We are continuing our monthly theme on weight loss although this time, we are focusing on the other side of the coin and that is weight gain. . And it’s a long one. I realize I am reiterating a lot of the same information in all of the blogs this month but that is mostly because it isn’t rocket science. There is a very specific way that we should be supporting our bodies for them to be healthy, to live at our ideal weight and to thrive.
Today I wanted to cover the contributors to weight gain beyond food.
Sometimes even eating right isn’t going to help your body lose the weight, there may be other contributing factors. Let’s dive in.
Dysglycemia is a condition in the body when it loses the ability to maintain a stable blood sugar. It is a stepping stone to diabetes and it contributes to the following:
- Negative affect on your adrenal function, drives them to exhaustion
- Weakens and inflames your digestive tract
- Weakens immune barrier in your gut, brain, and lungs.
- Contributes to hormone imbalances
- PMS, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), difficult menopause transition
- Affects your ability to detox
- Impairs fatty acid metabolism
- Slows down metabolism
- All of these contribute to hypothyroidism.
- Cannot improve Hashimotos or hypothyroidism without addressing dysglycemia.
Let’s chat about some different forms of Dysglycemia
Low Blood Sugar also called Reactive hypoglycemia is the early stage of insulin resistance and it can be corrected with diet. With low blood sugar, your blood sugar drops within 2 to 5 hours after eating and can result in the following:
- Energy, mood, and mental cognition also swings with the drops
- Can be spacey, poor short term memory, grouchy and hangry if gone without food for too long.
Hypoglycemia is another form of dysglycemia and is linked to all forms of hypothyroidism which means your thyroid operation is low. The most common symptom is a sluggish pituitary gland. Blood sugar swings stress the adrenals which in turn negatively affect the function of the pituitary gland affecting thyroid health. The pituitary directs the hormone traffic. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are the following:
- Craving for sweets
- Irritability if meals are missed
- Dependency on coffee for energy
- Lightheaded if meals are missed
- Eat to relieve fatigue
- Feeling shaky or jittery
- Upset easily
- Poor memory, forgetful
- Blurry vision
High Blood Sugar/Insulin Resistance is Known as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X. Release of insulin which is used to accompany glucose into your cells where it is made into energy becomes chronic in the case of high blood sugar. Anything chronic is never good. In this case, it exhausts the cells and they begin to refuse entry to insulin becoming resistant. Symptoms of insulin resistance are as follows.
- Belly fat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Promotes testosterone production in women
- Faint mustache/beard
- Hair loss
- Men develop more breast tissue, hips widen
- Driving factor of Hashimoto’s
- Feel tired after every meal
- May nod off after eating carbs
- May have intense sugar cravings after meals, not relieved by eating them
- Constant hunger
- Waist is equal to or wider than hips
- Frequent urination
- Increased appetite and thirst
- Difficulty losing weight
- Minor aches and pains
Hypoglycemia/Insulin Resistance Combo is also a possibility. The reality is that everyone that has hypoglycemia has some level of insulin resistance and vice versa.
By subjecting your body to chronically high or low blood sugar, you are sentencing your body to insulin surges and this is not a good thing.
These state of affairs in the body is a strong contributor to Hashimoto’s.
Unfortunately, once you have Hypothyroidism, the effect of insulin in your body is a little skewed. The low thyroid function will slow down the response of the insulin so the glucose will be slow to get to your cells for energy production. And because it slows down the response, a blood test could show that your blood sugar levels are normal even though you are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia. They brain is interpreting based on your symptoms and kicks off the adrenal glands to increase your blood sugar levels. An effort that doesn’t do too much. The result is that the pituitary and the adrenal communication gets worn out.
Both hypoglycemia and Insulin resistance require diet changes.
With insulin resistance – you can no longer eat what you please. Eating carbs is the worst thing you can do. If you feel sleepy or crave sugar after a meal you had too many carbs. Never skip breakfast, eat sugary or starchy snacks, eat sugar or starch before bed.
If you have hypoglycemia – you can no longer miss meals or have sugary or starchy snacks.
Worst thing you can do is skip breakfast, eat sugary or starchy snacks, eat sugar or starch before bed.
Sticking to the new way of eating will be challenging due to the intense food cravings. And unknown food intolerances create adrenal boosts in the body which also contribute to the intense cravings. Hence another reason eliminating your food intolerances are so important.
Basic Diet Rules
- Eat a good breakfast with high quality protein. This can be difficult because you might not be hungry or might feel nauseous in the morning. Coffee is making this worse. You have to force yourself if necessary to at least get a little bit of protein into your system. You cannot support your blood sugar without breakfast. You have to eat within one hour of waking up so get your thyroid medication into your system as soon as possible.
- Eat a little bit of protein every 2-3 hours. You want to help your body keep your blood sugar stable by doing this. It also helps stabilize your thyroid. Once you start to feel better, the time between snacks will get longer.
- Determine how many carbs you can tolerate. You can feel sleepy after eating carbs if you are insulin resistant. And sometimes you will feel sleepy without eating any carbs. Many of the symptoms will dissipate once you begin a low carbohydrate diet. This includes grains, legumes, some veggies, and sweets.
- Always eat protein, fat, fiber with any high sugar consumption. It will help to lessen the insulin shock by slowing down the absorption of glucose into the cells.
- Diet should be mostly meats and veggies. Along with your healthy fats.
- And, if you have or have had Hypoglycemia, Insulin resitance, you will always have to follow these rules.
Other things that can add to weight gain.
- Thyroid issues as mentioned above. Your thyroid affects your hormones which are also big players with your ability to gain or lose weight.
- Your ability to detox estrogen can also play a role your weight and this is an indication of your liver function and also methylation in the body.
- Adrenal fatigue which is brought on by stress in the body, either internal or external affects many systems in the body. Cortisol levels may be high or low. Hormone levels will also be affected. If your body is in a catabolic state due to adrenal function, secondary systems in the body shut down and the body’s primary focus is preserving energy so, fat becomes a requirement to fuel the fight or flight response. Weight loss won’t happen without supporting adrenal function in the body.
- Inflammation in the body which can be caused by chronic infections, chronic illness, stress, food sensitivities, poor food choices, leaky gut, etc, contributes to weight gain and affects the function of the liver, the bodies ability to detox, adrenal function, hormone function, etc, etc.
- Healthy digestive system. Weight loss involves eliminating toxins. Burning fat is toxic. Phase one of detoxing is done by the liver. The second phase of detox is done by your digestive system. If your digestive system is not healthy, it cannot process the toxins. If it can’t, the toxins are sent back into the body in an increased toxic state which is absolutely not good for you and it will continue to add to the weight gain.
And the list goes on and on.
The reality is, to lose weight, your body needs to be healthy. It is more important to be healthy than to be thin. You can lose weight in a very unhealthy way which is scary as it can kick off illness or disease. Or you can get healthy and then work on the weight loss. When you are healthier, your body can support the toxic load of burning fat, particularly belly fat which is very toxic.
I hope you are understanding through all of my blogs that supporting the body, the whole body through quality foods, sleep, exercise and stress management is really a lifestyle, a way of living that must be committed to if you want to live your ideal healthy life. There are no short cuts. Essentially, you clean your kitchen, clean your body, and then you clean your life.