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Hypothyroidism: Dieting can damage your thyroid

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Hypothyroidism weight loss tips

Despite your best dieting and exercise efforts, you’re not losing weight and finding it even harder to keep weight off. Worse, you’re exhausted and can’t seem to pull yourself out of the dumps. There’s a good chance you’ve got hypothyroidism and your weight loss efforts are the root cause. We talked with Dr. Elizabeth Lyster from the Holtorf Medical Group in Foster City, California, about the impact of dieting on the thyroid.

Hypothyroidism weight loss tips

Weight loss tips for women with hypothyroidism

Dr. Lyster is optimistic for women with hypothyroidism who want to lose weight. Instead of accepting the condition as a lifelong sentence of being overweight, follow these diet tips for successful weight loss.

1Get tested for hypothyroidism

The first step in treating hypothyroidism is getting properly diagnosed. "Women need to have the right thyroid tests done and then need to take the correct thyroid hormone replacement," states Dr. Lyster. "Further, the American diet usually has enough iodine in it (such as from iodized salt and seafood), but your iodine level can also be checked in order to know whether a supplement would be helpful."

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2Stop dieting to the extreme

Follow a sensible diet that doesn't starve your body. "Remember that the conversion of T4 to reverse T3 with severe or prolonged diets is a major cause of failing to lose weight and quickly regaining weight after a restrictive diet is stopped," the medical expert warns.

Tips for choosing healthy foods >>

3Stress management

Even though disease and crash dieting can stress your body, you're also faced with daily stresses related to work, family and life. Dr. Lyster says good stress management is crucial in preventing and treating hypothyroidism. She also suggests getting enough sleep in order to lose weight effectively.

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4Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Just as restrictive dieting can affect your thyroid, chowing down on processed foods can also cause stress to your body. Dr. Lyster says, "It is wisest to have a healthy, balanced diet with lean proteins and plenty of vegetables, with limited amounts of processed foods and refined sugar."

Living with hypothyroidism

Recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism, one woman discusses her struggle with tiredness and weight gain.

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