A little bit of background:
For those of you who may not know, I am a thyroid cancer survivor. On 10.17.13 at 22 years old I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer. On 11.4.13 at the City of Hope in
California I had a full #thyroidectomy , 10 lymph nodes and a parathyroid removed. I then had my first dose of Radioactive iodine on 1.18.14. I’ve had two full body scans since and so far cancer has learned that it messed with the wrong chic and as of right now for my current treatment plan I just need a neck ultrasounds once a year and labs every 3 months until I get my TSH levels where my endocrinologist wants it!
Weight loss and fitness is an ongoing journey and anyone on this path knows that it takes hard work and dedication. When you have your thyroid removed, hormone imbalance, or any other adversity, this path to fitness and mental and physical health gets to be very challenging. After I lost my thyroid to cancer I fell into a depression and had a hard time balancing out my hormones and coming out on top. I gained around 60 pounds, ended and I was so miserable and felt at my lowest point in life. I was also trying to finish college at the time and ended a very unhealthy relationship all during my senior year (PS I graduated this no delays!!) A couple years went by and I struggled to adjust to the hormone replacement therapy. It wasn’t until around February this year (2016) I was able to make a huge change in my life and I am now happier than I’ve ever been! I attribute my transformation to The Camp Transformation Center Program, they really changed my life.
Its a lifestyle change:
If you are struggling to lose weight or are looking to improve your health there is one key
thing you need to understand: this is a mental battle as much as it is physical. You need to me 110% mentally, physically, and emotionally committed to make changes in your life. What I did wasn’t a diet, I changed my habits and gained a new perspective.
How to get started:
- What are your goals?You need to ask yourself ” what do I want out of this change that I am going to be making?”. Whether its loosing 25lbs, being able to run in a race, or fitting into your “skinny clothes”, or feeling good about yourself… you need to understand what is triggering the need for change.
- Write down those goalsIf it’s in writing you will hold yourself accountable and have a better self commitment to achieving those goals. Also sharing these goals with family/friends or posting on Social media is an even better way to help with accountability
- Understand why you haven’t had success in the past/ any adversities you need to overcomeWhether its because you haven’t fully committed yourself in the past or something like being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, understanding why you haven’t had progress in the past is important part of learning.
For my fellow THYCA (thyroid cancer) warriors
I am going to be 110% real, this isn’t going to be easy, but I PROMISE you it will be work it! I can whole heartedly tell you I was miserable
and exhausted when I had my thyroidectomy. I was depressed, emotional, and I felt like a overinflated water-balloon. I lost my confidence and felt like I was just “existing” and lost who I was. I slept and cried more the 2 years after my surgery than a newborn baby because of my hormone balance! But one day I realized if I am going to feel exh
no matter what, I might as well be exhausted from the gym as well.
The “diet” part
This is the most common topic I get messages on email, IG, and Facebook about. The way I see it is in two phases.
Part 1: Changes to hit your Goal – This is my guidelines I follow until I hit my goal
- Portion control– I found out i was eating way to much carbs and not enough protein in my diet. I used a scale and prepped my meals ahead of time until I had a better understaning of how my potions should look:
- Carbs: Women 2 0z/ Men 3 oz
- Protein: Women 4 0z/ Men 6oz
- Eat to fuel –What if the best and most nutritious foods to assist you in your goals? for example: Yes I know cumber didn’t make me fat but could I eat other veggies that would benefit me more?
- Brussel Sprouts
- Carbs – no instant or precooked!
- Sweet potato
- Rolled or steel cut oats
- Chicken breasts
- 99% lean ground turkey
- NO alchohol
- NO Dairy
- NO Sugar
- NO Fruit
- NO Processed foods, candy, chocolate…
- Veggies not on the list can be used in moderation as toppings
Because you are not eating healthy fats during this time I would recommend you take EFA’s (essential fatty acids) and Multivitamins.
I prep my meals every Sunday for the following week M-F total of 10 meals. More about meal prep here
Part 2: Maintain
After you hit you goal, now what? Eating in part one isn’t sustainable long term. I was strict for 13 weeks straight with no cheating off the plan.
- Slowly incorporate some other foods back in such as black berries, non fat plain greek yogurt, avocado etc.
- Decide if you really need alcohol in your life – I have it on occasion but I waited a couple weeks to decide the “relationship” I wanted with it first.
- Everything in moderation
- Stay away from processed foods as much as possible -breads, pasta, and other foods that you don’t “need”
- Sugar, desserts, and other sweets in general indulge on occasion not on a regular basis.
- Eat like part 1 80% of the time, clean 15 %, and enjoy other items 5% of your diet.
The Camp program had me going 0-100 real quick with the workout routine, and by that I mean I went from casually working out to full force hour long workouts 5 times a week so you can imagine I was exhausted!
- Be consistent
We all have those weeks that we workout super hard and then drop off the bandwagon. Set realistic and obtainable workout times. Set a goal for the time you are going to spend and the number of days per week and gradually increase. Once these days are set do not deviate away from the plan and be sure to hold yourself accountable.
2. Plan your workouts
Don’t just show up at the gym and hope that you figure out what to do there. Its not a good use of your time and its not effective. Search Pinterst or follow Instagram accounts that post workout videos to help educate yourself and come up with workout ideas. YouTube is a great tool for learning workouts too!
Favorite websites for workouts:
3. Mix it up
Most people love the machines because they have little pictures on how to do them and we are comfortable with them. There is so much more that you can do and for the best results its important to keep your body guessing on whats next!
- body weight (burpees, planks, pushups, squats ect.)
- free weight lifting
- resistant band training
- HIIT – High intensity Interval Training
- Cardio (treadmill interval training, stair master, swimming, bike, elliptical, etc.)
You have to want this. It will NEVER feel like a good time to start. For me weeks turned into months and then years past and I was just tired of being tired and unhappy. If you want results you need to understand that this is a lifestyle change which isn’t a quick fix, its a long term solution to a happier and healthier you. Everyone can always eat a little bit healthier and increase activity. Like I said in the beginning, this is a mental battle! Surround your self with positive people. Thats one of the biggest issues I had years ago. But now have have my fiancé, friends, swolemate, and family who I have involved from the beginning who help keep me accountable and cheer me on!
I wish you the best of luck and success on your path to heath and fitness!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, registered dietitian, or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness, and life—not to dole out advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, do your research and talk to your doctor.