Usually, when it comes to losing weight, you should start with a recommendation related to nutrition. However, when giving a hypoactive thyroid condition thyroid medication should be the priority. If the medication is not helping to correct both thyroid hormone levels and those of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), as well as alleviating symptoms, then losing weight instead of difficult will be impossible to achieve.
Work with your doctor to determine which type of drug is most appropriate for your particular case, as well as to find the optimal dose needed. While levothyroxine is on average more effective, Armor Thyroid is apparently tolerated much better.
There is no difference between taking thyroid hormone medication in the morning or at night. Choose according to the option that is easier to have the stomach empty. (1, 2).
Summary: It is critical to work with your doctor to explore what type and dose of thyroid medication are best for each personal case. Until thyroid hormone levels are corrected, losing weight with hypothyroidism is extremely difficult.
2. Eliminate both sugar and refined starches makes it easy to lose weight with hypothyroidism
Let’s start with a clarification: The carbohydrates are not inherently bad for health. That is, by themselves do not fatten or make anyone sick. It always returns to the total of calories consumed. That being said, carbohydrates in the form of sugar and highly refined starches are unnecessary and unhealthy.
The nutritional benefits they provide is almost zero (known as “empty calories”) and constitute a large portion of the excess calories we consume. In fact, average sugar consumption increased by over 30% in the last 30 years, and in children about 20% more. Fortunately, these numbers have begun to reverse; Trend that is vital to maintain. However, reducing sugar consumption is still the simplest and most straightforward way to trim excess “empty” calories. This can be achieved by limiting consumption of junk food, flavored drinks (including juices), alcohol, white bread, cereals, muesli bars and a good portion of the food packaged in the supermarket’s “healthy food” aisle.
Now it is not realistic (and unfair) to try to avoid sugar completely every day of the year. But you need to start taking useful steps that will help reduce your consumption while implementing healthier habits of physical activity. Start by not having junk food at home, or at least keep them out of sight in a pantry you never use.
Summary: Sugar makes up a large portion of the excess calories that an average person consumes each day. Drastically reducing your intake is critical if you want to lose weight with hypothyroidism.
3. The basis of diet should be vegetables and proteins
If you want to lose weight with hypothyroidism, the basis of almost all your meals and the first thing to serve you must be vegetables and proteins.
There are 2 special reasons for this:
Protein is crucial to lose weight
The main benefit of protein is that it is much more satiating than fat and carbohydrates. That is, they have a unique ability to reduce appetite and therefore overall caloric consumption. Studies show that protein-rich diets can also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and reduce the desire to eat snacks late at night by 50% (3, 4). Foods rich in protein include meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, legumes (beans) and dairy. Protein is a key nutrient for muscle building, so a high protein diet is an ideal complement to regular exercise.
Vegetables provide more vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients
The nutrient density of meals is more important for people with hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, who usually have problems both absorption and lack of nutrients. Emphasize green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Forget that myth once and for all that people with hypothyroidism should not eat cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables are also our greatest source of fiber, a nutrient that feeds healthy bacteria in the gut.
Studies show that poor long-term fiber consumption will produce a complete imbalance in intestinal bacteria; the effects on the intestinal health of the mice were irreversible (5).
As a general guide, the portion of protein in your meal should be the size of your palm, the salad, and vegetables the size of your hand. This would leave about 1/4 or less of your carbohydrate plate (like rice, potatoes or pasta).
Summary: Vegetables and protein should be the largest portion of the dish. They are usually the densest or nutrient-rich foods per calorie. They are vital when it comes to losing weight with hypothyroidism.
4. Increase the consumption of Selenium and Zinc
Selenium and zinc are two nutrients directly involved in thyroid function. It is essential that your diet contains adequate amounts in order to optimize the production of thyroid hormone and metabolism work optimally.
The Selenium is an essential mineral that helps the body recycle iodine. That is why the thyroid has the highest selenium content (per gram of tissue) of all our organs (6). Therefore, it is believed that low levels of selenium contribute to hypothyroidism through alternative mechanisms related to iodine.
For this reason, a diet containing many selenium-rich foods is essential, such as:
Nuts of Brazil
Tuna and sardines
Beef and chicken
Zinc is an essential mineral needed to regulate thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). In fact, the metabolism of zinc and thyroid hormones are closely interconnected, which is why their deficiency can lead to alopecia (hair loss) (7). Although zinc deficiency is very rare in the developed world, it is always advisable to eat a variety of foods rich in zinc (8). This includes:
Oysters and seafood
Beef and chicken
Legumes, nuts, and seeds
Milk and yogurt.
Of course, iodine is important for thyroid health, but low iodine levels that may affect the thyroid are extremely rare in developed countries (9). In that sense, it is much better to focus on selenium and foods rich in zinc, however many of them contain iodine.
Summary: Consuming a diet naturally rich in selenium and zinc is critical to maintaining healthy thyroid function and metabolism. And thus achieve weight loss with hypothyroidism.
5. Take regular walks or start lifting weights on a weekly basis
You cannot do physical activity with a bad diet! This is true, especially when the metabolism is slower than normal. That’s why this entry puts so much emphasis on dietary changes. However, if you want to lose weight safely, regular exercise is the best way to achieve that goal. The weight loss ultimately comes to spending more energy (calories) than consumed.
Although the process is much more complex than “eating less, moving more” (there are many biological factors to consider), being active helps burn extra calories. It also improves those aspects of health that can not be achieved even when nutrition is optimal, such as strength and mobility.
You do not have to put up with harsh high-intensity workouts. Research shows that longer lasting low-intensity exercises, such as regular walks, are just as effective for weight loss, especially if you are just starting out (10). A general guideline is to walk 10,000 steps or at least 60 minutes daily.
Unable to do cardiovascular exercise
Weightlifting regularly (or body weight exercises) is also very beneficial, especially when mobility is a problem. In fact, it’s as important as cardio and something we should be doing as much as possible. Known as endurance exercise, it helps to burn extra calories, but with the added benefit of lean muscle building.
The more muscle you have, the better your metabolism works, reducing your chance of falling ill (11). There are numerous resistance exercise programs on Youtube for beginners, and you can do it all at home if you invest in a pair of dumbbells or even a Russian dumbbell, also called a kettlebell.
Summary: Regular exercise helps to kick-start weight loss and speed up the whole process. It also improves strength, mobility, and metabolic health. If mobility is a problem, lifting weights or bodyweight exercises is a fantastic alternative.
Additional Weight Loss Tips with Hypothyroidism
Here are some additional tips to help you lose weight with hypothyroidism:
Prioritize sleep: Along with poor diet and exercise, little sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. Good quality sleep is crucial for weight loss.
Supplements to support the thyroid: Anecdotal reports suggest that supplements can give more energy, at least during the first few months of use. But unnecessary if you regularly include nutritious foods in the diet.
Use smaller plates and cutlery: Studies show that the larger the plate and the larger the cutlery, the more calories are consumed (12). This phenomenon is called Delbouef’s illusion, in honor of the person who demonstrated it.
Serving the food first: Instead of placing all the food prepared at the table (such as a buffet), serve the food first and then sit down to eat. It is far less likely that the temptation to serve you a second or third time will arise.
Drink lots of water: Keep a water bottle handy wherever you go. Research suggests that the greater amount of water drink before meals, the fewer calories we eat, in general (13).
Be aware: Eating consciously is having a greater awareness of experiences, physical cues, and feelings about food. It is based on a form of meditation called mindfulness.
Losing weight with hypothyroidism and maintaining such loss can be a struggle, especially when you suffer from such a disease. But this does not have to be so.
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I would appreciate it if you let me know what steps you take to lose weight with hypothyroidism!