The Best Diet for Hypothyroidism
Total Thyroidectomy and Weight Loss
We wanted you to hear from one of our successful Keto Me Fit clients who is sharing their story today with you. Here, Jan tells us about her thyroid issues and how Keto helped with weight loss and manages her weight long term.
I want to tell you about my thyroid and how keto helped with my weight loss. I had been struggling for a few years maintaining my healthy weight and size. After I had my thyroid gland removed due to Graves’ Disease, I gained some weight. I also suffered from all the symptoms you’ve probably heard of. It was a daily struggle sometimes but every so often I would feel OK. When my medication was at the right level. But it was always short lived. As my weight crept slowly up, my dosage would need changed again. And all the symptoms came back in a perpetual cycle. I was at my wits end. Until I found keto and understood how it could help me with weight loss after my thyroidectomy.
At one point my mental health took a real beating after I suffered a loss. I just stopped even trying to lose weight. No diet had worked. And I truly had tried everything. At first, I know I hadn’t changed any of my eating habits, but since I didn’t have any weight issues, it didn’t occur to me that I needed to make any changes! I was never over weight. When I did start to gain excess weight after my thyroid surgery, I finally went to my GP and said I don’t know why I am gaining weight! My doctor told me to join Slimming World. I almost laughed at that. I had been on it, tried it. Cutting calories did not work for me. Yet my doctor made me feel like I was making this stuff up! If that sounds familiar then please read on!
Thyroid and Weight Loss
I let myself believe that if I wasn’t losing weight then I must be doing something wrong or cheating all the time. That’s how my doctor made me feel. But I wasn’t. The fact is I ate a very “healthy diet” with plenty of fruit and veg, and treats just now and again. I added sugar to my tea and coffee but always had done. So that wasn’t something new or something that increased after my op. But I suddenly suffered with a significant and very fast weight gain. Plus a big increase in clothes size that I just could not seem to shift no matter what I did.
I had tried “everything”. We’ve all been there at some point, “tried everything, nothing works”. I knew the reasons for my weight gain, I just couldn’t explain why it was happening. The fact I had my thyroid gland surgically removed caused me to gain weight (those of you with thyroid issues will know exactly what I mean). And trying to control calories and restrict my food in take seemed to make it worse, not better!
How to Lose Weight After a Thyroidectomy
I started to do some research into my thyroid and the issues we face, because I felt my doctor didn’t believe me when I said I was doing all these things but still gaining weight. He said my bloods were fine! How many of you have been there? “Your bloods are fine”. So this is all in your head. Nonsense! I decided I had to find out what was going on. And figure out why someone could cut the calories, eat all the “right” foods, even exercise more, and still continue to pile on weight.
Previously, I was one of those lucky women who was able to eat what I wanted (2 sugars in my coffee too) without a care in the world. And even while pregnant with my, now teenaged, daughter, I never gained weight. I was an even size 8 to 10 from teenage years right up until I was 30 when my thyroid problems started.
Grave Disease and the Keto Diet
It was several years before my endo suggested “curing me once and for all” of Graves’ Disease and removing my thyroid gland. I went ahead with the surgery. But that brought with it a whole host of new issues that were supposed to be managed by medication alone. By the time I was 39 I was up several clothes sizes and struggling mentally and physically. I yo-yo dieted trying all sorts of fad diets and quick fix weight loss plans. Over the course of a couple of years, I sometimes lost a few pounds here and there. But I would always put it back on and twice as much again. I was in despair. Where was I going wrong? I thought I was doing everything right. And as I said, my doctor didn’t believe I was sticking to a calorie reduced diet.
Thyroid and Keto for Weight Loss
At the ripe old age of 40, it was a bit of a shock to look in the mirror and see just how much my body had changed. I was a size 20 now. And it really got me down and feeling awful about myself for the first time in my life. I knew I would struggle to lose this weight and the mental challenge was as hard as the physical one. I already felt like I had been struggling for years, but this was the pinnacle moment when I said enough is enough. There has to be a solution to this. I can’t go on dieting and restricting my food intake so much, all the time. I eat the “right foods”. So why am I a size 20?!
Underactive Thyroid and Ketosis
On a rainy afternoon a friend mentioned the keto diet. She was going on holiday soon and wanted to lose some weight quickly. I gave her a lecture about losing weight fast and how unhealthy that was! The irony! Me telling someone else how to lose weight in a healthy way. Yet there I was, physically exhausted and the most unhappy I have felt in my life.
I had seen keto pop-up online from time to time, but it wasn’t generally that well known. Low carb was the in thing. Oh yes, been there for years. Low carbs, low sugar. As well as trying the juice diet, the 5:2 diet, the detox diet, the shakes, the pills, the powders, the cabbage soup! And there I was, clinically obese and desperately unhappy. So, at the time I figured keto doesn’t sound too healthy, just like all the other fad diets out there. But I went ahead and I googled “keto”. And I was pleasantly surprised. Online research turned to books as well. The one that really changed my mind was The Obesity Code, written by Dr Jason Fung. An actual medical professional too! It really is a book that can help change your life.
I had heard the name Keto, seen a few posts and articles on social media. But I had always scrolled past them, thinking it was just another fad diet. I could not have been more wrong about keto, and I wish I had I discovered the ketogenic diet years ago! The biggest surprise for me is that keto was not a new fad diet. But it was a century old way of eating developed by doctors and scientists back in the 1920’s! It was initially developed to control seizures in epileptic children. And that told me one thing. It must be good for your brain! As well a your body!
No Thyroid and Keto
And it was pretty much how our ancestors ate – just good, whole, real food. Consisting of cutting out modern refined carbohydrates that our bodies don’t actually need to function. And instead eating more natural food sources like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, some dairy, and plenty of nutrient dense, vitamin filled vegetables. Yes! Vegetables are a big part. And you thought it was all just bacon and eggs.
Low carb veg is a staple part of the keto diet, so think about things that grow above the ground. Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, and so on. There is lower carb veg that grows underground too, you just need to know which to avoid (potatoes etc) and which are OK to have in moderation. And no sugar. I very quickly learned that sugar is the major cause of obesity in the western world, and not fat in your diet. So if you are fan of chicken thighs and pork belly, you don’t need to give these up for leaner cuts of meat! What a revelation!
All those years of reducing my dietary fat and cutting down on my calories was actually what was causing my body to hold on to the weight and continue storing more and more body fat!
So my research continued. I wanted to know more than just what foods to eat and what not to eat. I wanted to understand the science behind it – how does this work?
Why Calorie Controlled Diets are Bad for Thyroid Problems
Once I understood that by lowering my calories, I also messed up my thyroid levels which in turn slowed down my metabolism. I knew then that cutting calories and eating low fat food was not the answer for me.
Why is keto good for you?
Because keto is NOT calorie restricted it would do the opposite of all those low-fat calorie-controlled diets. Instead of causing more damage, it would help to heal my metabolism and help my thyroid levels be more stable.
Thyroid Weight Gain How to Lose it
I had a bit of a light bulb moment after reading The Obesity Code by Dr Jason Fung. When I realised that fat loss is all connected to your insulin (a hormone that tells your body to store fat). So by following a keto diet, I could control my insulin levels. And therefore stop my body from storing more and more fat. Instead, I could start to burn fat for energy and use up my body fat as well as the fat I was eating on my new keto diet.
When I first started, I was a little bit lost. I understood what I wasn’t allowed to eat anymore. That was fine and after a few weeks of fighting against my cravings I found it easy to ignore the bread and pasta that my family were still enjoying. I had other goodies on my plate that I was loving again! Foods that I thought I shouldn’t be eating like cream and cheese. And fatty cuts of meat, bacon, and avocados!
As I said, I had gone from my usual size 8 to 10, up to a size 18/20. Low calorie, traditional healthy foods, exercise, even Atkins did not work, I was lucky if a few pounds dropped off. It always went back on (thank you thyroid problems, or in my case, no thyroid).
The Thyroid Keto Cure for Weight Loss
Then, with keto, I’m back to a size 10! I have had a 5 stone weight loss on the scales in just under a year. I kept my carbs low, so that is below 20g net carbs per day. But I knew I could go up to 50g carbs because of my thyroid, if I needed to. I eat enough dietary fats to satisfy my appetite and keep me fuelled and full of energy, without over doing it. I also make sure I consume a good palm sized amount of protein with my meals. Using an app called MyFitnessPal to track my food helped me at first. I used the free version which does everything I needed to follow my new keto diet. But I got a bit fed up of that after a few weeks so I just started to use it to keep an eye on my carbs.
Counting Carbs on Keto
Now I have been eating this way for a while I know my portion sizes. So I just watch my carbs and prepare my meals guided by my appetite. And that has settled down too! I never get that “I’m starving” feeling anymore. I’m now aware of when I’m hungry and I eat regularly. I sleep really well these days too. And I have more energy and no more thyroid brain fog! I’m still following the recipes and guides on Keto Me Fit because it has really helped me to understand how much I can eat and what sorts of food I am allowed.
It helped me understand how my body processes food and showed me that I didn’t need to starve myself or go without just to lose a few pounds. I have adjusted my thyroid medication as I lost weight because my needs changed. My doctor was also happy with my progress and when I told him what I had been doing, he was actually really supportive!
I know that keto and low carb diets are being recommended by the NHS these days. I think that’s the best thing for so many people with health conditions that cause weight gain. As long as you get your bloods checked regularly and speak to your GP, keto could really help you with weight loss with thyroid disease. Or life after a thyroidectomy like it did with me. If I can change what’s on my plate and develop new, permanent eating habits, anyone can!
Keto Me Fit helped me to understand how my thyroid could be helped through keto and following a ketogenic way of eating for the long term. I got all the info and advice I needed from the great blogs like Electrolytes and avoiding keto flu
The Keto Guide helped to explain things in a way I could understand. It doesn’t over complicate anything and makes it easy to get started. Using the meal plan helped me prepare balanced keto meals. You can read more about it by clicking the link here: ketomefit.co.uk/keto-uk-meal-plan
If you want to buy your copy of the Keto Me Fit Keto Guide & Keto Meal Plan, just click here: ketomefit.co.uk/buy-your-plan
Ref: You don’t need carbs to maintain the normal function of your thyroid gland. (https://www.virtahealth.com/blog/does-your-thyroid-need-dietary-carbohydrates)