How to Successfully Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism

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Do you wonder whether you can lose weight while being treated for hypothyroidism? Are you taking Synthroid, Levoxyl, levothyroxine, or a natural desiccated thyroid drug like Nature-throid or Armour, and struggling to lose weight? If you are on thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism, but find that the weight is not melting off, there are some key steps you can take to optimize your thyroid treatment and build in some fun ways to move to help you lose those extra pounds.

Optimize Your Thyroid Treatment and Diet

Losing weight when you are a thyroid patient begins with making sure your treatment is the right fit for you, and is optimally resolving your hypothyroidism. Here are eight tips to put yourself in a good space for losing weight:

  1. Make sure you're not being undertreated. If your TSH is in the upper end of the reference range, and T4 and T3 levels are in the lower end of the range, you may not be getting enough thyroid hormone replacement medication. Some practitioners have found that their thyroid patients do not feel well and can't lose weight unless the TSH is in the lower end of the reference range.
  2. Ask your doctor if you need to supplement with a T3 medication. Research has found that many hypothyroid people fare better when they add T3, the active thyroid hormone. This can be added to levothyroxine treatment as liothyronine (brand name Cytomel), or as a time-released, compounded drug. In some cases, natural desiccated thyroid drugs, which contain both T4 and T3, may work best for you. 
  1. Don't sabotage your thyroid drug treatment. Calcium supplements, calcium-fortified orange juice, cow's milk, coffee, food, vitamins with iron, and antacids may interfere with thyroid drug absorption. Wait at least an hour after taking your medication before drinking coffee or eating. And wait at least three to four hours after your thyroid medication before taking supplements or drinks that contain calcium and iron. 
  1. Consider changing the way you space out your meals. If you have several larger meals each day, consider breaking up meals into smaller, lower-calorie mini-meals. Frequent smaller meals can help balance blood sugar, prevent fat storage, and help you feel less hungry in general.Or, if you are eating mini-meals, consider shifting to two to three meals per day, and allow enough time between each meal for fat-burning to kick in.
  2. Consider a low-glycemic and/or low-carbohydrate diet. This means you limit the amount of starches such as bread, pasta, and rice, and eliminate most sugars.
  3. Eat a diet of low-fat protein and complex carbohydrates like vegetables.
  4. Ask your doctor if you need an antidepressant. Some hypothyroid people find their weight loss efforts are more effective when they're on a prescription antidepressant therapy.
  5. Exercise 30 minutes a day. You don't have to run marathons or become a fanatic. Even brisk walking in 3 10-minute segments a day will raise metabolism and help you burn more calories.

Kick-Start Your Thyroid Workout!

If exercise is boring, here are several tips to help you get up and go!

  1. Use wearables to motivate you: Fitbits and other tools are getting people moving across the country. Set goals, and join up with friends to motivate each other to reach fitness and weight loss goals using personal tech. Whatever your fitness tracker, you can feel good about every step you take--and you can help others lose weight too.Some businesses and retail outlets offer rewards if you sync your FitBit to wellness programs. Lose weight and save some money at the same time!
  1. Don't go it alone: Join a chat or support group for people participating in weight loss programs, such as the Thyroid Diet Support Group. You can join an online forum or in person group for people with the same goals to help you stay motivated to achieve your goals. Facebook, Weight Watchers, and other groups offer help, friendship, and support. You may also want to consider teaming up with some friends to work with a personal trainer, join a gym, or participate in a fitness bootcamp.
  2. Take a walk: Walking is an easy, inexpensive way to lose weight. Around your neighborhood, on a track, or at a mall, you probably have more than one option. The only equipment needed is a good pair of shoes. Walk, talk, jog, or run, and if you bring a friend, time and mileage flies. Walk at faster, and slower, intervals to change up your routine, and improve endurance. Walk at a brisk pace, keep abs tucked, wear sunscreen, hat, and carry water. If walking solo, take along music that keeps you moving!
  1. Try a DVD, video or app: There are thousands of fitness programs available on DVD, video, and as smartphone apps. One thyroid patient favorite is T-Tapp, an easy-to-do and effective overall fitness program that combines aerobic and muscle-building routines in gentle, short sequences. 

Sharing tips, techniques and support with others can make your weight loss efforts more effective. When you optimize your thyroid hormone treatment and add in some regular exercise, you improve your chances at successfully losing weight. 

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