Ask The Trainer #72 – Hypothyroidism & Losing Weight


Good Morning Chad –  I am one of your facebook followers.  I love following you and Desiree and hope you can help me.

I am a 58-year old woman that cannot lose weight. Sometimes, I walk over 10,000 steps a day (our work provided us with fitbits). For breakfast, I drink ItWorks protein drinks, have a regular lunch which may be a burger and a diet soda, no fries and then a protein drink at night. UGH!!!!  I am 230 up from 225 from last week.  At my office, every hour we walk in place for 5 minutes, Then, I have a 2-year grandson on the weekends so I am busy….. What am I doing wrong? I am on Levothy 137 mcg, estradiol 2 mg, lorazepam 2mg, (at night), escitalopram 20 mg, and omeprazole 20mg. So basically thyroid, antidepressants, sleeping aid, estrogen and stomach medicine. My blood pressure is good and I sleep about 6 hours a night.

Any suggestions on what I am doing wrong, right and what I can do. I need to lose 100 pounds so that I can enjoy life.

Thank you for your time and your articles and your examples.



Hi, Debbie. Thank you very much for your positive feedback! I’m sorry to hear about the frustration you’re having trying to lose weight. This dilemma is more common than you might think.

Immediately what jumps out at me here, is the plethora of medications you’re on to treat numerous symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

For example, hypothyroidism reduces motility of the esophagus and intestines, which often times leads to constipation, heartburn, bloating, indigestion, or nausea. Hypothyroidism can also cause anxiety, panic disorders, depression, and cognitive decline. In females, hypothyroidism can lead to menstrual irregularities and infertility. Obviously, hypothyroidism is most notorious for causing weight gain and chronic fatigue.

That being said, I have a hunch it’s very plausible you weren’t properly treated for hypothyroidism in the first place, which allowed all these other symptoms to persist. I’ve seen this happen all too often, where a doctor doesn’t offer a patient the correct treatment, then prescribes a laundry list of prescription drugs to remedy each symptom induced by hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism Treatments

Chad ShawThe gold standard treatment for hypothyroidism is prescribing Levothyroxine, or Synthroid, which are both synthetic versions of the thyroid hormone T-4. The problem is T-4 is virtually useless unless your body can effectively convert T-4 into T-3. T-3 is the biologically active form of thyroid hormone that can eliminate symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Most T-3 is cultivated within the peripheral tissues by a selenium-dependent enzyme that converts T-4 into T-3. Many doctors fail to recognize there are multiple factors that can interfere with your body’s conversion of T-4 into T-3. Nutrient deficiencies, prescription drugs, chemical toxicity, and an impairment of the liver, can all slow down or prevent this conversion process. So while a doctor will prescribe T-4 to treat hypothyroidism, if there are mechanisms in the body being hindered from converting T-4 into T-3, then ALL of the symptoms of hypothyroidism will remain.

Cortisol Levels

Moreover, elevated cortisol levels from too much stress, too many stimulants, too much alcohol, sleep deprivation, or over-exercising can prevent the hypothalamus from releasing adequate levels of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)—a hormone that stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). When thyroid hormones increase, the production of TSH will decrease, which, in turn, causes the thyroid to secrete less hormone. The thyroid gland is dependent on iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to produce T-4 and T-3. This is why most people have heard there is a strong association between iodine and thyroid health. A diet low in iodine can limit how much T-4 the thyroid gland can produce and therefore result in hypothyroidism.

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors don’t check a patient’s free T-3 levels or Reverse T-3. Some doctors will only focus on your TSH levels and T-4 levels, making sure they are in the normal reference ranges during treatment. This will do nothing to curtail the symptoms of hypothyroidism if your body is unable to effectively convert T-4 into T-3.

Normal Versus Optimal Ranges

Even if a doctor does monitor ALL of your thyroid hormones, it’s possible to score in the normal reference range and still be plagued by the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It’s important to check with your doctor and make sure your thyroid hormone levels are in “optimal” ranges, NOT just “normal” ranges! There’s a big difference. A patient can have all of their thyroid hormones in “normal” range and still suffer all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

I would encourage you to check with your endocrinologist and discuss your current thyroid treatment and see if there might be a more effective way to treat the condition. If your T-3 levels are low, perhaps your doctor might be open to prescribing Cytomel, which a synthetic version of T-3. Otherwise, you may want to consult with a licensed holistic doctor experienced in treating hypothyroid patients with Westhroid or Armour Thyroid—natural thyroid medications that contain ALL of the active thyroid hormones produced in the human body.

I know several people who have gone this route and had outstanding success with it! I can’t say for certain, but I’m guessing if your thyroid condition is properly treated, you won’t need to be on as many Rx drugs if any at all!

Diet Is Critical

The last thing I want to address is your diet. Although you aren’t eating a lot, I feel you could obtain more nutrition with fewer calories. Even though you just have a burger for lunch, remember that it can have a ton of calories.

For example, for a burger without fries at Red Robin can range from 1,200-1,500 calories. Even with the amount of muscle I have, I only consume 1,800 calories per day. So, if I were to include 1 burger each day from a local restaurant, I would easily increase my body. I would replace your burger with a grilled chicken breast salad, loaded up with lots of veggies!

Remember that nutritional deficiencies can exacerbate thyroid issues. So focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods high in nutrition! For example, fresh, lean meats and veggies. Also, omega 3 rich foods like wild salmon, cod liver oil, flaxseed, and chia seeds will be your best friend!

I hope this advice helps you out. Thank you for being such a loyal follower! I wish you all the best!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

Have A Question For Chad?

Just click the button below.