Maintaining a healthy weight may require you to look beyond your diet and fitness plan. As we age, gaining weight seems a lot easier for many of us – and it actually is. One of its reasons can be hormonal imbalance. Hormone depletion is a major issue in humans, and it all starts after the age of 30. The hormone levels begin to drop each year, which is why many of us start wondering where all this extra weight is coming from despite eating the same way we always did and working out. Basically, it is the hormonal imbalance that makes losing weight so hard.
In this blog, we will look at five significant examples of hormonal imbalance that can significantly impact weight. Let’s get to it.
The journey to shed excess weight is never easy, and it becomes more discouraging when you do everything by the book but still can’t seem to lose the stubborn pounds. If you’ve done it all, from cutting off processed foods to shunning carbs but still can’t get the desired results, you might want to check the function of your thyroid.
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland, located behind your vocal cords, has pretty much the upper hand when it comes to weight control. You see, the thyroid gland churns out hormones to regulate metabolic processes. If you’ve got an underactive thyroid, you’ve most probably got a sluggish metabolism – a potentially major factor in weight gain.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include dry or brittle hair, constipation, fatigue, low energy, depression, and cold hands and feet. Women are more susceptible to hypothyroidism than men. Thyroid evaluation is best determined through a good history and exam, combined with blood tests and a thyroflex test.
The best way to overcome hypothyroidism is through dietary change, i.e., avoiding refined sugar, carbs, and processed foods. You’ll have to eat a diet rich in iodine, with healthy doses of vegetables and meat. But do keep an eye on foods containing goitrogens, as they can inhibit thyroid function. A few examples of foods with goitrogens include peanuts, soy, broccoli, and strawberries.
Estrogen is a key hormone with many benefits. For women, estrogen is needed for sexual reproduction, memory, and bone health. For men, it is essential for sexual maturation, bone health, and maintaining cholesterol metabolism. However, too much of a good thing rarely results in a positive outcome. So, when it comes to estrogen, having too much estrogen can cause weight gain.
The body can produce an elevated amount of estrogen in both sexes where lack of exercise and poor nutrition are present, putting us at risk of obesity. The environment also plays a considerable role in increasing the estrogen level. Environmental estrogen mimickers called xenoestrogens (obtained from chemicals and preservatives) and phytoestrogens (obtained from food and plant pesticides) have been increasing each decade, which is why we need to be wary of what we bring into our homes nowadays.
In order to avoid an excessive amount of estrogen in your body, opt for organic fresh foods and avoid harsh chemicals in the household or personal care products. Avoid processed foods spiked with preservatives, as well as food that’s been wrapped in aluminum or BPA plastic for a prolonged time. Also, avoid drinking out of plastic bottles.
An adequate testosterone level is necessary for men and women to enhance libido, build muscles, burn fat, and sustain memory. Falling levels of testosterone can often lead to weight gain in both sexes. Low testosterone level is a problem now in many younger men due to our toxic environment. As mentioned above, the excess estrogen found in chemicals and food can play a significant role in creating imbalances in your hormones, including lower testosterone levels. Even carrying your cell phone in your pocket can decrease testosterone levels. In order to reverse this problem, men and women above the age of forty can take natural hormone therapy replacement.
Insulin and leptin
Sugar is one of the awful things to have made its way into our lives. Today, most of us live with chronically high insulin levels due to our Western diet high in sugars and grains, which is the main culprit behind weight gain. When that insulin response gets out of whack due to poor diets, all heck breaks loose, and fat stores start to build up much more quickly.
Another reason why you might find it hard to lose weight is due to elevated leptin levels or leptin resistance. Leptin is secreted by fat cells to signal your brain that you are full after a meal. However, an overproduction of leptin stops sending those signals to the brain, which leads to overeating and weight gain (leptin resistance).
Symptoms of insulin and leptin resistance in women include pre-diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and fertility problems. In men, symptoms include pre-diabetes, a waist circumference of over 40 inches, impotence, and fatigue. Avoiding processed foods and refined sugar is the first step in reversing excess insulin and leptin.
If you’re under a lot of pressure, you might find yourself having difficulty losing weight. Anxiety and chronic stress can severely affect your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your “stress” hormone that usually switches on when you’re in a fight or flight situation. However, when you’re in a state where you are continuously stressed due to “life,” the cortisol switch stays on, thus increasing your weight and making it hard to lose those pounds.
Cortisol releases a lot of energy, and if you don’t burn it off through exercise, it can make you hungry, which often leads to “stress eating.”
Not getting enough sleep is another reason for high cortisol levels and weight gain. Here a sleep cocktail will be beneficial. Vitamin D (5000 IUs), magnesium (500 mg), and melatonin (3 mg) are mostly recommended to calm your mind and induce sleep.
Symptoms of excess cortisol in both sexes include fatigue, weight gain, acne, lowered immune system, a craving for unhealthy foods, and a low sex drive. In order to reduce excess cortisol, practice meditation, exercise, and avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar.
If you struggle with sustaining a healthy weight and want to do something, get your hormone levels tested. In addition to this, take a closer look at your diet to make sure you follow a strict Paleo regime.
The human body is complex, and we often feel a sense of helplessness when it comes to conditions such as weight gain, fatigue, mood, and that general lack of well-being. But you’d be surprised what a massive impact balancing out your hormone levels can have on both mental and physical health.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (never synthetic) is an effective solution to treat hormonal imbalances. Usually, within weeks of beginning the therapy, the fat drops off, and muscle tone increases. However, do consult with an expert before opting for the procedure, as they will guide you about the details. To get an appointment with our doctors, call us or fill in the form given below.