Macros & Hashimotos/Hypothyroidism

I know that when I started my series on macros with certain disease states, this is probably the one that was asked for the most. I'm still doing those by the way! :) I wanted to get to this one first since there are so many that struggle. I think one of the primary reasons for this is because, as we all know, the small butterfly shaped thyroid gland at the base of our necks plays a significant role in fat & carb metabolism and weight control. If someone can't lose weight, then the first thing that they will think is "I wonder if my thyroid is messed up" and I hear that often. It's actually under diagnosed in patients that ACTUALLY have it, but I think also severely misdiagnosed in people who might just need a little metabolism rehab. But, I digress. Let's get to it. 

The thyroid gland is involved in many functions of the body not just with weight, but I'm going to deal primarily with weight control as we all know that's why you're here ;) but it also can cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and whether you are hot or cold. If you feel like your thyroid may be something of concern with weight loss then most likely you are referring to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) otherwise known as Hashimotos. It only takes a very easy thyroid panel at your doctor to look at your hormone levels of T3 & T4. Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease so basically the body sees your thyroid as a bad thing and attacks it which we don't want. There's a wide spectrum of therapy but if you genuinely have low levels, your doctor will be able to provide you with medications for replacement. The NUMBER ONE thing in hypothyroidism and weight control is to get your hormones under control. That is the first step, but once that is done and maintained, it's easier than you would imagine. 

Many times, patients that have struggled with hypothyroidism have for a long time, and in efforts to maintain weight control, they have done some crazy diets or they have said "I'm incapable therefore why even try." I see this constantly in my clients on both ends of this spectrum. If you have been doing crazy diets to try and maintain weight control (and your hormones ARE balanced at this point), then that just means you are in the boat of needing some metab rehab. The industry speaks a lot about metabolism damage and while I think we shouldn't get too worked up about the words "damage" or "adaptation", I do believe it to be an adaptation meaning that it CAN be fixed and quicker than you would imagine. First, you need to eat MORE. I think that patients that feel doomed with hypothyroidism never give their bodies a chance once hormones are stable because they think that they are going to gain tons of weight. Just like usual, tracking your intake of carbs, fat, protein in a balanced format with an appropriate amount of calories will reset your metabolism. 

Maybe you think to yourself "I'm one of those people that just eats whatever because I know that I won't lose anyway with this"....well that's not true. If you are taking medication, which you should be, then you are just like the rest of us and weight loss isn't easy for anyone. It doesn't mean that it isn't possible. If you are someone who has tried dieting and failed, there are two reasons for that, but those are two reasons that are the case across the board and not because of hypothyroidism. 1-You are trying to be TOO strict and eliminating all carbs, your body hates you, you hate the diet, you give up on the weekends, and it's a hamster on a wheel never getting anywhere 2-You've tried macros and it "didn't work" which just simply means that you might not have had calories at a point to put you in a calorie deficit and you might have been right on the brink of weight loss if given a little bit more time. I hear "macros didn't work for me" a lot, and it's actually comical because ANYYYY diet that you will EVER go on is macros. Every single thing that you eat every single day is a combination of fats, carb, protein and it's a matter of figuring out which combination through coaching and calculation is best for you. If you have tried it on your own, then maybe try a coach. I'm not even saying me, but just someone who can maybe help you with your numbers. 

So, what about other routes? Gluten? Everyone always hates gluten. Poor gluten. haha! Many patients have found that when they go gluten free, it's life changing. Basically, the correlation is that when your body creates antibodies against the thyroid proteins, it also does so with gluten proteins. There's cross reactivity therefore if you aren't eating it, this can help. However, some may eliminate gluten and it doesn't help. This is because gluten isn't the only protein that it is cross reacting with. For example, diary is another one that might should be eliminated and upon eliminating both of these along with other grains, relief is found. I'm all about a manageable lifestyle and not doing things that aren't necessary but unfortunately this is proven in clinical trials, and it's something that needs to be considered. If you have never tried eliminating basically all gluten and dairy, then it's worth a shot. HOWEVERRRRRR, that does NOTTTTTT mean that you can't eat carbs dang it. This is the BIGGEST misconception. Gluten does not equal all carbs. It's only specific carbs. So many people say that they are gluten intolerant when really they just want an excuse to eliminate carbs to lose weight. Gluten free does NOT equal weight loss (in anyone!!!)!!!! Some carbs without gluten include: quinoa, rice, every bean (pinto, black, northern, kidney, chickpea), potatoes, oats (some are contaminated so just caution advised), fruit, and corn. Corn is shown to have sensitivity though, so I wouldn't do that one if it's not a fan favorite. 

{{Side note: I actually googled "carbs that don't have gluten" to get a comprehensive list for this blog. EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE says: "Carbs for those training a lot that don't have gluten" or "Carbs for athletes". I just want to yell at the computer screen. You do NOT have to be training a lot or be an athlete to have carbs. It's thrown in our faces time and time AND TIME again, and it's just simply false and drives me up the dang wall. SHEESH. I hear SO much in Shelby that "I can have carbs because I run so much" and I really just wish I could somehow get the word out just how false this is but it feels like a lost battle sometimes}}

One thing that is of note is certain supplements that can interfere with your thyroid medication and as a pharmacist, my brain always wants to ask these questions first. Calcium supplements or dairy can interfere as well as coffee and fiber supplements. It does NOT mean that you can't have these (after I've already told you to try eliminating gluten or dairy lol) but just simply means to take these supplements or drink coffee at least 2-4 hours separate from your medication. If you are taking your meds in the morning, then obviously just be careful with drinking coffee at the same time. 

EAT CARBS! It's okay!! Yes, this is full of carbs and peanut butter is fat so if you'd rather have a candy bar with fat and carb EVEN with hypothyroidism, then by all means do so.

EAT CARBS! It's okay!! Yes, this is full of carbs and peanut butter is fat so if you'd rather have a candy bar with fat and carb EVEN with hypothyroidism, then by all means do so.

Fatigue is very common in Hashimotos and thyroid disorders, and I don't just mean mild fatigue. I mean like REAL fatigue that none of us really understand unless we have went through it (I haven't obviously so I can't say that I know). I don't want to say "force yourself to do a little exercise" but truly if you can do even just a little, it's going to go a long way and this is so much more than calorie burning for weight loss. Exercise does SO much more for your brain and your overall health than you could imagine. It will help to further regulate your metabolism, ease depression (which is common in thyroid disorders) and anxiety, and as crazy as this is, it will help you to be less fatigued by moving more. The body is a weird thing I know! ;)

Lastly, as I said, this blog is about weight loss, and I think that many patients with Hashimotos are concerned frequently with weight loss but there are so many other factors that need to be taken into consideration for your overall health that honestly should probably take precedence over weight loss. If you just start tracking your intake with myfitnesspal, I think that you will lose weight quicker than you would imagine. If you aren't, try a coach who can help you with appropriate calories, carbs, fat, protein. If you have, then try eliminating gluten and dairy. Just like anyone else, you have to find the diet that's right for you and sometimes that just takes time so don't give up. You can do it!!! :) You aren't doomed, I promise!! 

I get emails almost weekly "I am hypothyroid. Is there any hope for me?" HECK YES. Absolutely!!! You have JUST as much control over your life and your health as anyone else. It should never be a reason to give up. During my hip injury this year I had a friend tell me "Challenges are not meant to stop you. They are meant to be overcome." and I'm like AMEN SISTER. That can be applied to so many aspects of life, but how incredibly fulfilling to look at a situation that you are dealing with, look it square in the face, conquer it and come out on the other side like "YES. I DID THAT." You'll never be more proud of yourself! <3




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