my daily health routine…since you asked for it

Posted on June 27th, 2014

Gosh, we’re really getting down to the rats and mice of my life here…but I’ve been getting too many emails from you asking how I order my wellness habits to ignore the topic much longer. I’m no expert (on anything much), but I have taken consulting of experts on this topic to pedantic levels and have a thing or two I can share with you. As always I share as an invite, not as a didactic instruction!


Jumping into my day (awkwardly) with 20-40 minutes of exercise (outdoors as often as possible).

I’m a big fan of having very regular morning movements. (Ablution entendres not really intended.) I’ve written about the benefits of having a morning routine before. It’s the one thing about 80 per cent of the health experts I’ve interviewed, from HH The Dalai Lama to Oprah’s life coach, have in common.

1. When I wake up

* I wake at 6.30am or so… naturally. I scrape my tongue (an Ayurvedic practice) and clean my teeth.

* I drink 1 litre hot water with lemon juice while I make my breakfast and lunch.

* I take my thyroxin and then I potter (listening to news radio) while I drink…and, let’s be frank, hang about until nature calls.

* I drink 100ml of kombucha. This gives me a little spark to get through until breakfast.

* I tend to ablutions and head straight out the door to do exercise.

2. Exercise and meditation


* Me, I do something every day, even on thyroidy days and days when I’ve had no sleep. I just scale it back if I’m feeling crap. The “doing it every day” bit is what counts. Deciding whether I should exercise or not is not an option; less options in the morning is very key. Studies show we have limited decision-making energy and that it’s best to “auto pilot” our mornings as much as possible so we can eliminate as many angsty choices.

* I don’t do fuss. I carry only a key – down my bra or in a small pocket in my shorts. Equipment just bogs you down and acts as a disincentive (“Where’s my water bottle?! Oh, darn, look, now I don’t have time to go for a jog”). Read more

Are you future-anxious or a past-fretter?

Posted on June 24th, 2014

I have a theory. There are two types of people in this world: those whose anxiety is primarily based around fretting about what has been, and those who worry about what’s yet to come.

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The former suffer from regrets, remorse and obsess over what they should have done. They hang on and find it hard to move on.

The latter can let the past go (“what is done is done”), but tie themselves up in knots over all the things they need to do and whether they’re doing enough. They’re forever trying to map out – and preempt – all possible scenarios. They grasp at certainties and obsess about the unknown.

Me, I’m firmly in the latter camp. I think this tendency sets you up to be more anxious, as opposed to depressed. I think future-anxiety creates agitation – there’s nothing to “anchor” your angst to. It’s like bobbing for apples – all grasping forward, fretting, flaying about. The certainties we try to grasp, of course, simply don’t exist, or shape-shift as soon as we grasp at them.

In contrast, I know lots of people who are past-fretters and they tend to get very heavy with their fretting. Looking back slows you down, and depression can easily follow.

Now, in general I tend to veer toward a Kierkegaardian framework for anxiety. I do, in fact, see it as tied up in a broader existential search for meaning. As with all human predicaments, I believe anxiety serves a social or evolutionary purpose. Kierkegaard sees anxiety as the very human condition that moves us forward from being mere animals. Worrying about the future has seen us form contingencies and improve Read more

How to deal with AutoImmune Disease: Hypothyroid Mum tackles constipation!

Posted on June 19th, 2014

You might call me a coward for handing this particularly sticky subject over to someone else to cover. I promise it’s not shame. It’s more that this particular blogger – Dana Trentini at – has done such a great job of covering it that it made sense. OK? Dana lost her unborn baby to hypothyroidism and set out on a mission to build awareness on the topic. Her blog tackles all the fun tricky stuff. Like constipation.

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The interesting thing is that, in hindsight, it was her constipation that signalled her thyroid disorder and Dana’s big message today is that if you have chronic constipation you need to get your thyroid tested. And you need to get on top of your constipation. Her suggestion comes with a warning – at 33, following her Dad’s colon cancer diagnosis (routine colonoscopies are not advised until we’re over 50), she went in for a colonoscopy herself. They found a huge polyp, diverticulosis pouches in the wall of her colon and an internal haemorrhoid, all caused by lifelong constipation, all caused by thyroid issues. Although which comes first is hard to say. For me, it doesn’t too much matter as the management plan is the same for both.

While we’re talking about me… I, too, suffer from the same affliction and was lucky enough to undergo a colonoscopy last year that found – and removed – a cancerous polyp. I now know I need to test for (and tackle) this health issue. It’s pretty much the last frontier of my ongoing management of my thyroid issues. I’ll write more on this soon, just as I’ve promised to write more on my menstrual issues. All of which will definitely help my dating prospects!! For now, some wisdoms from the most cerebrally unclogged Dana…

The hypothyroidism and constipation connect

Constipation is one of the classic signs of an under-active thyroid. Without enough thyroid hormones many of the body’s functions slow down. Muscles line the digestive tract, including the small and large intestines. Theses muscles contract to move the stool through the intestine to the rectum. Hypothyroidism can weaken the contraction of these muscles causing the stool to move too slowly.

Looking back I’ve suffered from hypothyroidism symptoms including chronic constipation ever since I can remember. When I landed in the emergency room during a vacation from severe constipation, my thyroid was NOT tested. Even when my colon Read more