When my wife was just over 28 – 30 years ago – she suffered from thyroid cancer and her thyroid was surgically removed. She has been taking thyroid medication (Synthroid) ever since and gained weight ever since as well. She did not like growing bigger and bigger so she tried every diet out there to avoid becoming overweight. And by trying I mean that she dieted months at the time, not giving up. But whatever she did, the weight did not come off and she slowly but surely reached over 200 pounds. And what did her doctor say – who knew of course about her thyroid cancer – “you should perhaps cut drinking sodas and exercise more”. Actually, she never drank sodas and she did go to Curves several times per week, but she was not able to convince our family doctor that she was doing all that and that was very frustrating for her.. Strange, because every doctor knows that people with an under-performing thyroid have a low metabolism which makes it much harder for them to control their weight. Estimated is that as many as 60 million people in the US have an under-active thyroid, although many of those have not been officially diagnosed.
So many people we speak who are overweight blame that on their thyroid problem and in all fairness, they may be right given the above. But perhaps because so many people blame their thyroid, even doctors are tempted not to believe them. And let’s face it, blaming weight gain on a thyroid issue could also an easy excuse. After all, I have seen people with all kinds of diseases, from diabetes to heart problems to Crohn’s disease, still going to the fast food window, still eating unhealthy and too much and still drinking large sugary sodas all day. I am sure you know some of those too in your circle of friends and relatives.
So what are people with a low performing thyroid to do? Just give up and accept that they are overweight? No, I think not. Even if they are not able to lose all the weight, they should be very conscious about what they eat and try to control their intake. After many years of struggling with her weight my wife started a low calorie diet last year and was ultimately was able to lose her overweight and although she has a hard time maintaining her current weight, she is still able to keep it off. With that experience she even started her own business in weight loss management.
This is her before and after:
Ria Alberda, before her weight loss.
Ria Alberda, after her weight loss.