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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
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
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
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
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
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.
Can't get motivated to work out every day, or find yourself making excuses not to
exercise all the time? We share some motivating ways to help you stick to your exercise
routine and get you back on track quickly.
What food items fall under the negative calorie foods list to burn calories and fat,
and help you lose more weight? Find out how to stay thin while munching away nutrient-packed
negative calorie fruits and vegetables.