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Thyroid UK
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BTF opinion on weight gain on hypothyroidism and treatment

Since much of the weight gain in hypothyroidism is accumulation in salt and water, when the hypothyroidism is treated one can expect a small (usually less than 10% of body weight) weight loss. As in the treatment with hyperthyroidism, treatment of the abnormal state of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone should result in a return of body weight to what it was before the hypothyroidism developed. However, since hypothyroidism usually develops over a long period of time, it is fairly common to find that there is no significant weight loss after successful treatment of hypothyroidism. Again, if all of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism, with the exception of weight gain, are resolved with treatment with thyroid hormone, it is less likely that the weight gain is solely due to the thyroid. Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels have returned to the normal range of thyroid hormone, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.

Here we witness so many non sequiturs that it is difficult to contain them. First:

1) As in the treatment with hyperthyroidism, treatment of the abnormal state of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone should result in a return of body weight to what it was before the hypothyroidism developed.

2) However, since hypothyroidism usually develops over a long period of time, it is fairly common to find that there is no significant weight loss after successful treatment of hypothyroidism.

3) Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels have returned to the normal range of thyroid hormone, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.

Well, first of all, items 1 and 2 contradict each other and contradict item 3. Secondly, in item 3 only when an individual has re-attained the thyroid hormone levels (FT3 essentially) suitable for them in treatment can that statement hold. The shoehorn approach defines success - therefore if you don't lose weight it's your fault. This series of implausible statements is hard to beat.

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Hehe! Very good find. I've had experiences like this in endocrinology appointments before:

You need to do more exercise.

Oh, I do quite a lot of exercise.

You're obviously doing too much exercise!

I've also heard limits on how much weight you can gain by being hypothyroid. Something ridiculously low like half a stone. Personally, with no thyroid, I've gained about a stone every time I've been off all hormone for RAI. Twice this has been over a ten day period, which is supposed to be impossible weight gain.

They are struggling to define things, with no evidence, in ways that fit into their already ridiculous models!

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Agree. One stone on before RAI. Stuck two fingers up at the world and did a marathon!! Not a single gram lost in all the training. Most first time runners training lose a stone or more without trying!!! Was strictly rigorous with food nothing lost!! Must be my fault!!!😜

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Congratulations on the marathon! That's an amazing achievement!

The best I've managed is shuffle waking through a 5k walk. I got to chat to a lot of police motorbike riders and organisers from the council, while they kept all the roads closed an hour longer than they'd been expecting. Embarrassing and defiant in equal measure as I walked over the fly over all alone! Am thinking of going back for the next one in the spring, tho ;)

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Thanks. Never again. 😀 no matter how fast you go it’s still 5km. It’s hard as I’d only started running a year before my accidental cancer diagnosis. Keep walking on.

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One endo told me categorically that you would only gain four kilos when hypo, not a gram more. But, he could explain how he arrived at that nice, round number!

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Hehe! I'm glad to hear you gave him the GG treatment and pinned him down on it :)

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Not as much as I would have liked to, I was feeling too ill at that point. It had taken me over two hours to get to see him - bus, train, metro, bus, with copious walking in between - another hour's wait in the waiting room, and all he wanted to talk about was my weight! And he was going on and on about x number of birthday parties per year, involving x helpings of cake and ice cream multiplied by x number of calories... And all I could think was I don't like ice cream and I want to go homeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

But it wasn't all a waste of time because he did give me T3. He said it wouldn't do me any good, but I could have it if I wanted. Well, I wasn't going to argue with that! lol

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Hehe! I'd like to go to a lot of birthday parties every year and eat cake and ice cream at all of them :)

Sorry to hear you couldn't give him the dressing down he deserved, but good to hear about getting T3!

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Yeah, swings and round-abouts, you win some, you lose some. lol

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Yeah was he sure it wasn't 4.357kg?

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Never thought to ask that. :(

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I don't know who wrote it but I'd like to dare them to try living without a thyroid for years and years and be given poor quality, inadequate NHS Levothyroxine for more than 10 years, as happened toamy of us, and see what happens.

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I read that & thought it contradicted itself & was a load of rubbish!

I’ve always been petite & skinny until I was diagnosed & despite good diet & excersise I cannot get back to my old weight. I’m 1stone 8ibs heavier. Now I know I’m older but I think I should be able to loose at least a pound or 2 a week when I’m eating right & doing 5 gym classes ranging from yoga to circuits a week! I’m lucky to lose a 1b every 2/3 weeks but it comes back on if I eat 1 wrong thing or am eating right but not doing all my classes!

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Hi Kateefc

When you said that if you eat 1 thing wrong it comes back on (weight), I’m just the same, it’s like a game with my weight and me at the moment.

I’ve got Hashimoto’s, and looking back this is how my weights has been for many years.

It’s only recently as my symptoms have got worse and been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s that I’ve recognised this and made the connection.

I go to they gym, step classes, body attack, core and stretch, weights and my weights up abs down, if I eat one thing off my normal eating habits, my body hates it and weight piles on.

I posted this information below on someone else that is struggling with weight.

I was recommended Dr Barry Peatfield book (your thyroid and how to keep it healthy) he says to limit carbohydrates to less than 60 grams daily, but, no less than 40 grams, eat any less and this may result in a headache.

Pay attention to vitamin B complex and take 1-2 grams of vitamin C per day.

He calls refined carbohydrates the great enemy.

Refined carbohydrates are: sugar, bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta, white rice, most fruit juices, fizzy drinks, (not diet ones but no good as chemical laden) cereals and jams.

Bread must be carefully watched.

Best wishes

Peanut31

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Horrible isn’t it!

I’ve not read his book but I follow the low carb no sugar rule when I’m eating right.

I’m petite in height & bones (my petite 9 year old is up to the top of my shoulders!) & my calories a day are supposed to be 800 which I manage to do by eating right & that amount of calories is based on my size as per many specialists.

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Oh how my husband would wish it was true

No matter what he tries including 30 mins on an exercise bike every morning and a very careful diet even with perfect results on 5 grains of NDT for over 12 years he cannot loose weight

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I have been able to lose weight with hashimotos. I am on nature-throid 1 1/2 grains and put on about 5 stone over the past 15 years. The only way I can lose weight is to cut carbs. I don't eat carbs at lunch time and count calories, 1480 cal a day which has enabled me to lose 3 stone up to now. It is really really hard though as I can't exercise much either and have a terribly sweet tooth and I comfort eat when stressed...which is normally all the time! Hate the way my body doesn't do what it used to. Catlover3

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In most areas of science if the results don't fit your theory. Your theory needs more work.

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Hehe! In most areas of science! Hahaha! :)

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Sorry, Greybeard63 just seen this might read as being rude. I just meant to say your comment made me laugh. Maybe it's not meant to be a joke, though :p

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😁😁😁

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I think the issues that lead to weight gain are very complexand hypothyroidism isnotthe only cause so it would make sense to me that someone could be having great treatment for being hypo and still overweight.

The NHS and lots of health professionals in both the conventional and alternative branches encourage and endorse abnormal disorderred eating that will lead to weight issues.

There are also unrealistic weight goals. People who are overweight in the BMI charts in longevitystudies live longer and tend to be healthier than those in the slim group and they live much longer than those who are thin who have a higher mortality than the obese.

I think thedrive to encouragewomen especially to be thin is the unconcious desire todisempower women ( thinness appearing weaker and frailer)

The mistake most peoplemake when they tryto lose weight is to undereat. To lose weight effectively and long term you need to eat about the same numberof calories as you use up. It isa strange phenomonen but if a previously anorexic person starts to eat a normal amount amount of food they gain weight untillthey become the right weight for themselves. The reverse is also true an obese person needs to eat a normal amount(NOT LESS) to become a normal size. Being as not many people know this those who have struggled with weight for what ever reason havelost sight of howto eat normally and it can be quite a journey to fix. I would imagine that having being diagnosed as hypo there might well be a tendancyto overeat for a while having been undereating to try to mange weight prior to diagnoses. People who undereat almost always rebound.So after diagnoses they feel the medication snot workinginterm s of weight loss so resort to the old dieting game which leads to weight gain again. Also thegoal of losing 1 or 2 pounds a week is unrealistic. 1 or 2 pounds a month is reasonable.

I also doubt the authors of these rather contradictory statements have allowed theoverweight people they are talking about the full rangeof treatments available. I have tried many different treatments for my hypo and after 4 or more years I seem to havefound a goodcombination of 25ug of T3 and 150mg of thyro gold as well as metformin andam now losing weight andwell as being free of some nasty nerological symptoms but it has been much trial and error to get there. Iam also developing muscle which seesm very strange forsomeone who can do very little excersice these days.I can actaully see muscle in my legs and arms.

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Mandyjane, I agree with everything you've said about weight loss, especially that tending towards recommending being skinny for women is to dos empower women.

I couldn't believe it during the London Olympics when there were articles in the press saying "Even though our female athletes don't have conventionally attractive bodies, we can still find a way to see them as attractive! Look at our photos!"

WHAAAT?! I thought these were the bodies we were being told to have? But turns out that as well as being very slim they were too muscular and strong looking! Horrifying!

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I don't actually know, but feel that whilst I initially lost about a stone, in a month, when I initially started on T4/3 combi, I did not lose any more. Even when I went onto T3 only. Weight remained the same, too much but the same! I know my adrenals were compromised from years of poor thyroid health treatment and server bouts of stress. It was only after about 3 years on T3 only, and with stress abated, that I found it easy to lose weight, through a group. I lost 4 st in 11 months and did not find it hard. However, the dreaded stress revisited, and weight gain became a problem again.

I honestly think that unless your medication is optimal and stable, losing weight is a nigh on impossibility. Stress impacts on metabolism and how your body processes meds, so it is going to have affect from from both aspects. Weight loss or gain, in diagnosing health conditions is quite common. It is not exclusive to thyroid health.

What I don't understand is that there are many other AI conditions linked to thyroid health, that is a known. Check out all these AI conditions on Google or medical publications and see that thyroid problems might be a precursor to 'another' AI condition, yet when people are left with symptoms, including excessive weight gain, Dr's don't think to check if anything else going on...and long as the TSH is in the right place for them to tick the box - job done.

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I take 60mcgs of Liothyronine a day and find it ridiculously hard to lose weight. I’ve been on an 1100 cal a day diet for the last seven weeks and have lost a grand total of two pounds. 😟

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I sympathise. I'm currently on 106.25 mcg liothyronine to overcome partial peripheral resistance to thyroid hormone, and I am still struggling to stop gaining weight, never mind lose it.

Some years ago, I gradually slimmed down after I'd raised T3 to a much higher supraphysiological dose than the current (under medical supervision, I hasten to add), but then menopause hit. In three months I gained 16 pounds and then stabilised.

I gained another 28 pounds very rapidly a year ago, but discovered that my blood glucose and fasting insulin were far too high, so it seems that metabolic syndrome is to blame. I'm gradually bringing down these measures with a very strict low carb diet, but it's a sloooow business. Metabolic syndrome creeps up on you, so it might be worth investigating in your case.

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Thanks for your post, Hillwoman. It’s a bugger, isn’t it? I’ve been active all my adult life... long distance walking, rock and ice climbing, going to the gym. Then Hashimoto’s hits and all goes to jack sh*t! I’ll certainly investigate the metabolic syndrome idea. X

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I don't know your age, but something I came across in my reading on diabetes and metabolic syndrome last year was an explanation of how exercise can actually be detrimental to weight loss in the postmenopausal woman. It's in Gary Taubes's book, 'Why We Get Fat'. Rather complicated to explain here, but if you can get hold of it, it's well worth a read. He's the only writer I've come across in this area who bothers to explain the science behind the struggles of middle-aged women to lose weight.

I grew up next to open moorland and was always a keen walker and hiker (min. 10 miles daily), though I've never had the build for climbing. Even when I lived in London in my twenties, I used to break up the daily commute by walking part of the way. Colleagues thought I was mad. :-D I live in the country now, but I content myself now with the view from the rear of my house and drives out when I can manage.

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I’ve just turned 58 and definitely post-menopausal. I’ll certainly have a look at Gary Taubes’ book. It would certainly explain a lot.

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Thanks diogenes.

Just take one phrase:

...thyroid hormone levels have returned to the normal range...

Just how would they know that was the case? They rely almost exclusively on the TSH test. Sometimes FT4 is tested. Very rarely is FT3 tested. Yet they have the AUDACITY a) to refer to thyroid hormone; b) to use the plural "levels".

Then add all the arguments about what constitutes "normal".

They also fall into the entirely false assumption that once the thyroid hormone levels have returned to normal levels, they will STAY returned there. Despite woefully inadequate management and prescribing - most especially removal of prescribed T3.

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Depressing :(

As you say, it's a terrible cheek to even talk about levelS!

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And, of course there is the assumption that having so-called 'normal' levels of thyroid hormones in the blood - even FT3 - means that Hypothyroidism has been successfully treated.

Free T3 and Free T4 only give the level of hormones that are available.

In the absence of a way to measure the uptake of T3 in each of the body's organs, it has to be symptoms and not blood test results that will be the ultimate arbiter on whether Hypothyroidism has been successfully treated.

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The BTF statement also makes no mention of other effects on metabolism in the typical hypothyroid patient: advancing age, and in women, the post-menopausal state; or the increased risk of so-called metabolic syndrome, leading to hyperinsulinaemia and consequent weight gain, with or without type 2 diabetes.

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Any environmental factor leading malfunction. And then there is genetic aspect you can't change. For example kids whose mom smoked during pregnancy or was altered to any type of chemicals that affects the size of fat cells.

Nature has a way to compensate things going wrong during pregnancy. Like smoking causes low birth weight but it is compensated with bigger fat cells in order to make sure you stay alive. That's something you can't change. So it leads to easier weight gain later in life. Always.

Other chemicals? Studies done with mice indicate that chemicals cause long term harm which can be passed from 1st generation to 4th generation without 2nd and 3rd generation alteration to that subject. So the next generation borns fatter with fatty liver.

So environmental impact is one thing we cannot do much at the moment. Most of us already have been altered to loads of nasty stuff and that affects us.

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Yes and things like antibiotics that have been used to fatten animals for generations as well as I think car pollution. If itisbeing found to cause strokes and heart problems Iwould say it is a safe bet that it effects fat metabolism as well.

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I agree. Environmental impact is huge factor in wellbeing, anything affecting us negatively can cause various health issues obesity being one of them. Obesity is very expensive to society but it isn't just about one eating too much. It's impossible as it would mean most would just suffer from over eating.

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Interesting points, Justiina.

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Complete hogwash like a lot of BTF statements!

Is there anyone there that has any idea at all?!

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Yes we do on this forum.

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Sigh.....

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After my thyroid was removed in 2015 I was put onto Levo. Before this I was never on any medication it not only made me feel ill I put on 10 lbs in weight in just a few months. I had never been overweight in my life. After 6/7 months I joined this site and started myself on NDT. I gradually increased to 3 grains per day after 10 months or so.

My point is I lost all of the 10 lbs but when I was on 3 grains per day my weight dropped to only 9st 4 lbs I am 5 ft 8 inches tall

I am now on 2 grains per day and back to my normal 9st 10 lbs which I have been for 50 of my adult years.

Is the weight increase due to medication or lack of it?

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I have read this and the theory on how much weight should be gained or not when diagnosed with thyroid disease. I already had a autoimmune relapsing and remitting chronic condition when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and severe Hypothyroidism last July. I had just managed to lose four stone gained while on high dose steroids so was concerned about regaining the weight when my thyroid condition was diagnosed especially as I am not able to do much exercise ( only walking and Pilates exercises set by my physio ). However I have continued to follow the slimming world healthy eating plan and have only gained 8 pounds and I’m managing to maintain my weight at 11 stone ( which is a healthy weight for my 5ft 9inch frame)despite not yet being optimal on Levo. Still have the six weekly blood tests and adjustment of Levo

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And don't forget heavy metals like mercury in our fillings....

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