Hypothyroidism is characterized by the National Institutes of Health as an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the thyroid hormone, which can slow your metabolism and cause an unintentional gain in weight. Controlling your diet can help maintain a healthy weight as well as encourage weight loss, but you still need to take the appropriate medications to see an improvement in your condition. If not, your metabolism stays at the same rate and could cause a continual gain in weight.
Talk to your doctor. Proper diagnosis of an underactive thyroid is an essential part to the treatment of this disease. Your doctor can prescribe the right medication to correct the low thyroid.
Take your medication each day. Taking levothyroxine helps supplement the thyroid hormone needed to improve your metabolism. Adjustments often need to be made to avoid appetite changes, heart palpitations, insomnia and shakiness.
Monitor your fiber intake. Foods high in fiber can adversely affect the absorption rate of levothyroxine, so limit your intake of legumes, peas, artichokes, broccoli, whole-wheat pastas, barley, bran, raspberries, pears and apples. This doesn't mean to totally eliminate these foods from your diet. They provide essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients; just keep their intake to a minimum.
Limit your consumption of other foods that may interact with medication. Avoid large portions of walnuts, cottonseed meal and soy products.
Maintain a low-fat, low-calorie diet. To help manage your weight while dealing with an underactive thyroid, reduce your fat intake as well as you calorie intake. Low-fat tends to mean low-calorie, but you still need to reduce your caloric intake to generate a caloric deficit, which encourages weight loss.
Find ways to increase your physical activity. Increasing your level of physical activity helps burn additional calories, which can offset a slow metabolism due to an underactive thyroid. Swim, bike, hike, jog, walk or cross-country ski regularly to increase your caloric burn and help control your weight.
Take dietary supplements to negate any nutritional shortfalls. A mulitvitamin is the best; however, beware of those containing calcium or iron. These two minerals can have the same effect on thyroid medications as high-fiber foods.