Hypothyroidism has been directly linked to weight gain in recent years. In fact, the most common symptom associated with hypothyroidism is weight gain. It’s what leads most people to get the medical diagnosis of thyroid disease.
When you have an underactive thyroid, it can be nearly impossible to manage your weight. An underactive thyroid can be caused by many things, including side effects from medications, goiters, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, removal of your thyroid gland, thyroid cancer, iodine deficiency (less likely to occur in the US), and treatments for hyperthyroidism, as well as other issues.
The Connection Between Weight Gain and the Thyroid
Hypothyroidism has been associated with weight gain for many years, but scientists still aren’t sure what exactly causes the link between the two. They do know it is biochemical, but they aren’t sure what. There could be several different mechanisms that explain the connections for people with low thyroid functionality.
Two thyroid hormones are highly active. They’re called triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). They circulate throughout the body and can affect your metabolism by interacting with your muscles, fat cells, pancreas, liver, and hypothalamus.
The thyroid hormones are designed to help your body break down unwanted fat, but they can also help your pancreas and liver function correctly to metabolize the stored calories in your body to use them for energy. The hormones are also designed to help your muscles (everywhere within the body) use that energy effectively. When you’ve got an adequate supply of these thyroid hormones circulating throughout the body, the hypothalamus decreases how much TRH (Thyrotropin regulating hormone) is secreted. The hypothalamus is a regulator of the thyroid hormones within your brain.
All of these primary actions and functions can be disrupted if you have diminished thyroid functionality or a lower count of the thyroid hormones. You are likely to experience low energy symptoms, but your body is also going to hold onto the calories you consume, storing them primarily as fat, which can be a challenge to burn effectively or metabolize efficiently.
Along with such, your doctor may put you on a treatment plan that includes thyroid replacement medications. You may think that this would help induce weight loss, but the opposite is usually true. Even if your thyroid hormone levels are at their optimal or target levels (measured with a blood test), the medication doesn’t seem to affect your ability to lose weight.
Lose Weight, Even with Hypothyroidism
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you may feel that it is impossible to lose weight. Most people think that once they start taking the appropriate thyroid hormone replacement meds, the weight will just fall off of them. While treatments can help you to lose some weight you gained from the disease, it will take a lot of hard work, planning, exercise, and the right diet to start shedding those pounds. Along with such, you’ll need to abide by a strict sleep routine to help you feel relaxed, calm, and ready for the next day.
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The first step is likely to be to see what your ideal weight should be and how much body fat you should have first. Then, you can determine how much weight you must lose to be healthy. You can easily find out this information using an online BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator or talk to your doctor to determine how much weight to lose, set goals, and work out a diet/exercise plan that is right for you.
Another step to losing weight with hypothyroidism is to determine your Basel Metabolic Rate (BMR). This helps you determine your metabolism rates to help you focus on consuming enough calories while providing a caloric deficit. This, in turn, prevents your body from storing the food you eat as fat and allowing you to lose weight.
You need to focus on the right diet that minimizes sugar and simple carbohydrates and focuses more on vegetables and lean protein. You can research hypothyroidism meal plans or talk to your doctor or a dietician about appropriate diet options.
It’s also important to try to avoid goitrogenic foods, as these can disrupt thyroid function even further. Such foods can include canola oil, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peaches, peanuts, and much more.
If you have been trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism and haven’t succeeded, it might be time to talk to a nutritionist to work out a dietary plant that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Exercise is an excellent way to help lose weight. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that adults get about 150 minutes of a moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) each week, as well as two muscle-building sessions. If you have hypothyroidism, you may need to work out more than that to lose weight.
You may consider going to a gym and working with a personal trainer. If you can find one that focuses on hypothyroidism weight loss, that is excellent. If not, you should run the fitness plan by your doctor to ensure that it is safe and will be effective for your current needs.
It cannot be stressed enough that you need adequate sleep to lose weight. Even people without hypothyroidism require the right amount of sleep each night to recover from the previous days’ workout.
Regardless of medical issues, sleep deprivation has strongly been linked to gaining weight. You should aim to get about seven or nine hours of sleep each night. If you aren’t getting that much sleep, you should consider setting a particular time each night to go bed.
Make sure the room is dark and comfortable. It’s best if you can go to sleep at the same time each night because you get into a routine and it’s easier for your body to adjust. If you don’t get that much sleep each night, you can try setting your bedtime 10 to 15 minutes earlier every few nights until you’re getting up to nine hours of sleep.
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