Originally Posted December 2017
Updated December 2019
New Year’s provides many opportunities for betterment and reinvention, and health is often a central component of our New Year’s resolutions.
For those of us with a thyroid condition, striving for better health may seem complicated, but the following resolutions are realistic and effective ways to achieve better thyroid health throughout the New Year and the ones to follow!
1: Resolve to Understand Thyroid Lab Work
Those of us with thyroid disease undergo a variety of different tests to assess our thyroid function. Generally, this includes at least T4 (inactive thyroid hormone), T3 (active thyroid hormone), RT3 (reverse T3), TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and thyroid antibodies – you can download our full thyroid panel lab slip here.
These all play important roles in proper thyroid function but many people, including physicians, don’t fully comprehend or are confused by all the different numbers on their thyroid lab results.
Having a better understanding of your lab results, or finding a doctor or specialist who is well-educated on the thyroid, can lead to better treatment.
2: Resolve to Sleep More
Even though it may seem like an excuse to avoid a legitimate health resolution, appropriate sleep is critical to your thyroid function and overall wellness.
Consistently getting eight or more hours of sleep per night helps stabilize hormone levels, thyroid function, and improves energy. Listening to your body is an effective way of ensuring you get the sleep you need.
If you find yourself dozing off in the middle of TV shows or other evening activities, take the hint and head off to bed. Making sleep a priority and responding correctly when your body says it’s ready for bed can improve thyroid health.
3: Resolve to Going Gluten Free
Gluten, the elastic substance found in doughs and cereal grains such as wheat, is a leading contributor of autoimmune conditions such as leaky gut syndrome.
Furthermore, gluten and thyroid proteins share similar characteristics meaning that your immune response to gluten that has escaped the gut may target the thyroid as well. Skipping the gluten in the coming year can prevent damage to both your gut and thyroid.
4: Resolve to Research Other Thyroid Treatments
Even though Synthroid and Levothyroxine have become the medical standard for treating hypothyroidism that does not mean they are the best options for everyone – here’s why T4 may not be working for you.
Many people have experienced significant improvement of their condition by using other medications such as time-released T3, natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), and bioidentical hormone therapy. Finding the treatment that works best for oneself can help optimize the thyroid!
5: Resolve to Remove Stress
Stress has become a constant in many people’s lives and that can cause significant damage to the thyroid. Allocating time throughout the day or week to enjoy some relaxing activities such as yoga, listening to calming music, drinking tea, or any healthy method of stress release can lower anxiety and reduce the body’s stress response. Limiting stress whenever possible can help improve your thyroid function and may also improve your longevity.
6: Resolve to Be Active
Thyroid conditions can cause you to feel sapped of energy and exhausted around the clock! This can be a significant deterrent for those already put off by the idea of exercising. However, taking part in regular physical activity supports metabolic function, which can improve energy levels – here are our tips for exercising with a thyroid problem.
It is important to recognize that everyone is at their own fitness level and be fair with yourself regarding personal growth. Incorporating mild activity, even if it’s as simple as five minutes of walking every day, can lay the groundwork for habitual healthy exercise.
7: Resolve to Take Responsibility for Your Thyroid
The thyroid is a complex system and thyroid disease is unique to the individual. As you become more educated and informed of your condition you become more capable of acquiring appropriate help and treatment.
There are a multitude of resources available that allow you to conduct independent research on your condition and ultimately take responsibility for your own health. For resources check out our must-read thyroid blog list!
With a greater understanding of the thyroid comes greater opportunity of achieving better thyroid health.
Tips for Retaining Your Resolutions
Many commence the New Year with a desire to follow through with their resolutions. Unfortunately, most burn out and end up ditching their goals after just a few months.
Here are a few pitfalls to avoid and practices that you should incorporate into your New Year’s resolutions.
Make Sure Your Goals are Achievable
It is a common mistake for people to set unrealistic or unsustainable goals such as losing five pounds a week, lifting weights every day, or vowing to say “yes” to everything.
The problem with setting these lofty goals is that when people inevitably fail they take it too hard. When pursuing a New Year’s goal ensure that it can be accomplished!
Be Forgiving and Flexible
Of course, the whole point of a resolution is to keep it to the best of your ability. However, there will always be mistakes, lapses in willpower, or unforeseen events that disrupt your ability to stick to your plans. When this happens, it is important to forgive yourself and get back on track as soon as possible.
Achieving a New Year’s resolution is more about sticking with it even after “failing” than it is about executing it perfectly.
Cultivate Healthy Relationships While Removing Toxic Ones
No matter the resolution, be it health related or not, having a partner or someone who will keep you accountable to that goal significantly increases the chance of success.
Spending time with people who provide energy, motivation, and support can be just the boost you need to stick with your resolutions on the hardest of days. Alternatively, removing toxic individuals or habits from your life can help you succeed in achieving your goals.
Doing both is an empowering combination that makes achieving your New Year’s resolutions significantly easier!
Give Yourself the Best Chance of Achieving Your New Year’s Goals
Greater wellness and health is a goal that we should all strive for in the coming year. For those of us with a thyroid condition, the resolutions above provide a framework that can be built on and customized to your individual goals.
In the coming year give yourself the best chance of succeeding by ensuring your resolutions are achievable, forgiving yourself resilient in the face of difficulty, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.