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Graves Disease and Weight Gain

Updated on July 12, 2016

Can You Really Gain Weight If You Have Graves Disease?

Graves Disease? Weight Loss? Contradiction of terms? Impossiblity? Reality?

Weight loss is one of the most telltale signs that you have a thyroid disorder like graves disease. In fact, it's normally on the top of the list of symptoms. Without it, some doctors won't even think to check your thyroid function.

But not everyone has weight loss with hyperthyroidism, in fact some people gain it.

The Doctors Opinion

I had an endocrinologist who said that hypothyroidism didn't cause weight gain. If that's true, then hyperthyroidism shouldn't cause weight loss, right?

I have to disagree with both of these statements but I don't think it's quite as simple as losing and gaining weight. I think it's physical and emotional.

Why am I gaining weight with graves disease?
Why am I gaining weight with graves disease?

But You Haven't Lost Any Weight...

When I first became hyperthyroid, my doctor labeled it as subclinical hyperthyroidism because I wasn't losing weight. I tried to explain to him that I was eating well over 5,000 calories a day but he wasn't listening or he didn't believe me.

Two years later I had full blown graves disease and I still hadn't lost any weight. Eating 5,000 calories a day was like being on a diet. I could eat almost an entire pizza and be starving an hour later. There were times that I ate so much that my stomach was screaming in pain but I still felt hungry!

Going The Wrong Direction

I even gained weight from time to time and that really baffled the doctor. He just couldn't fathom. I went to have my resting metabolism tested at a local gym for $40 (I didn't know that they did that!) and found out that my resting metabolism was over 3,000 calories.

Your resting metabolism is how many calories it takes your body to maintain your normal bodily functions when you are doing nothing. It's the amount of calories that you need to keep your vital organs functioning while you are at rest.

The machine doesn't go any higher than 3,000 kcals because most people need somewhere around 800-1200 kcals a day. I found it a little funny that the poor girl thought that her machine was broken until I explained to her that I had graves disease. After she had me do the test a few times because she didn't think it was working, I told her about the graves disease. She had never seen that before and was a bit confused.

I always craved high fat foods like pizza.
I always craved high fat foods like pizza.

The Food

The other interesting thing is that I craved VERY high fat, high calorie foods. My body needed them. I could eat pizza every single day. I could eat greasy pepperoni ponzarottas. Anything like that was great. Buffets were a blessing too.

A lot of times, my breakfast would be a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit plus a Cherry Pepsi from Hardee's for breakfast. Lunch would be from any place that delivered. I could eat over a half of a pizza. I would go home and make a big pan of lasagna and eat a few big pieces of it. Garlic bread would top it off and then before bed I would eat some ice cream or a bowl of cereal.

The whole day evolved around food and I ate a lot of it.

Olive Oil - One of the better oils to use when you have Graves Disease.

When you have graves disease, you should make sure that you are eating high quality fats in your diet. Olive oil is a great choice! I love using it to sauté zucchini with some garlic powder sprinkled on top of it. Yum!

Whether you are losing weight or not, you need to have extra high quality omega-3 oil in your diet. I can't stress that enough. They should be high quality, not just any old oils.

Baja Precious - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 750ml (25.3 Fl Oz)
Baja Precious - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 750ml (25.3 Fl Oz)

There's lots of different brands to choose from. Make sure that the olive oil that you buy is from a reliable source. Some bottles that say extra virgin olive oil really aren't.

Olive oil tastes a little different from other oils and most people prefer not to cook with it but I think that once you get used to the flavor, you won't mind using it in your other cooking. I even use it to make brownies. At first I wasn't so sure about the taste but after awhile I didn't mind it at all.


Using Olive Oil

Do You Use Olive Oil as your primary oil?

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Smoothies Using Cacao Butter

Cacao Butter is a healthy fat that has essential omega fatty acids. You can melt it and add it to your favorite smoothie and it will give it a rich, delicate chocolate aroma. The ingredients that I put in my smoothies are basic and include raspberries and strawberries, milk, yogurt, maca and barely melted cacao butter. I mix it all up in my smoothie blender for a great healthy breakfast.


Here's my theory on it: When you're hyper, you can eat anything and as much of it as you want because it doesn't cause you to gain weight. Once your thyroid levels start coming into range from the medication, your metabolism slows down but the habit of eating constantly remains. You don't need as much food but eating every five minutes is something you've had to do for possibly many months or years and it's hard to stop doing it! It's hard to turn that emotion off!! So you gain weight eating the same things that you've been eating.

No one will ever be able to convince me again that food and exercise have anything to do with how much you weigh. It's all about your metabolism and how fast or slow it is at a particular time.

How Many Graves Patients are Here?

Do you have graves disease?

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Do Your Own Research - Graves is a Tricky Disease to Have

There's plenty of books out there written especially for people with thyroid problems. Whether you are new to thyroid disorders or have been dealing with them for a long time, make sure you are well prepared with information even before your doctors appointments. It will be easier to make good decisions if you understand what your doctor is talking about.

Graves' Disease: A Practical Guide (McFarland Health Topics)
Graves' Disease: A Practical Guide (McFarland Health Topics)

I think that Elaine Moore has the most complete and up to date information on Graves Disease.


More Research

There's lots of good websites out there but if you like to have a book handy, these are great options! They are full of really good information for living with graves disease.

My history with graves disease

This page is not intended to provide any medical advice. I am not a medical professional, only a graves disease patient. I have done a lot of research on this disease for myself personally which is all that I recommend for everyone. Do your research on this disease and learn as much as you possibly can. Choose the options that are best for you and try to live as healthy of a lifestyle as you can. RAI might be the best option for you but make sure first. You don't have to rush into a decision. Methimazole might work for you but it might not work for you at all. Everyone is different and everyone reacts to the medications differently. I have been on the verge of a thyroid storm in the past and it was not fun. I spent a week in the hospital and don't want to do that again. Please do what is best for YOU.

Thanks for Stopping By!

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very useful information! It is amazing how Thyroid problems like Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism and Graves' Disease are all linked to metabolism. I read a great book by Dr. Ridha Arem called The Thyroid Solution Diet. There were some great tips for weight loss and losing weight. Check out his website at

    • KandH profile image


      6 years ago

      My mum has it and her weight has dropped considerably several times, she is already a small woman so when she starts to get sick we can all tell and she's not ever got back to her usual weight of 125 lbs since she was first diagnosed in 2007 - it definitely affects her metabolism.

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      6 years ago

      My first time to hear about Graves disease, thanks for the info!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I have hypothyroid... and I think it causes weight gain. I'll look at some of the books you recommended.

    • Didijudy profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I had never heard the term graves disease before; probably because I am French but do know the terms hyper & hypo thyroid. Do have a friend with this disease and will surely let her know about your lens. Great information!

    • stefanruse profile image


      6 years ago

      Pretty useful information. Thanks


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