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Hey, there! Dr. Alan Christianson here. How do you lose weight when you have thyroid disease? This is an important subject, as so many have struggled with problems from their thyroid, leading to challenges with weight. For no real reason, they began gaining weight. Although they were eating well and staying active, the pounds stayed on. For some people, the answer is getting the right treatment – being on the best medicine and the best amount.
If you are on synthetic thyroid medicine, sometimes just changing to natural can be a big factor. We did a little study, showing how many calories you burn at rest. The study showed the amount you burn can be 300 calories higher when you are on natural thyroid versus being on synthetic thyroid. So, if you have not made that change, it is one to consider. It can be an easy thing that frees up a lot of fuel in your body. That 300 calories per day, if all things are equal, can be a pound of fat loss every 10 days without changing anything you do. So, that is cool!
The next consideration is getting the right dosage. There is a big range of what normal thyroid function looks like. For those that don’t have thyroid disease, there’s actually a very narrow range of variation in thyroid scores. It seems apparent to me that we want our scores to look just like they do in the healthiest populations. So, getting the dose right can be a big factor to achieving that.
Another consideration is the health of your adrenal glands. Your thyroid makes the hormone that doesn’t change throughout the day. However, the way your body uses the hormone is very different in the morning versus the night. This is where the adrenals help. Cortisol helps your body take in more thyroid hormone earlier in the day and less later in the day. If you do not have a good-working, cortisol rhythm, you will not get the benefit of having healthy thyroid function. This is true even if you’ve gotten your thyroid fixed. This is true even if you’re taking the right dose. So, cortisol is a big factor for weight challenges. You can have too little or too much. You can have it at the wrong times. All this can work against you. This is especially true if you have thyroid disease.
Another problem for many is becoming insulin resistant. This often goes along with cortisol rhythm problems. Insulin makes your cells pull sugar inside of them to burn it for fuel. How much insulin we need can change, based on a lot of facets of our health. If we make a lot of insulin, we are storing all the calories we take in and burning none of them. That is a bad deal because it means our weight is stuck and our energy is in the tank. You do not want to be insulin resistant, but how do you know if you are?
We think of insulin resistance when a person’s weight is especially relevant around the waist. So, we are talking about waist gain as opposed to just weight gain. The weight or fat we get on our legs or hips (especially for women) is not as relevant to insulin resistance as the weight around the waist. There is a measurement, called the “weight to hip ratio”. Really, this is just using a measuring tape around the belly button and the biggest point around the butt, then comparing the two measurements. When the butt and the belly button get closer to the same size, it shows there is more insulin resistance. Now, reversing this is pretty cool. For a long time, we thought when someone got insulin resistant, they were on an irreversible track, heading toward diabetes. We thought this couldn’t be changed, even when they did things to improve their health, like avoiding sugar and being active.
What we’ve now learned is that if you do an intensive for six weeks, you can completely turn insulin resistance off. That’s pretty amazing! The intensive includes having high amounts of nutrients, but small amounts of food, on a regular basis. We have a system where we use our Reset Shake for breakfast and lunch and then, eat a good evening meal. We recommend veggie snacks, if you need snacks. Doing this for just six weeks, you can move out of insulin resistance and back to a state of being able to burn fuel effectively again. So, if you have thyroid disease and weight has been a struggle, it may seem hard, but your weight can change. You can experience a total shift in your body.
Make sure you are on natural thyroid if you have not given it a try. Make sure you are really dialed into a perfect dose for you. This is important, as too much can block your weight loss – just like too little can – so you need just the right amount. Make sure your adrenals are healthy – not too much cortisol and not too little. They must have a good, healthy rhythm and no insulin resistance. Once you have those steps corrected, weight loss can happen at a good steady pace and be maintained. The way you’re losing weight and changing is due to the fuel your body is burning, so you are more energized and more productive from it. This is a great thing all around!
As always, know that your health can improve. If it isn’t improving, know there is a reason for it and it can be fixed. So, reset your life. Reset your health, and I would love to show you how. Dr. Christianson here until next time. See you soon.
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.