Struggling to lose weight? It could be your thyroid

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SPONSORED: It turns out that the little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck could be the reason why you’re battling on your weight loss journey – here’s what to look out for:

So, what is a thyroid gland and what does it do? 

Located in the front part of your neck, the thyroid produces hormones that control your metabolism and your weight. It makes two thyroid hormones called T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These hormones ensure that your metabolism, weight and mood, among many others body systems, are working well.

When these hormones are out of balance and when the thyroid is not active enough, it is known as hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones to support the optimal functioning of the different systems in your body. 

This can result in several symptoms that may seem vague and unrelated.

Common symptoms:

• Weight gain

• Feeling tired and run down 

• Constipation

• Hair loss

• Brain fog or slow movements and thoughts

• Feeling cold• Dry skin

• Swelling in the neck

• A low mood or depression

• Muscle aches and weakness

• Muscle cramps

Other, less common symptoms: 

• Brittle nails

• Numbness or tingling in the hands

• Abnormal menstrual periods

How does hypothyroidism affect your metabolism?

The thyroid hormone helps control the speed of your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body burns at rest. People with an underactive thyroid don’t create enough thyroid hormones, which means that they have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest. This causes many of the symptoms listed above. Research shows that aerobic exercise can help boost your thyroid hormone levels. Additionally, eating more protein may help boost your metabolism.

What you can do:

Do a thyroid self-examStand in front of your mirror and look for an enlarged thyroid gland. Move your head back, take a sip of water, and as you swallow, examine your neck below the Adam's apple and above the collarbone. Look for lumps, then repeat the process a few times. If you see a lump, you need to visit your GP as soon as possible.  

Get testedIf you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, it is best to ask your GP if you should be tested. 


Make lifestyle changes to support thyroid health and weight loss:

1. Cut out simple carbs and sugars

• Focus on complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables and legumes.

• Avoids simple sugars like sweets and fizzy drinks.

• Foods like refined grain products and sugary drinks have a high glycaemic load and may increase inflammation in the body.

• Eat enough calories. If you don't, it can cause a stress response and result in less production of T3 (the active thyroid hormone) production. 

2. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods

• Anti-inflammatory foods may help ease joint aches and pains as well as depression, all of which can result from an underactive thyroid.

• Anti-inflammatory foods can help support the immune system, which is often in overdrive in people with hypothyroidism.  

• Anti-inflammatory foods support the intake of the essential nutrients needed for healthy thyroid function. These include magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin C.  

• Eat more leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, fatty fish, nuts, fruit and olive oil, which may help with inflammation and put less burden on the liver.  

• Healthy liver function is vital as it is responsible for converting 60 percent of T4 to T3.

3. Stick to small, frequent meals

• A sluggish thyroid means slower digestion, so eating smaller, balanced meals more frequently is advisable. This will also help support balanced blood sugar levels and decrease cravings.

• A diet high in healthy fats, moderate proteins and moderate to low carbohydrates is best for thyroid function.

4. Keep a food diary

• Logging your daily food intake will help you keep track of how much food you consume, and it will help make sure that you are eating a balanced diet.

5. Move your body

It’s important to make exercise part of your lifestyle. It will help burn calories and keep your weight and health in check.  

6. Take the right supplements Herbex

Thyroid Active Tablets contain Fucus vesiculosis (bladderwrack), Withania somnifera (winter cherry/ashwagandha) and added iodine and selenium, which may help promote normal thyroid hormone production. 

This information is supplied by a third-party client. Before using new products or medicines, always speak to your doctor first to find out if they could work for you.

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