Life without my thyroid has become so difficult. I have no energy and cannot seem to lose weight no matter what I eat. Now I feel my joints and muscles weakness. Help how do I get this turned around. What do I eat? – Helen C.
Any symptoms such as the lethargy, joint pain or muscle weakness you’re experiencing should be reported to your managing physician. If you’ve had a complete thyroidectomy, you should be on replacement thyroxine hormone. Even if you’ve only had a lobe removed, your endocrinologist may want to check your TSH levels to adjust medication dose. The American Thyroid Association notes that certain antacids, calcium supplements or iron tablets can interfere with absorbing thyroxine.
People with hypothyroidism (including surgical removal) usually don’t have a problem managing a healthy weight with the correct dose of medication. Post-operative patients share that this sometimes takes months to achieve. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists indicates that lifelong therapy is required with “consistent and precise treatment.”
As far as using diet, your nutritional approach would be the same as anyone trying to lose fat mass healthfully. You must be diligent in your efforts at diet and exercise! Following a sound balanced diet that is moderately reduced in calories accompanied by consistent cardiovascular and resistance exercise will help tip the scale in your favor.
Read through our Healthy Living Blog for multiple articles on losing body fat. Here are our top 8 nutrition tips:
- Be sure that no more than 10% of your calories come from sugar.
- Include lean protein at each meal and snack. Examples are: beans, egg whites, fish, Greek yogurt (plain), nonfat cottage cheese, and poultry breast.
- Take smaller portions and slow down your meal, taking time to chew each bite thoroughly.
- Eat more than half of your total calories by the time your mid-day meal is done.
- Avoid extra calories from alcohol, soft drinks and condiments.
- When hungry, eat some vegetables. Any kind!
- Consume at least 25 grams of fiber, preferably from whole foods, daily.
- Drink a cup of water before meals to help you fill up without calories.
With hypothyroidism, you should also focus on potassium-rich foods to combat any possible salt or water retention. The best potassium sources are fruits and vegetables (notably bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, greens), lean meats and low-fat milk products.
With persistence you can do it, Helen!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?