Are you gaining weight instead of losing it?
Honestly, dieting is not my favorite activity and I’ve never been good at that particular sport. I am just not a serious “dieter” but I have never been seriously overweight either. This, however, may not be the case for other people diagnosed with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.
Patients, diagnosed with Graves’ disease, thyrotoxicosis, or hyperactive thyroid typically don’t have any dieting issues, I mean regarding gaining weight. Quite the opposite: one of the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis/hyperthyroidism (induced by whatever reason) is the uncontrollable weight loss. They are typically skinny, with high metabolism, enhanced craving for food (different foods) and very active, particularly in sports and all kinds of other activities. They’re nearly always hungry, at least I used to be when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 10 years ago. My friends often joked with me that I am just wasting the food and I am so very lucky for not gaining weight at all. I would not go in details how I felt back then though…But in their eyes, I was fortunate..
Anyway, several thyrotoxicosis/ hyperthyroidism patients (including Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism, nodules etc.) recently reported precisely the opposite- gaining weight. Hyperthyroidism weight gain isn’t so rare nowadays, unfortunately. How this is happening though, if the metabolism is so accelerated due to the excessive release of endocrine/thyroid hormones in the blood? Why then many of us gain weight instead? For example:
“Hi, just wanted to find out what do you think about weight gain. When I first found out that I had a hyperthyroid I weighed a hundred and twenty lbs. Now, after about a year I can’t seem to loose any weight. I am up to one hundred fifty and I am sick of gaining more even though I work out like crazy. Doesn’t seem fair and I need some advice please!”
I receive numerous emails like this. And honestly, I can only guess why this is so…
Western medicine has no explanation about this phenomenon, because, in fact, there is no logic. But not everything is logical, right? Here are some of my ideas why this might be happening:
1. The clinical representation of the hyperthyroidism condition is different. “Clinical description” concerns the most typical symptoms, according to which the doctors determine their diagnosis (hopefully). For example, the classical clinical picture of celiac disease, which includes persistent diarrhea, has changed recently. Graves’ disease symptoms also can fluctuate; initially the patient can be diagnosed with certain symptoms that may change over time, become more or less serious, or new symptoms can appear and others to fade.
2. It is well known that the appetite of hyperthyroid patients increase dramatically and they eat more than usual. The problem is with the content and quality of the consumed foods. If a decade ago the foods were not so genetically modified and very close to “natural” or “organic” they can be easily discharged from the body, due to the increased metabolism. But in the past years it is well known that we consume foods that have no nutrients and are grossly genetically modified; they also contain a lot of processed sugars and artificial coloring, to name just a few of the substances causing troubles. The body, unrecognizing these materials as food, may store them, as it does with the aspartame. They are simply stocked in the body, regardless of the increased metabolism. This may dramatically cloud the clinical picture of hyperthyroidism and many people may remain undiagnosed due to this reason.
3. Medication: patients who are treated with medication (PTU or Methimazole) are still considered hyperthyroid, and may be affected with this symptom because almost all anti-thyroid medications slow down the metabolism and block the thyroid hormone overproduction. To unknown irrational reasons some doctors may keep their patients on the same dosage anti-thyroid medication regardless of the fact that their thyroid tests are reading “normal” or even “hypo”. Probably just in case???
The other problem is that thyroid tests today (even the usual thyroid panel) may cost over $1500 (depending on insurance, deductibles, hormones tested, etc.), which really shocks me, because just 10 years ago they cost $50-$60. I don’t really know what became so expensive to justify that dramatic increase. And if you are in acute hyperthyroidism state these tests should be performed every 4-6 weeks to adjust the medication, which it is very rarely done today by doctors because simply the insurance would not pay. That creates a risk for the patient to take medications that are not necessary or the dosage is not appropriate any more.
So, if you are gaining weight, regardless of the reason, these are my short and simple suggestions to control your weight:
1. Eat HEALTHY in order to help symptomatology of hyperthyroidism or Grave’s Disease. Try an elimination diet, or gluten free diet for that matter (more about that in the next post).
2. Try probiotics, they are known to enhance the “good bacteria” in the intestines and to help the elimination of substances that no longer need to be present in your stomach.
3. Consume a lot of fibers, or foods containing fiber. Try cleansing the body with dieting, oil pulling or other methods.
4. Grow your own sprouts, and eat them of course, they are the best source for vitamins and minerals.
5. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas.
6. Eat less meat, more green leafy vegetables (I am not saying you have to become vegetarian).
7. Exercise regularly. For example I try to swim twice a week, dance tango once, play volleyball and do meditation and yoga (to balance the active part). But I don’t have the palpitations now, so if you do, stick with yoga and meditation.
Of course, these are general suggestions, but if there isn’t anything else you can do or don’t know how, at least you can do your best.
And by the way, do you have any experience with a similar problem? What food makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad, or loose/gain weight?
Share your thoughts and secrets with us- it may help other people as well!
If fact, I just finished the update of my book “Ultimate Diet Secrets for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism”, with the newest research on the subject, including the gluten free diet and carbohydrate diet for hyperthyroidism (that’s an old one from 1928), why you should use probiotics, new herbs found to help hyperthyroidism, etc. So speaking, that’s what I have been doing the past two months…
So here we go: (Click below on the book) to get your own copy of the updated August, 2013 version).