Jennifer Livingston: this goes even deeper than bullying. You are on the wrong thyroid medication!

Jennifer Livingston, a mother of three adorable daughters, is a morning anchor at WKBT-TV in La Cross, Wisconsin and a very pretty one at that. And she received an email from a male viewer which stated that her excess weight was not a good role model for young girls. Jennifer’s supportive husband Mike Thompson, who is an evening anchor on the same station and strongly supports his wife, posted the critical email on his Facebook page:

“It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Livingston followed this up with a bold four-minute rebuttal to the personal attack, emphasizing the cruelty of judging someone based on their exterior, especially considering she is very aware of her weight problem, and has worked hard to deal with it for years. She also referred to the bullying nature of the note. With October being National Anti-Bullying Month, this incidence hit a chord.

Jennifer’s famous brother, actor Ron Livingston, also expressed support for his sister.


You mentioned being on a thyroid medication, and you may be a victim of the same 50+ year thyroid treatment scandal that millions of overweight women have been part of : 1) the use of the TSH lab test, which can be “normal” for years even though the patient has clear hypothyroidism, or 2) the use of Synthroid or any other T4-only medication to treat the hypothyroid condition, which leaves patients with their own degree and kind of continuing hypothyroidism. And weight gain, plus difficulty losing it, is a common symptom of continued hypothyroidism for all too many

Neither the TSH lab test or T4-only meds like Synthroid work well, exclaim frustrated, or sick, or overweight, or angry patients all over the world!

Additionally, the longer patients stay on this lousy medication, the higher the risk of having low levels of Vitamin D, Iron, B12 and other important nutrients. More than 50% of T4-only treated patients fall into adrenal fatigue, aka low cortisol, due to the failure to get enough T3, the active thyroid hormone, into the cells of their adrenals. i.e. T4 is a storage hormone meant to convert to T3, but the body is not meant to live for conversion alone! T4 is only one of FIVE hormones secreted by the thyroid.

And it gets worse….

Many folks replied to the WKTB article about this incident. And one person stated in their post: “…..GIVE UP A FEW BURGERS AND CUT THE CHEESE. START MOVING JENNIFER!”

Jennifer, do you know how MANY thyroid patients with a weight problem have heard this well-meaning but terrible refrain from friends, loved ones, strangers and even some clueless doctors?? Oh sure, we know that eating healthy is important. Many already eat healthy! But continued hypothyroidism keeps our bodies like that of a snail. It affects our body temperatures (it stays much lower), how our muscles work and our blood circulates (true fatigue here), how we digest food (food tends to stay in our stomach longer), and how we eliminate waste (we tend to be constipated or slow eliminators). When we try to exercise, we end up in bed from the excess fatigue of continued hypothyroidism.

It’s not a pretty picture, Jennifer….and it’s just as bad as bullying for millions!

Learn from other thyroid patients:

Here’s my story:

Here are others stories:

Here are the crazy things we have to listen to from our doctors:

Here’s why Synthroid doesn’t work for all too many:

Here’s why the TSH lab test sucks:

Here are symptoms which went away with Natural Desiccated Thyroid:

Here are many good thyroid patient groups:


Important notes: All the information on this website is copyrighted. STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

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20 Responses to “Jennifer Livingston: this goes even deeper than bullying. You are on the wrong thyroid medication!”

  1. offseet

    Thanks for finally writing about Jennifer Livingston: this goes even deeper than bullying.

    You are on the wrong thyroid medication!

  2. Kat

    These people are incredibly narrow-minded to pass such harsh judgement on this woman. It’s not her job to be thin for her viewers. Her weight is not relevant to her job. All this role model crap is BS. Do chubby men in prominent positions get grilled for being poor role models? I think not. Women weren’t put on this earth to “look the part” despite what our nasty media pushes. Time to wake up, people. Obviously Jennifer has a thyroid issue, as do many people who carry extra weight. Perhaps we should focus our blame on the ignorance and money-oriented medical system for neglecting to properly heal its people rather than attacking innocent people.

  3. Deb

    People sure are mean. Jennifer I use Thyro-Gold development by Dr John Lowe. Its a dessicated bovine capsule from grass fed New Zealand cows. Dr Lowe is now deceased but his wife Tammy Lowe sells them on the internet and you don’t need a prescription. I have been taking them for over a year, and they work quite well for me. I don’t feel excessively tired, cold, or depressed like I did taking Synthyroid for 11 years or so.

  4. Susannah

    I was diagnosed with thyroid disease after years of tiredness, 50lb weight gain, etc. I was told that my numbers were normal. After a car accident I had a MRI neck of the neck in which a tumor was found. I have been on 88 mcg of synthyroid for about four years. I still have lack of energy, plump and not happy. I had to go on Lyrica for extreme joint issues which has helped. I walk,do not eat fast food, an ex-ballet dancer. I have always been active. This disease is very frustrating. I think mine was hyper than went to hypo after a partial hysterectomy. This is a metabolic disorder not an eating disorder.

    (From Janie: and you need to be on natural desiccated thyroid, not Synthroid. You’ll then be able to leave frustration behind. :))

  5. jaime

    In the beginning part of my hypothyroidism/hashimoto’s disease, and before educating myself on dessicated thyroid and reading other people’s stories, i was put on synthroid in 2005,. While I did feel better eventually within 2 months I was worse off then I was, and with co ntinued hypo symptoms: poor digestion and nausea with it then not finishing a meal because of it, however I continued to GAIN WEIGHT in spite of this! Also very low iron and b12 so bad it hurt for me to just walk across a room, aches and pains in muscles and joints, elevated blood sugars despite a poor appetite, menstrual problems (lack of periods), premature menopause, I can go on and on! By the time I “hit rock bottom” a year later, and by that time I had dropped 2 board certified endocrinologists from my care, my weight reached its highest and I was at the 240 lb mark on my scale, so with my weight already fast gaining BEFORE any meds, I’m sure that I gained between 5-10 lbs in that year being on synthroid.
    My primary doc prescribed me dessicated thyroid (armour) Nov1 of 2006 and I never had any regrets. While it did not MAKE me lose weight, it made it muctth easier for me to stick to a healthy eating plan and I was able to shed some lbs, plus my digestion problems had minimized greatly. And while I still had to address other issues (adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance/type 2 diabe tes, high rheumatoid arthritis factor, alow iron & b12, low vitamin d3, etc) I had my life back, still am not where i should be with my weight, although I weigh much less and a still working on it.
    Even with the success of this wonderful website and the book that followed (compliments of Janie) I donot agree that there is enough awareness on thyroid disease. All doctors and practitioners should be mandated to make changes in diagnoses and treatment starting with the banning of the TSH lab (except for suspected pituitary problems), don’t frown, I feel that strongly about it.

  6. Siri

    Question, I have been told for a year I have a thyroid problem, loss of hair, skin dryness,weight gain. I am on levothyroxine! The main problem which in my opinion is serious… is I get radical pain. Last night when I went to bed one of many times this same issue happens….
    I get severe pain behind my ears down then in my throat that goes down and across my shoulders, then under my arms… So hare to explain.
    I had to take a full dose of Norco,,,,Hydracodone…….(sp)The pain is just so severe I cannot even begin to explain.. Does anyone else have the systems??? I would love input and help.
    I did see my Doc today and he is doing lab work… yea well it always comes back the same right!! But he is going to schedule a cat scan and also the scope for my throat.. which I had a year ago……… I am so tired of hurting and wondered if anyone could tell me if they have had any of my symtoms….. I was really surprised today that my doc did not even check for swollen lymnoid behind the ears and on the neck……….. anyway any help would be greatly appreciated……… Thanks Siri

    From Janie: you may have something similar to fibromyalgia pain, which being on the inadequate and lousy levothyroxine causes, and which your doctor is clearly clueless about: And here are great patient groups to help:

  7. Sami

    I am almost 250 lbs because of this thyroid issue, despite the fact that I eat healthy, workout, and take my medication. I went to three different endocrinologists. I’m also experiencing a lot of these symptoms that these individuals posted. I heard that a functional medicine doctor can help. A functional medicine doctor finds the underlying cause of the thyroid issue (such as food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc.). A lot of them are also trained in nutrition, so they will put you on a nutritional plan and get you off the medication (since the medication only masks the symptoms). I’m currently seeing one and I’m just waiting for the labs to come back, so I can get this taken care of once and for all. They actually get it unlike conventional doctors. There is hope for all of us…

    (From Janie: They don’t always succeed in finding out and getting you off medication. 🙁 🙁 )

  8. Sam

    I was just under 200 pounds when I was first diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. They took half my thyroid away after a cancer scare which made the hypothyroidism worse. I was working as a dog walker, trying to walk about 10 miles a day, watching my food intake but my weight kept going up. At 225 pounds I finally got my doctor to put me on T3 and hydrocortisone as I had previously been put on T4 only (thyroxine) which clearly was having no effects on my symptoms or my weight. (I had sluggish adrenal function as well which the doctors refused to acknowledge until they found evidence of previous glandular fever infection so they treated me for “post viral fatigue”, more likely to be adrenal fatigue due to long term untreated hypothyroidism).
    Once I was on the T3 and HC I lost 50 pounds to get down to my ideal weight and BMI. My hypothyroid symptoms all cleared up and I can live a normal life now, which if I was on T4 would have been impossible.

  9. Sharon

    After five years on T4 medication, gaining some 60 kilograms (not pounds) and taking off about 40 of them, I was horrified to go to a dietitian who told me I was simply lazy and fat and needed to lose 20 kg – I am totally gluten free, as low GI as possible, avoiding brassicas and other thyroid inflaming foods – no junk food (no, not even marshmallows in hot chocolate), have coeliac disease and am now pre-diabetic – this life as a crock is a crock – I have clothes in about eight different sizes for those “swelling days” – all I want is a doctor that understands and can help – give me T3 – come on medicos get your act together and all those support people like dietitians stop being so judgmental!

  10. Joey

    Her overweigthness is her problem, not ANYbody elses. The stuff about her “being a bad role model for the community” is absolutely bs in my opinion. People aren’t robots that have to please society, the community or the government. If I want to eat 50 cheeseburgers per day and be fat that’s my choice, it’s my body. If anyone wants to be fat because they see me fat, that’s their choice too, I didn’t force them into being like me.

  11. amyjean

    I, too am struggling with weight. I was 175 when I started synthroid and I had my thryoid removed due to graves disease, then,within 1 month of surgery, I gained 50 lbs. that was in 1993. I finally got in NDT this year, and finally I am loosing weight. When your thyroid is outta whack, no diet, exercise routine, or program is going to get you to a healthy place. It won’t work. I tried WW, Nutrasystem, Fasting, vegetarian diet, even Paleo- nothing worked becuse my lack of proper “NATURAL” hormone kept me fat. I needed the real stuff to act like the real thing in my body- to be the motor that a thyroid is supposed to be- and to give me the energy, and metabolism to burn the weight off- while keeping healthy, strong and nutritionally balanced. No fasting, starvation diets, grapefruit diets here- I now still eat Paleo mainly because of my blood type- but its working, because my body is working right. Synthroid is a myth, and people who think fat people choose to live this way have chosen ignorance over knowledge. For us with thyroid dysfunction- we do not choose to be fat- none of us wake up in the morning and say”Hey! I like not being able to tie my shoes, or clasp my hands behind my back, or walk up a flight of stairs!” No one wants or chooses to be fat- but we can choose to do our bodies right and take the only thing that works- NDT!

  12. Renate Hoornstra

    I struggled with gaining weight too, because I had a slow working thyroid because of a hereditary autoimmune thyroid condition, but I didn’t know about it. I heard from someone about dr Fuhrmans book Eat to Live and read it. Following the guidelines of the book I lost a lot of weight and a shoesize permanently, years before having discovered my illness. It’s a lifestyle of eating very healthy. I felt better overall and I never regained the weight. Now I’m also gluten free and on the optimal dose of natural thyroid hormone and I lost even more weight and I wasn’t even trying:)

  13. Carrie

    Has anyone emailed her directly to tell her this? She could be a fantastic advocate, I agree. I also didn’t know Ron Livingston was her brother! Cool. 😛

  14. Jean

    I have been a poorly managed thyroid patient for 15 years. I am 30 pounds overweight. My husband and children agree that I did not eat my way into this excess weight. I eat the healthiest diet of anyone I know. I am a health care practitioner who teaches other how to be healthy. But due to the thyroid problem I am overweight. It is a daily frustration and incredibly embarrassing because most people think that something can easily be done about losing weight or that it is a reflection on my character or lack of will power. This so not the truth at all. I do all the right things and I keep getting fatter. Had I had better tools to manage my my thyroid 20 years ago I would not be fat today. The medical community does not understand thyroid disease or it’s treatment. So many of us must find our own answers and by trial and error and much suffering attempt to heal ourselves. This is a sad state of affairs and ends up in untold human suffering.

  15. Joan

    I have Hashi’s (autoimmune hypothyroid) that went undiagnosed for many years due to the highly fallable TSH test. It was only when that TSH went high that a Doctor finally tested my antibodies and a diagnosis was made. For the 8 years before diagnosis I was so symptomatic for hypothyroid..fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, weight gain, cholesterol rising, BP rising and anxiety. In spite of this I pushed myself to exercise and my job had me on my feet all day long as a therapist. I lifted heavy patients daily. I cycled 30-40 mile distances. I took cycling vacations and not beach vacations. Still the weight only rose. I retired early in 2008 because I was so tired and anxious. I was never morbidly obese but I remain a good 30 lbs overweight but hey it’s better than the top weight of 47 lbs overweight.

    Then in 2010 I was diagnosed and put on levothyroxine. My cholesterol continued to rise, BP continued to rise, weight continued to be a problem, sky high anxiety all while on levothyroxine not to mention the brain fog. Then I discovered NDTH and made demands of my Doctor.

    Now that I am on NDTH I have lost 12 lbs. My cholesterol is back to normal, I’m on 1/2 of the BP meds I used to be on, I stay active in the gym and at the stables where I volunteer in therapeutic riding classes and believe me that is bullwork. My so called fibromyalgia is gone. My anxiety is under control.

    So do yourself a favor Jennifer and find a Doctor who will prescribe NDTH. While it has not been the total answer to my weight problem (I fear the years I went undiagnosed just sabotaged my body’s ability to drop weight) I am far healthier today than I was 4 years ago when I took early retirement.

    Everyone assumes weight issues are due to being lazy and overeating but many hypothyroid patients can attest to the fact that this is just not true. We almost all deal with weight issues because our bodies just do not metabolize normally. You’d think the Docs out there could figure this one out. But they are so tied into Big Pharm that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

  16. Brooke

    I must admit, for 34 years, I was like many people today. When I would see obesity, I would think to myself “do a push up or two!” or “how can a person let themselves get like that?! Didn’t they see the scale creeping up & decide to do something?!?” And I was the Number One Fan of the motto: Simply Eat Less and Burn More. I would even tell people how it was basic math of calories in vs calories out and so obese people must be lazy, uncaring, over-eaters. You couldn’t convince me otherwise. Of course, I was underweight my whole life and bristled when called “scrawny”, “skinny”, or told to “eat a burger” or warned, “it will catch up to you someday!” (when I would eat tons of junk food). I didn’t want to be skinny! I wanted to be voluptuous! Well, what to my surprise, when, right before my 35th birthday, I started gaining weight at a rapid pace. A pound or more a day. I had to buy new clothes, underwear, bras, every 1-1/2 to 2 weeks. A hypothyroidism diagnosis took years. But that time i was 75 lbs heavier. In the meantime, I stopped eating fast-food, sodas, diet or regular, cut out grains, bad fats, sugars….people wouldn’t understand the limited diet I have been on for years (unless struggling like I do), getting up at 4:45 am to lift weights & run 3 miles, all the time having to buy larger sized running gear, and how things like birthdays, holidays, Sunday lunches with family, are stressful and painful because I don’t look forward to eating, even if it’s a point where I eat something bad for me, like a cookie or piece of pizza, because the guilt & embarrassment & shame!! Just yesterday, a friend I grew up with posted on FB. She wrote “I saw a billboard that said ‘Obesity is a disease! Not a choice!’ What’s your take on that?” You know what the majority of posts mentioned. It was so painful to read. To read what people think of me. They think I’m an animal. With no control. And that I eat tons of garbage, all day & night, but barely move. They think they can say anything they want about me because I’m too fat to feel, I guess. or, like i said, they think I’m an animal, a nobody, not human. The comments about obesity were vicious. Naive posters were mentioning how it’s all a choice & if a person moves more & doesn’t eat so much greasy food, they wouldn’t have a weight problem. Later that day, the original poster snapped a picture of the weekend cupcakes she purchased for her children. And wrote about how great they tasted. I’m glad she liked them. I’ll never eat another cupcake. I’m obese. I don’t eat things like that. She’s small. She can. I’m big. I don’t.

  17. Susan

    Yes, Jennifer can make a difference on how people view hypothyroidism. But you make it sound like her pounds should just melt right off. That is not the case. From years of not being treated and not being treated properly the weight got there. And now even if she is being treated properly doesn’t mean the weight is going to automatically come off. She is probably glad just for the maintenance of weight and thrilled at even the loss of 1 or 2 lbs.

    (From Janie: it’s actually more about “why” we tend to gain so much weight, not about “melting it off”. lol.)

  18. Sonja Midtlien

    I live in Norway and we have the same trouble here. And here the standard treatment is synthetic medicines only. We can get natural thyroid medicines only if the doctors we see has the knowledge and are willing to let us try. But this is only a few doctors, most don’t have the knowledge nor the will to even let us try. They think that levothyroxine is the “only and the best solution”. And if you’re overweight and your blood tests are in “normal range”, well – you only have to “eat less and exercise more”! Usually it won’t help us a bit to see endocrinologists, because they are often more interested in people with diabetes than thyroid problems, and some of them have even less knowledge of other medicines than the synthetic ones, than general practioners have.

    I went on levothyroxine for 13 years, and I’ve been struggling with overweight since I got hypothyroid when I was 17 or 18 years old. Unfortunately I went for 11 years without treatment, because my thyroid levels was in “normal range”. When I discovered that I had hypothyroidism after seeing a tv-programme about thyroid problems, I went to my doctor and demanded tests. They came back “normal”, I did not accept this, and went to see a hormone specialist. He tested me for antibodies, and the test came back waaay to high. So yes – I had hypothyrodism, and Hashimotos autoimmune thyroiditis! And I got medicin, levothyroxine, and was told that “this was the solution”.

    Well – it went fine for some years. But I did’nt loose weight, my weight only increased. Some years ago I became more hypo again, my blood levels showed that too, and I increased the levothyroxine several times. But still I was not feeling well, I had both symptoms from the hypothyroidism, and side effects of the medicine. Two years ago I asked my physician to give me NDT, the natural hormones. He said yes, and I got Erfa Thyroid (same as Armour Thyroid).

    For the first time in many years, I felt fine! I lost 22 kg (48 lbs) of weight, wich had never happened on levothyroxine! My blood sugar level went from up-and-down all day long, to stabile. I had diabetes too at that time and needed insuline injections several times a day with every meal. After I got Erfa, it was enough with injections only morning and afternoon, I did’nt have to inject insuline before meals anymore.

    All these years I have had hypothyroidism, I have had a healthy diet, and lived a healthy life. I have exercised a lot, and for the last seven years I have been a instructor in water aerobics, I have had classes for hours every week and I am in the water all the hours myself and do the exercises, I am not a common instructor.

    I no more have diabetes, after I did a gastric bypass surgery a year ago, and I have now lost a total of 72 kg (158 lbs)! I feel like I have the energy of a “duracell-bunny” now and are exercising much more than in my job, I am going for walks several kilometres a week, and I love bicyckling too now! Yesterday I bought ski equipment, so now I have no excuses for not going for a walk in winter time when it is snow!
    Thanks to NDT I now have a new life!

  19. Krissy

    She is only one among the many being sadly kept in ignorance by their doctors! Being under or mistreated by doctors who only test the tsh or the tsh and only ONE other test! By doctors who proclaim that the results are fine as long as they fall in “normal” ranges. Rather than acknowledging they are still not optimal results!! SO sad.

  20. Nicole

    Yes, Jennifer…Please create a segment about this and get the word out! You can use this opportunity even FURTHER than you already have! 🙂


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