Losing weight when you have hypothyroidism

Having hypothyroidism and attempting weight loss can a daunting feat.  This condition of feeling sluggish, less energetic along with a lethargic metabolism may seem like an impossibility of ever reaching a healthier body weight.  But, it can be done with a strong willpower, motivation and a mindset determined not to let hypothyroidism slow you down. 

When you have an underactive thyroid this can make it difficult to lose or maintain a healthy weight because T4, the active thyroid hormone is low.  T4 is a powerful hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism.  The TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test measures how much of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) the thyroid gland is being asked to make.  An abnormally high TSH means hypothyroidism and it means the thyroid gland is being asked to make more T4 because there is not enough of it in the blood. 


However, by making a few changes in regards to dietary and exercise habits and proper medical management of your hypothyroidism, there is no reason why even if you have this condition that you should have to struggle any more than anyone else trying to reach a healthy body weight.

Start with these strategies to help jump start weight loss with hypothyroidism:

·      Cut out simple carbs and sugar – Carbohydrates are a necessary nutrient out body cannot do without.  All carbs break down into glucose, a sugar required by the cells of our body for fuel and for proper brain functioning.  The key is to avoid simple carbs high in sugar and low in nutritional value such as candy, cake, cookies, donuts, and sugary beverages.  Instead focus on complex carbs such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts.  By choosing more healthy carbs, this can help reduce the production of cytokines, tiny proteins that can influence inflammation in the body.  The recommendation for a moderate gram amount of total carbohydrates to consume is 100-130 grams each day. 

·      Choose more anti-inflammatory foods – Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can result in helping to ease achy joints, depression, boost the immune system, and reduce excessive inflammation.  Your best bets for choosing more anti-inflammatory foods include leafy green veggies, tomatoes, fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, and trout, fruit, and olive oil.

·      Eat three meals a day – Having hypothyroidism slows down the digestive functioning.  By eating three, well-balanced meals a day along with one to two snacks, can help support better blood sugar management by avoiding the highs and lows of oversized, highly processed meals.

·      Write down what you eat – Keeping a food journal is important for someone with hypothyroidism in order to track their macronutrient intake – macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein and fat.  If you have no idea how much you are eating in the course of a day, your caloric intake can quickly skyrocket unless you are writing it down.  Plus this can also help to ensure you are eating a balanced diet, one high in healthy fats, moderate proteins, and moderate to low-carbohydrate which is best for thyroid function. 

·      Make exercise a priority – To burn off calories more efficiently and to help rev up a slowed metabolism, exercise is a must.  Take advantage of days when energy levels are higher than usual to add in exercise throughout the day.  Every little bit adds up in helping to properly manage hypothyroidism.

·      Take thyroid medication as directed – Even though hypothyroidism can’t be cured it can be controlled.  Therefore, the most important thing you can do for management of your hypothyroidism is to get proper treatment for it.  Make sure you not being undertreated.  If you take too little, your hypothyroidism will continue.  If you take too much, you’ll develop symptoms of hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid gland.

The goal of hypothyroidism management is to treat it by replacing the amount of hormone that your own thyroid can no longer make and to bring your T4 and TSH levels back to normal levels.  T4 replacement can restore your body’s thyroid hormone levels and your body’s function.  Anytime you change your thyroxine dose, you’ll need to have your TSH checked 6 to 10 weeks after this is done.  You may need tests more often if you are pregnant or are taking a medication that interferes with your body’s ability to use thyroxine.  Remember, the goal of treatment is to get and keep your TSH in the normal range.