How I Deal | Hypothyroidism | The Caroline Doll
I have always been body conscious. I have always liked having a sense of control over things. As a fourth grader, I discovered a love for math. So, as a nine year old, counting calories checked off each of those things. Growing up as a cheerleader, there were those inevitable pressures to stay a certain size. So, yes. In high school, I made unhealthy decisions when it came to my diet and health. I matured out of those unhealthy habits in college and took care of myself with a little more common sense in mind. After college, nothing had changed. I was eating the same. My activity levels were the same… but I began to notice my body composition change. I also had to start going up a size when I was shopping…Was I crazy?!
I discussed this with my doctor and discovered, fortunately I was not crazy. But, unfortunately, I had Hypothyroidism. Oh, and I was allergic to gluten. Part of me was relieved to know these changes weren’t because of anything I was doing. However, I like being in control. So, the fact that this weight gain was essentially beyond my control? That was a tough pill to swallow!
Since then, my life has been a daily journey of learning what is and isn’t best for my diet and lifestyle. As any of my dolls who deal with hypothyroidism know, this isn’t easy! Essentially, my metabolism is so slow that I am rarely hungry. I’ve gone through an entire day without eating a thing! On the other hand, however, my body needs energy from food…so, my energy levels are all over the place. I do have a medication that KICKS in when it kicks in. I feel like I can conquer the world! But truth be told, I’d rather not be dependent upon that.
Slowly but surely, I am doing my best to educate myself and truly understand my condition. That takes time and patience, diligence and commitment. I recently spoke with Donna Hetrick, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, a Certified Blood Chemistry Analyst and a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Lifestyle Fitness Nutrition and Wildtree, and discovered some simple tips and advice that I am so looking forward to incorporating and wanted to share my research with you!
1. Hypothyroidism — It’s when your thyroid is slow and sluggish, right?! Should we be taking the thyroid pills?
Not necessarily! It is always advised that you work with your health care practitioner using lab testing to determine what your thyroid hormone levels are. And in some cases – medication is the answer. First, however, it is recommended that you look at the following health considerations:
*Your Stress Levels – Creating a less stressful lifestyle or finding ways to manage emotional stress is highly recommended for anyone with hypothyroidism. Stress suppresses our immune system, promotes hormonal imbalances and can damage the gastrointestinal tract.
*Nutrient Deficiencies – Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet and be particularly mindful of including foods that are full of Iodine, Selenium & Zinc.
*Clean Up Your Diet – Reduce the amount of processed foods, don’t drink too much caffeine and alcohol and watch your intake of sugar and unhealthy fats.
*Exercise Regularly- a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to some of your symptoms.
*Monitor your Exposure to Toxins like heavy metals (often found in many protein and super food powders!) and environmental pollutants.
2. We have a love affair with gluten….is that SO bad? Croissants and cupcakes AND Champagne are a part of our food pyramid, does that need to change?
Ahhh- this is a tough one to swallow but for some, gluten can aggravate the situation. Especially if the hypothyroidism is due to Hashimoto’s a common autoimmune disease that involves the thyroid. If you are eating a diet high in processed foods that contain gluten, you may want to reduce the amount and see if you feel better. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, it is widely believed you should eliminate gluten altogether.
3. Breakfast bars, lunch time meal shakes, and skipping dinner… What is the truth behind our Slimfast bars and our protein shakes? Is there a certain type of protein you recommend?
The truth is that your body will always get more from a variety of real food like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, high quality animal proteins, nuts and seeds but sometimes you need something to grab on the run. In those situations, do your homework! Research the product and make sure it does not contain heavy metals (www.cleanlabelproject.org), it does not contain high fructose corn syrup and other processed ingredients and has a nice balance of protein and carbohydrates.
4. What is your favorite on the go meal?
Wild caught tuna (you can buy this in a can or packet) mixed with just enough mayo to moisten it, diced onion & celery & seasoned with dill. Eaten with a fork out of a portable container or scooped up on top of a low-carb Suzie’s Thins Corn-Quinoa-Sesame Rice cake.
5. Paleo, Keto, South Beach, Whole 30, Vegan, WHAT DO THESE EVEN MEAN? Should we be trying every diet that takes over instagram??
Selecting a diet that works best for your body can take some trial and error. Just because a diet is working for others does not at all mean it will work for you. Use your common sense when determining whether the DIET OF THE DAY is for you. For example, if you lean more toward a vegetarian or pescatarian diet – the Paleo Lifestyle which incorporates lots of animal protein probably is not going to work for you. My best recommendation is to evaluate each option carefully or work with a seasoned nutritionist who can help you determine which lifestyle best fits your body chemistry.
10. These are only A or B answers so have fun with your choice:
Weightlifting or Cardio: WEIGHTLIFTING
Fish or Chicken: FISH
Sweet Potato or Quinoa: SWEET POTATO
Skip Dinner or Skip Breakfast: SKIP DINNER
Tea or Coffee: TEA
Sauna or Cryotherapy: SAUNA
Do any of you dolls deal with something similar?! I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! What works (and doesn't work) for you?