Living with Hashimoto’s and low thyroid can make every day feel like an uphill battle. Exhaustion, weight gain, pain, and poor sleep are just some of the symptoms that make it harder to enjoy life. Having Hashimoto’s means that your immune system is on overdrive and your metabolism is taking the hit.
When you’re in the depths of low thyroid symptoms, it’s tempting to try anything and everything to get your energy back and calm your symptoms. But for people struggling with autoimmune diseases, doing too much and pushing too hard can create the opposite effect of what you want. Instead of feeling better, incorporating many “healthy habits” can make you feel worse.
Don’t waste your time or energy; avoid the three biggest low thyroid mistakes and get on the road to healing.
1. Hitting the Gym
One of the frustrating symptoms that comes with Hashimoto’s is weight gain and low energy.
When thyroid hormone is depleted because of a damaged thyroid gland, your metabolism drops, and losing weight feels like climbing a mountain instead of a molehill.
It is tempting to hit the gym hard, but if you suffer from Hashimoto’s, you may need to pull back the reins. Too much exercise or working out too hard causes stress on your adrenals to produce cortisol to compensate for low energy.
While your body is trying to manage the increased energy demand, cortisol depletes thyroid function even further, impairing weight loss. Low- impact exercises like yoga or walking are great ways to keep moving without adding pressure to your system. Another effective form of exercise for many low thyroid sufferers is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 10-15 minutes a few times per week.
2. Being a Change-Agent
Another common mistake that Hashimoto’s patients make is trying to change everything at once. Making too many lifestyle changes too quickly is rarely effective because habits surrounding food, sleep, and physical activity are intertwined with our relationships and routines. The pressure of trying to follow too many new “rules” leads to overwhelm, increased stress, and feelings of failure if you can’t juggle everything. Instead of going full throttle, consider trying a couple of new habits at a time with attainable goals and implement more once these feel like old hat. Taking charge of your health is great, but if it doesn’t stick, it’s not worth the effort.
3. Ignoring Stress Connection
The biggest mistake autoimmune patients make is ignoring the importance of stress management. Improving nutrition, sleep, and exercise habits are important.
Learning how to reduce your inner stress response is one of the most effective ways to support thyroid healing.
Just like working out too hard, if you react to stress too often, your thyroid is taking a hit from excess cortisol. To make matters worse, stress causes other hormones like insulin and melatonin to get out of whack which can lead to high blood sugar and poor sleep. Make sure that part of your treatment plan includes stress management skills like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or time in nature.
Now that you know some of the biggest mistakes that low thyroid patients are unintentionally making, you don’t have to fall into the same rut. Remember that healing from and reversing Hashimoto’s does not look the same for every person. Listen to your body and work with a functional medicine provider that is trained to help you find and treat the root cause of your low thyroid symptoms.