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Improving My Life with Hashimoto’s 1% At a Time

1% Better

Improving My Life With Hashimoto's 1% At a Time

My Story

Like millions of others, I suffered silently with unexplainable health symptoms for years that were getting progressively worse.

Like millions of others, I silently battled to function normally until I no longer could.  All the while doctors telling me I was “fine.” I certainly looked “fine,” but inside I felt anything but “fine.”

I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in January of 2018. I was told the symptoms I was experiencing were simply a part of my new life.

My endocrinologist told me there was nothing I could do for my Hashimoto’s. It would get progressively worse until I needed to be on medicine for the rest of my life.  I was 36 at the time.

Like many, many others, I walked out of my doctor’s office that day with a determination I did not know I had and with one word echoing through my mind, “No.” No, this is not how my story ends. No, I will not give up trying to find wellness.

Since there is no cure for autoimmune disease, I knew the only way I could feel better overnight was through the grace of God. I prayed for healing, and asked for religious blessings. No overnight healing came.

What did come? A sense of peace, inspiration, and knowing I needed to have this experience.  I knew that this trial was custom made for me – to learn, to grow, to love deeper, to appreciate more fully, and to connect with others.

What also came? An idea.

1% Better

I knew there was no cure, and I knew immediate healing, in my case, was not God’s will.  I knew chances are I would not feel 100% better overnight.

What if I change my life through changing the habits that led me to developing an autoimmune disease and watching my wellness unravel?

What if I could identify many little changes in my life that each help me feel 1% better? Then, added together, over time, I could feel 20% better, then 30% better, then 40% better, and so on. So that’s what I did.  I started almost a year ago. 

I overhauled my nutrition, I learned to manage my stress, I developed better sleep habits, and so on.

The good news?  What I did is not rocket science. In fact, what I did is surprisingly simple. 

Not easy, but simple. 

Anyone can do it. 

I adopted several small wellness habits in my life, and repeated them daily.

Over and over and over again.

When I did not see results immediately, and I felt like giving up, I put my head down and went back to work. I kept repeating the little habits day after day, and would add more as I felt inspired to.

What did I find? Eventually those little changes I made, had a big impact on my health and wellness.

I no longer live daily with autoimmune symptoms.

No, I am not cured.

Yes, I still find myself in autoimmune flares occasionally. However, most of the time, I feel 30%, 40%, 50%, and even 60% better.

If I can do it, anyone can!

The Research

I was reading the life changing book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear and was thrilled when I started reading about this very concept.  He shared the story of the British Cycling team, and how they went from mediocrity to record setting world champions by making small improvements, that when combined turned into incredible results.

“It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.  Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.[…]  Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable – sometimes it isn’t even noticeable – but can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run.  The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding.  Here’s how the math works out:  if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.  Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero.  What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.” James Clear, Atomic Habits, page 15

I have seen this in my own life, both as my health declined over the years, and as my health has improved over the past year.  I feel confident I feel at least 37 times better than I did this time last year. 

My 1% Changes

What small changes did I make in my life over the past year to find wellness?  Here are examples of some of the small habits that helped me feel better over time.


I stopped worrying about making “lifetime” changes, and instead focused on one meal or snack at a time.  Clean meal after clean meal after clean meal.  Ironically, I ended up changing my entire lifestyle into a clean eating lifestyle by taking it one bite at a time.

Improving My Life With Hashimoto's

Food Prep

I learned how to prepare food and meals ahead of time to set my healthy eating choices up for success. 

I did not read or study how to.  I simply thought about the foods I like to eat, and how I could make it easier on myself the following day.  For example, if I wash and cut strawberries today, that will make it easier to grab a snack tomorrow when I am hungry.

Dry Brushing

I learned that dry brushing was great for detoxifying by increasing blood circulation and encouraging lymph flow/drainage. 

It only took me a few minutes to learn how to dry brush, and the small habit takes only a few minutes each day.

Oil Pulling

I learned that oil pulling improves gum health and reduces inflammation by drawing out toxins and reducing bacteria.  I learned how to oil pull in a few minutes, and added it to my morning routine.

Epsom Salt Baths

It takes just 10 minutes, and it helps relax muscles, loosen stiff joints, and lower stress.  I love to add Lavender essential oil which has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful in lowering stress and treating anxiety, insomnia, and depression.


Meditating everyday has been a game changer for me. 

Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness, lengthen attention span, reduce age-related memory loss, and more.


My body was too sick to continue my intense workouts, so I chose to walk outside instead. 

It was not pretty at first, but I slowly improved over time.  Over the period of several months, I went from walking 1/4 mile at a snail’s pace, stopping for breaks, to walking 3 miles a day at a good pace. It was not overnight, but I improved 1% at a time.

Setting Boundaries

Learning to say “no,” allowing myself time and space to heal, and being realistic with my schedule, and my family’s schedule.

Avoiding Over Scheduling

In today’s fast paced world, there are endless kids activities, sports, and academic extracurricular activities. 

As a mom, I used to feel pressure to have my kids involved in everything.  It was exhausting for me, and for them. 

Now, I am conscious about over scheduling, and create time for our family to just be home together.

1% At a Time

Today I am not sure the exact % I feel better, and it depends on the day, but it is more than I hoped for. It took time, patience, and determination.

Am I 100% better?  Not yet.  I am still working on it. It may be a lifelong pursuit.

Let’s work on improving our health together.

Let’s raise our voices and let our autoimmune sisters know there is a way to feel better.

Let’s love, support, and cheer each other on.  This is tough stuff.  We all need each other.

Whatever autoimmune disease or chronic illness you have, wherever you live, whatever you believe, I am here for you. 

You do not have to do this alone. 

Please know you can reach out to me through email, a comment, or Instagram.  I love to connect.

You’ve got this.  Take it 1% at a time.

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Comments (13)

Love this blog! It is so so relatable. So proud of you for taking your control back. You are an inspiration!

Thank you so much Whitney! I so appreciate your support and encouragement.

I came across your blog today, and let me tell you, that 1% truly caught my attention. I have been ill since October 2017. What started as recurrent Ebstein Barr Virus, has turned into endless testing and doctors visits. I finally found a Functional/Naturopath Doctor who is helping me in my journey. We test my Throid tomorrow and I really hope we find answers soon. I am a mom, wife, teacher, and coach and honestly I struggle to be any of those anymore. My life has changed so drastically. I find myself mourning the ‘old me’. I thank you for your words of encouragement. Here’s to a journey of health!

Hi Elizabeth, I am so glad my words resonated with you. It’s wonderful that you found a doctor who is helping you find answers! I feel you so much when you shared that you struggle to be a mom, wife, teacher, and coach. I was there too. Once I started on my journey, I felt worse before I felt better, but every effort and sacrifice has paid off more than I could have imagined. You so got this. I would love it if you keep me posted, and please reach out if you need any support or a listening ear. It’s a tough process, and can feel so lonely but there are SO many of us here to support you, cheer you on, and lift you up. Sending you lots of positivity, love, and support!

I just read through many of your posts. I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto. I started the AIP and have been on it for 2 weeks. I’m incredibly overwhelmed but feel not quite so alone. Thank you.

Hi Jessica! I am sorry to hear that you have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. But GREAT JOB on starting the AIP and congrats on hitting the 2 week mark! It is 100% normal to feel overwhelmed!! I promise it WILL get easier. I remember feeling the same way, and can hardly believe how far I’ve come. You’re doing GREAT, and please reach out if you ever need a listening ear, encouragement, support, or just a friend. I’m here for you! You are not alone. HUGS!

thanks for sharing your experience. There’s always hope and yea take it 1% at a time. More power!

You’re welcome! I agree, there is always hope! Thank you!

I finally made time to stop and read through some of your posts, which I am so thankful I did. I was diagnosed with euthyroid Hashimoto’s in July of 2016. I’ve followed a paleo lifestyle ever since, but recently have had rapid weight gain, fatigue, etc creep in. I was advised to start the AIP to see if that might give me some relief. I’m very discouraged, which I know you get, but I cannot turn back. I’m already so restricted that I’m quite fearful of what this next step will look like. Praying for wisdom, and blessings over this journey. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing the not so pretty stuff. It helps me so much to not feel so alone.

Hi Amanda, I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you for sharing a piece of your story with me. My heart goes out to you, and I relate to your feelings of discouragement and fear. I remember when I started AIP how determined I was and stubborn I felt…I wanted to prove my doctor wrong and show that I can find relief and feel better through diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, I feel the heavy fear of so many “what if’s?” I also felt frustration in the situation. I can honestly look back now with such a grateful heart. I’ve grown in ways I could not have imagined. Eating AIP is second nature to me now, and I am so happy eating this way. It took time, but what started out feeling incredibly restrictive and overwhelming now feels freeing. It took time, consistency, patience, and getting through that VERY difficult initial phase. I know that if I can do it, ANYONE can. I believe in you, and am sending you so much love and support. It may not feel like it right now, but you’ve SO got this Amanda! You are not alone. Reach out to me anytime! HUGS! PS – remember it’s okay to FEEL the difficulty and discouragement and fear and frustration…just don’t let it paralyze you or stop you from continuing on your journey. 😉

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