How to lose weight after thyroidectomy?

by 55 · September 06, 2013 at 6:36 AM

I had my thyroid removed in February. Since the removal of my thyroid I have gained 30 lbs. Although I had a weight gain of 15 lbs or so after the birth of my kids this 30lbs gain has made me extremely fat and is destroying my body. I am miserable. I also feel that the weight gain is not natural. I feel like something has changed in my ability to feel full and I have huge cravings for sugar. Prior to my thyroidectomy I ate a low carb diet consisting of grass-fed meats, farmer's market veggies whole grains and an occasional sweet, now I only want to eat sweets. I actually wake up in the morning craving donuts and cereal. YUCK! I am 41 years old and have never had such cravings before. It disgust me that I want to eat sugar all the time and I don't like it when I do. I just can't stop the craving almost like a drug addiction. I am seriously thinking of trying the HCG diet but because of not having a thyroid any longer I am hesitant. I just found Dr. Kruse's website and he mentions the roll of the thyroid in weight lose. Is it possible to get myself back to my former healthy weight without feeling like I am starving constantly? Does my thyroidectomy mean I am doomed to being heavier the rest of my life?

Since the Thyroidectomy I have to take Vitamin D. Supplements as my levels are extremely low without them.

I am 41 year old, 5'8" and 190 lbs. After the birth of my son in 2009 I weighed 160 and didn't really lose the weight (I had a daughter in 2006 and did lose the weight after her 145 lbs). So I weigh more now by far then I weighed during both of my pregnancies not to mention my whole entire life. My Endo says that they thyroidectomy has nothing to do with the weight gain. I say Bull$hit!

One last note. I have tried eating low carb which is basically my usual lifestyle and am not able to get over the cravings for sugar. Any ideas on getting rid of the unnatural sugar cravings would be welcome.

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19 Replies

3623 · March 03, 2012 at 7:36 PM

All these improve the thyroid tips make no sense if you don't have a thyroid!

Permanent thyroid replacement is required. What that replacement is will be the single most important health decision you can make. If the docs are using the synthetic T4 like synthroid, this is a disaster waiting to happen. T4's job in part is to prompt the thyroid to act. No thyroid, what's the point?

The experts go back and forth on using a combo of T3/T4, or just T3. My doc uses T3 only and it's the desiccated bovine thyroid. With no thyroid, you want an endo that is open to more than the standard meds, knows when and how to use T3 only, and how they relate to adrenals, insulin sensitivity, all that. Its not simple.

20 · January 21, 2013 at 1:56 AM

Eat like a predator, not like prey.

Predators gorge and fast; prey grazes.

Rephrased for modern humans: predators eat meals, prey grazes on snacks. This means you need to eat meals which will carry you through to your next meal, but that won’t make you tired or sleepy.

Here’s how!

Step 1: Eat Meat, Not Birdseed

Eat more meat. If it’s not meat, it’s not a meal. Favor ruminants—animals that eat grass and leaves. (That means red meat: beef, lamb, bison, elk, venison, goat.) Ruminants are far better at converting plants into essential fats, complete protein, and bioavailable nutrients than humans are. Buy grass-fed beef whenever possible: it’s better for you, and better for the Earth. Cows didn’t evolve to eat corn and soybeans any more than humans did. Buy fatty cuts, buy occasional organ meats. Do not avoid animal fat! If you try, you will become ravenous for fatty junk food. Fake low-fat ‘paleo’ is known as the Faileo Diet. Pork and chicken are permissible in moderation, but are far less healthy due to excessive omega-6fat content. Frankly, you could stop here, as many native cultures did: as long as you eat organ meats and marrow, fatty, grass-fed ruminant meat provides 100% of your nutritional needs. But most of us enjoy more variety in our diets—and some vegetables and fruits offer tangible health benefits, even if they don’t provide meaningful calories. Eat more fish and shellfish. Favor oily fish like mackerel, sardines, and wild salmon, but be careful of methylmercury content: keep your intake of tuna, shark, and other high-level carnivores low. (The FDA’s table of mercury content can be found here.) In a Paleolithic world we could eat all the fish we wanted…but we humans have polluted the entire Earth so badly (mostly by burning coal for power) that one of our healthiest food sources is now universally poisonous. Good job, ‘civilization’. Do not eat anything made with ‘flour’. No bread, no pasta, no cereal, no crackers, no cookies, no donuts or danishes. Period. This is your most important step. Flour is ground-up seeds. What eats seeds? Birds and rodents. If it’s poisonous to humans until we grind it into powder and cook it, and it causes mineral deficiencies and birth defects unless we add vitamins, it’s not food. (Read more about lectins, phytic acid, and the role of grains in autoimmunity and heart disease.) Do not drink your food. No soda (even diet soda), no sports drinks, no milk, no soy ‘milk’, no smoothies, no fruit juice, no yogurt or vegetable drinks. Tea, coffee, and mate are fine in moderation. Learn to drink water: once you get used to it, you’ll find that soda and juices no longer quench your thirst. (You can potentially add small quantities of dairy and fresh fruit/vegetable juices back in later, if you’ve met your other goals.) Do not eat table sugar, or its equivalents. This includes circumlocutions like “brown rice syrup”, “agave nectar”, and my favorite, “evaporated cane juice solids.” That’s what sugar is! Sheesh. Even honey is basically just sugar, though it has useful medicinal properties. Diet sweeteners are out, too, as are those goofy Atkins sugar alcohols. If you can’t do without ‘carbohydrates’ (sugars), eat root starches. Prefer foods that are high in glucose and low in fructose, particularly root starches like potatoes. (Don’t forget about sweet potatoes and yams.) If you must eat birdseed, rice is the least bad of the grains…but give yourself a couple weeks to see if it’s just withdrawal symptoms, or whether you really need it on a regular basis.

Important! If you are active and not concerned with losing weight (or trying to gain it), you’ll want to eat more carbs than the average person trying to lose a few pounds. Sports nutrition is beyond the scope of this article…but in general, I find a moderately low carb intake (~20% of calories), with occasional starch refeeds when necessary to refill muscle glycogen, much better than a constant diet of pasta, “energy bars”, and other sugary junk food. Remember, fatty meat is your primary source of calories and nutrients. Quite a few ‘mainstream’ paleo books and sources sugarcoat or dance around this. You’re a predator: eat like one.

Congratulations! You’ve just made some massive, positive changes in your life.

You may be going through bread and cereal withdrawal, with periods in which you absolutely crave them. This is absolutely normal: you’re forcing your body to learn how to burn fat again, because it’s used to burning all the sugar (‘carbohydrates’) you’ve been eating.

However, you’re probably already noticing an increase in energy, a decrease in post-meal fatigue, and a lessened desire to snack. Stay on target! The cravings will dissipate, but the benefits won’t.

The best part about a primal/’paleo’ diet is that you don’t have to measure or keep track of anything: no counting calories, no ‘points’, no worries about macronutrient ratios. Eat real food, and you won’t have to worry about parceling out your addiction to junk.


2979 · November 06, 2011 at 7:18 AM

You don't say that you are taking a thyroid supplement - are you? At a minimum I'd expect you're taking Thyroxine (T4)? But you absolutely should be taking a T4+T3 supplement like Armour. Please talk to your endo if not - and if he dismisses you then fire him/her and get another.

55 · January 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Thanks for the info Hannah. Thanks for sharing. You just gave me the inspiration I needed to try again.

10 · January 12, 2013 at 6:55 AM

I had a total thyroidectomy in May 2011. I gained nearly 30lbs in the few months right after. I'm on 3gr Armour/day now, strict Paleo diet, and Crossfit 5-6 days a week. It just isn't, and won't ever be the same without a thyroid, so you can no longer do the same things you used to do. Every thing that goes in your mouth must be monitored, and frequent weight lifting/cardio is a necessity. I'm down about 10% bodyfat, but it's taken over a year of this lifestyle change, and the continued changes are veeeeeery slow. It's mostly just something we have to accept and decide whether or not we want to be fat. I can't eat the way I used to eat and so I don't. The side effects of Crossfit and Paleo far outweigh any sadness I feel about not being able to scarf down pizza, ice cream and soda. The health benefits are far-reaching, extending to my blood pressure, blood sugar, renals, no more migraines, elevated mood and libido, etc. No use worrying about the weight, just decide you don't want it anymore and do what it takes to change the rest of your life.

55 · November 07, 2011 at 6:03 AM

Hi thank you for all the replies. I am on thyroid medication. After a thyroidectomy you have to take some form of meds or you will eventually get really ill. Unfortunately, I had a large goiter that was crushing my wind pipe so I had to have it removed. I held off for 7 years. I started eating grass-fed, organic vegetables and limiting processed foods after my goiter began growing. I'm going to convert to this diet and cut out all the grains, oil and sugars too. I am going to ask for additional lab test.

659 · November 06, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Hi Cyn,

Sounds like you're having a rough time. I encourage you to read all you can about your treatment options for the lack of thyroid. You will find a solution, but it may take a little time.

You need to find a doctor who will work with you to find a) the right medication and b) the right dose for YOU, based on your symptoms not just your blood tests. Many endos are not good at treating their patients as human beings.

To find a doc who will work with you as an equal partner, there are a few thyroid doctor lists based on recommendations from other patients.



Also a good forum where you can ask a moderator to send you doctor recommendations:


And Janie Bowthorpe's website is great too: stopthethyroidmadness.com

I would think you are definitely undermedicated or on the wrong medication. I suggest you learn how to properly take your basal temp each morning to check your status yourself.

Just remember, the doctor is being paid by you and should work with you to find the right medication and right dose - there are a few different options and combinations to choose from. If you're on any T4 medication at all (including thyroxine and also Armour which has T4) I would recommend getting your reverse T3 checked along with Free T3, Free T4 and TSH. TSH is useless on its own especially when on medication (it will probably show up as very low which is what it is meant to look like when you are taking thyroid medication, as it indicates to the pituitary that the thyroid doesn't need stimulating - hence a low "Thyroid Stimulating Hormone")

Best wishes :)

0 · September 06, 2013 at 6:36 AM

I had a total thyroidectomy in 09 and I gained 35lbs . I have always been active and now my life is very hard . I have always ate organic and light . Yet I've only managed to lose 5lbs in 5 years! I take .150 mg of synthroid and my endo keeps me low due to cancer . I work full time and try to work out as much as my aching body will allow . I've tried to find some sort of program for people like us . But the only answers I get are t3 t4 levels and my endo has me where she wants . Help any suggestions

0 · August 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I had a total thyroidectomy 5 years ago due to a goitre causing restrictions on my windpipe. At the time I was told it was the best solution one of which I regret every day. My weight has fluctuated significantly my whole adult life but even more so since the operation. I'm currently 30 kg overweight and feel horrible. I take 150mg Thyroxine daily. It has never been suggested that I should try any other form of medication despite the numerous visits to the doctors with a diagnosis of potential depression or symptoms resulting from my weight gain. Frustration is an understatement.
I have been reading a lot of positive comments from people who have felt a lot better taking Armour medication - combination of T3 and T4. This apparently is unavailable in Australia. Can anyone share any words of wisdom or advice?

0 · August 18, 2013 at 7:54 PM

I had a full thryoidectomy in February and have gained 10 pounds - doesn't sound like much, but on a 5'4" frame it shows. I run, do weight training and am fairly strict with diet...I have two young boys so I fall and eat fries or pizza occasionally - but overall good. Nevertheless, I am definitely not the same - every single thing I put in my body I feel like I pay for dramatically. I cannot metabolize wine the way I used to - one glass and I'm looped. I am on 150mgs of Synthroid and I have a ton of energy - feel great but am now obsessed with what I eat - it's made me no fun. Anyone else experience this? Is there something I can take with Synthroid to help with my metabolism? I am taking b12 and vitamin d. any suggestions?

20 · January 21, 2013 at 1:53 AM

If someone could eat everything before they had thyroid surgery/ hypothyroid and afterwards they can NOT, that IS a good indication that it IS their thyroid making them fat on the same foods that they used to be able to eat and stay slim. Someone needs to wake up and realize this!

0 · September 25, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Hi i had an Almost-Total Thyriodectomy on August 16, 2012, yes i know its early but i am currently having discomfort around my suture[though i had a soluble suture] and the skin above my scar is hard? Also i have this numbness on my right fingers? I am currently on Thyroixine + Calcium and Vitamin D.

Are these normal symptoms please?

Lastly i think i lost 7kg post surgery, but seems i am gradually gaining more weight?


0 · August 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM

This Is heaven! Yesterday, YESTERDAY- I went back to my Endo with a list of symptoms for hypothyroidism. I had my thyroid removed in 07', treatment in 08'. No previous thyroid issues. I've been in a steady decline since: weight gain, joint pain, sensitivity to cold (my fingers loose color), dry itchy skin- I had 4 out of the 5 listed. This is the third time I've gone for this. I've gained 30 lbs! I've been told to "eat less and get fit". I've been counseled on the proper food portion size- they really are a bunch of...Anyhow, they blow me off every time and give me more synthroid. I was on the generic and yesterday, in desperation, I suggested going brand. I need help and I'm the only one in my corner. I'm going to check out all the suggested sites and go jump up and down on my primaries desk and ask him to fight with me. Thank you and keep the suggestions coming.

0 · March 05, 2012 at 3:38 AM

First of all I have been lurking around here for the last couple of weeks and you guys give some great advice around here. When I saw Cyn's post I decided I HAVE to create an account around here. So I'm just going to give you my 2 cents...this will be long

I can tell you it's a long hard road to travel. I gained 100lbs after having my thyroid removed in '06. It sucks to go from eating whatever you want and not gaining a pound to having to monitor everything you put in your mouth. I can't even think about losing a pound without cutting out white sugar and flour. Then add on the hair, skin and emotional issues...having no thyroid sucks but you can manage as long as your meds are correct.

Make sure to get your blood work done every 3-6 months and also make sure you are aware of your symptoms so you know when you need to adjust your dosage. Sometimes your blood work will look good but if you don't feel good you'll still have trouble losing weight as well as problems with your energy levels. Lastly, watch your soy intake because that got me in a bit of trouble last year.

Oh yeah I almost forgot...you may want to check out the following group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/thyroidless/ It's a pretty busy group but they give out some awesome advice...Good luck!

5 · March 03, 2012 at 7:17 PM

i wish i had an answer for you, but i was looking for an answer for me - i had my thyroidectomy last january and gained over 60 lbs. currently i take T4 and T3, but it took over 6 months for my thyroid labs to return to normal. since then it seems like no matter what i do i can't lose weight (at least i stopped gaining). i was always an athletic size 4-6 before, so this weight gain has been devastating for my physical and mental health. i am on my first week of paleo, and hoping for the best. i am curious if you have any success since you first posted this?

0 · January 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Im curious to know how your doing because my wife had a thyroidectomy about six years ago due to cancer and she is struggling to lose those extra lbs.She is on Armour now.The difference is that she is not very strict at all with her diet. When she does eat better it lasts a few weeks or so before falling back into old habits. She loves her pizza and other foods and snacks and pop every few days but does not drink much water, but feels this has nothing to do with her weight gain. She feels its all her lack of thyroid because she used to always be able to eat these foods without the weight gain. She is 31 5'8 about 175. She is not fat or obese by any means(and still darn sexy) but just carries about 15-20 lbs extra that her body type is not meant to carry. How strict does she need to be?

19504 · November 06, 2011 at 7:14 AM

Start with a great breakfast. 3-4 eggs with say 2tbs butter. Plan ahead lunch and dinner. Go to bed earlier and sleep a minimum of 7.5 hours.

Keeb your carbs only at meal times and likely only at dinner. Allow yourself plain vanilla, plain chocolate or plain strawberry ice cream after dinner if you need it. Having a cheat that has fat and is somewhat low in sugar like ice cream helps crowd out the other things.

I have moved to meat three meals a day with one egg yolk each meal (from a hard boiled egg). I like the change and it has really kept me not hungry. With carbs at dinner from veggies/fruit/potatoes.

Best Wishes and you can make it. Keep us updated on your progress. - Eric

336 · November 06, 2011 at 4:55 AM

Go to the FB page called Wheat Belly. People on that page are losing 1 pound per day by eliminating wheat from their diet, if you get the book, Dr. Davis claims that they have changed a lot in the wheat and it causes, weight gain, cravings, skin problems etc. I stopped eating wheat on Sug 28 and I am off my thyroid medication and I think the blood pressure meds will be next. Good Luck!

-2 · September 27, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Along with each and every kilometer, running will demonstrate the influence on you, bit by bit. Calories burned up while carrying this out aerobic training keeps on growing, according to a variety of aspects such as mileage you go along with the rate in which you run. Running demands some staying power, in order to lose weight quickly it is recommended to create strength slowly but surely, and not by jogging a length of a few miles the first day. It is important to continuously pick-up speed so that you can achieve great results and feast on your benefits associated with running. Below are a few easy ways regarding how to shed weight by running:

• Run 3 times each and every week

• Slowly raise the mileage a week.

• Please note your own weight pre and post running

• Be disciplined

• Take in approximately 8-10 glasses of drinking water day after day

• Eat properly

Taken From - loseweightfastblog.org

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