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Thyroid UK
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Good Weight Loss on Levothyroxine

My TSH was in the hundreds at the end of June, 2016. I was very late diagnosed and put on 100mcg levo, starting 2nd July 2016. I am now on 200mcg. My weight had shot up from 10st to 18st 7lb. I am 5' 4. I looked and felt dreadful, and had all the classic exhausting symptoms of hypothyroidism.

One year and three weeks later I weigh 12st. I watch what I eat and keep amounts small to moderate. I'm vegetarian but still manage to eat low carb. I add coconut oil and cream to coffee as healthy fats help weight loss. They also make meals more satisfying so no hunger afterwards.

I do have treats but limit them. I shouldn't eat sugar but occasionally do. At present I am on a quest to get to 11st 7lb so sugar and junk are OUT. I'm no angel, I love food, but I am determined to get back to 10st and maintain for a while, then maybe lose a bit more. Will see how I look/feel.

Levothyroxine has been a Godsend to me and to two close friends who like me are recovering well and deeply grateful for every improvement. Without levo I would never have seen such a profound change for the better xx

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Congrats, that is so inspiring to hear. I am also 5' 4' and now weight 18st 12 and feel rubbish. I have just been diagnosed although I am no where near as bad as you were, I just have subclinical Hashi and so only have a 50mg start dose of Levo. It's just so nice to hear that someone can lose the the weight again. I'm only a week into the Levo and I have cut right back on my drinking, am trying to eat more fruit and veg and got myself a food tracker calorie counter app. No loss in week 1 and I was a bit down about that but I shall stick with it a while longer after reading this.

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You could hardly expect to lose weight after one week on 50 mcg levo. It takes at least six weeks to be completely absorbed and synthesized by your body. Levo is T4, which is a storage hormone, and it has to be converted into T3. It's low T3 that causes symptoms like weight-gain. And, you're probably going to need several increases in dose before you get to a dose that gives you enough T3 to be well.

You shouldn't really be dieting at this stage, because low calorie diets negatively impact conversion, and make you more hypo. You need plenty of calories for conversion. :)

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Thank you for relpying but should I not be trying to cut down yet even? It's aimed at a pound a week which for my size is 1800 calories a day, not a strict low cal low fat regime. I just want to feel better and thought it would help. This is all so confusing, eat to lose weight!

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Because you're hypo. And when you're hypo, all the normal rules fly out the window. Your metabolism is no-longer the same.

No, you should not be TRYING to cut down. Your weight-gain wasn't caused by eating too much or not exercising enough, despite what ignorant doctors might say. Your weight-gain was caused by being hypo - i.e. having low levels of T3. So, the 'cure' is to stop being hypo - i.e. raise your T3 levels. And you won't do that by reducing your conversion, will you?

Of course you just want to feel better. We all just want to feel better. No-one wants to feel like this, to be fat and bald! But there's a right way to go about it, and there's a wrong way. Hypo weight-gain probably isn't even fat, it's a substance called 'mucin', which retains water. Dieting isn't going to get rid of that.

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Thank you so for for lifting my spirit up... i am currently on 25mcg and still feel the zombie-effect, hair loss and muscle pain. I think im underdose.

My doctor is too ignorant to increase my dose because she relies so much on my lab result which is very contrary to how my body is feeling. Is it okay if i double the dose of my 25mcg so that i can get 50mcg?

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25 mcg isn't even a starter dose! You should have been retested after 6 weeks and your dose increased to 50. How long have you been on 25 mcg? Your doctor certainly is ignorant!

Why don't you post your results on a new post and let people have a look at them, see what's been tested and what the results were - with ranges, of course. Your doctor is probably only testing the TSH, which is very, very wrong!

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I'd struggled to lose the relentless gains for nearly seven years. I felt utterly defeated, hopeless, ill and depressed. Ached everywhere of course, couldn't sleep but had to lie down all day with exhaustion,etc. The whole hypo nine yards.

Weight gain is probably the most asked-about topic because we are terrified that we will never lose the surplus. My best advice - quit sugar and, if you can, bread. Give your body a fair chance to soak up the welcome levo and start to repair your damaged metabolism. Patience really is a virtue. You've finally started treatment and over time you should see remarkable improvements in every area, not just weight. But we hate that fat ha ha. I was terrified that I'd continue to gain. Eating the right foods for you, and not starving (important!). Over time you'll learn which foods work best for weight loss and for your lifestyle.

Don't despair! Good luck xx

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Thanks. I have yoyo'd for years too, every loss was not maintainable and I would end up bigger than when I started every time. I piled on such a lot lately that very few of my clothes still fit, the swelling feet mean my shoes don't fit. So yes the weight is high on my list after relieving the fatigue, foggy brain and aches and pains. I don't add sugar to anything but it's in so many foods that I eat giving it up would not be easy, I need to ease into that.

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Hi AngieAsh.

Please don't be too concerned after no weight loss in one week. If you stick with it, reduced calorie (1000 - 1200 calories a day) healthy eating diet and gradually increase exercise eg walking, swimming then the weight will come off a little at a time. So best to check weight every fortnight. X

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Yes, levo has its good points when the Endocrinologists permit doses which suit the patients and do not go by the TSH alone. You will be delighted with your weight loss as it is a clinical symptom of hypothyroidism as we don't have sufficient thyroid hormones being produced which causes unexplained weight gain initially. Levothyroxine increases metabolism. Weight gain is one of the commonest questions.

I also know someone who, for thirty years has gained an enormous amount of weight which she hated and was always on diets and then weight was gained again. The blame seemed to be put on her as 'eating too much".

Last year her Endo increased her dose of levo and without dieting she was losing kilos until the next appointment when dose was decreased and weight returned.

Would you not think that the endo should have realised her patient lost weight because she was on an optimum dose of levo rather than reduce dose due to the TSH alone at the next blood test!. So many Endos only want the TSH is one area without looking at the bigger picture - she used her reliance to look upon the TSH alone and not the patient's benefit on a higher dose.

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I ended up begging my GP for tests. I was hugely fat and bone-weary. I assured him I was not an indulgent eater and that cutting back to very little food was making me gain even more!

Bless him, he believed me. My last visit to the surgery had been eight years before, and I'd weighed 11st 8lb. (I was dieting severely then, too, and gaining). He ordered a battery of blood tests. Sure enough ten days later he called to say I was hypothyroid and must start levothyroxine treatment immediately.

He looked at my swollen form with a practised eye. Your eventual dose will probably be 200mcg, he said. Once you're on the right dose your weight will start to fall and the other symptoms lessen and perhaps go away entirely.

Well I still have many symptoms, tiredness and lack of stamina in particular, but I'm much better in most respects. I eat good stuff and I take the vitamins and minerals we patients really need.

I write this knowing that, alas, a fair proportion of people do badly on levothyroxine. It must be truly awful to be prescribed a hormone replacement that works for most but not for you xx

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I think you need an up-to-date blood test. The earliest possible, fasting and allow 24 hours between last dose of levo and test and take afterwards.

It would be good if GP could do all of the following. Those he or lab wont do you could have privately from a recommended lab.

TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, Free T4 and thyroid antibodies.

B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

Get a print-out with the ranges and post on a new question.

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I had another blood test in January and have been prescribed 25mcg more per day - so, 225mcg. I have a feeling that this won't be enough but I understand that increases need to be added slowly. I've regained weight - 16lb over five months - and my hair is falling out again. The regrowth on legs and arms is almost completely gone too. I'm exhausted and have muscle pain and back pain.

I will take the increase for 4-6 weeks and if my symptoms do not improve I will ask for another blood test. I'm surprised to learn that even a comparatively small amount of added levo can make a considerable difference. I hope this will be the case for me x

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I agree I have lost weight -around 4 stone in the last year but only with the use of a fitness tracker on line and a food diary also a TSH of around 1and I was worried that my doctor would reduce the dose but she hasnt so far. I am very carefull when I am due to have a blood test and follow the advise on here about what to do to get a good reading. It is also good to have a goal like old clothes you used to get into. Good luck!

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That's fantastic well done you. I had my dose upped to 75mcg 6 weeks ago and in the last 2 weeks have lost nearly a stone. 😄

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Congrats to you too Dolly.

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Brilliant, Dolly. Doesn't it feel wonderful! Fills you with hope.

I started to lose weight and lots of water the first few weeks (starting dose 100mcg). I know from being a member here that starving on low calorie food is unwise. I was determined to follow good advice so I take all the main supplements recommended here. Even so my weight loss sped-up considerably when I was finally prescribed 200mcg. My GP is great. He increased my dosage gradually from 100mcg. It takes time for our bodies to fully absorb the levo and for us to benefit from that. There are no shortcuts LOL.

My weight loss has not been linear. I can go several weeks without losing, then suddenly drop 3-5lb. I'm eating an average of 1400 calories per day, never less than 1200. Low Fat diets are old hat likewise diets high in carbs. Both may slow down or stall weight loss in hypos. I starved for years desperately trying to lose a ton of weight gained by means other than overeating! The thyroid disease caused the gain. Feed your body quality food, with occasional treats. Life is for living, after all. Don't eat too little as this is often counter-productive. Bear in mind that we are also trying to rebuild muscle and bone strength and density lost while we were so ill.

You don't have to live on salad! Try Low GI eating if low carb is too hard. Whatever you do, don't give up. Be patient, nourish yourself and forgive blips and slips. We are human! We yearn to regain our health, and we very much want to help our bodies shed the extra weight xx

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**A Further Update**

Since taking the extra 25mcg levo daily (total 225mcg per day) my weight is starting to fall again. I am at the same time 'doing' vegetarian high fat/low carb'. It works! I've lost 5lb and now have a further 11lb to lose to get back to where I was before Christmas. The rest will be lost more slowly but that's fine.

I should add here that I am taking extra levothyroxine privately. I had a wee stash which I am using as an experiment!

Since I had many wearying hypo symptom recurrences as I regained weight I was hoping that my GP might prescribe an increase. He did, but a second GP - despite the blood test results - overruled him xx

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