1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Thyroid Diet Secrets: Are You Eating Enough Calories to Lose Weight?

By

Updated June 03, 2014

Having a lunch
D. Jiang/Moment/Getty Images
by Mary J. Shomon

While you'll run across an occasional expert who recommend extremely low-calorie diets for weight loss with hypothyroidism, the majority of experts believe you may not be eating enough to maintain your metabolism. Dropping calories too low can lower your metabolism and send your body into "hoard" mode -- a process which thyroid patients are particularly susceptible to and which can offset weight loss efforts and keep you from success at your diet.

Personally, when I want to lose weight, going on a 1200 calorie or less per day diet is a sure-fire way to ensure that I don't lose a pound. And if you're dieting your heart out, and not getting anywhere, the problem may not be that you're eating too much -- you may be eating too little, and not in the right balance.

To calculate how many calories you need:
  1. Dvide your current weight in pounds by 2.2, in order to convert your weight to kilograms.
  2. Multiply you weight in kilograms by 30. (30 is the number of calories you need per pound of body weight.)
So, if you are 160 pounds, you divide 160 by 2.2, which equals 73 kilograms.

Multiply 73 kilograms by 30, which equals 2190, which would be how many calories you theoretically need to maintain your current weight of 160.

Subtract 200 calories for your thyroid condition, an estimate to reflect the reduction in your metabolism and calorie requirements.

1990 calories is now the estimated calorie requirements for you as a thyroid patient to maintain a weight of 160 pounds.

To lose weight, you need to cut your calorie requirements by 5 calories per kilogram, so that means you multiply your current weight in kilograms by 25 instead of 30.

So, in our example above, if you are 160 pounds, you divide 160 by 2.2, which equals 73 kilograms.

Multiply 73 kilograms by 25, which equals 1825, which would be how many calories you theoretically need to lose about a pound every ten days, at 3500 calories per pound).

Again, subtract 200 calories to account for your thyroid condition.

1625 calories is now the estimated calorie requirements for you as a thyroid patient to lose weight at a safe rate.

Also, most of the effective weight loss programs for thyroid patients also focus on breaking up those calories into multiple "mini-meals" per day.

Some experts believe that people with hypothyroidism should eat 40% protein/25% fat/35% low glycemic carbohydrates in smaller, 250-300 meals.

So, let's look at one more set of calculations.

Current Weight, in Pounds _____
Divide above by 2.2 _____
Multiply result by 25 _____
Subtract 200 for "Thyroid Factor" -200
Calories Per Day for Weight Loss _____
Divide by 300 = # of 300-calorie "mini-meals" Per Day _____

At 300 calories per meal, a 175 pound hypothyroid person could expect to lose weight eating approximately six balanced mini-meals of around 300 calories each, spaced out evenly throughout the day...along with appropriate exercise, of course!

More thyroid diet help and advice is available in the Thyroid Diet & Weight Loss Success Guide
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Thyroid Disease
  4. Lose Weight Successfully
  5. Thyroid Diet Secrets: Are You Eating Enough to Lose Weight?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.