19 Nov 2015
Why Can’t I Lose Weight??? Could it be My Thyroid?
When I talk with women who are experiencing unexplained weight gain, one of the first questions that comes up is, “Could it be my thyroid?”
Thyroid hormones play a huge role in regulating metabolism and how the body uses nutrients. And as we age, the thyroid can get sluggish. Hypothyroidism is sneaky and experts say that undiagnosed thyroid disease is an epidemic, especially among women.
Research shows that even small changes in thyroid function can cause weight gain. In fact, many women who have been told their thyroid test results are “normal” may still have a reduced thyroid function that’s enough to cause weight gain and other bothersome symptoms. Unexpected weight gain and difficulty losing weight may be one of the first noticeable signals that something’s amiss.
Making good nutrition and supplementation a consistent part of your life is the most effective way to support your thyroid. Many of us spend much of our lives dieting in a yo-yo cycle of feasting or fasting. This is NOT consistency and leads to a confused metabolism and more weight gain.
Here’s how you can help support your thyroid:
- Clean up your diet. Whole foods are best. Take a high quality multivitamin-mineral supplement that includes iodine and selenium. These 2 are powerful thyroid supporters. Also look for zinc, iron, and copper.
- Eat your meals and snacks at regular times, and be sure to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Missing meals or snacks can stress your thyroid.
- Include protein at every meal, as well as fiber for breakfast and lunch. Remember that good sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables, not just grains.
- Completely eliminate gluten, sugar/sweeteners, alcohol, and junk food. These ingredients can interfere with healthy thyroid function.
- Learn which foods contain thyroid-suppressing compounds known as “goitrogens” — including cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you suspect thyroid problems, steam or cook these vegetables to reduce or eliminate the goitrogens. Bonus: these foods also help lower estrogen levels if that’s an imbalance you struggle with.
If you haven’t had a recent thyroid evaluation, it may be time to get tested. Blood tests are the best way to do this. A COMPLETE thyroid panel will include a TSH, free T3, free T4, TPO and reverse T3 measurements. Ask your provider about getting all of these. Many lab panels include ONLY a TSH and that’s not enough for a complete evaluation.
Make sure you know your numbers. Don’t settle for “everything’s normal”. In 2002, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) lowered the normal range for TSH to 0.3-2.5. Most docs don’t know this and are still using the old, pre-2002 range. Laboratories too. If your TSH is over 2.5 and you’re are having symptoms such as hair loss, depression, constipation, fatigue, and dry skin (along with weight gain), talk to your health care provider about trying a low dose of thyroid replacement medication.
Got questions about thyroid problems? Post them in the Hormone Harmony Club on Facebook and I’ll be happy to answer them.
About Dr. Anna
Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.
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