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How To Control Weight Gain With An Underactive Thyroid

Track Your Food Calories And Activity

Nutrition & Diets : Diet Tips for an Under-Active Thyroid

Many experts agree: Keeping track of your calories, nutrition, and activity can help you achieve greater success with your weight-loss effort. Todays technology makes it easier. Linda was able to lose 20 pounds recently. I downloaded the app MyFitnessPal, and it helped keep me on track. Another popular tracking app is LoseIt. Also, if you wear a Fitbit device, some models have built-in calorie counters.

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.

Weight Loss Tips For Thyroid Patients

June 26, 2020 By Yenny Rojas

Losing weight is a challenge for a lot of people, but for those with a thyroid problem, such as hypothyroidism, it can be an even bigger challenge. The good news is that with proper treatment, along with diet and lifestyle strategies, losing weight is achievable, allowing you to see the results you deserve.


The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck along the front of the windpipe. Its main function is to produce the hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine , which help regulate the bodys metabolism, the process by which food is turned into energy. An underactive thyroid gland, known as hypothyroidism, is when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough of these hormones, which causes many of the bodys functions to slow down. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness, weight gain, and moodiness.

When the thyroid is working properly, the body responds appropriately to dieting and activity levels when trying to lose weight. However, if the thyroid is underactive and doesnt produce a normal amount of thyroid hormones, it can slow down metabolism, which has a significant impact on body weight, fat percentage, and overall health.

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Easy Ways To Overcome Underactive Thyroid Weight Gain

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If you have an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, this article will show you how to overcome underactive thyroid weight gain and start losing weight.

An underactive thyroid can slow down your metabolism and consequently trigger weight gain or hinder weight loss. The truth is hypothyroidism affects more people than you may know.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 13 million Americans have an undiagnosed thyroid disorder. That is about 4.8% of the entire U.S population.

Studies show that the numbers could be as high as 7% in Europe. It is also worth noting that hypothyroidism is more common among older women. Plus, it is 10 times more common in women than in men.

I dont mean to bore you with statistics. I just wanted to show you that this is a bigger problem than most of us know.

The good news is it is possible to overcome underactive thyroid weight gain and lose weight. The tips below may even help you combat other hypothyroidism symptoms such as fatigue and depression.

Key Steps To Stop Thyroid Weight Gain

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When youre proactive about helping your body restore thyroid balance, you will see changes in your weight, energy and mood. The sooner you take action, the faster youll feel better about your body and thyroid health.

1. Ensure you provide your thyroid with essential minerals.

The most important minerals for thyroid health are iodine and selenium.Iodine is a key building block for making thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Supplying Iodine in very specific amounts can make a measurable difference in rebalancing thyroid function. Selenium helps convert T4 into T3, the most useful hormone form. Selenium also regulates thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.

How to get them: Find iodine in sea vegetables, seafood and iodized sea salt. Get selenium from Brazil nuts, mushrooms, beef and sunflower seeds. You can also get both minerals in a good supplement.

2. Add targeted herb extracts to boost thyroid function.

Science shows that several herbs can positively affect your thyroid function and stop thyroid-related weight gain:

You can get all these herbs with precise amounts of iodine and selenium in our combination formula, T-Balance Plus. This formula supports healthy signaling between your thyroid and the rest of your body. If youre taking thyroid medication, talk to your practitioner about this supplement.

3. Eliminate gluten-containing foods.

4. Find a way to get regular exercise.

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Getting The Right Diagnosis

Hypothyroidism is more likely to develop in women, and a personal history or family history of thyroid issues can increase your risk. To accurately test for hypothyroidism, a blood test for thyroid stimulating hormone is used. Even small changes in your thyroid hormone levels will cause very big changes in TSH secretion. The TSH test is really accurate and is the appropriate test for 99 percent of cases. Other lab tests for thyroid function are supplemental, and may not be clinically relevant or appropriate, adds Dr. Bloomgarden.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your physician will work with you to find the appropriate treatment. The most frequently used treatment for hypothyroidism is replacing the hormone with a substitute, known as levothyroxine . This is a precursor to the active hormone and seeks to replicate the hormones your body is failing to produce properly. Your body does not care if you make or take thyroid hormone, adds Dr Bloomgarden.

Causes of hypothyroidism can include:

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can be nonspecific or reflect other issues. You may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin

Common Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism Include:

  • Sudden Paralysis. Known as thyrotoxic periodic paralysis, this relatively rare symptom involves severe muscle weakness and only occurs in people with high hormone levels. It predominantly affects Asian and Latinx men.
  • Swollen Base of Your Neck and Thyroid. Also called a goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland is usually painless but can cause a cough or, in more severe cases, make it difficult for you to swallow or breathe.
  • Weight Fluctuations. Hyperthyroidism is notoriously linked with weight loss, and for good reason: it kicks your metabolism into high gear, often making it difficult, if not impossible to put on weighteven with increased food intake. Although less common, it is also possible for your oversized appetite and resulting food intake to increase to a point where they overtake the increase in your metabolic rate, resulting in weight gain.
  • See more hyperthyroidism symptoms.

    How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

    Early detection is important so that you and your doctor can outline a plan for hyperthyroidism treatment before it causes irreversible damage. Dr. Brenessa Lindeman, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medical Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, emphasizes the need for people with suspicious symptoms to advocate for your own health and get checked for hyperthyroidism early to prevent serious complications like osteoporosis, premature menopause, or even cardiac arrest.

    Methods of diagnosis for hyperthyroidism include:

    Read Also: How Do You Know If You Have Thyroid

    Treating An Underactive Thyroid

    Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.

    You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.

    Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.

    You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.

    If an underactive thyroid is not treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease,;goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma .

    How To Manage Your Weight

    Thyroid and weight gain

    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. “Exercise is a great way to boost metabolism, strengthen bones, build muscle, manage stress, and improve health,” Harris says.

    If you’re a beginner, she suggests that you start with a daily walk and gentle yoga.

    Curb your stress: If you’re 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.

    “Sleep is the body’s time to take care of repair and maintenance in the body, and it’s essential for weight loss and overall health,” Harris says.

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    Other Considerations And Next Steps

    Thyroid hormone replacement medication is highly effective in reversing the symptoms of hypothyroidism. According to the American Thyroid Association, weight gain associated with hypothyroidism is typically about 5 to 10 pounds most of which is water weight. This weight is usually lost with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

    See your doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms that might signal hypothyroidism. In addition to weight gain and bloating, these could include:

    • Feeling cold

    Get A Diagnosis As Quickly As Possible

    If your thyroid is underactive, inadequate treatment may make weight loss almost impossible, despite diet and exercise. And the longer it takes you to get diagnosed, the more weight you could gain.

    When you have mild hypothyroidism, even before your TSH is elevated enough to warrant treatment, your metabolism can slow down significantly, causing you to burn fewer calories each day. Hypothyroidism can also make you tired, achy, and less likely to exercise, leading to further weight gain. And, when youre tired, you may crave and eat more sugary foods and carbohydrates for energy.

    If you have symptoms of thyroid disease, see your doctor right away and get informed about the diagnosis and treatment process.

    Read Also: Can Thyroid Symptoms Come And Go

    Exercise Is Extremely Important

    Some amount of physical activity is important for every individual. Regular exercise is also extremely important for those suffering from hypothyroidism. It will help in burning calories as well as boost metabolism. Try exercises that can help you boost metabolism like planks, dips, squats or swimming.

    Reduce Exposure To Heavy Metals

    Best Laboratory Collection Centre

    Did you know that drinking tap water has been linked to thousands of cases of heavy metal toxicity?

    This is alarming because certain heavy metals directly affect thyroid function. While other heavy metals can cause Hashimotos disease, a condition in which your immune system attacks the thyroid.

    Avoid drinking tap water to reduce exposure to heavy metals. Eating foods such as milk thistle, spirulina, and coriander can help eliminate heavy metals from the body.

    Also Check: How Long For Np Thyroid To Work

    Exercise Almost Every Day

    We recommend regular exercise for thyroid patients to lose weight. Exercise is a fantastic natural treatment for hypothyroidism, helping to:

    • Relieve depression
    • Lose unwanted weight
    • Maintain that healthy weight

    Physical therapists and endocrinologists alike would probably suggest low-impact cardio exercise, especially to start out. Consult with a doctor before engaging in higher intensity strength training.

    Aim to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

    How much weight should you lose with hypothyroidism? Determine your healthy weight by starting with a normal BMI range for your height. Every person is different, so talk to your doctor about exactly how much weight you should try to lose.

    Have Your Hormone Levels Tested

    Research shows that hormone resistance problemsincluding leptin resistance;and;insulin resistancemay contribute to the difficulties many thyroid patients face in;losing weight.;And since both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have been shown in multiple studies to create insulin resistance, this means you should consider having your fasting glucose and insulin levels tested, evaluated, and treated.

    Fasting glucose levels above 100 may be a sign of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, which can make weight loss even more difficult.

    For chronically high levels, your doctor may prescribe a type 2 diabetes drug like Glucophage . For borderline levels, reducing the sugar and carbohydrates in your diet and following a healthy carbohydrate-controlled diet can lower your blood sugar and help with weight loss.

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    How I Lost The Weight I Gained From Hypothyroidism

    This post may contain affiliate links, to find out more information, please read my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Originally published on 13th August 2016

    Note: Since overcoming my disordered eating and embracing a body positive approach, I want to just leave a statement that: weight is not the be all and end all. It doesnt make you any less worthy of love, of happiness or anything else in life. Weight gain is a natural part of life bodies change all the time but I do appreciate that for many, the weight gain associated with hypothyroidism can be another frustrating reminder of how it affects your life and takes control from you. I now prefer to focus on feeling healthy inside, by having reduced thyroid symptoms and feeling healthy and happy, rather than focusing solely on weight.;

    Weight gain. Its the first symptom many people who dont have hypothyroidism, think of when they hear the term thyroid problem. For some patients, it can be one of the most upsetting symptoms and side effects of poor thyroid function.

    Thyroid disease is often used as a joke or a scapegoat for weight gain. People throw it around, and as such, its not taken very seriously.

    Many people think hypothyroidism is just an excuse for being overweight, but weight gain is a legitimate symptom of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, along with many others.

    Does Underactive Thyroid Lead To Weight Gainor Vice

    Thyroid and weight gain

    with Arthur Schneider, MD, PhD

    Low thyroid functioning is often blamed for weight gain. Your thyroid gland, a butterfly-shape organ in the front of your neck, makes hormones that control metabolism, weight, breathing, heart rate and many other functions.

    But new research has raised questions about whether the link could go the other way, according to Cari Kitahara, PhD, MHS, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.

    Some study findings suggest that excess weight may be behind the slowing down of thyroid function instead of a sluggish thyroid leading to an increase in unanticipated weight gain. Dr. Kitahara presented findings of her investigation regarding the interrelationship between obesity, thyroid function and weight at the 86th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Denver, Colorado.1

    Understanding the link between weight and thyroid is crucial, she and others say, because obesity raises your risk of getting thyroid cancer. And if her research and that of others bears out, treating an overweight person with thyroid medication may be the wrong course of action, she says, if in fact the weight gain is what made the thyroid sluggish. The better approach, in some cases, may be weight loss.1

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    Additional Steps To Improving Weight Management

    After going on a treatment plan to assist with managing a condition such as Hypothyroidism, it is only natural to think that the increase in Thyroid hormones will make weight loss happen automatically.

    Unfortunately, this is a misconception that many people have once they opt for synthetic Thyroid hormones in order to assist with the management of Hypothyroidism. Even though levels of Thyroid hormones are restored to normal through such a treatment plan, it is vital for a person to take into consideration that weight loss will now only be easier for them it will not magically happen.

    Weight loss efforts still need to be exerted by the individual who is obtaining the treatment. The primary method of losing weight after restoring normal Thyroid hormone levels would be to start following a caloric deficit diet.

    This, in basic terms, means that you will have to eat fewer calories daily than you exert. There is no need to starve yourself, however, as you need to start participating in exercises, which means your daily caloric requirements will be going up.

    It is highly advisable to participate in a healthy amount of exercise on a regular basis. This will not only promote weight loss but will also assist with further alleviating the problems that Hypothyroidism has caused.

    Once your daily caloric expenditure has increased through these exercise plans, it is time to look at what you consume.

    Additionally, eliminating processed foods from your diet can be very beneficial for you.

    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.

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