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Top 3 Challenges for Autoimmune and Weight Loss

By Lucy Rose Clinic

August 17, 2020

Immune dysregulation can really affect your energy, mental health and weight.

Some people lose weight and can’t seem to keep it on, while other stack it on and can’t shift it no matter how little they eat!

  • Let’s have a look at what can cause what, and how we may be able to help.

Autoimmune thyroiditis – is this YOU?

When your immune system messes with your thyroid, it can cause unexplained weight changes. Your thyroid helps control your metabolism, so if it’s underactive (hypothyroidism), everything slows down. That’s why common symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, constipation, hair loss, and depression.

Causes of this can be clinical – such as Hashimoto’s disease – or can be sub-optimal which does not show in standard testing.

Sub-optimal hypothyroidism is far more common than we realise, and is driven by many factors such as; genetics, iodine deficiency, selenium/zinc/magnesium/vitamin D deficiency, adrenal dysfunction, medications (such as Lexapro, the Pill, SSRIs), toxin load affecting nutrient uptake, stress, thyroid trauma/removal, and other medical treatments.


The flip side is an overactive thyroid, which is often caused by Graves’ disease. When your thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone everything speeds up, including your metabolism. You lose weight even though you’re eating like a lunatic, have a rapid heartbeat, usually feel hot, have frequent bowel movements, and difficulty sleeping.

Weight becomes an issue when…

Autoimmune imbalances often start with you losing weight due to extra thyroid hormone being released into the blood in response to the immune cells attacking the thyroid.

No-one complains about losing weight, having more energy, and feeling on a high, so most people ignore these changes! If anything, the main complaint at this stage is the sleeplessness and heart rate changes.

This can last for months to years for some people, and while they come to feel that this is their level of ‘normal’, they are actually burning the candle at both ends and on the way to adrenal burnout. Long term issues normally swing between high and low, making diagnosis really hard, as the test will only reflect that blip in time when the blood was taken, and because the thyroid hormones can swing from high to low, testing can be inaccurate.

Often this shift occurs at a hormone crossroad, such as pregnancy or peri-menopause.

It can also be triggered by extreme stress, such as running a business, facing financial drama, studying full time, raising a family, dealing with divorce, caring for sick or elderly family, or complex and negative relationships that include trauma or emotional manipulation – and many times we are having to cope with more than one of these big stresses at a time!

Suddenly everything changes, weight doesn’t come off the way it did before with diet and exercise, and fatigue and brain fog start to become the new normal.

If you have had the GP run all the normal tests and it is all normal – but you feel anything but – then what you need is a functional approach to discover the driving factor behind your hormones and holistic treatment to help get you back to balance.

Standard Testing

Thyroid testing in Australia starts with a standard TSH test – if you meet the criteria to warrant the expense. Testing is expensive, so Medicare needs to have strict codes of conduct to manage our amazing health care system – but this system is not set up for ‘wellness’. It is set up to treat public disease, and screen for early and treatable disease pathologies.

This is why you can have all the symptoms, but be sent off being told you are ‘normal’.

This is where we step in to get your health and vitality back on track! Naturopathy and functional medicine shines in treating sub-optimal health imbalances, and when followed as instructed, usually reverses the disease progression, making this a truly preventative approach.

For clients who already have a disease that needs to be managed by their doctor, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, then our treatments augment the medication to help you reach your health wishes. We have amazing outcomes for either scenario!

Just like Dayna! She had an amazing health turn around and got her vitality and joy back with the proper treatment…

How did she get these results?
Dayna invested in the complete testing package because she ticked practically EVERY symptom box – that’s how bad she was feeling!

Once she finally had thorough testing done that discovered the underlying imbalances causing her health concerns, her practitioner was able to walk her through a health program to detox her body, replenish nutritional status, reinstate good glandular function, and correct her gut health.

Trying to heal one aspect at a time never works, and many people buy the next big promise at the chemist or health food shop, but when there are several underlying imbalances at play, that can’t work.

It’s sort of like trying to make a wedding cake and all you decide to use is eggs. It ain’t gonna happen!
Top 3 Challenges for Autoimmune and Weight Loss

1. Diet

GLUTEN: If you have an autoimmune disease, then every spoonful of food you put in your mouth can be bad or good for you. Just 1 bite of toast will push your autoimmune antibodies into high reaction mode, and this can take weeks to recover. Most people think having gluten just a couple of times a week is healthy, but if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition, it affects you 100 times more than anyone else.

DAIRY: Dairy is another food that most people with an autoimmune condition should avoid. A dairy intolerance or allergy is often implicated in eczema, sinusitis, rhinitis, headache, migraine, asthma and digestive disturbances.

SUGAR: Sugar is all-round bad for everyone, it ramps up inflammation, increases candida, stresses the pancreas, and basically ages us prematurely. Studies have shown that repeated insulin surges due to meals with high levels of carbs and sugars increase the destruction of the thyroid gland.2. StressMany autoimmune patients don’t understand the level of stress this condition causes them internally. Your body is attacking itself!!! This activates the fight and flight response, keeping your nervous system armed and ready at every moment.

Any additional stress in your life has BIG consequences, flares the immune response, and causes misery. That’s why when treating autoimmune, we must balance the immune system, support the nervous system, and have a stress management plan in place.

This stress results in nervous system dominance, cortisol dysregulation, and glucose resistance. This is where we see the weight issues become the problem, and careful treatment coupled with stress management and the right form and intensity of exercise is vital.

3. Motivation

The third biggest stumbling block for autoimmune people is often motivation. This becomes an issue in the later stages of disease when the glands are exhausted and the nervous system has been overtaxed for too long.

I often see people pushing through on mental will power for YEARS until they literally can’t do it anymore. Brain fog sets in – first in small bouts, later more permanently. Many people fear onset of dementia, and staying in this poor health state will increase your risk. Luckily, if we catch it early, we can reverse it, with most people noticing the brain fog lift within 6 weeks of treatment.

If this is you, don’t wait until you have a disease that your doctor can finally diagnose – call us to get it sorted out BEFORE your body is damaged to this extent.

Please feel free to give us a call and discuss your symptoms and we will let you know if we can help – and how.

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