So there's a 'label' that I'd never even knew existed 5 years ago. But here I am... a Hypothyroid Warrior.
For anyone that doesn't know what hypothyroidism is; it's an autoimmune condition and in my case, it means that your organs and metabolism slow down. You become more tired; have a lack of energy and could sleep for 12 hours and some days still feel wiped out. For me, I also have incredibly dry skin on my hands which is pretty painful at times.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism around 5 years ago; 6 months after the birth of my son. I remember feeling incredibly tired and run down at the time. But for those first 6 months of motherhood I put that down to being a new mum and everything that that involves. Plus back then, my hubby worked away Monday to Friday so it was just me and my boy most days. I eventually decided that enough was enough and went to see my GP. I'd also not had a period since I'd had my baby which from what I could gather wasn't right considering that my son was bottle-fed. After some simple blood tests, the GP confirmed that I had an under-active thyroid and was anaemic. So I was prescribed a thyroid medication and iron tablets and was told that I would be retested every few months until the right dose was found to make my blood readings correct.
To be honest, I haven't always been so concerned and focused on my health. And even back then, I wasn't always consistent in taking my medications - I actually HATE taking tablets. But I took my medication as often as I remembered. To be honest, I didn't really fully understand what was wrong in my body and what the impact was or would be in the future. Fast forward to pregnancy number 2, and the midwife went through the questionnaire in my early weeks and immediately referred me to a consultant to discuss my medication and hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Suddenly, I began to realise that this condition, could actually impact the health of my unborn daughter. THAT was a wake up call.
Now my daughter is 4 months old and a happy and healthy little peach. When I was 8 weeks postpartum, I felt ready to get back into some gentle exercise, starting with some post-pregnancy yoga. After this I stepped it up with 60 day Pilates/yoga program. I started to focus on making slightly better food choices (Note: I said 'slightly better' NOT 'perfect'... I still drink gin and eat cake!). But I noticed that after the 2 months of the program, I still hadn't lost any weight. My clothes felt better, I had muscle definition in my arms and my legs were looking AMAZING but on my mid-section nothing had changed much. Actually, I tell a lie, you could see my oblique muscles but the layer of 'fluff' on my tummy which I affectionately call my 'tummy doughnut' was still there - and it felt super frustrating.
It was at this point that I realised that my hypothyroidism will play a factor in me losing my doughnut. It's going to take me longer. But then you know what, I know that this isn't just about a 60 day program. It's about understanding how my body works and readjusting my lifestyle to work for me. Not everyday is going to be perfect. In fact no day will be perfect. But I'm honestly just trying to be mindful with how I move and what I eat and take it one day at a time. It's also trying out different workouts to find the right thing for me. Having done some research around exercise and hypothyroidism, I've come to conclude that although I really enjoy doing weights, that I actually need to move to fire up my metabolism, and so a HIIT or Cardio workout is going to be my go-to 80% of the time. Plus these types of workouts will keep my metabolism going for hours afterwards.
The other major factor here is nutrition. I believe that being healthy is 80% what you eat versus 20% how you move. So learning which foods are now right for me given that I have hypothyroidism is a process. To make things even more interesting I've given up eating red meat and poultry. I still eat fish, eggs and butter, although I have managed to give up milk which is a major thing for me as I've always enjoyed milk in my tea. For anyone who's interested, I now take Oat milk in my tea - tastes great! There's lots of info on the internet about foods to avoid with this condition so I'm learning as I go, but I feel that as I'm learning and trying to figure things out, I'm getting closer to being a healthier version of me.
If you are hypothyroid, I'd love to know about how you are finding managing your condition with food and exercise! Please feel free to drop me a message or email.