"I'm completely overwhelmed and just need a clear plan to fix my thyroid and balance my hormones."
That seems to be the theme I hear most from my readers and the women in my Facebook community.
And I get it, having struggled with my own Hashimoto's thyroid disease for countless years, and constantly looking for the answers to finally fix my thyroid and regain my energy.
I wondered if I could chock up my thyroid woes to heavy metal toxicity. Or iron deficiency. Or any number of nutrient deficiencies I read about that can contribute to thyroid issues. Or maybe it was due to mold exposure. Or Epstein-Barr virus.
I bounced from one thing to the next, trying various supplements, detox methods and diets, desperately hoping that each attempt would be the one thing I was missing in my quest to reset my thyroid health.
While some of the things I tried helped for a while, I still felt miserable, exhausted and irritable most of the time. Besides, who has time and money for all the testing, expensive supplements and fancy specialty foods most experts recommend? I felt totally overwhelmed.
After my countless years of attempting to piece together an actionable, solution-oriented plan to truly fix my thyroid, I realized I was missing the foundation.
Think about the foundation of a house for a moment, and you'll see what I mean. Without a properly laid foundation, everything you build upon it will likely flat. The same can be said for your thyroid health and I believe it's why many women never experience lasting relief from the fatigue, brain fog and irritability of thyroid dysfunction.
So I created The Thyroid Fix Roadmap to help women struggling with their own thyroid problems and flagging energy, to take the exact right steps, in the right order so they can finally get the relief they are looking for.
So, how does The Thyroid Fix Roadmap work? I'm glad you asked! You'll notice that the Roadmap is laid out in 7 steps. Each step is meant to build on the one before it. When taken all together, these steps will begin to create a lifestyle of balance and self-renewal that will sustain healthy hormone balance for the long haul.
This way, your efforts aren't wasted because you neglected to lay certain foundational pieces that are neccessary to successfully fixing your thyroid. For example, you won't be wasting your hard earned money on expensive nutritional supplements that only end up in the toilet because you neglected to focus on restoring the balance of your microbiome and the integrity of the gut lining- both critical factors in absorbing nutrients.
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You can also potentially save yourself countless hours of frustration, not to mention dollars, chasing after quick fix solutions. When you've laid the right foundation- which is what The Thyroid Fix Road Map is all about- you'll find that your efforts build on one another and begin to create the momentum necessary to make the dramatic shift in your health you're longing for. Sound good? Let's dive into how to incorporate each step of the Roadmap into your life.
Step 1- Cultivate A Healthy Mindset
Your mind moves in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. So let me ask you: What do you believe about your health? Have you been tired and overwhelmed for so long you can’t even imagine feeling better?
This might seem like a strange place to start The Thyroid Fix Roadmap, but it truly is the foundation for rebooting your health and putting a stop to the downward spiral you've been on.
Before you can embark on a journey towards better health and improved thyroid function, (and it is a journey) you’ve got to set yourself up for success. Stop identifying yourself with your disease. Start believing and seeing yourself as healthy and whole, and feeling amazing.
Here’s an exercise that I want you to do to get started: Take a sheet of paper and write out everything you currently believe now about your health, your fears, your frustrations- anything that comes to mind. Let it out. You may have never really taken the time to examine the underlying thoughts that pass through your mind on a daily basis, such as, “What if I end up with thyroid cancer?” or “I’ll never lose this weight.”
These limiting beliefs are holding you back from the vibrant, beautiful, energetic woman you were meant to be. It’s time to acknowledge them and let them go. Once you’ve filled your page, the next step is to release those fears and frustrations for good.
Give them to God in prayer. You may want to read them out loud, or share them with someone you love and trust. Then, tear them up! That’s right, you’re done with them! Light them on fire, stomp on them, flush them down the toilet- whatever it takes to release those negative beliefs and let them go.
Now get out a new sheet of paper. From this moment, you are starting a new path. You aren’t getting worse- you are getting better! Take the time to write a new vision for your life. One where you are healthy, strong and whole. Now put it somewhere where you can look at that vision every day. When thoughts of fear or frustration come up for you, get out your new vision and read it out loud.
Step 2- Eat a Nutrient Dense, Anti-Inflammatory Diet
What you put in your mouth three or more times a day has a huge impact on your health, affecting your hormones, your mood and even your DNA. When you adopt a nourishing diet that focuses on nutrient dense foods while eschewing inflammatory foods, you’ll begin to shape your health in positive ways that will keep you healthy and thriving for the long haul.
As I talked about in my book, Energy Reset, many of the most popular foods today are toxic and inflammatory and are a major factor in why you ended up with thyroid dysfunction in the first place. From gluten, to conventional dairy products, sugar and GMO’s, these foods damage the gut lining (more on that in a moment) and promote inflammation, which in turn affects the thyroid gland, the brain, and nearly every other aspect of your physiology.
So, what should you eat instead? Be sure to choose plenty of nutrient dense foods, like leafy green vegetables, berries, sweet potatoes, olive oil, grass-fed beef and organic chicken. When your meals consist of:
Quality Protein + Quality Fats + Lots of Vegetables + Complex Carbs
You'll find that your energy levels are sustained throughout the day and you'll be able to easily avoid the energy crashes that come with blood sugar imbalance from eating too many refined carbohydrates. Because blood sugar imbalance is one of the biggest culprits behind hormone imbalance, you will also find that you've eliminated one more underlying cause of your thyroid dysfunction as well.
The Thyroid Fix Diet
Foods to Include:
- Lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens, carrots, zucchini, berries, apples and melon, and more.
- Quality Protein from sources like grass-fed beef, bison, organic, free-range chicken, wild-caught salmon and pastured eggs should be included in your diet.
- Quality fats from sources like organic, extra-virgin olive oil, ghee, avocados, fatty fish, and egg yolks from pasture-raised hens.
- Complex carbohydrates from sources like sweet potatoes, winter squashes such as spaghetti squash and butternut squash. Avoid most, if not all grains, while working on restoring your thyroid- especially gluten containing grains.
Foods to Avoid:
- Grains (especially gluten containing grains) are damaging to the gut and promote inflammation. It's best to leave them off the table completely while working on fixing your thyroid.
- Poor quality fats should also be avoided, as they increase inflammation in the body. These included processed seed oils, such as canola, corn and soy oil, and hydrogenated oils, such as shortening.
- Sugar and processed foods also damage the gut, promote inflammation and displace more nutrient dense options within the diet. It's best to avoid them.
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been linked to a host of health issues, including increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), autoimmune conditions and even cancer. Avoid GMO foods and opt for organic whenever possible.
Step 3- Restore Gut Health
As I alluded to already, the right diet can help restore the integrity of the gut lining. Restoring gut health goes beyond the diet, however. Many people don’t realize their chronic health problems- from thyroid dysfunction to joint pain and even depression, actually have more to do with the gut than the their thyroid, joints or brain. Leaky gut is the new normal for many modern women and it’s characterized by bloating, gas, difficulty losing weight, fatigue and more.
Because restoring gut health is absolutely essential to fixing your thyroid, it’s important to address the underlying factors causing leaky gut. For many women, an out of balance microbiome is to blame for their poor gut health.
Because of our modern practices of anti-biotics, antibacterial hand sanitizer and a general over- zealous attitude about cleanliness, we’ve lost much of the protective, beneficial microbes that keep our gut bacteria in balance and improve immunity, nutrient absorption and the integrity of the gut lining itself.
Signs of Leaky Gut
- Fatigue, weight gain
- Skin problems, such as eczema and acne
- Joint pain
- Bloating, gas
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Headaches, brain fog, poor memory
- Autoimmune conditions
Fermented foods and probiotic supplements can go a long ways towards restoring the balance of the gut microbiome, when coupled with a gut healing, nutrient dense diet (which we already nailed down in the last step. Yess!! We are on our way!)
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha, introduce beneficial microbes into the gut environment which begin to crowd out the opportunistic flora responsible for inflammation and toxicity.
Supplementing with probiotic strains can tip the balance even further in favor of good gut health. Look for a probiotic that has multiple bacterial strains, including soil based strains such as Bacillus subtilis. (Source)
Step 4 Fix Nutrient Deficiencies
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we already fix nutrient deficiences with that big fancy “nutrient dense diet” we nailed down in step one? Well… yes and no. While dialing in your eating habits is the first step towards better nutrient levels, the situation is a little more complicated than that.
For one thing, that annoying leaky gut condition we just corrected in step 3 can lead to some serious nutrient deficiencies- even if you are eating a perfect, nutrient dense diet. Crazy, right?
This happens in a couple of ways. First of all, your beneficial gut bacteria are responsible for helping your body synthesize some pretty important nutrients, such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin K1. When your beneficial microbes have been crowded out by opportunistic flora (the bad guys), you not only have less good guys to synthesize those important nutrients, but the opportunistic flora also steal important nutrients.
One case in point is iron. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, in her definitive work on gut health, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, it’s common for those with leaky gut to have an overabundance of the iron-loving bacteria, such as Actinomyces spp. These opportunistic bacterium feed on the iron their host (you) get from the diet, leaving you deficient in this essential nutrient for energy. This can lead to varying stages of anemia and other nutrient deficiencies which are essential for the blood. Talk about a lose-lose situation.
So while, eating a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet and restoring gut health are the important first steps, (yep, it’s called a road map for a reason) the next key step is to restore vital nutrients through quality, whole food supplements when needed.
Some of the most important nutrient deficiencies to address for those with thyroid dysfunction would include vitamin D, selenium, iron and vitamin C (Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and is a powerful antioxidant). A simple blood test can reveal which deficiencies are present and need to be addressed.
Step 5 Get A Handle On Stress
Up to this point, we’ve talked alot about what you’re eating and how it affects your hormones and your gut. But the truth is, there is so much more to fixing your thyroid than what you put in your mouth. In fact, stress may just be the biggest factor that is derailing your thyroid health and stressing your adrenals.
Stress raises cortisol levels, which in turn ramps up inflammation, suppresses the immune system and pulls your hormones out of balance, including your thyroid hormones.
Knowing that stress is deadly doesn't do much more than stress you out, however. Learning to manage stress levels effectively will bring your hormones back into balance and reset your energy levels.
The key is learning to tune into your personal stress response and make subtle yet powerful shifts towards dealing more effectively with the stressors in your life. One of the best ways to drive down the stress response is to incorporate periods of rest and relaxation into your day.
I'm not taking about vegging in front of the television with a bag of chips, here. Instead, look for ways to incorporate methods of rest and relaxation that will leave you recharged rather than drained. Because we each have different preferences for how to recharge, simply start by picking one that suits you best and incorporating it into your day.
The key is to make your de-stress ritual a daily habit. Perhaps you want to start your day with prayer and scripture, or a 15 minute stretching routine. For someone else, ending the day by listening to relaxing music while meditating may be just the ticket to letting go of their daily stress load.
Top Ways To Reset Your Stress Response
- Begin Your Day with a 15 minute yoga, or simple stretching routine.
- Practice slowing your breathing down and simply observing the breath for 5 minutes. This could be practiced throughout the day.
- Prayer is proven to promote the healing response. Get in the habit of praying instead of stressing whenever life gets hectic.
- Tune into your self-talk. Do your thoughts run towards the negative? Learn to catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, such as, "This is so hard," or "I'll never feel better," and replace them with positive thoughts, like, "I can do this!" and "Good things are coming to me in abundance."
- Try 5 minutes of "Feet Up the Wall" before bed. Lay on the floor with your feet and legs up the wall, your head resting on a pillow on the floor. This move promotes deep relaxation, calms the nervous system and quiets the mind. Try it out here.
- Detox baths are a great way to relax, nix nutrient deficiencies and detox all in one! Simply draw a warm bath and pour in one to two cups of Epsom salts. Add a few drops of your favorite relaxing essential oils and soak for at least 20 minutes. Your body will draw magnesium from the Epsom salts while drawing out toxins.
Step 6 Reset Your Natural Rhythms
Going hand in hand with handling stress is resetting your natural rhythms. This often overlooked, yet absolutely essential piece of your wellness journey includes exposing yourself to natural light during the day, enjoying the energizing and renewing qualities of nature, and getting quality, restorative sleep each night.
Because we don’t understand how important our natural cycles of wake and sleep are to our hormone health, I see too many women who often think they can “cheat the system”, staying up late, burning the candle at both ends and spending too much time in a sterile, artificial environment without the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Your hormones know better, babe.
This disruption in your circadian rhythm directly affects your adrenal glands more than your thyroid- but your thyroid gets invited to the party when cortisol levels (your main stress hormone made by the adrenal glands) become imbalanced.
In order to reset your natural rhythms, make it a point to get some time outside each day. You may want to try grounding (also known as earthing)- the practice of putting your bare skin in contact with the earth in order to benefit from the negative ions that recharge your system, much like a battery.
Yes, I'm serious. Our bodies interact with the electromagnetic field of the earth and absorb energizing ions when we come in contact with the earth through our bare skin. Unfortunately, most of us spend too much time indoors, away from natural light, and the benefits of nature which are meant to recharge our system, bring our hormones into balance and promote relaxation. (Source)
You've probably noticed how a day spent at the beach or the park left you feeling energized yet relaxed, and able to sleep more restfully at night. Time in nature, followed by deep, restful sleep is one of your best tools towards better hormone health.
Step 7 Detoxification
Congratulations! You’ve almost reached the end of the Thyroid Fix Road Map. As you begin to implement each of the steps, you will begin to notice marked changes in your energy levels, your mood and your ability to think clearly.
We’re not done yet, though. All the steps so far have been leading up to one important piece of the puzzle that has actually been happening all along- detoxification.
As I wrote about in my book, Energy Reset, toxins are now considered to be the biggest driver of disease in the modern world- and they are definitely a factor in the health of your hormones. On a daily basis, we are exposed to upwards of 80,000 toxins and chemicals in our environment, many of which are known to promote inflammation, act as endocrine disruptors (meaning they interfere with our hormones),and are known carcinogens.
To make matters even worse, many of the chemicals we are exposed to each day- from the cosmetics we use, to the chemicals in our furniture, the fumes we inhale while pumping gas, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and more- have never been tested for human safety. It’s a pretty scary thought. And while these chemicals may not have been formally tested, they are in effect, being tested on us every day.
If the sky rocketing rates of cancer, thyroid dysfunctin, autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses have anything to say about it, it’s that these chemicals are failing the test- and we are the losers.
In today’s modern world, it simply isn’t possible to maintain your health for the long haul without addressing your toxic load- including the foods you eat, the makeup you’re wearing, the cleaners you’re using and more.
Detoxification can seem like a complicated process, yet there are really just two facets you need to focus on. The first is to stop ingesting toxins from the environment in the form of plastics, toxic skincare and beauty products and cleaning supplies. You may not have control over every toxin out there, but there are enough within your control that you can make major strides towards reducing your toxic load just by focusing on the four areas mentioned.
The second step involves ridding your body of stored toxins that have accumulated from years of chronic, low-grade exposure. Your liver is responsible for ridding the body of toxins, however, when the toxic load becomes too much, your liver's ability to move toxins out can become compromised.
Toxins end up stored in the body, mainly in the fatty tissues. They can hide out there for years, slowly causing inflammation and hormone disruption- and even cancer. Detoxification is the last step on the Thyroid Fix Roadmap because without the proper nutrients, a healthy gut, and well-regulated hormones, your best efforts to detox will only fall flat.
By now you've dialed in the key pieces of brining balance back to your lifestyle and fixing your thyroid. You're ready to detox.
Detoxification should be a gentle approach to supporting your liver and digestion which slowly and effortlessly releases toxins from your tissues. Don't be fooled by quick-fix methods of detox, like down nothing but cayenne pepper and lemon juice or wrapping your body in plastic wrap and trying to sweat the toxins out. These short sighted methods of detox don't address the critical factor of detoxification- the health of your liver.
Notice that the steps on the The Thyroid Fix Road Map all lead to one important concept that is the most overlooked piece of the puzzle for most women trying to dial in their thyroid health. It’s all about creating a lifestyle of balance and continual renewal. Emphasis on the word lifestyle.
When you dial in the steps of The Thyroid Fix Road Map and live them day in and day out, you’ll experience the kind of health and energy you may have only dreamed about up until now. Your body will be ready to address any underlying factors that may have been overlooked.
When you ditch the quick-fix mentality, you give your body the permission it needs to bring your hormones back into balance and reset your immune system- and keep it that way for the long haul. The arrows around the roadmap are meant to point to the continual journey you will be on to look and feel your best.
Community, Accountability and Coaching- Amplify Your Journey
You may have also noticed that there are a three words along the side of your Roadmap: Community, Accountability and Coaching. These three concepts embody the social and interpersonal aspects of your journey that are critical to your success.
It's no secret that having accountability in any endeavor raises your chances of success. As you undertake the lifestyle changes on the Roadmap, do yourself a favor and find an accountability partner to help keep you on track. Just the act of sharing your goals and desires with another person increases your chances of success exponentially.
Similarly, a community of like-minded people will also keep you on track and inspire you to keep your eyes on your goal. Find a community of people on the same journey you are on and share your wins, your frustrations and your joys with them. A community who understands your unique challenges will be an invaluable source of support and motivation.
This can be especially true when struggling with thyroid dysfunction. Your friends and family may not understand why you constantly struggle with your energy and your mood. You don't look any different on the outside, so why can't you just snap out of it? It's a common theme women hear when struggling with their hormones.
If you've ever felt like the people in your life just don't understand what you're going through, find a community who does.
Finally, find a coach who has walked the road you are on and know the way to successfully navigate the path. A coach is someone who can point out the pitfalls and missteps on your journey and help you reach your destination much more quickly than you can do on your own.
For myself, working with a health coach was instrumental in seeing results when I first began my journey of fixing my thyroid. I didn't know where to begin- but my coach did. It saved me time, money and frustration trying to fix my health on my own.
If you can't afford to work one on one with a coach, that doesn't mean you can't benefit from the wisdom of a health expert to guide you. Many coaches offer free advice and help through their website, their facebook page, their books and free events.
Once you dial in the seven steps of The Thyroid Fix Road Map, you will be well on your way to thyroid healthy, my friend!
Download The Thyroid Fix Roadmap!