In a nutshell, it’s 12 months since I decided to get serious about my health.
I’d always been pretty good with my food choices. I’d made quite a few changes because of my Hashimoto’s auto-immune thyroid condition.
I was a bit hit and miss – more miss than hit – on the exercise front.
I didn’t really prioritise ME.
So what changed?
I was offered a contract to write a book, that’s what.
Amid the excitement and champagne-cork-popping, I realised that if I were to deliver the manuscript, keep my blog business running and my family fed and watered, then I’d have to keep myself as healthy as I possibly can.
Health to me equals energy.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve sprung out of bed full of energy and ready to take on the day. Hashimoto’s will do that to you.
I’d even forgotten what having energy and a clear head had felt like.
I can’t say that I feel that energy buzz every day but I can say that I now have days when I do have that normal, re-charged-from-a-night’s-sleep feeling.
When those days started to happen this year, it caught me by surprise. It was such an unfamiliar feeling.
Unfamiliar but good. VERY GOOD.
Lately, readers and followers of my #everydaystyle posts have noticed too, commenting on how well I look and asking for my “secret”.
The secret is a pretty boring one.
It’s something that my friend (and designer of this blog) Kelly Exeter wrote about this week in her email newsletter.
“Consistency is everything. Showing up is everything,” she said. “Time and again life shows me: consistency is so boring, but it’s bloody effective.”
For me, it’s consistency that has helped me feel more healthy than I’ve felt in a very long time.
It is boring, there is no quick answer to finding and feeling good health.
In the past, the biggest stumbling block to my finding that consistency was finding a health formula that worked for ME.
If you’re struggling with consistency in your health efforts, my hot tip is not necessarily to follow what I do but work on finding a formula that works for you.
Play with different food/eating plans and exercise regimes and find a solution that you can stick to. Not something you start and finish one, three or 12 months later. Something that you can feasibly keep up for the rest of your life.
I’ll share my formula with you below. Like in my other health update posts, I stress that these things might not work for you. My quest for health has always involved the advice of health professionals – and I suggest you seek out your own advice before implementing major changes.
1. I don’t use scales. This won’t work for many people but with my condition it’s quite possible to put on three kilograms in a day without doing anything different from the day before. In the past, the number on the scales would determine my mood for the day. When 9/10 times that number worked against me, it was a massive de-motivator. My GP weighs me at each appointment and I can tell you I’ve lost only 6kg in 12 months. Thank goodness I calibrate my mood based on my energy levels. And how my clothes feel when on. And how strong I feel.
2. I follow the 5-2 way of eating. Most weeks. I started this after reading this book in August last year. My GP endorses it as well. Everything I read in the book about how eating less on two days each week would help stabilise my insulin levels and reduce sugar cravings has eventuated. I think I want to eat something sweet, go to eat it and stop after a mouthful. I just don’t feel like it. I also eat less on the other five days because I don’t feel like eating the same amounts as I did 12 months ago. I still avoid gluten – the times that I’ve taken a “gluten schmuten” approach to what I put in my mouth has only ended in toilet tragedy. Let us not speak again of the pork bun I ate on Monday night. Exquisite going down; explosive coming out. Too much information? I’m sharing it because there are many who who believe that all people who ask for gluten-free options are just following a fad. I wish it were a fad. One product that has really helped me bridge the gluten gap is Protein Bread from The Protein Bread Company in Sydney. Yes, I order my bread online and have it sent via courier. Not only is this bread gluten free but it’s incredibly filling thanks to its high-protein, low carb content. I buy three loaves at a time, slice them up and freeze them in ziplock bags of six slices each. Worth every cent.
3. I am working with a GP who understands my health condition. I cannot express how amazing it’s been to see a doctor who not only understands my condition but wants to help me feel WELL. I’ve had to settle for feeling below par for too many years because my thyroid blood tests have fallen between the medically designated parameters. My new GP looks beyond those pathology numbers. I take both Thyroxine (T4) and Tertroxin (T3) and have done so for about 12 years – except while pregnant. I’m on my third re-jig this year of my medication combination and my resistance to Thyroxine has drastically lowered from 12 months ago. In conjunction with my medication, I’ve also been prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements to support the thyroid and adrenal glands. It’s a chicken and egg situation with these two glands – a dodgy thyroid will put your adrenals out of whack and conversely overworked adrenals can affect thyroid function. My adrenal function in the morning is now in the normal “bounce out of bed” range (my first blood test back at the end of February recorded an adrenal function on par with a 3pm slump). The thyroid supplement includes iodine – a vital supporting mineral for the thyroid and something that most modern diets don’t contain. There is some great information about iodine and the thyroid in this podcast.
4. I have fallen in love with yoga. That consistency thing I talked about earlier is responsible for this love. I’ve consistently done two classes of yoga (most weeks) since January. It’s become so much a part of my life that I seriously miss it if life or travel gets in the way. I’ve never felt stronger and more toned. I stand and sit taller. I have arm muscles. My tuckshops are still there but they’re lacking the flap-ability of 12 months ago. I do a mix of relax and basic classes and yesterday morning I did my first power class. I not only survived but did ok. I’m by no means a yogi pin-up girl but I love the physical and mental benefits that my practice bring. I’m sending a big shout out to Cue Yoga – I can’t recommend this studio enough.
5. Walking is part of my life. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve not been as consistent with my morning walks as I have with my yoga classes. I blame winter mornings. I’m not beating myself up about this though as I have got out there on weekends and where we live it’s much easier to walk to cafes, shops and restaurants than it is to drive and find a park. I do so much more incidental exercise than I did 12 months ago – so much so, it’s a habit and I actually seek it out. And hills no longer scare me. Yes, I don’t know who I am either.
6. I aim for four alcohol-free days a week. Aim is the word – and most weeks it is a reality. Other weeks, life might offer up cause for celebration. On those days, I drink a champagne and don’t feel guilty about it. The upshot of not drinking during most weeks is that I don’t feel like drinking as much on the weekends.
7. I visit my Bowen therapist every month. Apart from helping with an ongoing shoulder problem, I hang out in her infrared detox box. The detox box makes me sweat up a storm but just 30 minutes inside gives me an energy boost that can last for days.
Over to you … have you made health changes in the past 12 months that have helped you to feel fantastic?
NB. It’s important that you talk to a health professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine. I’m not a professional – I’m just sharing my story.