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Underactive thyroid and weight loss.

Byline: Alva Carpenter

I receive many letters, mainly from women, who say that they are unable to lose weight because they have an under active thyroid. The answer to this question is yes you can lose weight and you should do so if you are overweight.

What is an under active thyroid?

Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) is 10 times more common in women than men. Under-active thyroids are usually related to Hashimoto's disease or goitre (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) where the body's immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, reducing hormone secretion. Childbirth and/or stress can also trigger it.


A lack of thyroid hormones causes a slow down in the metabolism, weight gain, tiredness, depression, dry skin, and constipation. People who have been severely overweight for some time often wonder if they might indeed have a thyroid problem. There seems to be a common misconception that such hormone disorders are rife - but in reality, thyroid diseases are in fact highly uncommon. Indeed, less than a fraction of 1 percent of all overweight people have a disorder of the thyroid gland. If you do find that you have a thyroid condition it is all the more reason for taking good care of yourself. You can lead a normal life as long as you keep in contact with your doctor and eat healthily and take exercise. You can do this by sending off for my Healthy Eating Guide at I have met several women who had an under-active thyroid and although most succeeded in losing weight, their weight loss was slower than normal. The first step is to see your doctor and work together to make sure your thyroid levels are checked regularly, so that your medication is kept at the correct dosages. Thyroid function can change quite quickly so regular checking is very important.

Try these weight lose tips

n Take regular exercise.

n Try to avoid alcohol and manage your stress.

n Eat a varied low-fat diet, which includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish. These foods may help the thyroid function.

n Eat less cabbage and Soya beans. These foods may reduce the thyroid function. When your condition has been treated you will notice that you have far more energy and then you can move on to tackle weight loss.

Recipe of the week

(My recipes are intended provide healthy meals for the whole family to enjoy)

Lebanese meatballs

(Serves 6)


1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp butter

1/2 kilo ground beef

1 Egg, beaten

2 slices bread soaked in 1/2 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1 c dry bread crumbs

2 c plain yoghurt


SautA onion in 1-tablespoon butter until transparent. Cool slightly. Mix with meat, egg, bread and seasonings. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls and roll them in dry bread crumbs. Brown slowly in remaining tablespoon butter. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Gently spoon yoghurt over and around meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with rice or wheat pilaff. For extra flavor dissolve a bouillon cube in the water used to cook the rice.

Ask Alva

Since having had three children my weight has gone up and I do not have time for exercise, I tend to wear clothes for comfort rather than style. I used to be 55 kilos and now I weigh 82 kilos and feel very fed up.

- Sula

I expect there are many Mums like you. It is a very busy time when the children are small and yes, there is not much time to look after yourself. It is very easy when you have a family to lose self-esteem, as your instincts are to sacrifice everything for your children. You are always better able to look after everyone if you have high self-esteem and this means taking good care of yourself. You have taken the first step by writing to me. I you send an e-mail to for a copy of my Mini-Morning Workout. Do these exercises every morning as soon as you wake up or when the children are off to school. You can also send for a copy of my Healthy Eating Guide to help you lose weight gradually and get healthy - just e-mail You will soon be looking and feeling better.

- Alva

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jun 19, 2009
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