The thyroid is a small gland located just below your Adam's apple. The gland is a powerful organ that regulates the production of hormones that control metabolism. Many people associate thyroid activity with weight loss and gain. The truth is that your thyroid can affect your health and fitness level. However, occurrences of obesity based solely on an ineffective thyroid gland are rare, according to the Mayo Clinic. Weight gain is usually the result of poor diet and inactivity. Determining the cause of your weight problems will help you learn how to control your situation and pinpoint possible problems with your thyroid.
Get your thyroid-hormone levels tested. Your doctor can order a blood test that will determine if your thyroid needs to speed up. A sluggish thyroid may require medication to stimulate it. The doctor can also prescribe a synthetic form of the necessary hormones to help manage your metabolism. The first step is to find evidence that your thyroid is part of the problem.
Increase the amount of vegetable-based protein in your diet. Dr. Edward Bauman recommends, in an article for Thyroid-Info, a diet rich in seeds and seafood to help normalize and regulate the thyroid. Incorporate seafood into at least one meal a day. Add snacks that include pumpkin and flaxseeds.
Avoid processed foods and preservatives in your meal plan. Bauman points to the sugar substitute aspartame, or NutraSweet, and iodized salt as two ingredients to avoid. Replace iodized salt with sea salt and stay away from aspartame products.
Use hormone-feed meat for all your animal proteins. Your body may absorb some of the hormones from the meat you ingest. Inquire at the store or butcher about meat from hormone-feed livestock.
Start working out regularly. Workouts should include both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Building muscle mass is the best way to increase your metabolism and lose weight. Talk to a personal trainer to develop an exercise schedule that will help improve your musculature and speed up your metabolism.
Follow the advice of your doctor if diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The doctor will instruct you on proper diet, exercise and medication. Some dietary supplements can affect the processing of medication. Discuss any vitamin supplements you take with your doctor before beginning the program.