and Weight Gain
of the beginning of 2001, the Center For Disease Control reports
that over 1/3 of our population is obese. Throughout
this site I've shared the many reasons people accumulate and
carry more fat than they'd like. The diets, the
supplements, the pills, and the "experts" often
contribute more to the "disease" than the cure.
people, in their 30's or 40's, are suddenly "diagnosed"
with thyroid issues. Often "hypothyroidism,"
which is commonly "treated" with synthetic thyroid
hormones such as Synthroid. Before I continue, I feel
it important to point out that I am not a doctor. My
opinions are formed by the qualified application of sound
principles of nutrition and exercise and over two decades
as individuals with blood sugar irregularities fall into two
categories, those in which the ailment was self-imposed and
those who are victim of a genetic malfunction, so it goes
with hypothyroidism. In some cases, people are born
with disease of the thyroid gland, or malfunction of the hormonal
interplay that governs thyroid hormone production and regulation.
That doesn't mean their metabolisms can not be improved by
taking control of what they eat and what they do. There
are others who, by repetitive dieting, and often unintentional
consistent alteration in thyroid hormone production, have
put themselves in a condition where the thyroid gland appears
"sluggish." In these cases, the response to
supportive eating and exercise can be dramatic.
am careful not to present my programs as a "cure"
for anything medical in nature. I will share two "Q&A"
e-mails I've received specific to this topic.
I am a 37-year-old woman who is 60 pounds overweight. Many
people and medical professionals have advised me to try the
"protein" diets for over 20 years. Given a strong
background in chemistry, I immediately find this type of diet
to be hogwash and detrimental to health. I have always been
an athletic person, both aerobically and anaerobically, but
never been a "thin" person. I'm a large girl with
large muscle mass and alot of strength. My parents introduced
me to calorie counting when I was in 7th grade. I made a game
out of it-- try to see if I could consume fewer calories each
week I was dieting. Of course, that started the dieter's yo-yo
and permanently changed my metabolism. Even at a young age,
my brother would say to me, "Diane, you have the better
body. Your body is designed to live in times of famine. Because
your body can adjust to minimal intake, you'd survive a natural
disaster long after me." My brother was always bright
and saw that my body could slow itself down to "conserve"
while his could not.
Battling my weight was always a problem (that also runs in
my father's family). Things got really bad after having my
second child. I developed just about every symptom of hypothyroidism
and was depressed for many years. Exercise helps with the
depression. I can live without Prozac as long as I do aerobic
exercise at least three times a week for at least an hour
and a half each session. During the winter, I suffer from
Seasonal Affective Disorder so I try to maintain the exercise
routine and I try to introduce artificial light and color
into my house. I also do a lot of self-talk at this time to
remind myself that I am not crazy and that this is a temporary
thing. Anyway, I saw an endocrinologist six months ago. Her
immediate diagnosis was that I eat too much and that I try
the Atkin's diet. (Negative points for her.) I had her draw
the blood anyway and the results showed that my TSH was fine.
It was solidly in the middle of the range. Therefore, she
said I was OK. I asked her about my T3 and T4. T3 was fine...
somewhat solid in the range, but the T4 was 0.4 points from
the bottom of the scale, a scale that spaned 6 total points
with a precision in the tenths. I asked her if she thought
that was odd. How could that hormone be so much lower than
the others? Then I got a second opinion and that doctor was
worse than her. No one could tell me why that one hormone
was so low. Interestingly, my liver function was normal, but
low. I also had my gall bladder tested after my second child.
They said it is not diseased, but it is a sluggish organ.
In the late 1980's I was tested for hypoglycemia and again,
I was borderline. My body "absorbed" almost all
of the glucose in the first hour. I had a huge spike on the
chart, initially, and then it flatlined for the next 5 hours.
I was not clinically hypoglycemic, but it was an odd thing
to happen. In this recent blood test, I had almost no sodium
and minimal potassium in my blood so she told me to start
salting my foods and eat more bananas. I asked her how my
vitamins and minerals were in the blood test and she said
that the B's were OK. (I know that a shortage of B vitamins
can fatigue people.) My blood pressure is 117 over 70, my
pulse is in the high 60's, but I have elevated triglycides,
elevated cholesterol (both LDL and HDL), and 60 extra pounds
1988, I was put on a diet to help the gall bladder. I ate
less than 15 mg of fat a day, which was very difficult-- and
I lost weight, temporarily. I also tried Jenny Craig after
my first daughter. I was miserable, ate less than they told
me to eat and I lost 25 pounds, temporarily. Then, after the
second daughter, I went back to the gym and "burned out"
my knees and needed physical therapy for a few months.
Actually, my kneecaps were tracking improperly after
the pregnancy and I needed to tape them and restrenghten the
connective tissue. I also hired a personal trainer to torture
me once a week after the physical therapists tortured me!!
I lost some weight, about 20 pounds, but that was it and it
too was temporary. I told my husband that there is not enough
time in the day for me to burn the calories I need to burn
in order to lose weight. His opinion is that an activity that
burns 100 calories for a normal person may only burn 60 for
me. Can that be true?
Does riding a stationary bike at a heartrate of 145
for 30 minutes burn the same calories for everyone? Most doctors
say "yes" all calories burn the same way. They say
the problem is my intake of calories. Yet, I have to eat a
lot fewer calories than other people just to lose a pound.
Basically, my body must be stuck in "famine" mode
or something. I weigh 214 pounds and I'm 5'6". I'm always
cold with purple fingernails, except when I exercise. Doctors
told me I have poor circulation which I do not believe. It
seems that I just can't keep this body motor running. I abuse
caffeine (in the form of coffee) to get myself "going"
and going to the bathroom!!
What kind of information can you share about the metabolism
and T3/T4? I have a half-sister who had failure of TSH and
T4 and is currently medicated. She too is overweight and depressed.
Since I am technically not "hypothyroid", I continue
to hang on the borderline with this sluggish body and sluggish
digestive system. Yet, I have great muscles and decent
connective tissue, even with all of this weight. I find the
depression, heavy periods, and mood swings to be the most
Any accurate information you can share would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, I do solicit the opinion of many trainers and
nutritionists on-line. I'd love to hear your theories about
the metabolism and body chemistry. (Sorry this was so long.)
in response to your touching e-mail, I want you to know that
I've met you before.
Many times. No, I don't mean in person, but it feels
as if I meet the same fourteen people over and over and over.
Sure, the names and faces are different, but the stories
are very much the same.
I am not surprised by anything you've shared.
Firstly, anyone who is "introduced" to calorie
counting at an early age begins to create chemical alterations
in the body that will, over time, shut down and destroy metabolism.
If you go through sporadic periods of dieting, firstly
your body will learn to conserve fat (as you've expressed
quite succinctly) by increasing output of an enzyme called
This is your body's built in self-preserving method
of building up fuel reserves.
While your body is genius at keeping you alive, it's
not always very good at understanding what you're trying to
do. It perceives
calorie deprivation as starvation and chemical changes take
place. The body
will also, even at 7 years old, increase its production of
a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol breaks down muscle.
Since muscle burns calories, an increase in cortisol
will further slow metabolism.
(while you say you have a good amount of muscle, cortisol
can work to keep body composition at bay . . . if your weight
goes up, your muscle weight may in fact be significant, but
if it remains proportionately low when compared to body mass
or fat weight, metabolism is negatively impacted)
You can see how this is "programming" the
body to become very adept at storing fat.
meet many people (primarily but not only women) diagnosed
The great majority of these people began repetitive
dieting in their formative years.
As a result, while the thyroid gland and liver may
remain healthy and functional, and TSH and T4 may be consistently
produced in efficacious amounts, the conversion of T4 into
T3 is reduced. This
is another protective mechanism contributing to the self preserving
act of metabolism slowing.
that were all that took place, increases in lipoprotein lipase,
increases in cortisol, and reduction in conversion of T4 to
T3, you can be quite certain fat accumulation would be continual
and excessive. Unfortunately,
it doesn’t stop there . . . but I hope even by now you’re
identifying why you’ve had some of the frustrating experiences
also affects the pancreas’ production of two related hormones,
insulin and glucagon.
Self induced blood sugar spikes and drops make the
insulin/ glucacon balance erratic and irregular.
Since bursts of insulin can lead to elevated triglyceride
levels and drops in glucagon can cripple the body’s ability
to release fat, the potential for rapid accumulation of fat
continues to amplify.
suspect you read my Atkins article (at philkaplan.com) so
I won’t explain here how bouts with reduced carb strategies
can further add to the problem.
this related to your depression?
I am not a psychiatrist, however, I can clearly see
the possibility. Dieting,
use of caffeine, as well as some of the weight loss supplements
and/or drugs alter neurotransmission in the brain.
Two neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, are
closely related to mood and appetite. These happen to be the two chemicals that are most affected
by the most commonly used diet aids.
Compound changes in neurotransmission with a distinctive
focus on self-talk that continues to disappoint you (promising
yourself emotionally that this is temporary . . . as you apply
flawed technologies and find “temporary” to be long lasting),
and mood swings are a given.
diets, such as Jenny Craig, maintain a 99% failure rate simply
because it is a continuation of the calorie deprivation that
you started prior to your teenage years.
you are carrying more than 10-20 pounds of additional weight,
believe that aerobic exercise is a solution, and begin a program
that includes walking, jogging, or climbing, the knees begin
taking some serious abuse.
Knee problems are likely.
As far as the trainer torturing you, a part of my business
(The PEAK Training division) is dedicated to helping trainers
locate and learn to apply an effective technology of change.
Taking a body that has been through what yours has,
and beginning an intensive exercise program without a simultaneous
application of metabolism boosting nutrition, will result
in . . . well . . . short term weight loss followed by an
Trainers, while they can be very adept at applying
techniques they’ve learned while studying anatomy, kinesiology,
and biomechanics, have very few resources for education in
the area of permanent weight loss.
Here’s a part of your e-mail I’d also like to respond
told my husband that there is not enough time in the day for
me to burn the calories I need to burn in order to lose weight.
His opinion is that an activity that burns 100 calories for
a normal person may only burn 60 for me. Can that be true?
Does riding a stationary bike at a heartrate of 145 for 30
minutes burn the same calories for everyone? Most doctors
say "yes" all calories burn the same way. They say
the problem is my intake of calories. Yet, I have to eat alot
fewer calories than other people just to lose a pound.”
about separating yourself from “normal.”
Recognize that the experiences you’ve had have been
primarily the result of continued exposure to misinformation.
This is a perfect example.
It is not only possible, but absolutely certain, that
a body with compromises in T4-T3 conversion burns fewer calories
than it would if production were increased.
Caloric burn is highly individualized, and while many
of the cardiovascular devices provide a ballpark estimate
of calories burned, they are taking into account age, height,
and weight. They
are not considering rate of oxidation, availability of nutrients,
nor enzyme or chemical processes that affect calorie burning.
It’s also important to recognize that food has a “thermic”
property (heat producing) and different nutrients facilitate
variations in caloric expenditure as they are ingested throughout
the day. Your
body burns fewer calories than would be optimal, not because
you’re somehow abnormal, but rather because your actions over
the years have created an internal environment that is structured
to minimize caloric burn.
You don’t have to eat fewer calories, but rather you
have to reverse the process and begin to get your body better
at burning calories.
mention that you solicit many opinions.
I recognize that is in search of information that you
can apply to regain control of a body that seems to have run
amok. Your challenge
is, sorting through the conflicting information you amass
and deciding what bits and pieces of each clump of advice
you should cling to as legitimate.
I’d encourage you to do a few things in hope that I
can offer clarity.
visit and explore thefitnesstruth.com.
While there is a great amount of information at my
foundational website (philkaplan.com), thefitnesstruth.com
presents information in a very user friendly format.
If the information I cover begins to “make sense” to
you, I’d then encourage you to invest $39.99 in my Body Transformation
seminar videos. It’s
actually video of a 3-hour long seminar I conducted where
I expose a good amount of fitness fraud and conceptually provide
a true technology of positive physical change.
The understanding you gain from the videos will prove
enlightening and empowering.
You may never need to get anything else from me.
You might, however, once you understand the concepts,
consider investing in my TRANSFORM! Program (it comes with
the videos so your $39.99 would be credited) or my 17-Day
ANSWER program. You
will then have a concise path to follow.
don’t know where you live, but if you are in (or ever visit)
South Florida, you might also consider a consultation with
a member of my staff. Finally, I’ll encourage you to tune in to my Saturday morning
radio show. If
you are in South Florida, you can get it at 9 AM on WIOD,
610 on your AM dial.
If you’re anywhere else in the world, you can get it
through my website, philkaplan.com (follow the links to Mind
& Muscle Fitness Hour live broadcast).
I have hypothyroidism and have been on synthroid sine I was
four, and have a REALLY hard time trying to lose weight.
I've exercised, watched what I eat, but I can't lose any of
it, and since I've been on birth control, it's gotten even
worse. I have never been in good shape, and want to
change that. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am
hesitant in trying any new diet because it may not work for
me, and I'm also concerned about the cost of this one in case
it doesn't work.
I certainly understand your apprehension in trying something
new. Let me address the synthroid issue first, then
I'll hopefully ease your mind about the risk of trying something
new. It sounds to me as if you had some thyroid problems
that were medical in nature. Medications, such as synthroid,
while they may not "fix" the problem, can allow
the body to operate normally by restoring thyroid hormone
levels to where they're supposed to be. If, however,
somebody with hypothyroidism embarks on a calorie restrictive
diet (as the diets you've tried in the past), the body will
give up muscle and thyroid hormone production might further
be altered. The sense that you can't lose weight on
the diets you've tried because of the thyroid issue was likely
developed because the diets and exercise regimens you've followed
had a negative metabolic effect!
program is not a diet based on deprivation. It teaches
you, step by step, how to make modifications in the way you
eat and the way you exercise so that metabolism is enhanced.
I can not guarantee that you will achieve the same results
as someone who did not have a thyroid concern, but I can guarantee
that you will begin moving in a positive direction regaining
control of the way your body looks and feels. I've actually
had a large number of individuals with assorted metabolic
challenges go through the program, live, in groups, with my
trainers, and in every case improvement was achieved.
I do not present my program as a cure, but rather as an education
that will empower you to start moving in the direction you'd
you are apprehensive, I would not steer you toward the complete
TRANSFORM! 17 week program right now. The Answer is
very simple, it comes with a book you can read in 90 minutes,
and you'll notice results in 17 days! I'd also suggest
you order the EAT! recipe book. With The Answer, and
EAT!, I have a feeling you'll regain a feeling of optimism
and you begin to learn how to finally get into "good
shape." Let me know how things work out.
You Haven't Been There Yet:
on [ Fitness Superstore
] to get any of Phil's Proven products.
on the [ MENU ] to explore other topics
and fitness truths.
Pages to Explore:
designed and operated by
Phil Kaplan's Fitness Associates
1304 SW 160th Ave., #337
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33326
(305) 824-5044 (954) 389-0280
Fax (954) 742-3173