Welcome to Day 12 of my 14 Days of Fat Loss! Today I am going to focus on metabolism, set point, and what role your Thyroid plays in fat loss.
I recently received a client who has presented specifically with Thyroid issues. She is on Thyroid medication from her doctor and has a number of Thyroid symptoms. So you would think that my go to would be to add further assistance to her Thyroid right? Not quite and here is why.
When you come to me I will not only ask what your story is, but I will dive deeper into your body's story through specific intake quizzes. Symptoms unfortunately only tell half of the story and without the right assessment tools, you can be chasing how you feel instead of what is real.
Because of my perspective as a Natural Health Practitioner, I will find that there is always more occurring then the identified problem, diagnosis, or symptoms. As far as our body is concerned, everything is connected. So for example, adrenal health will impact your thyroid health. If your adrenal health has been dramatically compromised (Adrenal Fatigue) due to stress of any kind (i.e overexercise, traumatic event, under-eating, etc.), then your sex hormones will be negatively impacted. So what does that look like exactly?
Fibroid's, difficult periods, long periods, erratic periods, and so fourth are good indicators of sex hormones being imbalanced. This will then effect thyroid health which will then show up with constipation, cold, dry hair, patches of missing hair, depression, and/or feeling sluggish or thinking slow. This happens because your thyroid which is essentially your bodies internal thermostat, will turn energy production down. So your actual metabolism is decreased which as you can imagine contributes to not only weight gain, but weight loss resistance. So how do you make not only your thyroid happier, but related organs such as the adrenals?
Take action now by taking my adrenal and detox quizzes as blocked detoxification pathways can also contribute to negative thyroid health.
"But Tiffany, what should I do in the mean time!"
Your general health practitioner will more then likely not look at your adrenal health. So you are going to have to make yourself self-informed and take action.
- Epsom Salt Baths
- High Quality Multi-Vitamin (Over the counter will not cut it)
- Wear Socks In Bed
- Switch From Regular Salt To Sea Salt (Pink, Red, Or Orange)
- Sea Vegetables (i.e Seaweed or Kelp)
- Manage Constipation
- Gluten & Dairy Free Diet
Why is it so difficult to lose weight? Because as far as your body is concerned, you are supposed to have a specific amount of body fat. If you exceed the amount of fat your body thinks you should have, your body will turn up the heat (your body temperature) and turn down your hunger levels. If you go below the amount of fat your bod thinks you should have, your body will decrease the heat, and turn up your hunger levels. The research not only supports this survival programming that we all have, but logically it actually makes sense as well.
In our very early history, we would go through periods of feast and famine. Much like bears, we needed to have the physiological signals to eat as much as we could and store food as energy when food was available, and then use that stored energy (fat) during times of scarcity.
Fast forward to 2017 and while food scarcity is the least of our concern, our bodies are still working with very old software in regards to surviving a potential famine. We like to think that we have control over our weight. We often think if I exercise or do X nutrition program, then we will lose Y amount of pounds. This would absolutely be the case if our bodies worked more like a calculator or a bank account.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound. So logic would tell us that if we create a caloric deficit by either eating less, moving more, or both, then we would lose weight. If this were actually true, we could easily reduce our body fat to a dangerous level and die. So how does our body actually regulate energy?
Hormonal signals will encourage the body in one of two directions in order to maintain homeostasis. Insulin will encourage your body to store fat whereas glucagon will encourage your body to burn fat (both regulated most directly by blood sugar levels).
"Now Tiffany, if that were true, why are so many people overweight? Why is their set point allowing them to gain 25, 50, 100 lbs of fat?" What you should be aware of by now after reading and/or watching my previous days of fat loss is that we can throw our hormones out of balance. A Type II Diabetic has high insulin levels, low insulin sensitivity, and will be prescribed additional insulin to manage their blood sugar. Weight gain is almost guaranteed when your are pumping yourself with the fat storing hormone. But here is where it gets even more complicated.
If you gain let's say a hundred pounds, and remain at this new weight for a significant amount of time. This weight will become your new set point. Now, let's say you diet on and off in order to remove this weight by following fad diets and the caloric deficit model. You will lose the most weight the moment you introduce a new diet, which will then be followed by weight gain. Why?
Because your body (thyroid more specifically) will see this dramatic weight loss as a potential threat to it's existence and decrease your energy output and increase your hunger. But wait, there's more! With each diet attempt the body adapts and becomes more efficient. Meaning your dramatic weight loss on the first diet becomes less weight loss on the second, less weight loss on the third, less weight loss on the fourth, until you cannot lose anymore weight. You are now overweight with a metabolism that is significantly slower then it was when you first gained the 100 lbs.
Take two women who are the same age, same height, and the same weight. Now let's say the first woman has always been the same weight of 150 lbs, and the second woman once weighed 300 lbs but was able to get back down to 150 lbs. Who has the higher metabolism? The first woman. The second woman will burn significantly less calories than the first woman due to the fact that her body remembers being 150 lbs heavier. She will not only burn less calories at rest, but she will also be hungrier (they have measured Ghrelin levels in individuals who have lost weight, up to a year later those levels are very high).
You or your health practitioner MUST understand how this works if you are going to lose weight and keep it off. Even more importantly, how to assess your hormonal imbalance and re-balance it if necessary. Resetting your set point to a lower weight is far more successful then breaking your body down to a temporarily smaller weight.