Hypothyroidism may be the reason you’re overweight, but it’s not an excuse! I too have battled with a “dead” thyroid my whole life so I understand how frustrating it can be. You can still lose weight even if your thyroid is not working properly by taking a few simple steps.
There are many causes of hypothyroidism, and you want to make sure you know why your thyroid isn’t working properly so you can treat it accurately. It doesn’t matter if your thyroid is underactive because you have Hashimoto’s disease, goiter or your hormones have slowed it down. Most times, your doctor will treat you with thyroid hormone pills and you will start to feel better within a week or two.
But what should you do if you have all of the symptoms (tired, cold all the time, hair and memory loss, brittle nails and hair, leg swelling) and your doctor says your blood tests are fine? Most thyroid tests aren’t articulate enough to catch this, so pay close attention to how you feel and treat your thyroid naturally to keep it working at an optimal rate so you never have a problem with it slowing down.
The thyroid is “The Master Hormone” that controls everything in our body. One of the biggest reasons our thyroids slow down is due to iodine deficiency in addition to aging. In fact, 40% of us are at risk for iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism. Not giving our bodies the nutrients that are important for a healthy thyroid will also slow your thyroid down. Since the body does not make iodine, it relies on the diet to get enough. We can easily maintain adequate iodine through our diets by using table salt because it’s fortified with iodine, but most of us need to restrict or limit our sodium causing iodine deficiencies to show up. Many medications also slow down the thyroid and also cause iodine deficiency. Lithium and corticosteroids are thyroid-slowing and should be used sparingly if at all. Pain medications, antihistamines and anti-depressants may also slow the thyroid down. Medications that make you feel sleepy or slow may also slow your thyroid and your metabolism down even more. Ask your doctor about alternatives.
Here are three things you can do to boost your thyroid function:
1. Eat more of these great sources of iodine to enhance thyroid function:
- Low fat cheese
- Cow’s milk
- Low fat ice cream (coconut milk ice cream is an delicious substitute)
- Low fat yogurt (again, coconut milk yogurt, especially homemade, is an excellent choice)
- Saltwater fish (for vegans, stick with the salt water plants below)
- Seaweed (including kelp, dulce, nori)
- Soy sauce (not a huge advocate of any soy products myself)
2. Eat less of these foods; they slow your thyroid because they block your thyroid and your medication from producing thyroid hormone properly, especially when eaten raw. Cooking these foods inactivates their anti-thyroid properties. These foods are called goitrogens, which are chemicals that lower thyroid function. Eat these foods sparingly or only once every four days:
- Cauliflower (Any vegetable that falls into the broccoli family is a goitrogen and shouldn’t be eaten more than twice a week if you have hypothyroidism.)
- Brussels sprouts
- Pine nuts
- Soy (Isoflavones block iodine)
- Canola oil
3. Workout every day. All you need is a pair of sneakers and a watch, and you’re ready to go. For optimal thyroid function, you must exercise at least three days a week for 40 minutes per workout. I strongly suggest working out/walking every day so your thyroid gets a boost daily to correct the condition until your thyroid is running at an optimal rate. Circuit training is also great way to lower insulin levels and increase thyroid function. This is easy to do in the comfort of your own home by doing pushups, lunges and sit-ups back to back without rest, pushing yourself a bit to get out of breath.
Bonus: Enhance your thyroid with supplements. Take thyroid-enhancing supplements daily to gently and safely keep your thyroid working optimally for life. The best way to treat anything is to prevent it! Supplementing is the best way to keep your thyroid running at an optimal rate and to keep your weight under control. Start your supplement regime first by using a very strong, high quality multivitamin.
Most store-bought vitamins are not suitable or strong enough to help hypothyroidism, so look for a very potent high quality multi with high levels of iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin B, D, E and at least 2 grams of vitamin C. Other nutrients such as omega-3 as well as amino acids also help regulate the thyroid and need to also be considered. One of my favorites that I put all of my hypothyroid clients on is gugglesterones. Guggulsterone or guggulipid’s have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to naturally regulate the thyroid and keep it running at an optimal rate without the side effects of medications.
Look for supplement multitaskers from a very reputable source so you don’t have to take 29 different pills every day.