If you have an underactive thyroid, you know how difficult it can be to lose weight. A sluggish thyroid can reduce your body’s metabolism and its ability to burn fat, making it harder to lose weight. Additionally, a sluggish thyroid can cause weakness and fatigue, which can further hinder your weight loss efforts. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to stimulate your thyroid, which will activate your metabolism and help your body burn fat.

The first thing you should do before attempting to lose weight is to speak to a functional medicine doctor specializing in thyroid health. Your doctor will run a variety of tests to determine how well your thyroid is functioning. Additionally, the doctor will determine if you have any nutritional deficiencies that need to be addressed, discuss dietary changes, and recommend a fitness program that will bolster metabolism and fat burning.

Exercise Helps

Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan. If you have a poorly functioning thyroid, you will want to include both strength training and cardiovascular exercises. Cardio exercises increase respiration and heart rate, melt fat, and burn calories. Examples of cardio exercises include aerobics, swimming, walking, jogging, and biking. Strength training exercise helps to build muscle. When your muscle mass increases, your fat burning capabilities increase. Strength training exercises are designed to build and tone your muscles and improve your strength and endurance.

Iodine Consumption for Improving Thyroid Health

Iodine is your best friend. In order for your thyroid to function properly, you need to include iodine in your diet. Iodine is a mineral that is used by the thyroid gland to make T3 and T4. Most people know that seafood, seaweed, and saltwater fish like tuna and cod are rich in iodine; however, many people do not realize that dairy products, cereals, and breads all contain ample amounts of iodine.

Eat Small Meals Frequently

Eat as soon as you wake up. Waiting more than 30 minutes after you wake up to eat can place undue stress on your body. When your body does not get fed upon rising, the famine response can activate and prevent the thyroid from converting T4 into T3. Once the famine response has been activated, your body will begin storing fat for a backup emergency food source. Finally, eat small meals throughout the day to prevent the body from thinking that food is scarce, and it should activate the famine response to protect against starvation.

Avoid Foods That Cause Inflammation

Avoid foods that trigger systemic inflammation. Processed foods, refined sugar, and refined oil can increase inflammation in the body. Furthermore, food intolerances can cause inflammation. The top food intolerances include soy, corn, gluten, and dairy products. By eliminating these foods from your diet, you can help heal the thyroid gland and rev up your fat burning capabilities.

Toxins

If you have high levels of toxins, your thyroid may not be able to function properly. Toxins are found in groundwater, nonorganic foods, mercury laden fish, and oral fillings. Following a detoxification program can help pull toxins and heavy metals from the body and improve thyroid function.

Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional deficiencies can impact how well your thyroid functions. There are several minerals that can reduce the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Selenium, zinc, iodine, and tyrosine are necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement can help to improve thyroid health.

Choose vitamins and minerals that can help to decrease the effects of stress hormones on your metabolism and thyroid. When you are under stress, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol decreases thyroid hormone production, decreases T3 production, and increases the destruction of T3 in the body. In addition to this, high cortisol levels can cause blood sugar imbalances which can further exacerbate thyroid problems.

Adequate Sleep

Get a good night’s sleep. Many of the hormones that are necessary for improved health are produced while you sleep. If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, go to bed every night at the same time, get up every morning at the same time, lower the temperature of your bedroom by a couple of degrees, and only use your bedroom for intimacy and sleep.

Consume Enough Water

Drink water throughout the day. You must stay hydrated to stay healthy. Did you know that drinking two glasses of water increases the metabolic rate?  In addition to this, drinking cold water before you eat can reduce the amount of food you consume and improve weight loss efforts.

Manage Stress

Stress decreases metabolism and slows down thyroid function. Furthermore, when you are stressed, you are more likely to stress eat, resulting in weight gain. Stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help improve how well your thyroid functions and help you burn fat and increase metabolism.

 

Functional medicine understands the importance of treating the body as a whole rather than just prescribing medicine to treat the condition. When you suffer from a low functioning thyroid and low metabolism, you must address the underlying issues that are preventing your body from burning fat and losing weight. Some of the most common underlying issues including stress, sleep deprivation, nutritional deficiencies, and toxic build up in the body.