Gaining weight, but not eating much? Nourish your thyroid
People often ask, why am I not losing weight, even though I’m not eating very much?
If this is happening to you, it could be that your thyroid, the gland in your neck which produces the hormone which controls your metabolism, isn’t working very well.
This can happen if you have been yo-yo dieting, or eating a low calorie diet, or have been very stressed. These issues can lead to you becoming low in vital nutrients needed to make your thyroid work properly. If it isn’t working right, your metabolism can slow right down and you put on weight. Unfair hey?
If you suspect this is happening, visit your GP and ask to have your thyroid tested.
Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include constipation and depression, difficulty getting up in the morning; hair loss; cold feet and hands; exhaustion. You don’t need to present with every one of these to have a sluggish thyroid.
Even if your thyroid function is not slow enough to test positive for hypothyroidism (a slow thyroid) via the GP’s test, you may still actually have a thyroid that is not working properly for the individual you are.
The GP reference range for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) usually makes a diagnosis of a slow thyroid at 5+ mU/L . (Note: the higher the number, the slower the thyroid). However, in some countries, the reference range for a diagnosis starts at just 2.5 mU/L. If you are above 2.5 mU/L, but below 5 mU/L, it may be worth examining your diet to start including the right nutrients needed to get your thyroid working again properly, and help you lose weight.
Nutrients to include for a healthy thyroid:
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids (the good fats found in nuts and seeds such as walnuts, chia seeds, flax, and oily fish such as salmon).
- B vitamins found in brown grains (eg brown rice, quinoa) and green leafy vegetables such as kale.
- Iodine from white fish such as cod.
- Selenium (eg a couple of Brazil nuts each day contain it).
- Iron - the most absorbable way to get enough iron is through red meat. For best absorption of iron, consume it close to a portion of food containing vitamin C. For instance, chop up some vitamin C-rich red peppers with your lean steak.
Remember, weight loss is far more complex than calories in and out. Contrary to popular belief, more recent science shows you need to nourish – not neglect - yourself, to manage weight for the long term.
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