For many Hashimoto’s sufferers, weight gain is a major problem. Hashimoto’s causes hypothyroidism, which slows down the metabolism, leading to weight gain. As if losing weight wasn’t hard enough, losing weight with Hashimoto’s seems next to impossible. Believe me, I know.
The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is exercise. After all, you spent most, if not all, of your daily allotment of spoons there. What do you have left for exercise? Plus, you hurt. So many muscles of your body hurt due to inflammation that you just want to plop down on the couch and not move. And once there, you realize you’re craving carbs, so you get a snack, and maybe another. And you do this every day. Sound familiar? It does to me.
I have successfully lost weight with Hashimoto’s, but that was when I was younger. As I’ve gotten older and the disease has progressed, it feels next to impossible. My blood glucose is slowing creeping up and I’m headed towards diabetes. My cholesterol is a little too high. My blood pressure is a little too high. I don’t want to have to deal with heart disease. So, I need to do SOMETHING.
My first step in losing weight with Hashimoto’s, as you might have read in my blog post about selenium, was to start taking the supplement consistently every day. It has helped me feel so much better. I’ve been able to do physical activities that months ago I would have passed up. I was able to travel and walk around all day sightseeing on a recent trip while barely “paying for it” the next day with soreness. It has really helped. In addition, I’ve been talking Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, and a daily multi-vitamin, since Hashimoto’s patients are prone to vitamin deficiency. Problems like leaky gut make it difficult for us to absorb vitamins and nutrients efficiently. I’ve been forcing myself to stay hydrated, which is a constant battle for me since I rarely feel thirsty.
My second step was to start wearing my FitBit every day. With the FitBit.com dashboard and iPhone app, I’m able to set a daily step goal and track it. It keeps me motivated to get up and move and burn off calories. It also allows me to link up with friends and challenge them to a little friendly competition to see who can get the most steps. I used to be an athlete, so I love a little competition. 🙂
If you have an Apple Watch or other fitness wearable, that works fine too, but I would recommend getting one that plays nice with the MyFitnessPal app. (Update: I actually switched to an Apple Watch after my Fitbit died and love it.)
My third step was to start using the MyFitnessPal app and website to track the calories, vitamins, and nutrients in the food I eat. I also track my exercise activities there. I’ve synced my FitBit to MyFitnessPal so it adjusts the amount of calories I’m allowed daily according to my activity level. This has made me more aware of the nutrition in the food I eat and my activity levels. If I want to have a special snack or treat, I’ve gotta get my butt moving to earn some extra calories for the day! It also helps that all my siblings use MyFitnessPal too, so we can all help keep each other accountable for our goals.
This is not easy. In fact, losing weight with Hashimoto’s is hard. It takes constant diligence and awareness, something I’m not really used to. But I’m motivated by several factors. First, I want to avoid Diabetes as long as possible. My dad has Type 1.5 Diabetes, my paternal grandfather had Diabetes, and my niece has Type 1 Diabetes. I see the struggle they go through. Due to genetics, I will probably eventually have to deal with it too, but there are things I can do right now to push back that possibility. Second, since I started taking selenium, I’ve seen that there are easy things I can do reduce the impact of Hashimoto’s. I have had days where I’ve felt almost normal, where I feel like I’m in remission. I want MORE of that! Third, there are so many things I’ve missed out on because of Hashimoto’s. So many times I scrapped plans to go out or travel or join friends because I wasn’t feeling well. I want to get out and see and experience the world again. This motivates me to take care of my health and get in shape.
I hope that there’s something in this blog post for you that makes losing weight with Hashimoto’s a little more manageable for you.