The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss -- by Patient Advocate Mary Shomon
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Read the Table of Contents and Introduction
Is an undiagnosed or improperly treated thyroid condition causing you to
pack on the pounds, or dooming you to diet failure?

New York Times Bestseller THE THYROID DIET has the answer!

Nothing else has worked in the past and I was more than a little skeptical that anything would work at this point....I have already lost about 14 pounds in less than two months! It is amazing. I feel wonderful...I almost don't feel like I'm doing anything that deprives me at all. Thank you thank you thank you, a million times thank you. -- Carrie R.

I could not wait for the Thyroid Diet to come out. It certainly was "worth the weight!!" Exactly 9 weeks ago today I weighed in at 144 lbs. Today I weighed in at 121!!! Those twenty-three pounds have been with me for almost ten years and nothing was moving them. I loved the diet plans and modified them to my benefit...thank you for all your effort in thyroid information. I am thrilled with the weight loss. You are a very special person. Thank you again. -- Linda W.

The Thyroid Diet is a National Best-Seller...
  • A New York Times Best-Seller
  • Best-Seller
  • 2004 Top Pick: #4 in Paperback Nonfiction, #10 in Health
  • Nominee for 2004-2005 Quills Awards by Publishers Weekly/NBC
  • Featured in a Thyroid Diet cover story in Woman's World
  • Multiple printings, over 100,000 copies to date
From patient advocate Mary Shomon, author of the best-selling Living Well With Hypothyroidism comes THE THYROID DIET: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss -- the first book to tackle the critical connection between weight gain and thyroid disease, offering a conventional and alternative plan for lasting weight loss.

More than 25 million Americans have diagnosed – and undiagnosed – thyroid conditions, which almost always result in a metabolic slowdown. The Thyroid Diet will help many previously unsuccessful dieters get diagnosed and treated – and proper thyroid treatment may be all that's needed to successfully lose weight.
The Thyroid Diet Features...

  • Diet Planning Worksheets
  • Eating Plans
  • Food Lists
  • Gourmet Recipes
  • Information on Safe & Helpful Supplements and Herbs

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    Published 2004 from HarperCollins
    400 pages, ISBN: 0-06-052444-8
    List Price: $14.95
    Order your copy from now

    Or, get The Thyroid Diet at a discounted price from online now.

  • Even after optimal treatment, however, weight problems plague many thyroid patients. For those patients, The Thyroid Diet identifies the many frustrating impediments to weight loss, and offers solutions--both conventional and alternative--to help.

    The Thyroid Diet discusses optimal dietary changes, including how a thyroid sufferer should focus on a low-glycemic, high-fiber, lower-calorie diet, optimal timing of meals for maximum hormonal impact, thyroid-damaging foods to avoid, helpful herbs and supplements, and more.

    The book contains several different eating plans, food lists, and a set of delicious and healthy gourmet recipes. With handy worksheets to use in weight loss tracking, and a special resource section featuring websites, books, and support groups, you'll find vital help for the millions of thyroid patients dealing with weight problems.

    Thyroid patient and nationally-known patient advocate Mary J. Shomon is the founder and editor-in-chief of several thyroid, autoimmune, and nutrition newsletters, reaching hundreds of thousands of subscribers, as well as the internet's most popular thyroid disease websites,, and She is the author of several health best-sellers, including Living Well With Hypothyroidism, and Living Well With Autoimmune Disease, and Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Mary is one of the first patient members of the American Academy on Physician and Patient, and is a member of the Endocrine Society.
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    1 Could You Have an Undiagnosed Thyroid Condition?
    2 Diagnosis, Treatment and Optimization Challenges

    3 Food and Metabolism
    4 How Thyroid Dysfunction Affects Metabolism and Weight

    5 Blood Sugar, Hormones, Allergies & Toxins
    6 Drugs, Supplements & Herbs
    7 Stress, Mind and Body
    8 The Role of Exercise

    9 Your Thyroid Diet Plans
    10 What to Eat, Recipes
    11 Guidelines To Live and Eat By

    12 What to Do After You've Tried Everything Else
    13 Keeping the Faith


    I'm not afraid of storms,
    for I'm learning to sail my ship.
    -- Louisa May Alcott

    Totie Fields once said, "I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is two weeks." When you're trying to lose weight, you may feel like Totie was talking about you. You may have tried diet after diet, joined Weight Watchers, tried herbal diet pills, or read dozens of diet books that tell you to eat all protein, or cabbage soup, or ice cream, or eat 1000 or less calories per day, only to discover that you're not only not losing weight, but perhaps even GAINING weight! That's what happened to me ten years ago, when I joined Weight Watchers, followed it to the letter, and gained 2 pounds a week, while everyone else was losing weight.

    Or, you may be one of those people who never had a weight problem, and then all of a sudden, pounds starting piling on, seemingly defying all the laws of physics. If it takes 3500 excess calories to gain a pound, how could you possibly gain 10 or 20 pounds in one month? And yet you did. This is what happened to me, at age 33, before my 1995 wedding. After going through my 20s as a slender size 8, I quickly started packing on weight – so much so that I bought a size 12 gown, and in the months before my wedding, I had to have my wedding dress let out 2 more sizes (is that a horrifying thing for a bride or what?), and even after I went on a reduced calorie diet with daily exercise, walked down the aisle as a size 16. And after the honeymoon, the weight kept piling on.

    It happened to Gena, a woman in her late 30s:
    I have a 20th school reunion coming up in my little hometown. I was always a perfect size, I played high school sports, and was a homecoming queen candidate. Sometime in my senior year I woke up VERY sick one morning. The doctor told my mom that it was a thyroid infection. I took a lot of tests, got medication, and finally felt like my old self...for maybe a year. What I didn't realize was the damage that was done to my thyroid gland would mess me up for the rest of my life. I gained weight from about 105-110 when I graduated from high school to about 205 being my top weight. And I DO NOT eat anymore than I used to; in fact I'm eating much healthier now. I'm depressed, because I've turned from a "skinny healthy person" into a person who just feels awful about her looks and is VERY embarrassed to go back to my hometown. If I could wear a sign that says "I HAVE A THYROID DISORDER" around my neck, maybe people wouldn't look at me and think, "Look at that fat lazy person...she needs to push away from the table..."
    Or maybe you were eating the same way as usual, and getting the same level of physical activity as always, but are wondering why this past six months you have managed to put on a pound a week.

    In the midst of any one of these situations, you may head in to see your doctor, saying "I know something is really wrong with me." And I'll bet that you were sent home with one of the following:

    A. An antidepressant – because after all, depression makes you gain weight, so that must be it
    B. A diet drug – because writing a prescription gives your doctor something useful and doctor-like to do
    C. A shrug of the shoulders, along with one of those vague non-explanations like "Well, you're getting older, it's to be expected" or "must be your hormones" or "it's normal in the 6 months/year/2 years/5 years after having a baby" and so on
    D. A condescending look, along with some serious medical advice along the lines of, "Well, you must be eating too much and not getting enough exercise, so get off the couch, and stop strapping on the feedbag!"

    Gee, doctor, thanks.

    You know something is not right, and you know that you are not sitting around lazily, stuffing your face with bonbons, but you don't get the feeling that the doctor believes you.

    And the sad fact is, he or she probably doesn't. One late 2003 study showed that not only general practitioners -- but even health professionals who specialize in treating obesity – have negative stereotypes about people who are overweight. These clinicians typically associate the stereotypes "lazy, stupid, and worthless" with people who are overweight. Most doctors – and the people around you, to an even greater extent -- have an automatic anti-fat bias.

    You know something is wrong, something is not normal, but who believes you?

    I believe you.

    Because, while your doctor is busy assuming that you're too lazy to exercise and don't have enough willpower to stop eating, what he or she isn't doing is telling you is that you could have a thyroid problem – a dysfunction in the small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that is crucial to your metabolism. While some narrow-minded doctors dismiss thyroid disease as just another lame excuse for being overweight, the reality is that for millions of overweight people, thyroid disease is a very real reason behind weight problems. And learning about thyroid disease and its symptoms -- beyond weight problems -- and how to get diagnosed, can be critical steps that address the underlying cause of your weight gain, help restore your hope and health, and allow healthy diet and exercise to finally work the way they should!

    Recent studies have conservatively estimated that as many as 20 million people have a thyroid problem, the majority of them undiagnosed. Some experts believe that the actual number is substantially higher…and rapidly on the rise. At the same time, studies have shown that 97 million Americans are overweight or obese. That's nearly three in five (59.4 %) men, and more than half (50.7 %) of all women.

    This brings up a critical connection: some people struggling with a weight problem are facing even more of an uphill battle than everyone else, because they are dealing with an underlying thyroid condition – one that is both undiagnosed and untreated.

    One study found that as many as 40% of overweight people had evidence of a dysfunctional thyroid, various thyroid conditions that could be contributing to your weight gain in the first place, and to your present difficulty losing weight.

    In my case, I went in a number of times to complain about a variety of symptoms. I kept returning, complaining about:

    • The unexpected weight gain, despite diet and exercise
    • Fatigue and exhaustion
    • More hair loss than usual
    • Moodiness
    • Muscle and joint pains and aches
    • Loss of sex drive
    My doctor took a "wait and see" approach for a few months, but then she put together the above list of symptoms and decided she should test my thyroid. I was surprised when she called to say she'd discovered I was hypothyroid. I didn't even know what a thyroid was. Sure, I'd heard people laughingly refer to overweight people as having "glandular problems," and I had an aunt who had a goiter once, but that was the extent to which I knew about what is actually the master gland of our metabolism.

    My doctor put me on thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Blissfully ignorant, I assumed that all the symptoms – and in particular, the weight – would just melt off as quickly as it had appeared, now that I was getting my thyroid back in order.
    Surprise! Not so...

    Sure, as we tweaked my medicine and dosages, I felt better in some ways – less exhausted, not so moody and achy – but except for several pounds, the weight didn't budge.

    In my 20s, before my thyroid apparently started to go awry, losing weight was simple. I just cut out a bag of chips with lunch a few times a week, and switched to a diet soda instead of regular, and within a few weeks, the extra pounds would be gone.

    But nothing I was doing in the beginning moved the scale an ounce. This wasn't going to be so easy…

    So I set out on a mission. To discover how best to optimize my thyroid treatment. To learn what -- and how much -- I can and can't eat in order to lose weight. To find out whether I needed to exercise, what type of exercise, and how much. To learn how to get back on track when my weight loss efforts get stalled or even derailed.

    Along the way, I turned my own struggle to find the answers into a new role as a patient advocate for others with thyroid and autoimmune diseases. In 1997, I started several websites and newsletters that focus on thyroid disease and the issues patients face; and the sites have become the most popular patient-oriented thyroid websites on the Internet. My first book, Living Well With Hypothyroidism, has gone on to 20 printings, and a second edition. And my Thyroid Diet Success Guide, a simple 40-page summary of weight loss tips that was the inspiration for this book, has inspired many thousands of thyroid patients to successfully lose weight. And throughout it all have been the letters, thousands each month, from people all around the world – describing their symptoms, asking if they could have a thyroid problem, describing their symptoms, their inexplicable and frustration weight gain, their misery over not feeling well. Thyroid patients writing to ask why, despite rigorous diets and exercise programs, they were still not losing weight. People who said they crying as they wrote their emails, describing how being overweight made them feel ugly, old, worthless and unattractive, and nothing was working in their attempts to get the weight off.

    Along the way, I've been on my own journey, and it's taken me almost ten years to figure out what I needed to know. And now I'm sharing it here with you, in The Thyroid Diet.

    You don't want to be overweight. I know there are a percentage of people who are overweight who feel comfortable with themselves, and don't have any body image issues, and more power to them. But I'm not one of them, and if you're reading this book, neither are you.

    When I've been overweight, I'm not "proud to be fat." Like doctors, and most of the public, I see being overweight as a failing, as a sign that I'm less. I don't need to be model-thin, I just want to feel and look normal…healthy…attractive. And most likely, so do you.

    And let's face it, in addition to what's known as "psychosocial burden" – basically, suffering emotionally or mental health wise because of the self-esteem and depression issues related to being overweight – there is also an increased risk of many serious health conditions, including:
    • Insulin resistance
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Cardiovascular disease/heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Asthma
    • Arthritis/degenerative joint disease
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Sleep apnea
    • Fatigue
    • Complications of pregnancy
    • Menstrual irregularities
    • Stress incontinence
    Being overweight or obese is also a particular risk for various cancers. A 16-year study by the American Cancer Society found that deaths from a wide variety of cancers — including those of the breast, endometrium, colon, rectum, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, ovary, cervix, liver and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma — are linked to excess weight and obesity. Only a few cancers —lung cancer, bladder cancer, brain cancer and melanoma were found to have no link to excess weight.

    There certainly is enough incentive to lose weight.

    But we have to get off the weight loss runaround.

    If you read the newspaper and women's magazine articles, watch the middle-of-the-night infomercials, view the television interviews, talk to the staff at the supplement stores – you'll hear from experts galore, and every one of them has the one true answer to our problem, the one key to weight loss success.

    The key is: detoxing the liver The key is: insulin
    The key is: too many carbohydrates
    The key is: the wrong carbohydrates
    The key is: too many calories
    The key is: not enough calories
    The key is: food combining
    The key is: good fats
    The key is: low fat
    The key is: raw foods
    The key is: juicing
    The key is: vegetarian
    The key is: high-protein
    The key is: grazing all day
    The key is: eating Mediterranean style
    The key is: exercise
    The key is: supplements
    The key is: weight loss drugs
    The key is: cabbage soup
    The key is: SlimFast
    The key is: surgery
    The key is: managing your mind and emotions
    The key is: brain chemistry
    The key is: using your Ab-Swing
    The key is: "figgerin' out why bein' fat is workin' fer ya"
    (That last one is courtesy of Dr. Phil.)

    Blah blah blah!!!

    The bottom line: There is no one answer. What works for YOU is the right answer. And that may be any one of the above, or far more likely, a combination of approaches.

    The majority of Americans are overweight. And let's face it, while some have an underlying thyroid problem, some don't. Yet most overweight people find it very hard to lose weight, because dropping pounds keeping them off are very plain difficult.

    Add to that a thyroid condition, undiagnosed or diagnosed/treated, and it becomes even more difficult, if that is even possible!

    You're not lazy, or lacking willpower. Your weight problem is most likely not an emotional issue that can be shouted and bullied out of you by a television personality. You're probably not downing an entire box of donuts every night when no one else is watching. Your eating habits are probably not very different than your friend or family members, who are at a normal weight. Your body may truly refuse to lose weight on rabbit food, Weight Watchers, or the Atkins Diet.

    Your problem is -- your body doesn't work the way it's supposed to.

    And so a challenge that is already hard for most people may be even harder for you.

    That is the most difficult point to get past -- to accept that fundamentally, your thyroid condition may, especially in the beginning, and perhaps forever, make weight loss an unfair fight. What you suspect about your body is true. You very well may gain weight more easily than others, and you probably won't lose weight as easily or quickly as others.

    In fact, when hypothyroid, for many of us, the metabolism becomes so efficient at storing every calorie that even the most rigorous diet and exercise programs may not work. Your friend or spouse could go on the same diet as you, lose a pound or two – or even more -- a week, and you might stay the same, or even gain weight. It's NOT FAIR!!


    Ok, we've established that it's not fair. Now it's time to move on. That's life – I've got a thyroid problem, you've got a thyroid problem, and it's not likely to go away. This is something we'll both live with, probably for the rest of our lives. The question is, are we going to live WELL with it, or it is going to define us, and make us miserable? Is it going to stop us from feeling good about ourselves, fitting into clothes we like, feeling sexy, exercising or playing sports, having energy for work, family and children?

    I can tell you, I made a decision that it wasn't going to stop me, and I hope you join me in that decision.

    That is where The Thyroid Diet comes in. I'm not going to tell you that you'll find any magic weight loss secrets in this book. No miracle pill that will make the pounds melt away, or food that will allow you to eat all you want and lose weight overnight. I wish I had that to give you. (I wish I had it myself!)

    But for those of you whose weight challenges are due to a thyroid condition that you don't know you have yet, what you will find in The Thyroid Diet are clear guidelines and straightforward information about thyroid disease that will help you find out more, and get that diagnosis!

    And, The Thyroid Diet, in a simple, understandable way, offers you the support, encouragement and information you need to pursue the right diagnosis and treatment with your doctor. Let me tell you, that is no easy task in today's environment of rigid diagnostic criteria and 10-minute managed care visits.

    The best news so far? Excitingly, for some of you, just getting treatment for your previously undiagnosed thyroid problem will be all that you need to return to a healthy weight, without a rigorous change in your diet and exercise!

    However, for the majority of thyroid patients, treatment alone doesn't seem to resolve our weight problems. Losing weight then involves optimizing our thyroid treatment program, because you may not be able to lose weight until you are on the right brand, mix and dosage of thyroid medicine. Simply switching brands, or adding an additional drug, or a slight dosage change may be the minor adjustment that restores your metabolism to normal and allows you to lose weight. Again, The Thyroid Diet will help, as we explore the brands, mixtures and dosage options that may be right for you, along with other lifestyle issues and supplements to help optimize your thyroid treatment.

    But despite optimal thyroid treatment, some of us are still struggling. At that point, other approaches become central to losing weight, including ensuring that metabolism works as best as it can, resolving underlying nutritional deficiencies, treating depression and correcting brain chemistry imbalances, reducing stress, combating insulin resistance, treating food allergies and sensitivities, exercise, and many other key activities.

    The Thyroid Diet will help you understand these factors, and what how they might be getting in the way of your ability to lose weight. Then you'll find practical solutions that will really help. Herbs and supplements, stress reduction techniques, prescription weight loss drugs, ways to deal with food sensitivities, exercise guidelines, even innovative new approaches like mesotherapy, that can help you get on track.

    I've interviewed hundreds of doctors, extensively reviewed the latest research on thyroid disease, metabolism, weight loss and nutrition, and talked to thousands of thyroid patients over the past seven years. I've culled through this vast sea of information to share with you the best tips, ideas, theories, and recommendations – the ones that are working for me, and for many thousands of other thyroid patients.

    And, perhaps most importantly, are the actual eating plans. In The Thyroid Diet you'll find several different approaches to choose from, ranging from the less structured "Freeform" program, to options for those of you who are calorie and carbohydrate sensitive, to a more structured approach. You'll find food lists and a host of innovative suggestions that can help you get to a healthier weight. I know you'll find ideas that will work for you.

    And we even have a set of delicious and healthy gourmet recipes – consider them incentive! – from pioneering chef Jim McCauley, who, as a food connoisseur and recently diagnosed diabetic, has made it his mission to transform mundane healthy eating into a satisfying gourmet experience!

    You'll also find that the Appendix includes a set of handy worksheets you can use in your weight loss tracking, and a special section featuring information on books, websites, tools, support groups, and experts that can help.

    Isn't it time you mastered your master gland of metabolism? Let's get started!

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    Sticking Out Our Necks and the contents of this website are © Copyright Mary Shomon, 2006. All rights reserved.
    Mary Shomon, Editor/Webmaster, P.O. Box 565, Kensington, MD 20895-0565.

    All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting or changing any aspect of your medical treatment, diet or fitness regimen. Please see our full disclaimer.