Weight Management and Thyroid Function
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroid disease, this resolution may be more challenging.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism, which regulates energy expenditure; the rate at which you burn calories. Thyroid disorders can slow down or speed up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones. When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms.
An unexplained change in weight is one of the most common signs of a thyroid disorder. Weight gain may signal low levels of thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your healthcare provider will most likely prescribe thyroid hormones in the form of a pill. This usually leads to noticeable improvements within a couple of weeks. Long-term treatment can result in more energy, lower cholesterol levels, and gradual weight loss. Most people with hypothyroidism will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives.
Other weight loss tips to consider include:
• Meeting with your healthcare provider to ensure thyroid medication is properly regulated
• Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
• Increasing fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
• Removing tempting foods from your home, desk drawer, or locker
• Finding activities to replace eating when you are bored
• Eating from a plate or bowl, while seated at a table
• Avoiding skipping meals
• Keeping a food journal
• Adding resistance training at least two times a week in addition to accumulating 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (make sure to obtain your healthcare provider’s approval)
• Enlisting support from friends and family
• Getting plenty of sleep
The key to weight loss and long-standing weight management is to set realistic weight-loss goals. Weight loss of one-half a pound to two pounds a week is considered safe and healthy. Also, focus on making long-term lifestyle changes that will be lasting and can be followed for the rest of your life. Losing weight is ultimately about promoting positive health and decreasing risks for developing chronic conditions. Keep your eye on all of the benefits you will be obtaining through the process of moving towards a healthy weight.