At some point you may have seen a visual representation of the “butterfly effect,” where the air moved by a butterfly’s wings sets off a chain of events across the globe. You may have read a book in which one small decision creates a cascade of effects involving multiple individuals. In our bodies, a butterfly-shaped organ has far-reaching effects on our health by regulating metabolism, and is intimately involved in a wide range of processes. This organ is the thyroid gland. And if you’re having issues maintaining a healthy weight despite your best efforts at dieting and exercise, more than likely your thyroid is not functioning optimally.
If your thyroid is too active (a condition known as hyperthyroidism) it can ramp up metabolism so much that you lose weight, but not in a healthy way! Resting pulse rate goes up causing hypertension and stress on the heart, and the liver and kidneys are forced to work overtime coping with the waste products of muscle breakdown. Orsha Magyar, MSc, BSc, RHN, states, “I struggled with hyperthyroidism from age 12 – 16, had my thyroid removed at 16—instant hypothyroidism!” For Orsha, adapting and educating herself on how to move forward was imperative.
A much more common problem is having a sluggish thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). A slow thyroid equals a slow metabolism resulting in weight gain, lack of energy, elevated cholesterol, problems with cold hands and feet, a weakened immune system, and even depression. This list of symptoms even sounds depressing. For some, medications are needed to regulate and manage this condition. Orsha notes that she manages hypothyroidism very well with the lowest dose of synthroid, and the proper nutrition to make it do its job.
Fortunately there are holistic and easy-to-implement ways to address weight issues by getting to the root of possible thyroid issues. Our new Weight Management App guides you to healthy food choices and provides a meal plan, various exercise plans, and information on supplements to support the thyroid, balance your blood sugar,and fight inflammation (the top culprits in weight problems). It is from her personal experience that Orsha is now an expert in the field. “I had to learn very quickly to manage my thyroid (or lack thereof), and now use my experience to teach people how to take control of their thyroid health.”
Orsha is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others and the newly released Weight Management App is a great example of this. Orsha’s unique approach as an integrative nutritionist has helped countless individuals by blending her biomedical knowledge and the latest clinical evidence with holistic approaches.
In the next blog in this series we’ll take a look at how foods can affect the thyroid and the implications for weight management.