Hypothyroid and Weight Loss

I have been a long-term user of MFP. In the past, I have religiously tracked my food to lose 100lbs. I have always used the "calories in, calories out" mindset, without giving in to any fad diets/pills/supplements/whatever. I am a fan of carbs, and refused to cut them out of my diet. I learnt how to eat everything in moderation.

I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroid (subclinical). Apparently, there is a strong genetic link in my family (which I have just recently become aware of). I am devastated by this, and struggling with this news.

Now, how will this impact my fitness and weight loss? For those that have hypothyroid and have lost weight...is it still a matter of just calories in/calories out? or did this require you to cut certain food groups out? I am really just looking for any general information on this and would love to hear what you all know!

Thanks in advance.


  • tracydnevins
    tracydnevins Posts: 27 Member
    I’m also curious. My doctor suggests putting me on synthriod, but I already take a zillion prescriptions. I know it’s gonna be longer and harder to lose at this rate . 8lb lose in 50 days....meh....
  • SistaMills
    SistaMills Posts: 3 Member
    I no longer have a thyroid, but was hypothyroid-ic(?):) for years. I, too, blamed my thyroid, and later thyroidlessness, for my weight. In September, a dear friend of mine, who is a successful weight loss surgery patient...ten years later and still maintaining her weight loss, inspired me to begin my own weight loss journey, but sans the surgery. If I have to lose weight to have the surgery, can't I just keep losing it to meet my goal? CERTAINLY! It is now December and I am now 32 lbs lighter. I have used MyFitnessPal to help me track calories. I love every part of the free app, and just subscribed to the Premium option. I never thought a person like me with thyroid issues could lose weight. As I lose, I am trying to learn to choose better foods, which can only help my body be better. So, Dakotababy, yes, I think you can continue your calories in/calories out method and do well. I cannot believe how much better I feel after only 32 lbs!! Yes, I still have days where I am challenged with low energy and fatigue, but they are becoming fewer and farrer (sp?) between. Staying positive helps, and learn to listen to your body. Give yourself permission to rest when you need to, even though others do not understand. You can still lead a good life, and count your blessings...there are so many much worse things that could have plagued our bodies. ;D
  • ElizabethKalmbach
    ElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,416 Member
    I find this interesting and am providing it so that you'll be aware of what doctors are also aware of - do not freak yourself out doing a WebMD self-diagnosis. >_< Just, stay alert and maintain a good line of communication with your care team.

  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,380 Member
    I've been on thyroid meds for more than 15 years. Once I got the proper dose, I had no problem losing weight. It still does come down to CICO. The meds have few side effects and are very inexpensive, so it is definitely worth taking them. Pay attention to the timing issue since taking the meds with food will affect their effectiveness.
  • _BlahBlah_BlackSheep_
    _BlahBlah_BlackSheep_ Posts: 2,132 Member
    I haven't had a thyroid in almost 11 years. I haven't cut out any foods, but even with proper medication I've found that it's easier to gain and harder to lose weight. It can certainly be done and maintained, though - I lost almost 30 pounds 6 years ago and have maintained that loss (even with a pregnancy in that time). I do a lot of meal prep (freezer meals) and weigh and measure everything for accuracy.
  • LiLee2018
    LiLee2018 Posts: 1,320 Member
    I have hypo. I'm keto so I can't really say if just a CICO diet would work. I don't see why it wouldn't though. My own weight loss journey has been slow, but I think that's just multiple factors causing it and not just the hypo.
    Just get on the right dose of medication and you should be fine.
  • francesca_grey
    francesca_grey Posts: 97 Member
    There's a study that proved hypothyroidism only causes about 10 pounds of water retention. Dunno how meaningful one study is but in my own experience I was subclinical for years and had no problem losing weight during that time -- when I stuck to my diet. That said, the stress and other comorbid autoimmune issues can make it really hard to stick to healthy eating and that's not a cop out statement -- it really is much harder, especially for women we just have to deal with a lot. Being subclinical and unmedicated is a sucky period, I hope it doesn't affect you as much but if you have healthy habits you will be doing the best possible thing to avoid symptoms.

    Food group wise, I tend to do better with fewer grains, carbs, sugar and lots of vegetables, similar to paleo. My endo (who is a FT researcher) is a big proponent of eating more vegetables. He neither agrees nor disagrees with my low carb approach. Learning how to manage stress and utilize better non-food coping mechanisms helps me just as much as diet.
  • Michellelynn219
    Michellelynn219 Posts: 62 Member
    I have Hashimotos. I lost 25lbs in 2017 by counting calories. I ate normal foods, didn't restrict myself. I gained 10 back since then. Thyroid disease runs in my family too. My mother, her sister and my Uncle on my father's side all have thyroid disease.
  • dakotababy
    dakotababy Posts: 2,401 Member
    Thank you everyone for your responses. This has totally shaken up my entire life, and I am scared. I worked so hard to lose the 100lbs previously, and this information is so helpful. As I am subclinical and waiting for a second blood test in a few weeks, I don’t have much for symptoms except memory loss/black outs, and a bit of digestive slow down. My TSH is 5.54 but T4 was normal.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,931 Member
    Don't allow a hypothyroid diagnosis to upset you. There are a ton of us on here who have had to deal with the same issue and lost weight with no problems. I lost over 100 lbs too while hypothyroid and on synthroid for it. It is just a small part of my day and did not stop me from losing weight. I was however one of the odd ones who had to reduce their medication dosage due to weight loss. Synthroid is the most often prescribed medication for low thyroid and is inexpensive in generic form. Going on the medication for me was a godsend! My chronic headaches went away, the constant fatigue got better and so did the chronic constipation I had lived with most of my life. Take the meds, you will feel so much better.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,298 Member
    edited December 2019
    I've been hypo/treated with levothryroxine for 30 years. Don't panic yourself, just get your levels straightened out. It's a very common condition.

    I lose weight easily. If anything - like Ann - I eat at a much higher calorie level than is recommended. It doesn't affect my life in any way, and definitely doesn't affect my weight or limit my food intake.

    The treatment is straight-forward, inexpensive and it's not a devastating illness at all. Just take the little pill and carry on.

    You'll be fine.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,256 Member
    dakotababy wrote: »
    Thank you everyone for your responses. This has totally shaken up my entire life, and I am scared. I worked so hard to lose the 100lbs previously, and this information is so helpful. As I am subclinical and waiting for a second blood test in a few weeks, I don’t have much for symptoms except memory loss/black outs, and a bit of digestive slow down. My TSH is 5.54 but T4 was normal.

    There are several elite level athletes with hypothyroidism. There's nothing to fear.

    Pay no attention to the internet woo out there.
  • poisonesse
    poisonesse Posts: 500 Member
    My hubby was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and if he would watch his diet, he can actually lose weight faster than I can, and I DON'T have it. However, when he decides to go a little crazy, it does catch up with him faster than it does me, so I would guess that's the thyroid coming into play. If you need to go on meds, just take them and go on with your life as normal, it won't derail a healthy life style.
  • Pearl4686
    Pearl4686 Posts: 886 Member
    Another hypothyroid here (9 years on meds)
    As far as I understand from my doc, the meds simply replace the hormones your body fails to produce (so to the person resisting meds, you're not helping yourself there)
    Been obese my whole adult life, have lost weight both before and after diagnosis, as long as my head was in the right place and I watch my calories.
    As someone else here mentioned, I've also needed less meds as the weight came off (40 lbs lost)
    So, hang in there, don't let it get to you and don't let the naysayers tell you otherwise.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 3,098 Member
    Hypothyroidism is really very common, and isn't a scary diagnosis at all, unless you are severely on one end or the other. My thyroid was removed in 2014 for thryoid cancer (caught early and completely), and I then proceeded to lose 100 lbs in 2017. I had lost nearly 100 lbs in 2012 when I was hypothyroid before the surgery, but gained it back because I got lazy. This time around, I've managed to keep most of it off and have actually started losing again, so I might be able to get off most of the next 100 lbs I need to lose!

    but truly, it's not anything to be frightened about.
  • youngmomtaz
    youngmomtaz Posts: 1,081 Member
    Hypothyroid here, they are finally running the testing to see if it is hashimotos, I seem to have to fight for everything. Anyway, I lose or gain based on my calorie intake. I do gain quickly when off track, my doc was floored when I showed her actual tracked intake vs my gain. A lot of it I am sure is water weight, but it still sucks and is hard to get rid of. When I am closely tracking though I lose as I should. I find my exercise recovery is slow, especially when I am doing heavy cardio, with weight lifting only it is not so bad, I get mildly sore on my very heavy days but that is to be expected.

    We are still fighting to get my levels balanced. I have been feeling great since my iron and ferritin levels finally raised, but then found I was again getting tired easily, my free t3 and 4 were bottomed out and tsh high again. So we adjusted desicated thyroid dosage and scheduled for more bloodwork in 3 months. Get used to the blood work, get used to assessing how you are feeling and figure out if it is correlating appropriately with blood results or if there are other lifestyle changes you could make. For example: I need more sleep than my husband, I have to make sure I get enough down time or I will struggle for weeks to catch up, I track fibre because by digestion sucks, I exercise because it feels good, gives me energy but I have to moderate that and spread it out because too much and I feel worse. It is a disorder that can be easily managed, no need to be super upset. But there are details to pay attention to. Take your meds, get your levels checked, assess and reassess.