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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2018
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Reversing thyroid-related weight gain

Thyroid dysfunction lies at the base of many weight problems. In fact, one of the most common signs of a thyroid issue is an unexplained change in weight. Thyroid function is responsible for many systems in the body, including metabolism and endocrine. Healthy thyroid function means these systems are working at optimum efficiency. When the thyroid is not functioning at optimum levels, the hormone messengers bringing instructions to these systems stop working properly and as a result the systems waiting for instructions can’t function properly.

Thyroid disease as a spectrum

Activity and function of the thyroid can be viewed as a spectrum ranging from underactive hypo to overactive hyperthyroidism. Studies indicate that almost all people who are overweight suffer from some degree of endocrine and metabolic dysfunction. One of the first recommendations of reversing weight gain, or any other symptom of a dysfunctional thyroid, would be to have your thyroid properly evaluated and tested. This includes physical examination, health history and symptom charting, lab work and a Thyroflex® test to get an accurate picture of thyroid function at the intracellular level. The traditional TSH test ordered by most doctors often is not an accurate marker on its own to properly diagnose thyroid dysfunction.

Lifestyle changes that support healthy thyroid function

The typical approach to weight loss consisting of restricting calories and exercising more, will be insufficient if you have a thyroid dysfunction. In fact, it often leads to chronic dieting, frustration and stress, which can make the situation worse.

Reduce stress and adopt healthy sleep habits

Stress is a major disruptor of metabolic function. Thyroid patients are typically more susceptible to the effects of stress, which disrupt hormone activity and lead to fatigue, cravings, binge eating and weight gain. Practice stress-relieving activities such as meditation, walking, yoga or any other activity that brings peace and joy into your life. Try to get 8 hours of deep, restful sleep. Lack of sleep or restless sleep can trigger hormones that elevate cravings and fat storage. Poor sleep also contributes to stress. Healthy sleep is critical to maintaining healthy weight.

Follow a diet that supports a healthy thyroid

The thyroid-centric diet focuses less on calorie restriction and more on choosing the right kinds of food to help support thyroid function. Reducing sugars, staying hydrated and avoiding inflammatory food is key. Support your thyroid by eating more whole foods (unprocessed foods free of additives and artificial substances), organic proteins such as chicken and pork, healthy fats (salmon, albacore tuna, nuts, avocados, etc.) organically grown vegetables, and moderate amounts of fruit. Avoid or completely eliminate white bread, pasta, packaged or processed foods, food and drink containing artificial sweeteners, and processed dairy. Consider a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein made up of two components: gliadin and glutenin. One of those components (gliadin) has a similar structure to that of thyroid tissue. When the body tags gliadin as a foreign body that needs to be destroyed, thyroid tissue will often fall under attack by the body’s immune system because of the similar molecular structure.

Thyroid, the master gland

Thyroid function plays a role in every cell in our body. Reversing the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction starts with knowing where you fall on the spectrum of thyroid function and disease. Adopting healthy thyroid lifestyle changes along with any indicated thyroid medication can help you eliminate the negative symptoms of thyroid disease, including weight gain. 

Randi Mann, NP

Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner and is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness, LLC, an innovative, wellness and hormone center in De Pere. She is an integrative, functional medicine provider offering natural treatments and prescription medications for thyroid and hormonal imbalances including customized dosed, bioidentical hormones.

She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women. Attend the introductory “End Hormone Havoc — Stay Sane, Slim and Sexy” seminar — offered monthly. Call 920-339-5252 to register. Visit for details.

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