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Mary Shomon

How an Underactive Thyroid Can Affect Weight Loss

By October 19, 2006

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At first, you're gaining weight and you don't know why. When your thyroid problem is diagnosed, you're relieved. The doctor says you'll be able to stop gaining -- or even lose the weight -- much more easily once you start on your thyroid hormone replacement drug. Or, maybe the doctor even said "the weight will just melt off" once you start on your Synthroid or Levoxyl.

So you faithfully took your thyroid hormone...and the weight doesn't come off.

So you get to a "normal" TSH level, try different medications, and lower-calorie, lower-fat diets and more intense exercise...and...you're not losing an ounce. Or worse yet, you're still gaining weight.

The doctor tells you that your weight problem doesn't have anything to do with your thyroid.

The reality: Many hypothyroid patients struggle with an inability to lose weight -- due to metabolic and hormonal factors that are related to the underlying thyroid problem.

Some of you have written me to say you've been following a 900-calorie a day diet, walking 3 miles a day, and not losing weight, and the doctor says, "Well, you just must be eating too much." I've even heard from a few personal trainers who worked out all day long, and followed very strict diets, and even THEY were gaining weight!

What can you do about this situation? Find out about three factors that may prevent you from losing weight if you're hypothyroid -- and what to do about them.

October 20, 2006 at 1:57 pm
(1) Kathryn says:

Thank you for a very informative article, Mary. At last I have a clue! Excersize is tough for me as I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but diet is, at least, something that is within my control. The 25 pounds I have aquired in the past year since all of this hit is an additional problem I have really wanted to be rid of. Thank you for your help. Keep up the good work, please!


October 27, 2006 at 3:22 pm
(2) Cindy Henderson says:

Mary, I was in the dark about my hypothyroidism until I read this article. I told my husband that when I read the article I really believed that it was written about me. I was diagnosed with Graves disease about 3 years ago. Since then I have gained over 20 pounds and I have had the same sympthoms of the disease since i had the RAI. Each time I go to the doctor they tell me that my TSH levels are within normal range and that there is nothing that they can do. I have had many issues trying to lose weight and i even spoke to a dietician who put me on a 1200-1500 calorie diet. I still didn’t lose any weight. I appreciate the article because now I know what i need to do in order to lose weight. After reading the article, I stopped by the bookstore on my way home and I purchased 2 of your books Living Well with Hypothyroidism and The Thyroid Diet. I began reading the Thyroid Diet that night. I found out so many interesting things. The more i read the better informed I am. I made an appointment with my doctor and i now have more information about what sort of questions i should be asking. Again, thanks for the article and for doing what you do.


June 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(3) Michael says:

I can believe that your thyroid can affect your weight loss in the short-term but if you think about the laws of physics how is this possible in the long term? If your are really only consuming 1200-1500 calories per day and if you are really doing work that requires more then that number of calories per day where is that energy coming from?

July 5, 2013 at 5:46 am
(4) Wes Biso says:

When your metabolism slows your appetite should decrease… Use more calories than u consume and it will be impossible not to lose weight, it’s hardly rocket science but it is actual science.. People with thyroid problems want to use it as an excuse for their weight

Anyone who eats 900cals a day and doesn’t lose weight is not active enough to burn those 900 cals… Time to get off your fat asses and do some exercise

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