You’ve monitored your diet so much, counted calories, exercised and done everything possible. Yet the weight doesn’t seem to move down. It seems that no matter how much you try, your efforts to lose weight with hypothyroidism prove futile.
Often it feels like that you are gaining weight even if you drink water! And you wonder whether it is even possible to lose weight with hypothyroidism?
Well the truth is that with under active thyroid, your body doesn’t really work as it should. Hypothyroidism is really a malfunction of your metabolism, which thus results into subsequent health issues, known as thyroid symptoms.
That’s why you need to first fix your metabolism to be able to lose weight with hypothyroidism.
Now, how can you support your thyroid, boost your metabolism and finally experience weight loss is what this post is about.
We will take a deeper look into thyroid and weight gain connection. And Ayurvedic natural ways including diet, lifestyle and herbs that will enable you to lose weight with hypothyroidism.
Let’s dive in!
What is Hypothyroidism?
Let us get a little background here before running on.
Hypothyroidism happens when you have an under active thyroid gland. But what is a thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the base of your neck. It produces the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, the thyroid hormones.
The Thyroid Gland
Though the thyroid gland is pretty small, its importance is very great. The hormones it produces are responsible for controlling metabolism. This means that how quickly (or slowly) you digest your food is under their control.
Hypothyroidism occurs due to an under active thyroid. These glands produce fewer hormones than is needed for optimal functioning of the body.
When this happens, you begin to experience hypothyroidism symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Cold sensitivity
- Hair loss
- Slow heart rate
- Enlarged thyroid or goiter
- debilitating fatigue
- heart issues
- mood changes (like depression)
- weight gain
- dry skin
- increasing LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol
- joint pain
Thyroid Hormones, Our Metabolism and Caloric Expenditure | The Relationship
Thyroid hormones are involved in multiple physiological processes and regulating basal metabolic rate.
- They help to keep the body warm by stimulating the nervous system to generate heat when we are exposed to colder temperatures. This helps to use the “energy” reserves of the body.
- Also, thyroid hormones help to control the metabolism of our body by regulating glucose (carbohydrate) and lipids (fats) generation. This also helps to use the “energy” reserves of the body and also decide the placement of energy in the body in the form of fat storage.
Patients with thyroid dysfunction may experience changes in body weight and body composition.
That’s why constantly creeping up weight and hard to lose body fat become some of the biggest problems of hypothyroidism patients.
Why Hypothyroidism causes Weight Gain?
1. Slow Metabolism
In hypothyroidism, our body is either not producing sufficient thyroid hormones or they are not able to function well. Both of these situations can lead to a slower metabolism, undesired placement of fats in the body and also poor generation of heat.
Thus, the patient always gets a feeling of being Cold, Heavy and Tired.
2. Excess Water Retention
Additionally, this is what happens when you struggle with hypothyroidism:
An accumulation of hyaluronic acid takes place in the skin tissues. This makes them hold onto water in the skin. It in turn causes further heaviness and puffiness of the face and other parts of the body.
Also, there is a decreased circulation to the kidneys. Thus, your body is not able to eliminate the undesired electrolytes and wastes from the body. This further causes water retention and toxin build-up.
Severe hypothyroidism states lead to a clinical picture known as myxoedema in which hyperkeratosis of the skin and facial edema could give the patient a false appearance of overweight.
3. Problems in Elimination
Patients with hypothyroidism have also slow peristalsis (movement of intestines that helps with regular elimination and bowel movement). This causes chronic constipation that may result in weight gain.
This further affects their body’s overall metabolism as the body ends up accumulating the wastes, thus causing toxin build-up inside.
It also creates further hormonal imbalances and poorer thyroid function.
Highly Effective Ayurvedic Tips to Lose weight with hypothyroidism. Start Today!
Losing weight is a challenge in general for anybody. And as we saw earlier, with hypothyroidism, the struggle of weight loss becomes even more difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be if you know what works and what doesn’t.
1. The Best Diet to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism
The importance of eating right cannot be overemphasized. Healthy and nutritious diet forms the pillar of a healthy body. And when you have your body and mind in good health state, your body can lose weight effortlessly!
So, if you’re having a health challenge, you must eat right.
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Anti-inflammatory foods help with the symptoms of hypothyroidism. They soothe joints, promote circulation and natural detoxification of the body. This helps to reduce water retention.
In hypothyroidism, the immune system is also adversely affected. When you take in anti-inflammatory food, it helps to soothe the immune system. This makes the immune system function better.
Also, anti-inflammatory food helps in the uptake of essential nutrients. The body needs these nutrients, particularly for the healthy functioning of the thyroid itself.
Some of these minerals include magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamins B and C, and more.
Leafy green vegetables, fish, nuts, etc., are all food that has good anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Do not Overeat and Do not Undereat
You should know how much you eat, what you eat, the calorie content of what you consume, and other essential details. When you effectively track your consumption, there is less chance that you will stuff yourself a lot of calories.
Similarly, there is lot of health advise to reduce your calorie count for weight loss. This approach doesn’t work for hypothyroidism specifically!
In fact, it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make while trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism. This is because, your problem is slow metabolism and when you starve your body, it further reduces your metabolism.
Hence, you will keep lowering down your calories and practically put your metabolism at risk.
Thus, it is important that you do not fall prey to diets that promote significant calorie deficits,
Use tracker apps if needed, or just good old paper and pencil. Tracking what you eat also helps you to track your progress.
Yet, do not go over the board with too much tracking and obsessing about every thing you eat. As long as you are eating for real hunger signals, sufficient to fill your belly with natural wholesome foods; you will be fine.
3. Other dietary tips for to lose weight with Hypothyroidism
As a patient that is suffering from hypothyroidism, you really should mind what you eat.
- Increase your intake of vegetables.
- Go for low to moderate amount of dairy, yet go low on heavy to digest dairy products.
- Take in sufficient proteins to support healthy thyroid function
- Add in more fiber to support regular bowel movement
- Follow a guide to a hypothyroidism diet, and prepare a chart for yourself if so necessary.
- Reduce and remove caffeine. It leads to quick spike in your activity level, but eventually causes energy crashes. This makes you eat more sugary foods.
- Remove alcohol and smoking altogether. Both of these have similar stimulating effect as caffeine on the body, a quick energy boost and then crash. Also, alcohol and smoking cause and make thyroid problems worse.
- Avoid excess table salt. It causes water retention in the body and thus may contribute to increasing weight.
- Remove fruit juices, sweetened beverages, carbonated beverages and flavored waters. All of these contain lots of sugar which cause weight gain.
- Avoid processed foods and quick meals. They push in empty calories and devoid you of essential nutrients from your meals.
4. Stop overloading on simple carbohydrates and sugars
These can disturb your body’s glycemic content. You should eat food containing low carbs, or food with a low glycemic index. This is recommended and is more healthy.
If you do not require that extra sugar, then stay off of it. You’re better off without it.
This is because simple carbs and sugars overload your already sluggish metabolism. Sugar takes longer to be broken down. Therefore, there is an accumulation, and this can eventually cause weight gain.
Instead you should include plenty of complex carbohydrates and sufficient proteins and healthy fats in your diet to cover your energy needs and fire up your metabolism.
2. Exercise to lose weight with Hypothyroidism
You know it can be more tasking to get yourself to exercise if you have hypothyroidism. You are just so tired all the time, and the last thing you want to do is run around or jump around.
In fact, the mere thought of exercise only exhausts you even more.
But you have to do it. For your own good.
The Best Exercise for Hypothyroidism!
Contrary to what we see most of the time, patients with hypothyroidism should not be conducting excessively strenuous exercises. This is because, excessive exercise or very stressful physical activity routine further disturbs the functioning of thyroid hormones.
Instead, one should focus on relaxing and strength building physical activity such as brisk walk, hiking in nature, yoga, Tai Chi, swimming and others that break the vicious cycle of hormone imbalance which complicates weight loss with hypothyroidism.
If exercising for longer intervals in a day seems to be a daunting task, break it up into 10- or 20- minute sessions throughout the day. But ensure you faithfully and consistently reach your goal.
However, do not stress yourself out in the process of exercising.
1. Strength training to build muscle mass
Hypothyroidism can break down muscle tissue and cause muscle cramps. However, when you engage in strength training, you build muscle mass back.
But that is not even the main benefit. The thing is that your muscle cells burn more calories to perform their functions. This means that some of that calorie that your body cannot metabolize will be removed from your bloodstream.
This type of exercise works best if you are trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism.
Here are some strength training exercises that you can try out:
- Lifting free weights
- Use of resistance machines at the gym
- Using resistance bands, even at home.
2. Do some cardio too
Cardio exercises (aerobics) have to do with a lot of endurance. They are not as exerting as strength training muscles, so they should be done for longer sessions.
What cardio does more is to improve blood circulation in the body and improve heart health too.
They also come in handy for people who are seeking to shed some extra weight due to hypothyroidism. This is as a result of the fact that hypothyroidism causes muscle weakness and cramps.
Thus, muscle building might not be an option for some. This does not mean, however, that it should not be done at all.
Some cardio exercises include:
- Stair climbing
- Playing tennis or basketball
3. Balanced Hydration is important to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism
Water is crucial for metabolism. It has numerous benefits attached to it: it makes metabolism more efficient; it reduces hunger, reduces water retention, and improves elimination and digestion.
However, in hypothyroidism your body is already struggling with lots of water retention. Hence, you shouldn’t load up on water too much until unless you are not even taking the minimum (7-8 glasses per day).
So, first of all make sure that you get sufficient water in your diet through water, vegetables, fruits and meals as soups and gruel.
Second, you should avoid taking in excess water. Do not drink water more than 8-9 glasses simply to follow any regulation. However, if you feel thirsty then by all means drink warm water and avoid cold beverages.
Third, stay away from sugar beverages and fruit juices (even fresh ones). Instead go for wholesome fruits and plain water.
4. Get a diagnosis now
The first and the most important step in managing any health condition is the diagnosis. Remember that it is only when you know what the problem is that you can address it effectively.
Again, desist from self-diagnoses. Take a quick glance at the list of symptoms above. Do they look or feel familiar? If you feel like there are too many ‘coincidence’ for convenience, visit you the doctor, immediately. Get a diagnosis and begin your journey to achieving healthy thyroid health.
If you do not attend to the problem as soon as you can, it worsens. You get thrown into the cycle of terrible symptoms that seem to be characteristic of hormonal disorders like thyroid problems and PCOS.
To test, the doctor might ask you some questions about recent lifestyle and diet changes for example. They might also check your hormone levels to determine the level of hormones in there. A TSH test can also be carried out.
TSH is the thyroid-stimulating hormone. If you have too much of it, it means you have an under active thyroid, and that your body is working really hard to make more thyroid hormones.
You’ll also want to ensure that your thyroid levels are in the optimal range for you. While there is a range of normal values, each individual is unique. So, get to know what is right for you, and optimize your treatments towards that.
5. Sleep sufficiently
It is no longer news that lack of sleep is attributed to problems with metabolism. It can also cause obesity. Inadequate sleep can also affect your heart and cause diabetes too.
With our hectic schedules nowadays sleep is often neglected, but if you want to lose weight with hypothyroidism, then that needs to change. Here’s why:
- Insufficient sleep increases the level of fatigue, you either skip exercise or not able to do as much as you would have if you had rested enough.
- Lack of sleep really disturbs your hormone levels, your cortisol and hunger hormones increase. This makes you crave for sugary and high calorie foods.
- Due to lack of sleep, you end up disturbing the schedule of your next day. Either you slip in unhealthy foods to make up for the hunger or missed meals that you couldn’t prepare yourself.
On the other hand, sufficient hours of restful sleep reduce the level of cortisol and increase your satiety hormones. It also paves the way for natural detoxification of your body and burns fat.
That’s why it is so important to have good sleep at night.
6. Get Rid of the Toxins
Our liver, lungs and kidneys have to really work hard to filter out the tonnes of chemicals that we are exposed to on daily basis. These chemicals we’re exposed to create stress in our bodies.
Also, they often mimic and change the function of our body’s hormones including thyroid hormones. That’s why one should aim to remove the chemicals and toxins as the first step to lose weight with hypothyroidism.
Remove environmental toxins and body toxins by practicing a healthy lifestyle.
- Remove all plastics and processed foods, which lead to buildup of toxins in the body.
- Get rid of chemicals based personal care and household products that cause high Estrogen in your system.
- Practice Ayurvedic detox or Panchakarma to clear off the toxins with Ayurvedic herbs and therapies.
- Remove stimulants such as alcohol and smoking that load your body’s detox pathways.
- Try to reduce some of the chemicals in your life that you have control over like your laundry detergent, soap, deodorant, lotion, cleaning products, etc.
- You can also drink lemon in warm water in the morning to help your liver out.
- Also, you can detoxify with garlic, onions, chia seeds, etc.
7. Manage and Reduce Stress
Stress and hypothyroidism go both ways! This means, if you are chronically stressed out then it is highly likely that the constant Cortisol surge will make you prone to thyroid problems.
In addition, stress alters the hormone levels and results in extra belly fat.
Also, if you have thyroid problems then you also happen to have higher stress levels due to poor metabolism and constant fatigue.
That’s why it is really important to manage and reduce your stress levels to fix your thyroid function and hence support your weight loss journey.
Here are few things that you can do to reduce stress:
- Plan ahead if you can and avoid last minute deadlines that build stress.
- Stay away from situations and people that cause stress to you.
- Learn to say no to things that you find stressful.
- Do not delay your meals, always eat on regular intervals.
- Practice deep breathing exercises and pranayama to fill your body and lungs with oxygen.
- Spend time in nature, close to water bodies and in the greenery.
- Develop a new hobby or learn new language.
- Spend time with family and friends in activities that involve interaction and positive communication.
8. Yoga Poses for Thyroid Weight Loss
Yoga goes much deeper than just the physical movement of the body. Regular practice of suitable yoga asana help to tone the muscles thus increase strength, relax the mind to reduce stress levels, detoxify naturally and also boost the metabolism
That’s why yoga is one of the best ways to naturally support your metabolism and weight loss with hypothyroidism.
Here are some yoga asana that you can practice to find relief hormone imbalance in hypothyroidism and lose weight.
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra)
- Dhanurasana (Bow)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Half Spinal Twist)
- Natarajasana (Supine Dancing Shiva)
- Chakki Chalanasana (Churning Mill Pose)
- Janu Sirsasana (One Legged Seated Forward Bend)
- Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations)
9. Some Bonus Tips to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism
Because we really care that you achieve your weight loss goals irrespective of slow thyroid, here are some bonus tips for you:
- Try natural remedies to boost your metabolism. Here you can find list of herbs that support detox and weight loss. Also, you should consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to learn more and hence include specific herbs that can support your health and weight loss with thyroid.
- Tackle the root cause of thyroid problems with natural holistic Ayurvedic medicine.
- Include marine plants as seaweed in your diet. These are like plants found in saltwater. Some examples are kelp, kombu, hijiki, etc.
- Get vitamin D by taking a quick walk or run around your neighborhood in the early morning sun.
- Join a community of people going through the same challenges as you are. They can relate better with what you are going through. You can also push each other to reach your goals.
Before you Go!
These Ayurvedic tips lose weight with hypothyroidism will help you to get rid of the heaviness and stubborn weight steadily and permanently. And they will also make you healthier, stronger and more resistant to disease.
Moreover, there are no side effects and no extra cost is involved. These weight loss guidelines can easily be followed at home and be adopted without any extra effort.
Nature provides us with the best tools to fight off health disorders that come in our way. Let us all adopt a holistic and healthy lifestyle and promote health for our better future!
While it may seem a difficult task to lose weight with hypothyroidism, it is not impossible. You can do it with the right guidance and support. So, get started today!
Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above weight loss approaches, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!
- Ayurvedic Management of Subclinical Hypothyroidism
- Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda: Natural Treatments for Hashimoto’s, Hypothyroidism, and Hyperthyroidism
- Hypothyroidism and obesity: An intriguing link
- Thyroid Hormones and Changes in Body Weight and Metabolic Parameters in Response to Weight-Loss Diets: The POUNDS LOST Trial
- Relationship between thyroid dysfunction and body weight: a not so evident paradigm
- Thyroid hormones before and after weight loss in obesity
1. Is it possible lose weight with Hypothyroidism?
Weight loss with hypothyroidism is possible by correcting the hormone imbalances that have triggered poor thyroid function and hence poor metabolism.
Thus, to lose weight with an under active thyroid, you should focus on correcting your thyroid by attaining a healthy lifestyle and medication if needed.
You may also need to cover the nutritional deficiencies if that’s the reason of your thyroid problems. That’s why it is really important to address the root cause of your hypothyroidism.
Get help from a qualified Ayurvedic physician to know how you can keep your thyroid in check with proper medication and adopting a right diet and lifestyle.
You can consult Medhya Herbals here to know more about your health diagnosis.
2. How much weight can you lose with hypothyroidism?
If your weight is purely due to thyroid and not due to any other condition, then correcting thyroid function with medication, diet and lifestyle can help to reduce the water retention. This will help you to lose about 10-15% of your body weight by removing poor circulation.
However, there may be other conditions such as PCOS that are also present with hypothyroidism. It then becomes a little complex as fat metabolism also needs to be corrected. In this case, you may need a little bit more time to lose water and fat weight.
Yet, the process of weight loss follows the same route as with hypothyroidism alone. Correct thyroid function and stay consistent.
It is important that you do not get disheartened by slow progress! Simply because your body needs more support. So, stay on top of your efforts by focussing on your health goals. You will lose weight and it will continue if you stay consistent.