Turns out, “the health of your thyroid — a gland that’s essentially the gas pedal for your metabolism — goes hand in hand with blood-sugar levels. When you take steps to improve one, you automatically improve both,” reveals Mark Hyman, MD. Which explains why women like Jo-Ann Joyal are suddenly losing seven, eight, nine pounds a week.
The Thyroid and Weight Loss Connection
Your thyroid sits like a two-inch bowtie over your Adam’s apple “producing the hormone that keeps metabolism humming in every cell,” says Dr. Hyman. “If your thyroid isn’t at its best, cellular metabolism will slow — affecting your waistline and every organ, every system.”
Can a person be overweight and still have a perfectly normal thyroid? Yes. Even so, there are only upsides to enhancing thyroid power. Think of it as giving your calorie-burning engines added horsepower. Now let’s say you suspect your thyroid is not perfectly normal, head to your MD and get it tested — particularly, says Hyman, if you have three or more of the symptoms. Slow-thyroid symptoms include:
- stubborn weight gain
- poor concentration/memory
- low-grade depression
- bad PMS
- low sex drive
- muscle aches/weakness
- sensitivity to cold
- dry skin
- thinning eyebrows
- high cholesterol
“Over 30 million women need meds to best restore their health,” the doc says. If you’re one of them, think of the diet below as a booster for your treatment. “Food won’t replace a prescription, but it is very powerful medicine!”
Balancing Blood Sugar for Weight Loss
Hyman’s plan was designed to control blood sugar. So why does it rev the thyroid? One key reason: Many ingredients that worsen blood-sugar problems — like sweets, processed flour, trans fats, and food allergens — cause a type of internal inflammation that interferes with proper thyroid function.
“High inflammation is often detected even in women with borderline normal thyroid function,” he confirms. To combat this problem, the initial phase of Hyman’s plan has you trade inflammatory foods for anti-inflammatory ones — bread for brown rice, chips for salad, cheese for nuts, cookies for fruit. One study determined that a diet similar to Hyman’s plan reduces signs of inflammation by up to 22 percent in 28 days. “As you reduce inflammation, everything — from your thyroid to your immune system and heart — functions better.” It doesn’t hurt that anti-inflammatory foods are generally lower in calories than inflammatory fare. Bonus: The blood-sugar-control benefits of Hyman’s plan further dampen appetite and lower levels of fat-storage hormones.
The Thyroid Cure Diet Plan
These menus were created especially for Woman’s World readers based on health-restoring guidelines in Hyman’s book. They’re loaded with ingredients that get your thyroid and metabolism running at their best. While using this plan, add veggies, spices, herbs, vinegar, and lemon juice as desired. Hyman recommends that you avoid artificial sweeteners. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of filtered water or herbal tea a day. Note: Always get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Option 1: Dr. Hyman’s Morning Shake — In a blender, whip 1 serving protein powder, 1 Tbs. flaxseed oil, 1/2 cup frozen berries, 8 oz. filtered water
Option 2: 1 egg prepared with 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 cups spinach, and 1/4 cup diced tomato. Add 1/2 cup berries on the side
Option 1: 3 oz. homemade or organic turkey burger topped with chopped tomatoes. Add unlimited vegetables sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil on the side
Option 2: 6 pieces brown rice sushi with unlimited steamed edamame and/or other vegetables
Option 3: 3 oz. grilled chicken or shrimp with unlimited fresh baby spinach and other salad vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs to taste
Option 1: 3 oz. broiled fish with lemon and herbs to taste with 1/2 cup wild or brown rice and unlimited vegetables sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil
Option 2: 3 oz. chicken breast strips seasoned with cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt. On the side, have 1/2 cup black beans, fresh salsa, avocado slices, and lime with unlimited grilled or broiled non-starchy vegetables, 1 Tbs. olive oil
Option 3: Easy Stir-Fry — Quick-cook 3 oz. shrimp or firm tofu and unlimited veggies in 2 tsp. olive or sesame oil with garlic and ginger to taste. Add a side of 1/2 cup brown rice
- 15 almonds, walnut halves, or pecan halves or 1/4 cup pumpkin or sun flower seeds
- 1/4 cup hummus or guacamole with unlimited sliced non-starchy veggies
- 1 Tbs. almond butter with Celery or carrot sticks
- 1/2 cup white cannellini or navy beans, drizzle of olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt to tase
Make Your Own Menus
- Start with unlimited low-starch veggies. Extra helpings encouraged. Add 1 daily serving brown rice or quinoa.
- Add a little ean protein and good fat. Go for about 3 oz. shrimp, chicken, eggs, or beans; add a little olive oil, nuts or avocado.
- Spice it up with herbs, spices, and vinegar, which are unlimited. For a hit of sweetness, add 1 serving berries daily.
- Avoid gluten, dairy, sweeteners and processed food. After six weeks, try adding back gluten and dairy to see how each affects you.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.