After a hectic summer of moving, classes and starting a new job, I was exhausted. I attributed my weight gain to a lack of exercise and a diet of fast food. It was when I spent two straight days in bed due to fatigue that I was concerned about my health. I was prescribed synthetic thyroid hormone for symptoms which included high blood pressure, elevated temperature and getting easily winded. At that point, losing weight wasn’t just about looking better; I needed to take control of my health.
Diet: I researched several diets and came across The Thyroid Solution Diet. Like many diets, it prescribes low-glycemic index foods combined with beneficial fiber and proteins. His plan is distinct in that he proscribes foods based upon how they affect your hormones. I began eating proteins with each meal and ate on a regular schedule about 4 or 5 times a day while processed foods and refined sugars were discouraged. The first phase is a detox, eliminating grains. While easy to follow, it was hard to maintain interest in the food options. Although I found that I had less cravings for junk food.
Exercise: The Thyroid Solution Diet also recommends 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and 10 minutes of strength training. I found several workouts on youtube for both through FitnessBlender. Since I have two marathons under my belt, I might have been tempted to do too much exercise too soon and get discouraged. However, 30 minutes was very doable, especially when doing workouts that incorporate a lot of variety.
Lifestyle: While people often say that long-term weight-loss requires a lifestyle change, it rarely means anything other than eating and exercise habits. The Thyroid Solution Diet, however, prescribed adequate sleep and relaxation techniques. While it is well-known that a chronic lack of sleep and on-going stress are contributors to weight gain, very few diets take this seriously but insist on a strict adherence of a rigorous exercise schedule and nutrition guidelines.
Unfortunately, many diet and exercise programs have motivational approaches that range from dictatorial, fear-inspiring cliches like “suck it up” to the shame based exhortations. Fear may work in the short-term but the reason I stuck with this routine in order to lose 15 pounds in three months was for my health. The lifestyle changes like sleep, relaxation and stretching can also protect against arthritis and mental illness.