How To Lose Weight With An Underactive Thyroid: Your 6-Step Guide

How to lose weight with an underactive thyroid

[Last updated 9th November, 2017]

Losing weight and keeping it off can be a struggle.

Especially if you have an underactive thyroid. Your metabolism has slowed down and you’re almost always feeling tired.

But if you break down the process into small steps, and tick each box as you go, weight loss comes much easier.

This guide covers the 6 fundamental steps required to successfully lose weight with an underactive thyroid.

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1. Optimise Your Thyroid Medication

Optimise Your Thyroid MedicationI wanted to begin with a nutrition recommendation, but correcting your thyroid medication first priority.

If your medication is not helping to correct TSH and thyroid hormone levels, as well as relieve symptoms, then weight loss goes from difficult to impossible.

Work with your health care provider to determine what type of medication is better for you, and also to find the optimal dose required. While Levothyroxine is on average more effective, Armour is reportedly much better tolerated.

There is no difference between taking your thyroid hormone meds in the morning vs evening. Choose whatever is easier for you to have it on a fasting stomach (1, 2).

Summary: It is fundamental to work with your doctor to explore what type and dose of thyroid medication is best for you. Until your thyroid hormone levels are corrected, weight loss is much more difficult.

2. Cut Back on Added Sugars and Refined Starches

Cut Back on Added Sugars and Refined StarchesI need to begin with this clarification:

Carbohydrates are not inherently bad for you. That is, they do not make you fat or sick on their own (I wrote in detail about it here). It always comes back to total calories consumed.

That said, carbs in the form of added sugars and highly refined starches are unhealthy and unnecessary. They offer almost zero nutritional benefit (known as “empty calories”) and make up a large portion of the excess calories we consume.

In fact, the average American adult’s consumption of added sugar increased by more than 30% in the last 30 years, with children consuming approximately 20% more. This was illustrated below by

Rates of added sugar consumption in the USFortunately those numbers have began to reverse; a trend that needs to continue. Nevertheless, cutting back on added sugar is still the most simple and direct way to cut out excess “empty” calories.

This is done by limiting intake of junk foods, flavoured drinks (including juice), alcohol, white bread, most cereals and muesli bars, and a good portion of packaged food in your supermarket’s “health food” aisle. That includes gluten-free junk food… it’s still junk food.

Now it’s unrealistic (and unfair) to expect yourself to completely avoid added sugar every day of the year. But you need to begin taking actionable steps that help you cut back and form healthier habits.

Start by not having junk foods at home, or at least keep them out of sight in a cupboard you never use.

Summary: Added sugar makes up a large portion of the excess calories an average person consumes each day. Cutting down on your intake is critical if you want to successfully lose weight.

3. Base Meals Around Vegetables and Protein

Base Meals Around Vegetables and ProteinIf you want to lose weight with an underactive thyroid, these should be the foundation of almost every meal you make, and plated first when serving.

There are 2 main reasons for this:

1. Protein is paramount for weight loss

The main benefit of protein is that it’s much more satiating than both fat and carbs. That is, it has a unique ability to reduce appetite and therefore your overall caloric intake too.

Studies show high protein diets may also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and cut desire for late-night snacks by half (3, 4).

Foods high in protein include meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, legumes (beans) and dairy.

Protein is also the muscle-building nutrient, so a high protein diet complements regular exercise.

2. Vegetables provide most vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients

The nutrient-density of meals is even more important for those with hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, where nutrient absorption and deficiency are more common.

Emphasis goes to green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.

Veggies are also our greatest source of fibre, a nutrient that feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut. Studies show that long-term low fibre intake will completely throw out the balance of your gut bacteria; the effects on the gut health of mice was irreversible (5).

As a general guide, the protein portion of your meal should be the size of your palm, and salad/vegetables the size of your hand. This would leave about 1/4 or less of your plate for carbs (such as rice or potato or pasta).

Hand portion guide for food servings

Summary: Protein foods and vegetables should make up the majority of your plate. They are generally the most filling and/or nutrient-dense foods per calorie.

4. Increase your intake of Selenium and Zinc

Increase intake of selenium and zinc for underactive thyroudSelenium and zinc are two nutrients directly involved in thyroid function.

It is critical that your diet contains adequate quantities in order to optimise thyroid hormone production and metabolism.


Selenium is an essential mineral that helps the body to recycle iodine. That’s the reason the thyroid has the highest selenium content (per gram of tissue) of all our organs (6).

Therefore, it’s thought that low selenium levels contribute to hypothyroidism through alternate mechanisms related to iodine. For this reason it’s fundamental to eat a diet that contains many selenium-rich foods, such as:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Tuna and sardines
  • Beef and chicken
  • Eggs
  • Legumes


Zinc is an essential mineral required to regulate Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).

In fact, the metabolism of zinc and thyroid hormones are closely interlinked, which is why a deficiency can lead to alopecia (hair loss) (7).

While zinc deficiency is very uncommon in the developed world, it’s still recommended to eat a variety of zinc-rich foods (8). This includes:

  • Oysters and shellfish
  • Beef and chicken
  • Legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Milk and yoghurt.

Iodine is also important for thyroid health, but in reality insufficient iodine levels that can harm the thyroid is extremely rare in developed countries (9).

You’re much better off focusing on selenium and zinc-rich foods, many of which contain iodine anyways.

Summary: Consuming a diet naturally rich in selenium and zinc is critical for maintaining a healthy thyroid and metabolism.

5. Take regular walks or start lifting weights each week

Take regular walks or start lifting weights each week“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.”

This is true, especially when your metabolism is slower than normal. That’s why this article places so much emphasis on dietary changes.

However, if you want to kick-start your weight loss then regular exercise is the best way to do it.

Weight loss ultimately comes down to expending more energy (calories) than you consume. Although it’s much more complex than “eat less, move more” (there are many biological factors to consider), being active helps to burn additional calories. It also improves aspects of health that even perfect nutrition can’t provide, such as strength and mobility.

You don’t have to put yourself through miserable high-intensity workouts either. Research shows that low-intensity exercise that lasts longer – such as regular long walks – are just as effective for weight loss, especially if you are just starting out (10).

A general guideline is to walk for at least 60 minutes or 10,000 steps on most days.

Unable to do cardio exercise

Regularly lifting weights (or bodyweight exercises) is also highly beneficial, especially if mobility is an issue for you. In fact, it’s equally as important as cardio and we should be doing both where possible.

Known as resistance exercise, it still helps burns additional calories, but with the added benefit of building lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism and the less likely you are to fall ill (11).

There are numerous resistance exercise programs on Youtube for beginners, and you can do it all at home if you invest in a pair of dumbbells or even one kettle bell.

Summary: Regular exercise helps to kick-start weight loss and speed up the entire process. It also improves your strength, mobility and metabolic health. If mobility is a problem for you, lifting weights or bodyweight exercises are a fantastic alternative.

6.Trial The Autoimmune Protocol Diet (Optional for Hashimoto’s)

Trial The Autoimmune Protocol Diet (Optional for Hashimoto’s)This step is only for those with Hashimoto’s or another autoimmune disease, and only recommended if you already consistently follow steps 1 to 5 but are still very overweight.

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is an elimination diet that temporarily cuts out numerous food groups including dairy, grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, nightshade vegetables and more. It is said to have emerged from the Paleo movement (and sometimes referred to as Autoimmune Paleo), but to describe it as Paleo seems too basic.

The AIP goes by the premise that certain food chemicals and compounds cause low-grade inflammation in the gut of individuals with an autoimmune disease (in this case Hashimoto’s disease). Low-grade inflammation appears to be a driving factor behind many modern health conditions, including autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorder and obesity too (12).

By removing the everyday trigger foods in your diet, inflammation subsides giving your body the opportunity to recover and “reset”; known medically as remission. This is what occurs in celiac disease patients when they remove gluten from the diet, or most IBS patients following a low FODMAP diet.

Is It Evidence-Based?

I’ll admit I was highly sceptical of this theory at first; researchers in the area of rheumatology/immunology rarely do randomised trials on elimination diets (the only way to prove “cause and effect”). That means we still cannot reliably say what foods influence autoimmune diseases and their symptoms (nor to what extent).

Does it help because you cut out specific trigger food components? Or because such restriction inadvertently forces you to eat healthier consistently? Or is it a combination of both? It’s hard to say, but we cannot ignore the abundance of non-trial and anecdotal evidence (personal testimonial) that indicate AIP helps with a variety of symptoms.

Although only temporary, elimination diets like AIP are highly restrictive and can get complicated if you take medications for other medical conditions or are at risk of nutrient deficiencies. It’s fundamental you speak with your doctor before beginning.

Summary: Trialling the Autoimmune Protocol is an option if you have Hashimoto’s disease and have found steps 1 to 5 are no help. It may help with weight loss given its (theoretical) influence on inflammation and its highly restrictive nature.

Additional Tips to Lose Weight With An Underactive Thyroid

Here are some extra pointers to help you lose weight with an underactive thyroid:

  • Prioritise sleep: Alongside poor diet and exercise, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. Good quality sleep is fundamental for weight loss.
  • Thyroid support supplements: Anecdotal reports suggest supplements can give you more energy, at least for the first few months of use. But they’re unnecessary if you regularly eat nutritious foods.
  • Use smaller plates and small spoons: Studies show the bigger the plate and the bigger the cutlery, the more calories we consume (13). This proven phenomenon is called the Delbouef illusion.
  • Plate your meals first: Instead of putting all the prepared food at the table (like a buffet), plate your meal first and then sit down. You are much less likely to go for a second (or third) round.
  • Drink lots of water: Keep a water bottle on hand wherever you go. Research suggests the more water we drink before meals, the fewer calories we eat overall (14).
  • Be mindful: Mindful eating is about becoming more aware of your experiences, physical cues and feelings about food. It is based on a form of meditation called mindfulness.

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More on hypothyroidism and related topics

Losing weight and keeping it off can be a struggle, especially with an underactive thyroid. But it doesn't have to be. This article outlines how to lose weight with an underactive thyroid in 6 steps. See more here:


  1. Jane.wilton says:

    I have been overweight for most of my adult life, especially after my children were born, I have been to many slimming classes lost dome weight and stopped going. I have been suffering from an under active thyroid for many years thryroxin 100mg per day I would love to lose weight but would like to do it by myself, I know that in the end I will feel much better, I have been depressed because my doctor thinks I may have arthritis please can you advise me

    • Hi Jane it sounds like you would benefit from some inspiration from others who are in a similar situation.
      Have you joined any facebook groups yet. I recommend searching for hypothyroidism on facebook groups, there are many who are successfully doing exactly what you have described.

      • Jane wilton says:

        Thank you I have been to my doctor today and she has increased my thyroxin another 25mg plus she wants me to start taking vitamin D supplements, it’s so hard for me
        Regards jane

        • Karen Wulf says:

          Hi Jane!
          Had your ability to lose weight changed since your doctor raised your dosage? I am also hypothyroid-no thyroid since 2011. As I work with my endocrinologist to find a dosage that works for
          Me, I have noticed that being underdosed brings a feeling of depression and despair. Don’t give up in your determination to find your best life! It is there for you!

      • I had a total thyroidectomy in 2012. I’m on Synthroid 125. I’ve gained 30 lbs. I recently began an exercise program an hour a day and diet consists mostly of chicken and veggies. I removed beef, pork, and dairy, breads etc to help with chronic constipation. I’ve lost 13 lbs since I began exercising and eating better but I’ve hit a plateau. I’m constantly hungry and on any given day I easily gain 4 lbs. what can I do to not be so hungry all the time. Sometimes it feels like I’m starving. You recommended selenium and zinc. Will that be beneficial for someone with no thyroid? I’m becoming frustrated like it’s inevitable that I will become obese no matter how hard I work to lose weight. Can you help?

        • Eva Dickman says:

          You may need to do a parasite cleanse or replace candida with probiotics. I don’t have cravings, and when I do get them (last time from tuna sushi) I did a parasite cleanse with clove oil and cravings went away the next day (3 days on, 3 days off, 3 days on). You can also use ground flax seeds or extreme citrus oil like Agrisept.

        • Susan Russell says:

          I have found magnesium supplements very helpful with constipation and also muscle pain from fibro. Depending on how my bowels are cooperating or not- I can take anywhere from 250mg to 400mg 1-2 times a day. I adjust as needed. Hope this info helps.

      • Surabhi sharma says:

        Is that necessary to increase mg when my thyroid is normal with 25 mg.and I am using 25 mg since last 20 months?

    • i have had an under active thyroid for some years and am very overweight and have ostio arthritus for 12 years in my legs and have got dvt in one leg witch swells up mainly in evening ithe pain gets worse could you tell me how to lose weight as i have clothes i cannot fit into and am limited on exercise

    • Kathie Hartwell says:

      Jane, I too have the same thing you do. Babbies made me gain weight. Had it for 20+ years now. Been on every diet I can think of. Have hypothyroidism and arthritis in my knees. Hard to walk 30 mins without pain. I take anti inflammatories, have knee braces, the works. I feel your struggle. You’re not alone

      • Drinking cocnut oil mixed with cinamon help me a lot.I also use turmeric powder twice a day,dosage=10gr a day,5gr in the morning,5gr in the evening,I mixed it with warm water or you can mixed with warm milk.Go on/there is cure in this planrt for every illness.bedt wishies

    • Hi I have under active thyroid , joined slimming world 8 weeks ago , and lost 1stone 4lbs so far it’s slow but coming off , I do get frustrated by small losses but it’s still coming off

  2. Barrie Dunnuck says:

    Hi Joe,

    I have Hypothyroidism and am having trouble losing weight. My personal trainer wants to put me on a Ketogenic Diet. Is this diet recommened for Hypothyroidism?

    Thank you,

    • Can’t see how it would be a problem, but ask your doctor first because it is a big diet change. You may have other meds or conditions where it’s not appropriate. Ketogenic diet is very restrictive (think of social situations) and you can’t “cheat” on it or you don’t go to ketosis. But clinical results are impressive

    • I went keto , actually “bulletproof ” my levels went back to normal after two years;) my energy is through the roof! Training for my 3rd half marathon!

    • I was just diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and was started on the Levo and Metformin. I have also started doing Atkins 20 and have lost almost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I have really focused on cutting out carbs and processed sugar, and it really seems to be working. I would definitely recommend looking into it.

      • Pamela hall says:

        Hi, just seen your post.i take metformin as I have diabeties and I remember I lost about two stones when I first started taking it. I have had an under active thyroid gland for about 20 years and although you can lose weight it is hard. Good luck to you and stay healthy and keep positive.

    • I have just started Keto and already feel AMAZING! Yes I guess it is pretty restrictive but with all of the good fats that are within the diet I haven’t had a carb or sweet craving. Carbs were my enemy and I can’t wait to start seeing results on my waistline. Oh and yes I have an underactive thyroid as well 🙂
      Highly recommend trying eating a Keto diet versus Atkins but do a lot of research!

      • Heather Nelson says:

        Ive looked up the ketogenic diet online and with hypothyroidism and it says strongly not recommended for hypothyroidism patients. Is that not true?

  3. I have been doing some research, nothing seems to be cut and dry with hyperthyroidism, and it stinks, just a few questions, hope you can enlighten me a bit, but it says gluten free, but can we eat like whole grain bread, pasta etc? Ive seen info where it says we may be able to get away with that? or what kind of whole grains are people speaking of? also, is coffee ok? as long as you wait at least 30 min to drink it after taking the medication? It would be great to have specific foods to literally not eat at all, I see a lot of pages say limit this, eat this but not too much, well, how do I know how much to eat or not to eat? Its very confusing, and it would be nice if there was a plan, something that tells me what to eat each day and what excercises etc? Do you have something that just lays it out there for me or know of something?


    • also, is plexus alright to use if trying to lose weight with hypothyroidism?

      • also I read that broccoli, cabbage aren’t good, but might be ok if cooked?

      • I tried Plexus, and didn’t really have much success with the “Pink Drink,” but I still use the block to help reduce my starches and sugars. I have a friend that has Hashimoto’s (sp?) and swears by it.

      • I take Plexus every single day! It really helps keep my energy levels and it keeps my blood sugar balance so I am not bit***! I love it!

    • Hi Jesse, firstly are you hyper or hypothyroid?

      • Well its kind of weird, the tests were done probly 3 months ago and it said my tsh and t4 were in the normal range but the t3 was a bit over the range, which normally means hyper, but I’m gaining weight, fast, so they gave me a med, had the blood work ran again, my tsh t4 and t3 are now in the normal range, I know normal range doesn’t mean much, but my inflammation was up? And I told her to run the antibodies, we’ll know more on that monday, so now that all my levels are in the “normal range” I do some research, and optimum level is like 70% and above of yout range, so my t3 and t4 aren’t quit 70% and above, so that may be a reason I still have some synptoms. I was also wondering if it’s possible if when I started taking my meds to lower my t3 if that slowed down my metabolism and caused the recent weight gain, cuz it’s been like almost 20 pounds in the last month and a half? I’m hoping my body just needs to get used to its new metabolism and maybe I’ll at least stop gaining weight when it does? Idk, but there’s kind if my story, my thyroid is enlarged right now, they did a ultrasound and said there’s something there but it’s not cancerous, so I go to the endo in a but less than a month and hoping they can help a bit, if it’s a goiter, maybe they can reduce the size, so that’s my story so far, what do you think, I need help, it’s a scary situation, thanks!!

        • UNforutnatley it’s not uncommon, but your weight gain will plateau for sure.

          It’s hard for me to say, but goiter is a telling sign something is up. Let me know what your endo says after you get it scanned

          • I went in today, they are going to send me the results of my scan, but she says I either have a viral problem with the medication, so she told me to stop taking it and come back in 6 weeks, said I could have graves disease and she’s not ruling out hoshimotos, so, what does this tell me? I found out nothing today, I forgot to take my medication once and I felt really weird, now I’m gonna feel weird all the time? I gaiNed another 3 pounds in a week and a half span , now I have a kidney stone, this is ruining me, in the mean time, should I try that 14 day diet and see what happens, since they still don’t know what’s wrong with me I have no clue what to eat, help again, thanks

            • In the mean time you don’t have many options it seems. You can try the 14-day diet for sure, but it is basically a meal plan that is zero junk foods and also gluten free. So as long as you can do that, you don’t need to follow it exactly.
              I suspect going gluten free will be very beneficial for you.

  4. Erica Futey says:

    I have been on levothyroxine for 2 years now… im up and down with my weight and iam up and down with fatiuge ect. I just am sick and tired of being sick and tired ….. Im trying the 14 day meal plan but i cant find the plan , I printed off the grocery lists and now i cant find the preping part????

  5. Suzanne says:

    Can taking thyroid medication before bed be helpful versus taking it in the morning and waiting 2 hours before eating. I am often very tired in the morning and need something to get me going.

  6. Donna Duncan says:

    Hi have just recently diagnose with goiter and mutli nodules. At this stage my T4 T3 are still in the normal range had scans which show 2 large nodules. But nott given any medication. I have been overweight for all my adult life, I eat a very low calorie diet. Have been doing a diet shake plan under Doctor supervision. I did manage to lose about 13kg but its so slow its up and down. I do have alot of pain from inflammation and now referred to a specialist. I can’t get a decent night sleep so uncomfortable and when I wake up I feel like I have been hit by a bus. Keen to do some weights and exercise but I do suffer afterwards. I don’t eat alot of process foods infact tried paleo diet only to find I gained weight. Any advice would be appreciated.

  7. Hi Joe my doctor has now increased my thyroxin by 25 mg, I still don’t feel good ache everywhere especially my hands and feet, I was in tears yesterday, not sure what to do next, my doctor wants anther blood test in 2 months, it just drags on can you advise

  8. Kimmi Klingensmith says:

    Hi Joe,
    I was informed in July ’15 that I have Hashitmoto’s, and was given zero information as to what it entails. I have spoke to my doctor on ways to help me lose weight and also make me feel better, but his advice is bariatric surgery and does not, nor wants, to explore any other options. I am 27 years old, and very healthy, considering my weight. I’m just wondering whether you suggest I try the 6 steps or to just start with the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. Any input and help would be much appreciated, as I am at a loss for what to do.

    • Kimmi Klingensmith says:

      Also, thank you so much for explaining MTHFR mutations! You are the first to explain it clearly for me to understand!

    • Hey Kimmi,

      The AIP is really hardcore, i mean the commitment level is big (and well for the most part it is forever). But the success rate is quite high.
      So you need to weigh up what you really want. Can you adjust to that style of eating pattern? If so, then give it a shot.

      If you are on the fence, try gluten-free for a month, alongside a good exercise program (weights or cardio) and a healthy diet (using the points in the article). Let me know how it goes.

  9. palma dorn says:

    I have hypo and i take levo 150 mcg. i have a hard time losing weight as well, i have been doing hitt class since aug. i was also wondering if plexus is okay to take to help lose some weight. i have seen some changes in my body by doing hiit but would like to see more.

    • Hi do you mean Plexus powder? I don’t believe it would help unfortunately.
      HITT will help but diet is much more important than exercise for weight loss. Have you tried to change your eating pattern at all?

    • I Was taking Plexus for about 3 months. Was so frustrated b/c nothing was happening. I was still always tired, eating good and taking Plexus but I got nothing out of it besides a weak bank account. finally went to the doctor and found out I was hybo. My friend gave me some more samples and i tried it while taking 100 mg Sythoid but still nothing. Not saying it doesn’t work for some people, but I think its just a waste of money when you have thyroid problems

  10. Natalia says:

    Hi Joe,

    I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was 18 years old, after my surgery and my radioactive iodine I lost a lot of weight, around 13 kg, I was used to follow a balanced diet and exercise often, and had no problem with mainting my weight, I’m 21 now and for the past 8 months I gained weight, on June 2015 I was diagnosed again with a tumor on my neck, in September 2015 I had radioactive iodine dose administraded then I went abroad for 3 months for a short course, I gained a lot of weight, I came back on December 2015 it was all gone and I got discharged from cancer again and lost a few pounds but I’m still struggling to get on my normal weight, I follow a more healthy eating plan than before and I exercise a lot more, I include LISS, HIIT, indoor cycling and weight lifting (small weight). My condition is good not as before but good, my hormone levels are controlled, but I don’t feel as good as few months ago, I have a lot of acne and follow my dermatologist treatment and don’t see much results, my period is regular but lasts longer than before, almost 2 weeks. My gynecologist prescripted me some pills to control acne and my period again and weight gain I took them right after my surgery and they had me very balanced for 6 months and kept like that until this past months. I don’t know what to do if all my hormones are balanced and seem to be fine, eventhough I don’t feel fine as right after my surgery or a year after.

    Thank you!!!

  11. Natalia says:

    No, no plexus powder, LISS is a cardio trainning. I maintain a balanced diet

  12. tesha hawkins says:

    Hi Joe,
    Please advise I have a lazy thyroid but want to follow a diet .
    everytime I just went t a certain weight and then everything seems to be at a dead end again whet diet can I follow to go all the way and reach my weight goal

  13. Danielle says:

    I started gaining weight at about 5 yrs old, tried several different ways to lose weight, was told as a teenager that I had hypothyroidism, in my 20’s, I was told it went away although I alway knew there was something wrong, I experienced the “diet and exercise” speech over and over. At 28 yrs old I got very focused on weight loss, ate 3 meals a day, cut out sugar, didn’t eat after supper, exercised a few days a week and lost about 40lbs, then I plateaued and slowly started going back to my SOME of my old habits- I have never touched junk food since (chips, fast food, etc.), my weight stayed the same for nearly a year, so I decided to get serious again, exercise, not after dinner snacking, and so on, to my horror I started gaining weight in the first week 2lbs, 2nd week another pound, and so on, within 6 months I gained 25lbs back, I went to a new dr., and she once again diagnosed hypothyroidism and over the course of a year now has increased my dose several time, she told me last time that the blood test shows that as the levothyroxin levels go up my thyroid function goes down, I’m so frustrated there seems to be no end, I’m still fat, tired, emotional, dry skin, loosing hair. I’ve tried supplementing with selenium but no real change, what is an appropriate dose for selenium and zinc? And any other help you can provide would be appreciated, is there something I can specifically run past my doctor?

    • Hmm asuming you are eating well, perhaps it’s a thyroid meds issue.
      Are you taking levothyroxine. If increase dose is not working, would be nice to test your T3 levels (rather than just T4) to see what’s going on.
      You may be better trying a T3 + T4 thyroid med, like Armour or similar.
      Zinc is a good supplement for hair loss, but speak with your doctor 🙂

    • Neha Tiwari says:

      Hey Danielle
      I had hypothyroidism for three years and i got diagnosed only recently when i couldnt take the pain anymore.I was like a zombie.i felt so lethargic,not even half of my hair remained and my skin was at its driest. So,2 months back, i started on some supplements namely Forever Nature Min,Forever Aloe Berry Nectar and Forever Arctic sea .To my surprise, i started feeling a huge difference in just 2 weeks and i feel like I am living for the first time in 3 years.I have even lost 5 kgs in a month and am so grateful to the products.You can purchase them through an flp distributor.

    • Danielle, I am a 50year old mother. I have hypothyroidism, whiich was detected 9years back. I am having 75mg Thyronorm. My weight fluctuates frrom 57 to 61 for last 5years. Before that I was of 57kg. I have started doing yoga for last 8 years. I do yoga for 90 mn a day in the morning before breakfast and do walking 50-60mn in the evening. I feel happy and energetic . I guarantee a positive remarkable change in you without stepping into gym or wt training. Please make yoga n walking a habbit ,a life style . This will take care of your wellness

      A freind

  14. Hello I have put on 35lbs since diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I am a 50 year old woman and I have always been a skinny, energetic, eat whatever I want person. The 35ibs have made me incredibly depresses and uncomfortable around old friends. I am currently taking 200mcg of levothyroxine and 50mcg’s of liothyronine. I am a very careful eater but nothing has helped me lose weight. I read an article about takin T2, which you can by on line to help with the weightloss. I’m also takeing supplements, drinking pleanty of water but nothing helps. What is your opinion of T2 and how do you feel about diet pills? I seriously cannot continue to weight 170lbs. I don’t feel good and it has affected many aspects of my life. Please get back to me.

    • I am not sure about T2, it won’t be the miracle you are looking for I suspect.
      The fact you are taking T3 as well is interesting, do you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroid (or is it another cause)?

      • I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroid. I cut out all carbs, I’m active but I can’t lose anything. What do you suggest? I am truly desperate and very depressed due to the weight gain and not being able to take it off.

  15. I have been hypo for 8+ years and diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2013. At the time I was diagnosed with Hashimoto, I was running quite a bit and fairly stable on Synthroid 137 mcg. My doctor switched me to Armour and slowly started gaining weight. I am now 20 lbs heavier and exercise is more difficult. A few months ago I went to a functional medicine doctor who switched me back to Synthroid and said Armour may have been causing too much inflammation. My antibodies went from 300 to 1300! I’m still struggling to lose any weight though and I get really puffy and bloated every few weeks. Have you seen this? It is not consistent with all the thyroid websites who say Armour is best. My doc also prescribed T3, the generic Cytomel, but I have been afraid to take it. Thanks for the help and I will try the diet!

    • The natural health websites are heavily biased to Armour. The truth is both types of thyroid meds are useful, it depends on the person.
      You must have low t3 also which is why your doc still wants you taking a T3 + T4 mix.
      I am not sure about puffy and bloated.
      Have you made any significant diet changes?

      • Thanks! I went gluten free and mostly dairy free for 8 months in 2014. I didn’t see much of an improvement to my symptoms and also gained weight. I was also on Armour, so not sure what caused the weight gain. At the time, I was doing triathlon and staying very active. Since 2012, I think I have tried every dietary challenge known to man with no lasting results! Should I try the 14-day?

  16. Can you give advice on weight loss when I’m not eating anything I’m supposed to and I’m eating small servings. This is quite frustrating.

  17. Natalie Cockrell says:

    I have hypothyroidism on levothyroxine 200 mcg, am a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump and have PCOS. I have been doing cardio and eating mostly veggies and proteins. CANNOT LOSE THE WEIGHT as a matter of fact I am gaining! Any help appreciated

  18. Liz Amable says:

    I had thyroidectomy in 2012 because I had Graves Disease. Since then I gain 50 pounds, I feel tired. I can sleep at night. Can I follow the diet you recommend to lose weight? Congratulations! You have a nice weppage, easy to understand.

  19. Jane.wilton says:

    Hi Jo

    I have now started a new diet and it does seem to be working,I have been having meal replacement drinks ultra slim twice a day plus fruit, then a 600 calorie meal for my lunch.

    I did go to slimming world but I am too busy to go to the classes, this is my last attempt to help myself lose some weight with my under active. Thyroid,please can you let me know what you think? Thankyou Jane

  20. Hi Joe! I have all the symptoms (as well as family history) of Hashimoto’s but have tested negative. I’m currently seeking a new doctor since the former didn’t seem interested in listening or doing any further tests. Do you have any nutrition recommendations for someone not diagnosed but clearly experiencing symptoms and also trying for a baby? Thanks in advance!

  21. Chelsea Dent says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed with hashimotos thyroiditis at age 13, my TSH was 22.4 after numerous attempts we finally got on a right dose of levothyroxine. I am now 18 and started feeling really crappy (this is 5 years later) and they checked my TSH 4 days ago and its at 27.1? I dont know what changed or why it is randomly acting up. I have gained upwards of 30 pounds and have horrible headaches. Is there anything that you could suggest me doing or asking the doctor when I go next week? Thanks

  22. Betsy Hackett says:

    Such great, well written info. Thank you. I would like to follow your diet, but I want to do a vegan version. Any suggestions? My understanding has been that I should stay away from soy, bananas, walnuts. And I just want to confirm that, no matter what I do, I will always have to be on meds, right?

    • Hi Betsy,
      I am not sure of your cause of hypothyroidism, but typically you will always require thyroid meds. Although you can take steps to make sure the dose is as low as possible.
      If you have Hashimoto’s you should avoid/limit gluten and soy. I don’t believe anything wrong with walnuts or bananas.

  23. debra orena says:

    I am 58 year old woman that is hypothyroid even though my TSH is .08. I am on 135 armour, which I feel good on EXCEPT I do not loose weight. at all. I still get night sweats even though I have passed menopause few years back so i think there is hormonal issue, which once i was on cream and I felt like i got more hot flashes. I went on a keto diet last year after being on the fast metabolism diet the year before which cleaned my eating up. I do not eat grains, I eat organic and grassfed meets mostly all the time, I’m sugar free, I have sensitivity to gluten, preservatives and polypropylene(break out in terrible hives). I ate a lot of soft cheeses on the keto which gave me terrible stomach and bowel issues….gave up most milk products now. I lost 20 lbs on keto in a month but hit a plateau and stayed on it 3 months more to lose nothing. Went back to normal watchful eating and gained 15 back in 5 months . I have given up so much to loose nothing. I have given up and had a banana with almond butter for late breakfast. I’m not an overeater my day is usually a hard boil egg about 10 lunch at 2pm a cheesburger and broccoli no roll, dinner a piece meat and salad…usually no dressing…drink is coffee in the morning with coconut oil and a thin slab of kerri butter and about a 3 to 4 qts of water or fizzed out flavored seltzer with no additives. snack is almonds or walnuts……..and cheat is organic Dark chocolate .I do ride my bike a lot for exercise. Supplements, just started selenium, zinc, nutri west dsf…..Have been on .Magnesium citrate, magnesium theorate, b12, 4000 vit d, fish oil, probiotics, olive leaf oil. Where am I going wrong???

  24. I just found out I have hypothyroidism. I weightlift and want to know have to figure out my caloric intake because the deficit I should be eating to lose weight is not working. My weight bounces back and forth by 5 lbs and I am retaining alot of bloat. I have my nutrition locked in but the calorie deficit is hard to figure out. I don’t want to eat too little and not have enough energy to weightlift or to hurt my hormone levels.

  25. My age is 23.but my weight is 93kg.I am feeling very sad about that.doctors said u should loss ur weight. After pregnancy my weight is increased. Now 96kg.over bleeding is came.I went to hospital and doctor said ur thyroid level is 8.5 then she gave 25mg thyroxine tablets.still bleeding is not stopped now 30days is finished but the bleeding is not stopped gave no tablets becouse I breastfed to my baby.what I do.please give rly.thyroid level is high or normal

  26. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about a year ago. Started with 25 mcg of thyroxine tablets went back 3 months later, nothing went up to 50 mcg same meds, and went back said everything was normal. I still was the same side effects of the disease. Cold hands, hair falling out, weight gain etc.. Went back and they re checked it and it was not normal this time. So they moved me to 75 mcg same meds, and to come back in 6 months. I’m still not feeling any better. So please explain to me how it can be normal one month, and then go back to have it checked again, and it is not normal now? I am about to go crazy. I am trying to lose weight, and eat right, even cut out sodas, and still nothing?. Any advise would help.

    • Depends on the doctors interpretation and also what tests they are checking.
      They may only have checked TSH the first time, and then done more checks when you went back.
      Really it’s not a quick-fix process, have you implemented healthy diet changes consistently?
      I think there is also some nutrient deficiencies you should screen for, zinc, vit D, and vit b12 to name a few

  27. Syafariza says:

    Hi Joe,
    I had diagnosed with thyroid problem last year when i noticed my thyroid gland swollen. But the doctor who investigate my problem at that time didn’t really confirm what thyroid problem i have, whether it’s under-active or hyper-active.

    What they do was that, they put huge syringe to the swollen gland and suck up the liquid. it was brown liquid and they said they want to test whether it was cancerous or not. So the next visit, they told me it wasn’t cancerous and i need to follow-up with ultra-sound and medical check-up for 6 months.

    But to my curiosity, I wasn’t supplied with any meds at all. For your info, i’m not in US, somewhere in Asia, and i know this disease wasn’t popular or well-known to all. So what i did, I asked the doctor and this is the reply:-

    “The patient did not specify whether he is hypo or hyper,it is just assumed that he has hypothyroidism since the emphasis of the campaign was hypothyroidism. If be the case that he is hyperthyroid then treatment is usually instituted immediately”

    they will only treated the hyperthyroid cases. so i went back, i did some research and most of symptoms that i feel were more towards hypothyroid and this justified me why doctor in my place didn’t give meds.

    so my question for you is that, if i follow diet as recommended and take supplements (based on my research from facebook group, articles in the internet), is it enough?

    currently, i take VitaEPA Natural Omega-3 Marine Triglycerides 1000mg tablets twice a day (it’s fish oil supplement) and suprisingly, i get positive result from it whereby i have no more insomnia, my sleep getting better now.

    I planned to take zinc tablet as recommended in my facebook group, where it helps to improve energy as currently i suffer fatigue and muscle pain.every morning, 10am, my body feel so weak and it affected my work. i drink coffee but it just temporary.

    i also suffer depression, but not sure how to overcome it. i stumble upon articles saying that l-tyrosine supplement help to reduce the stress. what do you think on this?

    My ultimate goal now is to improve my thyroid functions by using natural supplement, as i have no option to get meds. What is your opinion on this?

    I really rely upon articles such as yours to understand more on hypothyroid as visiting doctors at my area are not really helping. maybe i haven’t found the right doctor.

    • Yeah, I done the TSH test when my thyroid gland swollen in a private clinic and i recalled the test come out normal, but the doctor said to me sometime the test result wasn’t that accurate so he recommended me to do ultra-sound check as his clinic don’t have enough equipment so he referred me to our general hospital (government hospital).

      So the second and onward visits actually done by different doctors. At the hospital, i done ultra-sound check & they suck up the liquid from the gland. But they never re-test TSH level.

      Should I undergo the TSH level test again?

      As you mentioned, I currently changes my diet to more healthy diet by cutting down snacks, junk foods, eat more fruits, remove soy-based diet from my meal as Asian eat a lot of soy-based food like tofu, soy sauce, etc ( I read that soy-based food could slow down thyroid functions) and cutting down my sugar intake. Baby step at a time but i hope that i could maintain these as my strict routine. What more diet routine that i really need to focus?

      Yeah, as you said that I need to test on nutrient deficiencies, i will try to ask the private clinic i went before to check whether they do have such test. Hopefully they do. Currently, i take zinc supplement but the dosage is not enough (5mg) and it comes with vitamin c – Redoxon Double Action. I will find zinc supplement with the correct dosage.

      Thank you for replying my comment. I hope you continue on giving great advice to people out there especially people where this disease wasn’t treated properly (like me) as to help them idea and knowledge on how to beat the symptoms and enjoy their life again. I recalled i was so confused and feeling unclear of what happening to my body. I thought when the swollen gland gone i will be better again but it seems i still have the symptoms.

  28. I took care of my binge drinking habit with the help of blue fat freeze system. I just applied this kit on my belly and reduced my waist by 3 inches in 2 months. Now every once in a while i can have my fizzy drink and not get fat.

  29. I was just told that I have hypothyroidism, and I’ve always had trouble losing weight. I have had some success with the adkins diet in the past, but am hesitant to do it right now because I am breastfeeding the baby I had in March. Do you happen to know if thyroid medication is safe for breastfeeding? I am not feeling a diet that will cut any group out almost completely, since the baby needs everything balanced and an extreme diet will dry up my milk supply. Would you say that weight watchers works well for people with thyroid issues?

  30. Hi my name is Elita and I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid when I was around 22 years old I had 2 biopsies done because they found nodules on my thyroid which came back non cancerous both times Thank GOD but I’m not on any medication why I don’t know but I’m always tired all the time even after a good night’s rest I use the bathroom frequently in the middle of the night plus I’m gaining weight by the minute it seems I try 2 eat healthy but I love candy and chocolate. What should I do to better myself I’m so depressed because of how much weight I have gained plus I’m starting to get this weird pain in the back of my calf ever so often I’m 32 years old now and I haven’t seen my endocrinologist in about a year and a half I know it’s bad but I’m thinking about seeking out to another Dr. To see if they can prescribe me something, for this because I don’t know why I’m not on anything to help control, balance out my thyroid. Can you give me any ideas on what to do it would be greatly appreciated.

  31. hi , im 35 year old mummies of 3 , from singapore. i hv hyperthyroid for almost a decade . im on 15mg of carbimazole . i started ketogenic diet on 30th jul 2016 , and lost 9 kg , i was overjoyed ,and tot it was the diet tat make me lost weight , but when i took blood test for my thyroid , it shows tat my thyroid relapsed and my doc increased my dose to 20mg . now im realli depressed. to tink tat my weight will bounce bk after taking my med . i realli tinking wether i should gv up on ketogenic diet . I couldnt find any info on ketogenic diet for hyperthyroid … im losing hopes , could someone guide me or show me any info for hyperthyroid and ketogenic diet ? im so sad …

  32. HypothyroidismSucks!! says:

    After a year of being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and taking levothyroxin, i was not losing weight. My doctor decided to switch me to synthroid (brand name), but my dosage remained the same. After a couple months of being on synthroid, my weight dropped from my steady 125lbs to 116lbs. This was without exercising, and i normally eat healthy. If i gained weight, it was only by 1lb-1.5lbs, but i did not go over 120lbs. I physically felt better, stopped having dry skin on my face, no longer shed ton of hair especially when showering, had my sex drive back, had normal menstrual cycle and was ovulating again, and etc. I was finally more content (who would ever be 100% content having this health issue regardless of improvements)!

    I would recommend anyone that has not seen any improvement by taking levothyroxin to switch to synthroid. Granted synthroid will cost more out of pocket, but it is worth it. I used to pay about $5 for levothyroxin, but it now costs me $36 for synthroid. This cost increase will raise questions from your healthcare carrier and may cause some problems, but if your doctor approves the brand name with logical explanations then your insurance can’t deny it. Just ask your doctor that you would like to try synthroid to see if there will be health improvements. Your dr may try to convince you that there’s no drug difference only because of the cost but be adamant and push for synthroid. If your dr refuses then switch to a new dr. I went thru 4 drs and none of them suggested synthroid until the last one that i found. I would never have known if she did not recommend it.

    • My doctor told me to only take Synthroid, not any other generic levothyroxine. I always take synthroid and does help versus not taking anything but it is far from a cure for hypothyroidism. I continue to gain weight, dry skin, thinning hair, etc.. the thyroid affects almost every function in the body. I wish there were something I could do. I have always and continue to have a healthy lifestyle…eating, exercise, water consumption… but no help with symptoms. So, so frustrating.

  33. Jamie Perry says:

    Hi I’m Jamie I have hypothyroidism and I’ve been extremely upset with my weight for my age and height I gained 30 pounds in 2 months what can I do I need something that will work I’ve tried everything and nothing works what can I do?

  34. This is a nice summary of some practical advice. I like the way you have linked the references so you can see the original source. The paper on exercise was very interesting.

    There is evidence that taking thyroid meds at night increases uptake, Bolk, Nienke, Theo J Visser, Judy Nijman, Ineke J Jongste, Jan G P Tijssen, and Arie Berghout. “Effects of Evening vs Morning Levothyroxine Intake: A Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Trial.” Archives of Internal Medicine 170, no. 22 (December 13, 2010): 1996–2003. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.436.

    The evidence of impact of selenium in thyroid conditions, specifically Hashimotos appears to be mixed.
    “Selenium Supplementation for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis | Cochrane,” 2013.

    I have started a facebook group for people to share what works for them.
    Thyroid Conditions and Weight Mangement 2017

  35. 33, no kids, eating and doing all the right things, taking my medication and still, no physical change.

    I’m beyond frustrated. I am for the most part paleo. I have a cheat day once in a while. Drink a glass of red wine once a week and workout 4/5 times. Combination of weight training (with aerobic benefit—medium weight, fast rep. And heavy weight, slow rep with low impact cardio.) I also do cardio at least three times per week. I’ve tried intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, cutting out dairy, cutting out gluten. NOTHING. In fact, in the last two weeks, I didn’t drink, ate balanced meals worked out 5 times per week and gained 2 pounds.

    I’m a petite girl and the extra 10-15 pounds is weighing on me emotionally. Please help.

    • kees kazio says:

      Dear Chantal
      our granddaughter was born with a non functional thyroid. For the past 4years ( she is now 8years old) she has been in a HERBALIFE programme and her medicine has been cut down to more than half. My wife and I are now also in this programme and we feel great!
      lost weight and inches and gained an immense amount of energy!!
      Please try this programme ! If it works for our grandchild why not for you!!

  36. Thanks for sharing this information. With an underactive thyroid, it’s normal to feel lethargic, which adds to the problems. Vegetables and walks seem to be the most important. Eating fermented foods also works. Medication and some natural supplements that support metabolic functions and thyroid activity can also help.

  37. Great article. I was over weight and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it’s been a life changer. I have found this method to be helpful in lasting weight loss: I would recommend you to visit. Good luck!

  38. I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but unfortunately after giving me medicines to drink in 30 days my doctor did nothing. Right now I am experiencing weight gain, lethargy and I can’t get enough sleep. Sadly in the Philippines there are no doctors who really specializes on hypothyroidism, so
    I resort to reading everything i can on the internet.

  39. Serena Griffin says:

    I’ve been fasting for 3 full days & this morning made smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, ginger root, spinach & cucumber. I took my L-glutamine, B-12, Chromate & multi. I felt was strange while fasting I still was bloated as if I ate meal. I use to wear size 4 & now 8 or 10. I was dancer my whole life. Can I just drink my veg, fruit smoothies with protein powder. I feel like I still won’t lose weight. I’m not hungry. I hate food now. I recent it although it’s the thyroid not the food. I was anorexic in highschool. I don’t have sugar or sweets. Before I had oatmeal for breakfast then salad for lunch with apple cider vinegar as dressing, & protein smoothie for dinner. I really didn’t see change. Minor if any. I’m afraid to eat. I don’t even have the desire to, thank God. Some things work different people. I’m getting all my vitamins veg & fruit with protein. Is this healthy?

  40. kassandra says:

    I have issues with my stomach. I am not sure if it is IBS or not. My stomach bloats up and I have constipation. Sometimes I am stuck in the bathroom for hours with loose watery stools. I have checked online for foods to avoid with IBS and hypothyrodism. One says you can eat this and other says no. That makes it hard. With IBS it is hard to determine what exactly is causing upset stomach. Anything anyone can suggest.

  41. Hi

    I had got my Thyroid test done in December, 2016 and all values were within range. After 3 months, i.e. in March, 2017 my TSH came as low as 0.03 , however Free T3 and Free T4 were normal. Now again got the blood tests done in Jun and the TSH value jumped to 13.3 and Free T4 was low i.e. 0.84. All these fluctuations happening without any medicine intake.
    I am all confused why my Thyroid Gland is behaving so? Please suggest what could be the reason and how to correct this?


  42. Tanya Ochoa says:

    Hi my name is Tanya, my thyroid was removed in 2014 then I was 180lbs now I’m 266, I’m depressed because my weight is so out of control. My doctor’s can’t seem to know what the problem is my thyroid levels CANNOT in control they change my meds as it’s changing right now I’m at the highest dose you can take, .300!!!! Wow! On top of it I’m contain super extra fluids to were I can’t walk on my legs they hurt so exercise right now is hard I feel ugly but most of all I feel NOT HEALTHY I can’t even catch my breath , some please guide me I’m not trying to use my disease as an excuse but just last week I went in to doctor and gained 10lbs now that’s just odd..

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  46. I already follow every healthy eating for underactive thyroid, exercise and drink a lot of water, in fact I rarely drink soft drinks. I do have a cup of coffee most mornings. I take synthroid as prescribed by my endocrinologist. I am going crazy. I went from a size 4r petite to a 12 petite and keep gaining and gaining despite my healthy lifestyle. Please someone help me and others like me. I wish the medical community would research this more vigorously.

    • Claudia says:

      I recommend the AIP diet. This helped me to pinpoint many foods that were causing me swelling/inflammation. Even things you may be eating or think are healthy. Flaxseeds cause me bloating and gaining. I also discovered that I can not eat soy or yeast extract which is found in chicken broth and I was using this to cook. Look into it. It’s hard at first, but you will definitely know when you introduce a food back into your diet, if you can have it or not. The diet is for people with autoimmune diseases.

  47. sage mcilwee says:

    Im 14 and currantly putting on half a stone a week. I’ve jyst been diagnosed with underactive thyroid but havent been medicated yet. Is there anything i can do while waiting for medication to prevent more weight gain?

  48. I had an over active thyroid the doctor gave me radio active iodine to dissolve part of the thyroid but it dissolved to much and now i’m under active. I lost a lot of weight 12 years ago and felt very good then my doctor lowered my dosage of levothyroxine and i started gaining weight a lot. My levels are still not good. 5 years ago i went into a coma and cardiac arrest and the doctors said my thyroid caused if. But every sense i am still gaining weight and i take 400 mcg a day. I have become morbidly obese. I have changed my diet and for the most part cut out all sugars and starches but nothing seems to help. i feel so bad every day. I can’t hardly stand on my feet for long. I’m getting to the point that i don’t want to leave my home. i have expressed all this to my doctor and she doesn’t seem to try and help me or act like it’s any concern. I know i need a new doctor but i have no insurance and i have to pay everything out of pocket this is the only endocrinologist (sp) specialist at the county clinic. I’m just at a point i can’t continue to go on living life like this anymore. i used to be an active person now i don’t want to do anything. I just need some help.

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