Thyroid issues and goitre 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.
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.
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
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). For that you need to workout and increase your activity. Keep in mind that Not all intense workouts are right for hypothyroid patients.
When 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, cabbage, turnips, Kale etc when eaten raw have anti nutrients/Goitrogens that affect the absorption of iodine and thus the production of thyroid hormones.
Insulin resistance and inflammation are hallmarks of most metabolic diseases/conditions including Hypothyroid. 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.
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 on with just two wheels.