Hypothyroidism: A Frustrating Condition
Even if you are able to get your hypothyroidism under control through treatment, some people still have problems shedding those extra pounds and preventing more weight from creeping on.
Angie, a Graves’ disease patient in Frankfort, Ky, was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition a few years ago. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. After receiving treatment, she developed hypothyroidism and has struggled with maintaining a healthy weight ever since.
“Since my thyroid was made inactive due to hypothyroidism, it has been a monumental struggle to lose and maintain weight. This is despite having a dedicated exercise program and watching what I eat,” says Angie.
She believes the weight loss process has become even slower for her specifically because of her hypothyroidism. “While it might take a normal person a week to lose two pounds, it may take me a month to do so. It is frustrating, but weight can be controlled through a consistent exercise program and watching what I eat. What works for me is to be consistent with my exercise,” says Angie. She hits the gym at least four to five days a week for 60 to 90 minutes each session, combining strength training with cardiovascular exercise. Angie also watches her calorie and carbohydrate intake, eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drinks lots of water to help maintain a healthy weight.
Thyroid And Weight Gain
Weight gain can be directly linked with thyroid problems. Thyroid issues develop over time. You may have been displaying signs of low thyroid function in your 30s or 40s but were able to push through it.
Back then you were able to exercise a little more to lose any extra weight, or sleep in over the weekends to make up for any tiredness. You probably did not give these changes a second thought.
As you enter your late 40s, these symptoms tend to become more apparent because of any hormonal fluctuations that are also experienced during that time. You need to listen to your thyroid and the signs your body is receiving, and nurture your thyroid if you want to lose weight and gain energy.
Weight gain is typically linked to an under active thyroid because it slows down your metabolism. This results in weight gain and difficulty losing extra weight.
An under active thyroid gland, a condition referred to as hypothyroidism, is where your thyroid gland doesnt produce enough hormones. Common signs of an under active thyroid are tiredness, weight gain and feeling depressed.
Losing Weight With An Underactive Thyroid
Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy body weight. But weight loss is still possible with hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which produces hormones that regulate a number of body processes, becomes underactive and doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to allow the body to function properly. One of the key processes these hormones help to regulate is metabolism that magic word we all know due to its connection to diet and weight-loss. It seems like everyone is trying to speed up their metabolism with the right mix of foods and exercise to help shed pounds. So when your body is working against you and slowing your metabolism down even more, weight loss becomes an even bigger challenge.
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Testing For Thyroid And Hormones
Given that there is a gray area between the symptoms of hypothyroidism and menopause, itâs only through testing that you can know for sure what your condition is. If you are found to have an underactive thyroid, your doctor can prescribe thyroid replacement therapy to normalize thyroid hormone levels. If itâs menopause, there are some medications you can take to alleviate certain annoying menopausal symptoms. Your OB/GYN may also recommend menopausal hormone therapy.
The good thing is that there are different types of tests, such as an at home thyroid test, you can take to see if thereâs anything wrong with your thyroid levels ifyouâre going through menopause:
Find Movement You Enjoy
Establish a regular exercise regime to boost your mood, energy, and help with weight loss. A common symptom of both hypothyroidism and menopause is achy muscles, making working out feel even more unappealing. Don’t overcomplicate this, though. A 20-minute walk is all you need to see benefit. And remember, progress is progress, even if it’s slow. Try our 7-Day Exercise Reboot to get back in the groove.
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What To Know About Menopause If You Have Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism and menopause share many of the same symptoms. Find out how you can tell the difference and how to get relief.
If youre living with hypothyroidism, youre likely already familiar with the common symptoms, which can include fatigue and weight gain. But if youre a woman around the age of menopause which can range from 40 to 58, with the average onset at age 51 you may also experience identical issues, according to the North American Menopause Society . So if youre in middle age, it can be hard to know whats really going on, and how to get relief.
Read on for what you should know about your menopausal years if you have hypothyroidism.
Can You Lose Weight After Menopause
Conventional wisdom suggests you canât lose weight after menopause. Research says otherwise.
Youâve likely heard your whole life that weight loss becomes harder the older you get. There is some truth to that, of course. The metabolism of an average 25-year-old is typically higher than that of a 55-year-old. Likewise, a 30-year-old may be able to exercise longer than a 60-year-old.
Couple physical changes from aging with the hormonal changes brought about by menopause, and it may seem that losing weight after menopause feels really hard for most women.
âWeight gain is a problem for many women, despite maintaining the same diet and exercise routines that theyâve had for years,â says JoAnn Pinkerton, M.D., executive director of the North American Menopause Society. âEven if the number on the scale doesnât change, women complain of a shift in fat to the midsection after menopause.â
Sound familiar? Youâre not alone.
Here, how to help your body adjust to changes brought about by menopause so that you can keep weight off and maybe lose a few pounds too.
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Relationship Between Menopause And Thyroid Conditions
Some women take hormone replacement therapy to help reduce the symptoms associated with perimenopause.
Most women do not have any issue with their thyroid after starting HRT. However, some women who are already taking medication for an underactive thyroid may find that they need to adjust the dose of their thyroid medication.
It is important to have thyroid hormone levels rechecked from time to time, especially if a woman is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid or menopause.
Thyroid Disorders Are More Common Than You May Think
Over 20 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, Dr. Kellis says. In fact, thyroid problems are more common than asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But since many of the signs are so common, its easy miss it.
Dr. Kellis recommends getting a bloodtest if youre experiencing irregularities in weight loss or gain, slowedthinking, memory loss, or anything that makes your body not feel right.
Ask your doctor to check for thyroid lumps or an enlarged thyroid during routine physical exams. Both thyroid nodules and goiter can make your thyroid underactive or overactive. Few nodules or goiters cause pain, but larger one can hamper swallowing and breathing, or make you hoarse.
Effective treatments are available for most thyroid disorders, ranging from medications to surgery. The right diagnosis and treatment will help you manage a thyroid disorder and its symptoms, says Dr. Kellis.
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Thyroid Therapy In Menopause
L-Thyroxine is the first line of therapy for menopausal people with an underactive thyroid. The dose might be adjusted depending on heart health, use of tobacco, and the fitness of each person .
Generally if youre taking sex hormone replacement therapy, you might need a higher dose of thyroid medication.
Current treatment recommendation :
People 5070 years old with TSH levels between 1.0 and 3.0 mIU/L
People 70+ with TSH levels between 2.0 to 5.0 mIU/L
Overtreatment with L-thyroxine for menopausal people can lead to excessive bone loss and heart problems .
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Body Changes At Menopause
As we age, our muscles decrease in bulk and our metabolism slows down. These changes can contribute to weight gain around the time of menopause.Other physical changes associated with menopause may include:
- skin changes, such as dryness and loss of elasticity
- vaginal dryness
- hair growth .
These changes may affect a womans body image and self-esteem and increase her risk of depression and sexual difficulties. Taking steps to manage the symptoms of menopause can help.
Overactive Vs Underactive Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped glandlocated at the front of your neck. It produces hormones that help regulateyour bodys metabolism and keep your brain, heart, muscles and other organsworking properly. But sometimes it does too much or too little, as seen in:
- Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid may make you feel nervous, irritable and shaky. You may notice a racing heart, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, frequent bowel movements, thinning hair, weight loss and irregular periods.
- Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland may slow down your body functions. What to look for: slower thinking, depression, feeling cold, constipation, muscle weakness, abnormal periods and a slower metabolism leading to moderate weight gain.
Loss of memory, or brain fog, is another, often-overlooked, sign of a thyroid issue, adds Dr. Kellis. Though rare, losing hair around the ends of your eyebrows is another sign.
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Perimenopause Starts Around Age 40
Menopause is defined as the point when its been a full year since your last menstrual period. For women in the United States, this occurs around age 51. You may not realize that perimenopause starts as early as your late 30s, as changes in hormones begin to cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog and fuzzy thinking, and weight changes. You are also more likely to develop a thyroid condition as you age. This makes it confusing to tell if symptoms are due to perimenopause, thyroid disease, or both.
Track Your Food Calories And Activity
Many experts agree: Keeping track of your calories, nutrition, and activity can help you achieve greater success with your weight-loss effort. Todays technology makes it easier. Linda was able to lose 20 pounds recently. I downloaded the app MyFitnessPal, and it helped keep me on track. Another popular tracking app is LoseIt. Also, if you wear a Fitbit device, some models have built-in calorie counters.
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Exercise But Dont Overdo It
Weight loss is very important to eliminate insulin resistance. The less you weigh, the less insulin resistant you will be. Even a daily brisk walk of 45 minutes to an hour can substantially reduce insulin levels. You can schedule this activity around the hours when you feel most rested. Exercising will help boost your metabolism, raise your resting metabolism, and burn calories.
But as it is with food, there is no one size fits all type of exercise for everyone. It is crucial to have your stress level assessed before you start doing more vigorous exercise. When we are exposed to any combination of stressors that elevate our stress hormone beyond the optimal, our repair hormones are suppressed.
It has been shown that women or men who perform more than moderate exercise, especially when associated with dieting, have reduced T4 to T3 conversion and increase reverse T3, counteracting many of the positive effects of exercise in women including weight loss. Consequently, T3 and reverse T3 levels should be evaluated in individuals who exercise and/or diet to better determine cellular thyroid levels, as TSH and T4 would not necessarily reflect tissue levels in such patients.
Take A Probiotic Supplement
There Is evidence that taking a good-quality probiotic supplement to restore your balance of good intestinal bacteria may be helpful for weight loss. Eileen was eating a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, but she wasnt shedding pounds. I started taking a probiotic supplement, and within a week, I was less bloated, and I started to finally lose weight. I’m now down 15 pounds in three months!” Learn more about the benefits of probiotics for thyroid patients.
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Action Steps: Menopause & Weight Gain
The main approach that we need to consider is to regain this balance of hormones. For this reason, we really need to consider the adrenals as central to that restoration of balance.
That is where the Adrenal Reset Diet comes into play . The point of the diet is to regain an overall healthy cortisol slope. This results in high cortisol in the morning, and low cortisol at night, when you need it most and when you need it least.
When your cortisol slope is not optimal, it can be the key driver for many different symptoms in your body . The types of symptoms that can be included are:
- Chronic ongoing stress
- Changes in lifestyle
Bottom Line: If you are effectively able to disrupt any of these key issues, you are better able to regulate your cortisol slope and get it back to where it belongs. Think of it like a menopause metabolism reset.
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Tips For Losing Weight While Dealing With Hypothyroidism
Achieving healthy weight loss starts with finding the right doctor that understands your situation and is willing to look beyond calorie restriction. Additionally, there are lifestyle changes you can make. Mahar and Bowman share four tips for losing weight while dealing with hypothyroidism.
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