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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


I have an underactive thyroid, how do I keep losing weight?

Hi, I suffer from an under active thyroid. I joined in January lost 5lbs the first week, but then stopped and now I am starting to gain weight! What can I do? Yvonne


Our expert says...

Hi Yvonne,


Try not to be too concerned with the influence of your under active thyroid as if it is severe enough you will be on medication to counter its possible effects anyway. The achieving, managing and maintenance of weight loss remains the same and I have included below a previous answer I have given to a similar question (13th March 2008 “ Why isn't my weight shifting? What am I doing wrong?”). The suggestions are very relevant for you:

The thing to remember is that the body adapts at different speeds and can take time to register and provide visible responses to types of training and large calorie spends. The first weeks of exercise training results in more internal changes in the body, like nervous system development and it also takes time for the body to convert into a long-term 'fat-burning machine' and to show clear decreases in body fat and kilograms from a structured approach to creating a calorie deficit. Often people want to see the impact immediately and it just isn’t always realistic but equally doesn’t necessarily mean that something isn’t right.

In one week you may lose 2lbs, then the next nothing and then the next 4lbs! Fluctuations in body water mass can vary by several pounds within a few hours. The timing of your "weigh-in" is also important as having gone without something to eat or drink for a few hours or having just been to the loo could make several pounds of a difference and give a low reading, whereas the opposite scenario could give a higher than actual weight - and the difference between the two results could be as much as half a stone.

I would suggest you consider the following to figure out the reason for the plateau:

- be very very strict with the calories you consume: Sometimes we can leave small things out or make minor underestimations in the amount we are actually consuming which obviously would provide misleading calorie figures. Even if you are sure you are doing it right reassess! Its amazing what you can sometimes realise when you doubly-check your figures/amounts/foods etc.

- You need to progress what you are doing in the gym and I strongly suggest you get yourself an adapted/updated program from an instructor. Overload means more adaptation and more calories burned!! The body is so effective at finding shortcuts, making things easier and just adapting to the demand placed on it that you are already likely to be burning less calories for the same workout!

- With relation to your food, make sure you aren't over comsuing due to your regular training you are doing on a weekly basis. Often we can end up taking on too many calories because exercise increases the metabolism but can improve our ability to 'refuel' effectively if we choose.

Make sure you have a post-training snack in the first 15mins after your exercise sessions, to help curb any over consumption later on that day. You won't need to do anything drastic with your eating habits because your exercise volume is excellent, so just reduce a tiny element from your daily intake and see if it tips the balance for you. Also, make sure you are adjusting your food consumption on rest days, i.e. not eating as much!

- This may sound strange but make sure you get enough sleep! With regular training, your body will need adequate rest to recover and adapt. If however, you also have moderate-high levels of emotional/occupational stress, have irregular sleeping patterns and/or stay up late/get up early, then your body may be more tired then you realise. The way we often deal with this scenario is to eat more in an attempt to alleviate the tiredness, keep training, etc. So BE AWARE, consider whether this could be a potential factor for you. Being aware of it is half the battle won already!

- make sure you are re-hydrating! Drink water little and often and ensure you absolutely consume 2 litres of water on the days you exercise. If we are dehydrated our body’s ability to burn body fat is directly affected.

Hopefully what I have mentioned will help you consider some small, realistic changes you could make to your current exercise/eating plan and kick start your weight loss progress!

Hope this helps


You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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