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Thyroid/metabolism question

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  • Thyroid/metabolism question

    Being fairly well-versed about training and nutrition I'm at a loss... I am hypothyroidal. My cardiologist is keeping my Synthroid dose low due to me going into atrial fibrillation (unknown cause but I've been shocked out of it and now in normal rhythm).

    Ive always been lean but I can't seem to get lean now. However!!!! EVERY TIME I try to gain weight by eating roughly 6,000 calories and training "correctly". I lean out and drop weight. Last time I tried this I said "I'm gonna hit 270 again (from 247lbs) and I dropped 7 lbs in two weeks and could see a hint of abs through my (tight) shirt. I get leaning-out comments/compliments literally every time I try to gain.

    I cut calories recently (again). Even tried intermittent fasting (again) and I gained three pounds in under two days.

    Is it possible with this under-active thyroid I increase my metabolism by gorging myself (somewhat clean)?

    I'm going to try "bulking" again and reports what happens.
    Last edited by armoredvan; 08-22-2013, 09:36 PM.

  • #2
    Your caloric intake is controlling your metabolism, yes. The calories are feeding your metabolism and when you cut the calories, it slows down.

    You seem to have the answer. It ain't all that bad.


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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Skip! No, it's not a horrible problem!

      I guess I'm surprised by HOW STRONGLY eating affects my metabolism especially in light of my hypothyroidism. Is this a function of this disorder?

      Honest truth, no trolling here: whenever I rotate in the 20 rep squats and GOMAD, i lose weight. It drives my wife and friends crazy because I'd get visibly leaner while chugging all that whole milk.


      • #4
        Good problem to have!


        • #5
          Originally posted by Adam2433 View Post
          Good problem to have!
          In my research on this condition and the resulting "problem" I can't find much if any hard facts or anecdotal evidence to support my claim. I guess I shouldn't be surprised there's not a whole lot of wanna-be bodybuilders with thyroid issues that bulk to cut out there.

          I'd love to participate in a study!


          • #6
            I've also tried Ori Hoffmekler's Warrior Diet thinking that the relatively low calorie deficit I'd be in would match my half-dead metabolism and allow me lose weight. Nope, I gained weight!

            I'm now 43 and weigh 256 at 6'-3" and figured losing scale weight would make me feel more agile and athletic. I also figured eating less would improve my health. But how could it improve my health if I gain weight (fat) when I try?

            Any input guys?


            • #7
              You're still "hypothyroid" despite the Synthroid? Or is your T4 on the lower end of normal?
              PGY-1 FM
              "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz


              • #8
                Well, I'll need new bloodwork now that my dose has increased but just before this minor increase, my T4 was in the basement (clinical hypothyroidism).

                The most the docs are willing to do is get me INTO the very low normal. But I'll tell ya, to me it's worth the risk of atrial fibrillation and the resulting need to be cardioverted in order to have a normal metabolism.

                I understand the desire to avoid a-fib but gaining weight while cutting sucks! As does feeling lethargic and depressed most of the time. Some may laugh at my need to eat like a 300lb bodybuilder to lose weight but its kind of expensive and kind of a PITA to do as some here could identify with!
                Last edited by armoredvan; 08-23-2013, 01:06 PM.


                • #9
                  Already lost 2lbs, 256 to 254. We'll see how it goes from here. Still looking for any input or experience with what amounts to overeating to lose weight while borderline hypothyroidal and on Synthroid.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by armoredvan View Post
                    Already lost 2lbs, 256 to 254. We'll see how it goes from here. Still looking for any input or experience with what amounts to overeating to lose weight while borderline hypothyroidal and on Synthroid.

                    So you're baffled because you have to eat a ton to lose weight? Were you always taking the Synthroid? Was your metabolism different before the Synthroid?
                    PGY-1 FM
                    "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz


                    • #11

                      Obviously, this is really an issue to discuss with your prescribing physician.

                      In particular, I'd raise the issue that your Rx is only for T4. T3 (converted from T4 outside the thyroid in the tissues / organs that together constitute your metabolic rate) is the "active" form of the hormone. T3 production from T4 is a highly complex phenomenon, given binding of the two hormones to proteins in your blood plasma, different forms of the "iodinase" enzymes that remove one iodine from T4 to make T3, the formation of reverse T3 (T3 that serves to counterbalance regular T3 activity).

                      Exercise (catecholamine release - adrenaline and noradrenaline) and greater amounts of food (greater insulin release) will affect the T4->T3 metabolism, which you're seeing first hand (and Ken mentioned above).

                      So, you're only feeding your system T4 (inactive) via your Rx and relying upon it to balance T4 and T3 (and thus metabolic Rate). However, depending on you.. .and BLOODWORK will help to know more... it seems as if your basal T4->T3 conversion when eating a smaller amount of food (or not training as much) leaves you hypothyroid (at least in terms of *T3*).

                      Eat more and training and, since you're lacking in T3 (so it seems - I'm simplifying here) - you strongly drive the T4->T3 conversion and get an overadjustment in terms of metabolic rate and you lose weight.

                      If you had more T3, there might very well be:

                      ---Less of this kind of abrupt shift in metabolic rate when you eat more food (b/c there would be a lesser increase in T3).

                      ---A higher metabolic rate when NOT eating so much food.


                      So, the above is why its not uncommon for some folks to receive a prescription for a "balanced" thyroid medication (e.g., Armor) that contains both T4 and T3, either generically at typical T4/T3 ratio in most folks (this is the idea behind the Armor standard ratio) or specifically based on your bloodwork (and this would also include possible interaction with other hormones, too).


                      So, IF I WERE YOU, I'd ask my Doc about:

                      A full thyroid panel when you're eating / training a lot vs. when not. Let him / her know what you're experiencing???

                      Including a balance of T4 and T3 in your Rx possibly????

                      Other hormones that may make a difference???


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                      • #12
                        So Synthroid may be just half of the puzzle pieces I need? My slowly increasing doses have not seemed to improve my current state but the addition of T3 may indeed be what I've been missing.

                        My doc seems pretty open minded and genuinely seems interested in helping me out so with the help from you guys, I may just see my abs again (and have the energy for my family)! Thanks a million guys!