I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease 6 years ago this month. For the last 6 years, I have had my ups and downs with various symptoms, related to my digestion, memory, energy, activity levels, mood and emotions. I have been working hard to keep myself up from falling back into the black hole where if I let go of myself, I’ll suffer from major weight issues, fatigue, laziness and depression.
I work hard to avoid this pitfall by paying close attention to my diet, working out every day, making extra effort to keep focused and on track. If I didn’t have AI, I wouldn’t be this passionate about my own and my family’s health. Giving a lot of though about my journey, I eventually concluded, having an autoimmune disease is a blessing in disguise, despite all the struggles. Here are the reasons why:
- My and my family’s health became my priority. When you determine your priorities, it’s easier to keep on track with the items that are at the top of your list. You’ll find time for the things that you definitely “must” do. If you cannot “find” the time, then you will “create” the time for it. You will not make up excuses. It’s all mental. I can give up, avoid or refuse anything that will not serve my and my family’s health, without any hesitation, now that health is my priority.
- I eat healthier than any other time of my life. First, I gave up gluten containing grains. Then I started paleo diet and quit all grains, all processed food and made sure I buy grass-fed and free-range animal meat. I recently – 3 months ago – quit sugar, anything that has added sugar, even though they are labeled “healthy” for a reason or another. I saw the impact every time I improved my diet a notch. If I didn’t have AI to keep me on my toes, I would have eaten anything I pleased, including all the processed foods with chemicals and gmo which would harm my body in the long run.
- I use AI as an excuse to refuse unhealthy food. Being social and following a healthy diet does not go well together. Family and friends always question and criticize your healthy choices, insist that you don’t need to diet (I am just eating healthy people) and really really go overboard to make you eat that fried or sugar loaded food, because they think you crave for it. When you have AI, you can use your “oh, I have a health condition and these foods make me sick” card. No questions asked. And it does make me sick, I am not lying. Those foods make everyone sick, even though they might be aware.
- I push myself to stay active, fit and strong. My metabolism doesn’t work efficiently due to the inflammation of my thyroids. I have to exert external force to make it start working. That extra effort keeps my heart active, helps me gain muscle and burn fat. It also makes me feel energetic during the day. If I didn’t have AI, I would have slacked and not given my 100% unless I gained few pounds. Thanks to Hashimoto’s, I know keeping active everyday, paying attention to my heart rate and fat/muscle ratio are better metrics than the number on the scale.
- Sleep is my priority. I suffer from lack of focus, due to too many interests. I used to sacrifice from my sleep to get to the needless things that I had on my plate. Now I make sure that I go to bed early, on time and wake up early. Sleeping well helps with my metabolism, mental focus, memory and appetite as well.
- I am a better model to my children by eating well and staying active. Since I’ve started “working out everyday” 5 years ago, I make sure I work out with my kids around. I add physical activities I can do with my kids to my routine, such as yoga, biking, swimming, tennis etc. They see me improve my strength and flexibility with yoga and I believe it will make an impact on their life style choices in the future. I have seen my dad workout everyday when I was a kid which made and impact on me. Also, I do not buy junk and processed food and drinks at all. My children, even though lured and enticed by seeing ads and friends eating all the foods that are bad for them, are convinced when they see me and my husband eat healthy.
- I made great friends that are like minded during this journey. I met a number of friends who inspire me and enlighten me with their knowledge and experience. I keep my friends who are also focused on health and staying active nearby. Having this disease causes a selective attention if not a magnet to attract people who will inspire me and help me to improve my life.
- I am proud of myself for my efforts to stay strong. I know dealing with a chronic disease that doesn’t really have a cure is really hard. First of all, accepting the fact that you have to take a replacement hormone pill every morning is a big mental and emotional battle in itself. Second, choosing to stay strong against this disease instead of bickering, lamenting and accusing everything else other than self takes a lot of will power. I am proud of myself because during my 6 year journey, despite my fall backs, I pulled myself up stronger and more determined to get better, more active and eat healthier until I quit the last bad habit I have. This pride motivates me to be better in other areas in my life as well.
Last but not least, I try to help and inspire others with Hashimoto’s and other AI diseases by sharing information that has helped me and motivating them to give up their bad eating habits and staying active. If I can help one and only one person during this journey, my burden will get lighter.
You can read my posts on Hashimoto’s Disease here.