How to Tell If You’re 1 in 8 Women Who May Never Be Able to Lose Weight

Weight loss struggles aren’t always a diet or fitness issue. There are a number of health conditions that cause weight gain. Hormone overproduction, common in hypothyroidism, often makes it difficult to lose weight. According to the American Thyroid Association, 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime. A large percentage of people with a thyroid disorder don’t even know they have one.

Here’s why this condition is so devastating for those trying to stay healthy — and how to know if you have it, too.

What is hypothyroidism?

Woman with curly hair looking at her reflection.

Your doctor can help you figure out if you have a thyroid condition. | Razyph/iStock/Getty Images

A woman develops hypothyroidism when her thyroid gland stops producing the correct amount of hormones, says Mayo Clinic. Though you might not notice symptoms at first, as the condition develops, your health can decline significantly. Unfortunately, weight gain isn’t the only symptom of an underactive thyroid. Here are a few other symptoms to watch out for.

You’re abnormally tired

Tired businesswoman with her head down at her desk.

You might feel exhausted … even after getting a full night’s rest. | Poike/iStock/Getty Images

It’s normal to feel a little sleepy on a Friday afternoon. If you can’t seem to shake your fatigue — no matter how much you eat, sleep, and chug caffeine — your thyroid might be to blame.

Fortunately, taking a synthetic thyroid hormone as part of your treatment will help give you energy. Eating a balanced diet, getting the right amount of sleep, and exercising as much as possible can help give you an energy boost. Over time, these habits might even help you lose weight.

You have high cholesterol

A woman with curly hair and striped t-shirt washes dishes in the sink.

Your cholesterol could be affecting your ability to lose weight. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

How was your cholesterol after your last checkup? If your blood cholesterol isn’t in a normal range, this could signal a thyroid problem. Healthline says your body depends on the normal function of your thyroid gland to make cholesterol and eliminate the cholesterol it doesn’t need. High LDL (bad) cholesterol puts your heart in danger, especially if it goes untreated.

You’re always cold

Woman in wool sweater stands outside.

You tend to feel cold, even when others are not. | M-imagephotography/iStock/Getty Images

Do you keep turning up the thermostat, only to leave your desk in search of another blanket? According to Everyday Health, feeling abnormally cold could mean you’ve developed hypothyroidism. When your hormones stop regulating your metabolism properly, your body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature also suffers. Though you’d think carrying around extra weight might make you feel warmer, if you’re shivering and exhausted all the time, you might want to have your thyroid checked.

You’re feeling depressed

A woman looks sad next to her happy partner.

Watch out for this very common sign. | Dean Mitchell/iStock/Getty Images

Because hypothyroidism throws your whole endocrine system off balance, it isn’t uncommon to experience feelings of depression. If you don’t normally experience this kind of negative shift in your mood, take note of other symptoms that might indicate a thyroid issue as well. As if an underactive thyroid and depression aren’t devastating enough, many antidepressants knowingly cause weight gain in some people, warns Healthline. A doctor can help you sort all this out, if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed.

Is there a cure?

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Although there is no cure, it is possible to treat the condition. | MangoStar_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

A doctor can treat this condition, not cure it. However, WebMD says hypothyroid treatment is simple and extremely effective. Common symptoms often go away within a week or so after you start your treatment. Once you start taking medication, you’ll have to continue taking it to stay healthy. It’s entirely possible to lose weight living with an underactive thyroid, even if the condition has made you gain weight. Diet and exercise are still important parts of a weight loss plan, especially once you start treatment.

Other reasons you might not be able to lose weight

A woman sits with her doctor in an office.

There are other things your doctor can rule out first. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re struggling to lose weight, and you don’t have a thyroid issue, there are many medical and behavioral reasons why that number on the scale just won’t change.

Sometimes, weight loss just isn’t possible. However, as long as you lead a moderately active lifestyle, maintain a healthy diet, and attend regular checkups with your doctor, you can significantly reduce your risk for disease and live a long, happy, and healthy life.