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Eating with Hypothyroidism

Manage Symptoms with Diet and Exercise
  -- By Tanya Jolliffe, Healthy Eating Expert
Hypothyroidism, the chronic condition of an under-active thyroid, affects millions of Americans. It's most commonly caused by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease, and can result in a variety of symptoms, including: weight gain (caused by a reduction in metabolism), water retention, depression, muscle pain, increased cholesterol, fatigue, mental "fog" and more. Not only does hypothyroidism typically result in weight gain, but its symptoms and complexities make losing weight even more difficult.

Individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis have a harder time losing weight after their hormone levels are normalized. Experts aren't sure why this is the case, but there are several theories including a change in the metabolic “set point”, insulin resistance, and changes in brain chemistry.

Managing symptoms will help you feel your best when living with hypothyroidism. In conjunction with the treatment plan outlined by your doctor, a healthy diet and regular exercise can also help.

You CAN lose weight with hypothyroidism, but: Be realistic about your goals and objectives and realize that being a certain weight or size is not always the best goal when living with hypothyroidism. Having more energy and reducing feelings of fatigue and depression are usually more important to your quality of life.

When you are setting your goals, keep these things in mind: <pagebreak>
Dietary Tips to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism <pagebreak>
Exercise & Other Considerations
Hypothyroidism does cause weight gain—typically 10-20 pounds. Gaining more than 20 pounds can usually be attributed to fatigue that limits your activity, not to the disorder itself. When you feel fatigued, you don’t feel like exercising. This can lead to a vicious cycle since not exercising can result in greater fatigue and so on and so on. Physical activity and exercise are keys to weight control and to decreasing the affects of fatigue. Hypothyroidism is a life-long condition. With careful management, people with thyroid disease can live healthy, normal lives. The best way to take control of your thyroid health is to work with your medical provider to develop a treatment plan that includes nutrition, exercise, and stress relief.
To connect with other individuals dealing with thyroid disease, visit the message board thread "Hypothyroid? Join the Club", located in the SparkPeople Café or join the SparkTeam "Hypothyroids Join Together".