One of the direct consequences of a thyroid disorder, particularly hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough of the hormone) is the slowing down of the metabolism and weight gain. Losing weight with hypothyroidism can be very difficult but it can be done with proper medication and lifestyle alterations.
Why we gain weight with hypothyroidism
Generally losing weight with hypothyroidism is even more difficult for those whose hypothyroidism is more severe, but the issue of why this disorder causes weight gain is a complex issue.
The weight gain occurs due to a decrease of the body’s BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) as well as several other reasons.
It is often seen that the weight gain is largely due to salt and water retention and may owe itself less to actual fat accumulation.
The weight gain may occur gradually over a period of time before diagnosis of the problem happens and treatment is initiated.
If after the treatment, the other symptoms of hypothyroidism abate, and the weight gain persists, it could be that the thyroid imbalance is not solely responsible for the weight gain.
Apart from the hormonal reasons there are other things that make losing weight with hypothyroidism difficult. The disorder also brings along with it other symptoms such as low energy levels, feelings of fatigue, excessive sleepiness and difficulty concentrating.
These add to the weight gain and make exercise and consequently the weight loss that much more difficult.
Things to keep in mind when losing weight with hypothyroidism
Firstly make sure that you’re taking the right medications/hormone replacement. For many patients of hypothyroidism, adding T3 hormone replacement to the treatment regimen is seen to help. It you think your treatment is inadequate or ineffective, get a second opinion.
There are several alterations you can make to your daily life to up your metabolism that the hypothyroidism has slowed down.
- Exercise is very important and is a must several times a week to rev up your metabolism.
- Having smaller, frequent meals several times a day can also help to keep up the metabolism and help in losing weight with hypothyroidism. This not only steadies blood sugar, it reduces food cravings as well.
- A low glycemic index diet or a low carb diet that is high in low fat protein can also help. Concentrate on complex carbs such as fruit and veg in the diet and try and lower the total number of calories consumed in a day to combat the lower metabolism that the thyroid imbalance has caused.
Consider if you need prescription medication for depression. Some experts recommend antidepressants along with hypothyroid medications because this serves to make the weight loss more effective.
Another reason that can impede losing weight with hypothyroidism is if you are taking any nutritional supplements that interfere with the absorption of the thyroid medication. Iron or Calcium supplements (or even fortified food and drinks) or even antacids can prevent proper absorption of the thyroid hormones.