Losing weight can be difficult for anyone, but it can be incredibly challenging if you have hypothyroidism. This is because your metabolism is already working slower than expected, so adding the challenge of losing weight on top of that can seem impossible. However, with some knowledge and careful planning, you CAN lose weight safely and effectively while managing your hypothyroidism. In this blog post, we will discuss how to do just that!
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, causing various symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain and depression. It affects around 10 million people in the US alone and can be caused by multiple factors such as autoimmune disorders, iodine deficiency or certain medications. Hashimoto’s disease is one of the most common types of hypothyroidism. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body mistakenly attacks itself, decreasing thyroid hormone production.
How Does Hypothyroidism Affect Weight Loss?
Hypothyroidism can make it difficult for people to lose weight because the lack of thyroid hormones causes the metabolism to slow down significantly. This means fewer calories are burned, and more fat is stored instead of used as energy. Additionally, symptoms such as fatigue can make it hard for people with hypothyroidism to find the motivation to exercise regularly, which further contributes to difficulty losing weight.
Signs Of Hypothyroidism
- Fatigue: People with hypothyroidism experience extreme fatigue, often due to decreased hormone levels.
- Weight Gain: Low thyroid hormones can slow down metabolism leading to weight gain.
- Cold Intolerance: People with hypothyroidism are more sensitive to cold temperatures and may feel chilled even when it is not cold outside.
- Constipation: Hypothyroidism can cause constipation due to slowed digestion from low metabolic activity.
- Depression and Anxiety: Lower levels of thyroid hormones can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety that are difficult to shake off without treatment for the condition.
- Dry Skin: People with hypothyroidism may experience dry skin, another common symptom of the condition.
It is important to note that not all of these signs will be present in all individuals with hypothyroidism, and some may also experience other symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you must speak to your doctor about the possibility of hypothyroidism.
How To Safely Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you may wonder how to lose weight safely. There are a few tips and tricks that can help make losing weight with this condition easier:
1. Increase Your Activity Level
It is essential to increase activity levels when trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Exercise can help boost your metabolism and burn more calories, helping you reach your goal of losing weight. It also helps build muscle, which can increase calorie burning even further. When exercising for weight loss, it is essential to choose safe activities for those with hypothyroidism, such as walking, swimming or light resistance training.
2. Lift Weights
Studies have found that lifting weights can help increase metabolism, which is key to losing weight with hypothyroidism. Weight lifting also helps build muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat. However, lifting weights safely and not overdoing it is crucial, as strain on the body can lead to injury when lifting too much weight. Start slowly and gradually increase the weight you lift as your strength increases. Does running burn belly fat for those with hypothyroidism? Running burns belly fat, but for people with hypothyroidism, running might not be the best choice as you need to get to a high level of fitness before it is effective, something which many people struggle to achieve.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is another crucial factor in weight loss with hypothyroidism. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will help keep your energy levels up while providing essential nutrients to nourish the body. In addition, it is important to limit processed foods high in sugar and fat as these can cause blood sugar levels to spike and make the body more prone to storing fat. Also, be sure to get enough healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, which have been shown to boost metabolism.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is integral to any weight loss journey, especially for those with hypothyroidism. Sleep helps regulate hormones responsible for metabolism, energy levels and appetite control. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to maximise your body’s ability to burn fat and lose weight.
5. Manage Cortisol Levels
Maintaining healthy cortisol levels is essential for anyone looking to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormone, ” can be released in response to physical and emotional stressors. High cortisol levels can lead to increased fat storage in the abdominal area, making it difficult to lose belly fat even when following a diet and exercise regimen.
6. Avoid Foods That Cause Inflammation
Avoiding foods that cause inflammation is another critical factor in weight loss with hypothyroidism. Foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats, such as processed meats, fast foods and fried foods, can cause inflammation which can lead to increased fat storage. It’s also important to avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, and sugary drinks as these can spike blood sugar levels and increase inflammation. Instead, focus on eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, fatty fish and whole grains.
7. Supplement Your Diet With Vitamins and Minerals
Finally, supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals may help support the body when trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Vitamin B12 is vital for those with hypothyroidism as it helps regulate the metabolism. In addition, zinc, selenium and iodine are essential for proper thyroid function and can help boost your metabolism. Talk to a doctor or nutritionist to determine what supplements are best suited for you.
8. Increase Your Fibre Intake
Increasing fibre intake is another great way to support weight loss with hypothyroidism. Soluble fibre found in foods such as apples, oats, lentils and beans can help slow down digestion which helps keep you full for longer periods. It also keeps blood sugar levels stable and reduces cravings for unhealthy snacks.
9. Focus on Whole Grains
In addition to increasing your fibre intake, it is important to focus on eating whole grains. Whole grains contain essential vitamins and minerals that help regulate hormones and boost metabolism. They are also high in protein which helps keep you feeling full and energised throughout the day. Choose whole-grain bread, pasta, cereals and other complex carbohydrates over refined white carbs like white bread, white rice and processed foods.
10. Include Healthy Fats in Your Diet
Healthy fats are another key component when trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like salmon and flaxseed, have been shown to support healthy thyroid function and reduce inflammation. Monounsaturated fats such as those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil can also help boost metabolism while providing essential nutrients to the body.
11. Do Not Skip Meals
It is very important not to skip meals to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop and lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods. It can also slow down the metabolism, making it more challenging to burn fat and calories. Instead, aim to eat small, balanced meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and metabolism running efficiently.
These tips will help support your journey to lose weight with hypothyroidism. While the process may take longer than other methods, these steps can help ensure successful and sustainable results in the long run. Remember that everyone’s body is different; consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting any new diet or exercise regime. With dedication and proper guidance, anyone can achieve their desired health and weight goals.