How to lose weight when diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Many people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, as well as other forms of hypothyroidism, gain a fair amount of weight and have a very difficult time losing it. Of course, a big reason for weight gain is that any hypothyroid condition will slow down the body’s metabolism. When it comes to losing weight in these people, there are essentially three different factors that one must consider. The first two factors you will be very familiar with, although many people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis do not consider the third factor, which is often the main reason people with this condition are unable to lose weight:

1. Diet. Almost everyone who tries to lose weight does so by changing their diet. And without a doubt, eating healthy is an important component of losing weight, as well as keeping it off. Of course, many people don’t really understand what a “healthy diet” consists of, and part of the reason for this is that different sources will recommend different diets. For example, some “experts” will tell you to cut out carbs entirely and eat whatever type of protein you want. Others will tell you it’s a “calorie game,” and as long as you limit yourself to eating a certain number of calories per day, you’ll lose weight.

When you really think about it, you probably know what you need to eat to help lose and maintain weight. Yes, restricting calories can work, but if you’re eating unhealthy foods most of the time, this is certainly not a long-term weight loss solution. And I am in no way suggesting that you need to eliminate all junk food from your life forever, as if you eat healthy most of the time, it is okay for most people to “cheat” from time to time.

So what should you eat when trying to lose AND maintain weight? Well, you definitely want to try to eat at least 3-5 servings of fresh vegetables every day. Of course, you should be careful to minimize goitrogenic vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, as they can further inhibit thyroid function. You can also eat a few servings of fresh fruit daily, such as apples, blueberries, raspberries, etc. Ideally, you want to minimize fruits with a high glycemic index, such as bananas.

Assuming you’re not a vegetarian, you can eat lean meats like organic chicken and turkey. You can also eat certain types of fish, such as wild salmon. Organic eggs are fine too, assuming you’re not allergic to them. And raw nuts and seeds are fine to eat, too. Of course, I haven’t listed all you can eat here, but I hope you get the idea. The general point is to avoid refined and sugary foods and eat whole foods.

Two other important points to keep in mind are that you need to make sure you don’t skip breakfast, as this can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. The second point is that after breakfast you don’t want to go more than two hours without eating, even if it’s something small. Every meal should consist of some healthy protein. Taking this approach will help you control your appetite and stabilize your blood sugar levels, which are essential to any weight loss program.

2. Exercise. We all know the importance of exercising, and as a result I won’t go into too much detail here. I realize that many people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have low energy levels, which will make it difficult to start a regular exercise program. And to be frank, some people will need other areas addressed to help restore their energy levels. Seeing an endocrinologist or general practitioner will not usually accomplish this, as most doctors simply give their patients thyroid hormone, which may help with symptoms of hypothyroidism, but often does nothing for the actual cause of the disorder.

As a result, many people will continue to have low energy levels and will be unable to exercise. So, for those who fall into this category, I recommend consulting with a natural endocrine doctor, who will do more than just recommend synthetic or natural thyroid hormone, and will take a whole-body approach that will most often help restore energy levels for people with different types of hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

For those who have the energy to exercise regularly, I recommend working out at least three to five days a week, consisting of at least 30 minutes of cardio. This could be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk. Some people may not be able to start with 30 minutes as they may have to start with five or ten minutes and work their way up. But the ultimate goal is to rack up to 30 minutes of continuous exercise that makes you sweat. As usual, you should always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

3. Hormones. When it comes to functional endocrinology, one of my mentors is Dr. Janet Lang, who used to tell attendees during her seminars that “hormones are stronger than diet.” What this means is that if you have a hormonal imbalance, which many people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis do, then it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose any significant amount of weight by eating and exercising alone.

Eating a lot of refined foods and skipping meals affects two of the body’s main hormones, cortisol and insulin. And when someone continues these habits for many years, this will put pressure on the adrenal glands and can eventually lead to insulin resistance. And until this is corrected, you can eat a perfect diet and exercise daily and it will be difficult to lose weight.

Many people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other types of hypothyroidism also have an imbalance in the ratio between the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can also cause weight gain and therefore make it difficult to lose weight. This is yet another reason why I recommend that people with these conditions consult with a competent natural endocrinologist, as they will be able to detect a hormonal imbalance and, if determined that you have one, will help you correct it.

So these are the main factors to consider when trying to lose weight with any hypothyroid condition, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Although most people focus on one or both of the first two factors I mentioned, very few are aware of the impact that a hormonal imbalance can have on weight loss. But if you want to lose weight and keep it off, then you really need to consider these three factors. Eating right, exercising regularly, and correcting any hormonal imbalances will not only help you lose the unwanted weight, but it will also help you keep it off forever.

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