Weight gain-need help :-(

I have had a massive wake-up call today and am really feeling down and at the end of my tether :-( I desperately need to lose weight but have read so much conflicting stuff: don't reduce calories too much, don't exercise too much etc so... I am stumped!

Last month's Slimming World magazine featured a Hypo woman who had lost 10 stones in 20 months-but what it didn't tell us was how she did it - almost 2 stone per month. I am lucky if I lose 2 ounces per month. I have a good diet, am gluten free, I avoid: uncooked veg, fluoride, soy, goitrogens, and take supplements including B complex, zinc, magnesium, Vit D3 so where am I going wrong and what on earth can I do? People have said I should try T3 but it was a complete non-starter with my last GP and apart from that I am really scared to do it as I have battled to get where I am now and would hate to go back to the crippling depression, constipation and thinning hair.

Please help...I am desperate :-(

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41 Replies

  • Infomaniac, first of all please ditch Slimming Magazines. And as for the lady who lost two stone a month for all that time, well, I have to say that is a bit suspect unless she was taking T3 and not telling.

    I managed to lose 9 an a half stone, but it took me the best part of 6 years! Also I have to say that this was not all thyroid weight (myxoedema). On reflection I believe I, and a few others, put on weight in addition to the thyroid weight because we just give up.

    Since I have lost this weight I have levelled off but still need to lose about six stones. My new endo seems to think this will start when the T3 he has prescribed gets into my system. I found that the ideal calorie count for me was 2100 per day and I included such goodies as butter and ditched margarines. I didn't actually calorie count for long as it is easy when you get used to eating that amount. I also took the exercise very slowly. In fact to bgin with I couldn't even walk to the end of my drive and had a disability scooter. I started with an exercise class at the local pool, prescribed by the gp, and built up very, very slowly. After about four years I was able to walk about a mile. Unfortunately, I injured both knees quite badly about 18 months ago and am now having to use sticks again. But I have done it once, I will do it again.

    So ignore the low fat, low carb, low calorie diets they will not do you any favours.

    With this disease you really do need more calories and not too much exercise. There is no quick fix with this on, unfortunately.

    I also found that taking up a hobby really helped with the depression, I took up papercrafts about 15 years ago and find it does help me, as does music. It might not work for everyone but it's just a thought. Good luck with your weight loss, I am thinking of you.

    Barb xx

  • ps Vit C might help with the constipation, if that's still a problem.

  • Thanks for that Barb. 9 stone?? Wow you have done brilliantly and it was probably best that you didn't do it quickly as it's supposed to stay off that way. You really hit the nail on the head when you say people like us just give up-I know I do. It is SO hard to lose weight that I do literally give up. My hubby said today I should just accept I have a medical condition and should just accept it, but I can't. I have to try and fight back!

    It seems ridiculous that we have an all singing all dancing NHS yet they are clueless when it comes to the Thyroid and most seem to think the weight drops off when we start to take Levo when in reality the reverse is true. Good luck with the T3 :-)

  • Infomaniac,

    In a way your hubby is probably right, you have to accept you have this condition, but that doesn't mean you have to give up and roll over. The only thing we can do is try to make ourselves as well as we can, with or without the help of the medics. I agree with you about the all singing all dancing NHS, but I am doing my little bit to improve things. I have joined a volunteer group at a major teaching hospital/university medical school as a 'substitute patient'. We act the part of patients for the students before they are allowed out on the real patients. I, and some of the others, often give input to the tutors about the illnesses etc we have or have had and how they affect us and impact on our lives. We are hoping this will lead to more research projects. So I am really pushing for more research into T4/T3 and/or NDT (I live in hope)!

    Barb xx

  • What a good idea the volunteer group is-I hope they roll it out all over the country. If we all end up properly medicated you will go right to the top of the class!

  • hehehehehe, please don't hold your breath for that to happen :-D xx

  • I use my fitnesspal app on my phone I can only have around 1400 cals a day and have to exercise alternate days I run 3-5 miles and walk on non running days, I have hashi's, coeliac, asthma and deficiencies. Any more calories than this I gain weight, I'd gained 10lb over 5 months despite diet n exercise before Christmas so disheartening when I'd lost 28lb over 2 years since going gluten free but my TSH had gone from 2.3 to 3.9 so had increase to 75mg I eat a balanced diet daily but it's slow progress maybe 1-2 pound a month if I'm lucky it's not easy I do fluctuate and have gains for no reason but I'm determined am just in the normal weight range now but would like to be in the middle so there's a little leeway so 12lb to go. You do what's best for you and what your body's capable of build up slowly. I couldn't do anything before diagnosed Coeliac but after a few months started exercising again and and built up from walking to running over 12 months (couch to 5k) I ran my first half marathon last year and have 2 planned this year. I have off days weeks where running a mile is impossible my muscles just don't want to go but then the next week I'm back to 5. Listen to your body and go with it. Good luck

  • I think my marathon days are well and truly over! I don't think I could walk one never mind run one. Well done you :-) You are doing the best thing in accepting that you lose slowly. In the past I have got really disheartened when I've only lost 1/2lb but that is obviously going to be the way forward so I'm just going to have to get used to it. If not I will just continue the way I am going and get even fatter!

  • Hi,

    I know exactly where you are coming from, when I was diagnosed six months ago I also read up on the subject and was amazed at some of the advice. I spent an indecisive couple of months until I decided to go with simple calorie counting and increased activity; the ‘advice’ that informed my decision was an ‘expert’ saying food should be increased until wellness was achieved even if this meant gaining a large amount of weight. I really thought that would plunge me into the depths of despair (and I wasn’t depressed at all, my only symptoms really being fatigue and weight gain).

    I know we all have different issues and that this method would perhaps not work for everyone, but it is working for me. I went with Weight Watchers online; I am not advocating their programme, I chose it because it uses a simple form of calorie control and a method of easily tracking activity and what you consume, although of course it is perfectly possible to do that without subscribing or joining any club or group.

    For me it is an upward spiral; I have lost a stone and a half in four months – not fast but perfectly acceptable – and the more I lose the more energy I have and the better I feel. I have about the same amount of weight or a bit more still to lose. As for activity I first increased what I was doing around the house (I am retired) and garden, then added a swim and some walking. These are getting easier, although swimming is perhaps the easiest and really perks me up.

    Eating a balance of foods works for me too - I wilt without carbohydrates. I have cut nothing out, but then I have always eaten whole grains and very little sugar and cook mostly from scratch.

    As I said we are all different, and this may not work for you, but I hope you find something that does.

    Good wishes,


  • The problem with calorie counting is that the most essential nutrient - fat - has the highest number of calories.

    Calorie counting is completely bogus and was only introduced in the early 60s. Why, one wonders??? The more you reduce your food intake, the more likely you are to become obsessed with food. Have a look here :


  • Calorie counting isn't ideal I agree but for some people (i.e me!) who cannot control their eating sometimes it's the only way.

  • But do you get enough fat?

  • Grey goose has a very valid point and it is something that the doctors and media are now slowly realising. Fat is NOT bad for you, but too much carbs can be. People trying to lose weight may doing better by cutting some calories from the carbs, rather than the fat.

    It can be hard, trying to lose weight when you have low thyroid, so please remember to be kind to yourself :) . As I have read in various thyroid books, if your metabolism is low, then this needs correcting (ie. optimal thyroid treatment) as otherwise it can actually be near impossible to lose weight!! And I think that, certainly for me, my thyroid problem causes me to crave comfort food.

    One thing I have found useful is something called "Beyond Chocolate". It is a 1 day course on how to stop beating yourself up over trying to lose weight. It really changed my attitude to food and I can now enjoy eating again, instead of bring racked with guilt!

  • That course sounds great, CL! I think most of us could do with going on that.

    But... the point about eating more fat is that the fat satisfies you to the point where you Don't need to keep thinking about food and Don't feel tempted to snack. Your breakfast will carry you through to lunch, you lunch til dinner and your dinner through to breakfast again - healthy eating! Therefore, calories counting becomes obsolete.

    Calorie counting is a red Herring, anywyay. We weren't born with a calorie-counter in our hands, we're not supposed to do it. Just eat until we've had enough. But we will have had enough sooner if we eat more fat.

    However, if our T3 is too low, it doesn't matter what we do, we're going to put on fat rather than lose it.

  • Hi Greygoose - totally agree with you. I think the point about fat being more satisfying and therefore meaning that we don't feel the need to eat more (or don't feel deprived) was actually part of the Beyond Chocolate course. Either that, or I've read it somewhere else and "merged" it with the knowledge I got from the course!

    I've totally changed my views on eating, in the last few years, especially since I realised that my weight gain had absolutely NOTHING to do with calorie intake. Before I became really ill, I had a few years where I would put weight on when stressed. My friends would say "ah yes, I eat lots of junk when I'm stressed too" and I would feel very frustrated, because I actually eat LESS when I'm stressed! To which they'd say "yes, it's sometimes easy to eat without realising how much we're eating"......!

    During one very stressful month at work (back in the days when I was still well enough to hold down a job), I put on a stone (14lb), despite eating only soup during that time (because I was too stressed to be able to digest solid food). Then I'd be the same weight for a year or so - and I mean EXACTLY the same weight, even when eating tons of ice cream when on vacations, etc - then something stressful would happen and I'd put on another stone in a short space of time.

    So folks, please listen to the wisdom of Greygoose. Don't deprive yourself of fat, as you will most likely feel hungry all the time. And if you have an untreated (or inadequately treated) thyroid problem, you may find it almost impossible to lose weight.


  • It's more than likely you'll find it almost impossible to lose weight!

    It's actually well-known that stress makes you put on weight. Well, well-known by those that know anything.

  • Hi Barbara, I tend to follow Slimming World for the same reason you do Weight Watchers, to keep me in control. I only have two settings: Dieting or eating like a woman possessed...there are no half measures!

    I eat more carbs now than I have for years and like it that way too. I've read stuff pointing to low carb possibly being the cause of thyroid problems and it could be true in my case as I was low carb off and on for years. I am gluten free and keep dairy and sugar to a minimum and feel I have a pretty good diet-I just need to eat a bit less of it and not expect to lose a stone a month because it's just not going to happen!

  • Isn't 10 stones in 20 months half a stone a month? Not 2 stones a month. Not even a VLCD (very low calorie diet of 500ish calories a day) will give you two stones a month, other (maybe) in the first month. Not that I'm recommending that at all - I'm a veteran of every diet under the sun and completely agree with what Barb says at the top - restricting calories way down will not do the job. It'll work temporarily but not for long. Weight loss isn't about eating less and moving more. The laws of thermodynamics do not apply to human bodies and weight loss - all that happens if you eat less is an overwhelming desire to do less!

    If it's a diet plan of some kind you're after, then I'd recommend checking out Paleo, low carb high fat, or taking a look at Zoe Harcombe's books. She explains why 3,500 calories does not equal a pound!

    Don't give up. We've just all been given the wrong advice for 40 years plus.

  • Oops...Maths was never my strong point! It just proves my hubby doesn't listen to me because he confirmed my calculations, and he's got an A level in it!

    From what I've read it's a mistake to reduce your calorie intake too low and after doing the 5:2 diet and feeling rubbish I can confirm that. Paleo isn't for me, similarly low carb high fat. I feel quite well on what I do now (gluten free, minimal dairy and very few processed foods)...I just need to stop eating so much of it. I'll take a look at Zoe Harcombe-thanks for the tip.

    I'm less despondent than I was yesterday, thank heavens and have just decided that this is going to be a long, hard slog and that I am not going to lose as quickly as "normal" people (hoping I can actually lose that is) .

  • Infomanic, why do you think that taking T3 will make you go back to the crippling depression, constipation and thinning hair? It should be quite the opposite.

    Do you have any recent blood test results to share with us? It really is important to know exactly where you are. It could very well be that your FT3 is very, very low.

    Don't believe all you read in magazines. They print what sells, and that is not necessarily the truth! And, as others have said, forget the diets etc. They aren't going to work because your weight gain isn't due to what you eat, it's due to your lowered metabolism, due to your hypo.

    You are not going wrong anywhere. If anything, your doctor is going wrong by not treating your hypo correctly. I can tell you, when I was doing everything my doctors told me, I put on over 60 kilos. Since I've been treating myself with T3, I've lost about 50. No calorie-counting, no over-exercising. I expect you're on T4 only, aren't you? The problem with that is that we Don't always convert very well to T3, but we can only know that by testing the T4 and T3, which most doctors are too uneducated to do. But that's what we need to know.

    Hugs, Grey

  • Hi Grey, I didn't actually mean that T3 would make that happen, just that I would be very wary about changing my meds just in case I had a setback. I am now feeling more or less normal (other than my weight and hair) and often wonder if just a teeny bit of T3 would get me to 100%. I know T3 seems to be the best thing for loads of people but I still worry as I would hate to go back to the way I was. I don't know if you can understand that?

    I am due at the docs next month for my annual blood test. I have moved house so it's a new practice and I have my fingers crossed that they are more clued up than my last one and will actually test my T3. Yes I am on 100 mcg Levo only and at the last count my T3 was "normal" but at the lower end of the range.

  • Well, there you are then, you have your answer. You need more T3.

    I can understand it to an extent. But when everything else has failed...

  • I know what you're saying Grey and you are probably right but other than my weight, hair and a couple of other niggles, I feel OK at the mo so it is a big risk to me. Helcaster (further down this post) has said she gained weight on T3!

    I'll review the situation in a few weeks when I see if I actually can lose any weight on what I'm doing now and also after I have seen my new GP.

  • OK Good luck.

  • pi127.infusionsoft.com/app/...

    I have the Newsletter from Sara and hopefully you can open this link. It covers hormones and weight loss. Could be interesting.

  • Thanks Marz. I have started watching it but it's very long so will do it a bit at a time :-)

  • ...best way :-)

  • Thanks everyone for your help and advice. I have replied to you all separately or else it would be a very long and boring post!

  • The only way I lost weight recently after gaining on T3, was go almost carbohydrate free and up fats and protein considerably. I liked this diet, I ate more than usual, felt really full and lost 3 lbs in one week, which was like a miracle. But the constipation was terrible and my almost healed anal fissures opened up again so I had to stop I was in so much pain.

    I'm very restricted in what I can eat with interstitial cystitis so for someone who doesn 't have this disease you could eat citrus fruit, grapes berries, extra vegetables to get around the constipation! I was eating a lot of eggs which bunged me up! But I was adding lots of butter, double cream, full fat milk and losing weight! I would definitely recommend it. I must say too I ate virtually no sugar, for me sugar is the enemy.

  • My constipation issues are gone now (the only good thing that's happened with this bloody condition) but I know if I went back to low carb I would be exactly the same as you...bunged up!

  • Hi grey goose you mention about fat and counting calories on myfitnesspal I make sure I hit my recommended nutritional goals of 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein this is where counting calories is working for me

  • I am no advert as have 3stone to loose as currently dealing with a new non thyroid condition the treatment of which is necessary but severe so can't currently exercise. Short term hopefully. However when I was on my game and had ensured my thyroid was optimally treated I used a good reliable step counter - gradually increased my steps to 10,000 a day which involved about an hour to hour and half walking after work -usually took dog. Found it very medicine and a great distressed from work. After a while introduced myself to Nordic walking -uses 90%of the muscles in your body -but can be increased slowly. Maintained good calorie levels but cut out added sugars, & ate some fruit but with meals to stop high sugar rushes & kept protein up but with balanced diet of plenty of veg but only some carb. Worked for me and lost 2 1/2 stone in 6 months. Felt great full of energy. Shame I developed another wretched condition really!! Ah well....

  • Ooh 2 1/2 stone would do me nicely...especially in 6 months :-)

    I walk about an hour every day with my little dog but couldn't do Nordic walking as I'd probably trip myself up with the lead! I must dig out my pedometer though because I know it's spurred me on before.

    I have started doing my own healthy version of Slimming World, which is pretty similar to what you were doing so fingers crossed I get the same results!

    I wish you well with your other condition and hope you're back in the pink ASAP xx

  • Thanx 😊xx I didn't Nordic weak everyday -built up to alternate days as otherwise found too much so on those days left dog behind or short walk 30mins & then 1hour Nordic on those days. I did invest in a couple of training session to learn Nordic walking as its like Pilates it's all in the movement not hard once u know & I liked the fact you can set the intensity to suit you -at the extreme end (not me!!) Olympic skiers use it for summer training but equally suited for people with poor physic or health conditions limiting exercise. 😊 there are also walking groups especially in the south. Plan to get back to all of this once better!! xx

  • And I'm sure you will! x

  • I found dieting a complete waste of time until I was optimally medicated. Once I was on T3 only and a high enough dose I started the 5:2 diet and lost about 2lbs per week. This weight stayed off, mostly, and I lost 24lbs. I now do the odd diet day of 500 calories for the health benefits it brings. I am lucky in that I can eat most things and bake cakes and love cream and milk. I might put on a couple of pounds and do one day and lose it again.

    To illustrate how important it is to be optimally medicated, during my diet time I went through about 3 weeks when I did not lose any weight and indeed put some on. I then found out that the batch of T3 I was using was weak; when I changed the batch the weight came off again at the regular amount.

    Before I knew these things I tried Slimming World - run by a complete ignoramus. When I did not lose any weight she accused me of telling fibs about my eating habits.

    There is a lot of information on the internet about the 5:2 diet.

    Good luck.

  • Hi Penny, I have tried the 5:2 but it wasn't very good for me. I didn't feel great on it and my temperature plummeted to the low 34s so I gave it up.

    I am assuming you didn't have a weight problem pre Thyroid troubles? I have always just needed to look at food and I gain wait so obviously I am up against it.

    Speaking of Slimming World, I joined in Jan 2013 and Jan 2014 but didn't have a great deal of success and it was really demoralising seeing people losing stones while I lost and gained the same 1/2lb! I contacted their head office to see if they could offer any help but I just got fobbed off. I don't t it is a particularly healthy diet but you are encouraged to eat lots (which appeals to me!) and the way I am doing it is healthy so I live in hope :-)

  • Annoyingly I was tall, fit and very slim until my 40s when the hypo. really kicked in. As I am 5'10" tall and stand very straight putting on 3 stones did not really make me fat but definitely rounded. I was not happy being a bit pudgy so I lost 24lbs. It is a mistake when one is older to get too slim and look ill and drawn. One makes a choice between fat and wrinkles.

    A pity about the 5:2 as it has great health benefits.

    Are you sure that you are optimally medicated? I take 175mcg of T3.

  • Where did I go wrong then...I am fat with wrinkles!

    I don't know if I am optimally medicated or not. I am due to have my annual blood test next month so we shall see. I feel OK other than my weight and dodgy hair so maybe things aren't so bad.

  • Bad luck! Seriously, you may need to do some research on this site as I am no expert. What about ferritin, Vit D and Vit B12, to name a few? If you are having nhs blood tests they do not usually test anything other than the tsh - useless.

    According the the nhs I have never been hypothyroid, yet I was diagnosed with a 24-hr urine test privately and have been on medication of 10 years. My tsh, when last tested, was < 0.001, which tends to scare the pants off GPs. As I am on T3 only this is what I would expect as far as tsh goes. Not being able to lose weight and having 'dodgy hair' suggest that something is not right.

  • I'm going to ask for the whole lot to be tested when I go next month. God loves a trier!

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