It can be difficult to lose weight and keep it off, especially if you have an underactive thyroid. People with underactive thyroids typically have low amounts of T3, the active thyroid hormone that helps to regulate metabolism. When it comes to losing weight with hypothyroidism, it is important to break down the process and tackle each challenge accordingly.
There are a few dietary changes you can make to help you lose weight. These changes can help you get your hypothyroidism under control, thus making weight loss a little easier. Use the strategies below to help kick-start the weight loss process.
Eliminate Simple Carbs & Sugars
It is recommended to focus on complex carbohydrates (starchy vegetables and legumes) and completely eliminate simple carbs, which are comprised of one or two sugar molecules. Simple carbs are quick sources of energy because they are rapidly digested. Complex carbs are typically rich in fiber and found in plant-based foods. Sugars, added sugars, and simple carbs have zero nutritional value and are excess calories. Cutting down on these foods is a great step in the right direction.
Stick To Smaller, More Frequent Meals
You have to make sure that you are consuming enough calories in order to avoid a stress response, which results in decreased T3 production. Eating smaller meals more frequently is a great way to do this. Smaller meals that consist of macronutrients, plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs help to maintain blood sugar levels. Additionally, your body doesn’t have to work hard to digest larger meals.
Consider A Gluten-Free Diet
People, who have gone gluten-free, with hypothyroidism have had success losing weight. Gluten can suppress thyroid function and it contains goitrogens, which interfere with iodine uptake. Because there has been a prevalence of celiac diagnosis in people with autoimmune thyroid conditions (such as Hashimoto’s disease), it is advisable to remove gluten from your diet. Hypothyroid patients who have eliminated gluten have shown improved thyroid response and have reduced thyroid medications.
Get Your Zinc & Selenium
These two minerals are critical for those with hypothyroidism because they help maintain a healthy thyroid and metabolism. The reason why the thyroid contains the most selenium out of all the organs per gram of tissue is because it helps the body recycle iodine. Foods high in selenium include Brazil nuts, legumes, shiitake mushrooms, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, spinach, and cabbage. Zinc, on the other hand, is needed to regulate thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The best zinc-rich foods include legumes, nuts, seeds, steel cut oats, nutritional yeast, miso, broccoli, peas, and garbanzo beans.
Take Regular Walks
It is nearly impossible to out-exercise a bad diet. People with hypothyroidism have metabolisms that are slower than normal, which is why healthy eating and exercise can boost the metabolism and weight loss process. To lose weight, you have to expend more calories than you consume. You don’t have to become a professional athlete; rather, low-intensity cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, biking, rebounding, or yoga are extremely beneficial. Boost your metabolic health just by walking 30 minutes a day!
Additional Tips To Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism
- Get good quality sleep (not sleeping enough can derail your weight loss progress)
- Drink tons of water
- Control your portions (try eating from smaller plates with smaller utensils)
You have to constantly work at losing weight when you have an underactive thyroid. Weight loss won’t happen like magic, but you can use these tips to help the process.