ton of what I take every day to live. They could screw themselves up. They could sue their hearts up. It’s a dumb move, but it says a lot about T3, doesn’t it?
If you’re not getting the package, then it doesn’t matter how much T4 you’re taking or how much thyroid hormone you’re taking. Are you getting what you need to survive? There are also doctors who are afraid of the reference range. They’re like, “It’s too hot.” It’s not. This is completely solvable. If you have been like, “I’ve been trying to solve my thyroid problem for ten years,” then you’ve been with dumb doctors. That’s the case and you haven’t educated yourself enough. Get on it. This is fixable.
The longest, more treacherous case I’ve ever seen of solving a thyroid problem that’s maybe taken a year is when someone has Lyme disease and they’re going through menopause and they have SIBO. That stuff may take some time. There’s a lot of components there. In general, you can fix this in three months. This is fixable. The people out there go to the doctor. They’re like, “I’m depressed.” The doctors are like, “We’ll put you on some Prozac.” That’s a doctor who doesn’t understand that when you treat a patient properly with thyroid hormones, the elimination of the symptoms is all gone. That’s the whole goal. You don’t have any more hypothyroid symptoms.
I have zero hypothyroid symptoms because I’m on the right level of thyroid hormone replacement. It makes me and my body like yours, just as normal. I’m eating too much junk. I’m going to get fat. It’s normal metabolism. Oprah Winfrey is a good example. She was interviewed many years ago. I was like, “How do I get a hold of her?” She said her doctors were like, “You have Hashimoto, so you’re always going to struggle with weight.” What a story to implant in her. We’ve all seen her weight struggles.
Some people would go with that but she’s a billionaire. She has access to the best endocrinologist, the best doctors that are steeped in ego that are outdated. Just because someone is wealthy and a billionaire, it does not mean they have access to the people that know what’s up. She’s listening to the wrong people. Those doctors don’t understand how to treat it because no one would ever say that if they knew what I knew and knew what other doctors and people like you knew. Something is wrong because you should have full elimination of every hypothyroid symptom when you were treated properly. It doesn’t take that long. Again, with the caveats of what I told you.
Of course. In a couple of months, even if it is multiple layers on your current health picture, you don’t have to become a pharmaceutical cascade. Doesn’t have to be Prozac and statins and all the things just because of one root cause. You said it, find yourself a holistic health care provider that’s in the note. Get on some Facebook forums. The power of the patient is real, so listen to the people that have been through it, people like you that share their stories and struggles. You’re not on the first-line treatment. You’re probably on, who knows how many lines of treatment you’ve been through to figure out what works for you but they’re out there.
Yes, and I do offer a free thyroid guide on my website, ElleRuss.com, which lists the six main and some peripheral tests like, do I have a thyroid problem? Because you can go down the road, there are lots of things that cause it. You could have been living in a place with black mold and get a thyroid problem. You could have high mercury and that could cause it. There are a million ways to discover why, how, what, when, where.
At least you don’t have to buy my book, you can go to the free thyroid guide and go, “These are at least the tests I need to get. What time of day do I need to get them? What kind of questions can I ask a doctor’s office to see if they maybe know what’s up? Am I going to be wasting my copay with this one?” Even if they do answer the right questions, I can’t guarantee that they’re still going to work. I went to so many doctors. I wasted so much money on ignorant people that never helped me. I shouldn’t have had to help myself but thank God I did because I want to help everyone get from A to Z way quicker. I only suffered for the years I told you, there are people that have suffered for twenty years.
The power is in the struggle. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for sharing these free resources. I would encourage all of our readers, even if you don’t haven’t been diagnosed with thyroid disease and you’ve got some symptoms that aren’t right for you. Don’t accept those as your normal. Go download this free guide. Get some questions answered.
Take one step at a time and seek out alternate opinions. Get on some forums. Creating educated healthcare consumers is powerful and it’s more than our US healthcare system because it doesn’t care. We all know that. They’re not providing adequate information. They’re not providing adequate diagnoses and proper answers to these problems. Thank you for providing that for us.
I want to talk about your second book, which I have enjoyed reading. We can tie it into the thyroid picture. I’ve seen my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, and this is their struggle. They’ve had this Hashimoto struggle and I’m taking that on as my story now. That ties into your Confident As Fu*k book. Taking on some of these stories and not allowing yourself to live your own story. What does Confident As Fu*k mean to you, and what inspired you to write about confidence?
Confidence is not an anchored quality within people. It’s the sum of the thoughts you think and the actions you take. Everyone can achieve it through some work. Confident As Fu*k to me is all-encompassing you can be. I was extremely confident for most of my life, but I had one area. If you think there’s one area where you can shovel that under the rug where I wasn’t confident, it affects everything else.
Confident As Fu*k meant to be all-encompassing, inside and out. That doesn’t mean you have to become some public speaker or an extrovert. Some of the most confident people are the quietest people in the room. That’s not what I’m suggesting. What I am suggesting is that if you don’t have confidence and self-esteem, you’ll never get what you want in life from the bedroom to the boardroom. You’re never going to be able to stand up for your kids, against their friend’s mother who’s a jerk or whatever. It doesn’t matter, you can be a stay-at-home mom.
If you want to be a public speaker, then you’re going to need outward confidence. It’s more important to have that inner-outer combination, it’s the most ideal. The truth is I wrote a book called The Paleo Thyroid Solution based on some ancestral health. Having confidence provides an evolutionary edge. It helps us navigate challenges. Life was harsh back then. They didn’t have the luxury to wallow in self-pity. If they didn’t catch the beast or the water well was tainted, they moved on. We have this modern-day luxury of wallowing in this stuff, blaming our past, sitting around.
Our mind has almost too much going on. It’s not to say that I would adopt some of the stuff that they had going on, they certainly didn’t have human rights and some other things and in their day. We have this luxury of wallowing in despair, self-pity, self-judgment, all of the stuff. The confidence stuff, I go through the book, I talk in story form, give real-life examples that you can sink your teeth into because I didn’t want to write a self-help book that was like a list of things and acronyms which have their place. I wanted people to read a story and go, “I’ve been there. I get it.” That’s how I also learn and feel like I get concepts.
I have a degree in philosophy and one of the things that bothered me is that you’re studying all this heady stuff and you’re like, “How do I apply to my life?” I wanted to create that for everyone. That’s what it is, it’s inside and out. There’s an interesting quote by a guy named Andre Dubus and it’s going to sound harsh but it’s interesting and hit me. It goes, “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism. The belief that how we look, how we perform is truly important to other people. The truth is, most people don’t care about you. You’re projecting what you think they might think of you and then you are allowing it to creep in your self-esteem.”
You’re it for you. You’ve never had a thought that isn’t about you.
Let’s say you had a parent who was abusive or told you you’re going to be nothing. Yes, those are valid, awful, subconscious inprintings. At the end of the day, if you continue that on, you’re letting them win. You were letting their story of you. They’re wrong or untruthful or malintent with a perceived story of you to allow you to feel that way about yourself when it’s not true and you can change it. We have to get out of victim mode and the best way to do that is confidence.
Confidence also helps you draw boundaries with people. I’m a clear communicator. My friends know I don’t BS people. I’m known for that all over the place. People come to me because they’re like, “I know you’re going to tell me the truth.” Now, does that mean that I don’t edit myself? No, of course, I do. I’m going to your mom’s house for Thanksgiving and she asked me what I think of her sweater and it’s ugly, I’m not going to tell her the truth. I’m going to lie. Yes, there are places for white lies.
Being confident as F is about choosing your battles wisely. If you don’t take every battle, and that’s also what ultra-confident people have a pitfall in. The people that are more beta or less confident have some good qualities too. They are more diplomatic when they do speak up. They are more likely to receive and accept help. They are more vulnerable and open versus confident people not wanting to show vulnerability. The reason I wrote it is that throughout my life everyone’s been coming to me for like, “I need this come back for this bully. I need to ask for a raise. I need to break up with this person.” They have come to me for those things.
I realized over time, I was like, “This is something I’m known for, that always comes up.” People are always like, “I wish I could be as confident as you.” The truth is, you’re not going to be able to declare a boundary and do these things in life with people. You’re going to end up resenting it. People pleasers are a perfect example of this. If you’re out there and people are like, “Poor Jenny, the problem is she’s too nice.”
No, the problem is Jenny’s a liar. Jenny goes around saying things she doesn’t believe in or agreeing to things she doesn’t want to do because she’s afraid of rejection or wanting other people to like her. That’s being a liar and it gets you nowhere, passive-aggressive behavior, covert contracts, and all messy stuff with people. You then end up not trusting people.
Authenticity reigns supreme and confident people are usually the most authentic. That’s why we look up to them because we trust confident people’s confidence in themselves. I used to be an employer. I would rather hire a confident person than someone skilled in the job if there was a difference in personality because there’s something about confidence.
Again, that we trust, they’re often proactive, they’re on time, they’re on top of it. They might go above and beyond and have creative ideas to contribute. If you go in for a job and they’re like, “What do you think of her salary?” You’re like, “I don’t know, it’s taking somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000.” You just lost. It’s always the people that come in and are like, “I can’t make less than $80,000,” then they get $80,000.
You have identified some of the qualities of confident people. You mentioned authenticity, can you elaborate on that a little bit?
One of the things people misunderstand is just because you have some barrel over extroverted jerk that you work with, that is not confidence either. That’s a bully who’s misusing their confidence. The people that are braggarts, the people that you don’t like because they’re jerks because they’re outspoken, that’s a bully.
Confident people encourage others’ success. They do not compete. They do not compare. They’re nice, friendly. They’re like me. They’re helpful. They want to connect with people. They don’t care whether my friend becomes friends with you. I’m not jealous. Enjoy yourself. I hope you guys have a great friendship. There’s no competing or jealousy going on there.
If you’ve got one of these people, that’s I got the big braggart show guy, the loudest guy in the room, that’s insecurity. If you have someone mean and you think they’re confident because they’re outspoken, then you’ve misgauged confidence. I want to clear that up. Confident people are authentic. They don’t need to prove themselves to anyone. They speak the truth as they see it.
They tell it like it is and they don’t care much about what other people think of them. Someone might go, “Of course, Elle. Don’t you care about your reputation as a podcaster, an author and a coach?” Yes, of course. If no one bought my book, I wouldn’t give a crap because I’m proud of myself for writing it and it’s wonderful. I’m glad people have and I bet it’s affected everybody. It would not be a ding on my self-esteem.
They’re also kind and encouraging to others. They’re constantly learning. They’re not easily offended. They’re often the leaders. Leaders are confident and they’re usually decisive. I would say they approach challenging situations as something to be conquered and mastered, not as hazards to be feared or avoided. They’re comfortable with their failures and mistakes. They own them. It’s not that it doesn’t feel yucky in that minute when you failed at something that you’ve tried for but they get over it quicker. We also speak with authority, anyone listening to me right now can be like, “Yes, check.” That’s not false authority.
Con men misuse confidence to trick people. Of course, we want to stay away from these people. Is that true confidence? No, it always backfires. They usually get caught or they’re living in this world of they can’t trust anyone because they’re a liar. That’s a gross thing anyway. Con men are misusing confidence. They instill confidence in you or rip you off. That’s a full negative side of someone misusing confidence.
Confident people feel free and unbound to be themselves. They trust their judgment and they’re proud of their character and integrity. They’re not the braggart. The braggart is the insecure person. Again, they’re proud of their character integrity and who they are in this world. One example is someone asked me once and I put it in the book. They said, “I was thinking about you because I walk into a party or a restaurant or something and I’m feeling like everyone’s judging me. Everyone’s looking at me. I feel so self-conscious. I was thinking about you and I thought I bet Elle doesn’t feel that way.” I said, “I walked into every room like I own the mother-effer.”
Now, that sounds cocky, but let me explain that. When I walk into a room or a party, I don’t care if anyone knows I’m an author, or anyone’s impressed by what I do. I don’t feel the need to prove myself to anyone. Maybe I don’t even talk to anyone. I’m comfortable there in my skin observing. Maybe I’m standing in the corner of a room where I’ve never talked to anyone. I could be alone in a room or anywhere else and feel fine. I want everyone to feel that because it is an amazing way to go throughout the world. Again, it’s all about you.
There’s a curiosity. They’re like, “Maybe I’ll learn something from someone.” I’ve never had a conversation with someone at a party for a long time. I was asking them questions about themselves. When they found out what I did and what I do, they were like, “You didn’t even say anything the whole time.” They were shocked. Maybe because I live in Los Angeles and everyone’s trying to try to prove something. Maybe there’s a different essence here. I was like, “Why would I? Why do I care? I don’t care. You shouldn’t either.” You have to get to that point.
We love our friends. Even if one of my best friends went nuts and called me the C-word and was like, “I never want to be friends with you again.” It would hurt. It would hurt more than a stranger, of course. I would be upset and crying and all that. At the end of the day, I would go, “That’s not the right person for me. I’m not going to let that be reflective of my character unless there’s something that truly needs to look at there.” You can move swiftly and peacefully towards success with courage, enthusiasm, and clarity when you gain more confidence and self-esteem. I’ve already seen this because I teach a confidence course. The women that were in there have already done it.
It’s anything down from, you’ve been going to the same hairdresser forever, but you asked her to cut it a certain way and she didn’t. You feel weird about saying something. People might go, “That’s so dumb.” That’s the little stuff. It all matters. Why wouldn’t you speak up? Because those people will get afraid. There’s also a way to approach things with tone. You don’t need to go in and say, “I asked you last time to cut my hair this way and you didn’t. Can you do it this time?” That would be crappy but you could come in and go, “I had an idea. I want to switch it up. Can you do this today? I want to focus on that. I know the last time you did it this way.”
There are ways to approach these things but people sometimes can’t even draw boundaries or get what they want. You then keep getting the haircut you hate. People would call it a dumb simple thing. It’s from that to speak up to a raise to getting out of a relationship, all of these things matter. What I’ve learned through the thyroid and my journey is you’re it for you. Nobody cares more about you than you, nobody. No doctor, no friend. My mother loves me like nobody’s business. I’m the light of my mother’s life, but still, I am the only one that cares more about me. You’re it for you.
Byron Katie‘s a great spiritual teacher. She used to say, “You’re it for you. You’ve never had a thought that isn’t about you.” Someone might say, “That’s not true. My friend Susie was in the hospital and I went down there and brought her soup.” Yes, because that made you feel good. The thoughts are still about you. You cannot get out of it. It’s not that we don’t do nice things for people, but it’s because it makes you feel good about doing it.
It’s time to get selfish in the best possible way. To me, more people need confidence and self-esteem than I ever imagined. I never imagined that the qualities that I have in this area were going to be valuable to others. I see over time how valuable it is because people want more of it because they get what they want quicker. They avoid negative situations.
I remember I had a friend one time, who would like to say yes to plans with people, but then always canceled at the last minute. When he agreed to the plans, he never intended on going but he felt too bad to say no, I then point it out. I said, “Now you look like a flake. You look like a flaky person that you’re the one that cancels all the time.” This is small stuff. Being able to say no to plans. People feel guilt, obligation or they’re afraid of saying no.
I will tell you that I love my life. I have barely zero conflicts with any of my close friends and family members because I am a direct communicator. I appreciate and prefer friends and people close to me to be direct communicators. I do not like passive-aggressive behavior because it’s lying. I know that it’s harsh to think of yourself as a liar if you’re a people pleaser, but you are because you’re not getting what you want. You then end up resenting people for what you could have prevented. The way to prevent that in the future is to stick to your ground, drawing boundaries. You need confidence and self-esteem for that.
If you don’t have confidence, you’ll never get what you want in life.
You don’t have to be the yes-man. Any adult can say no to a plan. You want to lay in bed all day on a Sunday and turn down those brunch plans, go ahead and do it. It’s healthy.
By the way, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to ever do anything you don’t want to do. For example, I’m not a big live concert person. It’s hard to get me to go to some live concerts. Not that I don’t appreciate it, it’s just not my thing. I have a friend who goes to like a million concerts every week. She knows and she’s asked me enough over time to know that I’m probably going to say no. She called me one time and goes, “I know this isn’t your thing but so and so’s going to be at this concert. I need a wing woman.” I said, “I’m in.”
Now, the overriding thing of being her friend and doing that favor for her overrides my desire or if she called me to get her car towed out of the thing. No one wants to drive and do that but you want to do it because it’s your friend. It’s not about never doing things you “no one wants to do” the thing I mentioned about helping someone get their car towed. You do it because you want to be a good friend. This isn’t about being some a-hole, who says no to everything and never does anything. Hopefully, people understand that.
You’re not above things. You can draw some boundaries. You had talked about all of these things that can accumulate. I always say the issues lie in the tissues. If you’re constantly taking something on and suppressing and suppressing it, being told no and accepting that and not leading with confidence and creating your narrative, then I find that people do the issues that reside in the tissues. It will come up in some symptom or another.
Thyroids are one of them. Many years ago, Louise Hay had some connections spiritually to noticing the trend and people with breast cancer or people with thyroid problems. What she attributed to the thyroid problems was either the inability to speak up or suppressing one’s creativity. Now, I’ve always been a spoken-up person. I had one area of my life where I wasn’t confident in and that was with romantic relationships because it started with I have a permanent hand disability that I talked about in the book. I was ashamed for years. I never told people that I dated. It’s something you can’t see. I was embarrassed about it, so I hid this thing.
After I read this many years later, at the time I got the thyroid problems, I was dating someone moody, walk around on eggshells person. Which by the way, I hate. I don’t have any moody friends. I would never tolerate that but I was tolerating it at the time, so I felt choked up in the throat, if you keep getting that choked-up feeling, which is again, the inability to speak up or feeling suppressed with your voice.
I can’t say that’s exactly the reason why I got the thyroid problem. Interestingly, the correlation was right there. Issues in the tissues, this throat chakra, this neck, inability to speak up or feeling choked up or you’ve got that lump in your throat all the time. Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship, and you’re on edge. All that stuff will eventually transform into something that will hurt you physically.
That’s then your symptom, is your body crying out for help because it’s saying, “Enough already. Let’s address this. It’s time.” I’ve got a question for you. How do you live a heart-healthy life?
I exercise often. Because of the pandemic and my non-interest in being in a gym, I got my weights at home. I do walk and hike, but I swim regularly too. That’s my primary cardio. I’ve been a swimmer for many years. It helps my arm situation. I’m going to go swimming. I swim laps. I’m swimming in chlorine, which is antagonistic to the thyroid. I do take iodine when I go swimming and take it throughout the week if I’m swimming a lot. I also will cover my entire body in coconut oil first, which gives me about 30 minutes in the pool, so I try to do my best to protect it. That’s the only yucky unhealthy thing about swimming.
Luckily, this pool I swim in is not heavily chlorinated, so that’s not an issue. I exercise and of course, I eat a paleo primal paradigm. I don’t have Hashimoto’s form of hypothyroidism, meaning I don’t have the autoimmune form. Yes, if I wanted to eat a piece of gluten or something, I could without ramifications. I would probably do those kinds of cheats or exceptions less if I had Hashimoto’s. Do I occasionally have a piece of bread? Absolutely. I live my life, but I don’t have it around. It’s not a consistent regular part of my life like it once was.
I don’t eat grains, beans, or legumes. Does that mean I’m not going to have a burrito one time with some beans and rice? No, I will but again, it’s not a part of my regular life, where I would have been before. I follow the ancestral paradigm. Naturally, I am also intermittent faster. I do not like breakfast. I do some of that. I get all of my meat from Rep Provisions, which is all grass-fed pasture-raised animals and things like that. I do my best. We, peeps in the paleo community are, of course, for regenerative agriculture. I do care about the quality of my meat. If I’m at a restaurant, they don’t have a grass-fed steak. I’m going to eat the regular steak. A paleo primal paradigm is the best but I also commit to exercise.
For everyone out there, walking it like 3.0 on a treadmill for 30 minutes is sometimes enough. If you can’t even walk to your mailbox, you can still lose weight by getting fat-adapted through diet. Let’s say you don’t have the stamina, but can you stand for half a TV show? That’s better than sitting. There are ways to mitigate it if you have injuries or issues. It’s dedication and I’m lucky I live in California. We can be outside year-round. I can sit outside year-round. I can hike year-round. I can play outside year-round.
I am from downtown Chicago, it’s a lot harder to get out when it’s twenty degrees below. Bundle up, go to the gym, unbundle up, do the whole thing. It takes a lot of extra effort but it is an attention to it. You have to make that commitment. These are micro-commitments. There are times where I have my pool stuff ready to go with my bathing suit on and I’m fighting it the whole way. I’m like, “I don’t want to do this.” It’s not because I’m exhausted because I wouldn’t if I were exhausted. I would know better and don’t tap your adrenals. You just don’t exercise.
Sometimes, it’s laziness. You’re not in the mood. I fought it up to the pool’s edge. I’ve even driven there and figured, “I’m going to turn around.” I was talking to Gabrielle Reece, the famous volleyball player, years ago in an interview. She’s a badass. She said the same thing. She goes, “Sometimes I got to fight myself every day, for weeks to go work out.” Even some of the top athletes, but it is a commitment that I make. I will say this, every time I laugh at myself afterward because it feels so good. I’m like, “Thank God I did. Thank God that I didn’t bail.” I rarely regret it.
You had mentioned some intermittent fasting and that you don’t like breakfast. Is that something that came along because maybe your thyroid responded better to that or is that something that you listen to your body?
I mostly listen to my body but I also believe in the benefits of it. Here’s what I want to say about that, it’s a bummer for me that people are too attached to some description of themselves. I’m a person that intermittent fast. I will tell you this, there have been times when some peacock was honking outside my window at 4:00 AM. I woke up and then I’m hungry by 10:00 AM, which normally I’m not. In those moments, I do get a little bummed because I’m like, “I don’t want to eat right now.” I do it anyway. I follow my body because my body is hungry and it says, “Eat a sausage.” I don’t go, “Nope. I’m a person that intermittent fast.”
On the topic of metabolic flexibility and flexibility in general, imagine you need the apple, just eat the apple. I eat carbs, of course. I’m not keto, but I go in and out of keto. There might be a day where I eat only meat. There might be a day where I would only eat vegetables. I also feel people think that they need to pack the rainbow of the vegetable garden into every meal. I would like people to look at it more like, “How was your week? Did you have chard, one day?” That’s good enough. That’s more ancestral anyway. People end up wasting a lot of food. I know I was one of these people. I was trying to get every color in every meal. That’s not ancestral either, waste on food becomes annoying.
I like to look at it like, “How’s my week? How’s my month? How did I do here?” If I am hungry in the hours I normally don’t eat, what I will do though is, for example, I won’t eat before I go swimming. I will bring a bottle of water with me with some collagen in it. Maybe some green powder, a little something. Maybe I’ll even have a few spirulina pills or something. I might do a little something. Again, if I don’t feel like eating, I still might have a little bite of some leftover salmon or something. Again, I go by if I’m hungry or not. I don’t push it. People have an identification to some paradigm and then they’re like, “Nope, I don’t do this.” Your body’s craving for the apple, eat it. It’s fine that you only have meat. That’s okay.
We don’t need to draw these hard boundaries. Yes, I am a primal paleo. Like you said, sometimes I’m going to sit down at a steakhouse and if they don’t have a grass-fed steak on the menu, I’m still going to eat. Everything is in moderation, including moderation. People need to accept that and listen to their bodies and recognize what’s healthy for them at any given moment.
Also, even though they might say there are benefits to the heart or whatever, I’m an anti-alcohol person. It’s not that every once in a while, but it doesn’t work with me. I also feel that has contributed to my aging well and staying healthy and having my mind sharp. I have noticed that people who have been drinking all this time, by the time they get to my age, they’re a disaster. They look terrible. They’ve bloated their minds. It’s such a depressant. I am not a big drinker.
On the other note, I live in a state where it’s legal, I love marijuana. I don’t smoke it. I thought we said it’s an unhealthy thing to do. Now that it’s all legal, there is every way. It’s not like I don’t have any fun or advice or a thing like that because most of the world drinks. Drinking is a terrible impediment to weight loss and health, I just do. If you’re able to manage it while drinking, keep your vice. Do what you have to do but that is one thing that I don’t have as part of my life. I feel it’s helped my skin, my body, my brain, and everything else. Even though there are studies that would say two glasses for men a night could be heart-healthy, and be good.
In my experience, that hasn’t bared out to be great for me. I go by how I feel. I don’t like the way that it feels. It makes me tired for three days. I feel a little bit like ADD, less attentive, less interested in life. Again, I go by how it affects me. What I’ve seen over the years is that people who get into their 40s who are drinkers, all of a sudden go, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t take this anymore. It’s catching up with me.” Think of others that are alternatives. Again, I don’t wake up in the morning and pop an edible, but that’s my choice. Alcohol has always been the one thing to avoid for me.
Thanks for touching that. That’s an important piece of the picture that so many want to avoid because it is a commonplace in daily life. It’s family, it’s friends, it’s socializing but it’s so pro-inflammatory. It accelerates aging. I had an outright panic attack, so I’ve had to cut that from my life. That’s not to say that there are alternative vices, plant medicines. Maybe you feel better without having an actual vise. You don’t have to pick your poison and there’s a reason they deem it as such.
I do feel it’s inflammatory too. It does not work well with the brain and against certain people or have these kinds of reactions to it. I’m grateful for not liking it. I don’t have to struggle to prevent drinking alcohol. It’s never a thing like, “I want to, but I can’t.” I never want to. I’m grateful for that because I do feel it’s a mess maker of the body.
On the other hand, I had to talk myself out of liking wine. I’ve had to do that and it’s not worth it. That’s what I often tell patients that struggle with this burden of inflammation. It’s often weight or whatever that might be, painful joints, skin rash.
Gut health with alcohol.
It rips your gut apart. I don’t take my word for it, give it a shot and see if things improve. 90% of the time, they do. By eliminating gluten, some of the overall arching inflammatory things that are so commonplace in today’s world and today’s diet. Thank you so much for your time, Elle. This has been enlightening. Thank you again for sharing these free resources. Everybody, I would encourage you to go out and read her books, so much great information. Tell our readers where we can find more about you and your upcoming podcast.
Sure. You can go to ElleRuss.com. If you click on the free stuff, there are two things. There’s a Free Thyroid Guide which gives you all the tests to get and the essence of how to maybe find the right person like you as a doctor to help them. I also have a Free Audio Book of guided meditations and affirmations. There’s great healing guided meditation in there, and these are all recorded by me. I found that when I was struggling with hypothyroidism, especially the second round, I had already learned about mindset tools.
One of the things that saved me was listening to guided meditations on health and healing. It’s imprinting into the subconscious because often, when we’re going through health, you’re blaming your body, “Why am I broken?” You’re looking in the mirror going, “You’re so fat,” or whatever the thing is. You start to treat your body like it’s the enemy. It’s a free audiobook that you can download on iTunes. You can click on it there and download it. It has got two guided meditations and two affirmations.
The guided meditations are in abundance and money, and then one is on health and healing. The affirmations are on confidence and then also abundance. That is free. Of course, there are tons of free ones on YouTube from a million other people, but I designed them specifically based on what had helped me through these times. I am glad I had that because sometimes you need to be guided through. They’re about twenty minutes. They’re not long. If you’re struggling with a health issue or a confidence issue or are feeling yuck about money, it’s a free audiobook.
I appreciate that. I talk about that so often with patients. You’re not a collection of organs. You’re not a heart that’s not functioning properly. The self-talk that you give yourself, you need to create time and space for meditation and self-talk and confidence. I will be directing patients towards your resources. Again, I appreciate your time and this conversation. Everybody can gain so much from your material. Thank you again, Elle Russ. Check her out and thank you for reading another episode of The Healthy Heart Show. I am Dr. Lauren Lattanza and we will catch you next time.
- Elle Russ
- The Paleo Thyroid Solution
- Confident As Fu*k
- Primal Blueprint Podcast
- Stop The Thyroid Madness
- Dr. Gary Foresman
- Byron Katie
- Louise Hay
- Rep Provisions
- Gabrielle Reece – Previous episode on the Primal Blueprint Podcast
- Free Thyroid Guide
- Guided Meditations and Affirmations
About Elle Russ
Elle Russ is the author of the best-selling book, The Paleo Thyroid Solution – which has helped thousands of people around the world reclaim their health, and she is also the author of the self-help book, Confident As Fu*k. Elle is a seasoned transformation and empowerment coach, TV/Film writer, and the host of two podcasts: The Primal Blueprint Podcast & Kick Ass Life Podcast. You can learn more about her at ElleRuss.com.