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May the New Year bless you with health, wealth, and happiness.

Tips to Stick to Your New Year’s Health Resolutions

With the holiday season behind us, many of us shift our focus to New Year’s resolutions. While we all try to stick with those resolutions, most of us find that our initial motivation and commitment dwindles after the first few weeks. The challenge is to keep pushing through those moments of doubt. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and new habits take time to stick.

If you’re ready to make a change and get healthier this year, here are 10 tips to help you stick to (and achieve) your New Year’s goal:

1. Make sure your resolution is SMART

  • Specific: Keep your goal well-defined
  • Measurable: Make sure you can measure your progress towards your goal
  • Achievable: Your goal should be realistic
  • Relevant: Make sure you pick goals that you’re motivated to achieve and are relevant to your lifestyle
  • Timely: Set a deadline for your goal

    2. Keep it simple

    Focus on 1-2 specific goals so you’re not overwhelmed and have a higher chance of achieving those resolutions.

    3. Make a plan

    If you want to start eating healthy, do some research on healthy foods and plan a trip to the grocery store so you don’t have to grab whatever is on hand when you’re hungry.

    4. Avoid your past mistakes

    If your goal is similar to a resolution that failed in the past, take the time to figure out why you failed last time and try to find a better way that really works for you and your daily life. If you found that you can’t motivate yourself to carve out solo workouts, ask a friend or family member to join you and keep each other accountable.

    5. Take baby steps

    Set small, attainable goals and use the motivation of accomplishing your ‘mini-goals’ for your overall goal. If your goal is to get healthy this year, start by scheduling your annual wellness exam.  If you are starting a new exercise routine, don’t commit to five days a week right off the bat. Try to set aside two days a week and build from there.

    6. Build a support network

    Tell your doctor, friends, family, and loved ones about your goals and ask them to help keep you on track. If you are trying to avoid alcohol or tobacco, make plans with friends that support your goals – like going for a walk instead meeting for happy hour.

    7. Stay motivated

    If things get tough, don’t give up. Think back to your initial motivation. Remind yourself why you’re doing this and stay positive. Write down your health goals, track your progress with selfies – anything that keeps you going!

    8. Cut yourself some slack

    One doughnut or piece of cake won’t completely derail your path to eating healthy. Instead of deciding that you failed, focus on how you’ll do better tomorrow.

    9. Reward Yourself

    Celebrate your wins! Pamper yourself or do an activity you enjoy doing – just make sure you don’t choose a reward that puts your goals in danger.

    10. Track your progress

    Use a calendar or a journal to track your progress. When you visit your doctor, compare notes and together you can create a plan to keep you on track.  read more

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Thyroid Disease

Your thyroid creates and produces hormones that play a role in many different systems throughout your body. When your thyroid makes either too much or too little of these important hormones, it’s called a thyroid disease. There are several different types of thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is a small organ that’s located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe (trachea). It’s shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.

When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.

What does the thyroid do?

Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body — releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.

The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones — T4 (thyroxine, contains four iodide atoms) and T3 (triiodothyronine, contains three iodide atoms). These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.

This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.

What is thyroid disease?

Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired — it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families (inherited).

What common symptoms can happen with thyroid disease?

There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid condition are often very similar to the signs of other medical conditions and stages of life. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely.

For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups — those related to having too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and those related to having too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can include:

Experiencing anxiety, irritability and nervousness.

Having trouble sleeping.

Losing weight.

Having an enlarged thyroid gland or a goiter.

Having muscle weakness and tremors.

Experiencing irregular menstrual periods or having your menstrual cycle stop.

Feeling sensitive to heat.

Having vision problems or eye irritation.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can include:

Feeling tired (fatigue).

Gaining weight.

Experiencing forgetfulness.

Having frequent and heavy menstrual periods.

Having dry and coarse hair.

Having a hoarse voice.

Experiencing an intolerance to cold temperatures.

How is thyroid disease treated?

Your healthcare provider’s goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.

If you have high levels of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism), treatment options can include:

Anti-thyroid drugs (methimazole and propylthioracil): These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.

Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.

Beta blockers: These medications don’t change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.

Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid (thyroidectomy). This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.

If you have low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), the main treatment option is:

Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic (man-made) way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug that’s commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.  Read more 

As always, Empowered Healing leads to Empowered Health, resulting in an Empowered YOU!