Hashimoto’s and Weight Loss: do those two even go together? In my experience, yes. Here’s why…
I carried around an extra 10-15 pounds for years. Despite working out intensely. Despite limiting cheat foods to once per week. Despite obsessing over my weight.
Those extra 10-15 pounds made no sense to me until my Hashimoto’s diagnosis. As I learned about my diagnosis, it made perfect sense to me to see “weight gain” listed as a Hashimoto’s symptom.
At the time of my diagnosis, my weight felt like the least of my problems. I struggled to barely function, and just wanted my life back…forget about my weight.
Within days of my diagnosis I went to work overhauling my nutrition and lifestyle through the autoimmune protocol (AIP). Through the changes I made, I found relief from my symptoms in time.
Ironically, even though I could no longer do the intense workouts I loved, I lost those extra 10-15 pounds through changing my nutrition and lifestyle.
Tips and Suggestions
I received the following DM on Instagram last week, “I do have a question for you. I am FINALLY feeling a lot better, but have gained about fifteen pounds and would like to lose it without totally setting off flare symptoms. Do you have any suggestions or tips?”
I do, but please keep in mind that every autoimmune disease is different, and even the same autoimmune disease can look differently in different people. Further, our bodies are unique and what my body needs may be different than what your body needs.
Hashimoto’s and Weight Loss Tip #1: Care More About Feeling Healthy Than the Number on the Scale
The game changer for me? Coming to the realization that how I felt mattered more than how much I weigh.
I realized that I simply needed to wake up every day and do the best that I could to support my health through nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset, and let the rest go.
Hashimoto’s and Weight Loss Tip #2: Stop Weighing Yourself
This goes right along with tip #1. I realized if I truly cared more about feeling healthy than what I weigh, I needed to give up my morning weigh ins.
I gave way too much power to the number on the scale for too many years. Enough already. So I gave myself permission to stop stepping on the scale completely.
The result? Total fear at first. Then freedom. To this day, I do not step on the scale except at doctor’s appointments.
There is an exception to this tip. If your medical team asks you to monitor your weight weekly or monthly due to your medical condition, step on the scale as necessary.
Hashimoto’s and Weight Loss Tip #3: Work with Your Medical Team
Weight gain and inability to lose weight are both signs that something is off. Be sure to consult with your medical team, and go in as directed for lab work.
If you are already on thyroid medicine and plan on starting the autoimmune protocol, be sure to work closely with your endocrinologist to monitor your thyroid levels and adjust medicine as needed.
Tip #4: Consider Exercise Intolerance
Up until my rock bottom, I worked out intensely. When my body said enough, and I struggled to barely function, I thought for sure I’d pack on more pounds.
Surprisingly, even though I found myself unable to work out, changing my nutrition and lifestyle led to me dropping the extra 10-15 pounds I carried for years.
Once I felt better, I could hardly wait to add exercise back into my life. However, every time I’d try weight lifting or an intense circuit training session, my symptoms flared later that day.
Low grade fever, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, and so on.
It broke my heart for a time, and I mourned the old me.
I did learn to love walking and yoga, and both felt amazing physically.
In time, I added back in snowboarding, discovered Pilates, and found other physical activities I love. You can read more about my fitness journey here.
Pay attention to how you feel during and after exercise, and find movement that feels most supportive to your body.
The goal is to include plenty of physical activity in your life every day without overstressing your body.Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Approach, page 163)
Tip #5: Improve Lifestyle
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of lifestyle. Managing stress. Improving sleep. Getting out in nature. Connecting with others. Resting as needed.
It matters. It truly does. Especially when it comes to learning to live well with Hashimoto’s and finding a healthy weight.
Hashimoto’s and Weight Loss Tip #6: Take Things One Day at a Time
Change is hard. So stinkin’ hard. So give yourself lots of love and support. Take things one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just focus on today, and give today your best.
If at the end of today, you found that you fell short, it’s okay. Forgive yourself, dust yourself off, get back up, and keep trying.
This is not a quick fix. This is the beginning of your new lifestyle. And it’s going to be great. But you have to get through the period of struggle first.
Please know you are not alone. I struggled too. I wondered if I could really do it too. I felt frustrated too.
Spoiler alert: you can do this. You are strong enough. I believe in you. I know you feel scared and uncertain, but please trust me: you’ve got this.
I am sending you so much love and support. Please reach out anytime – comment, email me, or connect with me here.