If the thyroid gland is hypothyroid, the thyroid gland produces too little or no thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a hormone-producing gland in the front part of the neck below the larynx. The hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are produced by the thyroid gland, affect all metabolic processes in humans and the severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the extent of hypothyroidism. Often, an underactive thyroid gland leads to weight gain in addition to many other symptoms.
Why is it so difficult to lose weight with hypothyroidism?
Although the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 originate from a very small gland in the neck area, they have an enormous influence on metabolism, circulation, growth and psyche. The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the brain regulates the production of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. If the hormone balance is imbalanced, as is the case with over- or under-functioning of the thyroid gland, this has an effect on almost all metabolic processes in the body.
If the thyroid gland is underfunctioning, the metabolic processes slow down and the daily energy requirement decreases significantly. The consequences are that those affected feel flabby and gain weight, although they do not necessarily eat more. Fluid retention also frequently occurs.
The body’s basal metabolic rate decreases and it is easier to gain weight, even if you no longer eat. With an underactive thyroid gland, one therefore gains weight slightly, as the body needs fewer calories and the metabolism is generally slower. This simply means that it is harder to lose weight, but not impossible. There are tips on how to lose weight in the long term despite an underactive thyroid.
The most important tips
First of all, one should find the cause of the hypothyroidism together with a doctor and, if necessary, take appropriate medication to compensate for the lack of thyroid hormones. The hormone levels in the blood are essential for this. An important tip for losing weight despite hypothyroidism is the right diet.
This means little fat, lots of fruit, vegetables, wholemeal products and a diet rich in fish is particularly sensible. The diet should be low in calories and varied to boost the metabolism. In addition to a change of diet, sport should be practised to stimulate the metabolism and burn fat.
In general, be patient. If the hypothyroid gland is not yet known for a long time or the medication is not adjusted well enough, it can take a few months until the metabolism has changed. This means that the weight loss can be achieved slowly but surely.
In order to lose weight specifically in the case of an underactive thyroid gland, it is important to follow a suitable diet. In general, the diet should be calorie-reduced, as the body has a lower basal metabolic rate in hypothyroidism. Meals should consist of a varied mixed diet, mostly fruit, vegetables and valuable wholemeal products, meat should only be eaten occasionally and if so, low-fat meat.
It is very sensible to eat fish regularly, as it contains a lot of iodine. The trace element iodine is essential for the body to produce thyroid hormones. In addition, fish contains a lot of protein and therefore keeps you full for a long time.
A protein-rich diet is generally well suited for weight loss with hypothyroidism, in order to use it as a source of energy for the body. It can help to create a diet plan with a weight protocol to control yourself. You can get help from a dietician, who is generously subsidised by some health insurance companies.
and nutritional advice. Exercise is generally a good way to lose weight permanently and this also applies in the presence of hypothyroidism. Which sport and how often and intensively is individually different.
The current state of fitness, existing concomitant diseases, overweight and possible joint problems caused by overweight must be included in the training program. It can be useful to consult an experienced doctor or sports therapist. In order to lose weight in spite of hypothyroidism, regular and consistent exercise is recommended.
Endurance sports such as swimming, Nordic walking or cycling are ideal. Dancing also burns a lot of fat and is fun. If you enjoy the sport, it is easier to stick to it. Sport in a group or team can additionally increase motivation.