One of the major side effects of Hashimoto’s is weight gain. Not everyone with Hashimoto’s will struggle with their weight. But a good portion will. Actually, it’s less common to not see any weight changes with Hashimoto’s.
Being in the group of women with Hashimoto’s struggling with unwanted weight gain, you’ve likely Google-d the heck out of “hashimoto’s disease weight loss” or “losing weight with hashimotos.” Maybe you found some helpful tips. But likely you didn’t. Because you tried them and they didn’t work.
I’ve talked about weight loss in the past as it related to Hashimoto’s. Honestly, this is what most women seek me out for. Second would be fatigue. And third would be digestive issues.
After reading this article, you’ll learn what you need to do in order to lose the weight you’ve gained with Hashimoto’s by learning where you need to start in the healing process.
Thyroid + Dieting = Slow Metabolism
Most of you know by now that hypothyroid slows the metabolism. Hypothyroid actually lowers your heart rate and lowers your body temperature as well. A slower metabolism is also going to change how your body uses glucose as well. This is one reason why you might feel that low carb diets work for you. Or just that avoiding carbs stops the weight gain.
It’s not that your body can’t handle carbs. It’s that the process is broken and needs to be fixed.
A slow metabolism also leads to greater incidences of depression. When we’re depressed, we want things that increase our dopamine levels in our brain, bringing on some much needed happiness. Comfort foods are called comfort foods for a reason. This can lead to some weight gain which leads to more dieting.
A slow metabolism also affects your bowels. Actually, it leads to constipation. Prolonged constipation is going to add a few pounds to your scale as well.
Constipation also leads to hormone imbalances and water retention. You secrete excess hormones in your stool. The longer the stool sits there, the more hormones you’re going to reabsorb. This is going to lead to more weight gain but you’ll likely end up with elevated estrogen levels.
And then we’ve got chronic dieting. You’re a chronic dieter if you can look back and count all the diets you’ve been and they equal more than 3. Or the results you obtained on that diet are no longer valid. Basically, you’ve gained the weight you lost.
Chronic dieting leads to a slowed metabolism. And a slowed metabolism leads to constipation and hormone imbalance.
Dieting to lose weight just makes problems worse.
Inflammation & Weight Gain
Inflammation and weight gain is a bit of a controversial topic. It’s controversial because there’s not many (if any) studies that support this line of thinking. That doesn't mean it’s an invalid line of thinking.
From what I’ve seen with the women I’ve worked with over the years, they definitely go hand in hand. I’ll just assume the research is behind in this area.
When your body is inflamed, you’re going to put on weight. This inflammation can cause
- Water retention leading to weight gain
- An imbalance in hormones leading to weight gain
- Disordered digestion leading to nutrient absorption issues (we need nutrients for weight loss)
- Elevated stress leading to greater weight gain around the midsection
- Imbalanced nutrients leading to more cravings for “fun” foods
I’ve also seen inflammation alter cholesterol levels as well. But that’s a topic for another day.
Getting to the root of your inflammation (i.e. Hashimoto’s) and working to heal the body will result in weight loss. This is a process though and it won’t happen overnight
Weight Loss Do’s and Don’ts for Hashimoto’s
The most important thing you can do is to reframe your thoughts around your weight. If you’re solely focused on the weight, you’re in for a heck of a fight! By only focusing on the outside, you’re missing the repair process. This is so important to losing weight.
Think of it like a foundation to a house. If the foundation is wonky, the walls are going to be cracked. If you just keep repairing those cracks, they will continue to come back. But, if you repair the foundation and the cracks, the cracks won’t come back.
You have to repair your foundation...your immune system. Hashimoto’s is causing the weight...work on the source!
- Reframe your thoughts around weight
- Work to repair your foundation
- Take on another diet for the purpose of weight loss
- Try intermittent fasting (read here to learn why it’s not good for you)
Weight loss with Hashimoto’s is a complex goal. It’s not so simple as “eat less and move more.” It involves reducing inflammation, balancing the thyroid, and ensuring you’re absorbing the nutrients you’re consuming. If you find that you’re spinning your wheels trying everything you can, I hear you! Start small in order to achieve big goals. Starting big will lead to more frustration.
In the comments, let me know what you’ve tried to lose weight. Bonus...was it successful?!