Learn to use food as part of regaining your health, your quality of life... making it all FUN again!
I was exchanging emails with a young lady who made a comment that caused me to have one of my typical lengthy responses. I thought that it might cause others to stop and consider a few things themselves when it comes to skipping meals, weight management and adrenals... all things that seem to be in the front of our thoughts while dealing with improving our thyroid hormone levels and quality of life.
Having thyroid problems changes so much about how our bodies function and because of that our perspectives on common every day things often change.
Many of us, because of the tendency for hypothyroidism to cause weight gain, begin to fear food. But I think, I believe, that once we understand how to use food, and nutrition, to help our bodies be the best that they can be we will be better off for that understanding.
Starving ourselves is not the answer to managing weight.
Once our thyroid hormone levels are optimized and things are working better, it's easy to defeat that triumph by not understanding how important proper eating and nutrition is and how it can help us to gain and keep the health we so desperately fought for.
That's what it's all about, isn't it? Quality of life?
Her comment was:
[I get so busy with school work} "that if I feel hunger, I try to put it off. Also, I'm afraid of gaining more weight. I know that's vain. :( I didn't realize that hunger causes your adrenals to work if you don't satisfy the hunger. I wonder if you can actually gain more weight by ignoring the hunger and making your adrenals kick in?"
Especially with breakfast, skipping the meal, eating later, and not right away, taxes the adrenals... their job, the biggest job that they routinely have, is to get us up and moving and motivated in the morning until we have eaten...
The rest of the day? Yes, the adrenals not only have to pick up the slack when we don't eat (their hormones do tons of things, like allow us to break down fat for fuel when there is nothing in the stomach for food) but skipping meals during the day also halts conversion.
Without food coming in regularly three things happen..
adrenals have an increased work load
the body drops it's metabolic rate to be able to stay alive when there is no food
conversion slows, then stops.
The BEST thing that you can do to lose weight is to trigger the body into keeping the metabolic rate up to encourage hormone conversion (that's the T4 to T3, the T3 to T2, and the T2 to T1 conversion that we NEED to be well), and trigger fat burn.
When you skip meals the body has to change it's priority, since it is burning fat to compensate for the skipped meal, it's first priority when you do eat is to turn that food into fat, to replace what got burned... So your body has extra work to do to turn fat into fuel, then more work to turn the next meal back into fat, and then ends up with not much food left for fuel. The result? Tired AND no conversion AND greater stress to the adrenals.
You don't have to eat a TON of food at every 'meal' but it's best to eat regularly.. the magic time frame seems to be about three hours... If you eat a small meal.. the mini meals that I'm always talking about.. the body sees it as food coming in.... REGULARLY.
When the food is regular the body's first reaction to that food is to extract nutrition and energy... since it's a mini meal, without an excess of calories, it burns up the calories that are there, realizes that it needs some more energy to keep going and taps into the fat and burns that.... the next meal comes up, right on time, the body sees it as a steady and reliable food supply and burns it up, when it figures out that it wasn't quite enough, since it's getting fed regularly, food is not in short supply, it's not going to starve to death, it just taps into that stored fat to make up the difference.
The body can't figure out that it's getting shorted on every meal... what it senses is that food is a plenty and coming in all the time, that means that it gets to go on vacation... just burn stuff up as it comes in, no messing with turning it into fat.... and since food is plentiful, it doesn't have to mess with carrying all the extra weight anymore and takes the opportunity to just burn some of that off... When you have lost enough weight for the body to have reached IT's healthy weight, it will kick up the appetite to let you know that it is going to need some more food to keep functioning, to keep doing what you need it to do...
It's a whole new mind set that is so ridiculously simple that it's astounding.. and why aren't we shown this very basic principal... ? Simple.. the diet industry and health industry makes a FORTUNE out of us dieting and being at an unhealthy weight.
Try to set up your meals/snacks (mini meals) in advance... so that you can just grab one when it's time to eat.. that's how I'm able to do it... even though I've been low on meds for a year and a half now.. with that point last fall where I was out... I haven't gained... I haven't lost, because my thyroid levels are too low... but I've NOT gained.. to me that is HUGE....
Once back to optimal dose I fully expect the weight to go back to 'melt off' like it was before I had to start cutting back on my dose...
Food is fuel... Food is good. Learn how to set up the good tasting food in a way that fuels your body... help it to work more efficiently and it will naturally drop the excess weight that doesn't belong...
... gracefully climbing off soap box and sliding it into the corner....
Sorry... I get passionate on this subject... so many years of gaining and gaining... and finally found out how to stop that... I want to share... to help others look at their bodies and how they work now and not at the fancy latest (expensive) diet fad... or just as bad, starve themselves into a slow metabolic rate and messing up their thyroid hormones even more.....
Oh... just for reference... My meals for today were set up on Friday... I set up on Friday to last me through breakfast on Monday morning. That way I have my first meal on Monday, ready to go. After my meal I can get busy with the work of the day, like setting up the next round of meals.
I'm having 7 meals today.
3 meals of rice with home made baked beans...
3 meals of buttered home made bread
1 meal of home made cooked pudding.
I'm low on meat, cuz I'm broke (what's new) so the beans are my protein today... and the pudding was made with extra eggs and extra powdered milk to increase the protein and calcium.... The bread had an egg and oatmeal added to it to kick up the protein and the fiber.
First meal was rice and beans (3/4 cup rice with 3/4 cup beans, in a spicy tomato gravy, over the top)
Second meal was a buttered bun (they are the size of a regular hamburger bun, but a bit thicker)
Third meal was some pudding (3/4 of a cup).
Fourth meal will be rice and beans
Fifth meal will be a buttered bun
Sixth meal will be rice and beans
Last meal will be a buttered bun with a bit of crunchy peanut butter as extra protein and 'treat factor' to last me through till breakfast
I also split my vitamins so that I can take some with each meal, increasing the nutrient availability, makes up, somewhat, for my limited food choices...
Vitamin C, Selenium, B-12, and Folic Acid are quartered and taken every other meal
My multi-vitamin caplet is split into 8 ths and one piece taken with every meal, the extra piece taken with last meal
Vitamin E is taken with First Meal, iron and calcium taken with last meal
My routine isn't necessarily going to fit your routine, but it might give you an idea of options and choices as you work on setting up a lifestyle that will help you have a life to live again.
ThyroGeek aka Topper (Linda)
May 20, 2007