Dieting with Obstacles - Thyroid problem (hypo) and weight loss past 50

02-27-2006, 11:02 AM
First time I post in this part of the forum, so hello everyone :)

I'm asking this on behalf of my mother, who doesn't speak English very well, and is still pretty shy about internet. I'd really appreciate it if people of similar age and with a similar background (or knowing people in this case) could "testify" here about their weight loss while suffering from thyroid problems. My mother is at a point that I could call a "fragile clicking moment": she wants to lose the weight, but she'd be easily discouraged by any kind of bad news, and what I'm about to ask is something she's eally concerned and frightened about.

So, onto the background info. My mother will be 56 this year. She's always had weight issues, probably due to a not-too-high metabolism and to wrong food choices (she's not a binge eater nor does she has huge overeating issues, but money being tight for years on end didn't help in getting used to buy the fresh, good foods--refined cheap ones were lords in our home). Since hitting menopausis, though, she has more cravings for sugary things, which I think doesn't help.

She's been DX with hypothyroidian disorder (Hashimoto) in later 2004, although it had been going on before that. Her former physician seemingly didn't get alarmed by her TSH shooting up to 6.9 for months... go fig. She also has high blood pressure problems, as well as arthritis, and peri-arthritis in the right shoulder. Currently, both the thyroid and HBP are under control through medication (she takes Levothyrox--not sure if this medication exists in the USA, maybe under another name?); her new physician, who's pretty good, told her a few months ago that her weight had "finally stabilized", which means that the treatment has kicked in well. Between being DX and this, though, she had taken about 30 or 35 extra pounds. She hasn't gained since.

If anyone among you has been in a similar case, could you please tell me if losing weight/exercising went, let's say, well enough? I've looked up on French sites, and they say that once the treatment controls the thyroid disorder, it's like the patient is a "normal person" again, and thus regular weight loss techniques apply again. However, my mother very easily frets out, so I think it'd be good to be able to come to her with testimonies from real people who've been there, done that, and know what it is, rather than only the impersonal, general advice I've found so far. I know that if she's discouraged from starters by the fear that all of her efforts would be in vain, she'll just never start at all. And it's always better to know that other people did it and maintained it; we all know how it goes, it's all nice and dandy to tell us that we "just need to eat less and execise more", but reality is much more different, it's not as easy as physicians usually make it sound.

Also, what kind of exercise would you recommend for her, given her age and health problems? I told her to start with walking, I don't think that her shoulder nor blood pressure would be a problem when simply walking, right? (She's getting treatment for this as well, although she may not regain her full range of movement with this arm. At least it doesn't hurt all the time now.)

In any case, thanks *a lot* to anyone who would accept to share their own experience. (I'll translate it for her.) :)

02-27-2006, 11:25 AM
Hi Kery! What a wonderful daughter you are! :hug:

Please tell your mom about my story. :) I'm 51 now and have been hypothyroid for more than ten years. I take Levoxyl - it sounds similiar to what your mom takes. I was 46 when I finally lost the weight and found that - just like you said in your post - as long as my TSH was in the correct range, I could lose like a normal person.

I lost 122 pounds in a little less than a year, so I was able to lose a LOT more weight than she needs to in a fairly quick time. I simply counted calories and exercised every day. I wrote more about my weight loss story in the Maintainers forum here - Meg's Story ( - and you might want to share some of that with her.

I think that walking is a great way for her (or anyone) to start exercising. Perhaps you could encourage her to take a 20 - 30 minute walk on most days? As she becomes more comfortable with exercise, I'd suggest you encouraging her to try some light strength-training, both to maintain and increase her muscle mass and to prevent osteoporosis.

Please tell your mom that it's very possible to lose weight and keep it off after age 50, even with hypothyroidism! All she has to do is look at me -- from a lifetime of obesity to becoming a personal trainer. How :crazy: is that!!

02-28-2006, 11:51 AM
Thanks a lot for your answer Meg :) A very inspiring and impressive story, if I may say (how come I hadn't seen it sooner! I guess I didn't dig back enough in the forums). I'll make sure to forward her this, so that she can be reassured that all of this wouldn't be "in vain" (I know health benefits would be there anyway, but weight loss ones are easier to see, and probably more encouraging for starters).

When I go visit them, I try to walk a little with her, if only to go to town, but of course I know I can't make her start with my current walking capacity either, that'd probably be too much. 20 minutes sounds about very doable.

Thanks again :)

03-01-2006, 11:50 AM
Hi Meg,

I am so happy to have read your story, I am 37 years old and have been taking synthroid for 1 year now, I was able to loose 30 pounds and than it stop, i still have lots of weight to loose.

I am following Jorge Cruise lifestyle and this is how I lost 30 pounds, I also do Tae-Boe every second day, I just started this about 2 weeks ago ,

It has been difficult to loose for about 6 months now, I loose about 8 pounds and gain it back, I don't eat that much but if I binge for 2 days than I gain it all back , I take my medication around 9 am after my breakfast and I don't know if taking it before breakfast would make a difference.

I also minimized my carbs and increased my protein..

Do you have any suggestion...

Thanks for being a inspiration...


03-01-2006, 12:05 PM
OMG, I'm just like you! If I binge, I put on weight sooooo easily! It can take a week to get a pound off and 15 minutes to put it back on. It's totally unfair, I know, but what can we do? :p

I've always heard to take your medicine first thing in the AM, an hour before eating. That's what I do (with coffee) and have a protein shake about an hour later. Don't take any vitamins or calcium within a few hours of taking your pill either! You could try moving the time you take your pill and see if it makes a difference?

It sounds like binges might be what's killing you - any ideas on why they're happening? I binge if I get 1. too tired or 2. too hungry. So I eat every three hours (like you do) and try to get enough sleep. What do you think are your triggers?

And are you doing any exercise besides Tae Bo these days? Exercise is ESSENTIAL for us to be able to lose weight, IMO. Check out this thread for some more stuff on exercise: Hypo/weightloss questions for Meg & Susan ( You might need to fit a little more exercise into your days?

Don't give up hope! We CAN lose weight (and keep it off!) despite being hypo. It make take a little more time and a little more sweat, but I promise it's worth it. :D

03-01-2006, 02:41 PM
I wish I knew what triggers that, I guess I would have to say being lonely or maybe the bad little person inside of me that keeps telling me to eat..grrr..

I do 8 Minutes of exercise every morning, weight training( 2 muscles a day) plus I do Tae Bo every second day for an hour and I also have a gazelle at home and do that every night for 20 minutes..

I find that it is very difficult for me to sweat? Is this a sign of hypo?

03-02-2006, 01:41 PM
I only wanted to reiterate what Meg said. I take my Synthroid the instant i wake up and dont eat for an hour and sometimes a bit more...this is fine because usually i am busy getting ready and such that I dont miss the food for that first hour. my doctor says thats KEY for the meds to actually get into your system without any interference from foods or vitamins.

03-02-2006, 03:10 PM
Hi girls,
re the taking your meds first thing in the am... I didn't know this - in 8 years of being hypo - not one Dr. has every told me this.... hmmm I've been taking my synthroid at night... maybe I should switch - I too have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off... but in the past have also found that tons of exercise really helps...

Do you ladies taking any vitamins after that first hour in the morning?? I am trying to get pregnant so I need to take folic acid/multivitamin every day - and I have been usually talking them with breaky..

03-02-2006, 03:27 PM
The pharmacy put a little sticker on my bottle of Levoxyl that says to take it first thing in the morning, an hour before eating. I went and looked at the patient info for Synthroid ( and found this:

Take this medication on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. To prevent difficulty swallowing the tablet, take it with a full glass of water unless otherwise directed by your physician.

So it doesn't say an hour before breakfast, though for me that's my best shot at having an empty stomach (since I eat every three hours!)

Certain medicines may decrease absorption of this drug into your bloodstream. Therefore, take levothyroxine 4 hours apart from: calcium supplements, iron supplements, aluminum, calcium or magnesium antacids, simethicone, cholestyramine, colestipol, sucralfate, sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

Certain foods may decrease absorption of this medication when taken at the same time. Take levothyroxine separately from: soybean flour (soybean infant formula), walnuts, dietary fiber.
I had always heard to wait four hours to take vitamins - I guess it's because so often they have calcium and iron in them.

Why not switch it around and try taking it first thing in the AM? See if it makes a difference?

And I totally agree with you about exercise! :D

03-02-2006, 05:27 PM
Thank for the info Meg!

I still can't believe after all these years I didn't know this!!

I think I will start taking my meds in the am and vitamins in the pm!


03-02-2006, 06:09 PM
right. 4 hours after thyroid meds for vitamins. i now take my vitamins at night before dinner. just to be on the safe side. and i dont know if this is the reason why, but i started noticing more when i started doing everything according "to the book"

03-02-2006, 08:52 PM
I have a few questions....I'm currently waiting for the lastest round of bloodwork to come back from the lab to my endocrinologist and am not on any thyroid meds yet.

How did you feel before you were diagnosed?

Why wouldn't taking meds before bed on an empty stomach work?


03-02-2006, 10:24 PM
Kery - I take levothyroxine - I was diagnosed around the same time I started trying to lose weight. It took me pretty much a year to lose 100 pounds purely by counting calories (1200-1400 a day) and walking about an hour a day. :goodluck: with your mom.

Mel - I don't know why it would be any different to take it at night - for me it's just easier to get it over with first thing in the morning...before I even roll outta bed. My stuff says the same as Meg's - 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after.

As far as how I felt before I was diagnosed - I never had any symptoms that I noticed. But I've got a feeling the medication made losing weight easier.

Hopefully for you - you don't need meds at all. :D

03-03-2006, 12:08 AM

I'm on Synthroid too...I'm 40 and I've been taking it for 10 years... I used to always take it in the morning when I got up and then i would eat breakfast after I got to work... I changed jobs in Aug and it was harder to get it in an hour before breakfast.... then in October, my doctor changed my diabetic meds... took me off 3 and put me on one that's an injection. It slows down digestion... and it must be taken an hour or less before breakfast and dinner... one of the major side affects at first was nausea and I was getting sick almost every morning the first week or so.... I knew my Synthroid couldn't do what it was supposed to if I threw it up... so I switched to taking it before bed... my last blood work was normal... I get tested again next month... For me, I've had a difficult time losing weight but I think it's a combo of the thyroid stuff and the fact that some of the meds the doctor took me off of had a side affect of weight gain :( ... The new med has a side affect of decreased appetite and weight loss... and it's working... I've lost 30 pounds! Symptoms for me when my Synthroid level is off (and it's been changed several times over the years...:dizzy: ) include: moodiness,:eek: :stress: hair loss, tiredness..:tired: . I have a friend that knows me well enough (and loves me enough) to say "Have you had your blood tested?". She can pick up on it faster than me sometimes.... I've been on doses as high as 240 ug a day... currently I'm on 175ug... been there for over a year (my doc checks every 3-4 months) time I had a nephrologist have me take lots of calcium everyday...but he didn't mention not to take it with my synthroid... after having the symptoms of being off, I researched it and stopped taking the morning dose (I was taking 2 tablets 3 times a day!)... he was ok with it.... sometimes we have to research it and let our doctors know what we find out!


03-03-2006, 06:46 AM
Mel - I don't know why it won't be OK to take right before bed so long as your stomach is empty. Morning works well for me because my stomach is rarely empty for the rest of the day! :ink: (and I also get up an hour before I eat)

Like Gina, I really didn't notice any symptoms before I was diagnosed, other than a vague tiredness and lack of energy. But heck, I was 225 pounds then, so obesity may have been the cause for the exhaustion.

I gained 30 pounds in the years after I was diagnosed (and properly medicated) because I still was eating too much and not exercising. Goes to show that thyroid meds aren't magic weight loss drugs! (not that any of us think so, of course :) )

03-03-2006, 08:53 AM
Ugh, you gained after you were medicated???? I'm exhausted, can barely put one foot in front of the other but early evening, and am gaining inexplicably eating less and less (I'm starving) and doing more exercise. I really hope I need meds! If not, I may just shoot myself! I really prefered being hyper. I may have been crazy then, but at least I wasn't exhausted all the time.


Misti in Seattle
03-03-2006, 08:59 AM
Hi Mel... I was exactly like you sound... until my doctor adjusted my meds and upped them 50%. I was on a very low dose. Hang in there... with the adjustment my energy started returning and I again feel it is possible to get the weight off. She is going to test my levels again six weeks from the adjustment.


03-03-2006, 09:13 AM
Mel - the only reason that I gained after I was medicated is that I was eating way too many calories and not moving my fat butt!!! It sounds like your situation is quite the opposite. I hope you get some answers soon! :hug:

03-03-2006, 06:25 PM
Ugh, you gained after you were medicated???? I'm exhausted, can barely put one foot in front of the other but early evening, and am gaining inexplicably eating less and less (I'm starving) and doing more exercise. I really hope I need meds! If not, I may just shoot myself! I really prefered being hyper. I may have been crazy then, but at least I wasn't exhausted all the time.


this is EXACTLY what my symptoms were!! i gained like 10 lbs in about a month, and no matter how much i exercised and ate like 500 cal a day, nothing. i slept all the time, i was NEVER hungry, everything. it took me about 6 months of research before i figured out on my own what was wrong. the meds didnt work so good at first, but i did quit gaining. it was only after i went to an endocronologist that my meds got right and then so did I!!! good luck and hang in there!!

i tell you it was SO nice the first day i actually felt hunger again.

03-03-2006, 09:12 PM
i tell you it was SO nice the first day i actually felt hunger again.
:yikes: :faint:

That's not my problem! I'm always hungry. I've been hungry for 5 years. I just still keep gaining.

03-03-2006, 10:21 PM
seriously, i was NEVER hungry. i dont know if i had psyched myself out or what, but its true. i still kept gaining with hardly any eating and working out like a fiend. my doc said i had ZERO metabolism. its weird how it happened and have no idea why. oh well, at least now i dont have that problem anymore. i have to go back to dr in about a month to have rechecked. ive been on the new meds about 4 months, so its time to get my levels checked again.

03-05-2006, 03:07 PM
I noticed that I was having some insomnia problems and switched taking my replacement to the middle of the night when I went to the bathroom (about 3 a.m.) and have found more restful sleep....Then I'm also not taking any other meds and my tummy is empty....

03-07-2006, 02:59 PM
Taking thyroid meds at night keeps some people awake so you may have to experiement with that - also must be at 2 hours since you last had food. Eating less and less causes more and more thyroid problems. Never eat less than 1200. You may find a diet similar to SB or WW Core helps - that's basically what my nutritionist put me on.

03-08-2006, 01:55 AM
I couldn't take the synthroid - it made me exhausted, anxious, and bloated, worse than feeling hypo. My doc switched me to armour, and it was an immediate difference - I felt so much better. It wasn't a panacea for weight loss, but finally I could start to lose weight ever so slowly. Still to lose the weight I have to follow a low glycemic plan and exercise (consistently).

03-08-2006, 10:27 AM
I hadn't checked the boards in a few days, thanks to all of you who posted :)

I definitely need to translate the rest of the thread for her, so that she can see she's really not the only one. ^_^