The First Step in Losing Weight while Living with Hypothyroidism





This post first appeared on Thyroid Truths.

Over the coming months I will be adding to this blog series on “How to Lose Weight while Living with Hypothyroidism”. Before I get into the dietary guidelines, the focused exercises and the key foods, there is a very important step that needs to be addressed for optimal results.

Begin to Learn to Love Yourself

You may look at that above statement and groan, and I’ll admit the “self-love” movement has become such a buzzword over the last few years that its true intention may have gotten lost in the sensation.

But in order to heal, to be our best selves, we need to truly and deeply care for ourselves.

What does it mean to love yourself?

It means to begin to make a commitment to be kind to yourself. To show yourself compassion. To begin to really care for your body like you love it, and feed your body the foods you would feed anyone else that you deeply cared for and loved.

Modern medicine has now accepted the long known Eastern practice of “mind-body medicine”- the idea that thoughts (and our mental state) can affect our physical well-being. If we constantly put ourselves down when we look in the mirror, tell ourselves that we are too big, or not good enough, this can subconsciously begin to affect our physical state. Some of you may be aware of the saying “thoughts become things- choose the good ones!”  Not to mention, the added stress we place on ourselves is not beneficial for the thyroid.

So how do we begin to love ourselves?  It’s a process. Dr. Habib Sadeghi, co-founder of Be Hive Healing in LA, published an amazing book titled “Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love and Weight Loss” that offers some great insights and guidance on learning to love ourselves. My dear friend and colleague Dr. Maryska Taylor also focuses a great deal on self-love in her medical practice and she offers up some great blog posts on her website like this one.

If we truly commit to loving our bodies, even as they are today, it is amazing how our actions towards our bodies can change. In fact, research has shown that when patients begin to enhance their feelings of self-worth and increased confidence, weight loss becomes more sustainable.

3 simple steps for begin self-love

1. Make friends with the person in the mirror. Look at your reflection and be nice! If negative or mean thoughts and words run through your head, catch yourself. Would you say those things to your best friend? To your mother or daughter? Start to replace the thoughts with positive ones about your appearance. This can be difficult for some at first, but practice makes perfect!

2. Only eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body, eat slowly and chew your food fully. When you are full, stop eating.

3. Be mindful of what you choose to put in your mouth. Start to actively be aware of your food choices. When preparing a meal or eating out, ask yourself- is this what my body needs? Is this food actually nutritious for my body? Choosing whole foods, that are not packaged and including lots of fruits and vegetables is a good start.

I love choosing to feed my body healthy whole foods. Additionally, I know my body needs at least 8 hours of sleep a night. When I was younger I used to try and stay up later, but I now listen to my body and if I need to go to sleep at 9pm- I do!

What do you do to love yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts below!

Dr. Emily

Cochrane G. Role for a sense of self-worth in weight-loss treatments: Helping patients develop self-efficacy. Canadian Family Physician. 2008;54(4):543-547.


3 Must Know Facts about Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale and Hypothyroidism

THIS POST FIRST APPEARED ON WWW.THYROIDTRUTHS.COM. If you haven’t had a chance to check out THYROID TRUTHS yet, be sure to take a look!
One of THE MOST commonly asked questions I receive is can I eat cruciferous vegetables if I have hypothyroid disease?
Cruciferous veggies, otherwise known as the brassica family of vegetables, include kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, turnip tops, and brussel sprouts. I don’t know about you, but these are some of my all-time favorite vegetables to cook with! Plus, the cruciferous vegetables are well known for their health benefits which include being a high source of fiber and also may be effective at fighting cancer. These veggies contain a substance known as Indole 3 Carbonyl (13C) that targets multiple aspects of cancer cell cycle regulation and helps to benefit estrogen metabolism.
Although this all sounds great, lately these veggies have been getting a really bad rep for harming the thyroid!
The claim is that the cruciferous vegetables contain certain substances known as goitrogens (goiter producing substances) that could cause the thyroid to enlarge or slow down, and reduce the absorption of iodine (important for thyroid function). These vegetables also contain a substance known as thiocyanate, which may interfere with iodine absorption to further damage the thyroid. Obviously for all of us that have hypothyroid, this reads as a huge red flag causing many of us to consider removing these delicious vegetables from out diet.
However, there are very few studies that suggest that these claims are true. In fact, some studies show that the risk may be minimal at best.
Fact #1: Researchers at the University of California found that only certain types of cruciferous vegetables may actually reduce the amount of iodine uptake. These were: collard greens, brussel sprouts and Russian kale. But other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, turnip tops and broccoli rabe contained less than 10umol of goitrogenic chemicals per 100g servings and researchers concluded that these veggies therefore posed minimal risk to the thyroid.
Fact #2: In another study, researchers provided participants with 150g of brussel sprouts every day for 4 weeks. Remember, these Brussels are supposed to interfere with iodine uptake.  The  brussel sprouts used in the study did in fact contain a high amount of chemicals thought to harm the thyroid. However, the chemicals did not affect the thyroid function of the participants. Measurements of thyroid hormones were unchanged after the 4 weeks!
Fact #3: Other studies have shown that cooking these “goitrogenic” foods, especially lightly steaming them, can inactivate the goitrogens! It appears that the sweet spot for de-activation of these substances is steaming for 3-4 minutes.
Bottom line: Cruciferous vegetables, including kale, broccoli and cabbage have many health benefits and do NOT seem to be as problematic to the thyroid as some are claiming. That said, if you have hypothyroidism, it would be recommended to cook or lightly steam or crucifers more often to ensure you are not being exposed to high levels of goitrogens. Additionally, if you love raw crucifers and often eat them uncooked, it would be a good idea to have your thyroid hormone levels checked via blood work to ensure that these vegetables are not interfering with your medication or affecting your thyroid health in any way.
Do you love cruciferous vegetables as much as I do? What’s your favorite way to cook them? I will be sharing my favorite cauliflower recipe with you all soon- so stayed tuned. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!
Dr. Emily
Paxman PJ and Hill R. The goitrogenicity of kale and its relation to thiocyanate content. J Sci Food Agric. 1974;25(3):329-337.
Nutr Rev. 2016 Apr;74(4):248-58. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv110. Epub 2016 Mar 5.
Hum Toxicol. 1986 Jan;5(1):15-9

Introducing my new website: Thyroid Truths!

I am very excited to announce and introduce my new website, Thyroid Truths! After years of living with hypothyroid myself, and treating countless patients with thyroid disease I have created Thyroid Truths. This is your guide to losing weight and feeling great while living with hypothyroidism. I have built this in hopes that the knowledge helps you as much as it has helped me. Thyroid Truths is designed to provide you with a database of information, resources and videos to help to you with your thyroid health.


My story

When I was in my early 20’s, despite a healthy diet and active lifestyle, I was gaining weight, my face was puffy, my periods began to be very painful and I was constantly cold. My MD kept telling me that my blood work was fine, I was healthy.

But deep down I knew SOMETHING was going on- and I suspected it was thyroid.

Finally, at the age of 27, I found out the truth. I had a “complete thyroid panel” collected that revealed I had Hashimoto’s hypothyroid, a common auto-immune condition that causes anti-bodies to attack the thyroid. By this time, my TSH had also increased and I needed medication to help my situation. I was frustrated and angry after learning that if I had the complete thyroid panel done earlier, it may have shown the elevated antibodies (even though my TSH was normal) and I might have been able to prevent going on life-long medication!  Nonetheless I began to learn as much as possible about thyroid disease. Combining my medical background with my passion for natural approaches, I can happily report that I have greatly improved my health and energy levels.

Did you know that 1 in 8 woman will develop a thyroid condition over the course of their lifetime? Do you think you could be part of this statistic? Take this quiz on the thyroid truths page to find out!

As the website grows, it will contain free information, recipes, e-books and online courses to help you life your best life while living with hypothyroidism.

I am looking forward to hearing your feedback about the new site! If you know someone in your life that could benefit from this thyroid information, please pass it along!

In Health,

Dr. Emily