If you have trouble losing weight it could be due to hypothyroidism, if you have had your thyroid surgically removed, if you have used radioactive iodine treatments in order to treat overactive thyroid. These conditions can cause inability to lose weight no matter how hard you try. It can be very frustrating, however you first need to learn what are the causes of your weight gain and what you can do to lose weight if you were diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
These are the 5 main factors that make weight loss harder for patients with thyroid issues:
- inadequate thyroid treatment
- a need for T3
- metabolic change
- changes in brain chemistry caused by stress or disease
- resistance to leptin and insulin
We are going to explain each of these factors and what you can to do prevent or treat them.
Inadequate thyroid treatment
Most endocrinologists strive to restore the thyroid stimulating hormone (THS) levels in patients with hypothyroidism. Once the hormone levels are normalized the patient is considered to be in a state of euthyroid. However, according to some studies, people whose TSH levels that are close to the upper limit of the reference range are very likely to have a higher body mass index, gain weight as well as have an increased risk of obesity. In order to prevent this, endocrinologists try to keep the patients TSH levels at the midpoint or lower of the reference range.
Need for T3
Hypothyroidism is usually treated with levothyroxine, which is a synthetic form of the hormone T4. Studies have discovered that the levels of the T3 hormone (triiodothyronine) can be reduced by nutritional deficiencies, genetic defects or other factors.
The participants in this study who were given a combination therapy of T4/T3 have shown weight loss and even increased metabolic rate compared to those who were given only T4 hormone.
A Changed Metabolism
The metabolism is a combination of chemical processes in your body that protect you from starvation, they make sure you get enough energy and maintain your body weight just like the body maintains the optimal temperature. In case you consume a high-calorie diet your metabolism will slow down causing weight gain. Hypothyroidism patients usually have chronically slow metabolism and their bodies get more calories than they can burn which causes an increase in the weight control point. This is the root to the problem of weight gain and inability to lose weight. The main mystery of how someone who eats more than you and does not exercise at all, but still manages to weigh less then you, is actually the metabolism.
Changes in Brain Chemistry
Brain chemistry, some key hormones and neurotransmitters are responsible for controlling your hunger, satiety, fat storage and fat burning. Certain neurotransmitters are released in order to make you hungry and to eat foods that provide energy faster such as simple carbohydrates. There are other neurotransmitters who tell you that you have eaten enough, and there are also hormones that “tell” glucose in the blood to be stored in fat cells, or to use the stored glucose for energy.
Key Points to Lose Weight If You Have Hypothyroidism
Watch what you eat
People who suffer from any kind of thyroid disorder should pay special attention to what they eat because they are more likely to gain weight than people whose thyroid functions normally.
You should consume healthy and organic foods that don’t contain preservatives or chemicals. You should avoid canned foods, bottled drinks, alcohol, soft drinks, refined flours, fried foods, processed foods etc.
Increase your metabolism
The thyroid issues directly affect your metabolism which has a direct effect on your ability to lose or maintain weight. Besides taking care of what you eat you should also make sure how much and when you eat.
You can easily increase your metabolic rate by eating 2000 calories divided in 5 meals instead of 3 meals a day.
In case you are on a 2000 calorie diet you should eat your meals as follows:
- 8:00 am – Breakfast
- 11:00 a.m. – snack
- 2:00 pm – lunch
- 5:00 pm – snack
- 8:30 pm – dinner
You can change the times depending on when you wake up, however always make sure you don’t eat your meals too late.
NOTE: Remember to eat more often but not more food a day.
Since your thyroid condition is causing you to gain weight easily it means you should become more active in order to burn more calories every day. This way you will increase your physical activity which does not mean you should exercise every day at the gym. You can do simple exercises such as walking up the stairs, riding the bike or using your car less for smaller distances.