Thyroid Disease and Weight – Health Tips from the Well Woman

Karen Faye
Nurse/AFAA Fitness Practitioner

We are pleased to welcome back Karen Faye, The Well Woman, after a year’s absence. Karen continues with her tips for coping with thyroid disease and keeping fit. Karen has been a thyroid sufferer for 36 years. She is a Nurse/AFAA Fitness Practitioner who lectures internationally.


“Clean your plate”. “You can’t get up until all your food is gone”. “Remember, there are children starving all over the world!” We have all been subjected to these words of wisdom in our childhood.

What we don’t realize is just how much of a profound impact they have had on our eating habits. It is no longer necessary to ‘clean our plates’ if one is not hungry! As a matter of fact we clean them a bit too often. We now have to learn to eat in reverse, to cut down in these times of plenty.

The statement I hear most from thyroid patients is that “I hardly eat anything, and I just keep gaining weight! I never used to be this way,” and you know what, I believe it!

Thyroid patients do have a more difficult time losing weight despite what you have been told. However, having been one for over 36 years and losing 80 pounds some 16 years ago and maintaining this achievement all this time I am here to tell you that it is very possible. Remember, “If I can do it, you can do it!” So with that said, let’s get to it.

First, resign as President from the Clean Plate Club! You do not have to eat everything anymore. Mind set is so important. Tell yourself you are now eating for health and not just because it is mealtime. Food is a prescription.. not an option. The food you put in your body will nourish all your cells from the inside out. So let’s start with ‘rocket fuel’.

Your daily caloric allotment for proper weight loss without sacrificing any nutritional value is 1200 calories per day. For men, it is 1600. Not only is it important what you eat but HOW you eat it. Try eating on the nibbler’s plan. When you get up in the morning eat half a bagel or piece of toast. An hour later, eat the other half. One or two hours later have half a banana or 6 to 8 grapes. Two hours later eat half of a sandwich. Instead of eating your sandwich on bread, try to wrap the ingredients in large lettuce leaves and roll them up. This was a trick I used while eating tuna fish for lunch as I lost 80 pounds. It works to help save calories. By now you should be getting the message that you should eat like a hamster, many, many small meals. This will keep a “steady state’ of insulin in your body without the highs and lows of blood sugar. An even state is most desirable. Also your stomach will not be constantly stretched by three big meals which are more difficult to digest. (A word of caution – you can’t be a three mealer and a nibbler too.)

Drink plenty of water and eat lean meats – chicken and fish only. Remember by eating the skin you double your calories and your fat intake also. Underactive thyroid patients, if inadequately treated with thyroxine, tend to have trouble with their cholesterol levels, therefore please watch this. Try to keep mostly to olive oil as it tends to lower one’s cholesterol levels.

Please remember that the best eating plan will only work if you stay with it. You are the most important person in the world and NEVER forget that!!! I mean it! If you do, write me, I will remind you of it. Also you know I can’t speak enough of exercise. Please walk, swim, bike, but do something for your body. It was made to last a lifetime and how much quality that lifetime has in it is up to you. Yes, we have been dealt a ‘thyroid card’ in life, but we can live with it. I am. So can you! So eat.. but eat smart. Live… but live smart.. move the body.

For now…
this is Karen

Republished for the Web and thyrobulletin with permission from the BTF News, No 26, Autumn 1998 of the British Thyroid Foundation

Reprinted from thyrobulletin, Vol. 19, No. 4, 1999.

Reviewed 2000

Help us to Help Others


  • Community publicity & advocacy
  • Educational webinars
  • Information resources on our website

Patient Support

  • Toll Free Help line and email
  • Website thyroid news
  • Thyrobulletin newsletter


  • Annual Thyroid Research grants
  • Thyroid research news
  • Thyroid research articles