I wanted to know how to lose weight with hypothyroidism. I know there are two general types of thyroid conditions – an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) with many causes. People with hypothyroidism have a tendency to gain weight and become “heavier” because the functioning of our thyroid gland has a direct effect on our metabolism. When the functioning of our thyroid gland slows down, our metabolism also slows down. According to many experts, metabolism may be a significant determining factor in a person’s weight loss effort. Here, I will generally cover what I found to be effective ways to first address hypothyroidism in order to lose weight.
Another reason why people with hypothyroidism tend to gain weight is because a compromised thyroid can result in the body retaining more fluid than it should. The increased fluid in the body further contributes to the feeling of being bloated and weight gain. Last, but not the least, having an underactive thyroid also causes individuals to feel sluggish and lethargic which results in a decrease in physical activity. Lack of physical activity means that the calories the person consumes are not burned but instead are stored, usually as fat. Without sufficient physical activity, basal metabolism also decreases so it really is one vicious cycle.
I’ve run into people that think in order to lose weight with hypothyroidism it is necessary to go on a reduced calorie diet along with taking massive amounts of medication. This is not true for everyone, or even most hypothyroid sufferers. In fact, I discovered that excessive dieting may even damage the thyroid further because the thyroid gland needs certain amounts of specific nutrients that may be lacking in low-calorie diet. Moreover, some diets have the tendency to compromise the metabolism further and cause a condition known as the yo-yo syndrome.
Yo-yo syndrome is characterized by the sudden increase and decrease in body weight. Diets that are referred to by experts as fad diets, seem to work at first because they are effective in reducing the water in the body which in turn gives the impression of weight loss. In truth, however, the fat remains and the previous body weight of the person returns once the water has been replenished.
Instead of a crash diet, people wanting to know how to lose weight with a thyroid problem must follow a healthy and balanced diet which consists of nutrient-dense food such as vegetables, fruits and minimal lean meats. Foods high in fiber are very effective for persons who are looking to take off some pounds. Fiber can make a person feel full faster. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, may also cleanse the body of harmful toxins that may contribute in making an individual gain weight.
Proper hydration is an absolute must.
My basic underlying principle was to first address my hypothyroidism with a supportive and preventive diet. By normalizing my thyroid hormone level I should start to see some true weight reduction. At the same time I made some very small life-style changes to burn more calories. Really little things, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator (up to the 5th floor after that it was elevator for the poor old knees), walking the laundry to the basement instead of using the laundry chute, cutting the grass instead of having a lawn service do it, etc.
Oh, another small life-style change, instead of eating 2 or 3 meals, I discovered it may be better for individuals with hypothyroidism to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals. This grazing method has been clinically shown to work best in increasing metabolism and keeping it at a higher level throughout the day.
Addressing my hypothyroidism definitely improved my health and I lost weight. To a point. Struggle as I might, I was not able to get down any lower. Checking with my health care provider revealed my thyroid was normal. She suggested I modify my hypothyroid diet. Certainly continue the success I had but see if a modification would continue my weight loss.
The diet that was recommended was called Strip That Fat (horrible name). It is so neat; in additional to the “dieting guide” there is an online diet generator that lets ME choose my thyroid diet foods and it creates a NEW diet outline and a grocery shopping list. I merged my thyroid diet into Strip That Fat. Where there was any question or conflict at all, the thyroid diet prevailed.
I’m back on the road with a regular thyroid, better health and lower weight – only 30 more pounds to go! Keep in mind that an underactive thyroid is your first priority, then a healthier life-style; weight loss will come. As always, consult with your health care provider before beginning any weigh modification regimen.