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What is the best weight loss diet for people with hypothyroidism? I am a 42 years old woman with thyroid problems and have been trying for a long time to lose weight. I am taking levothyroxine and have gained over 10 pounds in 3 months, despite reducing my daily calorie intake to around 1200 calories. What should I do to stop putting on weight and shift all the extra pounds? Please help! I look horrible and my self-esteem is at an all time low! Thank you. – Helen, Bristol.

 

3 Healthy Ways to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism

 

how to lose weight with hypothyroidism

Hi Helen,

I am sorry to hear about your weight loss struggle but not to worry, with proper medical management and a healthy lifestyle, it is possible to drop all those unwanted weight you have gained due to hypothyroidism.

First and foremost, you want to make sure you receive the correct dosage of levothyroxine (dosage may need to change over time; it needs to be increased if your thyroid disease gets worse). Once hormone levels are back to normal, you will have more energy to exercise regularly and eat better. When you increase physical activity and follow a low fat diet, weight loss becomes easier and you will feel more positive about yourself.

 

How to Lose Weight When You Have an Underactive Thyroid Problem

1. Pay Attention to Your Diet

To reduce weight and keep it off, you should consume foods that are high in nutrients and low in saturated fat and empty calories. That means deep-fried foods, fast foods, donuts, chips, cookies, sweets and ice cream are off-limits.

High-quality protein  foods such as extra lean meat, skinless poultry, fish and eggs are excellent choices for regular consumption.

Brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, wholegrain cereals, sweet potato, beans, lentils and legumes – all fall under the category of complex carbohydrates – are far better for you than simple carbs because they take a longer time to digest and stabilize your sugar levels. Therefore, you feel fuller for longer periods of time on less calories, which in turn reduces your urge to overeat or snack between meals.  

When taken in moderation, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (also known as "good" fats) can actually be helpful for weight reduction. You can find polyunsaturated (especially Omega-3’s) in many foods such as oily fish (tuna, salmon and herring), nuts and seeds (chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds) while monounsaturated fats is present in peanut butter, olive oil, as well as egg yolks. However, keep in mind that all fats, like alcohol, are calorie-dense and should be limited in any weight loss diet.

Enough has been said about the benefits of fruits and vegetables so I won't repeat them here. There are some studies, although inconclusive, that suggest goitrogenic foods such as bok choy, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, watercress, and radishes may suppress thyroid function and reduce iodine absorption by the thyroid gland.

It is also worth taking note that eating foods that are rich in fiber, taking iron tablets, calcium supplements, or high doses of antacids may interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine. These supplements and high fiber foods should be taken several hours before your thyroid medication.

Eating too much of any food will lead to weight gain, so it is always a good idea to monitor your portion sizes. To help you control portion sizes and prevent overeating, use a smaller plate or eat slowly and chew well. Research has shown that it takes 10-20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you have had enough to eat.

 

 

 

2. Follow a Regular Exercise Routine

The function of thyroxine, which is a hormone produced by your thyroid gland, is to stimulate your metabolism. An underactive thyroid gland slows down metabolism, thereby making it hard for people with hypothyroidism to lose weight.

Brisk walking, swimming and cycling are great exercises to increase metabolism and burn calories. These moderate intensity aerobic exercises increase oxygen levels, improves blood circulation and reduces body fat.

Exercise need not have to be dreadfully boring; there are various ways to make exercise enjoyable and a regular part of your everyday life. For example, take family walks if the weather is good, watch TV while riding on a stationary bike, put on some upbeat music and dance, or jump rope, or hula hoop.

Start slowly and gradually increase your exercise level and frequency over time. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times a week. You can break up daily exercise into three periods of 10 minutes each to make it easier to meet your fitness goals.

In addition to boosting metabolism, regular exercise also helps you to sleep better at night. There is strong evidence showing that not enough rest or lack of sleep is linked to weight gain. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, I suggest you eat a small, light snack such as low fat crackers and milk an hour before bedtime.

 

 

 

3. Manage Your Stress Level

Although a little stress may be good for healthy people, too much mental as well as physical stress can aggravate the symptoms of hypothyroidism and effect your immune system. Therefore, it is extremely important that you keep stress under control and relax.

You can mediate, perform simple relaxation exercises like yoga or tai chi, or go for a weekend vacation. If you find it tough to go through a difficult situation alone, I strongly suggest you talk to someone you trust about the problem you are facing. Talking with someone does wonders for your emotional wellbeing – it helps to clear your mind so you deal better with your negative feelings.


 

 

 

By Diane Hanson

 

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