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Medical Conditions & Factors That May Affect Your Weight

If you have a medical condition that gets in the way of losing weight, learn how to make the best of your health situation. Certain medical conditions can definitely slow down your weight loss, but don't let them stop or thwart your efforts.

Low Thyroid

An underactive thyroid gland can suppress your metabolism and keep your weight on. Your best bet is to fine-tune your dosage of thyroid medication with your doctor's assistance. If you suspect that your thyroid is out of balance, make sure that your doctor assesses all aspects of your thyroid production:

  • T3, which is the stronger of the two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland and is also produced from the conversion of T4.
  • T4, which is the primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
  • TSH, which is the hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland. Measurement of TSH is considered a primary way to diagnose thyroid disorders.

Some people respond better on a combination of T3 and T4; some do fine on T4 alone.

Some clients do best on regular prescription meds for thyroid support. Others do best with natural thyroid medications such as Armour. You can also use alternative health support, such as naturally compounded thyroid, homeopathic remedies, and the ayurvedic herbal extract, forslean.

Daily exercise helps to balance your hormones.

Some Medications

Several medications can prevent weight loss or cause you to gain weight. Steroids virtually always cause weight gain. Even asthma inhalers contain enough steroids to slow or stop your progress. Talk with your doctor and ask him or her to suggest alternatives to your current steroid medications. Also ask what you can do to ease off them.

Some psychotropic and anti-seizure drugs can also affect your weight. Most often these cause weight loss, but some (such as Depakote) can cause weight gain. Again, ask your doctor to work with you to find one that does not affect your weight.


Chronic pain can inhibit your desire to exercise. If you are in continual pain from injuries or arthritis, you could also be using food to soothe the pain. Be sure you make other choices for pain relief. Certainly, it can be difficult to do much exercise with severe or chronic pain, but it is possible to do some exercise. Get the advice of a physical therapist or specialist to find exercises that are healing for you.

Whenever you become inactive, for whatever reason, your body needs less food than before. Often people do not adjust their food intake when they become inactive, and they gain weight. If you are currently inactive, reduce the amount of food you are eating to accommodate your inactivity and the resulting slower metabolism.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar happens when your blood sugar drops fast and catches you unaware. At such times, you may experience headaches, nausea, irritability, crankiness, and a lightheaded feeling. You also get heavy-duty cravings for food—any kind of food and lots of it.

Low blood sugar can result in bingeing or overeating sweet, starchy foods such as cookies, cakes, crackers, and breads. The key to tackling a low-blood-sugar condition is to eat enough protein and fat at meals. Plus, keep snacks around—in your handbag or desk—and eat them when you feel like you're running on empty. By using sound nutritional advice, low blood sugar can become an aspect of your past and not your present.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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