We are going to talk about hypothyroidism and excess weight and how to lose it, because thyroid problems are by no means uncommon. It is a problem that many women suffer from and overcome when it comes to diet and weight loss.
In fact, women, especially those over 60, are likely to have problems with the thyroid gland that can lead to weight gain, joint pain, and heart disease.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is insufficient and does not produce enough important hormones that your body needs, and that not only can contribute to obesity, but can also make it difficult to lose weight.
Although it can be difficult, shedding a few pounds can help improve the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and lifestyle changes can help increase thyroid function without medication.
There are many ways to lose excess weight. Here we'll give you expert scientific advice based on research, studies, and decades of experience to help you lose weight if you have hypothyroidism.
What is hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to be underactive. According to the American Thyroid Association, it does not produce enough of the hormone to keep your body functioning at a reasonable rate.
The condition is caused by an autoimmune disease, by surgically removing the thyroid, or by radiation treatment of the area. It can also be caused by iodine deficiency, but this is typically not a problem as we add iodine to our table salt.
Having a thyroid problem is not uncommon. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists says that 27 million people in the US alone have thyroid disease, and eight out of ten are women.
Although the exact cause of the disease is unknown, pregnancy may be a contributing factor, and 18 percent of women will have postpartum problems with their thyroid.
What are the signs of hypothyroidism
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be difficult to identify. Because hormones regulate so many major functions in the body, the signs of the disease can be mild and far-reaching.
If you have hypothyroidism, you are likely to experience one or more of the following symptoms:
· Fatigue or drowsiness
· Humor changes
· Memory loss
· Weight gain
· Depression and irritability
· Joint pain and stiffness
· Colic and muscle pain
· Muscular weakness
· Decreased perspiration
· Changes in blood pressure
· High cholesterol
· Swelling of the legs
· Blurry vision
· Intolerance to low temperatures
· Heavy menstruation
· Dry skin and hair
· Hair loss
If you have the symptoms of hypothyroidism, the first step is to visit your doctor. They can run a series of tests to check your TSH levels, which will indicate if you have too little of the hormone in your system.
From there, you will have several treatment options to help manage the condition. In many cases, treating the condition will inherently help you lose weight, but it's important to make lifestyle changes as well for the greatest impact.
How to lose excess weight if you have hypothyroidism
There are several factors that contribute to weight gain when you have hypothyroidism. Here we are going to examine the top five, and give you suggestions that you can take to your doctor or incorporate into your daily life to see weight loss success.
The first test your doctor should run if he thinks you have a thyroid problem is one to check your TSH levels. If the high levels return again, your doctor will diagnose hypothyroidism and will likely prescribe a medication to treat the condition.
However, according to experts, there is a change or movement in the ranges that you should try to achieve with treatment. While the gold standard is that a level above 5.0 is considered possible hypothyroidism, some experts believe that this range is too wide and should be reduced from 0.3 to 3.0.
If you are being treated for the disease, and you are having difficulty losing excess weight, ask your doctor to tell you your exact TSH level. If you are on the higher end of the range, you may need to reach a lower TSH level to see the best results.
Increase your metabolism
The metabolic set point is like the happy place on your body as it relates to weight. Most people can maintain their weight, and although they may fluctuate a few pounds, they find that their body will return to a set point with little effort.
If you have hypothyroidism, you likely also have a chronically slow metabolism. This can happen over time as the disease progresses, and will impact your metabolic set point.
For example, a healthy woman who weighs 77 kilos and 1.67 meters tall may be able to maintain her weight at 2,500 calories per day. However, the same woman with hypothyroidism may have a significantly slower metabolism, which means that she will have to take in fewer calories to maintain her weight.
To counteract these effects, make lifestyle changes to increase your metabolism. A great way to speed up your body's ability to burn calories is to add daily exercise.
The three types of activity that are metabolism boosters are strength training, interval training, or stationary cardio. Aim for at least 30 minutes five days a week to help you lose fat and further boost your weight loss efforts.
Eat for health and lose excess weight
Research shows links between insulin, leptin, and thyroid disease. What this means is that your body may have a hard time processing sugary or high-carbohydrate foods, and you may not experience normal hunger and satiety signals.
There are two ways to handle these challenges. First of all, make sure your daily diet includes plenty of healthy foods. Things like vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, and whole grains give your body the fuel and nutrients it needs in a form that is easy to digest. Limit your consumption of high-sugar and high-fat foods, and try to eliminate as many processed treatments as possible.
Second, manage your hunger and blood sugar levels by eating four to six, but smaller, meals throughout the day. By eating every two to three hours, make sure you don't have spikes in blood sugar that can lead to uncontrollable hunger and overeating.
Be your own lawyer
While thyroid problems can be common, there are many different schools of thought on how to best treat them. If you are working with your doctor, but you do not see the results you expect from your treatment protocol, change things.
You are the best advocate for your health, so it is important to take control and get the answers you deserve and relief from the symptoms of your illness.
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