How to Lose Weight When You Have Hypothyroidism

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Eating nutrient-dense foods, reducing portion sizes and increasing physical activity are all vital to weight loss. However, hypothyroidism slows metabolic processes, which makes losing and maintaining an appropriate weight more difficult. The first step requires receiving a proper diagnosis, getting and taking a thyroid hormone replacement. Once the disorder is under control, the battle to lose weight becomes easier.

Right Time, Right Dosage

Thyroid replacements must be taken first thing in the morning with at least half a glass of water while your stomach is empty. If taking other medications, wait for an hour or two after taking the supplement. Also allow for 30 to 60 minutes to pass before eating breakfast. It is also important to have your TSH and T4 levels routinely evaluated by blood tests as recommended by your health care provider. If your dose proves to be too low, your metabolism is still in need of a boost.

Other Hormone Problems

The hormones leptin and reverse T3 also hamper weight loss efforts. When someone gains weight, the body releases leptin from fat cells, which tells the brain that the body has sufficient energy in storage. However, this signaling process may malfunction creating a condition known as leptin resistance. High-fat, high-sugar and fructose corn syrup often cause the problem. Simultaneously, the body manufactures reverse T3, which negates the effects of thyroid hormone and replacements. Nutrition specialists recommend eating complex carbohydrates that often include legumes and starchy vegetables. Turn away from simple sugars in the form of desserts and soft drinks.

Anti-Inflammatory Food Choices

Hypothyroidism can also influence the body to create an excessive amount of chemicals known as cytokines, which cause inflammation and produce the aches and pains that some experience as part of the disorder. Certain foods interfere with inflammatory processes and alleviate symptoms. The many foods included in this category include dark, leafy-green vegetables, tomatoes, fatty fish, fruit, olive oil and nuts.

Meal Times

When to eat is almost as important as what you eat. As hypothyroidism slows digestion, eating smaller meals every three to four hours ensures proper food break down and absorption of vital nutrients. In this way, the combination of proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats better stave off hunger while keeping blood sugar levels stable. Consider starting a food journal so that you can effectively monitor calorie intake, food choices and estimated amounts. With a quick glance you are then able to make adjustments as needed.

Stay Active

Exercise or physical activity remains vital to burning calories and getting physically fit. While you may not initially feel enthused by the thought of exercising or being more active, in time your energy levels will dramatically increase. Strive for 30 minutes of activity three or four times a week. Start slow and increase the intensity over time.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Lose Weight When You Have Hypothyroidism," in, February 21, 2016, (accessed August 16, 2022).