How to Lose Weight with Thyroid Issue

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First of all, we need to understand the role of the thyroid and how it is associated with the weight of the body. Our Thyroid produces the hormone that regulates metabolism in humans as well as animals.

Metabolism is determined by measuring the amount of oxygen used by the body over a specific amount of time. If the measurement is made at rest, it is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Indeed, measurement of the BMR was one of the earliest tests used to assess a patient’s thyroid status. Patients whose thyroid glands were not working were found to have low BMRs, and those with overactive thyroid glands had high BMRs.

Keeping your thyroid healthy can be the key to lose weight, because, thyroid hormones have been used as a weight-loss tool in the past. Starting or increasing thyroid hormone to cause thyroid hormone levels to be elevated is unlikely to dramatically change weight.

Studies have shown that excess thyroid hormone treatment can help produce more weight loss than can be achieved by dieting alone, but includes the risk of major negative consequences from the use of thyroid hormone to help with weight loss, such as the loss of muscle protein, loss of bone, and/or heart problems. Furthermore, once the excess thyroid hormone is stopped, any weight loss is usually regained.

Relation between hypothyroidism and weight.

There are two ways our thyroid performs under hypothyroidism.

In the case of patients with an overactive thyroid, They do have some weight loss. Furthermore, weight loss is directly related to the severity of the overactive thyroid.

For example, when the thyroid is extremely overactive and producing too much hormones, the individual’s BMR increases significantly which ultimately leads to increased calories consumption by the body to maintain the body weight.

When the patient does not increase the consumption of calories to match the excess calories burned, then there will be weight loss. The factors that control our appetite, metabolism, and activity are very complex and thyroid hormone is only one factor in this complex system. Nevertheless, on average the more severe the hyperthyroidism, the greater the weight loss is observed.

In the case of an underactive thyroid, it is generally associated with some weight gain. The weight gain is often greater in those individuals with more severe hypothyroidism. However, the decrease in BMR due to hypothyroidism is usually much less dramatic than the marked increase seen in hyperthyroidism, leading to more modest alterations in weight due to the underactive thyroid. The cause of the weight gain in hypothyroid individuals is also complex, and may not be related to excess fat accumulation. Most of the extra weight gained in hypothyroid individuals is due to excess accumulation of salt and water. So you cant blame thyroid gland for weight gain.

Why is it hard to lose weight with thyroid?

The TH hormones, that our thyroid gland releases help us to regulate our metabolism, or in simpler words, how efficiently our body converts food into energy. When our thyroid is underactive, it makes less of TH hormones — This condition is also known as hypothyroidism. Due to hypothyroidism, our metabolism slows down. So our cells won’t burn off calories as quickly as before and we gain weight.

Conversely, when our thyroid is hyperactive and producing too many TH hormones, our metabolism goes into overdrive, burning more calories than normal and likely resulting in significant weight loss.

Another predominant factor that makes weight loss a challenge is hormone resistance problems that often occur in people with thyroid disease, including leptin resistance and insulin resistance.

Leptin Resistance

It is a vicious cycle, Leptin is a hormone that’s released by our fat cells. Its major role is to maintain energy balance and metabolism, leptin also tells our hypothalamus when we’ve had eaten enough, stimulating thyroid hormone production to burn fat.

When there’s too much leptin, which commonly happens when you’re overweight, your body loses the sensitivity to leptin’s signals, resulting in leptin resistance. This means that your hypothalamus isn’t being properly told that you’re full, so it goes into starvation mode, decreasing the number of calories you’re burning and telling you that you’re still hungry.

In the meantime, your thyroid slows down your metabolism as your appetite increases, resulting you eat more, and periodically your body starts preserving calories and burning fewer and fewer calories, all resulting in weight gain. And the more Kilos you put on, the more leptin your fat cells make, further enabling this cycle.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is considered a fat-building hormone—it increases the amount of fat around the abdominal organs, which is highly inflammatory and can raise your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

Just like in leptin resistance, when your insulin levels are continually elevated, your cells become less sensitive to the signals insulin gives. This results in needing even more insulin to keep your blood sugar level steady. Having higher levels of insulin causes weight gain and raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Can I lose weight with Thyroid Issue?

The simple answer is Yes, weight loss is possible even with thyroid disease, but it does take the right and strict approach.

This approach includes the careful evaluation of your hormones by your dietician, including those beyond your thyroid, and consistently making the right diet choices. By continuously evaluating, diagnosing, and treating any imbalances during the treatment, With this approach, you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.

What can I eat to lose weight with thyroid?

supplement pills

Whole grain-based carbohydrates, and non-starchy vegetables.

They provide energy and the feeling of fullness and do not trigger inflammatory or autoimmune responses in the hypothalamus.

Protein rich foods.

Regularly include fish, red meat, poultry, legumes, eggs (especially egg whites), quinoa, nuts, and nut butter. These help build and maintain your muscle mass and combat muscle weakness caused by hypothyroidism.

Healthy Fats

Oily fishes, flaxseeds, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados are rich sources of healthy fats. These will help balance your lipid levels, which may run awry in the case of long-standing hypothyroidism.

Good Gut bacterias

An imbalanced gut microbiome (dysbiosis) is often touted as a reason for significant metabolic imbalances, including thyroid and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). So make sure to add yogurt in your diet regularly.

Consume Enough Iodine and Nutrients

Iodine is an element that is very much needed for the healthy production of thyroid hormone. The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. So ensure your diet plan includes enough iodine, selenium, and zinc, which can come from nuts, fruits, and whole grains.


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