Underactive thyroids are an absolute pain for those who want to lose weight. This is the part of the body that controls the release of hormones. If you get the wrong balance, your body’s metabolism slows down. There’s no rhyme or reason for this happening at times.
Of course, a slower metabolism shows no warning signs. You only realise that you have a problem when you see weight gain. Even if you’re not eating more than 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day and exercise a lot, you can find that weight gain happens anyway. Your metabolism can slow down so much compared to what it used to be.
And if you’re already overweight and combating weight loss, you can feel like giving up. There’s this feeling like it is never actually going to work and there’s no point pushing yourself to the extreme.
Well, it’s time to take a step back from the disheartening weight loss journeys. Your thyroid problems may make it harder to lose weight, but they don’t make it impossible. With the right tools and tips, you will find that you drop the dress sizes and focus on a healthier life.
What are those steps? Well, here are 10 that you need to follow today to boost your weight loss with thyroid problems.
Start By Talking to Your Doctor
You need to get your thyroid problems diagnosed. An undiagnosed underactive thyroid is dangerous. You run the risk of other health problems the longer this problem goes on for.
The great news is that there is medical help. Doctors will be able to prescribe medication to get your underactive thyroid working properly again. Once you start taking the medication, you will find all the problems that you once had will disappear.
Now comes the downside to this. It will take the time to get the right level of medication. Doctors won’t know just how underactive your thyroid is. You will need to go through a series of trials and errors to find the right level of medication for you.
Doctors don’t want you to have the opposite problem of an overactive thyroid due to medication. That will just lead to other health problems! What they want to do is start off small and work your medication up until everything is completely balanced out.
This can mean you see some weight gain while you get the medication right. Once you’re at right level, you will find your metabolism works just like it did without the thyroid problems. You’ll no longer have the battle to burn calories and lose weight. Give it time to get your medication levels right and keep talking to your doctor!
Not everyone will need medication. Your hypothyroidism may be minimal and could be controlled through natural means. Discuss this possibility with your doctor, especially if you want to avoid medication.
Understand More About Your Weight Gain
Your weight loss problems aren’t just due to a slower metabolism. When you have an underactive thyroid, your body will start to retain salt and water. This will give the impression that you’re gaining weight and it will be much easier to get rid of them once your medication is balanced.
It’s so important to understand as much as possible about your hypothyroidism and your weight gain. Know why it’s happening, so you can take steps to get the weight off afterwards.
Salt and water retention will disappear, but other reasons for weight gain won’t. Reassess your diet and your exercise plan. Are you really eating as healthy as you possibly could? Is it possible to go on a diet to help shed some of the pounds?
Be completely honest with yourself. Don’t worry about what other people have said to you or what your doctor things right now. You want to do the best thing possible for your own life and your own mindset.
Remember that the only person you are letting down by lying is yourself. You can cheat your way on a diet and trick yourself into thinking you’re eating healthy all you want, but the scales aren’t going to lie to you. So, take this time to assess why you’re gaining weight. While your underactive thyroid is a problem, don’t try to put all the blame on that if it’s not just the issue.
Create a Calorie Deficit
Now it comes to the dieting part of tackling your weight loss. This sounds so much simpler than it really is.
When it comes to losing weight, you’ll always hear about a calorie deficit. You want to eat fewer calories than your body burns. The average healthy person can burn anywhere between 1,600 and 3,000 calories depending on their size, muscle mass, and fitness regime. How do you know what your metabolic rate is?
Well, this question becomes even harder when it comes to your hypothyroidism. Remember that your doctor won’t be able to tell you just how bad it is at first glance. It will take some trial and error to get the medication right (if you need it), so you don’t really know just how many calories your body is burning.
That means you need to look at changing your diet gradually. Start with 1,500 calories a day. This is 500 calories less than the average woman burns throughout the day. If you don’t find yourself losing weight, you can gradually drop the calorie intake down.
It’s best not to eat less than 1,200 calories a day. This is the bare minimum your body will need to make sure it gets all the nutrients to support the system. You don’t want to cause yourself other health problems all because of your weight loss efforts, right?
To get the extra calories needed, your body will start to burn the excess calories that you have stored over time. You end up burning the fat that you don’t want to keep hold of. If you drop to a healthy number of calories, your body’s metabolism won’t slow down believing that you are starving yourself!
Once you have a calorie deficit, you will find it much easier to lose weight. Eating 500 calories a day less than you burn will help you lose a pound a week. This is a healthy amount to aim for.
Get More Protein and Fibre
Your hypothyroidism will create a problem of low energy levels. You can feel drained and completely zapped. So, it’s time to look at eating foods that will keep your energy levels sustained.
More often than not, patients with hypothyroidism will focus on foods that give them quick bursts of energy. They want the sugar rush just to get them through the task at hand. This isn’t the best option for you. These sugary foods will certainly give you a boost, but you’ll burn through that sugar quickly. You then get a sugar crash that leaves you feeling far more drained than you were before you at the snack.
On top of this, the sugary foods are always high in empty calories. You’re getting no nutrition but using up all the calories that you have spare throughout the day. Eating these empty calories often mean you go over the number of calories you burn throughout the day, so your body needs to store them for use later. The more you do this, the more weight you gain because your body can’t use up the calories stored.
Instead, you want to eat the food that will break down slowly and give you the energy throughout the day. Protein and fibre foods are the best options for you. Stock up on your lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. When you want a snack, have a fibre-filled trial mix to enjoy. There are all sorts of healthy treats and snacks available!
Burn More Calories with an Exercise Plan
There are going to be days where you struggle to stay within your calorie count. There will be other days that you want to burn more calories than you burn by just sitting still. The best way to do that is by exercising.
The more you move, the more calories you will burn. I have some great news about this: you don’t need to join a gym or take up classes with lots of people watching you! Just moving more will help you start burning more calories. You can always build up your confidence to do the exercise classes and find a form of exercise that you enjoy so much that you always want to do it.
Experts recommend that we do 150 minutes of low-medium intensity exercise on a weekly basis. If you do high-intensity workouts, then 75 minutes a week is enough. This is just to be healthy. You want to double that if you want to lose weight!
That can seem like a lot, right? The 150 minutes is 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you did 300 minutes, then you’re looking at 60 minutes! Just how do you fit all that in?
Create an exercise plan and choose activities that you enjoy. You’ll have more motivation to get into them and fit them into your day. You can split the portions up into smaller and more manageable sessions.
Splitting up your exercise into 15-20 minute portions a day is a powerful way to exercise with hypothyroidism. Until you get your hormones leveled, you will find it tiring. You won’t feel like you have the energy to get through your 30-60 minute session and will start to resent the idea of doing it. Smaller chunks won’t use as much energy in a short space of time, and you have time to build your energy levels back up for the next session later that day.
Make Sure You Track It All
You want to track everything you do and feel. This isn’t just about tracking the exercise you do or the food you eat. It’s so important to track every little thing that happens throughout the day. Make it a habit to track how you feel about and within yourself.
Get into the habit now of tracking your energy levels and noting down the best times of day to do exercise. When you find yourself struggling with the plan that you’ve created, you will have something to look back over. You can see when you have the higher energy levels to work your exercise plan around that.
You will lose motivation to lose weight with thyroid problems. You’re only human, so give yourself a break! Don’t expect yourself to perform perfectly 100% of the time.
It’s how you handle the exercise levels that will affect your weight loss efforts. If you have a bad day, your journal or tracker will give you something to look back over. You’ll get to see how far you’ve come to remind yourself why you’re doing this. You’ll feel good about yourself again.
This is also a chance to look back on the bad days that you had. You’ll see how you tackled the bad days before and made sure you get over this slump much quicker.
Don’t Let Yourself Go Hungry!
When losing weight, we have this habit of thinking less food will mean fewer calories. Well, while it can do, it doesn’t mean a healthier and slimmer you! When you drop the calories too much, your body can go into starvation mode. Your metabolism will slow down, and that’s without the thyroid problems already causing this issue!
When you go hungry, you are also more likely to binge at a later time. Think about it when you skip breakfast. You start to feel hungrier sooner in the day. You want an energy rush or a pick-me-up just to get you through to lunchtime. And your hypothyroidism is already causing you a problem of lower energy levels.
The best thing you can do is balance out the energy levels. Eat regularly and make sure each of your meals is good for your energy levels. You will soon find it much easier to stay on track and avoid the junk food and empty calories.
Cut Out the Sodium as Much as Possible
Your body is retaining salt. One of the best things you can do is cut out the excess sodium that you eat. But you don’t want to cut out all sodium completely. Your body will need a little bit of salt to remain healthy!
What you really want to do is stick within the healthy guidelines on sodium levels. Stick to 500mg of less of salt a day. This is healthy and necessary.
As you get your underactive thyroid solved, you will find that your body retains less sodium. You could eat less and still have a healthy diet.
Remember that you don’t need to add salt to the majority of your meals. Food can naturally include it, so check the packaging for all the information!
Look out for foods that are potassium-rich. They tend to have higher sodium counts and include the likes of beets, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
Take Extra Nutrients Where Necessary
Your doctor may recommend extra nutrients. Your body will struggle to absorb all the nutrients you intake when your hypothyroidism is an ongoing problem. This will mean you don’t get all the calcium, iron, vitamins, and more that your body needs. You could eat plenty throughout the day from your diet, but your body isn’t making use of them.
It’s time to look at making sure you get the healthy intake by adding nutrients. Your doctor will be able to recommend the ones that work with your hypothyroidism medication.
If you don’t want to take pharmaceutical nutrients, you can always get more through your foods. Look out for the lower calorie foods that include all the nutrients you need. Dark leafy greens are among the best for all your nutritious needs! They’re also lower in calories and so easy to add to any meal.
Drink More Water Throughout the Day
While your body is retaining water, that isn’t an excuse to stop drinking it. Retained water doesn’t mean your body is hydrated. It’s actually the opposite. Your body is struggling to use the water and keep your organs protected.
You need to make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. The experts recommend the 8×8 rule: eight 8oz glasses of water every single day. It’s not as difficult as it initially seems. You have around 16 hours where you’re awake, so you just need to drink 4oz of water an hour!
Your water doesn’t need to be plain. You can add some fruit to get some natural flavours and more nutrients throughout your day. Try starting your day with lemon water to give an energetic boost in the morning. You’ll start your day refreshed, so you feel like doing more to combat your weight due to hypothyroidism.
Now It’s Time for You to Act
The only person you will let down if you cheat yourself. Your hypothyroidism doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight. It makes it harder initially, but there are ways to overcome that. Once you have your medication levels right, you will find that you have the same chances as the average healthy female.
It’s time to follow the above 10 steps. You will find that creating the calorie deficit will help you shed the pounds. Track your results and how you feel to spot patterns and get over a slump in motivation.
By the end of it, you’ll wish you did this sooner!