There has been a lot of talk lately about thyroid conditions leading to weight gain. This concept, which is somewhat true and somewhat false, became familiar to people after Oprah Winfrey referred to it on her show. She blamed her constant weight struggle on a thyroid condition, and subsequently, so did many women across the country. The truth is, there is a lot to learn about both thyroids and healthy diet plans before figuring out where to place your own blame.
The thyroid is a very important gland in your body because it produces hormones that direct metabolic processes. Two such metabolic processes are weight loss and weight gain. The gland is shaped like a butterfly and sits at the frontal base of the neck.
A slow thyroid, or hypothyroid, is characterized by ineffective functioning of its hormones. Hypothyroidism can develop in a number of ways, especially because several hormones work together in metabolic systems and can throw each other off. In addition to weight gain, possible symptoms of hypothyroidism include thick and swollen tongue, brittle and thinning hair, abnormally large thyroid gland, swollen or puffy under-eye area, slow heart rate, rough and flaky dry skin, hands and feet that are cold to the touch, persistent constipation, and low body temperature (under 97.8F).
A person who believes they might be experiencing weight gain due to hypothyroidism must also exhibit at least a few other symptoms. Of course, the only way to properly diagnose a slow thyroid is by seeing an endocrinologist or general practitioner. A professional will be able to discern whether or not other medical conditions are causing symptoms similar to those of hypothyroidism.
If the doctor does suspect a thyroid condition, the next step is a blood test. The doctor will be looking for elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels that produce an insufficient amount of T3 and T4. Scientists have warned that a 2.0 ml U/L measurement of TSH is considered subclinical hypothyroidism, a serious indication of classic hypothyroidism, even though the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists state that 0.3-3.0 ml U/L is a normal range.
In the case that normal TSH levels are found but several symptoms of hypothyroidism are present, a thyroid scan may be necessary to investigate suspicious structural abnormalities. Or, a doctor might check the level of free T4 hormone.
When it comes to diagnosis, there are two possibilities: overt hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism. Overt hypothyroidism is rather rare but, when diagnosed, is treated with thyroid hormone replacement through medication.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is more common. Its treatment is not pharmaceutical but nutritional. The key components in nutritional hypothyroidism treatment are iodine, selenium, and goitrogenic foods.
Iodine is found in fish, dairy, strawberries, iodized salt, sea vegetables, whole eggs, and molasses. Paying attention to iodine intake is important because iodine insufficiency is one of the main causes of hypothyroidism. Overall, iodine consumption has become lower over the years due to fears of mercury in fish, cholesterol in eggs, and too much salt in the diet.
Selenium, found in mushrooms, onions, grains, and brazil nuts, contributes to a normal-functioning thyroid. Goitrogenic foods, on the other hand, disrupt thyorid function. So, cruciferous vegetables, soy foods, and legumes should be avoided in the raw state, but cooking will destroy the detrimental tendencies of the food.
Now, let’s turn back to the issue of your weight gain. Between 1% and 10% of adults have sublicincal hypothyroidism. The most susceptible are women over 50 years old and people with low iodine diets. It is possible that you are one of these people, but for most of us, there are other reasons why we are gaining weight.
Check this list of ideal diet and exercise plans that lead to healthy weight loss that can be maintained. See if you comply with all of the suggestions:
Eat a whole foods, balanced diet. Eat regularly, never skipping meals. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, and sugar. Consume an adequate amount of EFAs (essential fatty acids) through food or supplement. Take a healthy and effective multivitamin. Sit less. Include weight training in a consistent exercise program.
If you are already following all of these healthy guidelines and still experiencing weight gain, then visiting a doctor to have your thyroid tested would be a prudent decision. If you are not implementing all of these healthy choices, it is time to make a lifestyle change.
First, meet with a registered dietician or certified nutritionist. They will learn about your eating habits and identify any nutritional insufficiencies so that you can learn how to eat a healthy diet for your body.
Second, meet with a personal trainer. This professional will show you how to get serious about working out hard and safe so that you build muscle, burn fat, and make it a lifestyle change.
Lastly, add a dietary supplement like Prograde’s new METABOLISM to your new healthy diet and exercise routine. This safe and effective product “exercises” your metabolism to burn even more calories and lose even more fat when you put in the effort to do so.
Remember, it is important to stick with every lifestyle change that you implement in this comprehensive plan. Your healthy weight loss will be a journey, not a sprint, but stick with Prograde Metabolism and your new lifestyle will be easy, effective, and lifelong.
Prograde has the answers to your diet and exercise questions.