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Author Archives: Dawn Olson

Hey Doc – Could it be my Thyroid?

Posted on January 08, 2020 by

I routinely hear from patients in the office, “It couldn’t be my thyroid.” It could be. But usually that’s not the real blame for weight problems. It is something to try and understand. It’s commonly a problem, especially in women. When it gets treated people feel so much better.

I probably mention this on every Losing Weight USA Webinar; with all hormones, balance is absolutely key! If you balance one hormone, potentially you can throw off another hormone. You don’t want one working too well and the other not working well enough.  Hormones come from endocrine glands. There are lots of different endocrine glands. They all produce different hormones. The endocrine glands are found throughout the body.  There are lots of different glands in the body: pancreas, testis, ovaries, and more. A hormone is simply a chemical messenger. They communicate between one part of the body and another. The tissue that makes the hormone releases the hormone into the bloodstream. Subsequently the hormone goes throughout the body. The tissues that have receptors can receive the message. It’s that “Lock and Key” type of thing. It needs to fit well into the receptor in order to send the message. Hormones are one of the main tools your body uses to maintain homeostasis (balance).  Hormone balance is a key concept. It’s especially true with Thyroid Hormone.

The pituitary gland is a tiny gland the size of a berry sitting in the center of your head. It receives messages and sends messages. It works in concert with the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus often sends the message of what the pituitary gland should release. The pituitary gland releases all sorts of hormones. It releases prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, FSH, and more. Often it’s the pituitary gland that’s sending the message to the endocrine gland. Then the endocrine gland releases the hormone. The thyroid gland receives instruction from the pituitary gland. There are a lot of places where these hormones can be thrown out of whack.

The thyroid gland sits in your neck. It’s below the “Adam’s apple.” It’s one of the largest endocrine glands. The thyroid comes from the Greek word for shield. It’s protected and covered by some of the neck muscles. The parathyroid glands are adjacent to it. The parathyroid glands influence your bones but they don’t really influence your overall metabolism. They are adjacent to the thyroid glands. The function of the thyroid is directly related to metabolism (how your body uses energy). This is what drives your metabolism—whether it’s slow or fast. This is what overseas our metabolic rate. When someone talks about a slow or fast metabolism, they are alluding to their thyroid gland. If you looked under a microscope at a slice of your thyroid tissue you would see these open areas that have food in there. That’s the thyroid hormone. If this goes out of whack potentially you can get thyroid disease.

A balanced hormone means there’s good communication between different areas. The hypothalamus talks to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland talks to the thyroid gland. Then the thyroid gland releases the thyroid hormone. There are multiple layers. They are like multiple feedback loops. One of these hormones in the loop feeds back on the other. So you don’t want to get too much of any one thing there. It’s also very dependent on appropriate iodine intake.  Iodine is essential for life. It’s utilized by every single cell in your body. The thyroid uses about 3 mg every single day. The breast tissue uses a couple milligrams every single day because the breast is very receptive to iodine. It’s very important in breast function. Iodine has been added to salt. The iodized salt is one of the only ways we get iodine.

Unfortunately the iodine that’s in the salt can vaporize. Once the iodized salt container has been opened the iodine can vaporize. We often don’t get enough iodine because it’s been released into the atmosphere. It’s very common that people don’t get enough, especially Americans. Iodine used to be added to a lot of different foods. It’s been taken out of a lot of foods and substituted with bromine. In Europe bromine is illegal. The receptors for bromine are very similar to iodine. So if you’re exposed to a lot of bromine eventually the iodine receptors get blocked and then, subsequently even with the iodine, you’re not utilizing as much as you could. Iodine is very important to the thyroid. If you don’t get enough it can lead to goiter. Cysts form because the tissue is trying to work but can’t due to lack of iodine. The cysts can turn into a goiter. They can be very noticeable or very small. Eventually the thyroid could have to be taken out.

Again, the thyroid system runs from the hypothalamus down to the pituitary, and up to the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland then makes the thyroid hormone. Iodine is important in all of this. It releases thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. The thyroid hormone will go to just about every cell in your body.  If the thyroid hormone is unbalanced, then that would be either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It’s very important for growth and development and overall metabolism.

Is your thyroid functioning normally? TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone. It’s made by your pituitary gland in your brain. The thyroid functioning test is a screening test telling. It doesn’t tell us how well your thyroid is working. If the pituitary gland makes a lot of TSH it basically means your pituitary gland is screaming at your thyroid to get it to work. It often means the thyroid is not working well. That’s a sign of hypothyroidism. If the pituitary gland doesn’t make much TSH that means the thyroid is working like crazy. You don’t need to tell it to work anymore. That’s often a sign of hyperthyroidism.  Again, the thyroid function test is really a poor test. What’s important is not what the brain is telling the thyroid to do. What’s important is what the thyroid is actually doing. To know what the thyroid is doing, we look at the thyroid hormone. The working thyroid hormone is T3. It’s called free T3. What this has to do with is how many iodine molecules are on that thyroid hormone? T4 is levothyroxine. T3 is missing an iodine. Synthroid is synthetic thyroid. The issue there is that if you’re taking synthroid, you’re not taking the working thyroid hormone, T3. Subsequently your body has to convert it to the T3. Some people don’t do that well. If you don’t do that well synthroid (levothyroxine) might not be a good choice.   The reason we would give you T4 and not just T3 is because the T4 is much longer acting. Therefore it’s just one dose a day. T3 is short acting and you have to take multiple doses. Most people will continue to take the T4 and convert it to T3. I want to know what your TSH is (for the thyroid function test). But I also want to know what the free T3 is because that’s the true working hormone. All the others are just working up the working hormone. The T3 is what’s telling all the cells in your body how to act. How do we look at the thyroid physically? We can do an ultrasound or radioactive iodine. Often an ultrasound is a better way to look at the thyroid.

The TSH is coming down from the brain and tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone. The level will change depending on what it needs to tell the thyroid. If it’s telling the thyroid to release more, the volume goes up. If it’s telling the thyroid to release less, the volume goes down. The T4 is converted the T3, which then tells all the cells what to do. The T4 could actually make what’s called reverse T3. You don’t want to make this. It’s kind of a mirror image of T3. The mirror image of the T3 doesn’t function like the actual T3 does. Reverse T3 really doesn’t do you a lot of good. Some people take the T4, and instead of converting it to the T3, convert it reverse T3. Subsequently you’re thyroid doesn’t work well. But it may not show up on that TSH screening test.

Lots of thyroid symptoms go along with abnormality. The biggest thing we’re worried about is hypothyroidism. If you’re truly hyperthyroid you usually don’t have a weight problem. The symptoms with hypothyroidism are numerous and vague. That’s where the problem comes in. Because they are vague, we just don’t think about these things. For example, there are a lot of reasons to be tired.  You might lose some of your eyebrow hair. You might get a puffy face, enlarged thyroid gland, or be hot or cold all the time.  Cold intolerance is a symptom. You could be tired all the time, have dry skin, menstrual cycles are way off, weight gain, constipation, or brittle nails. Unfortunately a lot of these symptoms are very vague and don’t necessarily point at any one thing. It potentially can be hypothyroidism. There are some overlap symptoms that go with both hyper and hypothyroidism. Part of the problem is how we sort all these things out. Again, we look at those thyroid function tests.

What do you do if your thyroid is not quite abnormal enough to be on thyroid medication? One thing is iodine. It can help. Most Americans don’t get enough Iodine. There are some thyroid support supplements. We have them here is our store. You can also find them in health food stores. They usually have some B vitamins in them. They also have extra zinc, selenium and some herbal things as well. Typically there are some things you can do for supporting the thyroid.  Again, we can’t live without iodine.

Iodine supplements can be purchase in the CFWLS Nutrition Store or online.

 

 

 

 

Thyroid Support Pack also available in store or online!

Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde

Posted on November 12, 2019 by

Slow cookers work magic on this flavor packed dish!

Ingredients
3-4 (1 lb) chicken breast halves
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 package frozen riced cauliflower

Directions

  1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of slow cooker. Sprinkle cilantro & cumin over chicken breasts. Pour salsa over top and sprinkle with diced jalapeno. Add salt & pepper if desired.
  2. Set slow cooker to low and allow to cook for approximately 6 hours. Shred chicken breasts and stir in yogurt or sour cream. Cover for 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve over bed of riced cauliflower along with your favorite green veggie!

 

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                               208
Total Fat                                              3.5g
Total Carbohydrates                              9g
Dietary Fiber                                         2g
Protein                                                  34g

Print Recipe: creamy salsa verde chicken

Golden Mahi Mahi with Citrus Slaw

Posted on June 28, 2019 by

A delicious blen of sweet & savory that’s bound to become a favorite!

Ingredients
Fish:
1 lb mahi mahi filets
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbls olive oil

Slaw:
1 6 oz. package cole slaw mix with carrots
¼ red pepper, sliced thin
½ cup green onions, sliced
2 Tbls lime juice + zest
1 Tbls honey
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbls olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine spices & sugar in shallow dish and mix thoroughly.
  2. Coat both sides of mahi filets.
  3. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  4. Add fish and allow to cook until golden on one side, then turn gently.
  5. Fish is done when it flakes easily. Remove from heat and plate.
  6. Combine slaw mix, pepper & onion together.
  7. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to mix.
  8. Pour over slaw mix and toss. Serve next to fish.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                       285
Total Fat                      12g
Total Carbohydrates    16g
Dietary Fiber                3g
Protein                        36g

Print Recipe:  Golden Mahi Mahi with Citrus Slaw

Turkey Sliders with Spinach and Feta

Posted on June 12, 2019 by

Serve as a main entrée or an appetizer – they’re a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients
2 lbs ground turkey or ground turkey sausage
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz package of fresh baby spinach, chopped
4 oz feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Tzatziki sauce
6 oz plain Greek yogurt
½ c cucumber, grated
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp white wine or rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tso dill
Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients for sliders together in a large bowl.
  2. Form 24 small patties on parchment paper or foil.
  3. Fry patties over medium to medium-high heat in non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (These take a little heat to brown)
  4. Transfer to cooling rack.
  5. Serve with Tzatziki sauce.

 

Makes 8 servings (3 sliders)

Nutrition Facts (plain & with sauce):       Tzatziki sauce
Calories              230                                      20
Total Fat               13g                                    2.5g
Total Carbohydrates          2.5g                         1g
Dietary Fiber                     1g                             0g
Protein                               27g                         2.2g

Print Recipe: Turkey Sliders with Spinach and Feta

Low Carb Diets and the Truth About Water Weight

Posted on April 08, 2019 by

It’s often thought that low carbohydrate diets are only good for short term weight loss because they cause you to lose water.  Isn’t that bad??  Yes it is good for short term weight loss is because you lose water. The reason you lose water is because insulin levels will go down on low carbohydrate diets. Insulin is a hormone that tends to make you retain sodium. When you retain sodium, you’re going to retain water. So, when insulin levels go down on a low carb diet, you no longer will retain sodium. Subsequently you’re going to get rid a lot of that extra water that goes along with the sodium. One of the nice things about that is you can actually have a little bit of extra sodium because you won’t retain it. So, yet, you will lose weight fairly quickly on a low carb diet because you lose some water weight. But you’re also losing fat.

Remember-it’s your life. Make it a healthy one!

fun with eggs

Fun With Eggs!

Posted on April 05, 2019 by

It’s no secret that eggs pack a great little protein punch and are extremely versatile in your diet. They average about 70-80 calories and contain 6-7 grams of protein. They are rich in choline, which helps promote normal cell activity and aids in the transportation of vitamins and minerals through your system. Eggs contain all 9 of the amino acids that are essential to your diet. What don’t they do?  They don’t add to your carb count!

This time of year, you’ll see eggs everywhere – have you colored a batch yet?  (You don’t need a child’s help but it could make it more fun). Pick up a dozen – or two – and make your own this weekend!  We made a batch last weekend with this no-mess trick that’s great for little fingers.

You’ll need a bag of rice and some basic liquid food coloring along with a number of small plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  I picked up the rice & containers at the local dollar store.

Start with this great tip on cooking the perfect hard-boiled eggs.  Allow them to cool and dry completely.

Put about 3/4 – 1 cup of rice to each container and add 8-10 drops of coloring to each cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shake the container to distribute the coloring to the rice.  Open the container and add a hard boiled egg, reseal and hand to a small child to shake!

 

 

 

 

Remove the colored eggs from the cups and lay on a paper towel to dry completely. You can make them multi-colored by tossing them into a second color.  If the rice seems to be drying out, add a few more drops of coloring and shake before adding a new egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy these colorful treats & Happy Easter everyone!

 

Ditch the Sweet Stuff

Posted on July 18, 2016 by

Ditch the Sweet StuffWhat’s Hiding in Your Pantry? Go ahead – open the door.  It’s in there and you won’t have to look too far. Take the first package you see and turn it around. Find the nutrition label and look about two-thirds of the way down the list.  What do you see?  Total Carbohydrates – eeeek!  Sugar is hiding in places that you would least expect and may be the prime culprit in your battle of the bulge.

Carbohydrates tend to be mostly empty calories and leave us wanting for more almost as soon as we’ve finished whatever was in the package.  These sugars cause an excess blood sugar surge and trigger an insulin release in your body. Insulin, also being a fat-storage hormone, promptly sends these calories packing – right where you don’t want them – around the mid-section (aka Belly Fat!)

Cutting back on carbohydrates may help you do more than just lose weight.  Studies show that there are dozens of additional health benefits when eliminating extra sugar from your diet.  Here are 10 of our favorites!

1. It lowers your chance of diabetes

Just 2 sodas a day increase your chance of becoming one of the millions with Type 2 diabetes by 26%.  Steady sugar intake can result in insulin resistance. Easy decision – drink water!

2. It reduces your risk of certain cancers

Research suggests that risk of certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, can be attributed to excess sugar intake. Why take chances?

3. It may lower your blood pressure

Excess weight has long been considered the major factor in hypertension. New studies indicate that sugary foods can also increase blood pressure. When the heart and arteries are taxed over long periods of time, damage can occur in the whole circulatory system.  This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, artery disease and other coronary conditions.

4. It promotes healthy skin

Added sugar can leave the skin looking dull and wrinkled. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins, a process called glycation, that results in damage to your collagen and elastin. It may also leave your skin more prone to sun damage.

5. It improves brain function

Sugar can eat away at your brain cells much like it does your tooth enamel! Research shows a correlation between impaired cognitive function and excessive sugar intake. It has also shown to reduce the proteins that are necessary for memory and responsiveness.

6. It decreases your bad cholesterol

Consuming too many carbohydrates may lead to lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) as well as higher triglycerides (blood fats).  Clogged arteries can lead to heart disease!

7. It may help you avoid fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is very common in this country and is directly related to the excess sugar in the American diet.  High blood sugar results in excess insulin in the system that drives fat into the liver cells. This disease can increase your risk of diabetes, heart attacks and even cancer.

8. It makes for easy breathing

Those that partake in a high carbohydrate diet may be more likely to suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country!

9. You’ll have more energy

Carbohydrates give you energy – right?  Wrong!  Excess sugar actually decreases the activity in our orexin cells. These cells help keep us awake and lift our metabolism – that could explain the need for a nap after a carb-filled lunch.

10. You’ll have more $$ to spend on the fun things in life!

We recently talked with a surgical patient who had added up the cost of all the sodas and junk food he had been buying compared to what he was now spending on good food.  Even we were amazed!  You can save hundreds of dollars each month – and spend it on something to celebrate your healthy life!

If you bite it, you must write it…

Posted on July 11, 2016 by

Weight Loss Mobile appYour food diary is a vital tool on your journey to lose weight.  Technological advances have made journaling so much easier and convenient.  Have you downloaded our free mobile app?  It tracks your food & fitness as well as water & weight loss progress!  Don’t have a smart phone? Good old fashioned pen and paper work just fine too. Some people claim that journaling is time-consuming and cumbersome.  The facts are that people who keep daily food diaries are much more successful with weight loss than those who don’t document.

Keeping a generic diary to record feelings and events can help with expressing emotions, aid in self-growth, and appreciating success and mistakes. Use a food/drink journal to increase awareness of your emotions in addition to what you’re putting in your mouth.  Here’s our top 5 reasons to keep a food diary:

  1. Helps to identify areas where changes need to be made
  2. Makes you cognizant of stressful, mindless eating
  3. Helps to pinpoint patterns of over-eating
  4. Provides an understanding of the source of calories
  5. Reveals where the surplus or deficit (protein or carbs) is

Dr. Clark and the counselors at the Center for Weight Loss Success especially want our patients to document protein, carbohydrates, and calories. We’re better able to provide support and assistance if we know exactly what you’re ingesting.

Don’t let the amount of calories you consume and where they’re coming from be a big mystery. Knowledge is power, and hiding from the truth isn’t going to bring you any closer to your ideal weight.  A recent study revealed people who kept a food journal six days a week lost almost twice as much as those who only recorded one day or less. This information is very impactful and advantageous. If you’re walking through the kitchen and feel like reaching for a cookie, you might think again if you have to record it!

Be accurate and honest when recording in your food diary.  If it goes in your mouth, it must be recorded.  All the “extras” add up.  For example, we recently had a medical client who was faithfully recording everything he ate daily, or so we thought.  It turned out, he had neglected to write down the dried cranberries he was sprinkling on his salad every day.  Those additional 25 grams of carbs and 20 grams of sugar made a big difference with his weight loss. Once discovered, the scale started moving again!

Tracking your intake may seem a bit time-consuming but pays big dividends and becomes easier with each passing day.  Take charge of your health!

Download the CFWLS free mobile app for iPhone at the App Store or for Androids at the Marketplace.

Fettuccine with Spinach and Tomatoes

Posted on April 22, 2016 by

Another great fresh & tasty vegetarian option!

IngredientsFettuccine with spinach and tomatoes

2 packets of Fettuccine Pasta (available at CFWLS)

2 tsp olive oil

4 cups fresh spinach

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

2 Tbls capers

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup fresh basil

¼ tsp oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

4 Tbls Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain.
  2. Add olive oil to wok or skillet and heat to medium high.
  3. Add spinach, tomatoes, capers, garlic and basil. Cook until slightly wilted and add pasta.
  4. Season with oregano, salt & pepper.
  5. Serve with 2 Tablespoons of parmesan cheese.

 

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 222

Total Fat 9g

Total Carbohydrates 11g

Dietary Fiber 6g

Protein 26.5g

Print Recipe: Fettuccine with Spinach and Tomatoes