Thyroid UK
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Advice on weight loss please

Hi all, let me start by saying I don't believe in diets,Weight Watchers, Slimming World etc. Yes people loose weight but I've seen too many pile it back on again!! I know the sensible way for most people is portion control and exercise, but from what I've picked up on here is that we hypos are a bit different. I know we're all different and one thing doesn't work for all. One thing that confuses me is Grey Goose, who is a fount of knowledge, says we hypos need fat in our diet.

What I would like to know is what foods I should be eating to both help my absorbtion/conversion and maybe lose some weight!!

All advice greatly recieved

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Weight gain is the commonest question on this forum, i.e. unexplained weight gain.

It is due to being hypothyroid and may be that you are on an insufficient dose of hormone replacement to increase your metabolism.

Research has also shown that levothyroxine and weight gain are intertwined.

rxisk.org/weight-gain-on-th...

restartmed.com/levothyroxin...

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Greygoose says that EVERYONE needs fat in their diet. Fat is an important nutrient, and eating fat does not make you fat. And, please, do not confuse fat with cholesterol. Most people do, especially doctors! They are two different substances. If you eat fat, it doesn't magically turn into cholesterol in the body. Besides, there's no harm in eating cholesterol, either. It won't have much effect on your levels. Your cholesterol is probably high because your T3 is low, so that the body can't handle cholesterol the way it should, and it mounts up in the blood. But, that's OK, because it won't give you a heart attack or a stroke.

Greygoose also says that portion control isn't going to help when you're hypo. You need more calories, not less. Cut down on your calories, and you cut down on your conversion, thereby making yourself more hypo, and putting on more weight. Because it's not excess calories that have made you put on weight, it's being hypo. Being hypo means that your metabolism is under par, of course, but it also probably means that you have developed a nasty stuff called mucin, that gathers under the skin, and retains water, so your extra weight isn't even body fat! So, how is limiting calories - or 'portion control', which comes to the same thing - going to help you lose it? In fact, you shouldn't even be thinking in terms of calories - except to make sure you get enough.

As for exercise, what does that do? It not only uses up your calories, lowering your conversion and making you more hypo, but it also uses up what little T3 you have, and unless you are taking T3, you will not be able to replace it easily. Which means that you are making yourself more hypo in two ways, because that is the definition of hypo : not enough T3 for you to function properly.

So, what should you eat? Well, a bit of whatever you like, really. There are no super foods. Nothing magical that is going to help with absorption/conversion. You just need good, all-round nutrients. Lots of protein, good fat - and by good fat, I mean animal fat, nut and avocado fats, olive oil - plenty of fresh fruit and veg, some carbs, not to much fibre, and don't skimp on the salt.

But, what you have to remember is that you aren't what you eat, you are what you absorb. And nutrient absorption is usually compromised when you're hypo, because being hypo affects your level of stomach acid. It's usually low. So, it would be a very good idea to get some nutrients tested to see how much you are absorbing : vit D, vit B12, folate, ferritin. Then, you can give the deficiencies a boost with supplements, taking just what you need, in the right quantities, according to the results.

However, what to avoid, depends very much on how your body handles things like dairy and gluten. If you are intolerant to something, don't eat it. If you have high antibodies, gluten-free might help, and it might not. Some people find an autoimmune paleo diet helps, some don't. But, two important things that everybody should avoid, are unfermented soy and seeds oils. Seeds oils because they're highly processed, and the processing they go through really isn't appetising or 'good for you'. Unfermented soy because it affects the absorption of thyroid hormone at a cellular level.

I could probably say a lot more about nutrition, but I don't want to bore you. Besides, I haven't had my breakfast yet. lol And that's another thing, breakfast... Stop! :)

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Excellent explanation. Thank you 😊

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You're welcome. :)

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greygoose, I read posts and replies regularly but I don't reply or comment. However, I have to reply to your comments today on diet/weight loss re hypo. Thank you so much. Brilliant advice and I really look forward to your lengthier reply later because you have given me hope that I am not just over weight because of the usual media and health food hype. I have a very healthy diet most of the time but I admit I'm usually too tired, breathless etc to do much exercise apart from the occasional walk (and of course housework!!) I almost mirror Bootscoot's story. I don't think my GP manages my Hypo very well and I have an appt next week to see him when I'm practically going to beg him for some T3 or at least let him know that I want to source some for myself to give it a try.

I haven't posted my GP blood results or the private ones that I had done, but I will do that later.

Thank you again greygoose. Enjoy your breakfast :)

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Thank you. I did! :)

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Love this reply !!!!! So true and against much of the misleading commercial hype we are bombarded with.

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Thank you. :)

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Thanks Grey Goose. One question, what do you mean by seeds oil? Or am I being thick!!

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Rapeseed, sunflower seed, there are others, I can't remember.

Things like olives and walnuts, you can just press them and the oil comes out. With rapeseed, you really have to work at it to get the oil out, hence all the nasty processing.

I'll find a clearer explanation and post it later. :)

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Thank you. It's so misleading when rapeseed is promoted as one of the healthiest oils!!

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So is soy oil! But, you shouldn't touch that, either. Whenever anything is promoted as 'healthy', ask yourself 'who stands to gain by this?'. It's all about money, not people's health.

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I have some soy oil-based printmaking ink. Best use for it!

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Quite a lot of paints contain soy oil. (Used to work for a paint manufacturer and couldn't help hearing conversations about a 30-tonne load being delivered. Or whatever it was!)

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I didn't know soy was quite widely used in commercial paints, but it shouldn't really surprise me.

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So should we avoid artificial sweetener, and just use sugar?

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Oh, absolutely! Use something natural to sweeten, if not sugar - honey or something - not a bunch of chemicals. Artificial sweeteners are bad for everybody.

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I was told by a very well educated ex science teacher to use rapeseed oil as it’s healthier. I think I’ll forward this to her and give her something to think about.

Btw, I go to Slimming World and so far I’ve lost just over 2 stone in 5 months. So it does work, i’m losing slowly because I’m hypo but it’s better than adding more and more on each month.

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I didn't say it doesn't work, people certainly lose weight. Why I don't believe in then is that all the people I know that have gone and lost weight have put it all back on and more since they stopped!!!

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I can understand that, I’ve done it before but this time it’s more a lifestyle change than a temporary diet change.

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Good luck

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I wish I could give this more likes lol and you a big slap on the back. I’m sick to death of hearing “eat less and move more” as some universal panacea for weight loss. I’ve been overweight for 30 years or more and I’ve tried pretty much every eating pattern that wasn’t outright faddy. I’m still fat, I eat fat, I don’t calorie count, I try to avoid most carbs, plenty of fresh veg, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, double cream, organic where possible/available etc. and occasional fasting.

Are you suggesting to avoid breakfast there?

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Oh, sorry, no! I'm a big fan of breakfast. A high protein breakfast when you get up is the best thing you can do for your adrenals. I'm not a fan of fasting.

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It’s pretty much the only time I lose any weight lol. I don’t do it often, maybe once a week. Curiously I seldom get hungry, I eat because I like food and we have to lol but I could go all day with nothing because I don’t have any craving for foods at all.

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Yes, I know what you mean. But I don't think fasting is good for hypos. Just a little something...

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May be that your metabolic rate is very low. Your body and cells are working only on gear one, this means your energy production is very low. If you want to lose weight and feel the best you can you need you get your body and cells going. The diet graygoose recommended is a good support. If you want to find out what your metabolic rate is you take your morning, midday and evening temperature and pulse. Optimal temp should be around 37C and pulse 70-85..😊

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My pulse varies but resting is usually in the low 50s and when I kept a temperature chart, in 3 weeks I made 37 only twice and never in the morning. Mostly between 36 and lower. Of course I’m not officially hypothyroid lol. I try to stick to a ketogenic diet but I’m not entirely successful. I only eat twice a day and enough but not huge portions.

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If you want your metabolism to get going you need carbs along the good fat.

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Something to read about the effects of low carb diets.

functionalps.com/blog/2010/...

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Thanks for the link, there’s some interesting if quite technical articles there, a lot of videos too on which I find it difficult to stay focused, I prefer to read text. There are in general so many contradictory theories that it’s difficult to be sure which way to jump when it comes to structuring your own nutrition.

I found this article by Ray Peat, supports the assertion that hypothyroids need some carbs - functionalps.com/blog/2012/...

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Why the keto diet? Here an interesting discussion on KD and effect on thyroids.

raypeatforum.com/community/...

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Like I said, choosing a “diet” is beset with problems, everyone pushes their own and believes it’s right. There are frequent conflicts aren’t there and one “expert” contradicting another. Who to believe?

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I think you are on the safe side when you listen to scientific research on understanding the biochemistry of how the body works. Then you can try to apply the knowledge to your individual situation and through trial and error find what is best for you. Ready wonder diets without the understanding of the mechanisms of action, can infact do more bad than good.

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May I ask, what does it mean if your temperature is always low? 35/35.5 *c?

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It means that your cell metabolism is sluggish, that you most propably have hypothyroidism. In a healthy body the generation of energy for the cells to be used optimally, body temp around 37c. You can support your cell respiration with a good diet where carbs and proteins are central and where you keep away from Pufas ( polyunsaturated fats) as well as grains, legumes and cruciferious vegetables. Often to get faster results small dose of T3 needed and also topical natural progesterone

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Thank you, I am hypo, have been since I was in my teens, tsh is usually 0.1/0.2 but no idea what my other numbers are as they don’t test for them here but I have just started taking t3 with the guidance of the amazing Greygoose 😉. Just waiting on my next set of blood results at the beginning of Nov and will start a new post with them for advice. So stay away from grains, legumes and cruciferous vegetables? Just making sure I’m reading that right! Would that also explain why I’m cold to the bone most of the time and cold wind physically hurts? Sorry for so many questions!

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When your cell respiration is low it means that energy produced by your body to keep temperature is not sufficient. Sugar,thyroid and protiens regulate body temperature. A diet that supports thyroid function is therefore important.

I used to be like you, cold all the time, but with right diet have corrected this.

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A really good one👍🏻would only add supplementing with natural progesterone😊

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Well, that doesn't come under the heading 'food/diet', though, does it.

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If you want to get your metabolic rate up then in a way it does matter. Ecess estrogen hinders many metabolic processes and is actually seen as one of the main culprits in AI and chronic inflammation by many scientists. It's not only food that matters just as important how your body handles it, as you said, and here is where hormons come in.

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OK, but you can't just advise people to take progesterone. She would at least have to get tested first. And, it doesn't answer her question, which was : what should I and shouldn't I eat? Which was the question I was answering.

One step at a time, I always say. Don't make things more complicated than they already are. We don't know the level of the OP's understanding of all this, and you could just confuse her unnecessarily. :)

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I am wearing .025 estrogen patch and stopped taking 100 mg. of progesterone. I am post menopausal. Would the progesterone help increase my metabolism?

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Yes it would. The use of estrogen therapy for postmenopausal symptoms is very contraversial. Many scientists of the opinion that progesterone supplementation the way to go. Estrogen has shown to have many negative effects in our bodies . Among other things decreases thyroid function. Here a link you may find informative.

raypeat.com/articles/aging/...

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Thank you. I will probably go back on my progesterone especially to avoid uterine cancer.

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Thanks for that Greygoose. I'd read about avoiding too much soy but didn't realise it's unfermented soy we should avoid. ☺

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Yes, unfermented you shouldn't eat at all, in any form. And fermented soy just as a condiment, not a main meal. The Japanese just use it as a condiment.

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greygoose

All I can say is WOW !!!!! THANK YOU ....WELL SAID .... Patients are under the wrong impression that the right fats is no good when infect our brain heart and skin etc. thrive on the good fats . Weight loss depends on good fat too .Cholesterol is not poison our body must have it for our hormones and more . Please do not listen to BIG PHARMA who try to shove down peoples throat anti cholesterol pills . Now that will most defiantly harm you .

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Thing is, for us hypos it's counter-intuitive. Weight goes on, one thinks, but I must exercise, diet, cut out fat, etc. Only you most definitely should NOT do any of that. Greygoose has summed it up nicely. :)

Personally I found going gluten free resulted in my weight starting to slowly reduce, without me even trying. I do no exercise, I've a bad back and cannot. But over 18 months I've lost 14 kg! Bonus: my HbA1c plummeted from near pre-diabetic 40 to a healthy 33!

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Thank you everyone, got lots to think about.

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I find what makes the most difference for me is eating a lot of vegetables with my evening meal... and I mean A LOT! Have dinner fairly early if you can manage it - around 6pm, and sitting at a table not in front of the TV. There is evidence that people who concentrate on what they are eating rather than the TV etc weigh less - then have a little snack around 9pm. It keeps my digestive system ticking over during the night, and generally results in a top notch bowel movement in the morning (TMI!?), especially if I have a couple of hot drinks an hour after my Levo in the morning.

Being generally active helps too. I exercise a lot, because I like it, and because it make me feel good, but I know that's not the case for everyone, so perhaps a stroll after dinner would be beneficial.

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I wholeheartedly support Greygoose's advice. I would also add that it isn't instant. Most 'diets' claim rapid weightloss within a few days, water weight that quickly goes back on again. My story is pretty familiar I think, even after being on T3 only for a few year & sorting out various iron and vitamin deficiencies I was still badly overweight. The overlooked thing is the hunger! I never felt full, always ravenous, presumably because I was deficient in nutrients.

Hemp oil was the trigger for me to lose that hunger. I now feel full before my plate is cleared (this is an unknown and quite scary for me at first) and I am starting to lose weight. I don't know how much, I threw the scales away, but my clothes are too big and recent holiday photos show a face that has some definition, unlike the bloated moonface on my passport from a year ago. Hemp oil also seems responsible for clearing up the pustular psoriasis that made my feet ugly and painful for years no matter what I did. My husband, who has chronic health issues also used hemp oil now and is really impressed. He is normally quite cynical about supplements etc.

I have been gluten free for several years and feel better for that, although it didn't help with weight loss. I am also as sugar free as I can be because I started having episodes of reactive hypoglycaemia (repeated tests showed no sign of diabetes).

I eat lots of vegetables, pulses, seeds, small amounts of good quality meat and fruit that isn't too sweet. Lots of modern fruit tastes like pure sugar. This has helped enormously.

As a result I have more energy than I did ten years ago and therefore move more. It feels like that downward spiral is reversing.

During the worst times, telling me to move more was just pure cruelty, when going upstairs felt like the challenge of a lifetime. When your body is healthy it wants to move.

I am still overweight, but I don't feel or look bloated like I did before. I was despairing for many years.

I am finding that the advice 'everything in moderation' sucks for me. 'treats' set me back really badly and sugar seems to be my worst enemy, so now I try to treat myself to better quality food and I do really enjoy it.

We are all different, what works for me won't work for everyone, but I hope my experience might work for some of you.

Look after yourselves and be patient.

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