Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms

Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms

What can we do to lose weight despite hypothyroidism? I’ve read so much about the benefits of the Paleo diet. I’ve heard from readers that rave about Paleo for improving their hypothyroidism symptoms including help with weight loss. What are great Paleo resources, recipes, and menu plans? I reached out to holistic health expert and thyroid specialist Jen Wittman for answers.

Written by Jen Wittman, founder of The Healthy Plate and Thyroid Loving Care

As the holidays are one of my favorite times of year to celebrate all that we are grateful for, I made it a point to join in on the festivities and splurge a little. I mean, why not? We only live once! And what better way to ring in the New Year than by declaring that 2014 will be full of joy and fulfillment regardless of a thyroid disorder? But now that the warm scented haze of the holidays has lifted, it’s time to rest, recharge, reboot and give your body the TLC it deserves.

While I was mainly able to keep to my usual fitness and diet plan during the holidays, my body feels a little stagnant and could stand to be more fit. For those of us living with a thyroid disorder, keeping the weight off can be a frustrating endeavor. If you have Hashimoto’s, it’s even more of a roller coaster ride with your weight fluctuating up and down ceaselessly.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, first, it’s important to understand what stands between you and long-term weight loss. Let’s take a brief look at the 5-major players and culprits that could be keeping you from a mirror-friendly figure.


Sugar is pervasive in our American diet and shockingly, it is 4X as addictive as cocaine. When it comes to your body, sugar is pretty much just as bad if not even worse for you considering the inflammation it creates in addition to helping you pack on the pounds. All kinds of foods that you would not associate with sugar have been processed with this other “white powder.” Did you know that everything from taco seasoning to tomato sauce contains added sugars?

Even if you only eat “natural” sugars from fruit, honey, agave nectar, you could be ingesting an enormous amount per day. I am not saying to cut sugar out of your diet forever. Fruits definitely have some health benefits as does raw honey but by eliminating sugar from your diet for a short period of time, you let your body learn to regulate your blood sugar levels, get a better sense of when you’re actually hungry, increase your immune system’s ability to fight off illness and ward off Candida infections.


Who doesn’t love a buttery croissant, a piping hot piece of pizza or a comforting piece of chocolate cake? I know I do. In fact, my last meal on this planet will be a steaming plate of biscuits and gravy, this I know for sure. However, your waistline does not like grains and in fact, your body converts grains to sugar as well. SUGAR! Argh.

When you’re struggling with thyroid disease, eating grains can put unnecessary strain on your digestive system, inflame your system and create an endless cycle of weight gain.

I really dig this food pyramid and the info on grains and weight loss. There is a lot of serious, scientific research and resources on this topic but I love this simple, easy to understand graphic and explanation. I also love this recipe and this other recipe too for a grain-free pizza crust – yum, yum.

Stress & Cortisol

We all know that stress releases cortisol but how does that affect your ability to lose weight? Well, cortisol sets off a cycle of releasing glucose from your tissues. This, in turn, signals your body to store fat – not cool! When you’re chronically stressed, you’re releasing a steady stream of cortisol into the system. This makes your body think it needs to protect itself so it directs the body to store fat in your abdomen (good lord!) and around your organs. Also, when cortisol signals the body to release glucose, your insulin levels will begin to rise. After repeating this cycle over-and-over again, you could develop insulin resistance which brings me to my next point….

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance just really stinks all around. It is a signal that your body is not processing sugar well and that some of your cells do not have the ability to respond to insulin – a key factor in how glucose gets stored as fat.

Basically, insulin allows the cells to open and take in glucose to store as fat. This fat is then converted into the energy the body needs to function properly. When cells don’t open the door to allow glucose in, your body is signaled to create more insulin to help prop that door open. The big issue here is that now, your body has too much insulin in the blood and it has nowhere to go. So glucose has no option but to sit on your front stoop (your abdomen and organs) as fat until your cells decide to open the door….which won’t happen if the blood sugar imbalance cycle continues. This makes it hard for your body to burn fat as fuel for energy. It’s busy burning the sugar in your body but not the pesky fat sitting around your waist.

Chris Kresser and Dr. Mark Hyman provide some of the best and most thorough info out there on insulin resistance. I encourage you to peruse their sites.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin seems to be all over the media these days but what is it? Leptin is a powerful hormone which tells your brain what to do – it signals whether you should be hungry or not, need to eat to produce more fat or if it’s time to maintain and repair the body. Leptin starts the conversation between your fat stores and your brain to discuss energy levels and where the energy should go. It helps regulate hunger signals, tells the body whether to store fat or if it’s time to burn some.

Like insulin resistance, leptin resistance occurs when there is too much continuous exposure to leptin itself. This happens when you eat a diet high in sugar, grains and processed foods. When all that sugar gets metabolized in your fat cells, the fat will release a surge in leptin…and the cycle continues. Sugar – again! This is why following an anti-inflammatory, low-sugar, low-grain/carb diet is important for overall health and weight loss.

Steps to use to stop the cycle?

Honestly and lovingly look at your diet

After taking a thorough health history and reviewing blood work, one of the first things I do with my Thyroid Loving Care clients, is perform a diet assessment and have them complete a food journal. Looking at all of these factors paints a pretty clear picture of what might be stalling weight loss and exacerbating symptoms. Without knowing your unique set of symptoms, there are some basic things that all thyroid sufferers can do to help keep the pounds at bay.

Say sayonara to your sweet tooth

You will not believe how fast the weight can come off when you limit your sugar intake. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat anything sweet again. It just means you can help your body recalibrate your taste buds to enjoy more of the foods that nourish you and less of the sugary foods that leave you heavy and inflamed. Although, I tailor sugar detox plans for some of my clients, I heartily recommend Diane Sanfilipo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox or Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program. They work!

If you don’t want to purchase yet another program and are looking for a less expensive, DIY method, I recommend getting, Get The Sugar Out, at the library.

Take the Paleo Plunge

By far, I’ve found a Paleo or Paleo-like diet to be the most successful in helping my clients lose weight. While there are other diets I use to repair the body and balance hormones, the Paleo diet is effective at helping a person balance blood sugar and reverse insulin and leptin resistance. It’s also quite delicious and easy to do.

As with anything, a Paleo diet can be taken to the extreme. What I have found that works best for general weight loss and overall health are meals consisting of 75% – 80% vegetables (a mixture of cooked, raw and fermented), 10-15% protein, 10% high quality fats (from olives, avocados, coconut oil or olive oil) and a small portion of nuts/seeds or even rice. This is a Paleo-like diet and it’s also quite Mediterranean. There is a lot of conflicting information about what is and isn’t considered Paleo so I just use my common sense and eat meals that are balanced for me and works for my clients. My body knows if it needs some grains and I honor my body’s natural intuition. You can too!

Here are just some great resources for adopting a Paleo or Paleo-like lifestyle. There are loads and loads of fabulous websites out there on Paleo/Grain-free/GAPS living. Type in any of those search terms and you’re sure to find many more.

Deliciously Organic – http://deliciouslyorganic.net/

Organic Spark – http://www.organicspark.com/

Mark’s Daily Apple http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

Paleo Diet Lifestyle http://paleodietlifestyle.com/

Off The Grain http://offthegrain.com/

Against All Grain http://www.againstallgrain.com/

NomNom Paleo http://nomnompaleo.com/

Paleo Plan http://www.paleoplan.com/recipes/

Paleo Mom http://www.thepaleomom.com/

Gluten-free Goddess http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/

Elana’s Pantry http://www.elanaspantry.com/grain-free-recipes/

Autoimmune Paleo http://autoimmune-paleo.com/

Paleo Non Paleo http://paleononpaleo.com/more-paleo/paleo-autoimmune-protocol/

My Paleo Lunch Box http://mypaleolunchboxes.wordpress.com/

Read below to see a sample meal plan>>

De-stress on a daily basis

This is one of the most overlooked methods for weight loss. When you’re stressed, you are sending a continuous stream of cortisol into the body which as we learned above, is a major no-no for weight loss. It’s imperative that you build in time for you to just breathe and relax each and every day. Your body deserves it and you do too!

*Sample Menu Plan*

I wanted to show the breadth and variety of a Paleo or Paleo-like menu plan so the daily menu samples below are quite diverse. When I create a custom-menu plan for a client, it involves the efficient use of all ingredients throughout the week for time-friendly, budget-friendly recipes and grocery lists.

Day 1

Breakfast: Smoked Salmon, Avocado, 2 brazil nuts, handful of seeds, fresh fruit

Snack: Veggie Medley, Baba ganoush, Green juice

Lunch: Tuna and Egg Salad over Greens

Dinner: Crockpot BBQ Brisket, Veggies and a Salad

Day 2

Breakfast: Almond-Banana Pancakes, bacon, 2 brazil nuts

Snack: Olive tapenade with seed crackers, Green juice

Lunch: Savory carnitas with kimchi over salad and a side of sautéed vegetables

Dinner: Warm chicken and root vegetable soup with avocado

Day 3

Breakfast: Egg, veggie and sausage frittata muffins, 2 brazil nuts, choco-banana smoothie

Snack: Power-packed Morning Glory Muffins, Green juice

Lunch: Grilled Salmon, Roasted Butternut Squash, Salad

Dinner: Italian meatballs in tomato sauce over yellow & green zucchini ribbons and a salad

About Jen Wittman

Celebrity health coach Jen Wittman, CHHC, AADP provides one-of-a-kind, long-lasting health overhauls through Thyroid Loving Care. Jen brings extra helpings of joy and humor to the table and has degrees in culinary arts, psychology, transformational coaching, nutrition, and Italian. She’s worked with everyone – from Emmy-award winning celebrities to power professionals to CEOs of the home (aka “Moms”). Jen spent a year honing her cooking skills in Italy and is passionate about food, family, friends, laughter and helping people live the life of their dreams.

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. *Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links. Connect with me on Google+


  1. Hi,
    One thing I learnt about weight gain and thyroid problems that I have had is that genes are the problem in the weight gain. Unless the genes are re-programed to the youth gene clusters dominance, no amount of dieting and exercise prevents regaining the weight lost unless the genes are reset. Gene research has now proved this and I have been on a 3 month program that has reset my gene clusters, I have lost weight, and being menopausal many of my mood swings have ceased. I now use this companies supplements and age reducing products regularly and am very happy with the results and decided to become a distributor. I am not trying to sell this to you, but if anyone wants to know more I can point them to the sites and data. If they want to buy, I can help them in as their referee.

  2. Sharyn Crothers-Wilcox says:

    I don’t know if I have hypothyroidism… After have my 4 child I went on the deproprivera injections I was on it for 4 yrs and in that time I put on over 40 kg and have not be able to lose it . I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 10 yrs ago but have had all the test done under the sun and no one can tell me why I’m not losing any weight . I hope you can help me please

    • Victor Harris says:

      I have been a practicing Natural Therapist for over 20 years before retiring as I couldn’t find anything in medicine or natural treatments that actually worked against disease or stopped weight gain after weight loss by traditional metods. Eventually I gained more than I wanted to and so did my partner who had her thyroid removed.Now we have both lost considerable weight and it is due to a remarkable product that targets the genes in our body. Because there is so much info on this, perhaps you should contact us through this website somehow. V&M

      • I would love to know more about the products that target the genes in my body. I have issues with weight loss and would love to lose the weight. thank you!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been diagnosed in the last year with hypothyroidism. Typical symptoms, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss and I have a mass on my thyroid (I go back to my endocrinologist next month for a check up on it) Im 26 and getting married in November and really struggling with the weight. Its been less than a year and I’ve gained 30 pounds. I’ve always been petite and this weight gain was incredibly difficult for me. I’m on levothyroxine and i work out but it doesn’t seem to matter the scale and pants size keeps going up. Im going to try to limit my sugar before I try the paleo.

  4. Marisa Harris NZ says:

    Right now, the Paleo diet is pretty right, with limiting of certain foods and as much as possible, processed foods, and anything that contains wheat in it\\\\\\\’s modern form, and white sugar, saturated fats, and genetically modified substances. Brown, unrefined sugars and molasses used in limited manner or Stevia sweeteners are O.K.I suggest you look at Rob Ngato Needlemans You Tube videos on Nu Skins genetically altering supplements and TR90 diet kits, and research their R2 and Lifepak products that are designed to change world health. Forget the sites that claim it doesn\\\\\\\’t work. If you follow the program and walk as we do, 20 kms a week, and follow the dietary regimenyou will lose weight, but remember it will take effort and be slow because the thyroxine causes weight gain due to the T3 and other associated hormones not being present in the medication. Currently TR90 is a limited time offer in the US on 10th March, and to get it has to be through an executive sales person, who you can contact through the Arunaki website. This has worked for us and my wife who has no thyroid. Any further questions should go to Nu Skins massive scientist base, someone will know the best approach. This company has the biggest genetic data base and scientific team in the nutritional industry. Let them know we referred you. love and blessings

  5. Hi Ms. Dana!
    I wanted to thank you for this blog and all you have contributed to the thyroid community. I want to tell you some of my story. I am 38, have had ‘bipolar’ since I was a teen, have had major swings in mood, rage unbelievable rage that would probably label me as psychotic. I am surprised I have not ended up in a hospital as of yet. I still have some major rage and I have children. It is scary for all of us. I am awaiting for a doctor’s appointment this upcoming Tuesday after begging for an appointment. The best in town has a wait for five months. Yes. Really. I can only have a strand of hope as my mental state awaits in his answer. I need a diagnosis that doesn’t label me crazy. I know I have something wrong. When I sleep at night I must sleep on the couch or I feel that I might choke to death. Something is pushing on my throat. I have over 90+ symptoms you listed on the 300 symptoms. I am so sad that I have had this issue for so long and without a diagnosis? There must be more research to be done. I will be a rabbit if I have to.

    Do we know if we need to get our children checked at what age? (providing we have hypothyroidism)…

    Thank you!!

  6. Hi, someone please advise me. After taking cytomel mcg for 3 weeks my TSH significantly dropped, along with T3 and T4. My T4 probably came into normal range but T3 dropped even lower this is not good, do you know why this is so? Also I suffer from chronic constipation, yet my magnesium levels are fine. Initially fermented foods helped me but not so much anymore. Also I’ve seen that over the past year my white blood cells, platelets, and lymphoycytes have consistently been low. That is another of my issue, very low immune system making me susceptible to infections. Anyone have a idea what I should do now? I’m very confused.

  7. Knasinski says:

    What about the use of natural iodine supplements ?

    • Annemaree says:

      I use iodine supplements being sub clinical hypothyroid but having all the symptoms.. I’ve been taking it for 12 months and I think my thyroid nodules have decreased in size and my symptoms have dissapeared. I have taken my last iodine tablet two weeks ago and already getting symptoms return. I truely believe if I don’t continue with iodine I will end up developing hypothyroidism. Trouble is my order is coming from America and takes 4 weeks for delivery. I am easily tired now, my thinking is not clear, hairs falling out and itchy skin.. We get increase. I need iodine ASAP

  8. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.Too cool!

  9. Hi, my weight gain started in my mid to late 40’s and although I did not get obese, I was suffereing with weight gain, lethargy, anxiety and depression. I finally found a Dr that helped ‘The Rensburg Clinic’, specializing in nutrition and hormones. Within 12 weeks I had reduced my weight and after 12 months of taking CHT (corrective hormone therapy), compounded for me, I felt amazing, this included a thyroid extract (USP). However I started to feel the ‘unwell’ me creeping back which was resulting in nusea (12 hours of vomiting), headaches and then a few days later the development of a Kerititis on the cornea of my left eye (this took some time to get to the bottom of). My last visit to the Opthamologist resulted in the suggestion that I am masking an autoimune disease, yet to be confirmed. However upon advising my nuticionist (Dr) he has also now prescribed T3. So I am in the early stages of working out what is actually the root cause. If anyone else has felt like this I’d love to know.

  10. This is a general suggestion for those experiencing weight gain whilst on Thyroxine based products. As most medical websites will state T4 is the most common form that these medications take with T3 being regarded as unimportant, even though the excessive weight gain leads to multiple dangerous disease states, that make significant profits for medical practitioners and drug companies. DHEA a hormonal supplement freely available in some states in the US, and DHEA based supplements available in Australia and New Zealand, may allow weight loss through in body synthesis of T3 for thyroxine dependant patients, where suitable portion controlled eating is applied and proper, regular exercise like 6 km walks in relaxing environments, parks, beach, etc. is taken up.

  11. Brenda says:

    I want info please email me

  12. Stephanie says:

    I, too, have a lot of these syptoms. But sometimes my thyroid test comes back normal, then the next test comes back low. Then again, normal then low. Has anyone gone through this too? !

  13. I really liked your sample menu and I enjoyed the little history piece for u comment i follow as well.

  14. Wow, informative article! You have great collection of such sites!!! I’ve been looking into it. Bookmarked and sharing for friends.

  15. Hi Dana,
    Very informative article:) I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and had the normal symptoms: no energy, not sleeping and weight gain. My dr put me on synthroid and liothyronine and kept adjusting them until my levels were normal. The only problem was I didn’t feel wonderful and I couldn’t lose the weight, even with exercise and eating well. I just wanted to share, because I am taking a product that was originally formulated for diabetics to help keep blood sugar at a healthy level. This product has done amazing things for me! When the blood sugars are regulated the body will burn fat instead of storing it. When your blood sugars are stabilized you may feel your energy is increased. You are avoiding the highs and lows and do not need a “quick fix” like sweets, carbs, or caffeine. This in turn may help suppress your appetite, which may help increase weight loss. When your blood sugar is stable your body is able to work more efficiently during the day, therefore able to reset at night and get a good night’s sleep. Weight loss can be tied to sleep. There also seems to be a correlation between stable blood sugar and natural bio rhythms. Glucose is also the main source of brain fuel…If you are feeding your brain continuously, you may experience brain clarity:) I have been taking this product since Mother’s Day and have lost 7.5lbs, have some much energy, no more naps and am sleeping 6-7 hours at night!! My only regret was that I didn’t start sooner. I am happy to share more info with you or anyone else! Please email me at amybeirne@hotmail.com

  16. Hi i am interested in reset of genergy please help me.

    • Audra Coker says:

      I have hypothyroidism and after taking Thrive by Le-Vel for the past 3 months I finally have it stable. It’s been up and down for five years now. Thrive is an all natural vitamin for energy. The plus is it gave me more energy to exercise and I’ve lost 10 pounds so far. I love the energy and now I can keep up with my grandkids. Check it out. Everyone needs to feel this good!

  17. There are also several massage therapies that can help you burn fat and lose weight. I work for Home Massage London and we have several clients that employ these kind of services and are satisfied with them.


  1. […] but also my other hypothyroidism symptoms, I was hooked. Here is an article with a list of gluten-free and Paleo resources that include great […]

  2. […] from this post were taken from hypothyroidmom.com. Thanks for the […]

  3. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  4. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  5. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – What can we do to lose weight despite hypothyroidism? I’ve read so much about the benefits of the Paleo diet. I’ve heard from readers that rave about Paleo for …… […]

  6. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  7. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – What can we do to lose weight despite hypothyroidism? I’ve read so much about the benefits of the Paleo diet. I’ve heard from readers that rave about Paleo for …… […]

  8. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  9. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – What can we do to lose weight despite hypothyroidism? I’ve read so much about the benefits of the Paleo diet. I’ve heard from readers that rave about Paleo for improving their hypothyroidism symptoms including help with weight loss. […]

  10. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  11. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – Weight loss for hypothyroidism sufferers – Paleo, grain free, sugar, stress & cortisol, insulin resistance, leptin resistance – by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care… […]

  12. […] Weight Loss Tips for Hypothyroid Moms – What can we do to lose weight despite hypothyroidism? I’ve read so much about the benefits of the Paleo diet. I’ve heard from readers that rave about Paleo for …… […]

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