Two years ago my life changed, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I had gone through a total thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid and lymph nodes) when my surgeon found it. I feel very blessed to have found it so early - it was caught in a very early stage 1 - and at a young age - I was 37, but living without a thyroid can be challenging.
For those of you who don't understand how important your thyroid is, it basically drives your metabolism. If you have a normal thyroid, your weight is easily maintained. But if it's underactive or overactive you'll struggle with your weight. I was diagnosed 5 years ago with an underactive thyroid, Hypothyroidism. It didn't matter that I ran 3x a week and had a personal trainer kicking my butt 2x a week, I couldn't lose 5 lbs! 5 lbs!! I was preparing to get married and just wanted to look good for my day. What a relief it was to finally be diagnosed, now I knew I wasn't crazy, something was going on with my body. So I was put on thyroid medication to regulate things, kept up my active lifestyle and my weight settled. But fast forward 3 years and here comes the Thyroid Cancer.
Living without a thyroid is so much different than having an underactive thyroid. Typically the average person has a recommendation of aerobic activity 3 days a week with another day or so of strength training, but for those of us without a thyroid - this isn't enough! Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and makes it more efficient. It improves mood and helps you burn calories and fat. Exercise increases muscle mass, which in the long run will raise metabolism. It is essential for weight control. But you can't do it with exercise alone.
An optimal diet is crucial to those without a thyroid. Healthy nutrition is essential for controlling weight, preventing degenerative diseases, maintaining a positive mood and extending longevity. Our diets need to be well balanced - low in fat, high in protein, high in complex carbohydrates and low in simple sugars. It should also contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants - selenium, zinc, vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamins B1, B6, B12 and zinc. Don't forget to also include vitamin D for bone and muscle strength and essential fatty acids for weight and mood benefits.
Important points to remember with any thyroid imbalance:
* exercise is an important component to the mind-body program. It will keep you both physically and mentally healthy.
* the best diet is low in refined sugar and animal fat and rich in complex carbs and protein.
* make sure you are getting enough antioxidants and vitamins to preserve a healthy body and brain.
I feel very fortunate to call myself a Thyroid Cancer survivor. I'll continue to lead a healthy and active lifestyle for the rest of my life. If you suspect yourself of having a thyroid imbalance or want to learn more about Hypo/Hyperthyroidism or Thyroid Cancer visit The Thyroid Foundation of America at www.allthyroid.org.