I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years ago. At the time I didn’t really think it was a big deal. I didn’t feel bad or anything, I just knew there had to be something wrong with my metabolism since I have always had the hardest time losing weight. My doctor did a few extra blood tests during a routine check-up. The results came back that I had low T3 hormones. (I just checked and it’s been 5 years since I was diagnosed!)
I have been able to regulate it with a combination of medication, natural supplements, diet tweaks and healthy habits. Actually writing all that out makes it sound like a lot! But really it’s not an issue day to day. I still have a hard time losing weight, but if that’s my biggest problem I’d say God dealt me a pretty good hand in life!
Last year my T4 thyroid hormone levels fell below normal too. I am on low doses of 2 medications to keep them in the normal range. I take 2 pills before I go to sleep (because you can’t take them within an hour of eating and I eat all the time when I’m awake) and it’s no big deal.
Except – maybe it is a big deal to live with hypothyroidism and still run as much as I do? One of the signs of hypothyroid is fatigue. I’m definitely not too tired to run over 40 miles a week on a regular basis.
I didn’t think about this until a reader emailed me this question…
Hi Monica! I just started reading your blog today after researching healthy living blogs and I LOVE it! I am so amazed at all the exercise you do when I saw you have hypothyroidism! I do as well and struggle with finding energy to exercise and despite all I do the scale never moves 🙁 would you be willing to share your story with me how you maintain energy with having this disease? I would love some tips! I’m so excited to start reading your blog every day!!!! 🙂
How I Run with Hypothyroid
1. I’m on medication.
I like my doctor and work with her to make sure I am on the right medication and the right dosage to help my thyroid stay in an acceptable range for me. If I didn’t think I needed meds I wouldn’t take them. If I thought I should be on something else I’d talk to my doctor.
You have to be your own health advocate in the doctor’s office and speak up for yourself. I don’t think she just threw a pill at me to make me go away. Thyroid hormones are vital to the function of a lot of systems in our body. This means having healthy levels are important for energy, metabolism, fertility, stress and more. So, I do need to take medication to regulate it at this point in my life. I don’t know if it will be forever, but right now it works.
One of the times I went to get my prescription refilled I had a good talk with the pharmacist. She suggested a full B vitamin complex – not just taking B -12 when I was tired. She also suggested Ashwagandha. What?! I had to look that up!
This opened my eyes to the world of natural supplements! I went to a health foods store and spent hours looking at different options and ingredients. I have done research on thyroid supplements – but more importantly, I’ve done my own trial and error by taking supplements noting how I felt and NOT taking them for a while to see if I felt any different.
3. I changed my diet.
I used to eat a veggie burger on top of cabbage slaw with peanut sauce every single day for lunch. When I got diagnosed with hypothyroid I looked up foods to help with this issue. Instead of finding what I should eat to help my low thyroid I found a lot more information on what I shouldn’t eat.
This is frustrating because so many resources are quick to point out what foods HURT your health, but so few list what can HELP your thyroid. This is actually one of the reasons I became a health coach – I wanted to learn more about how to help people (myself included) with food and natural remedy options!
I did learn that I was actually eating the “DO NOT EAT” list foods all the time – see: cabbage and soy. I was eating those in big amounts literally every single day.
So I cut back on soy and veggies in the cabbage family. I have done a lot of research on going gluten free. I am still working on finding what works best for me and my body. But eating healthy is a priority and I know it helps how I feel.
(I’ll share more about what I’m eating and not eating in upcoming blog posts.)
4. I make sleep and rest a priority.
Since I run a lot, I rest a lot. I realize that I’m asking a lot of body so I try to take care of it with lots of good food and enough sleep. Heck, even if you have no thyroid issues at all – if you are running a lot you should be treating your body well!
I also cut myself some slack when I’m super tired or feel crappy. I don’t kick myself when I’m down (because it’s physically impossible). I deal with how I feel that day. It’s fine to be a little tired sometimes when you are training for a race or exercising a lot. But if you are too tired function then it’s a problem.
If fatigue is interfering with your work, school or relationships – something has to change. That might mean more rest, less running, drinking more Spark, less candy, more love, less stress – find a balance that works for you.
5. I make running a priority over other things that I don’t care about as much.
You can have anything – but you can’t have everything.
That’s one of my favorite quotes. Yes, you can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want because of time / money / energy /other. So I put my time and energy into running (and eating). If it’s not important to you to run long distances, don’t do it. Find something fun and active you enjoy.
Bonus round: I am constantly researching what are the best foods, supplements, diet philosophy, stress management and other for me and my body. This might all be different in a year, but right now this is what is working for me.
Note: I have been hesitant to write about my low thyroid because it brings up the topic of supplements and diet. I want to be totally open, but I also don’t want you taking random supplements or changing your diet unless it’s a good idea for YOUR body. This post is just about a random redheaded Mexican runner, not your blood tests. Every body is different. Figure out what works for you and do it.
Question: Do you take a vitamin most days?
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