Why Imbalanced Hormones Lead To Weight Gain
When you have consistently high levels of the major hormones, cortisol and insulin, it can lead to eating more and gaining weight. And from what the research tells us, weight gain itself leads to increased levels of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone in the body. We tend to think that fat tissue just sits there on our bodies, but instead, its actively producing hormones , which increases the amount of circulating sex hormones. Imbalances in sex hormones can lead to gaining even more weight and stronger weight loss resistance. And this troublesome feedback loop becomes especially apparent after menopause.
How Does Estrogen Impact Weight Gain
Produced within the ovaries, estrogen is responsible for optimal functioning of all female reproductive organs. Estrogen promotes the storage of fat for healthy reproductive years. When estrogen is balanced, the right amount of fat helps carry out female reproductive functions. However, when theres too little or too much estrogen, weight gain often results.
Overweight women typically have high amounts of estrogen, as do women in the first half of pregnancy. Then theres perimenopause and menopause, which are characterized by a notable decrease in estrogen. Its during this time that some women opt for hormone replacement therapy to replace declining estrogen levels.
Find Out If Hormone Therapy For Weight Loss Is Right For You
There are a number of weight loss strategies and tactics to help people struggling with weight gain and healthy weight management reach their goals. Walk into any bookstore and the front shelves are lined with how-to books on weight loss. Celebrities and reality TVs stars all swear by this diet or that exercise to get your best body ever. The truth is that weight loss and the cause of weight gain are very personal. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment for healthy weight loss and management.
Hormone therapy for weight loss is an effective treatment option for people who are struggling with inexplicable weight gain or the inability to lose weight as the result of hormonal imbalance. It can be more difficult to identify weight gain and weight loss struggles that are rooted in hormone imbalance because the accompanying symptoms are so much like common discomforts of everyday life, such as chronic fatigue, sugar cravings, or mood swings.
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Why Does This Happen
Hormones travel through the bloodstream, transmitting messages from cells to glands. When hormones are in balance, the human body functions at an optimal level. Aging causes hormone levels to decline and subsequently the body does not function at its best.
At Rocky Mountain Hormone and Weight Loss Clinic, we offer a variety of treatment methods to help with weight issues, lack of energy, and mood swings. From bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to B12 injections, and more, we can help you start to feel healthier and like yourself again*. Schedule a free consultation with us today if youre ready to get started.
Will Taking Estrogen Help Me Lose Weight
Estrogen levels in the body are relatively stable throughout life. However, estrogen levels change during menopause, pregnancy, and after childbirth.
During menopause, estrogen levelsdrop dramatically. This leads to hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. It can also lead to bone loss, osteoporosis, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
If youre going through menopause, talk to your doctor about whether you should start taking estrogen replacement therapy .
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But Theres A Twist Our Adrenals Also Produce A Hormone Called Dhea
While cortisol provides our bodies with a boost to help meet whatever challenge were facing, DHEA boosts how our brain functions to help us learn from the stressful situation we are in, and become stronger so that we can better deal with similar situations in the future.
DHEA reduces the effects of cortisol and vice versa, so if cortisol levels are high, DHEA levels are correspondingly low.
DHEA is a foundational building block for the sex hormones. Without it, our bodies could not produce essential hormones like testosterone or estrogen. In addition, DHEA has been shown to improve heart disease, dementia, immune deficiency, cancer, and osteoporosis. DHEA peaks around age 25 and declines as we get older, which is why I call it the fountain of youth hormone.
These counter-effects on cortisol make DHEA a helpful friend when it comes to weight loss. DHEA instructs fat cells to stop taking in the energy that cortisol has told them to store, which causes these cells to reduce in size, reversing the weight gain effect of cortisol that I just mentioned. DHEA also improves insulin sensitivity, further enhancing its weight loss ability.
When were stressed to the max and not doing anything to mitigate the effects of that stress, our DHEA drops and subsequently our sex hormones drop. This causes period and fertility problems, and weight gain.
If You Have Thyroid Issues
Now to get super science-y: The thyroid is one of your endocrine glands that makes hormones, so instead of just a hormonal imbalance or excess, an under or overactive thyroid is dealing with the creation of hormones at the root. The thyroid canyou guessed italso affect weight. The thyroid hormones help control the speed of our metabolism, so low levels of thyroid hormones can cause weight gain, Ruth said. The thyroid regulates the metabolism of every cell in the body, and thyroid issues can result in inexplicable weight gain , agreed Dr. Carrie Lam, MD, FAAMFM, ABAARM, a physician specializing in anti-aging medicine.
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If You Have Imbalanced Blood Sugar
When we think of hormones, we typically think of estrogen and testosterone or maybe you think of happy hormones like serotonin, but we often forget that insulin is also a hormone, and its a crucial hormone when it comes to weight. According to Alisa Vitti, a womens hormone expert and the founder and CEO of FLO Living, imbalanced blood sugar can disrupt your insulin levels, which interferes with weight management. How does blood sugar become unbalanced? Most commonly, the cause is diet. When we eat a higher-carb diet and dont add in enough protein, fiber, and healthy fat, our blood sugars increase, Ruth explained. This causes insulin levels to spike, which signals sugars be converted into fat.
Its important to note that carbohydrates are not the enemy a diet too low in carbohydrates can cause prolonged periods of blood sugar imbalance too. Instead, its about the balance of macronutrients. Make sure youre getting in complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber like vegetables, lentils, beans, and grains like brown rice or quinoa, in addition to clean protein sources. The combination of protein and fiber will keep blood sugar stable and help with insulin levels.
Try Syncing To Your Cycle And Change Your Exercise Routine
For women with a period, its extremely crucial for hormonal health to adapt your lifestyle, diet, and exercise to your cycle, otherwise known as the Cycle Syncing Method ®. Let the experts explain: Your infradian rhythm affects your metabolism, so if you are not supporting it properly, youll be disrupting your period, but it will also increase stress levels, disrupt blood sugar, and make weight management extremely difficult, Vitti explained. In other words, modify caloric intake and workout intensity based on your cycle phasesyou should not be eating, moving, or doing the same things every day.
We talk more about the Cycle Syncing Method ® below, but when it comes to movement, you already know that exercise can help with weight management. However, if its done incorrectly , it can disrupt your hormones and lead to weight gain. For more information, check out Vittis book In The Flo or download the MyFlo App to track and sync your own cycle.
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Alternatives To Metabolic Renewal
Whether youre looking to lose weight, balance your hormone levels, or improve your health, there are several alternatives to Metabolic Renewal to consider, including:
- WW. Formerly known as Weight Watchers, WW is a weight loss program that assigns foods a points value and gives members a PersonalPoints budget to fit their needs. Members can opt for one-on-one coaching or group workshops for extra support.
- Noom. This app-based program aims to help you build healthier habits to support weight loss and health. Foods and drinks are categorized as green, yellow, or red based on their calorie density. Members are also assigned a virtual support team and can easily connect with other members of the community.
- Mayo Clinic Diet. Designed to promote long lasting, sustainable weight loss, the Mayo Clinic Diet is a digital program that provides meal plans, at-home workouts, and an online food log to help you stay on track.
Here is a closer look at how these programs compare:
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Understand How Insulin Impacts Weight
Insulin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. Made by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for storing blood sugar, or utilizing it, depending upon your bodys needs of the moment. After you eat a large meal, a substantial amount of insulin releases itself into the bloodstream. It also enters the bloodstream as needed throughout the day, ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable.
Another key function of this essential hormone is fat storage. Insulin decides how much fat to store, and how much to convert for energy expenditure. Chronically high levels of insulin can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance, which is linked to an uptick in blood sugar as well as continued elevated insulin levels.
Preventing this insulin imbalance is crucial, as it leads to weight gain, and eventually type 2 diabetes. When insulin levels remain high over an extended period of time, obesity and metabolic syndrome are often the unfortunate outcome.
What Are Hormone Diets And Can They Really Help You Lose Weight Quickly
As a registered dietitian, I have found that my clients are increasingly asking about books and programs that claim you can adjust your hormones with a diet to lose weight quickly and easily.
Search for hormone diet and there are more than 30 recent books on the topic. The authors allege that the reason people over 35 struggle to lose weight doesnt have to do with eating too much or not exercising enough. They say its your hormones working against you.
According to these books, you can trick your metabolism and feed your thyroid. They claim that all you need to do is eat the right foods and take the right supplements, and youll unlock the secret to lasting weight loss.
But is there any evidence these diets work?
In researching hormone diets, I found some that are sold at weight-loss centers, created by wellness experts who have no recognized credentials. They claim to promote rapid weight loss by affecting hormones such as insulin, which moves sugar from your blood into your cells cortisol, the stress hormone sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and thyroid hormones.
So, do hormone diets lead to quick and easy weight loss?
I dont know of any diet that will change hormone levels in a way that these hormone changes will be instrumental in promoting weight loss, Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, a professor of medicine at Tulane Universitys medical school, wrote in an email.
Debby: Hot Flashes Relief After Hormone Replacement*
I had accepted hot flashes, fatigue, brain fog, and losing sleep as part of maturing. I saw literature in Dr. Scintas office about Hormone Replacement Therapy so I asked about it. Dr. Scinta asked about my symptoms, then checked my hormone levels with blood tests. I have had two pellet insertions and havent looked back. The fog has lifted! Hot flashes less frequent, and being able to sleep is a life changer. I dont think women should have to endure these miserable symptoms when there is a safe and effective way to manage them. Dr. Scinta and her staff are, as always, knowledgeable, helpful and easy to talk to. If you ever feel like the oven is on when its not or cant finish a sentence because you cant remember the word you should ask about this treatment.
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Balancing Hormones For Weight Loss: A Guide To Hormonal Health For Women
Most women struggle with weight loss because they dont understand their hormonal health. In this guide, I explain what hormones are, why they matter, and how to balance them for optimal weight loss.
When you hear the word hormone, what comes to mind? Chances are, you think of menopause, PMS, fertility, birth control, pregnancy, and other issues that affect womens bodies.
But did you know that hormone imbalance plays a role in weight gain, too?
Are you struggling with hormone imbalances? If youre experiencing irregular periods or other symptoms, you dont have to live with them anymore. Find out how hormonal health affects women and how to balance hormones naturally for optimal health.
The female body has its own unique set of hormones, called reproductive hormones, which regulate various functions, such as menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, ovulation, and menopause. These hormones also play a role in maintaining overall good health.
Hormonal imbalance refers to the disruption of these normal levels of hormones. This can cause symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, mood swings, acne, hair loss, bloating, and fatigue. Learn more about balancing hormones for weight loss.
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How To Get Cortisol Under Control
Tips for maintaining healthy, balanced cortisol levels include the following:
- Consider what relaxes you. Is it meditation? A walk in the park? A bubble bath? Engaging in a creative project? Find what relieves stress for you, and integrate it into your daily routine.
- Exercise regularly, and give yoga a try if its not already part of your workout regimen. The synchronized breathwork that accompanies a nice, flowing vinyasa routine calms the nervous system and reduces cortisol all while giving your body and mind a thorough workout.
- Listen to your favorite music. A 2011 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that patients who listened to instrumental music during surgery had lower cortisol levels than a control group.
- Get enough sleep at night. Have you ever noticed how easily stressed and anxious you become on days when youre sleep deprived? This happens because during a night of deep, restorative sleep, your body is working to balance all hormones, including cortisol. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine explored how sleep deprivation impacted helicopter pilots on a 7-day emergency medical duty. Findings suggested it was sleep deprivation not the act of emergency medical care that elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels.
Weight Loss: How Hormones Affect Weight Loss In Women
Have you been struggling to lose weight? If so, then you might want to learn how hormones are connected to weight loss. Hormones are chemical messengers that affect nearly every system in the body. They regulate nearly every aspect of our bodys mental and physical functions. Read on to discover how exercise can turn the bodys weight loss hormone into a powerful weapon in the battle to lose weight.
Growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland and increases production during aerobic exercises. It decreases the bodys use of glucose as an energy source by using body fat instead. Growth hormone also improves the strength of bones, muscles, and tendons.
Testosterone is an important hormone in males and females. Females have approximately 10% of the amounts of testosterone as men but it still plays a critical role in muscle tone, metabolism, and decreased body fat. To increase testosterone in the blood cut out processed foods and exercise at least three times per week. Testosterone increases after about 20 minutes of exercise.
Estrogen increases the bodys ability to break down body fat as well as increasing the bodys resting metabolic rate. Ovaries begin to produce less estrogen as women reach menopause. Exercise increases estrogen levels in the blood stream and can remain at those levels for up to four hours post workout.
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Talk To Your Doctor And Get Testing
Of course, you can speculate about whats going on in your body all day long, but you cant know for sure without answers. Talk to your doctor if you suspect a hormonal imbalance or if youre wondering about your hormonal health and its role in your weight. Test, dont guess! Ruth suggested. Always start with testing to know if you have imbalanced hormone levels. You can ask your doctor for a full hormone panel as well as fasting insulin/glucose and A1C to get a good look at the current state of your hormones and blood sugar.
If there is an excess or deficiency of certain hormones, checking levels is necessary in order to suppress or replete them to regain balance, Dr. Kimble agreed.