What is metabolism?
Your metabolism is not one static thing in your body, such as an organ or a muscle, rather it’s a complicated orchestration of chemical reactions in your body that change food into energy.
Your metabolism runs 24/7 to keep your body moving, even when you're resting or sleeping, and provides the energy required to think, breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells, and everything else it does to survive. So contrary to popular belief, it’s not just about gaining or losing weight.
So what about the thyroid?
The thyroid gland is the largest gland in the endocrine system. It’s hormones play a significant role in metabolism, energy regulation, and directly affect heart rate, cholesterol levels, body weight, muscle contraction and relaxation, skin and hair texture, bowel function, fertility, menstrual regularity, memory, mood and other body processes. If there is too much or too little thyroid hormone, your entire body is impacted.
Supporting metabolism and thyroid for optimized energy and healthy weight management
Many metabolism-boosting, or “diet supplements” are available in the form of pills, capsules, powders, liquids, and teas. Some products are taken with a meal, while others are taken instead of a meal. Over-the-counter diet pills supposedly help you increase energy and lose weight by stimulating your metabolism, but the risks of taking these stimulants may outweigh the benefits.
Several ingredients in these supplements have been banned by the FDA because of harmful side effects like:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Liver damage
- Rectal bleeding
Because the FDA does not test all metabolism-boosting (or weight loss) products for safety, there’s no guarantee that each ingredient in every supplement is safe.
So how does one optimize metabolism and support the thyroid to maintain energy levels and reduce food cravings without taking harmful stimulants? It’s actually quite simple - be supportive of your body!
You can start by putting the “me” back into metabolism and easing the strain on your thyroid by following these easy steps:
- Eat nutritious food - your body needs calories, healthy protein and healthy fats such as fish, nuts and seeds.
- Lift weights - resistance training increases muscle mass and thus your metabolism.
- Support your gut - maximize fiber and take a good quality probiotic to keep things moving.
- Exercise - consider daily movement as a form of nutrition for your body.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - optimal hydration optimizes metabolism and supports all bodily functions.
- Prioritize good quality sleep - when you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism and thyroid suffers.
- Reduce stress - the more you stress, the more cortisol you produce, which increases cravings for comfort foods and can cause your body to store fat (especially in the middle).
- Have your thyroid hormones checked by your doctor - if you are producing too little (hypothyroidism) or too much (hyperthyroidism) there may be an imbalance requiring more attention.
- Curb cravings - increase your daily fiber intake to manage indulgences and feel full for longer.
- Boost your metabolism with good-for-you ingredients like green tea, and support your thyroid with doctor-recommended minerals like iodine and selenium.
It’s also important to understand that your body has a natural set point - an ideal weight that your body is genetically programmed to function optimally at. Your metabolism will naturally slow down or speed up to maintain this set point, so listen to and trust that your body knows best.Above all else, focus your attention on how you feel rather than what you think you should weigh or how you should look. Afterall, it’s what’s inside that counts.