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unexplained weight gain
cause weight gain
crash dieting
thyroid function
body burns
thyroid gland
chronic fatigue
putting on weight
average man
How Can I Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism?
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How Can I Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism?

Weight Loss and Hypothyroidism

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid to give it its alternative name, then you will know that it goes hand in hand with putting on weight – sometimes LOTS of weight, when you haven’t been eating any differently from normal. Unexplained weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of the disease, along with chronic fatigue and difficulties with mental concentration.

A few lucky people will be able to lose the weight automatically when they begin taking thyroxine, the hormone replacement medication for hypothyroidism, but for the vast majority, weight loss will become a long-term battle.

Why does hypothyroidism cause weight gain?

The thyroid gland controls your metabolism or the speed of your body’s physical and mental functions. This includes the rate at which your body burns up the calories you take in from the food you eat. Due to their metabolism being considerably slower than normal, people who suffer from hypothyroidism burn significantly less calories, and the excess gets stored as fat. An average, healthy woman needs approximately 2000 calories a day and an average man 2500. If you are hypothyroid your metabolism could be up to 30% lower, meaning a woman may only need 1400 calories to maintain her weight and a man 1750! This kind of calorie intake is normally associated with dieting and yet this is what a hypothyroid sufferer needs to eat just to stay at their current weight!

How can I lose weight if I suffer from hypothyroidism?

Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix solution. Crash dieting will slow down your metabolism even further so it is very important not to embark upon a very low calorie or extreme diet. It may work in the short term, but as soon as you begin to eat at a normal, healthy level, the weight will pile back on. A slow, steady approach is best, and exercise will need to be a regular part of your life, if it is not already. There are foods which suppress thyroid function such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, watercress and soy products which you will need to cut down or avoid but there are also foods that are beneficial to the thyroid especially foods high in essential fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, avocado, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Most people suffering from hypothyroidism benefit from cutting out unnecessary sugar such as in carbonated drinks, replacing sugar in tea or coffee with natural low calorie substitute like stevia and following a low carbohydrate diet, eating little and often to keep the metabolism fired up but not giving the body enough calories to store. If you need a little help with planning your new eating and exercising routine, there are plenty of sensible weight loss plans which include recipes, meal plans and shopping lists along with safe exercise regimens you can follow to help keep you on track.

Do not lose heart, be patient with yourself, eat healthily and exercise gently and make sure you get your blood tested at least every 6 months to make sure your medication is optimized. You can do it!

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