I have a client who has a problem with her thyroid. Can you explain what role the thyroid has in weight loss/gain and the effects of any medication taken for this condition?
Thank you for the question. The thyroid is directly involved with metabolism, so it will either inhibit or increase changes in weight. The thyroid produces hormones that affect the function of all the cells in the body. These hormones can be broken into categories. To simplify the process a little, let us focus on two specific hormones: T3 and T4. T4 is the culprit in most common thyroid disorders. If the thyroid produces too much T4, the body will burn too much energy, and the client will lose weight. This is called hyperthyroidism.
The opposite disorder is when the thyroid does not produce enough T4, and the body’s metabolism is slowed down where it will not burn enough energy in the body. This is called hypothyroidism. Either of the two conditions can be treated with medication. There isn’t much agreement in the medical community on why the thyroid does not work properly. There also isn’t any sure fire way to prescribe the right amount of medication. Most doctors and patients have to work together changing the amount of medication until they come up with the proper dosage for each individual.
If your client complains that she has gained weight since she has been put on medication and she can’t seem to get rid of it, it may be wise to have her hormone levels checked again and regulate the amount of medication. There are also some tricks to help try to stimulate the metabolism and help the thyroid out naturally. This is in the case of hypothyroidism or the gaining of weight.
The first thing to do is to split up her food consumption into many small meals spread evenly throughout the day. We suggest at least five or six small meals. It comes out to eating about every three waking hours. Every time you start to eat, the metabolism will start, and it will help keep the fires burning so to speak. The second trick is to try to exercise at least twice a day. This sounds impossible, but it isn’t. I am not suggesting that the client needs to come in the gym for two sessions a day. I am saying that a five or 10 minute brisk walk at least twice a day will also help stimulate the metabolism naturally. Another trick is to not allow any meal, especially dinner, to be more than one third of the total calories consumed in a day.
I would also suggest dropping out as much caffeine and nicotine as possible and replace them with pure water. Drinking water will help the body do everything and help the metabolism run efficiently. I do not suggest any type of stimulant, whether it’s "natural" or not. The stimulants are nothing more than an artificial way of temporarily increasing metabolism, and they can throw off the natural metabolic balance of the body.
In recap, the first thing that should be done is to have your client have her medication checked. The next thing is to get her to eat five or six meals spaced evenly throughout the day. The last thing is to drink plenty of clean fresh water and replace any stimulants she may be ingesting.
This type of program has worked very effectively with many of the clients at our clinic, and I hope you get the same results with your client.