How To Manage Your Weight
If you have hypothyroidism and the start of treatment gets your weight where it should be, you may still find a challenge ahead. Even after your thyroid levels go back to the normal range, Harris says, many people still find it hard to stay at a healthy weight.
The best plan for reaching your weight goal is to focus on the things you can control.
Exercise regularly.âExercise is a great way to boost metabolism, strengthen bones, build muscle, manage stress, and improve health,â Harris says.
If youâre a beginner, she suggests that you start with a daily walk and gentle yoga.
Curb your stress: If youâre under pressure, it can lead to a cycle of poor eating choices, fatigue, and depression.
When you feel stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much of it can interfere with the production of your thyroid hormone. Pay attention to things that cause you stress and try to avoid them.
Get enough sleep. Getting shut-eye can pack a big health punch.
âSleep is the bodyâs time to take care of repair and maintenance in the body, and itâs essential for weight loss and overall health,â Harris says.
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Underactive Thyroid And Weight Loss
Q: After gaining weight and having no energy to exercise, I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland. Now having been on thyroxine I have more energy and am back at the gym twice a week. But instead of losing weight as my doctor promised, Im continuing to put on weight. Does this mean that even when treated, an underactive thryroid will make it impossible for me to lose weight?
A: An underactive thyroid condition occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormones that help regulate the bodys metabolism.
A lack of these hormones decreases metabolism, causing symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness, depression, poor concentration, dry skin and constipation all things youre likely to be familiar with.
Fortunately though, as you have discovered, thyroid disorders can be controlled by medication.
Many people with an underactive thyroid gain a lot of weight before a diagnosis is made or if the condition is poorly controlled. But if you are being prescribed the correct dose of thyroxine, theres no reason why you cant lose weight through sensible eating and taking more exercise.
However, you should bear in mind that treatment with thyroxine doesnt result in an immediate recovery it can take up to nine months for the symptoms to improve and even longer for you to feel better.
Youll find more information about hypothyroidism on the British Thyroid Foundation website, www.btf-thyroid.org
Diagnosing An Underactive Thyroid
It’s very important that an underactive thyroid is diagnosed as soon as possible.
Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones, such as triiodothyronine and thyroxine , can change the way the body processes fat.
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- have just given birth
- have another health condition, such as heart disease, which may complicate your medication
- are taking a medication known to cause a reduction in thyroid hormones, such as amiodarone or lithium
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How Do Hypothyroidism Symptoms Affect Mental Health
When your thyroid gland isnt doing its job, it can mess with your mood. Hypothyroidism can affect your ability to think and lead to fatigue, depression, and anxiety. While the link between thyroid and mood isnt fully understood, its likely related to the fact that thyroid hormone plays a key role in brain function.
For example, some research suggests that a system in the body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, which involves the part of pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain as well as the thyroid, plays a role in the development of depression, per a study in The Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. A change in thyroid hormone levels at this axis may result in mood problems like a depressive episode.
On top of how the lack of thyroid hormone may raise depression risk, people with chronic illnesses are more likely to experience mental-health problems in general. Living with a condition like hypothyroidism can be overwhelming, stressful, and isolating. If youre experiencing depression or other mood problems, its important to take action so you can get the help you need:
What Is Hypothyroidism Again
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland on the lower part of the front of your neck. A healthy thyroid performs an important job: Making enough thyroid hormone for your body to function properly. But when your thyroid doesnt make enough of this hormone, its called hypothyroidism, or having an underactive thyroid. This can lead to a slew of problems as the systems throughout your whole body slow down without the thyroid hormone there to help them use energy efficientlyfor example, the digestive system may slow down, causing constipation, and the cardiovascular system may slow down, causing a slow or irregular heartbeat.
Around 5% of Americans over age 12 have hypothyroidism. The most-common form of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimotos disease, which is when the immune system accidentally attacks the thyroid and causes hypothyroidism. Many cases of hypo are mild and may not have obvious symptoms, while others can be severe. Left untreated, it can lead to serious complicationsso thats why its important to know the signs of this condition so you can get it under control.
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Salt And Water Retention
Hypothyroidism affects the kidneys in several ways, all of which contribute to salt and water retention with water weight gain. The blood filtering function of the kidneys decreases in people with low thyroid hormone levels, leading to a reduced ability to get rid of excess body water via the urine.
Additionally, hypothyroidism causes changes in hormone levels that provoke increased salt and water retention by the kidneys, further contributing to water weight gain. Finally, people with hypothyroidism appear to be more sensitive to dietary salt, as reported in an October 2011 review article published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
What Causes Hypothyroidism In Pregnancy
In most cases, women with hypothyroidism during pregnancy have Hashimotos disease. This autoimmune disease causes the bodys immune system to attack and damage the thyroid. When that happens, the thyroid cant produce and release high enough levels of thyroid hormones, impacting the entire body. Pregnant women with hypothyroidism may feel very tired, have a hard time dealing with cold temperatures and experience muscles cramps.
Thyroid hormones are important to your babys development while in the womb. These hormones help develop the brain and nervous system. If you have hypothyroidism, its important to control your thyroid levels during pregnancy. If your baby doesnt get enough thyroid hormone during development, the brain may not develop correctly and there could be issues later. Untreated or insufficiently treated hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to complications like miscarriage or preterm labor.
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Vegetables Provide Most Vitamins Minerals And Other Micronutrients
The nutrient-density of meals is even more important for those with hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, where nutrient absorption and deficiency are more common.
Emphasis goes to green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Veggies are also our greatest , a nutrient that feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut. Studies show that long-term low fibre intake will completely throw out the balance of your gut bacteria the effects on the gut health of mice was irreversible .
Fiber supplements are also an option if you want to be extra sure you are meeting your requirements.
As a general guide, the protein portion of your meal should be the size of your palm, and salad/vegetables the size of your hand. This would leave about 1/4 or less of your plate for carbs .
Summary: Protein foods and vegetables should make up the majority of your plate. They are generally the most filling and/or nutrient-dense foods per calorie.
How Do I Lose Weight Ive Gained From Hypothyroidism
The first and most important step is to treat the hypothyroidism, which means taking a thyroid-replacement medication like . The amount you take can change depending on your blood work and symptoms. Make sure you take the medication as directed and follow up with your healthcare provider.
Treating your low thyroid will help you stop gaining weight, but it may not help you lose the weight youve already gained. What you eat and your lifestyle factors can definitely help. Although there is no specific diet or food that will reverse hypothyroidism, here are some tips that will help you lose weight and maximize thyroid health:
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Unable To Do Cardio Exercise
Regularly lifting weights is also highly beneficial, especially if mobility is an issue for you. In fact, its equally as important as cardio and we should be doing both where possible.
Known as resistance exercise, it still helps burns additional calories, but with the added benefit of building lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism and the less likely you are to fall ill .
There are numerous resistance exercise programs on Youtube for beginners, and you can do it all at home if you invest in a pair of dumbbells or even one kettle bell.
Summary: Regular exercise helps to kick-start weight loss and speed up the entire process. It also improves your strength, mobility and metabolic health. If mobility is a problem for you, lifting weights or bodyweight exercises are a fantastic alternative.
Other Causes Of Hypothyroidism
In some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain. This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone , which tells the thyroid to do its job. If your pituitary gland does not produce enough TSH, levels of thyroid hormones will fall. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function.
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Simple Steps To Reducing Weight
Managing your weight can a little challenging, especially for those with an under-active thyroid. Nonetheless, there are some simple steps you could follow to ensure that you not only lose a little, but also manage to maintain the same.
- Look out for the symptoms, timely The first step towards treating an underactive thyroid is to diagnose it in the early stages. You could do a neck check, and see if a lump forms around that region, say, when you swallow water.
- Cut out sugars and simple carbohydrates from your diet, as with a reduced metabolic rate, your body will not be able to burn them off.
- Similarly, regulate the amount of cholesterol you have been consuming, as it can wreak havoc on your health.
- Take to anti-inflammatory foods, as the idea it to keep the inflammation around the gland as less as possible.
- Consciously stick to small and frequent meals, thus allowing your body to digest them side by side.
- Indulge in regular workouts and maintain a rather active lifestyle and routine.
Optimise Your Thyroid Medication
I wanted to begin with a nutrition recommendation, but correcting your thyroid medication first priority.
Work with your health care provider to determine what type of medication is better for you, and also to find the optimal dose required. While Levothyroxine is on average more effective, Armour is reportedly much better tolerated.
There is no difference between taking your thyroid hormone meds in the morning vs evening. Choose whatever is easier for you to have it on a fasting stomach .
Summary: It is fundamental to work with your doctor to explore what type and dose of thyroid medication is best for you. Until your thyroid hormone levels are corrected, weight loss is much more difficult.
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The Small But Mighty Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located low on the front of your neck. It secretes several hormones, primarily T3 and T4 , that act on every cell throughout the body to regulate metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. These hormones also affect breathing, heart and nervous system functions, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, weight and cholesterol levels.
The thyroid functions by receiving information from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland located in the brain. The pituitary gland, which is like a thermostat for your body, stimulates the thyroid by secreting Thyroid Stimulating Hormone . When the pituitary senses a low concentration of thyroid hormone in your blood, it produces more TSH to signal to increase production of T4 or T3. If thyroid hormone levels are high, the pituitary produces only tiny amounts of TSH.
What You Can Expect When You Start Thyroid Medication
Most people cannot expect extreme weight loss once they start thyroid hormone replacement medication. Again, this is because weight gain is often caused by other factors aside from an underactive thyroid. Generally, people begin to notice weight loss about three to six months after hitting a therapeutic dose of their medication.
People lose about five to ten pounds on thyroid medication or less than 10% of their body weight. The weight loss is usually caused by the body getting rid of an excess accumulation of water and salt . Most research does not show that thyroid medications like Synthroid help you lose adipose tissue.
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How To Lose Weight With A Thyroid Problem
Thyroid problems can be a frustrating cause of weight gain. If youre following a healthy diet and exercising consistently but still arent seeing results, then look at whether any of the symptoms above apply to you. If you think that your weight gain is being caused by excess calories, then increasing your vegetable and lean protein intake can help, along with an appetite suppressant supplement like PhenQ.
PhenQ will actively help reduce your cravings for food and increase fat burning too. Whatever the cause of your weight gain, being proactive about solutions will help you take control of the situation and see results faster.
Do you have any experience with thyroid issues? Wed love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
Follow A Diet For Hypothyroidism
Being hypothyroid doesnt mean avoiding all your favorite foods. After cutting out sugar and going low-carb, you probably want to know what is on and off the table literally.
Weve made a list of foods to eat and avoid, but the bottom line is that foods that feed inflammation need to be removed from your meals. Clearing up inflammation through diet can help your thyroid function properly.
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Managing Your Weight With Hypothyroidism
Theres a good chance youll gain weight if you indulge in a few too many comfort foods or stay away from the gym for too long. But if you have hypothyroidism, the numbers on the scale can creep up, even if youve stuck firmly to your diet and exercised religiously.
The hormones your thyroid gland releases help regulate your metabolism, or how efficiently your body burns food for energy. When your thyroid makes less of its hormones as it does in hypothyroidism your metabolism slows down. So you wont burn off calories as quickly and youll gain weight. The weight gain usually isnt extreme, maybe 5 or 10 pounds, but it can be enough to affect your self-esteem.
The more severe your hypothyroidism is, the more weight youll gain. Some of the weight gain is fat, but much of it is fluid buildup from the effects of an underactive thyroid on your kidney function.
Living With Hypothyroidism Symptoms
We wont liea diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be overwhelming, and if left untreated, the symptoms can disrupt your life. Thats why its important to know your body, pay attention to anything that feels off, and get a proper diagnosis and start treatment as soon as you can.
Thankfully, the treatments available for hypo are highly effective. Once you get started on a treatment to get those hormone levels back into a healthy range, you should see a reduction in all of your hypothyroid-related symptoms, too. With the right treatment regimen, most people with hypo are able to get their energy back and find their footing. So dont delay on seeing a healthcare professionalwith time and perseverance, you can get back in the drivers seat of your life with this chronic disease.
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What If The Results Show You Dont Have A Thyroid Problem
For many people, being diagnosed with a thyroid problem can actually be a positive thing. It gives them answers to questions theyve had about why theyre gaining weight and feeling tired, and also enables them to take steps to address it. But if it turns out you dont have a thyroid problem, then what are your options?
If youre struggling with your weight, there could be a number of other factors at play. For most people, weight gain is caused by an energy imbalance. Consuming more calories than you burn will gradually lead to the excess energy being stored as fat and glycogen. In this situation, decreasing your calorie intake and increasing your physical activity levels is the healthiest way to approach weight loss.
Can Hypothyroidism Be Prevented
Hypothyroidism cannot be prevented. The best way to prevent developing a serious form of the condition or having the symptoms impact your life in a serious way is to watch for signs of hypothyroidism. If you experience any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, the best thing to do is talk to your healthcare provider. Hypothyroidism is very manageable if you catch it early and begin treatment.
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