Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read, comment on, email or message me about my Hashimoto’s part one blog. Your kind words, the stories you shared, and the unity of hope and positivity that we all share – touched me very deeply. There is nothing more rewarding in this life for me, than being able to create the space for others to feel comfortable saying, ‘me too’.
For part two of this blog series, I wanted to discuss how I am personally treating my auto-immune disorder. In many ways, I’m more hesitant to share this – because no two bodies are the same. What works for me may be different for you, and that is okay. But I feel like in this world we all try to stick a black and white label on what works, package it and then put a big shiny price tag on it.
Healing is a deeply personal journey with so many layers and facets. My personal belief is that healing begins in the mind. After that what you do to support your mind, body and soul to create space for healing is 100% up to you. Intuition has led me to this particular healing path. I hope my advice can lead you to yours.
Symptoms & the Diagnoses
For me I had two major symptoms that I noticed. One, as I mentioned was weight gain. The second was chronic tiredness.
When I was in the ‘rebuilding life stage’ after my identity crisis – I started a business in wellness related marketing, and also ran and worked events. I was literally working 18 hours a day. Which isn’t cool and I don’t recommend it. I’m totally not on the hashtag #hustler bandwagon. I think that’s lame and unhealthy and that you need balance. (Another blog, another day).
But anyway, it was a time in my life where I needed to rebuild and I was living in fear and I didn’t say no to any money, ever. Because of this, I chalked up the chronic fatigue to working too much.
The weight gain had been an issue in my mind since I was 21. I was dysmorphic at this point and even if I looked great (which I often did) I hated myself. I also fluctuated a lot, so it’s hard to decipher what feelings were valid in hindsight.
Anyway, I was growing my business in a new way that felt better in my soul. Working way too much. Feeling badly about my body. And definitely not looking for love.
So of course, this is when I met my now husband.
The universe works in ironic ways.
I always say he fell in love with me at my worst. He is truly a good man.
I was way too busy. When we did hang out I was so tired I needed to go to bed by 10pm. I was going through such big changes in life and really didn’t feel the best about myself.
So, perfect time to meet your husband, right? ha.
But nonetheless, he is my greatest gift and my partner in healing and my rock. So I guess the universe knew I needed him. I’m thankful everyday.
In terms of my physical symptoms, eventually I decided enough was enough and went to a great Naturopath.
She was fantastic and so bang on that she found the issue immediately. However she wasn’t allowed to diagnose me; so getting a phone call saying “Go to a doctor immediately. Take these results for a diagnoses.” was pretty darn scary.
But that same day when I did see a doctor, the results were even scarier.
“You have Hashitmotos.”
It just sounds freaking terrifying.
Cue panic, freak outs and way too much googling. I was devastated. How can something like this happen to someone who strives to live their life so healthy?
I think there is a lot of guilt associated with illness for those that are really in tune with their bodies. For me I felt ashamed and confused. Also my inner A-type kicked in, and she wanted a plan on how to heal made yesterday!
Anthony (my husband) threatened to throw my laptop off our 42nd story balcony if I googled one more thing. (because following googling was always tears, frustration and negativity).
But it was like a side effect of the illness.
I. Just. Couldn’t. Stop.
If you’ve read part one of this blog, you know that the eventual thing to set me on my path to healing was understanding the mind-body connection; and ultimately practicing self-love to get in tune with my body and symptoms. I firmly believe in this above all the other practical, medical, and nutritional ways the internet/doctors/the world tells you how to heal.
My healing is a journey. I’m still actually deep in it right now. I’m learning to love myself deeper than I thought possible and every time I think “I’m good, I love myself” another intense and crazy barrier comes knocking on my soul asking to be torn down.
Today, I’m healthier and happier and more in love with my body than ever have been. And I know you can be too.
But, I also think this is just the beginning. And waking up with that feeling everyday is pretty cool.
How I Healed:
Now this is actually the part of the blog I’m the most hesitant to share. Because I know it can be a slippery slope from being in a great mindset about my health, to falling off the bandwagon and hitting the WedMD chat boards like nobodies business. (Note to self: Looking up cure’s from the internets angriest trolls are not an act of self-love and they do not work.)
But I do feel healed, usually. Just like we all can feel good about ourselves ‘usually’, be confident in our amount of savings in the bank ‘usually’, feel like things are going well in our relationships ‘usually’ – and so on.
Life is not black or white. It’s a millions of shades of beautiful stunning colours. One of my own biggest lessons in this life is to embrace that.
The good days, the bad days and everything in between.
I also believe everything starts with a healthy mindset.
I hope you take my practical healings (numbers 1, 2 and 4) with a grain of salt and trust that your body will intuitively guide you to what is right for you. But try these as a starting point if you like, because healing is a full circle and all of these actions worked as a step towards self-love for me. I’m sure they (or something similar) will for you, too.
Here’s how I achieved a healthy body and a healthy mind so I can live unaffected by an incurable disease:
I quit gluten
Literally, I went cold turkey immediately. Oddly my intuition had been telling me to wean off of it for months leading up to the moment I was diagnosed. So the clean break was a little easier for me. But yes, I did quit gluten and I honestly don’t ever think I’ll look back.
The Eastern medical thinking aroud quitting gluten for Hashimoto’s is this:
the molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin gets into the bloodstream, the immune system tags it as a pathogen. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue.
So basically, if you have Hashimoto’s and you eat gluten your body goes into attack mode. The protein in gluten has the same make up as your thyroid and so it attacks both the gluten and the thyroid tissue.
My Western medical doctor told me that this is BS and to go eat a piece of toast. (Yes, literally. ha). My belief is somewhere in the middle.
But, If I’m being 100% I think my original motivation was a little more vain than I’d like to admit. I was feeling at war with my body, wanting to lose weight and I thought this would be the ticket.
My experience wasn’t one of those unbelievable “I quit gluten and lost 20lbs overnight”.
There are so many substitutions for glutenous products that you really can still eat like sh*t if you feel like it. So quitting gluten alone is not a miracle weight loss solution. It’s a piece of the puzzle for sure.
What I did realize about being off of gluten though is that my energy levels were way up, and it really helped lessen, if not almost eliminate, any anxiety I was experiencing. I’ve heard this from a lot of people. I think it’s all the additives and modifications in the gluten that make our sensitive systems freak out. I don’t know, but I do know I feel so much better off of it.
Eating gluten kept me making less-than-great food choices. I make better choices now that include more foods that have living energy – which in turn makes me higher energy and more connected to my body.
But, I was a little too obsessive at first with having no-gluten.
I read somewhere if you had even a morsel it would attack your body and cause inflammation so fast, that any time you spent ‘off gluten’ would be obsolete.
So, for a good two years I was kind of a psychopath about it.
I don’t recommend this.
How can that much stress and worry about what you are putting into your body actually help you? Unless you have an anaphylactic allergy – the simple answer is, it can’t.
My advice to anyone who wants to go gluten-free (or dairy-free or anything-free) is to just make the absolute best decisions you can for yourself when you make food choices – and then let it go! If it happens to be in a sauce or made in the same kitchen (or fryer or oven) as the gluten – that’s okay.
You stressing and worrying about everything consume is so much worse than a little cross-contamination.
Maybe not everyone would agree with this.
But I only saw changes in my body after I let my obsessiveness go. And I really believe it’s because I just needed to chill out and love myself a little more.
Note: I also went off dairy to reduce inflammation before my wedding and saw a huge change in my body immediately. Honestly much bigger change than with gluten (physically only). Which to be honest is a bummer because I really love dairy and this one is a lot more difficult for me over the holiday season to stop. My rule of thumb is that I don’t have it at home, but if I’m out or at a gathering – I’ll indulge. It’s worked well.
I hired a personal trainer
This was the best investment I could have ever made to reconnect with my body. I could have titled this ‘I moved my body’. Because it really doesn’t matter how you get active as long as you do.
But for me, going to a group class or working out on my own wasn’t enough to keep me committed. I needed accountability. But, I also needed someone who could push me and was in tune with my limits.
I was very careful when choosing a trainer because I’ve had such an abusive past with my body and have a lot of scars from my fitness modelling days. For me it needed to be a woman, and someone who could relate to my struggles and not make me feel judged or less than.
I also did not want any nutritional advice because I was trying so hard to learn to let go of the rules and just listen to my body. I also didn’t want to make it about the scale, so I could only focus on how I felt.
You may think that sounds easy, but it’s actually pretty hard to find. There are a lot of people that teach fitness who are very extreme and going through a lot of pain themselves, so their teachings reflect that.
Luckily, I found a fabulous trainer, who has since opened her own studio. She listens to what I am going through, respects my emotions and knows they are directly connected to how far I can push my body that day. She’s great at what she does.
Your body is the vessel that carries you through life. However you choose to move your body is a personal decision. But if you have a hard time committing, I highly recommend making the investment in yourself to work with someone in person in a healthy environment.
And yes, this was how I physically changed my body. It took at least 4 months to see any change. But once I did it was so motivating I would go to the gym on my own in between sessions with my trainer.
Also, it is the biggest stress reliever in my life, hands down. When I feel anxious, going for a quick run on the treadmill or doing a workout curbs my anxiety immediately. I also get my best ideas while working out which has really helped me in both the confidence and the creativity departments.
I really think exercise is an act of self-hate if you are killing yourself in the gym to punish your body for not looking a certain way.
Loving yourself where you are at and working out to relieve stress and feel healthy and happy should be the motivation.
But loving yourself where you are at is the most difficult part. Which brings me to my next point
I see a therapist weekly
This has been the single most important thing in my healing. If you could do one thing to start, I would recommend this.
Everything begins in the mind and everything stems from past trauma. When you begin to forgive yourself and your past, you free yourself to be present and in the moment. You are able to heal as a whole person and for me, I was so stuck in my mind and emotions I couldn’t seem to get free.
Ali my therapist is an earth Angel. She has taught me to love and forgive myself in ways I can’t even begin to explain.
I’m also someone who lives in my mind. Many people who suffer from auto-immune have a disconnection between their minds and bodies. We are the ones who are deep thinkers, we are often the biggest empaths and our emotions can become suffocating if we hold them in. They also manifest as disease.
Finding a safe place to express everything you are feeling and also explore your past and where your illness may have began in your mind, is a beautiful gift I wish for all of you.
Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s for evolved and beautiful souls willing to grow. It’s for the light workers and the ones willing to make a change in this world. When you heal yourself, you are helping to heal the world. I believe this whole-heartedly.
When asked what I am most proud of these days, it’s 100% my ability to put in the work to heal. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Yes, I am on medication
Also it was the deepest resistance of my entire journey with hashimoto’s.
It was also the number one question emailed to me after my first blog, which makes me think there are more women in the ‘crazy googling stage’ than I had hoped. I feel for you, sister. I’ve been there.
But yes, for me the worst part was the fact that both my western medical doctors, and my naturopath told me I would have to be on medication for life.
For those that know me well know, I will try and treat anything naturally. I honestly won’t even take advil when I have a headache. It’s a personal choice, but I’m just not about taking man-made drugs if there is another way.
Well, there is no other way.
And there often isn’t in many illnesses.
This was something I had to learn about and accept. To be honest, I’m totally okay with, and in support of this now. My medication literally changed my quality of life.
I take daily:
– Probiotics (natural)
– Fish oil (natural)
I’m happy to admit that the medication is a blessing and honestly changed my life immediately. Particularly the fatigue. My body and I had a bit of a journey to go still.
After this path of healing I can honestly say I have successfully healed these symptoms:
– Weight gain
– Chronic Fatigue
– Hair loss (My hair is 100% better now that my thyroid levels are good. I used to only have good hair with extensions and now I don’t need them!)
– Anxiety (I also think this has been improved by my diet changes.)
– Skin dullness
– Water retention
I would say these symptoms have all been corrected now. If I suffer from any of them it’s 100% because of lifestyle choices and not because of auto-immunity.
Disclaimer: I know that thyroid auto-immune is a hormone imbalance. Essentially you are taking a hormone replacement because your body can’t produce them. There are many types of drugs for many different types of AI diseases, not all of them are hormone related. Please make sure you check with a natural doctor and do your research on side effects before starting any medication. Especially for more serious AI diseases like digestive and muscular skeletal).
I really hope these blogs find those in need of light. Healing is available to you when you are ready to heal your whole-self. Don’t focus just on the weight, or just the hair loss, or just the fatigue. Dig deep, learn to love yourself and you will be set free of the symptoms, but also so much more. I promise.
I challenge you to make a list of action items that your intuition is guiding you to try to begin your own healing. Start small. Don’t pressure or beat your self up. Baby steps with love, are still steps.
Happiest healing, loves!
Want more? Look for my healing workshops coming in 2017. Join the mailing list at the top of this web page to stay tuned for details.