Weight Gain and your Thyroid: Know the Link between the Two for your Health
Have you noticed your weight fluctuating a little too much lately? If you’re eating right and exercising at least three times a week, you should be seeing results, right? Not if you have a thyroid condition or insulin resistance or both. Those conditions can cause your weight to balloon or steadily decrease, depending on your condition.
The overwhelming majority of people who struggle with their weight have insulin resistance, a metabolic condition and chances are, they don’t even know it.
Most people have heard of their metabolism, but few have heard about metabolic conditions or are even aware that they have one.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2002 revealed that 47% of adults over the age of 50 in the study had insulin resistance so severely that they had a condition called Metabolic Syndrome.
What’s even worse is that developing a thyroid condition, on top of insulin resistance, could further impair your ability to shed the pounds.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland stuck between the voice box and the collarbone and wrapped around the windpipe, in the front of the neck. It helps control your body’s energy supply and regulate your metabolism. A thyroid disorder can slow down or increase your metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones.
Thyroid disease affects nearly 59 million Americans and like insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, the majority of sufferers are undiagnosed—and completely unaware.
Thyroid disease is common among the older population and women. Thyroid disorders can affect metabolism and weight. In fact, 30% of Dr. Cederquist’s patients have thyroid issues. However, 85-95% have a metabolic condition called insulin resistance which makes it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. Unfortunately weight gain and thyroid usually go hand-in-hand.
There can also be other contributing factors to weight gain. It is possible to have insulin resistance along with a thyroid condition. Or you may not yet be on the proper balance of thyroid hormone for your metabolism. Further metabolic testing may help.
How do I know if I have a thyroid problem because weight gain and thyroid has been a hot issue for me lately?
Symptoms of a thyroid condition are often confused with general fatigue, the flu or any other condition that could make your brain feel foggy.
If fatigue drags you down to the point that you physically can’t even get out of bed, it’s time to see a doctor. Other symptoms include:
- Weight gain (or loss)
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Swelling in the neck
- Changes in heart rate
- Changes in energy or mood
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Abnormal menstrual periods
- Vision problems
According to the American Thyroid Association, everyone should be screened for thyroid dysfunction every five years, beginning at age 35. Sometimes because of the symptom of abnormal menstrual periods, thyroid dysfunction can be confused with menopause, but a simple blood test can help you determine exactly what it is.
Weight gain and thyroid: Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Women, especially those older than 60, are more likely to have this condition.
Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. You’ll rarely see symptoms in the early stages, but if left untreated, this could lead to serious health problems like obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Thyroid and weight loss: Hyperthyroidism
This is more common and if you experience sudden weight loss accompanied by some of the more general symptoms listed above, you should consult your doctor and do a thyroid test.
If you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland is producing too much of the hormone, thyroxine. The reason you are losing weight is because hyperthyroidism accelerates your metabolism, causing that sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, nervousness or irritability.
Weight gain and thyroid: Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance aren’t helping
Insulin resistance means that the cells of your body are resistant to the action of insulin, which is an important hormone whose primary role is to allow glucose (or sugar) to enter the cells.
Since glucose is the primary energy source for our cells, this is a very critical problem and the body compensates by producing more insulin.
Insulin resistance makes a person more likely to gain weight and find weight loss difficult.
The link between insulin resistance, weight gain and thyroid
If you have an underactive thyroid, you’re more likely to have an increased risk of developing insulin resistance. One of the major risk factors for insulin resistance is being overweight and one of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid is weight gain.
The proper balance of thyroid hormone for your metabolism
Medications for hypothyroidism contain levothyroxine, which is a synthetic thyroid hormone. Levothyroxine helps bring your body’s thyroid levels up to a normal and healthy range. It reduces common symptoms like lethargy, depression, sleep trouble, constipation and weight gain.
Thyroid foods to avoid
- Brussels sprouts
Want to avoid catching any of these conditions?
Know when to see a doctor
It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you’re constantly feeling tired for no reason or have any of the other signs of an underactive thyroid listed above.
If you have high blood cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor to see if hypothyroidism is the cause.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Healthy eating will help your body get the right balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It will help you feel better—both mentally and physically—handle stress better and have more energy.
Healthy eating is also one of the best things you can do to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism.
Unfortunately, many people do not eat healthy because it’s less convenient. Shopping for groceries and cooking healthy meals takes time and most of us can barely carve out enough time for ourselves throughout the day.
If something more convenient is your style
If you’re looking for something fast and convenient, bistroMD offers a diet delivery program that can help you develop healthy eating habits and also shed the weight.
We cook with the freshest ingredients and have over 200 recipes and a customizable menu so you shouldn’t have a problem finding something to satisfy your taste buds.
The best part is that it only takes a few weeks to see results!
We have a men and a women’s program with the option to receive five-or-seven-days’ worth of healthy meals delivered to your door. The seven day option comes with the My Night feature, your one night off a week.
The two programs range from $130-$160 and EATS, our essential and tasty snacks are just $1.50 per snack. Women receive two snacks per day and men receive three snacks per day.