thyroid gland and weight

Thyroid Gland Not Working?

Thyroid Gland and Weight Issues

If your thyroid gland is not working properly you probably have weight issues! Your thyroid gland is almost like the master gland of your body. It affects so many of the systems for proper health and vitality. When I was dieting and couldn't lose weight,  I couldn't believe that my thyroid gland was working properly. How could I eat so little, exercise so much and still not lose weight? Something HAD to be wrong.

I Feel Fat

quote: I wish I was as fat as I thought I was when I first started dieting, photo of average sized woman

I would look in the mirror and think: "I feel fat". My entire life, I had a disordered perception of what my body looked like. I thought I was too fat even though I was only a size 10. Yes, I had a round butt and thought that dieting would make that smaller. I was so ignorant.

So many women think that if they go on a diet that they can lose weight in a body part of their choice. Your body doesn't work that way! 

Chronic Dieting can affect your thyroid gland

Chronic dieting, or constant under-eating is unhealthy for your body and can affect your thyroid gland and slow your metabolism down. In order to be healthy we have to eat a variety of foods. In fact, it's been reported that under-eating carbs can have a bad effect on your thyroid gland's health!

I became a serial dieter. I’d try one diet, lose a couple of pounds, and then the weight would quickly return, bringing along with it an additional pound or two more. I was convinced there was something wrong with my thyroid gland. After all, my mom had a diagnosis of thyroid problems and was on medication. I must have inherited it, I was sure! Little did I know, I was not eating enough, and my body was doing it's best job to keep me alive and prevent me from starving!

But my doctors, who should have realized I was developing an eating disorder ignored the fact that I did NOT need to lose weight. They just kept giving me that old tired line: Eat less and exercise more. Which I did.  It NEVER worked. And it doesn't work for anyone else. At least not for long! I was lucky that I didn't get a true eating disorder- only disordered eating! 

Doctors Ignore Women's Complaints

It's been shown time and time again that doctors are prejudiced against heavier women. In this very moving TED talk by Dr. Peter Attia he admits that he was wrong for judging a fat diabetic woman for causing her own disease. You REALLY should watch it!

Doctors frequently blame everything on overeating and don't even spend time talking to the patient and really diagnosing what a potential problem can be! Diet coaches have even finally admitted that they are telling clients lies and apologized! 

thyroid and weight is ignored by doctors and blamed on overeating

Female doctor consulting overweight woman in clinic

Wrong Blood Test To Diagnose Thyroid Problems

Doctors pretty much ignore doing a full thyroid blood test panel and do one single inadequate test called a TSH. That's Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It's actually testing whether your pituitary gland is telling your thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone. It leaves out if the entire process is working! And it leaves out if you have an auto-immune condition of your thyroid gland called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which can cause symptoms of hypo and hyperthyroid and make you very sick! 

An Inadequate Blood Test for Thyroid Issues

But my doctor did one blood test: TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, and proclaimed me “normal”. There’s nothing the matter with your thyroid he insisted. I couldn’t believe him. How is it possible to eat next to nothing and be unable to maintain weight loss – or even GAIN weight?

It was a very long road, until I learned the truth about the ignorance of endocrinologists, and their proclivity to dismiss a woman’s symptoms and instead rely on a blood test that isn’t even checking their THYROID GLAND. It’s checking to see if the pituitary gland is releasing a hormone! Thanks to Janie Bowthorpe,  for her amazing book, STOP THE THYROID MADNESS, which gave me the education I needed so I can speak intelligently to a doctor who wanted to dismiss my concerns. (I had to fire MANY doctors before I found a good one!). If you have found your weight increasing even though you’re not eating more, and have symptoms (see below), you may have an undiagnosed problem with your thyroid gland.

Yes, gaining weight is a very complex subject that is interwoven with many systems in your body. Your thyroid gland is the “master gland”, and thyroid hormones circulate throughout your body. A very sophisticated system can be thrown off easily as a response to lack of certain nutrients and minerals, or even stress.

Proper Diagnosis but Poor Choice of Medication

Furthermore, even with a diagnosis, and treatment, many people complain that pharmaceutic medications are not adequately fixing their thyroid problems. Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe medications that are made from dessicated thyroid glands from animals. They prefer to depend upon synthetic pharmaceuticals, and are not even willing to try treating with the alternative, even though many patients have a much better response to the animal product. And of course, your prescription drug plan probably won’t pay for it either! You don’t even need fancy blood tests to tell if the treatment is working. All you need is your thermometer!

Symptoms of Hypothyroid

Be aware that there are many symptoms, you may have a few, or many! Although there are a number of disorders possible – Graves Disease (Hyperthyroid- more characteristic of weight loss), Hypothyroid (slow metabolism), and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland) a condition where many of the symptoms are both hyper and hypo!

There are many doctors that now believe that the standard blood tests do not adequately diagnose thyroid problems, and they are treating patients based upon symptoms, not just blood results!

  • Brittle nails
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry skin
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Essential hypertension
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Eyebrow outer 1/3 thinning
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Hoarseness
  • Hypotension
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Muscle/Joint Pain
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Poor memory
  • Puffy Eyes
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Throat Pain
  • Weight Gain

If you have a preponderance of these symptoms, don’t take “NO” for an answer. If you are being treated with synthetic thyroid (Synthroid, Levothyroxine, etc) you may still have symptoms because these are not the best drugs according to many thyroid sufferers. You will be amazed at how much better you feel when your thyroid gland is working as nature intended it.

The Best Way To Diagnose and Treat Your Thyroid Condition

Yes, there are alternative and complimentary treatments available. A great way to do a test at home is to check your body temperature and pulse. If you have cold hands and feet, that’s a first sign that you may have problems with your thyroid gland.

The next step is getting an accurate diagnosis to find out if you have a thyroid condition! Because I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (and had many symptoms of both hyper and hypo thyroid) I’ve read a ton of books and articles about the thyroid, and it’s really helped me to understand the tests that should be done, and to interpret the results.

I highly recommend you read Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment by Janie A. Bowthorpe, a woman who has gone through it all with inept and ignorant board certified endocrinologists. She finally became an expert herself by researching, speaking with thousands of other thyroid patients and finally finding good physicians.

Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment 2nd Updated Revision ed. Edition

Janie A. Bowthorpe (Author)

Will I Lose Weight With Proper Thyroid Medication?

I want you to know that just by getting treatment for Hypothyroid symptoms is no guarantee that you lose weight and maintain weight loss. There may be foods to which you may have a food sensitivity. Gluten can be problematic for some people with thyroid problems. Many doctors believe that for the majority of people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (auto-immune disease of the thyroid) “gluten” (anything with wheat, and some other grains) should be eliminated from your diet. It’s not an easy condition to manage. And that can lead to stress eating when you are really missing bread and stressed out!

If you are not eating enough and often enough you will find that your body temperature is low. Over-exercise can impact your thyroid condition by being stressful for your body. Lack of sleep is also very bad for your thyroid (and your health in general). Your thyroid gland is VERY SENSITIVE to stress!

The best thing you can do, is get yourself informed. And there is a genetic predisposition to inheriting it from YOUR family- and they may not even have been properly diagnosed. Don’t fool around with this disease – it is your Master gland, and addressing the problem can improve your health, your mood, your weight, your ability to think, and even long term health issues! In fact, Dr. Broda Barnes did exhaustive research with thousands of people, and realized that heart attacks are CAUSED in great measure by untreated thyroid conditions!

The book above will give you the information you need so that you can be an advocate for your health with your doctor. Not every endocrinologist is going to honor your requests for special testing and treatment. I recommend you get informed so you know if you have the symptoms, and then can find the right kind of doctor to help you! It’s not going to be easy, but when you feel better, you’ll know the effort was worth it!

Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment 2nd Updated Revision ed. Edition

Janie A. Bowthorpe (Author)

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