Can Thyroid Patients Lose Weight?

“Why am I gaining weight and how do I lose weight? Can I lose weight with thyroid?”

These are the biggest complaints that most of the thyroid patients have. Can you identify with these? If yes, then please read this article. 

Why do you gain weight or find it difficult to lose weight with thyroid?

Thyroid glands play a very important role in managing your metabolism and hence your weight. 

Your thyroid gland releases hormones that help maintain metabolism. When your body doesn’t make enough of these hormones, your metabolism slows down.

When anyone starts gaining weight unexpectedly, the first thing the doctor recommends is to go for a thyroid test. 

We do understand your pain. But is there any hope? Yes, a BIG YES. 

If you follow a customised plan for your body type and thyroid, you can definitely lose weight without much struggle. 

Before we talk about the action plan to lose weight, I want to highlight why it’s super critical for you to lose weight, if you have any excess weight. 

Weight and hypothyroidism: A vicious cycle

It’s not just that hypothyroidism causes weight gain. Reverse is also true. Weight gain causes hypothyroidism. 

Obese population has a min 86% increased risk of sub-clinical hypothyroidism. 

Why does obesity cause hypothyroidism?

  1. A metastudy on thyroid reports, “Obesity is a chronic low-grade inflammation process; thus the cytokines and other inflammatory markers produced by overloading adipose tissue, will be increased. These increased inflammatory cytokines may inhibit the mRNA expression of symporter sodium/iodide, then influence iodide uptake activity of human thyroid cells”.[1]
  2. It further states, “Leptin, a factor produced by adipocytes, also plays a role in chronic inflammation may result in the morphological changes in thyroid”. 

Hypothyroidism and weight gain is a vicious cycle. If you want to overcome hypothyroidism and if you have excess weight, then this is the No.1 thing you need to do. 

5 Step Solution to lose weight with thyroid

Principles of eating healthy for losing weight remain largely the same for hypothyroid patients. Though, there is a need for some customisation. Here is a 7 Step Action Plan for you to lose weight and reverse thyroid, both at the same time. 

Step 1: Identify the root cause

Before finding any solution, it’s very important to identify the root cause of the problem. Otherwise, it’s like shooting in the dark. 

You are advised to get a lab test done for the following: 

  1. TSH
  2. T3
  3. T4 
  4. Free T3
  5. Free T4 
  6. Thyroid antibodies (thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase antibodies)
  7. Nutritional Profile (Selenium, Iodine, zinc, etc.)

Given the cost factor, it might be ok to start with a complete thyroid profile. Nutritional profile can be done at a later stage depending on the progress. 

Why are so many tests required? Because, thyroid does not happen because of 1 single reason. It happens because of multiple factors and unless you know the right cause, the solution is difficult. You can read our blog on the root causes here. 

It’s important that you do these tests and analyse these tests under the supervision of a doctor/nutritionist. If you are going to use food as a means to treat your underlying conditions, it’s important that you make the changes under consultation with a nutritionist. Making some wrong mistakes can cause more damage than good. 

Step 2: Eat high nutrient food / herbs

Nutritional deficiency is one of the most common causes of thyroid. And also obesity.  When people think of diet, they tend to see food as the enemy: full of fat, unhealthy carbs, etc. But that’s a big mistake.

Food is the biggest gift nature has given us. Without the right nutrients, no function in the body can function. 

Also, many people tend to focus a lot on calorie counting. But calorie counting is not the best model. You will be surprised to know that a medium size apple has 40% more calories than a 200ml bottle of cola.

You can read here why calorie counting is not the best model to lose weight. 

Instead focus has to be on eating nutrient dense foods. These are called superfoods. Nutrient dense foods are also always healthy. It prevents you from overeating.

And instead of focusing on cutting something from your life, you have to focus on adding the right foods to your diet. Which psychologically is more practical in the long term. 

Some of the foods/herbs we would recommend a thyroid patient to have are:

  1. Selenium rich food (pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, tuna fish, legume): Helps in synthesis of Thyroid hormone, sources are Greens (spirulina, wheatgrass)
  2. Fibre rich foods (chia seeds, acacia gum, whole foods)
  3. Whole grains (quinoa, ragi, jowar, foxtail millet)
  4. Protein rich foods (legumes, eggs, chicken, whey protein, pea protein)
  5. Turmeric 
  6. Ashwagandha
  7. Guggul, trikatu

Step 3: Follow Possible Plate

Our food plate should be 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% carb. Yes, we eat too many carbs and too little protein and vegetables. We largely eat rice or chapati in our meals which are supplemented with a bowl of dal and vegetables. But it should be vice-versa.

We should consume a lot of vegetables, salads, dal, legumes, etc. and automatically our rice and wheat consumption will go down.

At first, it might feel awkward, but over a period of time, it will become an easy habit.  Today, can you make this 1 change by eating more vegetables, salads and dal?  

This one conscious decision while serving yourself food at every meal time,  will help you eat better, eat more mindfully and will improve the quality of nutrition that goes in your body.

The truth is that this plate is actually more powerful than the dumbbells and machines in the gym!  

Step 4: Take a multivitamin for Thyroid

Our food is the best source of all minerals and vitamins. Having said that, it’s still very difficult to get all of them in the right quantity with food alone. Also, the quality of food has gone down with the increased usage of fertilisers and pesticides. 

Hence, we recommend that one should take a specialised multivitamin designed for thyroid. It should have a higher amount of selenium, chromium, and iodine. Also, if it comes with added herbs like ashwagandha, guggul, which are beneficial for thyroid, it would be even better. 

We could not find a good multivitamin for thyroid patients, hence we designed one ourselves. You can explore it here. 

Step 5: Attack 7 Root Causes of Thyroid

Read this article to find out the 7 root causes of thyroid. You need to take care of your gut bacteria, toxicity, internal inflammation, stress, sleep, sedentary lifestyle etc. to lose weight and reverse thyroid. 

Nutrition science is such a big subject that it’s impossible to capture everything in 1 blog. In fact, even 1 book is not sufficient to learn enough about nutrition. At Possible, we have a program for thyroid, wherein we help people to lose weight and to control/reverse thyroid.

As part of the program, we give you a personal dietician/doctor + a range of superfoods + educational videos + live community calls. To know more about the program, click here. 

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