Can a Weight Loss Dietitian Help If I Have Hypothyroidism?

You might be asking yourself: How to lose weight?  Sometimes it’s hard to lose weight because you have a thyroid problem because it can cause several seemingly unrelated issues throughout the body.  A weight loss dietitian will be able to help with a medical problem like hypothyroidism. 

These include changes to your weight, energy, digestion, and mood. These are all linked to the thyroid because it directs important processes that happen throughout the body and makes losing weight with hypothyroidism so very difficult.  Thyroid hormones help control your metabolism. When the levels are too low, metabolism slows down. Symptoms can include feeling chilly, fatigued, getting constipated, feeling down, and gaining weight. Low levels of thyroid hormone is called hypothyroidism. There are some important foods and nutrients that can help you feel better and manage your weight. By providing your body with proper nutrition—along with prescribed medications—you can help reduce your symptoms and lose weight. Before we dive into my nutrition tips for you, let’s start by understanding the thyroid and why it’s so important for your body and mind.

What Does Your Thyroid Do?

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck that secretes thyroid hormones. These hormones control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy). These affect several processes throughout the body, including your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and brain. When thyroid hormones are high, many systems speed up. When hormone levels are low, they slow down. Thyroid hormones are very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Not only for the health of the mother but also the developing baby. Thyroid hormones help with proper development of babies’ bones, brains, and nervous systems.


Nearly 1 in 20 people aged 12 or older experience underactive thyroid.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

There are many symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some common ones include:

    • Fatigue and weakness (feeling unusually tired, having less energy)
    • Weight gain
    • Trouble tolerating cold (feeling chilly when others around you feel fine)
    • Depression, difficulty concentrating, memory problems
    • Joint and muscle pain
    • Constipation
    • Puffy face
    • Dry or thinning skin, hair, and nails 
    • Heavy or irregular menstrual problems or fertility problems
    • Slow heart rate

These symptoms can vary from person to person and may have causes other than low thyroid. Hypothyroidism develops gradually over time, so it’s possible not to notice symptoms for months or even years. 

Testing and Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism weight change or fatigue—can be subtle. Blood tests can confirm whether thyroid hormone levels are too low and then you can hire a weight loss dietitian. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important to ask your healthcare provider to see if you should be tested. Left untreated, hypothyroidism increases the risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The standard treatment for an underactive thyroid is a medication that replaces the hormones your thyroid can no longer make. Once you and your doctor find the right dose, many symptoms may improve dramatically.

Thyroid and Weight

The thyroid helps to control metabolism, so it can directly impact your weight. With hypothyroidism, the body isn’t metabolizing (using energy) as well as it could be. This means that more of the foods and drinks we consume aren’t metabolized (“used” or “burned”). This can lead you to wonder how to lose weight with hypothyroidism. Weight gain is just one of many symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many things can cause weight gain, and therefore, it may not result from hypothyroidism. In fact, if weight gain is the only symptom of hypothyroidism, it’s less likely to be from hypothyroidism. Other factors that can affect your metabolism (and weight) are other hormones, food intake, and your own body weight. In general, weight gain associated with hypothyroidism is about 5-10 pounds. This means that when hypothyroidism is diagnosed and treated, weight loss is fairly small. Typically, with the help of a weight loss dietitian, the correction of hypothyroidism results in a return to the bodyweight before the hypothyroidism developed.

Nutrition Tips for Taking Thyroid Medications

There are special dietary considerations if you’re taking thyroid medications. Be sure to follow the instructions for taking your medications. This may mean taking it with water on an empty stomach to avoid potential interactions. After you take it, you might need to wait several hours before taking any supplements or other medications that contain iron, calcium, or magnesium. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of high-fibre foods, soy, and walnuts for those few hours, as they may reduce how much your body absorbs.If you take thyroid medication, avoid consuming grapefruit or its juice, as these may interact. This effect may last more than several hours, so if you love grapefruit, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if your medication needs to be adjusted.

How to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism

A weight loss dietitian can teach you that eating a healthy diet for your thyroid can help you feel better. The following foods and nutrients do this by supporting your metabolism, digestive system, heart, and brain. A thyroid-healthy weight loss diet includes:

    • Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds (these contain essential vitamins and minerals and are also sources of dietary fibre for digestive health)
    • Lean protein such as eggs, poultry, lean meats, legumes (with their fibre), and fish and shellfish (with their omega-3s for heart and brain health)
    • Whole grains (avoid gluten-containing grains if you have celiac disease)
    • Heart-healthy oils like olive oil (with its unsaturated fats)Try these recipes to help you lose weight with hypothyroidism

Cut down on processed foods—especially those that contain hydrogenated oils and excess sodium and sugar. Minimize soft drinks, potato chips, candy, etc. that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

The Takeaway

Nutrition is important as a key factor on how to lose weight with hypothyroidism.  Knowing what to eat when your metabolism is slow can help you feel better, reduce your symptoms and help you lose weight. It’s also important to know what foods and drinks to avoid in the few hours before and after taking your medications. If you feel that you have symptoms that may be related to thyroid issues, speak with a healthcare provider. They will review your history, symptoms and help you decide if you need testing or treatment. Never stop taking your medications without speaking with your doctor or pharmacist first. A registered dietitian can help plan a diet to help you lose weight when you are dealing with an underperforming thyroid. 

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