How To Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism

How to lose weight with hypothyroidism.

It is not often you ask someone what their #1 health goal is and they respond,

“To increase my cellular energy production and heal my thyroid”


For 99.9% of the population, you ask them this question 9x out of 10 they are going to respond with “My #1 health goal would be to lose some weight”.

To be honest though, we are hearing this less and less. In fact, most people come to us saying they don’t even care about weight loss; they just want to feel better.

I’d like to say this is a great thing, unfortunately this truth is only highlighting the severity of the underlying damage resulting from our global definition of “health”- to be thin.

But truth be told, if your goal is to lose weight you are going to need to address the health of your thyroid first.

To put it to you simple and as straight forward as possible…

Losing weight will not heal your thyroid; to lose weight you have to begin by healing your thyroid.

Unfortunately after years and years of being told health equates to the “right” number on the scale, we believe it.

As a result we now find ourselves in the midst of one of the greatest hypothyroid epidemics of our time.

It is important to state that we all have different definitions of health.

Our goal today is to offer some possibilities into why some of the approaches to weight loss might not be working and need to be reconsidered, especially in cases of hypothyroidism and broken metabolisms.

Most Common Hypothyroidism Weight Loss Mistakes

If you are like many who have applied these techniques in an effort to lose weight, chances are it has been at the sacrifice of your thyroid and metabolic health.

Lose weight with hypothyroidism: Calorie Restriction

Why is calories restricting not effective for weight loss in someone who is hypothyroid?

Lets first define what a calorie is.

A calorie is a measurement of energy and we need energy for our bodies to function optimally.

When we consider what is underlying hypothyroidism, an inability to produce energy (a.k.a. an energy deficit), restricting food energy is the very last thing you would want to do!

This is what we call sacrificing long-term health for short-term success/survival.

In addition, cutting calories, although it may be effective to some degree is not without the risk of further damaging your thyroid health and weakening your metabolic system even more.

When you are not meeting your daily energy needs:

  • Your liver becomes glycogen depleted, which therefore
  • Leads to blood sugar imbalances. This is one of the greatest stresses to the human body, which therefore
  • Increases the production and release of stress hormones, which therefore,
  • Further suppress the function of your thyroid and slow your metabolism

It is a vicious cycle that must be broken in order for long-term healthy weight loss to be possible.

Lose weight with hypothyroidism: Cutting out carbohydrates

This makes me absolutely nuts!

If energy deficiency is the issue and carbohydrates are the body’s primary and immediate source of energy, how can cutting carbohydrates, under any given circumstance, make sense?!

If you recall from the above section, one of the effects of calorie restriction is glycogen depletion in the liver; where more then half of thyroid hormone is converted from the inactive T4 to the active T3.

Yes, you will NEED a sufficient amount of carbohydrates in your diet to heal your thyroid AND to lose weight!

Eating a low carb diet will flood your body with stress hormones and although you may experience some weight loss, chances are it will be by way of glycogen depletion and the loss of healthy muscle tissue.

Low carb dieting is a recipe for weight gain in the long-term.

Lose weight with hypothyroidism: Excess Exercise

Lets first agree the reason you might be carrying a few extra “lbs” is not because you are exercise deficient. So going to the gym for long sessions on the elliptical is going to leave you not only extremely fatigued but worse off then if you just didn’t exercise at all.

Think about it. Exercise requires energy. And when the body is already in an energy deficit increasing the demand for more cellular energy wears the metabolism down even further.

When there is no “fuel” to burn other sources of energy must then be used, which are very inefficient and stressful on the system. These include:

  1. Protein from healthy muscle tissue
  2. Stored fats – sure this might sound appealing however it’s not in the way you think. Your body is designed to use fat ONLY when your body is at rest and energy demands are low NOT by under-eating.
  3. Lactic acid

Sure, the body is designed to use these resources as back up and in survival situations. Once the stress subsides the body recovers.

Unfortunately in someone with hypothyroidism the body is and has most likely been in a survival state for so long it is unable to recover, leaving the body in a chronic state of inflammation.

So how do we approach healthy weight loss in hypothyroidism?

As absurd and against the goal as it might sound, the only way to achieve healthy long-term weight loss is by feeding your body foods that enhance cellular energy production. Doing so will support your metabolic rate and allow you to burn calories more efficiently.

When your body is able to make optimal cellular energy and is no longer is a survival, high stressed state you will be able to burn off the extra fats in a safe and effective manner.

So in short, the only way to lose weight is to eat.

When done correctly and in a way that supports the health of your thyroid, which therefore will increase your metabolic rate over time, healthy weight loss will occur.

How long will it take?

To be honest, we don’t have an answer for that.

This will vary greatly for each person because there are so many factors one must consider.

One thing you can be certain of, healing is a process. If long term, health weight loss is what you want to achieve and you have hypothyroidism it is going to require a little time to restore and recover your energy production in the system.

As this occurs, (and it will) your body will become more efficient at burning fuel, your body temperature will regulate, your symptoms will begin to dissipate and the pounds will begin to drop. In addition, your resiliency to stress with strengthen dramatically!

If you don’t want to take the time to heal your metabolic systems and you are hell bent on losing weight quickly it will be at the sacrifice of your thyroid.

Bottom line, the body will lose weight when it is ready. Have patience, it will happen.

To learn more or to speak with Josh and Jeanne directly, please contact us here.

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Share Your Thoughts

  1. Michele

    Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve been doing the Fight Fatigue with Food Program for a year now. It really has helped me know which foods to concentrate on and ways to increase energy. Im sleeping much better and not so many blood sugar fluctuations. Also has helped me tune into what my body needs.
    Thank you!

    Your 63 year old fan

    December 21, 2017 • 12:57 pm •