Hypothyroidism and Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism and weight gain go hand in hand because when thyroid function is low, metabolism slows down as well. While not all people with hypothyroidism gain weight, it is very often one of the symptoms of this condition. Thyroid hormones not only play a significant role in metabolism, which in turn affects weight, but insufficient thyroid function can result in fluid retention, further contributing to weight gain. Another reason why hypothyroidism and weight gain are connected is that this condition usually causes fatigue and lethargy, which can result in a decrease in activity that contributes to weight gain… It makes sense, doesn't it?

Further, losing weight with hypothyroidism can be especially challenging if not done correctly because excessive dieting can lower metabolism even further. Too much of a thing can be bad too! It is very important, therefore, to follow a healthy weight loss regimen if you are trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Like everything else, the key is balance.

A typical diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made using a blood test for thyroid hormones. If levels of the hormone T4 are low or if levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) are high, the test is considered positive for hypothyroidism. However, even when blood levels of thyroid hormones fall within normal range, some practitioners still attribute symptoms like fatigue and weight gain to thyroid function, believing the symptoms may be caused by sub-clinical hypothyroidism (sometimes called "sluggish thyroid").

Women, Hypothyroidism and Weight Gain…

For several reasons, women are especially prone to hypothyroidism and weight gain, though the condition does exist in men as well. We know… it doesn't sound fair at all. Women are more likely to diet, and when they do, they are more likely to "feast and then fast" too often. This yo-yo pattern of dieting interferes with the metabolism, especially during perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause that are characterized by hormonal fluctuations.

Even women with regular menstrual cycles are subject to natural hormonal fluctuations that contribute to the challenge of losing weight with hypothyroidism. Further, women tend to internalize stress more than men, which can affect the function of both the adrenals and the thyroid gland.

The good news is that, even with the inherent challenges of losing those extra pounds with low thyroid function, there are a number of things that can be done about hypothyroidism and stubborn weight gain. If others have had success, why not you?

Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Nutritional supplements, regular exercise and a healthy eating plan can help regulate metabolism so that it will be easier to lose weight.

If your iodine levels are low a good supplement that contains iodine may be helpful since the body uses iodine to make the thyroid hormone messenger called T4, which helps maintain the thyroid gland healthy and the metabolism active improving weight control.

Since eating actually stimulates metabolism, people who want to lose weight with hypothyroidism may benefit from eating six small meals at regular intervals throughout the day instead of three larger meals. In fact, this is best for most people. These meals, according to experts, should include protein (40%), fat (25%) and low glycemic carbohydrates (35%). Fresh vegetables should be included with the exemption of those containing compounds that interfere with iodine absorption. Want to learn more about foods that help the thyroid gland and foods that interfere with its function? Click here.

In some cases, low-dose thyroid hormone replacement may be warranted. It is important to note that people with low thyroid function tend to lose weight more slowly than average, so expectations about how quickly weight can be lost should be modified when you are trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism and weight gain are very much related, yes, but if you adopt a healthy diet, choose the right supplements for extra support, exercise on a regular basis (and consider other important factors such as emotions, beliefs and attitudes), you can be on your way to your ideal weight pretty soon. The key is to maintain a healthy routine for your body, mind and spirit, track results and celebrate your own!


P.S.We regularly invite experts in the area of hypothyroidism, weight loss and natural healing to our special conference calls, and pick their brains to find out their best-kept secrets. As a subscriber you will receive access to all these calls… don't be left out. Subscribe now using the box provided above.

The Hypothyroidism Diet

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