Underactive Thyroid … or Over-Active Fork?
If you're worried about having an underactive thyroid or have been diagnosed with one this page can help you. I’m no medical doctor, so what I will share with you on this page is not medical advice. It is simply my opinion and some considered suggestions you might want to take on board.
1. What can I do?
The very first thing you must do is visit your doctor and have the required tests to see where you stand on the scale of thyroid function. Some cases are clear cut and others are “borderline” – a term you may become sick of hearing.
Clear cut cases will be treated with medication from the word go, but if you are declared “borderline” you may have to fight for drug treatment to be issued. Courses of medication are ongoing and fairly expensive and so healthcare insurance companies and National Health Services are often reluctant to prescribe drug treatments. Some clients I have worked with who have suffered with thyroid problems have felt that this decision was made on cost grounds, whereas doctors claim they will only prescribe where there are clear grounds to believe the medication will make a significant difference.
My advice to you would be to fight for what you believe in. Find the best specialist in your area and work closely with them, but leave them in no doubt that you’re serious about getting the best possible treatment and will not be fobbed off lightly.
2. Analyse your food intake very carefully.
Keep an absolutely stringent food diary. Work out the amount of food you eat and (using the packet) calculate calorie values to everything you eat.
This serves two purposes – firstly it helps you to see where you can cut certain high-calorie foods out to replace them with lower calorie alternatives. This gives your body its best possible chance to stop gaining weight or even start losing naturally.
A good example of this was a client I once did a diet analysis with. After we had gone through all the food she had been eating, which wasn’t outrageous, we turned to what she drank. Although this wasn’t the silver bullet she initially hoped it might be, we did calculate that she was drinking over 300 calories a day in fresh orange juice. By changing this to water or a similar calorie-free alternative she would have saved enough calories in just juice to lose 1lb of body fat every two weeks.
The second benefit of your food diary is that it can give your medical practitioner their best chance of helping you – once they see in black and white that you are not simply overeating, they will believe that your cause is genuine and nothing to do with an over-active fork.
3. Take whatever exercise you can:
Even though it may be difficult, take any and every opportunity to exercise – walking or swimming may be a good place to start and even if it something you have never considered before, you will be helped by working out with weights. Any extra muscle mass you can develop will be valuable in your battle to burn more calories than your body wants to store.
Click here for ideas about exercise if you have an underactive thyroid.
4. Come to terms with the fact that progress you make with your weight will be slow.
The key here is to be patient and give your weight loss program a fair chance of succeeding. Follow it diligently and tell your doctor what you are doing. The extra effort you are making will reassure them that you are serious about finding a solution and remove any more doubts your doctor may have that you are jeopardising your own chances of success.
And remember, keep on keeping a food diary!
There are many sources of information and support on thyroid issues. Here is a selection of books, websites and support organisations that might help you:
WARNING: If you are concerned about your health, you should check with your physician before engaging in any new eating or exercise regime.