Foods And Supplements For Weight Loss
For anyone trying to lose weight, fiber may have some significant weight loss benefits. This is especially true for people with thyroid disease who may have somewhat slower digestion and more frequently experience constipation.
Some other foods and supplements that may help, but have not necessarily been extensively studied as far as an impact on thyroid dieters include:
- Chia seeds
- Green Tea
Other Hormones Play A Key Role
Some people with thyroid disease experience other hormonal shifts that can get in the way of successful weight loss. For example:
- Those who are struggling with diet should learn about the impact of the hormones leptin and ghrelin on weight loss.
- Insulin resistance, also known as metabolic syndrome or prediabetes, is a factor that can affect your ability to lose weight.
- Your adrenal health, and in particular your production of the hormone cortisol, can have an impact on weight loss efforts.
Start With A Diagnosis
12% of the US population has a thyroid disorder, and 60% don’t know about it. To have overt hypothyroidism without treatment may make weight loss feel virtually impossible, despite how hard you hit the gym or how disciplined you eat.
If you’re worried about weight gain, talk with your doctor about taking a thyroid blood test to understand how your thyroid is functioning. It’s important to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone , free triiodothyronine , free thyroxine , and TPO antibodies. This complete thyroid panel help you understand the big picture of what’s happening with your thyroid function, and where specifically to make improvements.
Should your results show that your thyroid is under-active, it is easily treatable in almost everyone. Optimizing your thyroid levels with thyroid hormone replacement medication is usually the first step in minimizing symptoms like weight gain. When choosing thyroid medication with your doctor, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.
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Hypothyroidism Meal Plan: 7 Days
In general, the best diet for a person with hypothyroidism contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, filling proteins, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of healthy carbohydrates.
Still, it is important for each person to experiment and develop a diet that helps them feel their best.
Below, find a sample 1-week meal plan for an omnivorous person with hypothyroidism:
Thyroid And Your Weight
Your thyroid gland sends hormones into the bloodstream that help keep your metabolism in check. When you donât make enough of these hormones, that process slows down.
That puts the brakes on body functions. You might feel cold, tired, or sluggish. Your body may also hang on to salt and water. That causes bloating.
You might put on a few pounds — a few. Only about 10% of your total weight gain is likely due to the water and salt that your body keeps because of hypothyroidism.
If extra weight is the only symptom left after thyroid medication brings your hormone levels back to normal, hypothyroidism probably isn’t directly to blame for it.
“People with hypothyroidism often have gained quite a bit of weight before their diagnosis,” says nutrition coach Cheryl Harris, RD. “They may experience fatigue, and that makes it harder to have the energy to eat well and exercise regularly.”
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Take Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which your body does not produce and must get from food to improve the functionality of your underactive thyroid.
Omega-3 fatty acids also improve the bodyâs ability to metabolize fat and prevent its accumulation. It is beneficial in reducing the belly fat called visceral fat, which is linked to a number of health issues, including high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar.
A 2010 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that fatty acids enhance thyroid hormone signaling in the liver and affect hepatic-lipid metabolism.
These fatty acids also help decrease inflammation, increase immunity and may affect gene expression.
Before taking a fish oil supplement, talk to your doctor about how much you should take. Do not take more than 3 grams a day.
How 3 Women With Hypothyroidism Maintain Their Weight
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
If you have hypothyroidism, you might deal with daily symptoms like nausea, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, feeling cold, and depression.
While the symptoms that accompany hypothyroidism , can disrupt several parts of your life, weight gain seems to be one area that causes significant distress and frustration.
When your thyroid is underactive, your metabolism slows down, which can lead to weight gain.
Hypothyroidism is typically diagnosed in adulthood, but many people will tell you they remember struggling with their weight and other symptoms for years.
Hypothyroidism becomes more pronounced with age and is far more common in women than men. In fact, 20 percent of women in the United States will develop the condition by age 60.
Healthline talked to three women with hypothyroidism about weight gain, how theyve accepted their bodies, and the lifestyle changes theyve made to manage their weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight with hypothyroidism has been a challenge for Ginny Mahar, co-founder of Thyroid Refresh. Diagnosed in 2011, Mahar says her doctors advice regarding her weight gain was eat less and exercise more. Sound familiar?
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Tips For Losing Weight While Dealing With Hypothyroidism
Achieving healthy weight loss starts with finding the right doctor that understands your situation and is willing to look beyond calorie restriction. Additionally, there are lifestyle changes you can make. Mahar and Bowman share four tips for losing weight while dealing with hypothyroidism.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Water supports your metabolism, eliminates bloat and water retention, and may help to reduce your appetite. It helps to eliminate bloating and water retention, as well as reduce your appetite. Generally, it’s recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. We say, drink as much as you need! Aim for Â½ your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. And if you have a coffee, alcohol, or sweat for 30 minutes, have an extra 8-ounce glass.
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What Foods Are Good For Hypothyroidism
Certain nutrients are essential for optimal thyroid health and can naturally balance your thyroid hormone levels to reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Foods that contain iodine, selenium and zinc have been shown to be helpful in patients with hypothyroidism to encourage a healthy thyroid, Montgomery recommends.
Eggs, seafood, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and unprocessed meats contain high amounts of iodine, zinc, and selenium.
Stay away from soy-based foods, as soy contains compounds called goitrogens that can interfere with your thyroid function and hormone levels. Also, avoid eating highly processed foods, including sausage, hot dogs, cookies, cakes, and frozen meals, as these foods are known to cause weight gain and will not help you lose excess weight related to hypothyroidism.
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Cut Out The Sodium As Much As Possible
Your body is retaining salt. One of the best things you can do is cut out the excess sodium that you eat. But you dont want to cut out all sodium completely. Your body will need a little bit of salt to remain healthy!
What you really want to do is stick within the healthy guidelines on sodium levels. Stick to 500mg of less of salt a day. This is healthy and necessary.
As you get your underactive thyroid solved, you will find that your body retains less sodium. You could eat less and still have a healthy diet.
Remember that you dont need to add salt to the majority of your meals. Food can naturally include it, so check the packaging for all the information!
Look out for foods that are potassium-rich. They tend to have higher sodium counts and include the likes of beets, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
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Consider Hyperthyroid Treatment Options Carefully Too
You’ll need to think about whether to have radioactive iodine versus other hyperthyroidism and Graves disease treatments. Weight gain after RAI is common. One study on patients who had a thyroidectomy found that those who did the surgery as their first line of treatment were less likely to become overweight or obese than those who had undergone RAI first. Talk to your healthcare provider about your Graves/hyperthyroidism treatment options.
Keep in mind that most patients who have had surgical removal of the thyroid, called a thyroidectomy, or radioactive iodine treatment end up with hypothyroidism. There can be a delay between your treatment and the start of thyroid hormone replacement medication, leaving you hypothyroid for an extended period.
Have a plan in place with your healthcare provider for regular thyroid testing after surgery or RAI so that your treatment can start as soon as there is evidence that you are hypothyroid.
Thyroid Function & Body Weight
Anyone with a low thyroid function knows that losing weight feels nearly impossible. Some of us try starving, some of us are exercising excessively despite a distressing lack of progress, and some of us have simply given up. Before I was diagnosed as Hypothyroid, I was doing all of the above.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that ultimately control a persons metabolism, which is the way in which the body burns calories to provide cellular energy. When our thyroid hormone levels are low, calories are not burned effectively, resulting in weight gain even when very few calories are consumed. You might feel as though everyone around you eats normally, without consequence, whereas you eat very little and yet continue to gain weight. Water retention also tends to be high.
Ideally, treatment with thyroid hormone increases an individuals metabolic rate, thereby increasing the amount of calories that are burned which results in weight loss. In most cases, however, treatment with thyroid hormone alone cannot entirely correct metabolic problems and relieve symptoms. Simultaneous nutritional therapy is essential to maximize weight reduction and eliminate many of the troublesome symptoms that plague people with low thyroid function.
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Watch For Absorption Issues
You shouldn’t drink coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, until at least an hour after you’ve taken your thyroid hormone replacement medication. This is because coffee can affect the absorption of your medication and make it less effective.
If you absolutely must have both your thyroid medication and coffee at the same time, talk to your healthcare provider about the liquid capsule form of levothyroxine called Tirosint, which research shows is not affected by caffeine. You may also consider taking your thyroid medication at bedtime instead of in the morning, but again, discuss this with your practitioner first.
It’s also important to wait at least four hours after taking your thyroid medication before drinking a calcium-fortified juice, eating soy products, taking calcium or iron supplements, or taking certain other medications like antacids, as these also may decrease the absorption of your medication and make it less effective.
Be sure to keep your healthcare provider up to speed by communicating any changes in the supplements or medications that you’re taking, both over-the-counter and prescription, to avoid absorption issues.
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.
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S To Attaining Your Ideal Body Composition
Hope is not lost! Your motivation may be lagging because the weight is not melting off even while taking thyroid hormone replacement. There are proactive steps you can take to address issues keeping you from meeting your goals.
Get your thyroid tested Discuss the results with your doctor to see if your TSH levels are in the higher end of the reference range, or if your T3 or TBG is low. You may need to adjust your current medication or supplement with T3 in order to find your optimal thyroid levels.
Optimize your thyroid medication Take levothyroxine on an empty stomach either a half hour before breakfast or before bedtime. Wait at least three to four hours after taking your medication before taking supplements or drinks that contain calcium or iron. Also, discuss any changes in your medications with your doctor.
Get tested for insulin and leptin resistance If you have these conditions, discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Exercise regularly Lifestyle changes, such as physical activity, which improve body composition , improve thyroid function. Regular exercise raises your metabolism, curbs your appetite, lowers blood sugar levels, and reduces insulin and leptin resistance.
Change your diet Work with your doctor to find a diet plan that will provide optimal thyroid health and control your weight while helping to manage or prevent conditions associated with hypothyroidism.
Barriers To Weight Loss
It is frustrating to struggle to lose weight or continue to gain weight, even while taking your daily medication. There are five potential barriers that may be making weight loss difficult for you:
- Suboptimal Thyroid Treatment
Most people with hypothyroidism are treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication to restore TSH levels to what is known as reference range. A reference range is a set of values that includes an upper and lower limit of a lab test that are considered normal for a defined healthy population.
When you fall within the TSH reference range, you are euthyroid, which means your thyroid function is considered clinically normal. however, this may not mean it is optimal for you. Many people experience symptoms while in the normal range.
There are a few factors that can affect how well your treatment is working.
The timing of your medication is a key factor, since a number of foods, supplements and drugs interfere with the absorption or action of levothyroxine in the body.
Also, researchers have found that TSH levels in the upper end of the reference range are linked to increased weight and higher rates of obesity. In fact, even small increases in TSH within the normal range are associated with weight gain.
- A Decreased Metabolic Set Point
Why is it that that your friend eats more than you do, doesnt exercise nearly as much, but easily maintains a lower weight? It may be that you have a lower metabolism than she does.
- Other Thyroid Hormones
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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.
After Medication Adjust Your Expectations
In a perfect world, any weight gained by hypothyroidism would magically fall off after you start taking the meds, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way: Normalizing the thyroid with thyroid hormone will not cause the weight gain to be reversed, says Dr. Tan. To lose that weight, you actually need to work at it, which I know seems very unfair because you just gained it easily.
Scott D. Isaacs, MD, medical director of Atlanta Endocrine Associates, agrees. If blood tests are normal and youre no longer technically hypothyroid, the weight-loss playing field is essentially “even” in that case, he saysmeaning you still have to work at dropping pounds.
Also important: Some info circulating the web suggests that certain medications or combinations of medications can lead to weight loss quicker than others, but none of that has been proven true, says Dr. Isaacsit’s all totally dependent on your body and your weight-loss efforts.
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Use Stress Relief Techniques
Stressis a leading contributor to an underactive thyroid. Relieving stress can lead to a normal balance in your hormone levels. If your thyroid is normalized, your metabolism will speed up again.
And outside of hypothyroidism, stresshas been linked to obesity in general. This is primarily due to exposure to excessive amounts of cortisol over time.
Here are some practical ways to relieve stress:
- Sleep. A full 8 hours of high-quality sleep is essential for stress relief.
- Turn off technology before bed. Cutting outblue light exposure an hour before bedtime can improve your sleep quality. You can do this by using software that blocks blue light, like f.lux and iristech.
- Use blue light blocking glasses. We also encourage everyone to use blue-light blocking glasses after sunset if using any electronic devices, which helps to reduce cortisol production. Use code PRIMEHEALTH for 10% off of our favorite blue light blocking glasses atRa Optics.
- Meditate. Practicing meditation is another way to alleviate your stress and decrease excessive cortisol production.
- Go outside. Spending time outdoors, especiallyin primarily green locations, can lower your stress and cortisol levels.
Reducing your stress levels is one of the best ways to lose weight with hypothyroidism without medication.