Shun Simple Carbs & Sugars
Go for a moderate- to the low-carbohydrate diet thats rich in complex carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables and legumes and shuns simple sugars. A Harvard Medical School report states that consuming complex carbohydrates and avoiding simple carbs can help reduce the production of cytokines, tiny proteins that can influence inflammation in the body. This is the ideal thyroid diet for weight loss.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Medications
Some of the drugs doctors prescribe for your thyroid-related symptoms or other conditions you might have can cause weight gain. For example, the following medications are associated with weight gain:
- Antithyroid drugs such as Tapazole and PTU , used to treat Graves disease and hyperthyroidism
- Beta-blockers, like Sectral , Tenormin , and Corgard , which are often used to treat hyperthyroidism
- Steroid anti-inflammatories such as prednisone
- Estrogen and progesterone, either alone or together in hormonal birth control or in hormone replacement therapy
- Certain antidepressants, especially Prozac , Paxil , and Zoloft
- Mood-stabilizing and anticonvulsant drugs such as those given for bipolar disorder, including lithium, Depakote and Tegretol
If you’re on any of these medications and you’re gaining weight, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Never stop taking a medication without your doctor’s input.
Thyroid Disease Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
Create A Calorie Deficit
Now it comes to the dieting part of tackling your weight loss. This sounds so much simpler than it really is.
When it comes to losing weight, youll always hear about a calorie deficit. You want to eat fewer calories than your body burns. The average healthy person can burn anywhere between 1,600 and 3,000 calories depending on their size, muscle mass, and fitness regime. How do you know what your metabolic rate is?
Well, this question becomes even harder when it comes to your hypothyroidism. Remember that your doctor wont be able to tell you just how bad it is at first glance. It will take some trial and error to get the medication right , so you dont really know just how many calories your body is burning.
That means you need to look at changing your diet gradually. Start with 1,500 calories a day. This is 500 calories less than the average woman burns throughout the day. If you dont find yourself losing weight, you can gradually drop the calorie intake down.
Its best not to eat less than 1,200 calories a day. This is the bare minimum your body will need to make sure it gets all the nutrients to support the system. You dont want to cause yourself other health problems all because of your weight loss efforts, right?
Once you have a calorie deficit, you will find it much easier to lose weight. Eating 500 calories a day less than you burn will help you lose a pound a week. This is a healthy amount to aim for.
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Do Not Do A No Carbs Diet
One of the mistakes people make is to assume that carbohydrates are bad for you because they cause weight gain. The truth is that this information is wrong. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. A no carbs diet leaves your body with little or no fuel to produce the energy you need for your daily tasks. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, which is impossible to conquer when your diet does not contain any carbs.
Too many carbohydrates tend to cause fat deposits in your body, thus causing weight gain. Eliminating these food groups from your diet drains your body and causes lethargy and fatigue. What you need to do is ensure that you are eating just the carbohydrates your body needs and not more. You have to ensure that you are eating the right food like bananas and whole grains that will give your body the fuel it needs to be functional.
Getting Your Thyroid Tested As A Step To Weight Loss
In the book Thyroid Mind Power, HowtoLearn.com Expert, Richard Shames, M.D., says The majority of people who have a thyroid issue are still undiagnosed.
This is because mild or borderline thyroid problems do not show up on standard blood tests performed in routine doctor visits.
So how do you determine if thyroid hormones are causing weight loss problems? Better thyroid and hormone testing is available, if you know how to look for it.
Since thyroid problems represent one of the most common of all medical disorders, the likelihood that your weight loss difficulty is thyroid related needs to be carefully considered.
Thyroid dysfunction has a high probability of being passed on through your family tree and with it, you may have weight loss problems.
If anyone in your family, especially your immediate family, has had a thyroid problem, then you are in line for a thyroid problem as well. It is just that simple. You may also struggle with weight loss or even be underweight.
Your family history is important to document, along with associated illnesses, and physical signs, and combined with a really detailed symptom list. Check all of these to see if they could be one of a combination of weight loss problems.
Richard Shames, M.D.
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How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose Once The Hypothyroidism Is Treated
Since much of the weight gain in hypothyroidism is accumulation in salt and water, when the hypothyroidism is treated one can expect a small weight loss. As in the treatment with hyperthyroidism, treatment of the abnormal state of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone results in a return of body weight to what it was before the hypothyroidism developed. Since weight gain may have many causes and develops over a long period of time, it is fairly common to find that there is not a large amount of weight loss after successful treatment of hypothyroidism. Again, if all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism other than weight gain resolve with thyroid hormone treatment, it is unlikely that the weight gain was solely due to the thyroid. Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.
Make Sure You Track It All
You want to track everything you do and feel. This isnt just about tracking the exercise you do or the food you eat. Its so important to track every little thing that happens throughout the day. Make it a habit to track how you feel about and within yourself.
Get into the habit now of tracking your energy levels and noting down the best times of day to do exercise. When you find yourself struggling with the plan that youve created, you will have something to look back over. You can see when you have the higher energy levels to work your exercise plan around that.
You will lose motivation to lose weight with thyroid problems. Youre only human, so give yourself a break! Dont expect yourself to perform perfectly 100% of the time.
Its how you handle the exercise levels that will affect your weight loss efforts. If you have a bad day, your journal or tracker will give you something to look back over. Youll get to see how far youve come to remind yourself why youre doing this. Youll feel good about yourself again.
This is also a chance to look back on the bad days that you had. Youll see how you tackled the bad days before and made sure you get over this slump much quicker.
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Why Hypothyroidism Can Lead To Weight Gain
Its hard to lose weight with hypothyroidism because when your thyroid gland is underactive, your metabolism slows down.
A slow metabolism often means weight gain and can also lead to slower progress when losing weight.
But its more than just your metabolism slowing several factors lead to weight gain during hypothyroidism.
Watch Those Goitrogenic Foods
Certain foods, specifically cruciferous vegetables and products that have soy isoflavones, contain goitrogenic compounds chemicals that can interfere with thyroid hormones. A goiter is a swelling or enlargement of the thyroid, which can happen if the thyroid gland is functional and tries to grow more cells to keep up with the demand for hormones.
Because your thyroid is inactive, you don’t have to worry about a goiter forming, but you still have to account for the effect of the goitrogenic compounds on your supplemental thyroid hormones especially because you cannot naturally make more hormones to compensate.
Goitrogenic compounds in vegetables are often deactivated by heating don’t eat broccoli, cabbage or other cruciferous vegetables raw. Note that the goitrogenic effects of soy are lessened if the soy is fermented in products such as miso and tempeh.
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Take Extra Nutrients Where Necessary
Your doctor may recommend extra nutrients. Your body will struggle to absorb all the nutrients you intake when your hypothyroidism is an ongoing problem. This will mean you dont get all the calcium, iron, vitamins, and more that your body needs. You could eat plenty throughout the day from your diet, but your body isnt making use of them.
Its time to look at making sure you get the healthy intake by adding nutrients. Your doctor will be able to recommend the ones that work with your hypothyroidism medication.
If you dont want to take pharmaceutical nutrients, you can always get more through your foods. Look out for the lower calorie foods that include all the nutrients you need. Dark leafy greens are among the best for all your nutritious needs! Theyre also lower in calories and so easy to add to any meal.
Can Hypothyroidism Medication Cause Weight Gain
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is the daily use of a medication called levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is a synthetic thyroid hormone that can boost your levels of this hormone to reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism, including weight gain.
Montgomery explains, If the Levothyroxine dose is off then it can result in weight gain which is why its important to do regular follow ups with blood work with your doctor. Levothyroxine is ideally taken on an empty stomach by itself in the morning 1 hour before eating to make sure it gets absorbed properly. A variety of foods and medications/supplements can interact with it and cause it to not work properly.
Certain foods, supplements, and medicines may prevent levothyroxine from working properly, which may also contribute to weight gain. Iron supplements, calcium supplements, and foods that are high in fiber or soy may interfere with levothyroxine. Ask your doctor about foods and supplements that may prevent levothyroxine from working as it should so you can avoid potential weight gain.
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The Function Of A Healthy Thyroid
The thyroid gland produces hormones T4 and T3 .Both regulate metabolism which determines your heart rate, blood pressure and weight. Thyroid hormones also affect the production of a key stomach hormone, gastrin which aids in proper food digestion.
Millions of Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction. Among that number, many havent even been diagnosed.
When the thyroid does not produce enough T4, your body can no longer metabolize food groups efficiently this is because hypothyroidism often slows down your metabolism and alters how food is digested in your stomach. The result is typically weight gain, one of several symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
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Find The Right Thyroid Medication
Doctors often prescribe a synthetic thyroid hormone , Synthroid, Armour, or other T4 medication to treat patients with hypothyroidism. These types of medications act as thyroid hormone substitutes when your body fails to produce adequate thyroid hormone on its own. However, it will take time for your doctor to determine the right dosage of thyroid medication that works best for you.
For example, functional medicine physician Dr. Westin Childs only prescribes T4 medicine to patients sensitive to medications containing T3but the majority of his patients tend to respond better with a medication containing both T4 and T3 hormone.
Furthermore, a study released by the NIH revealed that many patients preferred taking DTE instead of L-T., gained more energy, and lost slightly more weight when they took a medication containing a combination of T4 and T3.
Its important for you to correct your hormone levels as quickly as possible in order to alleviate your symptoms and maximize weight loss. Once you find a thyroid medicine that is well tolerated and is of the right dosage, you can take your medicine according to your doctors recommendations.
Interestingly, a randomized double-blind crossover trial study reported in a 2010 Archives of Internal Medicine article strongly suggests that patients who took their thyroid medication at bedtime experienced improvement with their hormone levels and symptoms as opposed to when they took their medication in the morning. This was because:
Make Sure Your Thyroid Hormone Levels Are Stable
As you address diet, make sure you are working with your physician to evaluate labs and medications, says Smith. To ensure you have the best weight loss results, you must work with your doctor to address labs and medications. You likely wont see significant weight loss results until hormone levels are stabilized.
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What Is The Relationship Between Hypothyroidism And Weight Gain
Since the BMR in the patient with hypothyroidism is decreased, an underactive thyroid is generally associated with some weight gain. The weight gain is often greater in those individuals with more severe hypothyroidism. However, the decrease in BMR due to hypothyroidism is usually much less dramatic than the marked increase seen in hyperthyroidism, leading to more modest alterations in weight due to the underactive thyroid. The cause of the weight gain in hypothyroid individuals is also complex, and may not be related to excess fat accumulation. Most of the extra weight gained in hypothyroid individuals is due to excess accumulation of salt and water. Massive weight gain is rarely associated with hypothyroidism. In general, 5-10 pounds of body weight may be attributable to the thyroid, depending on the severity of the hypothyroidism. Finally, if weight gain is the only symptom of hypothyroidism that is present, it is less likely that the weight gain is solely due to the thyroid.
Weight Loss Tips For Hypothyroidism
Maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle when youre living with hypothyroidism. These tips can help you shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.
If hypothyroidism is inadequately treated it can be harder to lose weight, since the thyroid is a large regulator of metabolic function. The most important thing you can do for weight loss and for your overall health is to get proper treatment for your hypothyroidism. However, making a few dietary changes may help boost weight loss success. Losing weight is never easy, but people who have well-controlled hypothyroidism shouldnt struggle to lose weight more than anyone else, says Leonor Corsino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery in Durham, North Carolina.
Use these six strategies to jump-start weight loss with hypothyroidism.
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How Can I Get My Metabolism Going Again
You metabolism is a tough customer and getting it running will take some work. Remember earlier I said that your thyroid controls 60% of your metabolism? Well in order to get it up and running again, you will have to actively work at it.
The Weight Watchers Freestyle program helps you with this by providing you with zero point foods that are low in carbs and high in protein. These foods, along with a balance of the right medications, will help you to regulate your metabolism better.
Make sure your endocrinologist gets your meds balanced as soon as possible. These are important for helping to get on track to a healthier you. I am not saying to eat all zero point foods. I am saying that if you want to lose weight you are going to have to watch what you eat and regulate your portion sizes.
Avoid Eating After 8 Pm
Although weight gain primarily comes down to eating more calories than you can burn off, there is research to suggest that snacking or eating meals late in the evening makes your body more likely to store those calories as fat, which can prevent you from losing weight. It also increases the chance of your binge eating unhealthy calories and ruining the entire days progress.