A Weight Off My Mind, Thyroid/Autoimmune Diet Newsletter -- Back Issues
Helping Thyroid and Autoimmune Disease Patients Lose Weight and Feel Great|
from Mary Shomon
Welcome to the third issue of "A Weight Off My Mind," Mary Shomon's email newsletter for thyroid and autoimmune disease patients who are interested in losing weight and feeling better through diet and nutrition. You are receiving this issue because you signed up at some point in 2001 or 2002 to receive this free email report. (Note: If you are no longer interested in receiving future issues, or you wish to unsubscribe, email
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IN THIS ISSUE
In this issue, you'll find information about how your thyroid treatment may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, tips for healthy eating on the go, a look at hidden food allergies, finding the right health club, the yogurt secret weapon, blood-type diets, and some news about antidepressants and weight loss.
WEIGHT LOSS REQUIREMENT: OPTIMIZING YOUR THYROID
One of the most important things you can do to help your weight loss efforts is to ensure that you are receiving optimal thyroid treatment. If you are still suffering from thyroid symptoms, and finding it difficult -- or impossible -- to lose weight, or you're even gaining weight on a healthy diet and exercise program, there's a good chance that your thyroid treatment is not optimized. What questions should you ask?
1. Are you at the optimal TSH for you? While the "normal" range for TSH lab tests is from around 0.5 to 5.5 or so, where YOU personally feel and do best will vary. But a recent study reported on in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that the mean TSH level for people who don't have a thyroid condition is 1.5. And the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists announced last year that TSH levels above 3 would be considered potential evidence of a developing thyroid problem. So it's no wonder that if your TSH is in the upper end of the "normal" range, you may find it hard to lose weight. Check your most recent blood test results and consult with your physician about whether a slight increased in dosage and a reduction in your TSH would be better for your health.
2. Are you on the right thyroid drug? Some people simply do not feel well or do well on one brand of levothyroxine, but changing brands seems to help. With two FDA-approved levothyroxine drugs (Unithroid and Levoxyl) available, and two drugs awaiting approval (Synthroid, Levothroid), there are many brands to choose from, so you may wish to discuss a change with your physician.
3. Do you need the addition of T3? Some people do not feel their best, and find it difficult to lose weight, without the addition of a second thyroid hormone, known as T3. T3 is the active thyroid hormone. Usually, the body converts T4 to enough T3, but nutritional deficiencies, toxins, and a variety of other physiological factors can prevent the body from accomplishing that conversion process properly, leaving you deficient in this most important thyroid hormone. Some physicians add T3 to the levothyroxine treatment, via the addition of the prescription T3 drug Cytomel. Others recommend compounded time-released T3. Check with your physician about whether or not T3 might be a help for you.
4. Would natural thyroid help? Some doctors believe that some patients simply do best on natural desiccated thyroid, derived from the thyroid gland of pigs. These products, such as Armour, Nature-throid, Westhroid, and Bio-tech thyroid, are prescription thyroid drugs that have been around in some cases as long as 100 years. Alternative experts believe that these drugs, in providing T4, T3 and other thyroid hormones and nutritional elements, most closely resemble human thyroid hormone, and report that their patients feel better on these drugs. Keep in mind that many conventional physicians feel that these drugs are "out of date" and don't prescribe them, so you would need to find an open-minded doctor, or a conventional/alternative physician, to work with these drugs.
5. Are you taking your thyroid drugs properly? Whatever drug you are taking, are you making sure that you don't take it with calcium-fortified juice, or within 4 hours of any supplements that contain calcium or iron? These can all interfere with your thyroid hormone absorption, and make it difficult to absorb the amount of thyroid hormone you need. Also, make sure that however you take your medicine (with food, without food), you are consistent every day and take it around the same time. Taking it sometimes with food, sometimes without, means that you don't get a consistent dosage.
For a comprehensive program to ensure that your thyroid treatment is optimized, read my book, "Living Well With Hypothyroidism," now in its 11th printing. Information on the book is available at http://www.thyroid-info.com/book.htm
TOP TIPS FOR HEALTHIER EATING ON THE GO
For many people, living life to the fullest often means going full speed ahead at the expense of healthy eating and good nutrition. Fortunately, incorporating some simple changes can make long-term differences for a better diet-without sacrificing a fast-paced lifestyle.
When eating on the go, most people make three common mistakes that lead to unhealthy eating. First, they don't plan ahead and end up making poor choices because they are pressed for time. Second, they skip meals and then overindulge later on. Third, they don't incorporate well-balanced meals into their day to support their active lives.
Here are five tips to help make it easier to eat healthfully while on the go:
1. Plan ahead. You're more likely to eat "fast food" if you don't have "good food" choices at your fingertips. For example, if you know you're going to be busy throughout the day with little time to break for a well-balanced meal, pack a healthy snack to put in your briefcase, gym bag or in your car. Insulated lunch bags are great for storing fruit, cheeses or even frozen meals.
2. Stock up at work and home. Keep your home and office fully stocked with precut fresh fruits and vegetables, and other snacks such as low-fat yogurt and low-sodium soups.
3. Make smart choices. You don't need to deprive yourself of your favorite foods or even drastically reduce the amount you eat. Simply make smarter choices like opting for baked tortilla chips and salsa instead of potato chips.
4. Don't skip meals. Often, skipping meals will lead to overeating later on.
5. Stock your freezer with low-calorie, low-fat frozen foods that you enjoy eating. Having delicious and nutritious, quick-fix food on hand can keep you from bingeing on something inappropriate.
It's important that you try to do something good for yourself every day. Eating on the go does not mean people need to sacrifice good food and a well-balanced diet. Even the smallest changes can result in improved health and a more balanced lifestyle.
YOUR HIDDEN FOOD ALLERGIES: ARE THEY MAKING YOU FAT?
Your intolerance to certain foods may be keeping you from losing weight. This is the message in "Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat: The ALCAT Food Sensitivities Weight Loss Breakthrough," (Prima Publishing, $15) by Rudy Rivera, M.D., and Roger D. Deutsch.
Even such wholesome foods as fruits, fish and wheat can be triggers that cause the body to change its metabolic processes. Not only can this cause the body to resist weight loss, but it may also lead to medical conditions ranging from migraines to arthritis and fatigue.
The book also details some interesting scientific studies. In one, women who addressed their food intolerances were able to not only lose weight, but also lost fat from their thighs--something they had previously been unable to do.
People can determine their food intolerances with the help of a simple but revolutionary blood test called the ALCAT Test, which pinpoints your personal "trigger foods"—foods as common as oranges or wheat—that are causing you to stay overweight.
In a recent clinical study conducted by medical experts, 98 percent of the subjects following the ALCAT plan lost weight or improved their body composition.
With undiagnosed food allergies identified as a common trigger in many autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto's and Graves' disease, identifying these allergens is an important part of not only weight loss, but overall immune system health.
"Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat" is available at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0761514341/scratcthenetwebs and in local bookstores.
HOW TO MAKE A SMART DECISION WHEN CHOOSING A HEALTH CLUB
I belong to a health club -- well, not actually a health club, it's a local Y that has a variety of health club-like facilities and services. My decision to join was primary convenience -- the Y is very close to my house.
Like me, many people have discovered that finding the right health or sports club is a big part of their fitness and weight loss effort. A record 33 million Americans currently belong to a health club, gym, or sports club. The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), a non-profit association of commercial health clubs in more than 70 countries, has suggestions to help you find a gym or club that best suits your individual needs.
Today health clubs, just like their members, come in all shapes and sizes. In most major cities and suburbs there are clubs that cater to families, clubs that are for women-only, clubs that specialize in serving mature Americans, clubs that focus on racquet sports and clubs with specialized studios that offer classes such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and others. As you search for a club that matches your needs, you must consider your fitness goals and what interests you.
You can bring this checklist with you as you visit local clubs. IHRSA recommends asking yourself the following questions:
"Health clubs and fitness centers serve people from all walks of life, so join a club where you feel that you best fit in," says John McCarthy, IHRSA's executive director. "Joining a health club is a personal decision. Take the time you need to find a place that makes you comfortable-that is the only guarantee that you will want to return again and again."
- Is the location of the club convenient to where you live or work?
- Have you visited the club at the time of day when you would most likely use it?
- Is the club clean and well maintained?
- Have you met with the staff and fitness professionals and are they helpful and friendly?
- Do the fitness professionals and other club staff have appropriate educational backgrounds and/or certifications? (Nationally recognized certifying organizations include the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.)
- Does the club provide new members with an orientation to fitness equipment and classes?
- Does the club offer a sufficient number and variety of programs (group cycling, aerobics, step, yoga, etc.) for you to remain motivated and interested?
As a resource, IHRSA offers http://www.Healthclubs.com, a unique search engine that helps you find quality clubs with programs and amenities you most want. The easy to use Web site finds the most convenient clubs for you and provides directions to the locations. You can even search to locate a club while traveling.
(And, remember, once you join, the only thing left to do is to actually GO and EXERCISE!! -- the hardest part!)
IS YOGURT A SECRET WEAPON IN THE WEIGHT LOSS WAR?
There's good news for dieters. Simply eating an extra cup of lowfat yogurt may help you lose weight while on a reduced-calorie diet. How? Recent studies show that calcium in dairy foods causes fat cells to make less fat and turns on the machinery to breakdown fat.
Michael Zemel, Ph.D., chairman of the department of nutrition and director of the Nutrition Institute, University of Tennessee, has spearheaded his research team's studies on how eating dairy foods affects body weight. His team discovered that eating lowfat dairy foods each day, such as yogurt and milk, may help control body fat. Findings from Zemel's most recent study, were presented last fall at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) annual meeting in Quebec.
Zemel recommends consuming 1,200 to 1,600 mg of calcium daily, which can be obtained by eating a healthy diet that includes three to four servings of lowfat dairy foods. This level of calcium intake is slightly more than the recommended Daily Value for calcium.
Unfortunately, most women and men don't consume as much calcium as they need. On average, women typically consume about 600 mg of calcium per day and men consume a little more than 700 mg per day, according to a Dietary Intake Research Study conducted by General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.
"People who are trying to lose weight need to know that there are certain foods, such as lowfat dairy products, that may help them control their weight," said Susan J. Crockett, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Bell Institute. "Adding three to four servings of lowfat dairy products to a healthy, reduced-calorie diet may improve weight loss efforts. This can be as simple as drinking lowfat milk at lunch and dinner and having a cup of yogurt for a snack," said Crockett.
Following are some simple ideas for adding calcium to your diet:
Keep in mind that if you have a dairy sensitivity or allergy, adding dairy may slow down, stop or even reverse weight loss, so be aware of signs of dairy intolerance, which include bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and other allergic or sensitivity symptoms.
- Blend yogurt and fruit pieces to make a thick, frothy smoothie.
- Thin fruit-flavored yogurt with a few drops of milk and use as a fruit salad dressing.
- Pour fruit-flavored yogurt into 3-oz. paper cups and insert wooden sticks. Freeze for delicious frozen yogurt pops. Or simply buy yogurt in a tube and freeze to enjoy as a cool treat.
- Make a yogurt parfait by layering lowfat yogurt and your favorite fruit.
- Whip plain yogurt into mashed potatoes.
Yogurt, however, tends to be the dairy product best tolerated. According to Dr. Allan Walker of Harvard Medical School. "Several studies suggest that the consumption of adequate amounts of the appropriate strains of live active cultures, like those found in yogurt, may help some better tolerate dairy products. Research is also investigating the role of specific live active cultures to help maintain overall gastrointestinal health."
FORGET THE 'ONE-SIZE FITS ALL' DIET IN FAVOR OF ONE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR INDIVIDUAL BLOOD TYPE DIFFERENCES
Determined to lose weight but frustrated by the short-lived results of all diets you've tried? Most diets proclaim one major formula is the solution for everyone, which doesn't account for our many individual differences. What if you had a diet custom-tailored to your body, based on the chemical differences of your blood type? According to naturopathic physician Peter D'Adamo, blood type plays a major role in physiological differences, and eating foods that are beneficial for your blood type will not only help you lose weight, but help get rid of nagging (and even more serious) health problems.
Scientific research increasingly supports the conclusion that blood type
influences the body's reaction to various foods and its susceptibility to disease. In the Boston Globe on November 6, 2001, Judy Foreman reported, "there is a fascinating -- and growing -- body of evidence suggesting that, beyond blood transfusions, blood markers have more medical significance than scientists used to think."
Peter D'Adamo asserts that "our ancestors had unique biological blueprints that complemented our environments," and we can therefore lose weight by eating foods for which our ancestors were best adapted. Type O individuals have the oldest and most basic blood type, and should eat primarily animal proteins. Type A's were forced by the necessity of migration to adapt a more agrarian diet, while type B's were "assimilators" who could eat a more balanced combination of animal protein and vegetarian-based foods. Type AB was the most recent blood type to emerge. A combination of blood types A and B, AB's do best staying away from the foods that are bad for A's and B's.
D'Adamo outlines his revolutionary approach to dieting based on the connection between blood type and health in his bestselling book, "Eat Right for Your Type."
A number of thyroid patients have contacted me to share the fact that the blood type diets seemed to help them lose weight where other diets failed. I haven't personally tried this approach, but will be investigating it further myself. If anyone wants to write in to share their experiences, please feel free to write and let me know!
D'Adamo's new book, "Eat Right 4 Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia," (Riverhead Trade Paperback Original; January 2002;) asserts that individuals can lose weight and solve innumerable physical complaints by eating foods and supplements that are best suited for their particular blood type. Which blood type should avoid aspirin because of thin blood? Is it possible to use diet to treat an ear infection? Which blood types have higher cancer risks? The encyclopedia enables readers to look up which foods, supplements and medications are best and worst for their blood type, and recommends treatment for scores of illnesses.
Dr. Peter D'Adamo is an well-known naturopathic physician and researcher with a wide international following. His first book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, is consistently on bestseller lists three years since its publication and has been translated into more than forty languages, with over two million copies sold. For his work on blood type and nutrition, Dr. D'Adamo was selected 1990 Physician of the Year by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. In 1999, respected industry analysts named Eat Right 4 Your Type one of the ten most influential health books ever, and Dr. D'Adamo the most intriguing health author of the year.
For information on "Eat Right for Your Type"
For information on "Eat Right 4 Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia"
STUDY SHOWS WEIGHT LOSS WITH AN ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICINE IN COMBINATION WITH LIFESTYLE INTERVENTION
In a multi-center, placebo-controlled study, the sustained-release formulation of antidepressant bupropion hydrochloride (Bupropion SR, or brandnames, Wellbutrin SR/Zyban SR) in combination with a lifestyle intervention program that included an energy-restricted diet, and exercise, resulted in significant weight loss in obese patients up to 24 weeks. A 24-week extension of the study showed that the average percentage of weight loss was maintained in patients who continued on this regimen for the total 48 weeks. The data were reported at the first annual Nutrition Week conference, co-hosted by several organizations including the American College of Nutrition.
The multi-center, double-blind, randomized study compared the changes in weight in patients receiving sustained-release Bupropion at 300 mg/day and 400 mg/day to placebo during the first 24 weeks. Investigators then examined subsequent effects on body weight following an additional 24 weeks. In the subsequent 24 weeks, patients who initially received bupropion continued with their treatment regimens, and subjects in the placebo group were randomized to active treatment of 300 mg/day or 400 mg/day of Bupropion SR.
More than 300 non-depressed, clinically obese men and women (as defined by a Body Mass Index of 30-44 kg/m2 or about 30% - 100% above their ideal body weight) participated in the investigation; 227 patients completed the initial 24 weeks and 192 completed the full 48 weeks. All patients maintained a moderate exercise regimen in addition to a reduced-calorie diet (600 fewer calories per day than normally would be required to maintain the subject's current weight) facilitated by the use of a twice-daily meal replacement (Slim-Fast®) during the first 24 weeks, then once daily for the second 24 weeks. In addition, all subjects recorded food intake and physical activity in a daily diary and attended 12 visits to a clinic where lifestyle goals were reinforced.
During the initial 24-week period, individuals completing the study and receiving Bupropion SR lost statistically significantly more weight than those in the placebo group (placebo + lifestyle intervention program). Individuals assigned to Bupropion SR 400mg/day lost a larger percentage of initial body weight (10.1%) than those receiving Bupropion SR 300mg/day (7.2%) or those receiving placebo (5%).
Investigators then initiated a 24-week follow-on study to determine if weight loss could be maintained over a 48-week period. At the end of the second 24-week period, the average percentage weight lost from initial body weight for patients completing the study and receiving Bupropion SR 400mg/ day or 300mg/day was 8.6% and 7.5%, respectively.
Completers who received placebo for the first 24 weeks and were switched to Bupropion SR 400mg/day or 300mg/day during the 24-week extension lost an average of 7.2% and 6.4%, respectively, of their initial body weight by week 48.
YOUR FAVORITE POWER BAR
Everyone who has gotten the Thyroid Diet Success Guide keeps writing to me, asking me what my favorite protein/power bar is, or what bar I recommend. I have my favorites, but I'm interested in yours. If you have a favorite power bar, write me with the name, your favorite flavor, what you like about the bar particularly, and please copy off the label the total calories, total fat, fiber, and carbohydrate count. We'll share the results in a future issue. Write me at email@example.com
HELP LOSING WEIGHT NOW! -- THE THYROID DIET SUCCESS GUIDE
The "Thyroid Diet Success Guide" features a diet plan that you can follow, and specific information on exercises, and many other tips and resources. The Success Guide will help you get on the right track, with information that has actually helped other thyroid patients -- including me -- to effectively lose weight!
To help you get started on the right track in your effort to lose weight, I've compiled the in-depth information so many people regularly ask for into a special "Thyroid Diet Success Guide." The "Thyroid Diet Success Guide" features information about why it's harder for thyroid patients to lose weight, insulin resistance, the role of the adrenal system, and lots of practical suggestions to help you finally enjoy weight loss success. Just a few of the key features in the 35-page Guide include:
- Weight Loss Secrets for Thyroid Patients
- The Thyroid/Weight Loss Connection - Some Theories
- How To Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism
- Weight Loss Success: How I Lost 25 Pounds in 12 Weeks
- The Ultimate Thyroid Exercise Program
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Overview
- Choosing the Right Weight Loss Program
- The Habits of Successful Weight Loss
- How Much Weight Do You Really Need to Lose?
- Popular Weight Loss Myths
- Seeing Results with Weight Loss and Exercising
To order, U.S. residents can send a check for $15 (which includes shipping and handling) made out to "Sticking Out Our Necks" to:
Mary Shomon's "Thyroid Diet Success Guide"
P.O. Box 565
Kensington, MD 20895-0565
For an order form to pay by check or credit card, visit
ORDER TOLL FREE: Call our toll-free order line during weekday business hours at 888-810-9471 to order using your credit card.
SPECIAL OFFER: Everyone who orders Thyroid Diet Success Guide will receive a free pocket-sized "Mini-Guide" that summarizes the key diet tips in a portable, easy-to-carry format.
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