Eating Disorders and Hypothyroidism

I am a binge eater, I tend to have 'episodes' where i will eat and eat and eat, as much as i can in as little time as possible. Until i feel sick and can't move, then i hate myself for doing it.

I don't know a lot about hypothyroidism but i have been recently (10 days ago) prescribed 50 mcg a day levothyroxine because my 'thyroid levels are low'.

I know I should not be binge eating, I know the strain it puts on my body and especially now I know I need to be more careful with what I eat.

So why am I still doing it? Why is knowing if I'm careful what I eat i will feel better and will manage my thyroid better not enough to stop me binging?

I am an intelligent person, I understand that I should not do it, but something takes over in me and I will not feel satisfied until I have had a binge. I can eat little and often so I am not hungry, I can allow myself small treats in order to try and stave off the need to binge. But it never takes away the desire to gorge on pastries and puddings and chocolate until my heart is pounding and I can't move and I feel hateful about myself for doing it and how gross I am.

I wish I didn't do it, I wish I didn't look at myself and think I was disgusting.

Melissa x

18 Replies

  • sound a very brave lady and I do hope that sharing has been helpful for you. Often with UAT there are addictive patterns and I think it has something to do with the energy in the brain. All cells of the body need T3 - which is the only active hormone - and it is what your T4 tablet should convert into. So do keep a check on the FT3 in your blood tests in the future.

    The brain has the biggest demand for T3 and the gut the second - so there's a connection ! So if your FT3 is low both will be underpowered....and possibly giving each other inadequate hormonal messages. I'm a visual person not a medic so please check out and read as much as you can. I think there may well be a connection between being overactive and having Anorexia always everything seems to be connected in some way to the Endocrine system and its supporting systems.

    Maybe once you are adequately medicated you will find a solution - lets hope it will be helpful for you. Feeling poorly with a chronic condition could possibly have made you feel under valued - lowering your self worth. Please look forwards to when you are optimally treated and lets hope brighter days are ahead.

    I do have a daughter who had/has serious eating/food issues and also has thyroid issues. Her thyroid was removed and I'm not sure that her treatment is optimal or that she is able to take all the supplements required to support good conversion from T4 into T3...maybe that is why I am posting in the way I am..............a Mum's intuition ! and very little scientific evidence !

    Wishing you well soon and keep posting........

  • I feel embarrassed for typing that now, it seems i have moments of madness, the rollercoaster of emotions just now is such hard work! Thank you for your reply, I am hoping there is a correlation between the two and it will improve, I tend to binge less when I am feeling healthier and happier in general so maybe it does go together. It's funny how under active thyroid makes you want things to happen quickly and very frustrating at the same time.

    Slow process.... just... keep... waiting... lol

    Thank you again for the reply Marz, I do feel like an idiot for putting it out there lol

    Melissa x

  • Melissa, don't ever feel embarrassed about writing about your problems on this site -that's what it's for. You are certainly not an idiot and I hope that you have found some comfort and help from the lovely responses you have received. Lynne x

  • Hi Melissa, you're not alone - some years before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism I had problems with bulimia. With some counselling and time I manged to stop the 'purging' but the food cravings and urge to overeat has never left me. Over the last couple of months I've been on a very restricted diet to get rid of candida (which I thought may be the reason for my sugar/carb cravings) - no sugar, dairy, wheat, limited starches, potatoes etc., and still I have these terrible cravings!! Most people seem to find that within a few weeks of giving up sugar their cravings go away. It hasn't worked for me. I know I'm under medicated for my thyroid at the moment so I have been thinking It must be related........

    Nicola x

  • thanks nicolajane,

    do you find the cravings aren't so bad when you feel good within yourself? i've done this for years on and off, it may partly be habit as well, eating comfort food to feel better. I have been reading about sugar addiction too, it's so easy to do because its convenient. I blame my laziness on my eating habits, because i cant be bothered to cook a proper meal - but if i am feeling fatigue then of course i wont be bothered about cooking and going for a takeaway is much more appealing!

    I've just been out and washed my car and i have a bit of a foggy brain now, sorry if this doesnt make much sense!

    Melissa x

  • you are not lazy. you have hypothyroid and that feels awful

  • I dieted in my teens to get to a sensible weight. I went from a size 16 to a 10, which was at the lower end of ideal weight range. I had to eat less than 1200 cals in order not to gain weight, and generally had between 800 and 1000 a day in order to lose it. Very low I know. I then gained it all back, and was very ill in my early 20s. Could then eat normally ie 2000 cals a day without gaining weight.

    A size 12 for many years afterwards but I still thought like a dieter ie cals, especially empty ones. Was no longer hungry or feeling deprived.did 2 week diets in order to maintain it.

    I'm interested in the effect of dieting on the thyroid, especially in teenagers. Was I undiagnosed? Plus does dieting in your teens affect thyroid function?

  • My food cravings get worse as my PMT gets worse, I have a week or 10 days where I'm starving hungry all the time and I will end up binge eating, usually because I try fighting the hunger all day and no matter what I eat I'm still hungry!

    then it reverses and I then have a couple of weeks where I have absolutely no appetite what so ever and the thought of eating anything other than perhaps a sandwich makes me feel really sick.

    I just figured it was extremely bad PMT x

  • How brave and honest you are Melissa.

    When I had underactive thyroid and this was untreated I also craved carbs - I even had to get up in the middle of the night to eat carbs... I'm sure it's connected to having underactive thyroid. Now the condition is being managed and I'm taking the right dose of levo (also 50mcg a day) I no longer crave or binge on carbs and I sleep through the night. As others here have said, I'm sure there's a link to the thyroid.

    As you've only just started your treatment, it's early days, but you may well find your cravings go as your treatment really kicks in. Mine has :)

    Good luck!


  • thats good news!

  • Your body has probably gone into 'Famine' mode, where if you do not eat properly your body will store everything as fat. The overeating too is a sign of this, your body tells you to eat as much as you can while its available. I have no idea how to counter this as I have been eating infrequently for the past few years and have put on so much weight its ridiculous!! Oh, and if I hear the mantra 'eat less and exercise more' just once more someone will be seriously injured as it DOES NOT WORK!!

  • I really identify with your post and before I was diagnosed I could eat anyone under the table and then carry on. I couldn't trust myself to have food in the house, but then would crack and go to the shops specifically for binge food. Dieting when you feel like that is psychologically damaging.

    Earlier this year I lost 5 kilos on a cleansing diet, lots of vegetable juice etc and I felt great, but then has a massive crash and put all the weight back on, even though my healthy diet hadn't changed.

    I have been taking T3 for 10 days now and have lost 3 lbs, I haven't dieted, just eaten what I wanted, but already the urge to eat everything in sight has gone. I do eat fat now after years of 'low fat' dieting and have cut out sugar and gluten foods, I really don't miss either.

    I firmly believe that dieting is bad for you, especially if your are hypothyroid and totally agree with the comment about the tired old mantra 'eat less and move more', healthy slim people can do that without any effort but it doesn't give them the right to judge others.

    I have a lot of weight to lose now and have done a lot of research because I couldn't believe that I was more lazy and ignorant than the slim people around me. The big message, especially if you are hypo, is to give your body lots of nourishment so that it can function, coupled of course with the proper treatment for your condition.

    Be kind to yourself.

  • Hi Melissa,

    You just described me - and as a matter of fact three other members of my family.

    We all have hypo2 and we periodically binge eat.

    We're all clever people :-) and know what to eat and do just that most of the time.

    I think we crave stuff so badly because we're starved of nutrition.

    Being hypo means our digestion system doesn't work as it should and also today's food is severely lacking in minerals.

    I recommend Robert Thomson's book 'The calcium lie'

    I found it extremely informative.

    Kind regards,


  • Melissa you are by no means alone, as you can see. Many people who are hypothyroid eat even though they do not feel hungry because they feel bad about themselves, and food is comforting. Another problem is the kind of food we crave - when energy levels dip extremely low as they often do with both hypo and hyper thyroid conditions, our bodies tell us sweet-sweet-sweet!

    Another problem is that in order to process thyroxine and convert it to T3, you need some carbohydrates. If you are tempted to restrict yourself to an extreme during the day, then suddenly you WILL crave carbohydrates. And the fastest, most 'rewarding' form is sugary foods. Ice cream, chocolate, and so on. My bugbear is Nutella. I can secretly down huge amounts of that!

    The most important thing is not to let your self-esteem be damaged by this, you are already fighting what the thyroid does to your mind and self-image. You will notice that most of the hypothyroid people on here either put no picture on their profile, or a very carefully chosen one taken perhaps when they looked their best, or even other members of their family. That's because, like you, many of us have low self-esteem.

    You have a problem. You may eat more than you should at times, to the point of feeling ill. But you are not disgusting. You are a person who, like so many of us, is floundering in deep water, and eating is your way of dealing with it.

    On this forum, you are valued as much as anyone here. It takes a special kind of courage to reveal your feelings in that way, and I salute that courage, Melissa. Your name, by the way, just in case you do not know, means 'honey-bee'. How sweet is that!

    Marie XXX

  • Thank you so much for this reply Marie, it means more to me than you will ever know to read this, thank you again xxx

  • Hey Melissa,

    Reading this post has given me a lot of relief because I seem to be having some pretty similar struggles. I was just wondering how you were doing on the levothyroxine. Are you on the same dose as when you originally posted this? Has anything else helped?

    Hope you're doing well!


  • Melissa,

    Wow! Everything you described I am going through as well. I also recently started on meds last month. Over the last 2 years I have put on 50 pounds. I even had a woman I have know for years ask me when the baby was expected. I had to tell her I was not pregnant, just fat. I became really depressed and went to psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. After 6 months of treatment she said it had to be malabsorption and gave me a list of blood test to have done. Luckily my doctor said yes and we found out that I have Hashimotos and Pernicious Anemia. After a month of treatment the cravings are getting a little better. Now I eat a large pastery, but can stop after that. I hope it continues to get better and I can get down to a healthy weight.

  • I am aware of the fact that this post, and the comments are 2 years old, but I hope someone will see this.

    I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism just a few days ago, and today is my fourth day on levothyroxine, though my doctor started me on 1/4 for 2 days, 1/2 for 3 days, 1 for 5, and so on. I realize its too soon to tell, but I really felt better in past three days, and then BOOM - MASSIVE BINGE TODAY.

    I was eating clean these days, no sugar, no cravings.. I felt so much better and happier.. I mean I'm dissapointed with myself right now.

    I feel really bad, because of binges. I feel bad for my body and health and what I'm doing to myself. The stomach pain and the discomfort get to me even more than the possible weight gain. I hate bingeing, I really hate it, I don't know how it started or why... I wish it just stops. Forever.

    I really hope the therapy will help, and I never do this again

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