I want to cry when a client tells me she’s been shamed by a professional in her effort to lose weight. Sadly, I’ve heard terrible stories in my office. One client relayed that when a urine test indicated she wasn’t in a state of ketosis she was yelled at by her “Weight-loss Coach” who accused her of eating too many carrots. What the actual heck? No matter what, no one has the right to shame you. When it comes to weight loss can we please agree to drop the blame game?
Many of you reading this probably attribute your weight gain on a lack of willpower, eating too much, or not exercising enough, and what’s clear to me, especially now that I’ve hit the ‘pause years, is that hormone imbalance has much to do with stubborn weight gain. The good news is when you work with your hormones instead of against them you lose weight!
I’ve seen it over and over in my practice — once a woman’s imbalances are corrected, by the implementation of a solid, doable, action plan, those who were convinced they couldn’t lose weight actually do lose it. When you read my free E-book, 5 Must Hormone Fixes for Weight Loss, you’ll notice I don’t mention the Thyroid hormone. The reason is the Thyroid hormone is so complex it deserves a book of its own. For now allow me to briefly summarize the role of Thyroid hormone with regard to weight gain. It’s important to note that no hormone acts alone. They work synergistically and if one is off they’re all off.
One of the most prevalent causes of stubborn weight gain is suboptimal Thyroid hormone. If your Thyroid hormone is imbalanced you are fighting an uphill battle with your weight. Many times in my practice a client tells me she’s had her Thyroid hormone checked and the numbers are “normal”. But clearly her symptoms scream a low Thyroid problem.
- Depression and anxiety
- Dry skin – cracked heels
- Weight gain and/or an inability to lose weight
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Sensitivity to cold
- Recurrent infections
- Hair and eyebrow loss
According to women’s hormone health expert, Lorna Vanderhaeghe, “Twenty-three percent of the population is currently taking medication for low thyroid function. An additional 30 percent of women have low thyroid function that has not been diagnosed due to the inadequacy of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test. The range of “normal” for most TSH tests is 0.5 to 5.5 or 6.0 mIU/L. In order to be diagnosed at the doctor’s office with low thyroid, your TSH would have to be above 5.5mIU/L.”
What does this mean? It means there are a great many women walking around with symptoms of hypothyroidism who are not receiving proper treatment. The takeaway is this — if your TSH is above 2 and you are experiencing the symptoms I’ve just listed, it’s time to request further testing, and by that I mean T4, T3, or a reverse T3 test. If your doctor dismisses your concerns you may want to seek a second opinion.
Low Thyroid hormones cause physiological changes in both your body and brain. Even when your numbers are only slightly off your hunger and mood hormones are affected. These other hormones include serotonin and leptin. These physiological changes can lead to intense carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, belly fat accumulation, as well as a low energy and depressed mood.
If you are keen to nip these symptoms and weight gain in the bud there are solutions; and the sooner you begin addressing the issue the less likely you’ll continue on the path toward worsening thyroid imbalance and more weight gain.
Okay, so what helps?
Tyrosine: is an amino acid found in protein foods and supplements. It is used to make thyroid hormone.
High tyrosine foods include cheese, beef, lamb, pork, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains.
Sensoril Ashwagandha: is an herb used by Ayurvedic practitioners to support both the adrenal gland and the thyroid gland, which are inherently linked.
Guggal Extract and Selenium: both help the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 hormone.
Foods high in selenium include Brazil nuts, mushrooms, beef, and sunflower seeds.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B-5): is known to support the adrenal glands, increase energy, and help you better handle stress.
Foods high in B-5 include chicken livers, sunflower seeds, salmon, avocados, fruit, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Iodide (potassium iodide): is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Many North Americans, in efforts to avoid table salt and lower blood pressure, are often low in potassium iodide.
Foods rich in the mineral iodine include; eggs, raw nuts and seeds, seafood, sea vegetables, fresh fruits, and vegetables especially green peppers, pineapple, and raisins.
Stay tuned for more information regarding your Thyroid hormone. As mentioned before, no hormone works alone. The Thyroid hormone is one piece of a larger picture but hopefully these tips will get you started.
ONE FINAL NOTE: to heal your thyroid, please lay off those soy lattes! Soy foods can negatively affect us as they contain goitrogens, which cause a decrease in the absorption of iodine. (Fermented soy, such as tempeh, does not have the same effect.)