Brain Fog, Weight Gain, Hair Loss & Low Energy: Is your thyroid the culprit?
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Are you experiencing frustration with weight loss? Despite doing everything "right" you're watching the number on your bathroom scale go up like this year's gas prices?
To make matters worse your energy has crashed and you feel the need to fuel up [or borderline overdose] on caffeine just to survive your day. Sluggish and living with brain fog you just wish you had more energy to check off a few more weekly workouts too...
If you're wondering if I'm spying on you or eavesdropping on your conversations, then listen up. You need this information I'm giving you.
Feeling this way for any period of time sends you straight to google as you lay in bed at night so I'm sure any discussion on "optimal thyroid function" has caught your attention.
Subjectively, you're doing everything right. You're trying to stay active and doing pretty well eating a balanced healthy diet. So why are you falling victim to feeling so sluggish or not looking your absolute best? If this relates to you, then it is possible that your thyroid gland is screaming for your attention...
According to the American Thyroid Association, 12 percent of people in the United States develops a thyroid condition in their lifetime. Approximately 20 million Americans already have some form of thyroid disease and 60 percent of those affected don't even know it. Women are five to eight times more likely to develop some type of thyroid disease.
There are two major classes of thyroid disease:
- Hypothyroidism: a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones.
- Hyperthyroidism: a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones.
Regulation of your body's metabolic rate comes from the hormones that are produced by your thyroid gland. Whether your goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle, optimal metabolic function is a key factor when reaching for these goals.
Optimal thyroid function leads to feeling "fueled" both mentally and physically.
Our thyroid gland contributes to the efficiency of our brain function nurturing our bodies with enough focus and energy to expend throughout the day. The cardiovascular, muscular, and digestive systems are the most efficient when our thyroid function and thyroid hormone production is optimal.
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF YOUR THYROID GLAND
You don't need to get a degree in endocrinology to grasp the thyroid glands' purpose, function, and role in the human body. I've spent the last 14+ years helping thousands of women achieve optimal hormone function and sadly each year I see an increase in thyroid cases cross my desk.
I've helped hundreds of women [ 1-on-1 clients and through Wholly Fueled program] get their subclinical thyroid problems get diagnosed and properly medicated just as frequently as I've helped women get OFF of their thyroid meds through nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Either way, an unhappy thyroid can wreck some of the greatest things in life.
Listen up and let me share what I DO KNOW....
T3 and T4 hormones are produced by your thyroid gland and they are responsible for regulating your metabolic rate (just as we previously noted).
These two hormones (T3 and T4) are also responsible for maintaining optimal energy and focus levels throughout your day to keep you motivated and moving. T3 and T4 levels are directly contenject on the proper output of your thyroid gland.
For today's blog, we will not dive into the medical technicalities such as T3 vs free T3, the causation of deficiencies, or the endocrine system as a whole. However, today what is beneficial for you to understand are the lifestyle factors (you CAN control) that can deteriorate thyroid function. We will also discuss the red flags to identify that should send you to your Doctor to seek further testing.
*discussion of common autoimmune thyroid diseases that are related to fluctuating weight and energy levels.*
What Would Cause My Thyroid To Not Function Properly??
Low Thyroid Function - Hypothyroidism/ Hashimotos
- Food. Not ingesting the proper fuel that contains your key nutrients and micronutrients will cause an inefficiency in your thyroid, which in return, throws off your thyroid function. The body NEEDS iodine and selenium. (1) Luckily, this is the easiest worry to address, especially when you are following a program such as Wholly Fueled's Fit Foodie.
- Stress. Put simply, excess stress causes the adrenal gland to secrete cortisol, cortisol regulates stress. Increased cortisol levels will directly affect the thyroid gland's ability to produce and regulate your proper levels of the T3 and T4 hormones. The result, the more prolonged stress you're under the faster you will accumulate body fat. (2)
- Environment/Toxins. BPA's are a prime example of toxic chemicals that are used in the production of various bottles, cups, and food packaging. BPA's cause a disruption within your endocrine receptors, which then causes harm to your thyroid and adrenal glands. Don't ignore this one. I've watched many women shrug this item off as the world that we're exposed to today. However if your thyroid gland is functioning well, but all your body's hormone receptors are taken(3) then these hormones have nothing available to 'plug into' to function properly.
- Genetics. Medical issues such as goiters, a noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland. Recent statistics on PubMed state that 65% of thyroid disorders have genetic inherited factors. (4)
- Cancer Treatments. Newer cancer treatment, although growingly effective at treating cancer, can harm the thyroid's functioning process. (5)
Now How About Too Much Thyroid Function (Hyperthyroidism/Graves Disease)?
Hyperthyroidism is much less common, especially in women, but having excess thyroid function is a real thing. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, shakiness, sleeplessness, vision loss, and heart rhythm irregularities.
Now What Do I Do?
If you know your diet is on track, you're living an active lifestyle, controlling your stressors, and you're getting adequate sleep... yet you're still not feeling at your best. Then we need to take a serious look at your thyroid function. A variety of doctors specialize in identifying and treating hormone irregularities and issues with the thyroid. Having blood labs done and analyzed is the first step in treating any thyroid deficiency that you might be currently suffering from.
If you aren't feeling your best, experiencing weight fluctuations, and are experiencing random shifts in energy and mood, but you aren't eating the proper foods, staying active, and caring for your body, then some changes need to be made, along with consulting with a doctor as stated above.
We cannot expect our thyroid to regulate both T3 and T4 hormones, plus have our endocrine system working efficiently if we are not giving it the key nutrients that it needs to function. We cannot expect our thyroid to do its job if we are poisoning it with processed foods and toxins. Lastly, our thyroid cannot function regularly if we are constantly overwhelming our brain, emotions, and body with stressors that spike our cortisol levels.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance
If you're experiencing several of these symptoms then Consulting a Medical Professional is a requirement.
My 3 BEST Suggestions:
- Be the CEO of learning your body and advocating for your health by taking education and basic understanding are no longer optional. Read books, listen to podcasts, ask questions and be educated on women's health so that if certain signs or symptoms begin popping up, you know to reach out to your doctor, to pull lab work or run further testing.
- Have a quality doctor you trust to listen to your concerns. This relationship should be colaborative and you should feel seen and heard. If you are rushed or unhappy with your doctor's service - move on to the next until you find a doctor you feel comfortable with.
- "Test, don't guess." Hormone and thyroid testing is worth every dime for proper through labwork + diagnosis = quick treatment so you can regain balance and get back to feeling your best. I caution you on "hormone balancing supplements" - your thyroid and hormones should not be your choice DIY project.
Now it is time for you to do your part by following a meal plan, paying attention to the nutrients you're consuming, and avoiding processed foods and toxins, all of which you owe to your own body. While working to heal or balance thyroid hormones you will support your body and feel better faster if your nutrition is balanced.
Don't think of meal plan or "diet" as an obstacle or sacrifice. When you plan accordingly, you will eat delicious whole foods, avoid feeling hungry, enjoy the feeling of being prepared for your day/week, save money, and actually save time in the kitchen and most importantly support your health.
Feeling overwhelmed in the food prep world?
Knowledge, recipes, tips, and ample support can be found at Wholly Fueled. We do all the planning so you don't have to [even down to your grocery list. Check it out here: https://www.whollyfueled.com/fit-foodie/
Being the CEO of your health means giving your body what it needs to function at its best!