written by Dr. Toon, (Holistic Anti-Aging Doctor at BodyConscious)
Have you changed your diet and amended your exercise plan, but for some reason, the pounds just don’t want to shed off? This might be an indication that your weight issue could be hormone-related. Have a read through the five main hormone influencers to detect the signs!
Hormones have many different roles in your body. One of them being to regulate your hunger feeling as well as how many calories your body uses up for daily activities and supporting vital processes, versus how many it chooses to store as fat. Hormone levels differ from person to person. Some people burn fat more aggressively than others, and even they eat a lot, they don’t put on weight easily, whereas others gain weight much faster while eating very little.
In addition to that, we influence the levels of our hormones also with the daily products we use on our body and in our home, the medical substances (eg. birth control pill) we intake, and the stress-level we are exposed to. The most influential hormones when it comes to weight loss/gain are:
Weight gain around the hips (pear-shaped or inverted triangle) can indicate an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen increases fat storage by upregulating certain receptors in fat deposits around the thighs and hips. Women have a higher amount of these receptors, and hence it’s more common for women to gain weight in those regions. Having too much estrogen, or not enough progesterone can be the driving force behind weight gain in the hips.
Other common symptoms of excess estrogen include PMS symptoms such as heavy or painful periods, breast tenderness, fibroids, moodiness, bloating. It also makes the body more sensitive to insulin and breaking down carbs.
When estrogen levels drop around menopausal years, this could be an indirect contributor to weight gain around the mid-region as well.
Mid-region weight gain – also known as apple, round shape, is an indication that there is too much visceral fat, caused by imbalances in cortisol and insulin.
Cortisol is our stress hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. While it’s normal to produce it on a daily basis, under chronic stress its production can become dysregulated and may lead to adrenal fatigue.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are
- trouble getting to sleep and waking up
- craving salt and sugar
- reliance on stimulants such as caffeine
- nonspecific digestive problems
Cortisol is signaling your body to not only consume more calories but store more fat.
Insulin, also involved in weight gain around the abdominal region is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar.
Along with high cortisol levels, a poor diet high in sugars and carbohydrates is a key driving force to producing too much insulin.
Women in their peri-menopausal and menopausal years are exceptionally prone to weight gain around the mid-region due to the complex hormonal changes.
A sluggish thyroid can cause all metabolic processes to slow down, and lead to weight gain, constipation, sleepiness, and brain fog. People suffering from a sluggish thyroid typically have excess weight all over the body and cannot tolerate cold.
So, you see that diet and exercise are not the only things that determine your success of losing weight. If you feel like any of the above hormonal factors could be at play in your personal weight loss journey and hinder you from achieving the desired result, it is best to get a consultation in order to get to the root cause of your weight challenges