3 Ways Your Thyroid Halts Weight Loss

Your low thyroid could be behind your dieting fails.

December 16, 2015
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The thyroid, the small gland at the base of the neck, is far more powerful than many think. The gland is responsible for the body's metabolic rate, so anything that impairs its function will actually slow your ability to lose fat.

A great deal of its power has to do with the fact that its hormones target the metabolic powerhouses inside our cells, called mitochondria, which are responsible for creating energy (ATP) and generating heat (as a by-product). The more triiodothyronine (T3) that reach the cells, the more signals your mitochondria receive to produce energy (or burn calories, if you will).

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More: 10 Commandments of Successful Fat Loss

The thyroid is very sensitive to external chemicals like chlorine, lead, and mercury; to gluten and gut problems; and to low levels of important minerals like iodine and selenium. Thyroid toxins are prominent in our food supply and environment, so perhaps constant exposure to them has negatively impacted many people's thyroid glands.

There's a very clear divide among the population, as well. Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) is more common in women than men and its prevalence increases with age (10 percent of adults over age 65 have it). According to a 2000 study, 1 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. population has it, and truthfully, those numbers may even be low. 

More: 6 Fat Triggers That Are Halting Your Weight Loss

From fatigue and sluggishness to dry and brittle hair, skin, and nails, a low thyroid can also be strongly responsible for your lack of weight loss success. And here's why: 

1. Not eating is not the solution. 
Low thyroid function can arise from prolonged starvation. Thus, not eating, or restricting your calories for several days (or more), can hurt your thyroid and thus your ability to lose weight. This is why having a healthy cheat day once a week can help you to lose weight.

2. Cravings are a sign. 
Low thyroid function affects important neurotransmitters in the brain (namely serotonin), resulting in sugar and fat cravings and overeating. Both contribute to weight gain.

3. No more healthy growth.
Low thyroid function decreases the production of growth hormone, a potent fat-burning hormone that is excreted especially during exercise and fasting states.

Cortisol, insulin, and toxicity (just to name a few) have a big impact on the complicated chain of events involving the thyroid, and that's why we aim to keep them in check. As a result, you can feel good that you're doing your thyroid a much-needed favor by not creating an environment that taxes it further, and actually helping to promote weight loss. 

Adapted from The All-Day Fat Burning Diet