I have hypothyroidism, so I know how hard it is to lose weight with this condition. Keto has really improved my thyroid condition, though; for the first time in my life, I have lost weight (55 lbs) and kept it off for 2 years. I am not on any pharmaceutical medications, but I take natural supplements that support my thyroid. Between them and keto, my thyroid lab work continues to improve.
Hypothyroidism is a common condition often diagnosed in women who have a hard time losing weight. When you have hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. As a result, you may experience fatigue, muscle weakness, depression, and weight gain. While taking medication can help your thyroid work better, you may still find it difficult to lose weight because your metabolism is slowed. If you’ve experienced many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, they may compound your difficulties in losing weight. However, the ketogenic diet may help you lose weight.
How Does the Ketogenic Diet Support Weight Loss?
When you’re following the ketogenic diet, your body goes into a state of ketosis. This means that instead of burning carbohydrates for fuel, your body burns fat. In order to do this, you minimize your carbohydrate consumption and increase your fat intake. For many people, the ketogenic diet helps them to lose weight. It can be especially helpful for people who have hypothyroidism!
When you’re overweight, your body uses stored fat as fuel, which means it burns fat faster than it would if you were using carbohydrates as fuel. The keto diet is so helpful because instead of burning carbohydrates, all of your body’s processes are fueled by fat, which helps you burn it faster!
Food as Fuel
In our modern society, most people view food as a source of pleasure. Don’t get me wrong! Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are delicious. That warm, gooey chocolate is definitely something that brings me pleasure. But food is fuel to make our bodies work more efficiently. Chocolate chip cookies aren’t great fuel; a salad with protein is great fuel. Adding in some extra fats can help keep you in ketosis while insuring that you get all of the nutritional benefits from your food.
When you’re following the ketogenic diet, you aren’t eating sugar, flour, or starchy vegetables. You’re also avoiding bad fats like partially hydrogenated oils. You’re putting better food into your body, which makes it easier to see food as fuel rather than as a source of pleasure. When you can change your mindset to see that what you consume improves your health, it’s much easier to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting, or IF, is a method of restricting your eating to a limited window each day. Many people do 18:6 or 20:4, where they only eat in the six-or-four-hour window. For example, if you’re doing 18:6, you could eat between the hours of 1:00pm and 7:00pm. From 7:00pm until 1:00pm the next day, you would not eat. Since you would be sleeping during eight hours of the fasting window, it’s not as difficult. You can also consume water and coffee without breaking your fast.
The key to making IF work with hypothyroidism is to get in all of your calories and macros! This is very important. Do not make the mistake of just eating a small amount when you do eat. When you fast, you fast. But when you eat, you EAT! If you do not get in enough calories, your body will adjust to the amount you give it, which will lower your metabolism and is not good for your thyroid. You can learn a lot about how to support and improve thyroid function while doing keto and intermittent fasting by searching for Dr. Eric Berg on YouTube.
IF is an effective weight loss tool. It allows your body to reset so that, in time, you don’t feel hungry once the eating window has closed. The only drawback to IF is that you may have a hard time getting all of your fats in. In that case, you could supplement your diet with MCT Oil Capsules. These make getting your daily fat and calories easy, and there are so many health benefits to MCT oil, such as increasing weight loss, reducing stored fat, improving energy levels, healing leaky gut, reducing brain fog, and the list goes on!
One Meal a Day (OMAD)
For some people with hypothyroidism, even medications can’t cause the metabolism to speed up. A slow metabolism will continue to make it difficult for you to lose weight, even when following the ketogenic diet. If you find that you initially lost weight with keto and then your diet stalled even though you tried different methods to progress, switching to one meal a day may be a better way to achieve weight loss.
OMAD is an extreme form of intermittent fasting. For the best results, you should gradually reduce your meals. If your usual meal schedule includes three main meals plus a snack or two, reduce that to three meals per day with no snacks. After three to six weeks, reduce your meal schedule to two meals per day with no snacks. Finally, after three to six weeks, reduce to one meal per day. Ideally you would have this meal before 6:00pm to allow your body to burn some fat before bedtime.
For many people, OMAD is not a long-term strategy. However, it can be a way to break a stall or jump-start your weight loss. It’s also a way to get back in the habit of strict keto after falling off the wagon, or if you’ve spent some time enjoying lazy keto because of the holidays or a vacation! Pair OMAD with a good exercise regimen for the best results.
When doing OMAD, it can be tricky to meet your macros. It’s important to make sure that you get in enough protein, because you don’t want to lose muscle mass while you’re losing fat. However, the most important macro goal to meet is your fat. If you find that you’re having a hard time getting in enough fat, you can try MCT Oil Capsules as a supplement!
You can see more about my successes with OMAD and how I support my thyroid with keto by joining my Facebook keto support group! In addition to seeing how other members and I have used the keto diet to get healthier, you'll get daily tips, tricks, and support! We are a no-judgement keto support group and would love to have you ☺
You got this!
Leta ~ Intentionally Bare
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. The content in here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard here.