The thyroid is a gland placed in your throat which produces hormones that regulates body functions such as metabolism. If your thyroid is underactive (med. Hypothyroidism) it secretes fewer hormones than usually affecting the metabolism which results in weight gain.
One of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism is unexplained weight gain without changes in your diet.
The Saudi Medical Journal published a study in 2008 linking hypothyroidism with obesity however; more studies are needed to confirm this statement.
Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland besides weight gain are dry skin, sore muscles, brittle hair, fatigue, and tiredness, loss of appetite, increased cholesterol levels, constipation, indigestion, poor concentration, poor memory and increased sensitivity to cold.
Even though losing weight is hard when your metabolism is slow, luckily there is something you can do.
Here are some of the things you can do to lose weight with an underactive thyroid
- Take Thyroid Medication
Taking thyroid medication as directed by a physician is very important. This helps keep the thyroid hormones at normal levels. When the thyroid levels are under control, losing weight can be done much faster.
This medication should be taken with plenty of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, than wait for an hour before eating breakfast.
You shouldn’t take any other medication for at least 30 minutes after taking the thyroid medication.
- Avoid Simple Carbs and Sugars
If you suffer from hypothyroidism, it is very important to follow a low to moderate carb diet which focuses on complex carbs. You should also avoid simple carbs and sugars which only add to your calorie intake.
When you want to lose weight you should mainly focus on eating fewer calories which you can burn off easily. However, you must not reduce your calories drastically because it can lead to stress response in the body which also causes reduces thyroid hormone production.
Keeping a food journal can help you keep track on your calorie intake so you can be sure you are eating a well-balanced diet.
- Keep moving
One of the best ways to lose weight is exercising even for people who suffer from hypothyroidism. Exercising boosts the metabolism rate helping you overcome the effects of this condition. Low intensity exercise such as a simple walk of 45 to 60 minutes should be enough as long as you do it regularly.
Besides walking regularly you should also do light weight 30-minute exercises twice a week.
- Use Coconut Oil for Cooking
Regular use of coconut oil is also a simple way to lose weight. The healthy fatty acids in coconut oil stimulate the hormone production in the thyroid gland to keep it functioning normally, and they also promote weight loss and reduce cholesterol levels.
Also, the fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate the cells’ energy burning powerhouses where the fats convert into energy, thus boosting your metabolism.
Instead of using your regular cooking oil switch to extra virgin coconut oil. You can also add 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil daily in your milk, tea or smoothie.
Note: Don’t consume more than 3 tbsp of coconut oil a day.
- Eat Healthy Nut Snacks
If you suffer from hypothyroidism having small and frequent meals is very important because it boosts your metabolism and supports weight loss. Having healthy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks is a main component of every healthy diet plan.
Nuts are a healthy snack choice because of the presence of selenium in them. Selenium is a mineral which is very important for proper thyroid function.
Good snacks containing selenium are almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and eggs.
- Take Fish Oil Supplements
To improve the functionality of your thyroid you must provide your body omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fish oil.
These fatty acids improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat and to prevent its accumulation. They also help decrease inflammation and they boost your immune system.
Always consult your physician before taking fish oil supplements about how much you should take. The recommended daily dose should not exceed 3 grams.
- Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar also helps regulate the thyroid hormones; it promotes detox and improves the metabolism which results in weight loss. Daily intake of apple cider vinegar reduces the body weight, body mass index, the visceral fat area and serum triglyceride levels.
In a glass of warm water add 2 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and mix in a little honey.
Consume twice daily on a regular basis.