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Tag Archives: metabolism

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!

Weight Regain and Getting Back on Track

Posted on April 29, 2019 by

You’ve regained some weight. It happens.  What are you going to do about it?

First, lets talk about the reasons for re-gaining weight and recognizing some of this back-sliding. Take charge of your thinking. We’ll talk a little about self-management skills and some tips to get you back on track and lead you to success.  picked up a very good book recently. It’s written by a psychologist who’s very attuned to this problem. She’s written previous books. She wrote The Beck Diet Solution. Her name is Judith Beck. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with weight to read it. It’s not a diet book but how you actually change your behavior towards eating.  She and her daughter took it one step further. They put together the next step in all this called The Diet Trap Solution. It looks at different behavior traps and mindsets that we fall into and what do you do about it. Very good book. I haven’t quite completed it yet. I might take some of those ideas and put them into a talk like this.

What are the typical reasons for regaining weight? The biggest reasons are shifting your calories to more carbohydrates and not exercising.  I hear so often that a patient is doing so well and then they drift off on the exercise. I preach on this over and over again. Keep that carbohydrate ratcheted down. Everyone has a carbohydrate tipping point. When you get above that tipping point you will struggle. For those people who have a really high tipping point, they’re probably not struggling. For those of us who have a low tipping point, we shift and we struggle. Count your carbohydrates!

There are other things that tend to affect this. Lack of sleep increases stress which leads to eating more comfort foods. Lots of things occur when we don’t get good quality sleep. Sleep is the way we recover. We get worn out during a day. We need to recover. If we don’t get good quality sleep we never actually recover. Stress hormones don’t go down.  Increased stress causes an increase in cortisol. You become leptin resistant. It’s a hormone made by your fatty tissue. It makes you feel satisfied when you eat something. Therefore, we increase comfort foods again which causes increased fat storage.  Certain medications can cause weight gain. The biggest culprits are the psych meds like anti-depressants. The only exception I’m aware of is Wellbutrin. It has a chemical appearance similar to some of the appetite suppressants. For some people, Wellbutrin helps them lose weight.  A lot of the blood pressure meds and most diabetic meds cause weight gain. Depo Provera causes weight gain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone not gain weight. I would encourage you to use a different birth control.  Medical conditions such as thyroid problems can cause weight gain. The thyroid regulates your overall metabolism.  Menopause obviously affects half the population. Aging is also a culprit. As we age, some of the hormone levels go down, specifically testosterone. Estradiol levels go down with menopause. Estradiol and testosterone both help you preserve lean body mass which keeps metabolism higher.  As estradiol levels go down during menopause, estrone levels go up and cause fat storage.  It gets easier to gain weight as you go through menopause. There are things we can do to combat that.

Many times we gain weight back because we start going back to old behaviors.  Almost all relapses occur within 90 days. It occurs fairly early. Sometimes during that 6-9 month period we really see people starting to struggle again because the old behaviors start sneaking back in. New behaviors have to become a habit. Backsliding occurs when you overeat any food after a lapse. This is often triggered by an event or situation (stressful relationship, social influences, etc.). Once we start doing this we drift back to our old behavior.  You need to use coping responses to combat the relapses. The following helps: positive self-talk, exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and discussions with supporters. You want to have these coping mechanisms in place because these backsliding situations will always develop. It can be a positive situation or negative that causes the backsliding. Sometimes this happens when we start categorizing food. I’m not a big fan of diet depravation.  The exception is that if there is truly a trigger food that sets off your eating (you can’t eat just one potato chip-you eat the whole bag) then you need to stay away from it. That’s something you have to figure out yourself.  But for most foods I don’t like to categorize them as “bad.” If we treat things as truly bad, it creates tension which leads to obsession. It’s really working on portion control. If others are telling you that you can’t have certain foods, it often leads to rebelling.

You want to take charge of your thinking. Typically errors in thinking almost always accompany ineffective coping skills. We want to change the strategy to help take control of your thinking.  Avoid the trap of perfectionism and unrealistic things. An unrealistic goal would be to be the same size you were at age 18. Use positive self-talk. Listen to yourself. What are you saying? Are you making excuses?
Are you making rationalizations? You want to challenge yourself, but you also want to be reasonable with yourself. Challenge yourself to commit to your goals. Learn to make better decisions. Don’t let your emotions cloud those decisions. We are emotional animals. We let emotions take control and that never works.

Develop self-management skills. Learn how to identify and change behavior patterns. Self-management tools include learning to: communicate effectively (be open and honest), problem solving (assess, plan, take action), self-monitor (track coping skills), mange conflict (handle relationships effectively(, cope with emotions (recognize healthy/unhealthy feelings), avoid thinking traps (challenge irrational beliefs), manage stress effectively (meditation, exercise), and mange time (“to do “ list, et priorities, follow a plan). There’s never enough time so we have to prioritize things.

Tips to help get you back on track. First, don’t beat yourself up. We all backslide. Try to figure out what event triggered a relapse and learn from it. Second, be patient. Creating new habits takes time. It’s something we have to work on over and over. Third, think outside the box. If you’re doing something that’s not working for you, it’s time to change what you’re doing. By doing the same things you’ve always done, you’ll get the same result. Those are one of the definitions of insanity-doing the same thing over and over again and think we’re going to get a different result. Take a different approach. If you’re struggling and have questions, talk to one of the counselors here at The Center for Weight Loss Success.  We have multiple programs here. I’m not a counselor. I’ll tell you what you need to do.  A big part of it is how you make that happen in your life. Sometimes sitting down with one of the counselors and figuring out what you’re struggling with and what the solutions are can be a big help. How can I change this? Change is hard!

Tips to re-start!  Try one of the “Jump Start/Quick Start” 2 week programs at CFWLS. It simplifies things using some of the shakes. It’s a simple thing to do. You have to translate that eventually into long-term. If you’re struggling and you’re going to do just one thing: count your carbs! You’re getting the most bang for your buck right there. Even when we think we’re doing well, we drift. If you’re going to do two things: count your protein! It’s easy to count. You want to make sure you haven’t drifted on that too. If you’re going to do three things: count your exercise! Write it down! If you don’t how we are going to know what was really wrong? We may think we’re doing everything right. But if you don’t write it down, we’ll never really know that. Typically writing it down will change your behavior. So simple things but not necessarily easy.

Tips for success! Arm yourself with knowledge. Use the info through the programs and staff at CFWLS to help you recognize backsliding and take the steps to stop it in its tracks. Go back and review the information. Acknowledge and celebrate when you take control of that first slip. Realize that we’re not going to be perfect. Keep supportive people around you. Recruit people to help you. The staff at CFWLS is always ready to help.

I mentioned we have the “Back on Track After Weight Loss Surgery.” We also have the whole digital program as well. You do it yourself. There are PDF’s you can download and print. There are a lot of things that go along with it.

If there are questions give us a yell here at CFWLS. You can email us at success@cfwls.com

The phone number is 757-873-1880. Stop by and get your body composition analysis done.  You should be receiving the recipes and weekly weight loss tips. Tune in to Losing Weight USA each Tuesday at 6:00pm for the next webinar. Remember it’s your life. Make it a healthy one!

Tired of Fighting Fatigue?

Posted on March 11, 2019 by

fighting fatigueTired of fighting fatigue? What do you normally reach for when you feel sluggish or lethargic?  ‘Something to eat’ is not the best answer.  Now, if you had said a tall glass of water or even a pillow, you would be on the right track!  Hydration and Rest are vital for your health and well-being.  They are two of the key ingredients to feeling and performing your best.

Staying hydrated will keep you energized and may help you shed weight–even mild dehydration can slow metabolism. Every single cell in your body needs water. Water transports nutrients and oxygen to your body cells and removes waste products. We recommend that you avoid drinking too many artificially sweetened beverages. Even though they are low in calories, they may interfere with your brain’s signals, prompting you to eat more. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding sliced citrus fruits or cucumber for some flavor.

Drinking enough fluids is one of the simplest ways to keep energized and stay focused. A study of healthy individuals found that 92% felt fatigued after limiting fluids and water-rich foods for 15 hours; they also had lapses in memory and reported difficulty concentrating. When it comes to maintaining your energy, select meals and snacks that are rich in water, such as fresh produce or protein drinks.

The average person loses about 10 cups of water through daily activities.  Your actual needs will vary based on climate, diet and activity.  Have you replenished your system today?

Sleep, or more likely the lack of it, is sometimes responsible for our lack of energy.  Your body counts on being able to restore balance to your hunger hormones and other systems as you sleep each night.  When this doesn’t happen, your ghrelin and leptin stores may not be providing the proper signals to your brain, causing you to overeat.

You have probably noticed that it’s harder to make good choices when you’re tired. You may talk yourself out of going to exercise class or taking a walk when you get home from work.  Dinner may sound like too much of a chore and you find yourself at your old drive-through favorite.

Establish a regular sleep schedule. This will strengthen your body’s circadian rhythm and help you get the rest that you need each night.

Don’t let your defenses get down.  Arm yourself with plenty of water and a good night’s sleep.  You’ll be ready to take on the day!

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Belly Fat – Why Now?

Posted on March 17, 2014 by

B Vitamins and Weight Loss

Posted on October 30, 2013 by