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Shedding kilos with underactive thyroid is possible

You’ve been eating less and exercising more but the scales haven’t budged. Your thyroid blood test is normal, but you are not. Getting an underactive thyroid diagnosis can be a long and tedious journey. Often symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and mood swings are overlooked or dismissed as hormonal imbalances, menopause, anxiety or depression. Cutting calories or antidepressants are not the answer. Thyroid experts know that blood tests are not an accurate indicator of whether your thyroid is struggling or your metabolism is impaired. 

Many hypothyroid patients are told their TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is in the normal range, while other thyroid hormones such as Free T3 and T4, or thyroid antibodies are usually not tested. These may be out of range which is why you may be finding it hard to lose weight. 

A clinical assessment of symptoms and reflexes is a far better indicator of how your thyroid is performing than blood tests. Global Health Clinics offer testing and a follow-up consultation with recommendations on how you can optimise your thyroid function and manage your weight.

Weight gain with an underactive thyroid is often the result of:

  • Inadequate thyroid hormone, poor thyroid hormone conversion or the wrong type of thyroid medication
  • Impaired gut health, poor nutrient absorption, food intolerances and inflammation
  • Chronic physical, emotional and psychological stress resulting in adrenal fatigue
  • Low calorie diets or inadequate intake of protein
  • Lack of sleep/insomnia

Once you know how your thyroid is performing you are on your way to improving your wellbeing and managing your weight. An Cell Wellbeing Assessment at Global Health Clinics will help you discover more about your food absorption and your adrenal system which go hand in hand with your thyroid performance, so for the optimal results its recommended to book for both tests.

A healthy diet of organic vegetables, high quality protein and good fats like avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil is beneficial. Consider adding a protein shake with a plant-based protein. This will stop you from reaching for sugar, coffee and alcohol, rebalance your blood sugar, energy and brain chemistry. You will be satiated and you won’t need to count calories which can stress the thyroid further and lead to more weight gain. Avoiding sugar, processed foods, dairy, corn, rice, and other simple carbohydrates is key for weight management as simple carbohydrates are stored as fat. 

Many hypothyroid patients have benefitted from an elimination diet to determine what food intolerances may be hindering progress or you can use the Cell Wellbeing Assessment to learn which foods to avoid. Avoiding certain foods for two to three months can help. Then you can trial a new food every four days and monitor yourself for reactions. Eliminating gluten can be a game changer for people with an underactive thyroid. Gluten can damage gut health, increase inflammation and cause an immune reaction in people with Hashimoto’s. You can also test for gluten sensitivity with an Cell Wellbeing Assessment.

Hydration is essential for weight loss and thyroid optimization. Your hunger pangs may be cries for water. Most tap water in New Zealand is fluoridated which is harmful for your thyroid and also detrimental to gut health. Ideally drinking filtered or spring water with a little Himalayan crystal salt, lemon juice or Apple Cider Vinegar throughout the day is an effective way to stay hydrated.

Gut health can be improved by adding good quality prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. A healthy gut flora is crucial to managing weight as a well-functioning gut and liver are important for absorbing nutrients. Probiotics help extract nutrients from the food you consume and help with weight optimisation. Vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, selenium are necessary for the thyroid to heal. Speak with your qualified health practitioner at Global Health Clinics who can test and advise you with how to get the right balance of nutrients in your diet.

Adrenals are the glands of stress. They regulate thyroid, brain and other hormones. Treating hypothyroidism without treating the adrenals is one of the reasons people continue to feel exhausted. Many people in today’s busy world suffer from some degree of adrenal fatigue and are constantly in flight or fight mode. Balancing your adrenals improves thyroid function, reduces cortisol production assisting with weight management. Rest, balancing blood sugar, shifting your mindset to care for yourself first and learning to say no when you are overwhelmed are healing for your adrenals. If you can, wake up naturally between 6.30am and 8am without an alarm clock. Take replenishing nutrients such as vitamins B and C, adaptogenic herbs and add Himalayan Crystal salt to support your adrenals. 

Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan but overexertion can really wipe out the adrenals, especially with an underactive thyroid. Gentle exercise at your own pace is recommended and will yield better results. 

Relaxation practices are the most important and sometimes hardest lifestyle changes to implement in a world of all go.  Research shows that 90% of health problems are stress related. Emotions like grief, fear, anxiety, guilt and embarrassment can be perceived as stressful as are situations that are new, unpredictable or constitute a loss of control. Relaxation practices such as yoga, Tai Chi and breathwork work well to calm the flight and flight response through movement while mindfulness releases emotional and mental stress. 

Sleep is fundamental for healing body and mind. Sleep can be a challenge for anyone with a thyroid disorder. If you are sleep deprived, you are likely to experience chronic pain, brain fog fatigue and are unable to achieve weight loss. To sleep better avoid using cell phones and screens before bed and get blue light guard glasses. Hypothyroid people are often light and temperature sensitive, so keep your bedroom cool and totally dark. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bedtime is a good idea and taking magnesium can be relaxing for the nervous system. 

Get your thyroid back on track. For best results book an Cell Wellbeing Assessment and Thyroflex test combination.

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