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Obesity and Weight Management

Hypothyroidism and weight management

04/06/2006

Question:

I HAVE BEEN DOING WEIGHT WATCHERS DIET PLAN RELIGIOUSLY FOR FOUR MONTHS AND EXERCISING 5-6 DAYS A WEEK A MININUM OF 30 MINUTES CARDIO, 3-4 TIMES A WEEK OF "CURVES GYM" COMBINATION OF CARDIO/WEIGHTS. I HAVE LOST ONLY ONE POUND WHILE MY FRIEND HAS LOST 14-16 POUNDS. I DO HAVE HYPOTHRYOIDISM AND I AM IN MY RANGE ACCORDING TO THE BLOOD TEST AND TAKE MY MEDS DAILY. I AM BECOMING VERY FRUSTRATED AND WOULD LIKE TO LOOSE TWENTY POUNDS. I AM 5`2" 154#, I DO HAVE MORE ENERGY BUT SHOULD I BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE, MEDS, FOOD OR EXERCISE? CAN YOU PLEASE HELP A VERY FRUSTRATED PERSON TRYING VERY HARD?

Answer:

Many people who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism struggle with weight loss. Some individuals who have hyperthyroidism but have been treated and now have normal thyroid levels, experience more difficulty keeping their weight down as compared to before they ever had a thyroid problem. This is because your basal metabolic rate (metabolism) is affected by the thyroid hormone, thyroxin, which can work to speed it up or slow it down.

I know it is frustrating that your friend is losing weight faster than you are, but weight loss is different for each individual. This is because the metabolic rate varies dramatically from person to person, even those of the same height and weight, due to our individual genetics. Your own metabolism can even vary when a change in medical circumstances (such as being diagnosed with hypothyroidism) or change in physical condition occurs.

I would suggest speaking with your doctor to measure your blood to determine if you are taking enough medications to be therapeutically effective for your metabolism. Many systems in your body are interrelated and dependent on many hormones and biochemicals to function normally. Hang in there!

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Response by:

Jaime  Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD Jaime Ackerman Foster, MPH, RD, LD
Formerly,
Extension Nutrition Associate
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University