Updated: Sep 9
Control your thyroid diagnosis, don’t let it control you!
Recently, I met a trainer for body builders at the gym who told me about one of his clients with thyroid issues. Her primary care physician told her that she would NEVER be able to perform in body building because her muscles and body cannot manage the strict diets and exercises required to sustain a body builders’ physique.
This brief conversation made me think about how many times people with various thyroid concerns are told:
“Your body will never lose weight”
“You’ll have to be on this medication for the rest of your life”
“You’ll never be able to participate in certain activities”
The constant you “never” and “won’t” is a common semantic heard by those diagnosed with thyroid issues. These statements can be stressful, disappointing, depressive, and even crippling. But there is hope on the other side of this deep, hollow hole. With the proper support, solid information, and dedication, you CAN make a change.
For those who need a refresher what function of the thyroid, since Biology 101 class, here’s a mini review:
The thyroid is a small gland under your Adam’s apple that is unnoticeable unless swollen. The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine which influences metabolism, growth and development and body temperature. Depending on how active or non-active the thyroid is, dictates how symptoms present. Your thyroid health is important to consider. Below is a list that separates the two main categories for thyroid presentations
Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid)
-Joint and muscle pain
-Dry, thinning hair
-Slowed heart rate
Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid)
-Tremor of fingers
-Rapid heart rate
Some symptoms require close monitoring such as the rapid or slow heart rate. A healthy heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm), AT REST, but this can vary per individual. So, if you have an apple watch, Fitbit or an activity monitoring watch, check to see your heart rate pattern. If there are any real peaks or lows at rest, aside from activity or sleep, then reach out to your physician.
To address other symptoms of HYPERthyroidism, here are some simple lifestyle modifications that can make a big difference:
Keep well hydrated (at least 8 glasses of water a day)
Set up a bathroom schedule to ensure a regular bowel program. Set a timer and even if you don’t have to go, try. Once your body gets on a good routine, surprise diarrhea attacks can reduce.
Try BRAT diet for diarrhea: banana, rice, applesauce, toast
Get moving with a simple exercise routine focusing on each major joint (ankle, knee, hip, shoulders, elbow and wrist)
Don’t forget to pace yourself with exercises and take frequent rest breaks
Do more reps, less weight
For anxiety, try essential oils like lavender and bergamot. Drink chamomile tea an hour before heading to bed.
To address other symptoms of HYPOthyroidism, here are some simple lifestyle modifications that can make a big difference:
Stretch achy or tight muscle groups, make sure to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, preferably 1 minute and do it at least 3 times a session, 3 sessions a day if tolerated, meaning no intense pain or discomfort
Eat foods with high fiber to help with constipation like apples, prunes, flax seed, probiotic yogurt, and pears
For dry skin: use ointments or creams, not lotions (your body needs a thicker grade of moisturizer)
Try aloe vera, cocoa butter, all-natural shea butter, or coconut oil for skin and hair
Try an anti-inflammatory diet including leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, fruit, and olive oil
Include nutrients that help with healthy thyroid function, including magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, iron, and vitamin C,
Refrain from fried foods, sugary drinks, and glutenous carbs (bread, pasta, beer)
For weight gain, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Your metabolism is impacted but you can still gain some level of control.
Small and frequent meals with healthy fats, protein and nutrient dense complex carbs
As for the female bodybuilder, she is now a 2-time national champion on her way to become a pro-athlete with various sponsorships. The journey has not been easy, but her level of dedication to feel better and live better is a great source of power.
It's the little changes day by day that make the biggest difference. For guidance from a trained practitioner, reach out to us! We're here to help. Naturally.
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Until next time. Love our Doctor of Physical Therapist,
Dr. Mièka Bryan PT, DPT
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This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts