Imagine putting all your effort into losing weight, only to see absolutely no results. Would you even think to blame your thyroid? It's very frustrating, and it happens to more people than it should. Sometimes, there's an easy solution. The thyroid is a very important gland in the human body, and it could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
How the Thyroid Works
The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. It's an endocrine gland and it produces thyroid hormones that affect the running of your entire body. Your metabolic rate is determined by your thyroid gland. Since metabolism is such a huge part of weight loss and how your food is processed and used in the body, it's easy to see how a problem with your thyroid could stop or slow down your weight loss. Furthermore, the thyroid also regulates your heart rate, creates energy and helps other organs function.
Hypothyroidism is one of two main thyroid disorders, the other one being hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is far more common than hyperthyroidism. About three-quarters of people with thyroid disorders suffer from hypothyroidism.
This disorder occurs when the thyroid doesn't work as efficiently or as quickly as it should. When this happens, you may feel sluggish, have little to no energy on a regular basis, joint pain, depression and sudden weight gain. You're more at risk for hypothyroidism if you're a female.
How Hypothyroidism Hurts Weight Loss Efforts
Every symptom of hypothyroidism can interfere with your attempts to lose weight. The first symptom most people notice is exhaustion or excessive weakness. If you're constantly tired due to hypothyroidism, it doesn't matter how much sleep you get - you will continue to feel tired. When you feel that tired, exercising is difficult, if not impossible. Sticking to a regular exercise plan may fall to the side in favor of sleep.
Joint pain and depression can also hinder your weight loss. Any type of aerobic exercise is near impossible when your joints feel achy and swollen, and aerobic exercise is the key to weight loss. Repetitive strength training exercises can also agitate painful joints, which leaves you with very little exercise that isn't painful to attempt.
Depression antagonizes tiredness, as well as taking away your enjoyment for daily life. Not only can it make you even less physically motivated to exercise, it can take away your desire to work out. Since hypothyroidism and depression both cause weight gain, it's possible to gain a lot of weight very quickly if you're suffering from both disorders.
What You Can Do
The good news is that if your thyroid is preventing weight loss, it can be fixed. Hormone pills are the most common type of treatment for hypothyroidism, and by working with your doctor, you can figure out the correct dosage you need. It might take time, but after the hormone pills begin working, you'll notice your energy returning, your weight dropping off and your mood lifting. It's an easy treatment, and one you should discuss with your doctor if you want to treat your thyroid problem.