Hypothyroidism and South Beach

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-19-2002
Hypothyroidism and South Beach
Thu, 08-18-2005 - 12:11pm

Member Question: Help! I am 45 and have been hypothyroid for the past 7 or 8 years. I always had thyroid problems off and on since I've been 12. I take 0.15 mg synthroid every morning. I have great difficulty losing weight. Is there any information that you can provide to deal with it. Should I eat certain foods and avoid others, that other people can have?

The thyroid gland helps set the rate of metabolism - the rate at which the body uses energy. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect the rate at which you'll lose weight. However, if your thyroid condition is now under control, then it shouldn't be as much of a problem, and your medication will not affect your weight loss efforts.

If your thyroid level hasn't been checked recently, perhaps your doctor can check it again, to make sure it's still within normal limits with the medication.

There are no foods you should avoid due to your diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Just follow the 'how to adapt your meal plan' page on this website to get the best guidance for healthy menu choices.

If you are not very active, you will want to try to add some walking or maybe a fun exercise class to your day. The goal of any exercise plan should be to find one that will seem less like an intervention and more like part of your existing lifestyle - something you can incorporate easily into your routine.

Please don't be discouraged! Sustainable weight loss doesn't happen overnight — it may be a while before you notice significant progress. It is important to look at this journey as a lifestyle change. Change takes time for it to be permanent. While it can be especially challenging in certain circumstances, it will be worth the effort!

You can find out more information about thyroid diseases by contacting the following organizations:

National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive Diseases and Kidney Diseases
Phone: (301) 496-3583
Internet Address: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/

Thyroid Foundation of America
Phone: (800) 832-8321
Email: info@tsh.org
Internet Address: http://www.tsh.org/

Please feel free to post again if you should have any other questions or concerns. Best of luck!

Margaret/SBD Registered Dietitian

Member Question: Dr. Agatston: I have been on Phase 1 for a week and lost 9 pounds. It has been a great success. My question—I have hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia. What are the success rates of others with those medical concerns that have been on your diet?

Dr. Agatston: The mechanism by which the SBD works is to prevent hypoglycemia, so it is the ideal diet for anyone with a history of reactive hypoglycemia. For someone with a history of hypothyroidism, it is important that your thyroid levels are carefully followed while on thyroid replacement therapy. Low thyroid levels can make it very difficult to lose weight, but with proper medication, there should be no problem.

Member Question: Hi! I just wanted to ask if there are any special "rules" for people with hypothyroidism, and do you know if there are any success stories from people with this disease? Thanks in advance!

Dr. Agatston: Hypothyroidism, which slows metabolism, is associated with weight gain, elevated cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, dry skin, coarser hair and hair loss, diarrhea, and depression. It isn't necessarily present with all of these symptoms but it is a common problem. The good news is it is easily diagnosed through blood testing and can be treated with thyroid medication — this should be managed by your physician. Once your thyroid condition is corrected, then the signs and symptoms associated should resolve. Those who are on thyroid medication respond to The South Beach Diet™ in the same manner as everyone else. On the Web site is a message board thread specifically for health conditions, including hypothyroidism. I would recommend that as a good place to look for further support.

Member Question: How do people with hypothyroidism respond to this diet? Have there been any studies done on this?

Dr. Agatston: Hypothyroidism is a fairly common problem and is completely curable with medication. Hypothyroidism is a condition of low metabolism, and without proper medication it would be difficult to lose weight with good diet and exercise alone.

Member Question: Any special considerations for people with hypothyroidism?

Dr. Agatston: It is quite easy to replace thyroid hormone and to monitor response with blood testing. There is a small group of patients who will have what is known as subclinical hypothyroidism, where their measured thyroid hormone levels will be normal, but their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is elevated. This thyroid form of replacement appears to be a good idea. This should naturally be done in consultation with your physician and often with an endocrinologist.

Member Question: I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have just started on .05 mg of Synthroid, but have not seen any changes. I'm sure I will go through a few more phases of adjusting my meds. Is there any tweaking that I should do on the South Beach diet to help me lose weight, since it is very difficult for me right? Thanks.  

You will really need to work closely with your physician to regulate your levels. Once this is accomplished your body will be in a better state to experience weight loss. Please keep in mind this will be a slow process. Most likely you will not need to adjust the SBD program. If you experience difficulty after your levels are normalized please post again. We'll be glad to help you. Thank you!

Maureen/SBD Nutritionist

Waiting for Weight Loss


(Published 12/2/03) Are you having trouble shedding pounds? You're not alone. Some South Beach Dieters don't experience the same weight loss during Phase 1 as others dieters. This could be due to a number of factors, including the following:

1.       You haven't cut all bad carbohydrates out of your diet. If you suspect this may be the case, reexamine your diet and make the appropriate adjustments.

2.       You carry most of your weight in the hips and buttocks. Pear-shaped tend to lose weight more slowly. In this case, patience is the key to success.

3.       Your exercise regimen lacks intensity. While exercise isn't mandatory on the South Beach Dietâ„¢, it will certainly help you lose weight faster. Dr. Agatston recommends at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. If you barely work up a sweat or increase your heartbeat when you exercise, you may not be working hard enough. Try a more difficult activity or increase the length of your workout.

4.       You're experiencing menopause. If you're a woman going through menopause, decreased levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Maintaining a vigorous exercise program, including weight-bearing exercises, can help boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.

You have a medical condition that prevents you from losing weight. A minority of South Beach Dieters have other causes for their weight gain or slow-to-nonexistent weight loss. If, after a couple of weeks in Phase 1, you see no change in your weight, consult your physician about having blood tests to check your thyroid and lipid profile.

Success on the Beach!


(Published 5/16/05)To jump-start your week, The South Beach Diet™ Online is featuring Motivational Mondays — a day to celebrate those who are looking better, feeling better, and living better because of The South Beach Diet™!

Susie N., Coshocton, Ohio

I'm 5 feet tall, and I weighed about 115 pounds when I got married. After my three children were born, my lowest weight was in the mid-120s. But for the past five years, I started putting on a few pounds a year and reached a high of 155. My doctor had been treating me for an inherited thyroid disorder and urged me to try and get some weight off. I started The South Beach Diet™ at the beginning of August. The biggest challenge was just making the lifestyle change. I was good at convincing myself that I "needed" chocolate or a snack or a cola. I had to learn to replace those foods with healthier choices; I liked that The South Beach Diet™ gave me a list of healthy foods to choose from. I hate being told what NOT to eat! The South Beach Diet™ allowed me to eat — and eat frequently! I logged onto the Web site every few days to check out new articles — they seemed to be right there whenever I had a question.

When I started this diet, I didn't think I could give up white bread and potatoes. Now, I don't even buy them! I mean it. I don't want them and I never feel deprived. I make sure that I have nuts and string cheese and yogurt handy all of the time.

I lost 32 pounds on The South Beach Dietâ„¢, and the last three pairs of pants I bought were size 4. Last summer, my size 12 jeans were getting too tight! I haven't been this slim since my freshman year of college! I can't wait to look in my closet each morning and pick out something that is going to look great on me. I feel more energetic and happy. I owe it to myself to feel this good!


Edited 8/19/2005 12:03 pm ET ET by cl-maggie_kelly
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2010
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 6:07am
Hi,new from UK.I'm 58,post menopausal,cholesterol levels 4.75,weigh91 kilo and on correct level medication for my under active thyroid. All my previous symptoms are gone except for dry skin and over weight.I have now been on a diabetic diet (I'm not diabetic)of 1100 calories for 9 weeks with my doctor and have only lost 1 kilo and my doctor says I'm being impatient. I have just bought SBD book and wonder ,is this going to help me and why?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2004
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 6:53am


Nice to meet you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2007
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 9:17am


How long ago did you start taking your meds? My doctor said its common to gain a little weight at first while your body is getting everything figured out. It could take a few months.

good luck!


Thank you to Tundra_girl for my siggy!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2010
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 1:38pm
Hi Dragonfly,it's been 6 years now since I started taking Thyroxine and my level is normal. Everything is settled except my weight,dry skin and puffy eyes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2010
Tue, 03-09-2010 - 1:49pm

Hi,Thank you for your welcome. Although the SBD is similar to the diabetic diet that I have been on, there are differences that I am quite excited about....the diabetic diet does not have the two week phase 1, so I