Losing weight when you have hypothyroidism is a slow process; however, it is not impossible to lose weight. Hypothyroidism is the medical term for an underactive or low thyroid gland. People who suffer from hypothyroidism have slower metabolisms, making it harder for them to lose weight. Follow steps to lose weight despite your low thyroid by changing your diet, exercising regularly and talking to your doctor about thyroid hormones.
- Skill level:
Count every calorie. Make a list of everything you eat, including small snacks and beverages to ensure you are not going over your daily caloric allowance. Determine how many calories you should be eating a day to maintain your weight using an online calculator (see Resources). Eat a few hundred calories fewer than that number for a calorie deficit that will lead to weight loss. A deficit of 3,500 calories per week can lead to a loss of one pound per week.
Exercise regularly. Because of your slower metabolism, you need to begin a regular workout routine. Working out speeds up your metabolism and keeps it revved all day long. Exercise for approximately a half hour to an hour each day, three to five days per week. If you are used to working out, consider increasing your workouts, working out for 10 minutes longer each day or an extra day each week. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so focus on lifting weights and toning.
Limit your sugar and carbohydrate intake. Hypothyroidism slows your body's ability to process carbohydrates as well as your cells' ability to absorb blood sugar, leading to excess insulin in your system, which fuels weight gain. Cut back on pasta, rice, potatoes, white breads, cereal, corn, desserts and other foods with high-sugar, high-carbohydrate content. Instead, incorporate into your diet with more protein in the form of chicken, turkey or fish and nonstarchy vegetables and legumes.
Ask your doctor about thyroid hormone replacement. Patients with low thyroid levels are often treated with a thyroid hormone to help speed their metabolism. If your doctor does not have you on a hormone replacement, ask about your options. If you are on one, but, despite a low-calorie diet and exercise, you still are gaining weight, ask about your other options such as a supplement to your thyroid medication (see Resources).
Avoid taking anything that could interfere with the absorption of your thyroid hormone. Certain supplements and foods, some calcium-fortified juices or too much soy powder may interfere with you thyroid hormone. Interferences with your thyroid hormone may affect its result on your metabolism and hinder your weight-loss goals. See Resources for a list of foods, medications and supplements that can interfere with your thyroid supplement.
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