Many people with thyroid conditions have difficulty losing weight. This mainly pertains to those people who have a hypothyroid disorder, although it does occasionally hinder those who have a hyperthyroid condition as well. In either case, there are three primary reasons why many people with a thyroid condition have difficulty losing weight:
Reason #1: They Eat the Wrong Foods. This of course is the area that most people who are overweight focus on, as without question restricting the number of calories can help you to lose weight. But just playing the “calorie game” often times isn’t enough, as if you restrict calories but still eat unhealthy foods, then you still may have difficulty losing weight and/or keeping any weight you lose off. Of course many people don’t really know what “healthy foods” consist of, and it can become even more confusing trying to find out by reading books or surfing the internet. And since most medical doctors don’t learn too much about nutrition in medical school, they too frequently won’t be able to recommend an ideal “thyroid diet”.
Speaking of which, I recently wrote an article entitled “My Personal Thyroid Diet”, and for those who found this to be a little too strict I wrote a“Modified Thyroid Diet” that you can follow. But when you really think about it, understanding which foods are considered healthy really isn’t too difficult a task. It makes sense that whole foods are the best choice, rather than the refined foods and sugars that most people consume. And whenever possible, it’s also a good idea to try eating organic foods, as not only are they free of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other toxins, but unlike non-organic whole foods, they also aren’t depleted of the nutrients that you need for optimal health.
Reason #2: They Don’t Exercise Enough. Another reason why people with thyroid conditions have difficulty losing weight is because many don’t exercise enough. While lack of motivation is definitely one of the reasons behind this, another common reason is lack of energy. Many people with thyroid conditions would like to exercise regularly, but don’t have the energy to do so. In some cases the person will need to have other lifestyle factors addressed before they have the energy to exercise.
For example, simply improving one’s diet can help improve one’s energy levels. It is no surprise that a person who eats a lot of refined foods and/or skips meals frequently becomes fatigued. Eating refined foods and going long periods of time without eating, including skipping breakfast, all can impact your blood sugar levels, which in turn will affect your mood and energy levels. This also can interfere with getting quality sleep, which obviously can also decrease your energy levels.
So if you don’t have the energy to exercise, try to eliminate the refined foods from your diet, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, and eat regularly throughout the day. I realize that for some it might be challenging to make these changes right away, and so I’m not suggesting that you have to make these dramatic changes overnight. But if you want to restore your health back to normal, lose weight, and eventually feel great, changing your diet is the first place to start.
For those that do have the energy to exercise regularly, try to engage in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three to five days out of the week. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, you definitely will want to consult with a medical doctor first just to rule out any serious health issues other than your thyroid condition, just as a precaution to make sure it’s okay to engage in such exercise. Assuming this isn’t a problem, many people will need to begin slowly, perhaps doing some brisk walking for five to ten minutes each day, and then adding one minute per day, or every few days, until they build up the stamina to walk 30 minutes straight.
Of course there are other things you can do besides walking, as swimming is a great way to exercise as well. If you have a gym membership you can use an elliptical machine, treadmill, or stationary bike. My personal favorite is the rowing machine, although I will admit that initially it took a couple of months before I had the stamina to use this machine for 30 minutes nonstop.
Reason #3: They Have One Or More Hormone Imbalances. A third reason why people with thyroid conditions have difficulty losing weight is because many have a hormonal imbalance. And I’m not just talking about the imbalance regarding thyroid hormone, but other hormonal imbalances that can make it almost impossible to lose weight, no matter how well you eat or how much you exercise.
First of all, your eating habits can affect the hormones cortisol and insulin in your body, which in turn can make it difficult to lose weight. When you eat refined foods and/or skip meals, this causes a surge in the hormone cortisol, which will increase the blood sugar levels in the body. This in turn will cause the body to release the hormone insulin. While eating refined foods or skipping meals occasionally isn’t too big of a deal, doing this on a regular basis will put a lot of stress on the hormonal system, and eventually can lead to insulin resistance.
And someone who is in insulin resistance will find it almost impossible to lose weight, even through dieting and exercise. Of course another risk is that such a condition can eventually develop into diabetes. Either way, the goal of a natural endocrine doctor will be to correct such hormone imbalances to make it easier for you to lose weight, and to prevent other conditions such as diabetes from developing.
In addition to the hormones insulin and cortisol, many people with a thyroid disorder also have a condition called estrogen dominance. This involves an imbalance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and if this isn’t corrected, then once again, losing weight will be extremely difficult, if not impossible to achieve. In order to diagnose this, a male or female hormone panel is required. The good news is that correcting estrogen dominance isn’t too difficult when following a natural treatment protocol.
In summary, someone with a thyroid condition who has difficulty losing weight and/or keeping it off needs to look at all three of these factors. Most people focus on the first two factors I have discussed, but not paying attention to the third one can make losing weight a very frustrating and even a depressing process.
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