Weight gain around middle : Hi, Looking for some... - Thyroid UK

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Weight gain around middle



Looking for some advice please. Before being hypo I was always very slim. Since being diagnosed I’ve put on two stone in weight, but it’s all sitting around my middle. My diet is very good so I know it’s not the food I eat. I’m on t3 only. Any suggestions as how I get rid of this, or is this just something else I have to put up with. Thanks

72 Replies

Yes I am the same and posted some six years ago mentioning the book - Fat around the Middle. Could be worth a read ... Cortisol seems to be the issue !

JumpJiving in reply to Marz

What is the relationship with Cortisol? I've struggled with weight around my middle for years. Is it that if your cortisol levels are high, you're likely to put on weight around your middle?

I had my cortisol levels checked not long ago and they were over range throughout the day. I've since reduced my significant (going on massive) caffeine intake to zero in the hope that will reduce the cortisol levels. Planning on checking them again next week, using the Medichecks 6 saliva test.

Am now looking into sugar levels too. My opthalmic surgeon noticed this week that one of my corneas is bulging, and asked if I had done a diabetes test recently. I went back to my Medichecks "Ultimate Performance" results and found that my insulin was very close to the bottom of the range, and my random glucose slightly above mid-range. Whilst in range, it makes me wonder about LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood), so I'm going to get checked for that.

radd in reply to JumpJiving


Yes, it is elevated cortisol that is the problem.

A very simplistic explanation would be high cortisol produces too much glucose/ energy preparing for a fight or flight response.

When this energy isn’t used, it deposits itself as fat around the middle, close to the liver where it can be quickly converted back into energy if another fight or flight response is needed.

Also, if it isn’t constantly used the liver can turn it into too much cholesterol, and deep belly fat makes it harder for the body to use insulin well.

Our body shapes are determined by genetics, diet, exercise but also hormones . Read the book. It’s really interesting. 🙂

TinyC in reply to radd

Hi Rad, thanks for commenting. I got cortisol levels checked a while ago and cortisol was extremely high at certain times, maybe this is the issue you think?


If could be an oestrogen imbalance but if you are not post menopausal, then cortisol is more likely as mentioned by Marz above.

Marilyn Grenville explains all in her book “Fat Around The Middle”.

Hi...how strange..I’ve been lying awake pondering whether to post the same ! Good to know I’m not the only one. I’m searching for answers too

TinyC in reply to maddi

Hi maddie, it’s very annoying isn’t it! I think more so, as I’ve never had bother with my weight. Some days my stomach is like a balloon, drives me nuts. But just read the post above Radd maybe cortisol or the oestrogen are the issues, work looking into at least it’s a start!

Have you had a hysterectomy or even a partial hysterectomy? Hysterectomies seem to increase risk of hypothyroidism and the two go together with weight gain in middle. So does diabetes. I had this problem and eventually had an abominoplasty to reduce the fat. Then the fat redistributed. Finally I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism by a doctor who prescribed Natural Dessicated Pork thyroid. It has taken a while to stabilise the dose, but I have been able to lose the weight by a combination of 3 modified fast days a week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) and no starches. I eat a high fat low carb diet. So does my partner who has hashimotos. In this way we have both been able to lose weight, although he is okay on two modified fast days. I am 66 now and had almost given up hope, but the low carb plus modified fasts (500cals on those days) worked, thank heavens. We don't eat bread, rice, potatoes, cakes, pasta etc, and we keep the fruit down in order to avoid fructose. Look for the Skinny on Obesity by Dr Lustig on you tube for why to avoid fructose.

Careful of having a lot of fruit; the fructose is heavily implicated in modern obesity, albeit mostly in processed foods, but also in too much fruit. It has been suggested that fruit mostly appeared in autumn as a way for animals to store fat prior to winter. I refer again to Dr Lustig (U of California Children's Hospital) videos, starting with The Skinny on Obesity.

Bunnyjean in reply to Astridnova

My father was a farmer and wholesale greengrocer. For 70 odd years I have eaten loads of fruit everyday and have never been on any diets or been fat. It does contain natural sugars, yes but I think that something else is going on.

Me too. Cannot wear fitted tops/shirts anymore. I used to be a size 8 and gradually started putting on weight. I eventually went to the doctor before I reached 50 and put on 50mcg and a couple of months later on 75 mcg levothyroxine. Been on 75 since then. I am now 55 and a size 14. I don't feel as exhausted but I'm in the menopause too. Last period when I was 51. Would love to have a flat tummy again.

dina7 in reply to marchhare1964

Me too!

TinyC in reply to marchhare1964

Me neither Marchhare 1964! It’s very annoying. I’m the same age group couple of years younger. It’s getting me down I don’t feel good in anything I wear. It’s not that I’m fat, it’s just where it’s all accumulated does my head in!🤣

marchhare1964 in reply to TinyC

I must be really lazy as I have no motivation to do exercise. Only walk. Don't like too much exercise as I get too heated and end up coming out in hives!! I wear a lot of clothing from Kit and Kaboodal UK from Yorkshire. Looser linens etc .

I was recently told to loose weight by my Endo who said , "no bread, potatoes, rice, pasta or breakfast cereal" but keep exercising and the weight is coming off. I am a male 66 and taking 150mg levo. and feeling better.

Mike77 in reply to schrodinger

I might try that, I'm turning into a barrel !

I think we’re all different. My sister puts on fat around the middle, maintaining beautiful slender arms and legs. I put it on all over.

My only suggestion is looking at portion sizes, being active, not kidding yourself about what you eat and not expecting it to happen overnight.

I’m currently trying to lose about half a stone. I’ve started a run/walk regime and have cut all naughty foods and drinks... except dates... which might have to be reduced, as after 2 weeks I’ve put a little weight on! They say muscle is heavier than fat. I’m going to stick with it, but maybe I need to reduce portion sizes too. Mentally I’m feeling better and I’m sleeping much better.

I managed to lose the weight last year, but it’s slowly crept on, as I think it can for everyone as they age.

Best of luck!

blondpalomino in reply to Ruby1

Hi Ruby,

Me too!

I have been doing more walking on the moors, do a dancing class every week,I'm not eating any more than before, and have put on half a stone! It's very disheartening. I mentioned it to my Doctor, and she said if you are building muscle it can cause you to put on weight.

Ruby1 in reply to blondpalomino

Yes I’ve put a little on when I started exercising previously so I’m not worried yet. I think it’s also a long haul thing.

On the plus side, I feel better, my resting heart rate is a little lower and I’m sleeping so much better.

I think a walk on the moors must be very renewing, and dancing definitely uplifting.

Let’s keep at it! 👍

blondpalomino in reply to Ruby1

Hi Ruby,

Yes, my blood pressure is a lot better on the plus side.I do love to dance,but my ankles aren't good, and I don't think it's helping! I put a support on one of them and carry on!

when you build muscle it can make the scales go up as it is denser than fat ( not heavier as such). If you build muscle but lose fat generally you would look slimmer as the fat is reducing. its good to measure bust, waist, hips etc and take photos to truly see progress when building muscle. I am only 2 stone lighter than i was 3 years ago but i've gone from size 18 to small 12- I have totally changed shape so I try not to rely on scales too much. waist measurement is really good way to start seeing progress as it's an important indicator for health- good luck.

Hi london81,

Thanks for that. I don't think I dare measure my waist at the moment!

It seems to be where most of my fat has accumulated!

It is possible to lose weight when hypo. if one is optimally medicated. I managed to lose 24lbs on the 5:2 without changing my diet or upping my exercise. I lost an average of 2lbs per week, every week. This worked for me, it may not work for you.

I have found it important to have any abdominal scars treated by a Scar Worker as these tend to ‘collect’ fat and impair body movement.

thyr01d in reply to penny

Hello Penny, please could you tell me more about having abdominal scars treated by a Scar Worker, what is a Scar Worker?

penny in reply to thyr01d

Scar Workers are people who have been trained by Sharon Wheeler (US) in techniques for integrating scar tissue. There are now quite a few Scar Workers in the UK and if you are interested perhaps you would like to PM me and I will ask the community if there is someone near to you who can treat you.

Some of our members are doing work in hospitals now as the medical community is, at last, realising the long-term effects of untreated scars.

Calends in reply to penny

What is 5:2? Thank you!

Hi Tinyc it can be hard to loose weight when hypo first you need to make sure you are optimally medicated and vitamin levels are good. I have found the 5:2 diet had worked well for me I've lost over 2 stone so far and need to loose another stone to be at my ideal weight I try to make sure I do some walking most days and have found I feel more energetic. Hope you find what works for you .x

penny in reply to Raventhorpe

I hope that you ‘lose’ weight.

Take more T3 or NDT. Your metabolism will power up and you will loose weight. Longer term I don't know how good it is for your health.

Unfortunately it is one of the symptoms TinyC - Many will know that I was born with the condition and in those days, they called it a pot belly and a classic symptom of having a under active thyroid. :(

No matter how slim I was in the past, I always carried the weight around my tummy. Just part of me now.

Take care :) x

It’s worth getting your cortisol levels checked. I put on 2 stone too and then lost it when I started CT3M. This method only works if you have low morning cortisol. I’ve lost the excess weight and my cortisol levels are in a good place...higher in the morning now and lower at night.

Please help what is cortisol? Do I have to ask my doctor to have it checked?

Marz in reply to thyroidx100

Google cortisol or use the SEARCH facility here 😊

The 24 hour saliva test is done privately through online companies ...


Cortisol can be raised when there is inflammation in the body. When under-utilsed is stored as fat. Produced by the adrenals ...


Interesting....I have low morning Cortisol as well (with higher levels late at night).

I will take a look at CT3M. Thanks!

You can find a little talk about CT3M on YouTube by Paul Robinson. He’s also written a book about it. It only works if you are taking T3 or NDT & T3 together.

I am doing so well since starting this protocol...I’ve been able to reduce my T3 dose too. My weight has dropped a lot and my cortisol is in a better place. High night cortisol was keeping me awake. Once I managed to raise my morning cortisol levels my night cortisol dropped into the right place.

Thanks! I take T3 and Levo. I know high cortisol at times keeps me awake. I was having better sleep but lately, I seem to be struggling again. I'm glad to give anything a try!

Yes you can use CT3M protocol with T4/T3 combo. It’s worth a try but you need the book to follow the protocol as it’s about early morning dosing. I take my first dose of T3 at 4am.

*Google CT3M by Paul Robinson

Yes! already googling! I typically take T3 early but not that early. Easy enough to change.

Its AMAZING to me how timing is everything.....I've learned this with so many medications I'm taking. Just taking at the right time makes all the difference in the world.

jamesal0 in reply to StarFlower2

Circadian T3 Method - yes agree. I take my first 60mg NDT at 3am. I then get out of bed at 6am feeling great rather than feeling like I'm dragging my self around

TinyC in reply to StarFlower2

Hi Starflower 2, was it just adjusting the time of dosage on your t3 that got your cortisol levels in order, or did you have to do anything else?

StarFlower2 in reply to TinyC

There was a bit of fine tuning on the amount I am taking. Once My CT3M dose was established I did little increases. Now I’ve been able to reduce my second dose of the day. It’s important to take vital in the beginning.

It took me about a month to get my CT3M dose to 4am. My normal wake up time is 8.30am. I started by taking my first dose at 6am continued for a week or two then brought it to 5am...I’m now taking my first dose of T3 at 4am and I’ve been stable on this for 6months.

My T3 dosing is 4am 25mcg - 11am 18.75mch - 4pm 12.5mcg

Paul’s book explains everything and it’s available on amazon. His latest book The Thyroid Patients Manuel also explains ct3m and maybe a good one to buy as it covers T3/T4 combo dosing.

Good luck

TinyC in reply to StarFlower2

I will get the book and have a look

Thanks 😀

The day the doctors told me you will lose weight once your op for the right side is done. That was 21 years and 5 months ago. Since then had my left side thyroid taken out too. Was slim before thyroid problem. fast forward I eat little and a lot of gardening at the moment and push my not good legs to walk. Weight loss I'm still waiting. Everyone around me slim well I cannot be like them. Now I simply don't care. Those beautiful dresses I cannot find in my size. Having said that I joined a dance class slowly from size 16 now 14 my aim just to lose weight.

Can you safely take more hormone? I lost weight after my op. Some straight away, but some after from a decent T4level.

I was on 150 g then one day every thing changed. My then doctor put on 200g. Suddenly I lost weight at last I was feeling great get up in the morning. Six months of fun then hair growth on my face I rushed to the doctor. Over dose of 200. It was stopped and I was put 100 my world turned upside down. then changed to 120g. Still got that hair around my face . Bought that no no never worked on my face. Still have that wicked hair. In December my doctor notice a lump in my throat when I told her that I feeling uncomfortable in my throat. So went for as an in fact 2 scan nothing found.In hospital three doctor saw me. I told them the thyroid tablets got lactose in it. From a little child I grew up not taking dairy products as I become really sick.So they said they would send my doctor to change the tablet 💊 to lactose free tablets. I went last week for thyroid blood tests a d spoke to the nurse. I was asked to come next day but raining non stop so I said I don't want to get wet and feeling miserable. So I was told doctor will call me. Still waiting. I will go to see doctor about it in a week or two. But anyone can help me get rid of this hair on my face I will be very grateful. Thank you. Take care

There is a cream for hair on face in woman, called something like Vaniqua. Prescribed by a doctor. They won’t like to prescribe as it’s expensive, but insist it’s getting you down.

Vaniqa. I love Phillips Lumea, worked a treat on my body, I have pale skin and dark hair. Never used on face. I’m not sure if I can mention products but I was honestly impressed with this, apart from it takes forever on your body. Face would be quick.

Hylda in reply to thyroidx100

I have facial hair but put it down to PCOS, another by-product of an under active thyroid.


I can relate. I’ve lost 14 pounds (2 stones) since going gluten free last October. I have no thyroid due to thyroid cancer in 2010. It’s so strange. I’m not sure where the weight loss is. I still wear size 10/12 pants and a size Large top. The fat is just above the waistband, causing an unsightly bulge above (muffin top on steroids). So frustrating. I can’t exercise more than walking the dogs due to a bad knee and lumbar and cervical stenosis. I will carry on with dietary limitations and hope. I’m 73 and on Nature-Throid. *sigh*

E_lizab8 in reply to cabro2

Google intermittent fasting, while on "lowish carb/highish fat" diet, (Im 71 & hypo & take levo &Metavive), Ive managed to lose 5 kilos

almost without realizing it. I skip lunch one day a week, ( usually go out for a walk or shopping at lunch time and by time I get back I find its too late and I dont really want it. I have coffee with cream for breakfast which I find really filling and then a low carb supper, now hoping to lose another 5k.

E_lizab8 in reply to E_lizab8

Forgot to say that lot of the lost fat seems to have come from around my middle so Im doubly pleased

cabro2 in reply to E_lizab8

That’s great. I already do some intermittent fasting - skipping lunch -since I’m not as hungry anymore. I see my savvy endocrinologist on Wednesday and will see what he thinks. I have a feeling the verdict is “age.” 🙄 Thank you for your kind response.

thyroidx100 in reply to E_lizab8

I usually have some fruits in the morning no lunch dinner sweet potatoes with sometimes carrots, French beans, peas,broccoli, some green leaves,chickpeas, or mixed beans. Very seldom fry chips. No fried anything. Only eat a biscuit when I think I'm feeling like fainting. Sometimes a slice of white bread with seeds,oat and honey. That all I'm gardening planting,, tomatoes, lettuce, corn, French climbing beans, celery, beetroot, cucumbers, cauliflower, sweet pepper,pak choi, peas and pumpkin little ones for roasting. So why I'm fat is just really frustrating.

E_lizab8 in reply to thyroidx100

Are you vegetarian,vegan as I see that there is no animal protein in your diet. In fact almost all your diet seemes to be carb/sugar based albeit very healthy with all the salads and veg. I have read that one has to eat a certain amount of fat to lose fat, also some protein ( or vitamin supplements). I only skip lunch about once a week as shock tactics, I am celiac and only eat cereals, alternative flours or beans very occasionaly but I do eat a fair amount of healthy fats, seeds, veg,salad but keep low on potatoes of any sort as they are high carb.

thyroidx100 in reply to E_lizab8

Vegan from from the day I could remember. Allergy high only on me. My 3 sisters did not have any problems like me. I also very asthmatic

I can't find price for membership any idea

One thing I found about cutting calories is this clip


it shows how for some people it isn't just cutting the calories.

Hope it helps some of you

Starlight1976 I agree with your exercise philosophy! I ONLY stay fit when I do HIIT cardio 4-5 days a week (goal is 15-18 miles per week on my elliptical trainer) along with strength training (upper and lower body) and core routines.

In addition to being HypoT, I also have lupus and Sjogren's so sometimes I can go months not being able to workout. I just went through such a period and my weight went up a little and I lost tone. Sooooo aggravating. I've now been back into it for a few weeks and am starting to see improvement. Phew!

I will agree that thyroid meds do need to be optimized AND, if you are in menopause, HRT meds need to be optimal. Whenever one of these gets out of whack I start seeing my waistline thicken and I have to act pretty quickly to try and figure out what is out of balance to reverse it (I have been able to reverse it).

I know as women as we age the fight to stay fit and toned gets more difficult. I've had doctors say to me "Well, that's what happens when you get older" in response to my complaints that I'm gaining weight. I refuse to accept this as my fate!

Exercising at times is very difficult for me. On those days, I rest and I come back when I am strong. The trick is to stick with it.


You may be interested in the following:-


JumpJiving maddi TinyC Starlight1976 marchhare dina7 schrodinger Mike77 Thyroid101 thyroidx100

Mike77 in reply to shaws

Thanks @shaws, that's very motivating! I'm starting to feel quite a bit better since getting on a better balance of T3 and levo and even feel ready to start exercise add gentle dieting.


shawsAdministrator in reply to Mike77

It is a wonderful feeling when you begin to turn the corner onto normal health. I wish you all the best.

Mike77 in reply to shaws

Thanks, and thanks for your advice last summer 😁

I have the same problem off and on and am sure it’s cortisol, as it only happens when I’m stressed. It’s started in the last 18 months, since there’s been a great deal of stress in my life which is ongoing. It’s caused, in my case, by fluid retention and my ankles swell up as well. I am having to take diuretics as I can’t get into any of my clothes if I don’t and can’t affird to buy more. Normally my daytime cortisol is low but it goes way over the top at night. I am trying turmeric to lower it so I can at least sleep and stop the arrhythmias I get at night when I go to bed. I am having some success. My next saliva tests will show how much. I am avoiding caffeine and have lowered my protein intake too as I have low GFR and some pyramidal kidney damage.

Not sure if this helps, but for info I was euthyroid Hashis . I then had a TT for thyroid cancer. In the two days I was in hospital I lost half a stone. I was still eating. I think the antibodies and the fluid retention and swelling of Hashis made me fat. I’m still a lot slimmer post op. I was also gluten free for a few years. I had thyroglobulin antibodies though and I’ve read research that says they cause more swelling and general issues. I look at pre op pictures and one side of my face is swollen with a droopy eye!


Both high cortisol and estrogen levels can cause the symptoms you describe. "High estrogen levels" do NOT equal out-of-range estrogen levels but an imbalanced estrogen-progesterone ratio where you have too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. I have been having the same symptoms you describe lately so have been doing a lot of reading. I have been on estrogen (Estrogel) for the past seven years, along with progesterone, and have now gone off Estrogel to see if will make a difference once my estrogen levels decline (will stay on progesterone).


PS. This is an interesting article that describes the relationship between estrogen dominance and low thyroid:


Do you have HbA1C, Triglycerides and HDL lab results and ref. ranges?

TinyC in reply to Londinium

Hi Londinium,

Yes I have these: I don't see the Hba1c on the blood report would it be called something else I don't live in the UK at the moment.

Gamma GT 23 Range (9-36)

Cholesterol(fasting) 5.8.....Range (0-5.2)

Triglyceride (fasting) 2.1....Range (0-1.9)

HDL 1.10.....Range (1.2-1.7)

LDL 4.0.....Range (3.36-4.11)


You've got weight gain around the middle because:

You're consuming too much of the sugars, carbs and starches - as reflected in your (upper end) Triglycerides.

Your consumption of good healthy fats seems also inadequate - as reflected in your (lower end) HDL.

When you get them re-tested, include the HbA1C.

Hi thanks for the reply. I have been severely under medicated for a long time. Im now on t3 only and gradually increasing it. The figures above are a huge improvement on my last set of bloods. Last cholesterol was 7.6. The figures above are reducing the more I increase the thyroid meds. I have a good diet, so its definitely not food. So maybe when I am properly medicated and these figures continue dropping I should see a difference with the weight? Thanks for your input

Londinium in reply to TinyC

Whst kind of "good diet" do you have?

Example what I would eat in a day:

Breakfast: small bowl porridge with heaped tablespoon chia seeds, sunflower seeds and blueberries.

Lunch: boiled or poached egg with bread/ham sandwich with salad/ homemade vegetable soup.with bread

Dinner: Brown rice with homemade curry/ whole meal pasta with Bolognese with salad/baked potato with ham and salad.

I make sure I have a lot of veg or salad with dinner.

I eat banana/pear and small orange every day after meals

I have a small glass of fresh orange juice with meals.

I drink a lot of tea with milk.

Maybe would eat 2 plain biscuits in a day.

That’s what I would eat. I don’t have a sweet tooth and have never had a big appetite.

Do you think I should change my eating habits?

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