Exercise, not dieting, new health care direction for Hashimoto’s low thyroid
If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, then you likely know what it is to struggle with weight gain and dieting. Do you hate going to the doctor because you know they will tell you to lose weight? Or maybe you don't go anymore to avoid the discomfort the subject brings you. Because studies show feeling shame and stigma around body weight actually causes weight gain, researchers are now asking doctors to emphasize exercise over weight loss. The last thing a patient with Hashimoto’s low thyroid needs is to be made to feel bad about her weight. Although obesity is linked to many kinds of inflammatory health disorders, it’s also true that diets eventually fail for most people and even lead to weight gain. Some people are overweight due to genetics, numerous starvation diets, an eating disorder, childhood trauma, and so on. The reasons can be much more complex than a diet can solve. Hashimoto’s low thyroid also causes excess weight due to its effects on metabolism. Many thyroid patients know from experience a low calorie diet does not work. If you have spent a lifetime battling weight and the negative feelings that come with it, a visit to the doctor simply pops the cork on shame, despair, hopelessness, and self-loathing. Many people decide it’s simply easier not to go. For the patient with Hashimoto’s low thyroid, however, this can mean neglecting the important business of managing an autoimmune thyroid condition that impacts every corner of health.
Policy guidelines may shift from weight loss to exercise instead
Recognizing the decades-long failure of the weight loss industry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking doctors to stop telling their overweight patients to lose weight. A recent essay published by the CDC called for health care practitioners to quit harping on patients who don’t fall into the advised body mass index (BMI) ranges and instead help a patient develop a regular exercise habit. The essay
explains that stopping “fat shaming” in the doctor's office will establish better rapport and trust between doctors and patients, thus helping a patients feel more positive, empowered, and willing to adopt healthier habits. Likewise, more doctors need to learn more about hypothyroidism and the various factors that can cause it, the most common being the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s. At RedRiver Health and Wellness, we specialize in helping people manage their low thyroid and Hashimoto's conditions.
Dieting and thinking you are fat both lead to obesity
Studies regularly show dieting leads to long-term weight gain and obesity. All mammals, not just humans, develop binge eating behavior when they are put on diets and gain weight. Even more shocking is that the finding that believing you are overweight also leads to long term weight gain, even if your original body weight was in the normal range. For doctors, this means telling a patient they are too fat can actually make them gain weight, not lose it. And telling yourself you are too fat will do the same. Don’t beat yourself up if you are overweight. The most important thing is to regain your health and manage your low thyroid and autoimmune Hashimoto’s.
Addressing obesity without stigma
The evidence shows telling people they are too heavy and need to lose weight doesn't work. A person can be healthy at any weight. However, teaching this to patients requires reducing the stigma, establishing trust, and working with a patient to encourage exercise and healthy eating behaviors. It also requires taking into consideration the patient’s social and financial circumstances. And, of course, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism must be appropriately identified and managed. If you gained weight due to your thyroid condition, simply managing it correctly releases the excess weight without needing to venture into the dangerous territory of dieting. According to recent studies, regular exercise improves one's health regardless of how much they weigh. It also lowers the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise also shifts the attention away from judging a person’s body and instead looks at behaviors that can be influenced, barriers that can be addressed, and progress that can be measured. A person can increase their strength and stamina over time regardless of their body weight. Diets fail the majority of people. However, most people can succeed at exercise regardless of their body size or fitness level. If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid and it’s not being properly managed, you may have issues with exhaustion making it difficult to get regular physical activity. Ask my office how we can help you better manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid so you can have more energy and a more active life.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact
About Dr. Josh Redd — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center
with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto's disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto's, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here