Are you gaining weight unconsciously or unintentionally? Then you might be having a thyroid problem. According to reports, an estimated 25 million Americans are unconsciously gaining weight because of an undiagnosed or untreated thyroid problem. However, do not fret, weight loss and thyroid problem can now go together. All it takes is a simple diet regime and determination!
Understanding the thyroid gland
Known as the largest gland in the body, the thyroid is found in the neck just below the Adam's apple. The main function of the thyroid is to control the rate of the body's ability to burn energy, make proteins, and its relation to other hormones.
The thyroid secretes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones help regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. Iodine is an essential component of both T3 and T4.
A malfunctioning thyroid hormone can result in the state known as hypothyroidism. This disease is caused by an insufficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. About two percent of adult Americans are stricken with hypothyroidism. About five percent of adults in the United Kingdom have hypothyroidism.
The main cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. However, the condition is also caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, or a deficiency of hormones produced from either the hypothalamus or the pituitary glands.
For women, hypothyroidism can also result from postpartum thyroiditis, which affects five percent of women after giving birth.
Hypothyroidism can also result from genetic inheritance. However this case is rare.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
1. Early symptoms
a. Poor muscle tone (muscle hypotonia)
b. Fatigue (physical)
c. Cold intolerance, increased sensitivity to cold
e. Weight gain
f. Muscle cramps and joint pain
g. Thin, Brittle fingernails
h. Thin, brittle hair
2. Late symptoms
a. Slowed speech and a hoarse, breaking voice. Deepening of the voice can also be noticed.
b. Dry puffy skin, especially on the face
c. Thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows
d. Abnormal menstrual cycles
e. Low basal body temperature
There are two types of a hypo thyroid: the temporary and chronic. Temporary hypothyroidism can be treated while chronic hypothyroidism requires life-long maintenance on the part of the affected individual.
Most people affected with hypothyroidism usually are stricken first with hyperthyroidism - meaning they lose weight for no apparent reason. After which, the thyroid either returns to normal or develops to hypothyroidism.
Weight loss and thyroid problem
The first step to weight loss and thyroid problem is to get diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Without getting diagnosed, all of your weight loss efforts will be in vain. The longer it takes you to get diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the more weight you may end up gaining.
The eat less; exercise more mantra may work with weight loss and thyroid problem. However, it is important to note that calorie restriction is not enough. Because you tend to gain weight due to slower metabolism, you need to adopt a strict exercise program that helps you lose weight. You need to get moving and be active. This is the best way to curb your uncontrollable weight gain.
For weight loss and thyroid problem, some people recommended getting into the Zone. The Zone is strictly targeted for weight loss and thyroid problem. It involves balancing protein/carbo/fat intake and controlling excess intake of simple carbohydrates (like bread, pasta, etc.).
How it works
When you eat a carbohydrate, your pancreas secretes insulin to drive down blood sugar back to a normal level. If you eat too many carbohydrates, your pancreas releases so much insulin that it can drive down blood sugar to a level too low to allow your brain to function effectively. This condition of low blood sugar and high insulin can be considered a step away from diabetes.
For weight loss and thyroid problem, according to the Zone theory, when you're creating this excess insulin, it also prevents your body from using its stored fat for energy. Hence, your insulin response to excess carbos causes you to gain weight, or you cannot lose weight.
Below are some of the "excess carbohydrates":
1. For hypo thyroids, most simple carbohydrates (i.e., bread, pasta) are considered already "too much." Their systems overreact to an amount of carbos that others wouldn't have a problem.
2. Some people simply eat too many carbos. According to Sears, only the minority of the population (25%) can eat carbos freely with no blood sugar highs and lows, or weight problems. They are metabolically fortunate. For the rest of us, we're susceptible to carbos. It's being documented that people are eating less and less fat, but getting fatter. If we go on "low-fat diets" and eat only pasta and bagels and Snackwells and fruits and veggies and such, and stay very low-fat, and even exercise, we don't lose and might even gain more.