Of all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, unusual weight gain often gets our attention first. So many women gain a few pounds — but don’t know why — and then struggle to take the weight off. And because women know their bodies better than anyone, we think they’re right to take a closer look at their thyroid!
The truth is, despite the constant messages we hear about counting every calorie, there are many other factors that signal the body to gain weight — and thyroid imbalance is high on that list. In fact, changes to body shape and weight gain are among the most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid and one of the first symptoms that women notice.
Your thyroid’s role in weight gain
Your thyroid plays a major role in regulating your metabolism. When you suffer from an underactive — or “sluggish” — thyroid, it may cause the rate at which you use nutrients (your metabolic rate) to slow down and you inevitably gain weight.
The slowing down of your thyroid function may happen for several reasons. First, your thyroid’s ability to produce its own hormones (T4 and T3) becomes impaired. Second, your body may have difficulty using its own thyroid hormones. There is also clear evidence that impaired thyroid function can influence insulin and how we process sugar in our bodies. Either way, an underactive thyroid can’t do its best job of regulating your metabolism, how you use energy, and how your body maintains optimal levels of other major hormones.
Women who gain weight due to thyroid issues also notice that those extra pounds appear in unexpected or unusual places. This is because the thyroid helps tell the body not just whether to convert calories into fat, but also where to store them.
Women are more likely to experience weight gain with thyroid issues
Unfortunately, as women we’re especially prone to thyroid issues and weight gain because the thyroid is tightly linked to other systems and functions that affect weight — including our neurotransmitters, insulin regulation, reproductive hormones, and adrenal glands. Many women first notice weight gain as the result of thyroid issues during times of greater hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause or if they experience severe PMS.
The solution to thyroid-related weight gain
When faced with stubborn weight gain, many of us resort to nearly starving ourselves by drastically reducing calorie intake or not eating entire food groups. But this feasting and deprivation actually lead to more weight gain, by decreasing our metabolic rate and putting a heavier burden on other hormone systems.
So what can you do? The best approach is to view weight gain as a problem of endocrine imbalance. If that balance is upset, you’ll gain weight. If your endocrine system is balanced and stays that way, you’ll lose excess weight until you reach your healthy, ideal weight.
One of the most effective ways to balance your thyroid and your entire endocrine system is through a natural approach like our Thyroid Health Products. It includes a healthy, whole food diet, supplementation with the specific vitamins, minerals and specialized nutrients the thyroid needs to carry out everyday functions, along with guidance for stress relief.