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hypothyroidism and dieting
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hypothyroidism and dieting

Hi everyone. This question has been bugging me for a long time.

I was diagonsed with hypothyroidism as a baby, and am taking 150mg eltroxin (same as Levothyroxine over there).

I want to loose some weight. I started going to the gym and eating well. The question is: I've read that when you "diet" (I don't like the word because it implies fad diets. I'm talking about sensible eating, none of that no carb nonsense) your body eventually adjusts your metabolism to suit your new lower calorie intake, and you hit a plateau.

Well, what if you're on levothyroxine? To what extent does that regulate your metabolism? What happens when someone on synthetic thyroid hormone eats less calories than needed to maintain their current weight?

Of course, whenever I type this into google, I just get tons and tons of articles about *diagnosing* an underactive thyroid, and people suspecting that they've got one because they gained weight or feel sluggish, etc..

So please, can we have some say for those who ARE diagnosed and have been treated for many years?

thanks in advance
-VC
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454677_tn?1206691163
I suggest getting a weight watchers book. My doctor makes me write down everything I eat, count the calories and e-mail it to her once a week, only because I've started gaining again. I was also told I have to work out for one hour each day, I cheat on that, but the awareness of your calorie intake oddly enough works wonders. I'm not an expert, but I am a diagnosed hypothyroid who sees her doctor regularly.
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393685_tn?1325870933
All the diets in the world are not going to show you the results you want - UNLESS your TSH levels have regulated and stay there for a while. You have to achieve a metobolism balance first before you can see results in your effort to lose weight.

My TSH has spiral out of control  very hypo. When I was there I truely cut out all white flour - rice - sugar - processed foods of any kind - eggs - red meat - etc. Thre was a time I was on no more than an 800 calorie diet and when I went for my next office visit- I gained 8 pounds.

Now that my TSH is much lower - last reading 3.34 (which is getting closer) I do notice a pound or two every 6 weeks dropping off. I am sure IF I REALLY PUT MY MIND TO IT. and exercised the way I should like I did - I would of seen better weight loss results.

I am shooting for a TSH of about 1.0 right now. I believe I will feel better there. I still am as close to a vegertian as possible. I do cheat with chicken tuna and some red meat at times - but I have cut out all white flour sugar and processed foods. I am planning a work out (walking) soon and I hope too to see results after my TSH is near my goal.

That is the key here............. TSH needs to be your first goal...... once there - then start to look at your weight issues and work on that then. Naturally the body reaches a plateau on weight loss even not having hypo T. So between your thyroid condition and your body's natual burning calorie system - you will need to adjust two things.
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454302_tn?1205928096
to: ChristaMarie03

thanks for replying :) I went to your profile thingie, and you know what? My periods gone too. For almost 7 months. Initially I thought it was because I stopped taking the pill and read that it could take a while to come back-- but this is getting kind of silly. I went to my doctor, but I don't think his thought process got beyond giving me another pregnancy test.

Actually, I don't like weight watchers because of the way you don't seem to have to watch for nutritional value, just points. It appears like a dumbed down version of calorie counting.
But, the general calorie watching thing holds true. I worked this out.. I can eat between 1200 and 1400 calories a day. I got some software with a huge food database and lets you record every day. It's actually kinda fun. I seem to be on the right track with what I'm doing.

to: stella5349

I read your journal, and boy, did you go through some ****. Here in Ireland, they test everyone's thyroid at birth. Or at least, they did when I was born, because that was the year of Chernobyl and they knew if to have some sort of effect on the thyroid. Whatever the reason, it sure saved me a lot of trouble.

It also saved me from having to diagnose myself, which in turn means I have no idea what my levels are or what those numbers mean, or how any of that works. TSH? I guess it's wikipedia time for me.

One time, I felt consistently tired so I thought maybe my levels were off, and I insisted on getting it tested.. but I don't remember what it was. Turned out I had iron anemia, though, and I felt better after taking a supplement.

My doctor is nice and all, but as long as you're not dying he tends to dismiss your problems. "Ah, you're grand!".
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454677_tn?1206691163
One thing that I did find that I like that fills me up that has a lot of nutritional value and little fat is 3 table spoons light vanilla yogurt, strawberries raspberries and half a banana throw all that in the blender with some ice and tangerine juice. Its good for you and tastes great.Other than that I really watch what I eat calorie and nutrition wise because it seems people with hypothyroid tend to get higher cholesterol especially if it runs in the family. With me I rarely eat enough calories and I hate salt, grease and hamburger it is all nasty to me so I am gaining for no reason it seems. Since I cant help it I try to eat as healthy as possible.
I will be getting my results back this Tuesday about my periods being nonexistent, I will write you back then and let you know what happens, maybe it will be helpful for you.
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454677_tn?1206691163
I'm glad you responded to her post, that was very informational to me as well. I do need to learn more about my numbers and such because I get ridiculously confused when I go in to the doctors office for my results. They just always say my numbers are fine and never tell me what they are. I could never cut the things out of my diet like you do you have a lot of will power that I do not have. Kudos to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not sure I have your answer but from everything I've gathered, these two are independent of each other.  Your thyroid issues and the need for med is independent of the calorie intake/output process your body goes through.  A guy I knew, who taught training, said no matter what it comes down to a balance between what you take in and what you use up.

As for a plateau, I was told that generally if you have a healthy plan and keep doing what you're suppose to you will move past the plateau phase.  It does take some trust in your body’s ability to take care of itself and eventually do the right thing.  The problem is people see the plateau as a failure and stop right there.

I lost a lot of weight many years ago and have kept it off for many years.  I think the best encouragement I ever got was hearing ‘whatever you’re doing, just keep doing it.’

My brother has a funny one about the word diet – ya know it’s bad when it has the word ‘die’ right there in it.

I know what you mean about what shows up when you do a search - more people suspecting than those diagnosed and taking meds.  I think perhaps being in the wondering and waiting phase and being scared about what’s going on prompts more inquiries.  Maybe folks who already know what’s going on don’t have as many questions.

You have somewhat of a history in your story.  I’m fascinated with the whole Chernobyl experience.  I wish there was a book on that - I mean specifically on the global ties between that accident and the thyroid.  I read a book but it was an account of the accident and the days after.

Your quote of your dr made me chuckle.  My family is Irish and they speak like that – ‘Ah, …’
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454302_tn?1205928096
Oh, I wish I had a blender. I was in new york last summer and the apartment I was in had a blender, so I was always making smoothies. I used soy milk and soy ice cream and such, but later found out that apparently soy blocks some receptors that would otherwise be absorbing the synthetic thyroid hormone, so, I stopped with the soy :( darn.
Actually, that totally gives me an idea. I'm gonna get some yoghurt and maybe skim milk on the weekend at home 'cos my family does have an abandoned blender at home. Whee!

I hope your results will be okay, and yes I'd be interested to see if it is relevant to me, thank you :)
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454302_tn?1205928096
your friend is right- it's all about intake and output. But, your body obviously uses so many calories just keeping itself.. well.. alive and functioning.
And that amount varies depending on your metabolism. And the thyroid regulates your metabolism... so if you thyroid is regulated by pills.. it seems to me like there must be something there that's different to when a person with a healthy thyroid looses weight. But, maybe i'm mistaken ^.^


The info about the plateau is really helpful! I've heard about the plateau thing before, but nobody ever says how to actually get around it, and keep the weight off. Congrats on that, btw!

haha, that reminds me of an episode of Angel where a ghost is possessing this house, and Cordelia doesn't want to believe that because the house is so perfect, and when the ghost writes "die" in blood in the wall, she's like "but wait, maybe it's not done! maybe it's actually "die-t"! That's friendly.. sure.. a little judgemental.."

ha, but back on topic.. yeah, i've read various things about chernobyl and thyroid disorders. The west of Ireland is actually just outside the range of chernobyl shown on most diagram/maps, but it was in everything... animal products, etc. I don't know if my condition is genetic or caused by that.. there's nobody in my family who has it, but I guess that doesn't really prove it either.

hah, yeah, and what's more, if I told my doctor I wanted to loose weight- he'd probably look at me like i'm crazy. I know I know, 120lbs is not too heavy and i'm happy and all, but I still really want to loose those last 10 pounds of what I gained when I started college. It doesn't seem too much to ask.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not sure really, but it's just what I've read.  What you say certainly makes sense.

That's interesting about where you live.  My father was from the west coast of Ireland.

Good luck in your efforts.

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214901_tn?1227571155
I'm getting curious how long you are hypothyroid before you start to gain weight. I was diagnosed with it a week ago, being severe hypothyroid, and I am assuming I have been like this for the last 4 months. I havent gained any weight, and I am pretty small...I guess I should expect some in my future?
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454302_tn?1205928096
I've never found a proper article about my specific question.. I guess maybe it's one of those things that even the experts don't really know, or that you'd only understand if you actually studied medicine.

thanks :)

oh yeah, it's beautiful here. If you've never been, you definitely should visit sometime! Spring and summer are the best time, inmo. I was recently looking at hiking and cycling holidays in Europe, and then I realised.. hey wait, people come to Ireland for that. So i've actually been browsing Irish tourist sites, lol :)
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454302_tn?1205928096
Hi :)

wait, are you curious about me or someone else posting on here? I was diagnosed at birth, anyway.

If your hypothyroidism is being treated, you shouldn't gain weight. To me it seems the whole weight and metabolism thing still holds mystery. And some people are just lucky- if you move around and fidget a lot, or have an active job, you might just be burning a lot of calories just by doing that. But of course, if you're severely hypothyroid you're going to be tired, so it's a vicious circle.
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Avatar_f_tn
The things I've read make the connection more with the symptom of tiredness.  If someone is tired they're not as likely to use up the calories they've taken in.  Also, when someone is tired it doesn't mean they will automatically start lowering their calorie intake to compensate for the inactivity.  I've had that experience and sometimes not even realized that's what was happening.  I just went through another surgery experience that caused exhaustion and inactivity, ergo, I put on some pounds.  Now I'm finally feeling better and getting back to taking care of myself.

If you ever come across that kind of article, please share it.

My co-worker visited your area a couple of years ago and still talks as if it was the other day - I'm sure it's beautiful!
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214901_tn?1227571155
Oh, I used to workout almost everyday and walk all over. Since the end of summer, I pretty much stopped doing anything, because yes, I was too tired. I am starting to feel better though and am looking forward to possibly having some energy to go to the gym. In the mean time I bought a pretty good exercise bike for home, so I cant use too many excuses not to at least try...:~)
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Avatar_f_tn
That's great.  I wish I could get a bike for home.  I can only go to the gym for now.  At least with a bike at home you can hop on for even 5 mins, which is better than nothing when I don't have time to drive to the gym.

Keep up the good work!
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454302_tn?1205928096
So it's kinda like gaining weight when you've got the flu and do nothing but lie in bed eating soup for a week, I guess. (Mmmm.. soup)

I feel kind silly because everyone here has gone through so much more, medically speaking, then I have. But at least I appreciate being diagnosed so early more now :)
I am certainly always on the lookout for good articles, yes.
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454677_tn?1206691163
your funny,
Its good that you are not experiencing the bad things. I'm happy that you aren't for sure.
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454302_tn?1205928096
that's a good idea :) I'm a student so I don't really have the space for a stationary bike- but I do have an actual bike, and it's about a 25 minute ride to the gym. Sometimes I'll cycle down there even when the gym is likely to be closed, because I figure if it is closed, at least i'll have gone on the bike. Thankfully my dad loves that i'm doing this and he bought me my gym membership and a little bike computer/speedometer/calorie counter and a reflective biking jacket and such.

I guess the knowledge that my dad has invested money in all this for me kind of makes me feel obligated to use it. I obviously don't know about you - after all, my hypothyroidism has been treated since birth - but often my tiredness totally evaporates once I kick myself in the *** and actually go to the gym. It's like in between I forget how good it feels afterwards :) I love how deserved the post-gym meal feels, too.
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454302_tn?1205928096
heh, thanx ^.^
All this has really given me some perspective.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am hypo and have lost a great deal of weight by restricting calories.  First, you need to be optimally medicated.  My doctor keeps my TSH at about 1.0, and that helps.  But you need to be monitored as well.  A few months ago, my T3 suddenly dropped rapidly.  I was so fatigued that I could barely get out of bed, and I gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks despite restricting calories that usually resulted in a one pound loss each week.  Fortunately, I was scheduled for one of my regular blood tests, and my doctor discovered the T3 deficiency, so I now take Cytomel as well as Levoxyl.

If you're properly medicated, you should lose weight if you make the effort.  Studies show that when you lose 10-20% of your weight, you'll hit a plateau and not lose for a while.  That just happened to me, and I increased my exercise and kept to my eating plan to try to continue to lose again.  Most of the time, if you just stick to what has worked, you'll begin to lose again.  The plateau is just the body adjusting to the loss (which it doesn't like).
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