There exists a complex relationship between hypothyroidism, BMR and body weight. Hypothyroidism slows down body’s metabolism and as a result, aids weight gain. The extra weight gained during hypothyroidism is also the result of water retention which is very common symptom of hypothyroidism. One has to be careful while attempting to lose weight as in hypothyroidism the person’s metabolism is already low and crash diets can lower it further.
Hypothyroidism causes insulin resistance in the body resulting in weight gain. Carbohydrate intake needs to be monitored to avoid any chances of developing diabetes. To manage weight during hypothyroidism is challenging and therefore requires professional guidance to help you get on track. For thyroid patients simply cutting calories from the diet is not effective in bringing about the weight loss because already their metabolism is on the slower side. They require a combination of diet and exercise to achieve the goal. Exercise is critical to regulate the metabolism and burn calories.
Here are some basic dos and donts of a hypothyroid diet recommended by diet experts:
Diet: The diet for the hypothyroid patient on a weight loss plan should essentially be low in carbohydrates. Avoid pastas, potatoes, yam, and sweet potato, include more of complex carbohydrates in the form of fiber rich foods like whole cereals, vegetables, whole pulses etc. The diet need to be restricted in terms of high glycemic foods such as corn, white bread, refined flour, muffins, cakes, rich desserts etc.
The other important food that needs to be avoided for hypothyroidism are goitrogens like soya and its products, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, spinach, strawberry, peaches, pears, peanuts etc. Cooking these foods can deactivate their goitrogenic compounds and make them safer for consumption.Goitrogens are the substances that interfere with the thyroid functioning and avoiding them provide relief from the symptoms.
The diet of thyroid patients should essentially be rich in certain other nutrients most important being selenium. Natural sources of selenium include brazil nuts, eggs, tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds etc. Other nutrients that boost thyroid functions include Zinc, Riboflavin, Niacin, and vitamin E.
Another common problem faced by thyroid patients is water retention. Reducing the salt intake and drinking plenty of water helps in combating this problem. Avoid salted nuts, salted crackers, pickles, salt preserved foods etc. Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water in a day.
Exercise: Exercise is as important as diet to manage weight for hypothyroid. You can get started with a 20 minute home workout routine that is a combination of cardio, interval training, pilates and strength training. This routine will not only get your blood pumping but it will also help release “happy hormones” in the system that will improve your mood swings and decrease your stress levels.
It’s a fact that thyroid patients have increased difficulty in losing weight, due to their subnormal metabolism but there are no shortcuts to weight loss. One has to be patient and focused towards the goal. Along with the diet regular exercising not only helps in building strength, but also increases the metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity. What is needed is proper guidance from an expert regarding diet and exercise for achieving the weight loss target and also to manage the condition of hypothyroidism.Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo