Gaining weight despite taking meds: Hi, I was... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

111,197 members129,236 posts

Gaining weight despite taking meds


Hi, I was diagnosed with hashimoto's hypothyroidism a little over a year ago. On Levothyroxine 100mcg and liothyronine 5mcg I gained 25lbs between Sept 2017 and March 2018. In the beginning of April I had my Endo Appt, she told me my numbers were "normal" and that my weight gain couldn't possibly be from my thyroid (insert eye roll). So she upped my Levothyroxine to 112 mcg but I am still gaining weight. I am currently the heaviest I've been in my life including when I was 9 months pregnant. I'm so frustrated and hate looking in the mirror.

10 Replies

Have you had vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested?

Always get actual results and ranges. Post results if/when you have them, members can advise

Hashimoto's very often affects the gut and leads to low stomach acid and then low vitamin levels

Low vitamin levels can affect Thyroid hormone working

Poor gut function can lead leaky gut (literally holes in gut wall) this can cause food intolerances. Most common by far is gluten.

According to Izabella Wentz the Thyroid Pharmacist approx 5% with Hashimoto's are coeliac, but over 80% find gluten free diet helps significantly. Either due to direct gluten intolerance (no test available) or due to leaky gut and gluten causing molecular mimicry (see Amy Myers link)

Changing to a strictly gluten free diet may help reduce symptoms, help gut heal and slowly lower TPO antibodies

Ideally ask GP for coeliac blood test first. You do not need to have any gut symptoms to still have problems with gluten

I have noticed I feel better (not full and Bloated) when I refrain from eating gluten. I have blood work scheduled for next month in which I had My Endo include testing for celiacs. I think it may be time to go back to Paleo.

This happened to me some years ago. Three stone in two years on various doses of T3 only and an endo had no clue. Dumped the T3 and the weight gain stabilised, although I wasn’t very well. Once I got on Levo and on a sensible dose, I think it was 125mcg, it started to come off, but I’ve never shifted the last stone.

I suspect your meds need tweaking. Do you have any results to share?


Have you had other hormone levels checked, for instance insulin and blood glucose levels? Despite so called optimal thyroid hormone levels, on NDT on top of it, I kept gaining weight, and retained so much fluid I looked like a balloon. When I looked at pictures taken back then, I prefer to turn away because I simply cannot stand to look at myself...

I then stumbled upon an article on insulin resistance (IR), and how it can make weight loss difficult or impossible. Many people seem to think that you need to have spent your whole life eating candy in order to end up with IR. After reading this article, I realised that is not true. IR can be caused by eating so called "healthy" food (food we have been told is good for us), and aggravated by endocrine disease such as hypothyroidism which often affects the gut and lowers stomach acid levels.

After my fasting insulin and blood sugar levels came back borderline high (in range but very close to upper normal range and far from optimal), I decided action was needed. I did not want to take anti-diabetic drugs such as Metformin, and stumbled upon a natural alternative: berberine. I have been taking it three times daily (500 mg x 3) for the past three years and, in the same time, I've lost 25 kilograms effortlessly. I don't have to think about what I eat all the time (no Weight Watchers for me anymore), but I don't gorge either...I have finally found some balance between what I eat and what I spend, if you see what you mean. And yes, I have exercised all was like neither thyroid hormone replacement nor exercise worked optimally for me until I added berberine to the mix.

This is MY story, and may have nothing to do with you...I just wanted you to be aware of other things that can affect your (in)ability to lose weight.

jdriscoll411 in reply to Hidden

My first blood work when I was diagnosed they ran everything, my blood sugar level was a little high in the pre-diabetic range but has since leveled out. I will definitely look that up. I am willing to try almost anything. It's all so frustrating.


Perhaps check reverse T3 levels?

Reverse T3 can occur despite T3 and T4 within range and is caused by T4 not being converted to T3 and thereby blocking the active T3 receptors. This effectively makes us clinically hypothyroid leading to lepton and insulin resistance.

jdriscoll411, hello. I feel for you ~ I am struggling too, despite levels appearing "normal" every time they are tested. I haven't been offered Liothyronine but I have read on here that it doesn't always do the job it should? I think everyone's case is so very different and one size doesn't seem to fit all. I have had my thyroid removed and continue to battle with trying to lose weight despite calorie counting, no sugar, whole foods, exercise and plenty sleep etc. I know how you feel. I can't give up and am determined that this condition will not cause even more health issues further down the line. You would think doctors would be doing everything they could to support patients with Thyroid issues to avoid even more complications and issues which can lead to weight problems as everyone knows that low energy and weight gain are the two main symptoms of people who are hypothyroid ! Good luck and in spite of everything, don't give up ~ keep looking for answers and trying as many things as you can. I know it's hard ~ I understand completely how you feel.


Hi jdriscoll411

I sympathise too, but I had a bit of a breakthrough last year weight wise so thought I would just share it here in case it might help anyone else.

My thyroid history is far too long to explain here, but in short diagnosed about 7 years ago, spent a few years on Levo constantly tired and other symptoms. Weight crept on.... and on. One GP told me to 'just join Slimming World and get out and do some exercise' I almost punched her. Often people look at you with 'that look' when you're overweight. That look that means they think you gorge on takeaways every day. One GP even said to me 'well you obviously eat too much' without even asking what I eat!

I have Coeliac disease, was diagnosed over 40 years ago (I'm 63) so don't eat wheat, rye, barley or oats. Caffeine and any other stimulants affect me badly so I don't touch them. I stopped anything soy / soya when I first read about thyroid issues. I ate mostly fresh food as it's just too painful to read ingredients on packets and jars to check for gluten. But weight kept going on.

In October 2016 after pestering GPs frequently to see an Endo, I saw one privately in the end and got switched to NDT. Rocky start but got there in the end. Battled with adrenal fatigue too and that's now improved also.

Then I had a blood test in 2016 which revealed a slightly raised glucose level. Told not to worry about it, but in 2017 another raised result a little bit higher. Had 2 appointments with 2 different GPs, neither were helpful. One said 'well I wouldn't give you meds yet' I didn't want meds! I wanted to know how to get it down myself.

So I googled and stumbled on the blood sugar diet by Dr Michael Mosley. Bought the book but found it a struggle to read initially (that dam brain fog) but spoke to a woman in the village where I live who said she'd tried some of the book and it worked.

So I read again and started trying just some of the principles in the book (the actual diet is 800 calories per day for 8 weeks, which I didn't want to attempt, but people do have spectacular results with it, but slow results were fine by me) so my little steps were bringing some weight loss. First time in years! So I adopted more of the principles and more weight off. Loosely speaking the diet is about reducing (not cutting out) the starchy carbs in your diet (that's mostly veg grown underground and the 'white' things like white bread, rice and pasta) and increasing the fats in your diet. I couldn't believe this would work, but it does and I've now lost almost 3 stone. Just 1.5 stone left to lose. I lose a little bit most weeks and I'm not a regular exercise person. I do an occasional 2 mile brisk walk in the village and occasionally go for a swim. But too much exercise can be detrimental for us thyroid people as it usurps T3 stores. There is quite a bit more to the diet than what I've written here but the book is a good investment for a few quid.

Some years ago a dietician from a diet website I was following told me that people with Hypothyroidism don't metabolise carbohydrate very well. I didn't really listen but now I think perhaps she was right. It certainly has worked for me. I would post photos if I could, but can't seem to see where I could.

I've also had a recent HBA1C test done for testing average blood glucose over the last 6 weeks and mine is now back right in the middle of the reference range. Perfectly normal. So I only set out to reduce blood sugar but by product has been losing nearly 3 stone and more coming off.

Hope this might be of help.

rosserk in reply to Hidden

HBA1c tests glucose in the blood for the previous 12 weeks not six so your diet worked even better than you think.

I am also intolerant to carbohydrates and find that a carb free diet keeps me in the normal range. I was previously diagnosed diabetic but managed to reverse my diagnosis. I have only recently been diagnosed hypothyroid and have gained weight. Hopefully when my meds are optimal if I continue to eat low carb then my weight will return to normal. 😁

Hidden in reply to rosserk

Ah yes, I couldn't quite remember whether it was 6 or 12 weeks, but I do find now that if I eat a bit more carb than I've been used to, little symptoms creep in which I had begun to have when my blood glucose was higher. Previously when I used to eat sugar in its more refined form, even though I didn't eat much overall, if I had more than usual, I found it disturbed my sleep and raised my heart rate a little bit.

Refined sugar is I believe a bit of an enemy for most people.

You may also like...