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Losing Weight with Hashimoto's

author image Maura Shenker
Maura Shenker is a certified holistic nutritionist and health counselor who started her writing career in 2010. She leads group workshops, counsels individual clients and blogs about diet and lifestyle choices. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Losing Weight with Hashimoto's
Hashimoto thyroiditis often results in weight gain. Photo Credit: Eraxion/iStock/Getty Images

Hashimoto thyroiditis is an inflammatory disease in which antibodies are generated by the immune system to attack the tissues of the thyroid gland. The thyroid makes hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, and because this disease causes thyroid tissues to be inflamed, fewer hormones are released. This is known as hypothyroidism, and results in a lower metabolism rate that causes weight gain. There are certain methods, however, that can be effective in reversing weight gain.

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A diet that consists of unprocessed food without added sugar and preservatives is ideal for those suffering from weight gain caused by Hashimoto's. Organic meats and vegetables should be primary staples, with healthy oils that include coconut and olive oil included. In addition, identification and avoidance of food intolerances (especially gluten, dairy, corn and rice) can result in weight loss as well as a reduction of harmful thyroid antibodies.

Thyroid Hormone Levels

Weight gain can result if hypothyroidism is not controlled with medication. The thyroid uses iodine from food to make two thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). If levels of these hormones remain consistently low during treatment with common thyroid medications, even after dosage adjustments, then different types should be considered. Most medications replace T4, which converts to the metabolically active T3. If there are problems converting to T3, then a combination of the two should be considered.

Gut Bacteria

People suffering from Hashimoto's have an unhealthy ratio of friendly to unfriendly bacteria in their gut. In fact, certain unfriendly bacteria in the colon extract more calories from food than other types of intestinal flora, causing weight gain. By consuming friendly bacteria in the form of fermented foods or probiotic supplements, as well as the prebiotic nutrients that the friendly bacteria consume for energy, the gut bacteria ratio can be normalized and pounds shed.


Although Hashimoto's and weight gain can cause fatigue, exercise remains a good option for weight loss. Any enjoyable exercise that raises the heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes, four times per week is effective, and may also help control fatigue. In addition, lifting light weights that target major muscle groups have been shown to burn calories throughout the day. When combined with a healthy diet that includes probiotics, consistent exercise results in weight loss.

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