Your Thyroid is a small gland that sits in your neck. This little gland is part of your body’s endocrine system – the system that creates many chemical messengers, known as hormones, to help regulate your body’s functions. There are two important hormones that your Thyroid gland creates. This include Thyroxine, often called the inactive Thyroid hormone. The other one is the active hormone, called Triiodothyronine. You will sometimes find that these hormones are referred to as T4 (the inactive form) and T3 (the active form).
The Thyroid creates more T4 than T3. There are receptors in your body that helps to convert the inactive hormone to the active form. The hormone then helps to regulate your metabolism. Apart from the regulation of your metabolism, these hormones also play a role in your internal temperature regulation, energy production, and more.
A Brief Overview Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a term that you might have heard before. This is a disease of the Thyroid gland. The number of people with the condition varies between different locations. For example, one study found that up to 10.95% of adults in India may have Hypothyroidism. Another study estimates that the global prevalence of this Thyroid disease may be anywhere between 3% and 12%.
If you have Hypothyroidism, then it means there is not enough Thyroid hormones in your body. The lack of these hormones means your metabolism is slower than it should be. This is why Hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain – when your metabolism slows down, then it becomes harder for you to lose weight. You also find that gaining weight, on the other hand, becomes really easy.
There are different reasons why you may develop Hypothyroidism. In most people, Hashimoto’s disease is the underlying issue when this Thyroid disease is diagnosed. This is an autoimmune disease. It leads to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis. In this case, your immune system will start to create antibodies that attack your Thyroid gland. The antibodies that attacks the gland include:
These are the two antibodies that a doctor will test for to see if you have Hashimoto’s disease or if your immune system is busy attacking healthy Thyroid tissue.
Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
While weight gain is one particularly common symptom that you will likely experience if you have Hypothyroidism, you should not overlook the other symptoms. If you experience unexpected weight gain, along with these symptoms, then it might be a good idea to have your doctor do a Thyroid function test on you. This will help to determine levels of Thyroid hormone in your body. It will also help with the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. If your Thyroid hormone levels are normal, you can ask your doctor to check for other potential underlying causes.
The symptoms that you may experience, in addition to the weight gain, when Hypothyroidism is active can include:
- A higher sensitivity to temperature when it is cold
- Hoarseness and sometimes difficulty breathing
- Your muscles may feel weak
- You may find that your skin dries out
- Constipation, due to the slower metabolism
- Your face may appear puffy
- Your joints may be stiff and painful, and they may swell up
- Your heart rate may become slower than normal
- You may experience an enlargement of your Thyroid gland
- Your hair may become thin
- Cholesterol levels may become elevated
- Muscles may become stiff and painful
If you are a woman, then you may also find that your menstrual periods become irregular. Some women experience a heavier period than what they are used to when they develop Hypothyroidism.
The condition can also have an effect on your mental health. This can lead to an impairment in your memory function, as well as signs of depression. Be sure to look out for these symptoms too.
Is It Possible To Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism?
Now on to the big question. Since Hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism and usually leads to weight gain… is it possible to actually lose weight if you have this condition?
Luckily, the answer is yes. Thus, Hypothyroidism should never be an excuse. You should not allow yourself to feel like this condition is standing in your way of weight loss – and never use it as an excuse not to put in the effort to lose weight.
Before we move on, let’s take a quick look at a post that was very recently shared on the Women’s Health website. The post shared some information about Desiree Alexis-Kae Mize. At the age of five years, she weighed 90 pounds already. She quickly continued to gain weight as she became older – into her teenage years and then into her adult life.
When Desiree tried to lose weight, she found it was harder than she thought it would be. This ultimately led to her diagnosis with Hypothyroidism.
Did Desiree give up? Absolutely not! Today, she is 150 pounds lighter than she was at the time of her Hypothyroidism diagnosis.
Let this be some inspiration to help motivate you to lose weight, even with an active diagnosis of Hypothyroidism!
How Do You Lose Weight If You Have Hypothyroidism?
Even though Hypothyroidism is considered a chronic disease that currently has no known cure, there are treatments available that can help. These treatments mainly focus on increasing the number of Thyroid hormones in your body. The medication basically replenishes Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine in your body – or gives your body that boost in Thyroid hormones that the gland itself is unable to provide, yet you need to keep your metabolism going strong.
The most accepted and preferred treatment that your doctor may prescribe for you is a synthetic version of the Thyroxine hormone. The medication is known as Levothyroxine. There are different brand names that contain this synthetic hormone, such as:
There are some barriers that you should know about when it comes to treating Hypothyroidism with Levothyroxine medication.
The dosage is often not perfect when you only start this medication. This is because your doctor will need to work closely with you to find the dosage of Levothyroxine that is right for you. After a test was done to determine the level of Thyroid hormones that is present in your body, an appropriate dosage of the synthetic hormone will be provided to you. Your doctor will try to get the dosage as close as possible to creating a euthyroid state in your body – which means Thyroid hormones are perfectly balanced.
Unfortunately, you may find that the dosage is not high enough for you. Some people may also find that the dosage is too strong. This can lead to an elevation of Thyroid hormones that is too much. Fortunately, your dose can be adjusted by your doctor until you find the right one that works for you.
Where To Go From Here?
Once you have the right treatment protocol in place for your Hypothyroidism, metabolism should return to a normal speed. You should also find that the weight gain slows down. At this point, you will be able to benefit from standard weight loss protocols, since your metabolism and the Hypothyroidism would be unlikely to stand in your way.
There are many strategies that you can now adopt. The important part is to create a calorie deficit, which means you eat less calories than you really need each day. This will ensure you are able to lose weight. You should also have balanced meals – which means they should offer you the nutrients that your body needs. You can look into different types of diets as well. The Ketogenic diet is gaining a lot of popularity in today’s world, for example, but there are also many other options. You can, of course, create your own meal plan as well and simply ensure that you get a balanced macronutrient profile in every meal that you consume.
Do not forget how important exercise is. This is not only crucial for weight loss, but also for the health of your entire body – exercise is even good for your brain and your mental health!