Digestive Health

Weight Loss When You Have Thyroid Issues

Black woman at doctors office

Losing Weight When Your Thyroid’s Out of Whack

The thyroid is such a tiny gland that we often don’t give it much thought. But when it isn’t functioning as it should, you can experience all sorts of health issues.

Thyroid problems can lead to a variety of symptoms that affect your physical and mental health. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of thyroid issues that you’re experiencing, but weight gain is a common effect.

Even though weight gain can be a side effect of an underactive thyroid gland, there are ways you can maintain your health.

How Thyroid Issues Can Affect Weight

Both over- and under-active thyroid glands can cause problems. 

Those who have an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, often experience weight loss until the imbalance is treated. That’s because an overactive thyroid speeds the systems of the body up, including those that control your metabolism, which can cause you to lose weight.

On the other hand, when you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, a condition called hypothyroidism, your metabolism may slow down and cause weight gain.

Treatment for both conditions, as well as the use of replacement thyroid hormone in the case of thyroid removal, can also result in weight fluctuations.

Tips for Losing Weight With Thyroid Issues 

Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of achieving      good overall health. Try these four tips for managing your diet:

  1. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water can help when you’re trying to lose weight. Try drinking a glass of water the next time you think you’re hungry. What you think is hunger may actually be thirst.
  2. Increase your fiber intake. Much like water, fiber can help you feel full and stay satiated for longer. Boost your fiber intake with soluble fiber sources, such as apples, beans, oats and peas, or insoluble fiber sources, like almonds, berries, pears and green beans.
  3. Limit added sugar. While some sugar is found naturally in foods in the form of fructose and lactose, most sugar in our diets is added. Try to limit your intake of added sugar to no more than the equivalent of six teaspoons per day, or 25 grams, for women. Men should have no more than nine teaspoons, or 36 grams, of added sugar per day. Most labels now include added sugars on the nutrition panel for easy reference. 
  4. Include some thyroid superfoods. Selenium and iodine help promote optimal thyroid function, so add foods like fish, dairy and eggs to your diet for an extra boost.

Dealing with a thyroid issue? Talk with your medical provider about strategies for weight loss that might work best for you. Find a provider here.

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About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.