Let’s talk about endless weight roundabouts! This is a very common subject with clients who have thyroid disorders and Hashimoto’s – in particular, the ever popular ‘How do I lose weight?’ question!
Now, the very first thing I would say is to change up the language you use with your body and mind. Instead of lose, say reduce. Your body and mind hears and stores EVERYTHING we do (have you ever exercised and felt sore or tight the next day? Perfect example of your body storing a reaction to your action!).
Reframe it in your mind that you are reducing something of excess instead of trying to lose something you may find again. This mental shift can help in the beginning.
Weight gain does not primarily come down to only what you eat and how much you exercise, one of the biggest things I find is stress! Stress comes at you in all forms. Continually scrolling through Instagram, driving aggressively, window shopping for things you can’t afford, deadlines at work and many other situations that increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is our stress hormone, and it increases our insulin levels in our blood. Insulin’s job is to gobble up all the glucose (sugar) and then use it to increase our heart rate and direct blood to our muscles so we can run away! And in-turn, it turns off everything we don’t need – including our digestion, stopping our sex hormones being released and everything else you don’t need when running away from, say, a tiger!
Now what does the body do with all this cortisol? It sends it to your liver, which stores it as fat to deal with later! That roll or slight bit of pudge between your breastbone and belly button? Yep, that’s a tell tale sign of stress related weight gain!
So how can you manage your stress response and bring a sense of calm everyday? Release and reduce that stress! Movement is a great one. Activities like yoga, reading, being outside in the sunshine, playing with your kids, meditation, surfing, walking or whatever creates a sense of peace in your mind and body.
Next big one is unbroken sleep! If we are not switching off from our stressed state then we are not allowing our body to heal and detox. So making sure it is solid, unbroken and restful is massively important.
Lack of hydration is another big one! If you’re not hydrated then the body is stressed. You are already starting to dehydrate long before you feel thirsty so keeping your fluids up is crucial. As a guide, they say 30mls per kilo of body weight is what your body needs. A great way to get water into you is via herbal teas or fruit-flavoured water, stick some strawberries with lime in your water to make it yummy and increase your intake. Drink it slowly, so you have time to recognise and soak up the goodness! One other thing to remember is our body will hold water when we don’t get enough in our lymphatic system. Eating right and moving slowly helps manage fluid retention.
Eating well for thyroid and hashies is REALLY important. Identifying your food sensitivities is crucial to help manage your weight. Gluten is a big one because your thyroid protein and your gluten proteins are identical and if you have thyroid or hashies issues then it confuses the two and leaves you with inflammation. If you have hypothyroidism then gluten will fatigue you so much more, by causing a leaky gut. If you have a lower metabolism then we want to do whatever we can to prop it back up – so gluten free all the way! And for hormonal issues, dairy free is the way to go. Dairy makes things grow and we are trying to reduce our weight, not grow it. Aim for a well rounded diet, think about eating all the colours of the rainbow (that’s only 5!) for every meal. Build your plate with 80% veg, 10% protein and 10% slow release carbohydrates in appropriate portions, don’t over stack your plate. Serve yourself and eat mindfully, this looks like chewing your food until it is mush, feeling the texture in your mouth as it transforms and the difference in taste as it rolls around hitting your different taste buds.
Movement – the key here is to modify your intensity. Remember, when your heart rate is elevated you are in a stress state, so those 5 high intensity workouts a week are not doing you any favours! Your body needs time to recover, so a balanced exercise plan is key. For example, doing high intensity movement twice or three times a week spaced out, and on your off-days do some yoga, weight classes, swimming or pilates – movements that allow your body to heal its micro tears and are gentler on the body.
It’s a combination of all these things and until we get the balance right your weight will continually go up and down and round and round. This is the whole package – the right nutrition for thyroid, metabolism and your digestive system coupled with H2o, the right types of movement and a bit of joy in your life will get you out of flight or fight mode, off the roundabout and living a happier, healthier life.
Book a private consultant with me here to discuss your own, personalised action plan now!