Your thyroid gland controls many bodily functions and one of those functions is your metabolism. If your thyroid is not working properly, your metabolism and your weight will be affected. There are several different reasons that your thyroid gland can stop working properly. In this article, I will be focusing on the autoimmune thyroid diseases Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves Disease, and how the effects these diseases have on your thyroid can cause significant weight gain.
Autoimmune Antibody Attacks
The autoimmune thyroid diseases Hashimoto’s and Graves create antibodies that literally attack your thyroid like it’s a foreign object instead of a gland that is supposed to be a part of your body. These attacks cause the function of your thyroid to fluctuate, affecting all of the bodily functions your thyroid controls, including your metabolism. The effects on your metabolism usually cause weight gain. Both Hashimoto’s and Graves can cause this weight gain, though Graves causes some people to lose weight.
My Experience with Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases and Weight Gain
I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 2006. In the next three years, I went back and forth between hypothyroid, euthyroid, and hyperthyroid and rapidly gained seventy pounds. I was very sick most of the time, but I fought to lose the weight as best as I could. By the end of 2009 I finally lost twenty pounds and was very excited to be, what I thought, on my way to losing more. Then, in March of 2010, I went extremely hyperthyroid and was diagnosed as also having Graves Disease. During this hyperthyroid phase, I not only gained back the twenty pounds I lost, but gained five more, for a total weight gain of seventy-five pounds! I have since been trying to lose weight again, but so far it has been to no avail.
Eating for Energy While Storing Fat
You need to know that this weight gain and inability to lose the weight is not because of eating an unhealthy diet. I rarely eat junk food, drink soda, or go out to eat and I don’t eat a lot of sweets. I also eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables all the time.
My metabolism has been greatly affected by these autoimmune thyroid diseases. I do not seem to get all the energy I should from the food I eat. I get weak and shaky and have to eat a snack within a couple of hours of eating breakfast and often need a second snack before lunch just to keep functioning. If I don’t eat a big lunch, I also need a snack before dinner, sometimes I even need a snack a night.
I have been checked numerous times for diabetes because of these symptoms and every time my blood sugar has checked out fine. I even had a three hour glucose test done and it was fine. It’s like my body is storing most of the food I eat as fat instead of my body being able to use that food for daily energy. This is very frustrating because if I try to not eat so often, I get very weak and sick feeling and am unable to do anything until I do eat something.
Is There Any Hope?
Sometimes I think that I just need to accept that I will be fat for the rest of my life, but that’s not what I want. Nor do I think that anyone else who is experiencing significant weight gain from autoimmune thyroid diseases wants to just live with it. As disheartening as my weight gain is, I continue to hang on to hope that once these autoimmune disease have run their course or have been met with a permanent solution, that my body will be able to gain control of my metabolism once again and I will be able to have lasting weight loss. Until then, I will continue to eat a healthy diet and do the best I can to take care of my body and my health. I encourage anyone else dealing with weight gain from Hashimoto’s or Graves to do the same and to never give up hope.
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease – Hashimoto’s and Graves
Hashitoxicosis Signs and Symptoms – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis with a Twist
Hyperthyroidism: Signs and Symptoms
Thyroid Disease: Could You Have It?
Thyroid Disease Information – Hashimoto’s, Graves, Signs, Symptoms, Tests, Treatments, and More