Lifestyle

What to do when diagnosed with Hypothyroid?

Thyroid issues and hypothyroidism were rarely heard until a few years ago. However, now-a -days, it will be tough to find a person who does not have a friend, cousin or family member having a thyroid issue.

To set things straight, Hypothyroidism is not a disease, but a condition where your thyroid is not able to produce enough thyroid hormones, which might be due to several underlying conditions/triggers like iodine deficiency, high stress, inactivity, environmental toxins, poor sleep , nutrient deficiency and poor gut health. It can be reversed once these triggers and factors cease to exist.

The results of hypothyroidism are known to most people. Hair loss, Weight gain, constipation, Low energy and Mood swings are those that interfere with our daily life. Vitamin D deficiency, muscle / heel pain, high triglyceride levels etc are the other symptoms that we often tend to ignore.

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It all starts when the doctor tells you to do a blood test and the report comes with a high level for TSH indicating you have a thyroid that is under active. At that point, your doctor tells you that you need to have a thyroid pill first thing in the morning and also to lose weight. Most patients don’t ask the doctor for how long they need to take the pill. If they do, the reply will mostly be lifelong or till the next blood test when the thyroid numbers are normal.

The ‘Research’ frenzy

On your way home, you google about hypothyroidism and diets to lose weight and then start following random diets based on forwards you get on Whatsapp, FB or other social media posts. You cut out all fat, carbs (rice), and most of your staple diet.

You start feeling terrible and very low on energy. You are tired even before you get home after work, or in some cases find it tough to do work past noon.

You want to workout but cannot even imagine going to gym. You start losing hair, sleep, energy, temper, skin clarity (pretty much everything but weight).

Wait… Stop, slow down and think rationally

‘Decode’ the disease

When the doctor told you to lose weight, they actually meant you need to improve your body composition i.e. reducing your body fat, increasing your muscle mass and enhancing your fitness (which will improve the insulin sensitivity and metabolism). For that you need to workout and increase your activity. Keep in mind that NOT all intense workouts are right for hypothyroid patients.

When you are hypothyroid, your thyroid is already taking the brunt, reducing good carbs and fat will make it worse since your body needs protein and good dietary fat to produce the necessary hormones. You also need good quality slow digesting ( LOW GI ) carbs to improve your energy levels. This is possible only when you time your meals, plan it and eat balanced foods.

Just doing random crash diets that doesn’t focus on your hormonal balance, or take into account your lifestyle, fitness level, routine and genetic make up will only worsen your current condition.

Eating raw vegetables and salads, with no fats or seasoning will worsen the condition as  Sweet potatoes, peanuts, cauliflower, beans, eggs, cabbage, turnips, Kale and other greens when eaten raw have anti nutrients/Goitrogens that affect the absorption of iodine and thus the production of thyroid hormones. Intermittent fasting and dry fasting will worsen hypothyroidism in most people.

Insulin resistance and inflammation are hallmarks of most metabolic diseases/conditions including  Hypothyroidism. Apart from workout and nutrition, you need to focus on your sleep and reduce your stress levels to improve insulin sensitivity and energy levels.

Also, the thyroid pill isn’t a miracle. It will not help too much, unless you change your lifestyle.

Most importantly, your mental health, your attitude towards life, stress, depression, relationships and nutrition play a huge role in improving your thyroid. Much more than what the pill can, and with no side effect.

Tip : Start doing something you love – music, dance, painting, cooking, knitting, gardening, yoga, trekking, reading, blogging or your forgotten hobby for 30 minutes thrice a week. It should be something that uses your creativity, brain and should give you happiness and self-satisfaction. This will improve your hormones, energy and stress levels a lot.

Can you reverse this condition and give up the pill and get your thyroid bounce back to normal? Of-course you can and you don’t have to take the pills lifelong. Checkout our 16 week thyroid challenge

We need balancing wheels only when we learn to ride the cycle/bike. Once we learn to balance it by ourselves, we can freely move around with just two wheels.

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Food, Lifestyle

Clearing Constipation with lifestyle changes

Constipation is an issue that has become very prevalent in recent times. This is primarily due to the sedentary life that we lead and the processed/refined foods that we eat . Missing or not excreting our wastes in the morning can result in physical and mental discomfort like irritiability, bloating, low energy levels, and if continued onto long term can cause acne, hairloss, bad breath, impaired immunity, nutrient deficiencies and more.

Using laxatives that are available over the counter is not a solution as it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. Moreover, using laxatives over a long term can lead to colonic infections, electrolyte imbalance and mineral deficiencies.

Let’s look at some of the root causes of constipation and their remedies.

Wrong diet

Overeating , eating when not hungry , eating mindlessly when bored or stressed, not drinking enough water, eating late at night, consuming heavy ,refined ,fried and processed foods like chips, juices, bread, popcorn, donuts, cakes, meat and other items made with refined flour etc can lead to constipation.

Remedies

  • Eat only when hungry.
  • Drink 2 glasses of warm to hot water as soon as you wake up. Using coffee , stimulants or tea for this will not only create addiction and dependence, but also nutritional deficiencies.
  • Eat light, warm and moderately spiced freshly cooked foods.
  • Eat a light dinner before 7pm and avoid cheese, refined foods, sweets, paneer, meat and fried food for dinner.
  • Consume foods that naturally has fibre and are unprocessed like raisins, prunes, dates, fresh fruits, cooked vegetables and not refined and packaged foods with added fibre – biscuits, cookies, breads, juices etc.
  • Include good fats like coconut/ ghee/ sesame with every meal.
  • Avoid cold and raw foods likes salads and green smoothies.
  • Drink warm water often , enough to make sure your urine is clear- mild yellow.

Stress

When we get stressed, more blood is pumped to our limbs than our digestive system as part of the flight or fight mechanism. Hence digestion, absorption, assimilation and excretion will not be optimal and partially digested food starts building up in the digestive system. Stress can also reduce your insulin sensitivity and metabolism.

Remedies

  • Do not focus on food to divert your stress.
  • Deep breathing exercises and some yoga poses like viparita karani, Vajrasana etc will help improve the blood flow the intestines.
  • Focus on destressing activities that will also make you physically active to help you relax.

Sleep

Poor quality or insufficient sleep due to night outs, sleeping late etc also affects excretion. Sleep is the biggest detox program that we get on a daily basis and if that is compromised, the toxins and wastes stay in our system i.e excretion doesn’t happen. Read more about how to improve your sleep quality.

Remedies

  • Have a relaxing evening routine to help you go to bed early.
  • Fix a regular bed time , closer to 10pm and stick to it.
Clearing constipation with simple lifestyle changes

Inactivity

We need to move well to move wastes out of our system. It is not just about working out everyday for 30 minutes, but also about moving often through the day. This will improve our blood circulation, metabolism and digestion.

Remedies

  • Workout for atleast 30-45 minutes everyday or 5 days a week. Include strength training, cardio and yoga .
  • Move around for 3 minutes once every 30 minutes.

Medications

Certain medications like antibiotics, pain killers, iron supplements etc are known to cause constipation. Antibiotics should be used as a last resort as using it often can give rise to antibiotic resistant bacteria and also destroy a good part of our gut bacteria , which can take 6-12 months to get replenished.

Remedies

  • Focus on getting nutrients and nourishment from whole food sources and not isolated supplements.
  • Consume buttermilk everyday for a few weeks following the consumption of antibiotics.

Resolving constipation like any other health problem becomes easy once we know the root cause and its triggers. Treating health issues with over-the-counter medications doesn’t solve the issue and could complicate it with unwanted side effects.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Pregnancy, Motherhood and Body changes.

 

We have seen advertisements and posters of happy babies with their moms in media and hospitals. Every mother knows pregnancy and motherhood is not easy as the pictures and posters portray. Nevertheless, it is still a truly rewarding experience.

This post is meant to bust some myths and to make moms understand the reality and facts around motherhood and pregnancy.

 

I need to have a baby before I turn 30.                     

Reality –  Don’t have a deadline. Stress will reduce fertility levels and mess up with hormones.

Things may not always go as per your plan while having a baby.  The more you focus/stress on this deadline, higher the chance of not achieving it.

Remember, the baby will form when the nature knows you are happy, healthy and ready to receive and nourish a life.

 

Your tummy is too high/low/small/big.

Reality  – These comments will be heard by most moms. Each one’s body and each baby is different. 

Someone’s tummy might be high, some low, some moms have smaller bumps and some have it big. The shape of the tummy and how it looks cannot be decided or controlled by the mom or anyone around. It is what it is.

People comment about tummy size and body shapes because they don’t realise how foolish it is to comment on a pregnant woman/new mom.

Do not feel bad when people comment on tummy size and body shape. Just smile at their stupidity and move on. What matters for the child inside is to have a happy, healthy and confident mom. The shape of the tummy doesn’t matter.

 

I am anyway going to gain a lot of weight, so I can indulge in whatever I want now.

Reality – You are going to gain a lot of fat – and it is for a reason, But do it the right way.

The body will store fat in  the breasts and hips for a reason – To protect and nourish the baby while it is inside and once it is born.

Eating junk /processed /packaged food during pregnancy will not only make it harder to lose weight later, but also not provide nourishment to the baby and your body. It will also put you at a higher risk for gestational diabetes and thyroid disorders during or post pregnancy. Moreover, your food habits during pregnancy will decide the baby’s eating habits too.

If you are craving for processed/packaged food it is a sign that you are deficient in micronutrients and not getting enough nourishment.
Pregnancy and postpartum are the time one should focus more on eating fresh nourishing, nutritious and balanced food. You need to have enough nutrients to nourish the baby for ten months, feed them for a year after that and then take care of them for several years.

Eating fresh and nourishing food during pregnancy will make it easy for you to burn all the fat that you will gained. The nourishing nutritious pregnancy foods will also help you produce more breast milk.

 

 I haven’t lost the pregnancy weight yet.

Reality- You won’t go back to your pre pregnancy shape immediately after the baby is born.

Don’t try and squeeze yourself into your old/pre pregnancy dresses soon after delivery. It took ten months for a baby to grow inside you. Your body and internal organs have gone through a lot of changes to adapt to that situation. It cannot be reversed within a few days post-delivery.

Be patient and also be careful and mindful about what you eat. More importantly, don’t let the thoughts of weight loss eat you.

 

I need to lose weight by my baby’s first birthday.

Reality – No one is going to make you stand on a weighing scale on your baby’s birthday party and reward you accordingly.

Do not look for a diet plan that can shrink you to fit into your old clothes. Just like life post baby is not the same as pre baby, your body is not the same as what it was in pre pregnancy. Accept and embrace the changes you go through.

Focus on eating balanced food, start working out three months post-delivery.

Exercise will soon become your best friend when you realise you can focus on just yourself for 45 minutes a day.  It will ensure you will regain your core strength and muscle mass that is lost with a baby birth. Workout will also make you strong mentally and physically so that you can deal with the chores without complaining about back pain and tiredness. It will also help you be a happy and healthy mom.

So either people will be in awe that you look young and amazing on your baby’s first birthday or you will have the confidence to reply to them if they happen to make any hurtful comments.

 

I want to be a Supermom

Reality – There is no supermom in this world !!!  

Motherhood makes us mentally and physically strong. However, it also burdens us with all unrealistic societal expectations that most moms feel they are obliged to fulfil.

Balancing career, family, and finances, volunteering for the child’s school projects, keeping up with everyone in family and social media, traveling, household chores and the list of things that are expected from mothers now are endless. While fulfilling all or most of these, what most moms forget is to take care of themselves. The result of that is fatigue, exhaustion , hypothyroidism and health issues closer to menopause.

Remember this – moms can do anything, but not everything.

Prioritize what’s important and essential. Focus on those and learn to delegate or outsource things that doesn’t need your absolute attention.

Pregnancy and motherhood is rewarding and equally taxing. We can make it a pleasurable experience only if we accept the changes in our body and life as it is without the unwanted and unrealistic expectations.

 

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