There’s an organ that can cause weight gain and health issues when it starts to be underactive (or hyperactive): the thyroid.
Many women would love to lose some weight but don’t really know their thyroid (and not their diet) is the #1 issue.
And the reality is the weight won’t disappear unless the thyroid is fixed first.
So, how do you know if your thyroid is underactive or if it works fine?
You can do blood tests.
But here’s the issue: many times, your blood tests show as perfectly normal, yet you’re still experiencing symptoms.
You see, there are mainly 2 causes of thyroid dysfunction: lack of iodine and heavy metals.
1) Lack of iodine. If your body doesn’t have enough iodine, it simply can’t produce thyroid hormones.
Lack of iodine may come:
– from a diet poor in iodine or in calcium from sea foods (sardines, herrings, seaweed), or
– from a diet too high in foods that contain goitrogens (goitrogens inhibit the thyroid, which means it no longer functions properly), such as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnip, especially when they’re not well cooked like in juices and smoothies (see this article for more details).
2) Heavy metals. They are the #1 cause of hormonal disorders. The thyroid picks up a lot of elements from the environment, particularly heavy metals.
Our body triggers an immune reaction against its own thyroid in an attempt to get rid of these heavy metals.
In this case, the underactive thyroid will remain undiagnosed, simply because this phenomenon won’t show up in classical blood tests (TSH).
This is also why good blood tests should always measure the thyroid antibodies.
I’m giving you the main symptoms of an underactive thyroid, so you can make your own assessment:
- “Unexplained”, gradual weight gain over months
- Often feeling cold, and as if you can’t get warm
- Fatigue; body feels heavy, no energy
- Occasional constipation
- Occasional depressed mood, sense of confusion, forgetfulness
- Hair loss, drier hair or drier skin
- Menstrual issues, PMS
- Cravings for salt, coffee
- Fluid retention
- Chronic stress (work, family, etc.)
If you experience several of these symptoms on a regular basis, chances are your thyroid needs your attention.
Make sure you consult a good doctor before taking any supplement or “natural” treatment.
We can also explore this together during a nutritional coaching session, if that’s what you’d like to do. See details on this page.
This is #9 of these nutrition and weight loss series. Here are the other articles:
#1 – When Coffee Makes You Gain Weight (or Have High Blood Pressure)
#2 – Your scale is lying to you
#3 – Busy Woman Syndrome
#4 – Portion sizes matter more than calories
#5 – Cholesterol, Hormones and the Liver
#6 – Body fat and your nervous system – Stress, sleep & exercise
#7 – When Food Is Your Best Friend
#8 – 20 signs your digestive system needs support